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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Pieces Of April
April is my birthday month.  For my birthday, John got me a record player.  I have all the 45s I bought back in my younger days.  I remember saving up my babysitting money to buy my very favorite ones.  Of course "Pieces of April" was one of my favorites because April is my month.  I also have a huge pile of long plays, otherwise known as 33s, but most of them I bought later on, they were too expensive for me on my babysitter income of 50 cents an hour.  It has been fun listening to them all.  There is something about that crackle sound of a record that I just enjoy.

The kids came over and we all went out for dinner, my parents came too.  Look how old those kids are! It isn't the birthday that makes me realize how much older I am getting, it is looking at those kids and seeing how fast they are growing up that makes me want to stop the clock.

We had such exciting news. !!!!!  Dennis and Abby and Gabe got the call to go to court in Korea to finally take the final steps in bringing Daniel home.  They flew to Korea on my birthday.  The reports they sent home were so good.  Their little guy just seemed to jump right into the relationship with them.  He is not shy, very outgoing and already knows to call them US Mommy and  US Daddy.  Gabe worked hard at letting Daniel know that he is his new big brother.  Abby wowed us all when we saw the videos of her actually talking sentences to him in Korean!  I knew she knew some words, but actual sentences and seeing that he understood her was very impressive.  After meeting him a few times and their court appearance, they had to fly back home.  Now we all wait for the call to fly back and finally bring that little guy home with them!  Here is a picture of them in the taxi heading off to court.  There are other pictures that I like so much of all 4 of them, but the photos of Daniel are not allowed to be published yet, so this is all I can post of it for now.  You can be sure that as soon as I am allowed, they will be posted!

I have a new talent.  Squirrel whisperer is what you can now call me.  This little guy is now taking food from my hand!  At first it was kinda scary, like what if he bite me instead of the cookie, but now we are both pretty brave about it.  We have pretty much bonded.  :)
I love to walk to the park.  I get two things done at once, my workout and shooting time.  I have this place that I like to sit and think and wait for birds to fly in.  It is at the far end of the park, off the main trail and it is quiet there.  A perfect place to pray.  Well to my surprise, I found out my favorite spot has been taken!  This Canada goose had built her nest right there.  I don't mind sharing with her, actually it is pretty cool.  She lets me sit there and one day, she even stood up and let me take a look at what was in her nest.  One egg.  I think she might be a first time mommy.  Her nest is somewhat in the open, only hidden by some brush on the incoming side and right there open to the water side.  And only one egg.  It has been a week since she showed me and I thought she might lay more, but today, I got another look and still just one egg.  Her mate is sometimes there in the water taking guard.  He hisses at me, but she does not seem to mind me there at all.  I took her some grainy bread a few times, she just gobbles it right up.  

There is another pair of geese at the other end of the park that has already hatched out their eggs.  They had six at first, but now I only see five. 
Isn't it so cute how they hide under her wings like that?
Below is a bad set of shots of an osprey just seconds after he snagged a fish out of the lake.  I had my back to the lake, shooting a woodpecker in a tree when I heard the splash.  My camera was set for the dark light up in the tree, so the settings were all messed up for shooting the action, but I am still excited that I was able to see it happen and get some sort of shot of it.  It is a pretty good sized fish he caught.

All the birds are busy making their nests.  I have seen some that I have never seen before and not even knew their names.  Suddenly I am a bird watcher.  I take their photo and come home and go through my bird book to learn their names.  I can't believe it that this has happened to me.  The other day, I was shooting and a man with binoculars and a notebook stopped to chat.  He wanted to know what I had seen there and was so anxious to tell me what he had seen as well.  His binoculars had a little camera attached.  I came home and told John how ridiculous it was to see him taking notes of each thing he was seeing.   John said for me to be careful what I say, I may be doing that exact thing any day now.  I doubt that, but then again, I would never have thought it so cool to see and identify all these birds I never knew were out there.  Here are my newest discoveries.

I know that it is nature and part of God's plan, but I just feel so sad at the survival side of it all.  I heard some birds chirping and getting pretty excited way up in a tree.  And then I spotted the reason.  A raccoon.  He had discovered a nest.  All around the tree and the one next to it were empty wet shells.  So sad. 

It has continued to be so nice and warm here.  Which means a lot of trips to the park with the grandkids.  Some days they ride their bikes, some days we pull them in the wagon and sometimes we let Josiah drive the little 4Wheeler I found for $25 at the neighbors garage sale.  ($40 battery not included).  Its always fun to watch them play.  Arianna loves picking flowers, especially the dandelions so she can let the seeds fly.

Emily can drive a real car all by herself now!  She got her license.  Her first trip out alone was with Joshua to Dairy Queen.  Great choice! 
Joshua ran in a meet last week.  He had a PR and was in first place until the very end when a guy passed him up.  I am so proud of him.  Of course because he works so hard and is such a good runner, but more than that, he was the first one to congratulate the guy who beat him.  And he stuck around  there to cheer the other team mates as they came over the line behind him.  What a great sport.

After the race, he had to be rushed home to change his clothes because he needed to be at school to be inducted into the Junior National Honor Society.  He gave a little speech.  Not only is he a great runner and a good sport, he is really smart too.  Do I sound like a Grandma?

So walking to the park and taking pictures is not the only thing I do for fun.  I love to knit.  I have been knitting a lot lately.  Here are my latest projects.  

I don't know what it is about spiders that fascinate me.  I know a lot of people hate them.  But they don't bother me.  If I see one in the corner of the house, I leave it there.  I know they are there for a purpose and it is nice to know that they catch those pesky mosquitoes that I see no purpose for at all.  Besides they are pretty good at knitting too...amazing how they make a web.  

Well, ever since we first moved here, we saw the beaver lodge at the end of the park where I like to sit.  We even got up super early to get to the park by dawn, because the park ranger said that was the best time to spot the beavers out of the water and at work.  We saw one that morning and a few times since, but he is really quick and only in the water.  One day as we were driving home from church, there at the side of the road was this dead beaver.  What a sad way to finally see one in real life.  This is not one from the lodge at the park, he was way too far away from there to be one of that group.  I talked to the park ranger about it.  They were surprised to hear about it.  They didn't know of another lodge on that side of the area.  The park rangers and I have all been looking, but no sign of where this guy came from.   
Here is one of the trails to at the park.  It does not seem at all to wind back and forth when you are walking on it.
I just love the spring flowers!!!

Blue Lake has one of the best flowering cherry tree groves.  The lanes are lined with them and go on and on.  It is so beautiful to walk beneath them.  By the end of the blooming season, walking in them was like being out in the snow. Only pink.  And not as cold.  The petals were piling up and flowing in the breeze.  

  Additions to My Sitting Mother Goose
"Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father takes care of them. Are you not worth much more than they?" Matthew 6:26
I showed up to the nest and both of the parents were there, but not on the nest. I fed them some grain and took a look at the nest...I was so excited! It was hatching! Momma came back on over after she had some grain and settled down on the egg. Every so often she got up and turned it around. I had to leave for a few hours, but as soon as possible I went back. 

This is what greeted me. It makes the cutest little tweeting sounds and she answers back with a deep throaty grunt. I spent an hour sitting in the rain with them. It is so amazing how she just knows how to sit so gently and spread her wings out to shelter him from the rain. I feel so happy that I got to be a part of it!

Psalm 91:4 "...and under His wings you may seek refuge:..."
I hurried to see my baby goose the next morning. It was raining again. When I arrived the momma was there on her nest. Her wings spread out and all her feathers fluffed up. Drops of rain were beaded up on her. Now and then she reached back and licked them off. She hardly moved, except to fluff up a bit now and then. A hawk, a buzzard and an osprey took turns flying overhead. She turned her head sideways to watch them, hunched down as low as she could go, hiding and protecting her little one from them. From underneath her, I could hear the tweeting sound of her baby. Sometimes he got louder and then quieted down when she made her little grunt sound back to him. Quite a few times he poked his little head out between her feathers to take a peek at the world. Maybe he was trying to see if his mom could hear him calling her. But it was a quick peek, because each time his head poked out, she would lean down and tuck him back under her wing. Over and over that went on…tweeting, peeking, tucking, fluffing…with her always on guard. 
As I watched it, I thought, he does not even know all that she is doing for him. He does not know of the hours she has sat alone on that nest just thinking of him. He does not know how long she has been waiting for him. He does not know all that she has already endured for him before he was even born. He does not know that she is keeping him warm and dry and safe from harm. He sits under there making noise, complaining, trying to get out, in such a hurry to move on. He has no idea what is out there that she is sheltering him from. He does not know that she is waiting for the right time when he is ready to move on ahead to the next step in their lives. He does not know that soon he will be swimming on his own and finding his own food. He wants to go right now, she says wait. He says ” let me out, let me see, I am ready!” , she says “get back under my wing where you belong, I know what is best for you.” 
Oh dear. Isn’t that what I do so often? God takes care of me in ways I don’t even know of or understand. He knew me before I was even born. Under His shelter, I can’t see what is hovering overhead, I don’t feel the drops of rain or the cold. I complain, I ask for more, I want to rush, I say I am ready to get moving on! But He pushes me back, makes me wait for answers, tells me to slow down and wait for the right time. I need to take a lesson from Momma Goose.

Off the nest. I was pretty sure they would have left the nest area before I arrived this morning, but they were just hanging out when I arrived. The Momma stood up and put the baby on display. He could hardly stand and kept falling back on his tail, then up he went again, all the while tweeting away. They showed him how to eat at the grass and he went for it. After a little while she started nudging him towards the water and then she jumped in. He looked it over and ran back to the nest. So she came back on out and settled in the grass beside the nest and cuddled him up.

Yesterday afternoon, I had to go back and find out if they made it into the water. When I arrived, they were all three on land, but by the time I got to them they had gotten into the water and were waiting for me. Well, I want to think they were waiting for me. They floated around the edge for a little while and slowly ventured out further. That little one was going crazy! Seriously, he was diving down and coming up, dipping in his head and splashing the water all around. I was cracking up! Once he even came back up with something in his mouth. And then it happened...little by little they worked their way away from me...I had my camera focused on them, I did get a sideways least that is how I am going to remember it.

 And there I was...alone with an empty nest.