Bird is the word…and bugs…

When Samantha spends the night, she sleeps with me in our bedroom — Grandpa doesn’t really mind the couch. A couple of weeks ago she woke up early and got up to use the adjacent master bathroom, leaving me half-asleep. The windows were open and the dawn chorus was blaring with chirps, songs, calls heard clearly through the bathroom window. As I listened, Samantha began to mimic the loudest of the birds, a two-parter that she started with a carefully pursed whistle and then a caw-caw-caw followed by dee-doo-dee-doo…

I took a Birding class several years back, taught by the eminent Sharon Sorenson. She is a wonder and can imitate any kind of bird sound imaginable. She would have known exactly which bird Samantha was hearing, but I had to look some stuff up. What I found was a wonderful resource from to help me identify my yardbirds. I am not sure what kind of bird Samantha was hearing, but I have recognized the Cardinals and Carolina Wrens. There are at least a dozen species out there, dozens of families of birds living in our trees and under our shrubs, and I kind of wish Sharon would visit some morning and tell me who is what…

I do, however, recognize the sound of the Surfin’ Bird…

Now that summer is nearly here, the birds have quieted down when I head out to my Thoughtful Spot for my morning contemplation. I hope they’re eating bugs, but they never eat the chiggers. Why haven’t chiggers been identified as a plague? Is it just me? I once had a kid come in whining about a chigger bite — a chigger bite! Just One, I asked? How is that possible? Do they only line up for my tender skin? Already this year I’ve had dozens of them bury themselves in spots where I can’t show you, nestling their itchy-asses wherever the sun don’t shine…

I still avoid sitting in grass, even in a lawn chair, which explains why we have covered our garden area with rock; I still get bit, but to a lesser degree. It is also why we rocked a path to the campfire circle, covering islands of chiggers that love to cling to the weeds and jump easily to legs and upward. I use DEET, but sparingly, and it does seem to help with mosquitoes, but those dang chiggers..

Heat and Humidity and overtaken our world, but the pool is up for cooling off.

I’m on my way to pick up the Jr girls for this week’s get-together.


The Great Backyard Bird Count!

There’s a neat activity for us this week, one that costs nothing, takes very little time, and helps the environment. Our very own Bird Lady, Sharon Sorenson, talked about it a couple of weeks ago.

Sharon Sorenson’s article on The Bird Count 1-28-22

 Here’s all you need to do to participate…

Step 1: Decide where you will watch birds.

Step 2: Watch birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once over the four days, February 18-21, 2022.

Step 3: Count all the birds you see or hear within your planned time/location and use the best tool for sharing your bird sightings.

In order to submit your info to this “largest community-science event, sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Association, and Bird Studies Canada: visit this site:

It’s really fun! Write down the dates: February 18-21. Get a head start on identifying your backyard birds and spread out to count birds in the parks, too!

I’m headed out to see “MAC BETH” –not Macbeth– with Cousin Lana today at the UE May Studio Theatre. I don’t think flat-Ronna wants to attend, but she’s due for a mood-swing, so ya never know.

The kitchen is now completely ready for new counter top and we hope to order it this Monday. I don’t think we can exactly match our old stuff, but we’ll do our best.

Casey would like to paint some more walls and such, but we’re gearing up for Birthday Week. We’ll start Saturday 2/19 with a party for Samantha, who turns 7 on 2/22/22, a Tuesday. The next day we’re leaving for WDW for another Very Disney Birthday, my 69th on 2/23/22.

Check out those websites and get started with the 25th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count, friends. Watching the birds is so zen- I think you’ll like it!

Carolina Wren, picture by Gary Mueller 2021


For the Birds

We spend a great deal of time taking care of our bird buddies. While we haven’t had much snow, the temperatures are frigid, so we keep the feeders full and the water warm.

There’s a new bird in town: a mockingbird. There may be two of them, but so far we’ve only see one at a time. He/she has a different way of eating the suet, standing on the squirrel baffle and pecking away.

Saint Francis of Assisi had a special relationship with birds, who often followed him around and rested on his shoulders, arms, or hands as he prayed or walked around outside.

The story is told that Francis and some others were traveling through the Spoleto Valley in Italy when the Saint saw a flock of birds that had gathered in some trees beside a field. As he watched them, they watched him and Francis felt that the birds were expecting something, not the food offerings that I give, but rather a sermon just for them. The monks who were with him wrote down what he said and published it in the book, The Little Flowers of St. Francis.

“My sweet little sisters, birds of the sky,” Francis said, “you are bound to heaven, to God, your Creator. In every beat of your wings and every note of your songs, praise him. He has given you the greatest of gifts, the freedom of the air. You neither sow, nor reap, yet God provides for you the most delicious food, rivers, and lakes to quench your thirst, mountains, and valleys for your home, tall trees to build your nests, and the most beautiful clothing: a change of feathers with every season. You and your kind were preserved in Noah’s Ark. Clearly, our Creator loves you dearly, since he gives you gifts so abundantly. So please beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and always sing praise to God.”

The monks who recorded Francis’ sermon to the birds wrote that the birds listened intently to everything Francis had to say:

“While Francis said these words, all those birds began to open their beaks, and stretch out their necks, and spread their wings, and bend their heads reverently toward the earth, and with acts and songs, they showed that the holy father [Francis] gave them great pleasure.”

Francis “rejoiced” at the birds’ response, the monks wrote, and

“wondered much at such a multitude of birds and at their beauty and at their attention and tameness, and he devoutly thanked God for them.”

The birds remained attentively gathered around Francis, the story goes, until he blessed them and they flew away—some heading north, some south, some east, and some west—going out in all directions as if on their way to pass along the good news of God’s love that they had just heard to other creatures. (1)


(1) Hopler, Whitney. “Saint Francis of Assisi and His Sermon to Birds.” Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020,

Falling for Fall

The weather is chilly with bright sunshine and last night’s Full Moon was spectacular.

Though my foot is still tender (it was a bad sprain) I’m up and at the decorating and gardening.  A lot of Time has been spent Being Here Now — watching the birds, going about my chores, and taking time to prop up my feet.


I haven’t felt like writing and I apologize for my absence.  These last few months have been physically challenging but mentally strengthening. The former is fading as the healing of the tendons and ligaments progresses.    The latter is not easy to discuss…  I just feel Free…

That Freedom is currently manifesting itself by being outside.  Tugged along by the Autumn changes, I’m walking through crunchy leaves, feeling the pull of the season from hot and green to cool and orange, My usual cardinals have now been joined by migrating birds at the feeders and bath.  I’m too busy Watching to take very many pictures, but I’m sure that will pick up since I got out the Nikon.




Snow, Birds, and a touch of cuteness…

Winter decided to show us who’s the boss around here–for another week or so, at least–and snowed all over the bloomers…  Whaddaya gonna do about it?  Take pictures…

What I actually Like about snow happens at the birdfeeders.  The birds just flock in.  I love watching them…

I got out my bird book to identify a newcomer:  See the little brown guy in the picture below?  He’s an Eastern Towhee.  They usually feed on the ground, but the snow brought him round to visit.  The cardinals, chickadees, and finches are my usual crew.

The snow is now gone, but the danger to the plants and birds is even greater since the temperatures are hovering between 20 and 35.  I read that March is the most dangerous month for birds, as their natural food sources are already emptied of berries and the ground is frozen.  If you don’t already feed the birds, you ought to try it.

Here’s a little bit of Cute to warm you up…


2017 at 5-days-old

You know I’m not perfect, nor do I have one iota of desire to be so, even though my blogs only show my good side.  Why not?  Who wants to read about my New Year’s Eve gallbladder attack (heroically faced down with magic vinegar shots and warm lemon water)?   I don’t want to whine about the $$ not being there when I planned for it, or to complain that I’m spending hours (literally) on the phone with numerous representatives of the insurance company, because ultimately these problems will all pass.  Who cares if I’m re-arranging the furniture (again) in a effort to control what I can, since I’m out of control of everything else?  You might be mildly interested to hear that Casey’s retirement=transition is going well:  he started remodeling the laundry room and is out there All Day…I visit him there and remind him that he’s supposed to be home by 3:30.

Today was our first snow, a kind of wimpy snow, and I love having Casey here with me.  It seriously brightens my whole outlook knowing there’s somebody else here.  The birds, my reliable winter companions, keep me entertained and now there’s 2 of us to watch them flit around, devouring our seed and suet.

I’m busy planning trips, especially the Kick-Off of  the “When I’m 64 Tour” beginning in February.  Looking forward to milder temps, for sure, but for now the snow and cold are feeling warm…


Snow Day…

Ugh, the weather outside is frightful…

And the fire, though cozy, is not Really delightful…

005Though I”ve no place to go, I still don’t like the snow…   I could easily live without it, as I’ve told you every year.   A little smattering would be fine, but 6+ inches on top of an inch of ice is not my idea of fun.  Casey’s out plowing the roads and I’m a little lonely.  Funny how happy memories can make me sad…

But just in case you actually Like snow, or think you do because you live in a warmer clime, here’s some pretty pictures…



I wish You were here in the warm with me, singing around the piano, drinking a cup of hot chocolate or Irish coffee…


Brightest spot of the day:  Finishing up my Christmas shopping, starting on my Christmas cards…and best yet:

20 days until WDW !!!

Put on your mittens, kids, or your fingers will fall off…seriously…