Category Archives: The Great Outdoors

Entries about nature, animals, creature photos, and other such stuffs.

The Thwarted Robin

I could have sworn I blogged about this a year or two ago, and I went looking today to find the blog entry so I could repost it, but alas, no luck.

Since I can’t find the entry I guess I’ll just write a new one. I’ve been reading a lot of fairy tales lately, so I thought I’d try my hand at a bit of (groan-worthy, I’m sure) creative writing…

Once upon a time, a night-owl lived by herself in a country home. She had a big glass patio door on the back of her kitchen, which let in far too much light. Being a poor girl, she hung an old sheet over it, since she hadn’t the means to buy a curtain. One day the girl needed to wake up for an important appointment, but prior experience told her she’d probably sleep through her alarm, so she prayed before she went to bed that God would help her wake on time.

The next morning, bright and early, she heard a really loud knocking sound, shortly before her alarm failed to go off (her subconscious, wanting to sleep in, had set it for PM instead of AM). Her sleepy body ignored the knocking and fell fast back to slumber, but the knocking continued, and she awoke again shortly after. Awake enough to realize this wasn’t a normal sound, she got up to check, and found a robin perched on her back porch post, patiently and curiously pecking at her kitchen door.

The girl was ecstatic. What a beautiful and wonderful answer to her prayers! She was up on time, and had only God to thank.

In her excitement, she didn’t think to shew the robin away, and he remained, enthralled with her window, for some time. After a while she finally realized it was his reflection that had so captivated him, and, finding this incredibly cute, she allowed him to stay.

Over the course of the next few weeks the robin returned time after time, and his patient pecking soon turned to singing and flapping and other antics. He would show up in the wee hours of the morning (much to the night-owl’s chagrin), and come and go the rest of the day as he found time. It didn’t take long for the girl to overcome her awe, and she soon started shewing him off. Only to have him return an hour or two later.

It didn’t seem to matter if the makeshift curtain were there or not, he could still see his reflection as long as the sun was shining. On rainy days he would just watch and wait patiently for the curious bird to return. On sunny days he continued his flirting.

In time, he fell in love with the beautiful bird in the glass, and decided it was time for a mate. Mating with a glass reflection, though, is no easy task, and proved to be a great challenge for the robin. His pecking turned to flinging himself against the window in every odd angle he could find, plastering and smearing it with droppings when he inevitably failed. But persist he did, and he returned daily to try, until the long winter came and he was forced to fly south.

The girl was glad to see the bird gone, and hoped he would forget his love, or find a new one, before next spring.

But alas, it was not to be. Come spring the bird returned to courting his shadow, and try as she may the night-owl could not find a way to block his view or scare him off. She eventually learned to sleep through all of his knocking and racket (which is why she can’t hear you at her door if you visit). For 3 years now, the bird has returned, ever faithful, to his mate, for true love cannot be denied, and songbirds mate for life.

And now that I’ve tortured you with this horrible excuse for a story, perhaps you’d like to read some quality stories? Check out my author friend Richard Fredrick Grenvile for some great stuff:
His Main Site
His Facebook Page

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Filed under Stories, The Great Outdoors

8 things I love about being snowed in…

I’m snowed in.  I don’t know what you picture when you think "snowed in", but since I can’t actually shovel snow, and since I have a front-wheel drive car and a gravel driveway, for me it means "hm, if I back out into that my car is probably gonna get stuck".  Right now it means about 10", give or take.

Most people don’t seem to like this, but most of the time I find it incredibly comforting… I’ve been rather depressed lately, though, so I’m breaking even about now.  In an effort to cheer myself up a bit more, here’s a list of things I love about being snowed in…

  1. This much snow provides natural insulation.

    It’s been insanely cold lately.  And I hate cold.  Cold makes my nerves scream, my joints ache, and even slightly cold temperatures cause all of my digits to freeze.  Cold is the main reason I left Ohio and swore I’d never come back here.  I moved no less than 4 times trying to find a place that was consistently warm, and once I found it I ended up having to move back to this place of torturous winters anyway, for financial reasons.

    In any case, it’s been cold, really cold, which has made me grumpy, really grumpy!  But snow, in sufficient quantities, provides my house with an extra layer of insulation, and with the added help the insane drafts cease and my stupid baseboard heaters can actually manage to heat the house to something resembling living conditions.

  2. Snow is beautiful, especially when it’s deep.
  3. It gives me an excuse to say "No".

    If I had my way, I would hibernate.  I would gather enough food for the winter, lock myself in, and come out sometime in the spring when all this nasty cold was gone and my pain levels returned to something I could manage.  Other people do not like that, though.

    Despite my uncanny knack for scaring some people away and creeping others out, I somehow still always find myself in positions that require me to socialize during the winter months.  

    It also doesn’t help that Christmas and Thanksgiving both fall during the time I would prefer to be hibernating.  There’s no way I’m gonna miss a chance, if at all possible, to go play with my nieces and nephews… I will brave all kinds of weather for that.

    But being snowed in gives me a real, solid, unavoidable excuse to back out of unnecessary trips and social events, and I love it.

  4. I can look out the window and dream of building snowmen.

    For as long as I’m snowed in, I have endless opportunities to look out the window and think "Wow, it’s so beautiful.  Maybe if I’m feeling better tomorrow I’ll throw on a coat and go play in it a bit."  That never happens, of cour

  5. Time slows down.
  6. Something about being snowed in always makes time seem to go just a bit slower.  There’s no "I guess I have to run to the store tomorrow" to take up your time.  There’s no "I have to get to the post office" (although I will have to try to make a trek to my mailbox at least, if I’m gonna get these packages to people in time for Christmas, ugh).  The list of things that have to get done gets cut to the things that you can do within your own home, and time seems to spread out a bit.

  7. No one’s encroaching on my schedule.
  8. I do not keep a normal schedule.  I require at least an average of 10 hours of sleep per night, and I live in a lot of pain.  I learned a long time ago that I have absolutely NO interest in laying in bed hurting, so I stay up until I can tell that I’m on the verge of exhaustion before I try to lay down.  Most nights this means I fall asleep immediately, but I don’t even try to lay down until the wee hours of the morning.  This puts me waking up in mid or late afternoon.

    As much as I would love to be above ‘peer pressure’ I just care too much about what others think.  I live in a farming community, which means that most others think I’m a lazy do-nothing slob for sleeping into the afternoon.  

    And so I have tried, and failed, many many times, to re-adjust my schedule, with absolutely no success.  If I go to bed early, I either lay there in pain for hours, or my body just takes the extra time for more sleep.  If I stay up all night, intending to go to bed at a normal time the next night, my body really rebels and I wake up 2 days later.   

    But when I’m snowed in, all bets are off.  I don’t have to care if someone’s hoping I’ll be at church on a Sunday morning, since I can’t get there anyway.  I won’t get weird looks from people if I wander into the grocery shore at 1am to start shopping, and I won’t have to deal random family members look at me in disgust after asking what time I got up today.

  9. I don’t feel guilty for not shoveling.
  10. As I mentioned before, I can’t shovel.  I used to torture myself by trying to shovel anyway, and I would manage to some extent, but not enough to really matter.  The last time I tried I’m pretty sure I nearly had a heart-attack, and I have a really bad habit of falling when I’m outside in snowy/icy conditions.  Since I’ve fallen indoors at least 6 times in the past two months, and since my arm has gotten so bad I can’t lift a jug of milk without fear of dropping it, it would be absolutely insane for me to try to shovel my walks.

    But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty about it.  Every time someone comes to deliver a package or try to convert me to their insane cult I feel guilty about not having my sidewalk and porch shoveled and salted.  

    But when I’m snowed in, it’s impossible to even tell where my driveway is (my brother bought me some of those reflectors that you’re supposed to line your drive with, but I always forget to put them out before the ground freezes).  The cultists stay away, and usually so do the package delivery guys… so there’s no one to worry about.

  11. Snow tastes yummy.
  12. Okay,  you don’t have to be snowed in for that one.

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Filed under Humor, The Great Outdoors

Eek, More Mowing

Okay, so it turns out this property has even more land than I thought it had… what?? lol I already spend 3 hours mowing, I guess now I get to spend 3.5/4 hours. As it turns out the “from the pole straight out to the street” property line was actually supposed to be “from the pole, to the other pole at the street” which sounds like the same thing, but is radically different. One line is perpendicular to the street, and the other is not, which means a lot more land, and several trees (one of which is a beautiful red maple, which I’m very happy about).

This would be much less confusing if my official property boundaries weren’t “from the nail in the center of the street, to the buried coffee can, to the buried railroad spike, to the second nail in the center of the street”. Gotta love hickville.

I only figured this out because my neighbor suddenly stopped mowing that section, I figure to make a point, and it’s all grown up and I finally checked with another neighbor who owned all these properties at one point…

Anywho, at least I have a pretty tree lol.

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Filed under The Great Outdoors

Ahhh the great outdoors

I went out and mowed in daylight for the first time this year today. It was a beautiful day! Something about getting out in the sun and sweating for a while always lifts my spirits (even if it leaves me shaking and hurting for the next 2 days).

I got most of my mowing done today, then got my mower stuck in the ditch. After calling a friend for advice, I took a dinner break and then spent an hour getting it out, which I finally managed to do, surprisingly.

Then I trimmed all of the low branches I’d gotten my hair caught in while mowing (ouch). Afterwards I went and shot some photos of some bugs I’d seen Pictures behind the cut – CAUTION: SPIDER

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Gardening is a lot of work…

Today I was kicking myself for not keeping a closer watch on my garden, and for not taking the time to pull the weeds when they first sprung up and would have been more manageable. There are so many weeds in my garden at the moment I’m afraid they’re going to choke out some of my vegetables. After spending a half hour or so fighting with a hoe and trying (unsuccessfully) to rid my garden of the weeds, I gave up for a while and came in to read…

It was only appropriate, I guess, that I was reading James today. The NASB version of James 1:21 reads:

“Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.”

I was reminded of several parables about fertile soil and such, and together with the day’s experience my mind started to wander…

A new Christian is much like a patch of land that has been freshly tilled – when we come to Christ our slate is wiped clean – our soil, as it were, is prepared. If we are faithful, the Word takes root and begins to grow. Reading, prayer and worship can be compared to the the tasks involved with tending a garden, and eventually, if we have been a good caretaker, we begin to bear fruit.

Much like a freshly tilled garden though, sin, like weeds, is bound to spring up, and if we allow it to get a foothold it takes over and chokes out the fruit.

Hebrews 6:7-8 (NASB) says, “For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”

My garden got out of hand quickly because I neglected it during a week of storms. Hopefully, with some extra attention over the coming weeks, I’ll be able to salvage most of my crop, but how much easier would it have been if I’d pulled the weeds when they had first taken root?

note to self behind the cut


Filed under Bible Study, The Great Outdoors

The Killdeer Chicks Hatched!

Took long enough :)

More pics behind the cut…

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Filed under The Great Outdoors

Crazy Animals…

Okay all of the animals on my property are nuts…

A killdeer laid it’s eggs in the middle of my driveway (see previous entry), and screetches at me everytime I go outside.

I have a very strange little mockingbird that likes to sit on the post next to my glass doors and sits there staring and chirping at himself (cheep… cheep… cheep…) at regular intervals until I finally get annoyed enough to chase him away and hang something on the window so he can’t see his reflection.

Another bird ran beek first into the same glass door the other day, apparently not realizing it was there… the bird was stunned for a while but finally flew off… I’m going to have to find something to leave there permanently.

I have a rabbit that loves to sunbathe in my back yard, and spends endless hours staring at the lettuce in my garden. Most recently, the rabbit has decided to hang out under my back porch, which is like a tiny, low deck. The rabbit, though, being either crazy or stupid, can’t seem to walk underneath said porch without banging it’s head repeatedly. So it took me two days to figure out that that banging is the rabbit’s head hitting the wood repeatedly.

And for the past two days, a certain cardinal has been standing at one of my doors (back door yesterday, front door today) chirping constantly while staring in the window at me… it keeps this up until I walk over and open the door, at which point it flies away and leaves me alone for a while.

I’ve always attracted weird and crazy friends… but weird and crazy animals is a new one lol.

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Filed under Personal, The Great Outdoors

Eggs on the Rocks

I have this silly little killdeer (bird) that keeps screeching at me every time I go out my front door, go down the driveway, mow the yard, get my mail, or do anything else in my front yard. Yesterday my parents were here and we finally figured out why.

I knew the bird had to have a nest somewhere, but I’d never figured out where. Turns out she’s been watching me for a while trying to figure out where to build her nest, and she finally did it…

Right smack-dab in the MIDDLE of my driveway! Apparently she figured out that my tires never actually hit that spot, and while I mow the yard, I never mow on the gravel. I think she liked the two different layers of gravel too (there’s small gravel under the bigger rocks), because she didn’t have to do any extra work.

Here’s a picture :)

I’m hoping now that I harassed her by taking pictures, she’ll see fit to move the eggs out of my driveway so the UPS truck doesn’t run over em before they hatch!

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Filed under The Great Outdoors