This is Jake. He is my morning alarm clock. Jake taps at my bedroom window to let me know that it is breakfast time for him. So, I load his feeder with whole peanuts and he is a happy Scrub Jay.
I know, I know, it has been a long, long time, but you all know what a hectic and joyous time of year this is. We had company for five days, cooked many meals, and had lots of great adventures. I am hoping that your Thanksgiving was wonderful and filled with love. Ours was. We celebrated our first Thanksgiving with a little boy who fought hard and long for life. He is our blessing.
Thanks so much for your letters, cards, and gifts. I can't believe how thoughtful you all are. Oh, and a wonderful gift was this autographed book from the author herself. It was a surprise, but oh how welcome in my library.
Marta McDowell's book, Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life, is scholarly, but homey, elegant, and filled with information for all the fans of Beatrix and her works. I LOVE this book. For those of you who are Beatrix lovers too, please visit my blog posting I did on Beatrix's beloved Hilltop a few years ago.
Thanks dear Marta. I wish you great success. YOUR book is brilliant!
And to my dear Cousin Julie Marie at Idyllhours.blogspot.com. Thank you for the little squirrel friend who is doing her best to get me through my separation anxiety with my little Audrey.
As I work through 280 pages of what is called First Pass on my new middle grade novel, Running Out of Night, (Delacorte Press/Randon House, Fall 2014), the sights outside my window keep me going. What could be tedious and trying is punctuated by the beauty and grace of the birds in my life. I love them.
What better gift for a youngster than a simple feeder or a birdbath? Such a great way to introduce a child (or someone who is infirm and housebound) to the nature right outside a window. I treasure my bird friends and love them so much.
The shy Hermit Thrush visits a few times a day for berries and baths.
The Yellow-rumped Warbler ...
... drinking daintily.
Dear little Chestnut-backed Chickadees and White-crowned Sparrows feasting at the wooden feeder Jeff built for me. Such a busy stop for so many birds.
House Finches try to run the show...
...but the chickadee never gives up. (A good lesson for us all?)
An immature White-crowned Sparrow
Jeff shows our little guy how to feed the birds.
And at the window feeder he drops in seed by seed. Phew, that took awhile. This is a great feeder with heavy duty suction cups to hold it on the window and an easy fold out front for quick cleaning. This comes with my book My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder (Workman Publishing).
You're never too young to enjoy nature. And, never too old.
This is my girlfriend, author Sherry Shahan. Her grandsons used the recipe for my bird booster, which can be found in Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars and My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder.
Bird Booster Recipe:
Note: please replace peanut butter with almond butter IF your child has an allergy to peanuts.
1 cup almond or crunchy peanut butter
1 cup canola oil
4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup white flour
A few tablespoons of shelled sunflower seeds and/or raisins.
Mix together and stuff into a pine cone. Hang the cone from a wire or string. Place it where you and your children can enjoy all the activity. The birds need protein and fat during the winter months. Feed them and feed your soul!
Joys to you and love across the miles,