Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Saturday, December 7, 2013


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.

Dear Friends

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 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!

NEWS FLASH!! The winner of Susan Branch's new book, A Fine Romance, has never responded. So Jeff did another random number generator choice and the winner is number 67, Bonnie K at Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms. Bonnie is a Grimy Hands Girls' Club member so she'll be receiving a bonus gift.

Joys to you and love across the miles,



From the Kitchen said...

Hello Sharon: So nice to hear from you. I always enjoy your posts and photos. Is is wonderful to hear how well that precious little boy is doing and to see his sweet photograph.

Happy holidays! May you be surrounded by those you love.


Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Is that your little grandson Sharon? He is adorable!
It's hard for me to believe it looks like that somewhere right now. Your pics and writing is always inspiring.

La Table De Nana said...

You sound like you are truly mended!


Lovely post..Happy Holidays to you!

Julie Marie said...

Oh dear cousin Sharon, I love this post!... my very favorite part of it is precious little Luke... holding on so tightly to his grandpa as they feed the birds!... he is so precious, I just love him... and I smiled at him putting the seeds in the feeder one by one... reminds me of a favorite Nature quote of mine "Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished"... maybe we all need to slow down... and take our time, like little Luke did filling the feeder!... I have my feeder from you on our back deck window and it is standing room only all day long... we have lots of snow and cold and I am refilling all our feeders at least two times a day... love Jake too!... our resident Jay is named BJ (Blue Jay)... he sits out back and squawks for more peanuts... knowing I will drop whatever I am doing and go out to feed him... like you, I love my birds and cannot imagine a single day without them in my life... So excited over your new book Running Out of Night... I know it will be fabulous... and you are most welcome for your little squirrel... (my squirrel says hello!)... I know how much you miss your sweet little Audrey... she is waiting for you... cozy and warm in her little nest... lots of seeds and nuts and berries... and dreaming about her reunion with you come Spring... you have bonded with her and her love for you will always be there... waiting for your gentle hands to hold out seeds for her... we rescued a little Starling some years back, I named her Stella... she lived with us for a month while she recovered from her broken wing... when she had healed, I hated to let her go... she had imprinted on us, and I worried about her surviving back in the wild... a dear friend at Ogden Nature Center suggested we release her up there, as they have a huge flock of Starlings in the protected 40 acres... so we did... she flew fast and strong over to the other Starlings... I cried and cried... I didn't want to say goodbye... now I tell Jack she has great~grandchildren that she tells the story of how she was rescued to... sending you much love dear Sharon... so enjoyed seeing all of your feathered friends... xoxo Julie Marie

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Julie Marie dear,

I can't find the card that tells the name of the creator of the little squirrel. If you have her name etc. I will post it.



Bonnie K said...

My mom just e-mailed to congratulate me on winning a book from you. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I see I am lucky. I am so happy that you got to spend time with your little grandson. I just spent a week with my sister and her 5 kids. The youngest 3 months I just met. I spoiled him to the best of my abilities. Of course, since he has 4 sisters, I don't think I'm the only one doing the spoiling. We took them to the butterfly house in Sioux Falls and it was so fun showing them the wonders of nature. If you ever go by Sioux Falls, SD I recommend stopping there. Well, thank you for the gift. I will try to e-mail you my address.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I loved your post today and lovely photographs of your world. I must tell you it reminded me to fill the bird feeders before our storm comes tomorrow. So I ventured out in the dark, in my pjs and filled those feeders. Enjoy your paradise. ♥

Vee said...

Oh what sweetness to see your miracle grand feeding the birds with Jeff. You sure have a lot of birds that are similar to those I know, but uniquely West Coast varieties. Love that the chickadee wears some chestnut and that the jay is such a dapper fellow. Congrats to your new winner!

Bernideen said...

The Bluejays (2 pairs) and the Rocky Mountain Bluebirds are also waiting here every morning for peanuts - along with the squirrels! Fun!

Pondside said...

My little grandsons love your feeder, which hangs on the living room window of their Alberta home. Such a good design.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Sharon, I enjoyed seeing your birds! We have a fountain that they love, and it is such fun to watch them bathe. He is holding a shell, and sometimes we will have as many as five sitting around or in it or even on his head. Generally tiny birds. I love them so! Pairs of cardinals often bathe in it as well.



rebecca said...

I'm always thrilled when my sidebar "tells me" you've posted again. This one is especially precious - seeing your grandson being saturated with nature! The idea of birdbaths as gifts for the grandchidren is a great one! I'm going to look into making some before spring....Any suggestions re. how?

Hope you can catch your breath before the next guests arrive ) Merry Christmas!

Marcie said...

So nice to read an update. All of your feathered friends are lovely. You do a great job with bird photos. I love watching the birds outside my windows (or along my way) as well. Lately, we are mostly seeing blue jays and black-capped chickadees.

rebecca sweet said...

Hello Sharon and Jeff! It's so nice to hear from you and to see your darling boy. You and I are bird-lovers at heart, so it's wonderful to see that you're introducing him at such a young age. And thanks for the bird booster recipe. I have a bag full of pinecones sitting in my garage from my last trip to Tahoe, and since Emily comes home from college on Friday guess what we'll be making! I'll make sure to post some photos for you! Happy, happy holidays to you both! XOXO

Julie Marie said...

Oh my gosh Sharon, it looks like I wrote a book!... hope I did not use up all your comments space... I emailed you the info on the little felted squirrels... xoxo Cousin Julie Marie

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Why do your posts make me cry tears of joy, dear Sharon? That precious baby boy with phone man I guess sent me over the edge! Just such wonderful blessings we have in our lives! Be looking for a package in the coming days! xo Nancy

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Your words mean the world to me. And yes, thank you for the good thoughts and prayers for my grandson. He is definitely a fighter and a miracle boy. We are so grateful for him.

My cousin wrote and told me that the creator of the dear felted squirrel is Rosanna Dell. Rosanna has an easy store called Fibers of Being. You can order from her directly.

All joys,


Lorrie said...

Your feathered companions are adorable. Your bird feeder and books will be something I'll look for when my granddaughters are old enough to appreciate them.

Terra said...

Oh dear, that Beatrix Potter gardening book sounds up my alley, I may buy a copy. We have a similar mix of birds at our house and have 3 seed feeders and a hummingbird feeder (still in use in December).
I said oh dear cuz our TBR stacks are tall!

Susan said...

I would love to visit Beatrix Potter's home, but until then, I love wandering through your garden! I love your insight with the birds and miss our blackbirds a lot; I named one of them Jake, who was my favorite. XOXO

Nan said...

I so loved reading every word! Am very happy about the little boy.
I definitely want to read the BP book, but also am eagerly awaiting your book next year!

Lori ann said...

oh sharon, i've been so busy i haven't even had time (or made time) to watch our birds, i'm going to work on that this week. and i'm going to the curious cup to get my own bird feeder/book of yours, if they have any left! (i've already bought 2 as gifts). and the b.p. book is on my christmas wish list!
loved this post, like always. good luck with your writing!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I need to try that recipe soon, I think I have all the ingredients.

I noticed the birds today in the midst of our winter wonderland. After a couple days of heavy snow and then another of "light" snow... the forest is white.

There was little wind with these particular snows. It landed on tree branches and just stayed. But it is covering so much that was edible for the outside critters. Although judging from the amount of black walnuts the squirrels put away and ingested, I think they are good until spring's thaw!

Bonnie K said...

Thank you so much for the books! I can't read fast enough. It was meant to be. Her trip was so like ours. I wrote a small review on my blog. Thank you again and Merry Christmas.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Bonnie dear,

So happy you are happy.

Wonderful, warm holidays to you and yours.


Lili said...

Those shots of Jeff with your sweet grandson are precious!! You have me dreaming of spring already and are making me rethink my gift ideas for our grand kids...but alas a little too late to worry about that. Love reading your words and viewing your birdie images! xoxo

Dee Nash said...

I can't wait for your novels. No one is ever too old for a good story either. Congrats!~~Dee