Friday, February 17, 2017

Pileated Woodpecker

 We enjoy watching the birds at our feeders.  We've had quite a variety of birds visit our suet and our bird feeding station this winter.  This morning, Grayden took the most marvelous photos of an elusive, shy bird--The Pileated Woodpecker (Drycopus pileatus)!  This is one bird that we have never seen at our suet feeder.

When we are out in our garden working or walking in our neighborhood we often hear the call of this large bird.  Call and drumming of Pileated Woodpecker  They  are quite hard to see.  Always going to the other side of the tree, they elude our viewing.  Once you've seen one, you wonder if he is a tropical bird.  His head is very small compared to his large body.  Winter is your best time to see one when the leaves are not on the trees and live within this area.

Range of pileated woodpecker

This woodpecker was declining while most of our heavily forested areas have been cleared.  He is making quite a comeback in a lot of areas where there are still large trees.


The majority of their diet is the eating of carpenter ants and wood-boring beetle larvae.  They do enjoy fruit, nuts and seeds.  Suet is another treat that they enjoy as we have observed.  This is the first year we've had them visit our suet. 

I was also lucky to be able to take a few more photos as the Pileated Woodpecker returned this afternoon.  An adult is 16 - 19 inches long.  His wing span is 26 - 30 inches. The male has a red streak under his cheek.  We noticed he has a red streak along the jaw as opposed to no red streak on the female.

As we were about to sit down for dinner I spotted a pair at the feeder.  I quickly grabbed my camera and was able to capture a so so photo of the pair.  The blur is the window pane.  They can quickly eat a new suet in a couple of days.  I wonder if they are going to call their cousins and aunts and uncles to visit.

Have you ever seen a Pileated Woodpecker?  We've been quite excited to view them closer than ever.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Down by the River

Do you get antsy in the winter?  I tend to stay in our home for days working on projects and then I feel I must get out. Most days we walk our neighborhood, so it's not like I don't go outside.   It doesn't matter where we go, I just need a change of scenery.

We have our main meal in the middle of the day since Grayden retired.  We call the largest meal of the day dinner.  It's convenient for us and our grandson, Samuel.  He has morning classes and works in the evenings.  So this arrangement has worked well for us.  

Since it has been staying lighter longer, we have been enjoying our supper down by the river.  It's very close to our home.  Recently I made us ham and cheese sandwiches and fruit salad. Grayden enjoyed the cappuccino he made and I took along my mug of Earl Grey.  Some days we buy a sandwich at the local eatery and take it along to enjoy by the river.  Just these little trips with my husband sure help to beat the winter blues.

Water has always been an important part of my life.  We always see interesting sights on our little outings.  The weather was nice and we just sat and talked and observed nature.  Geese fly by.  We have seen bald eagles. Folks with their lines in the water hoping for the big one to bite. The train racing along the railroad trestle.  Simple pleasures.  Simple times.

If you look up on the hill the building of George Washington's boyhood home is being reconstructed. The myth about the cherry tree began at this site.  At the bottom of the hill you can see where young George was said to have thrown a silver dollar across the river.  It is quite narrow here and I imagine he possibly could have.  It is considered a myth about him throwing money away, but it is thought he probably threw a rock across the river.  At the time the river at this point was 300 feet wide. It isn't a myth that George Washington lived here from age 6 to around age 22.  This is where he learned to survey, joined the Masons, read his first book on the military, copied the rules of Civility and petitioned the colony's British governor for his first military office. It's pretty exciting that the excavations by archaeologists found the foundation of the Washingtons!  The home is being built on the original foundation.  I hope to report updates as the building continues. If you wish to read more about Ferry Farm you can go HERE 

We in Virginia and particularly our area, are quite proud to stand where Washington stood and try to understand how this young man became our first president. February 22nd is his birthday so I thought I'd share a little history of him that may not be familiar to you.  We were friends of a local writer when we first moved to Fredericksburg.  In fact she helped us buy our first home and always talked about the history of George Washington's boyhood home.  It was her dream that this property be saved and restored to its time when the Washingtons lived here.  I often think of her and wished she could see the progress that is now being made at Ferry Farm.  She wrote Ferry Farm and gifted a copy to us.  

Gilchrist Waring also wrote historical books about Williamsburg.  You may have seen some of her books there.  Her books are geared to children, but I find them wonderfully informative.

Upon leaving the river after our little picnic we were treated to the most amazing sunset.

Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day you may want to have some sweet Valentine tags or make a banner like I did.  You can go to Nora Murphy's blog and download these little tags  HERE  I just printed mine out on card stock and used kitchen twine and little clothespins to attach to my kitchen window.

February can be a cold and dreary month for some of us.  As winter seems to go on and on, I hope there will be times of joy for you, my friends. ♥

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Little of This and That

 I've mentioned we have steadily been working to organize and declutter our storage areas.  Our progress has been going quite well and we're pretty happy with the decisions we have made. 

Last year we had the interior of our home painted.  After all of it was done, I changed some of our decor and didn't put up the same items that were on the walls.  In the kitchen particularly,  we kept the walls a little more bare than usual.  After time has passed, I decided I'm not liking the more minimalist look.  So we have slowly been putting up some of the items that were removed. 

The rooster plates and hanger have been bought up from storage to take their place back in the kitchen.  I love chickens and have many adorning my kitchen.  

The sun has been shining the last couple of days and I couldn't be happier!  It's a great time to take photos of the interior of our home.

Taking good photos is a goal of mine.  I want to learn more about using the manual settings on my camera.  I've always wanted to take photos of the moon that showed the craters and more detail.   Well, I think I am on my way.  I can't tell you how thrilled I was to be able to take a few photos that show the detail I was looking for.

Yesterday afternoon we were outside and saw the lovely moon lighting the sky.

Now that I've learned more about my camera and its settings I'll be practicing and enjoying photography even more! 

I also spotted this bad boy in the crepe myrtle yesterday afternoon!  This photo was taken from a window.

Tell me, do you use the manual settings on your camera?  Or do you do like me,  just use the automatic settings?

I hope your days are filled with simple joys , my friends!  ♥