Pileated WoodpeckerS Delight!

It is a treat to see a Pileated in the back yard. It is unusual to see two at a time. Three Pileateds equal a huge event! We have lived here 15 years and never seen them courting and dancing tree to tree, wing displays, calls and all! Perhaps they were simply defending their territory? We may never know. It was exciting for us! There was no time to set up a video camera on a tripod. Besides, that would have sent them off to some other part of the woods. Robert Dutina shot the video while I just ooh-ed and aah-ed!

Facts from Wikipedia: “Adults are 16 to 19 in long, span 26 to 30 in across the wings, and weigh 8.8 to 14.1 oz, with an average weight of 11 oz. Each wing measures 8.4 to 10.0 in , the tail measures 5.5 to 6.9 in, the bill is 1.6 to 2.4 in.”

I swear, from the kitchen or bedroom window they look like small chickens compared to the black capped chickadee or sparrow! Here is a shot out our bedroom window one winter.

At times when I hear them call I think of the zoo or a jungle somewhere!

Ears and eyes alert! Never know when you will happen upon a treasure! Hoping there are some at our new address!!

 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:26-27

Swinburne Who?

According to https://www.best-poems.net/algernon_charles_swinburne/index.html he was a popular English poet and writer. His life was 5 April 1837 – 10 April 1909 and evidently he wrote about many off color topics, but I like his phrase about spring. Wikipedia says: “Swinburne was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1903 to 1907 and again in 1909.”

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins;

The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remembered is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Chorus
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Here are some of the images of ‘blossom by blossom’ from our neighborhood!

Certainly a favorite of early pollinators!
I thought it was barberry, but it is not. Neighbor’s shrub. He is Nepal, so I do not know identification.

Old, untended crab apple.
Oh, so fragrant in the evening especially!

Thanks, Lucky, for continuing to get me outside and looking for those treasures in plain sight!

Trout Lily Extravaganza

First there was one or two plants, known by their leaves. Then seemingly overnight, KABOOM, the hill was covered. This being the last spring we live at this address I have been on the lookout for my favorite flowers. When I saw white flowers on the hill I got out my binoculars to define what I was seeing, spring beauty or trout lilies? Oh my! what a surprise.

The upright white flowers are hyacinths. The white flowers that seem to droop are trout lilies. It was amazing to be able to see them from the kitchen window. When we first looked at this property 15 years ago I was enchanted by the trout lilies. The thought of having them in my own backyard, naturally was delightful!

Wikipedia says Erythronium albidum, the white fawnlily or white trout lily, is a small herbaceous flowering plant in the lily family. It is native to eastern North America, from southern Quebec and southern Manitoba south to Georgia and Texas.

Recently the local newspaper sent a magazine insert. Love this quote from Algernon Charles Swinburne, “Blossom by blossom the spring begins.” Enjoy these photos! Look for the trout leaves and drooping flowers.

Grape hyacinth towards top center of photo.

They are named trout lily because their leaves look like the speckled skin on the back of a trout.

Oops, I see some honeysuckle vine in there (lower center of photo)! One of Bob’s pastimes has been to try to remove it from this hillside.

And last but not least, my favorite after a March shower. The droplets are on the back of the petals.

Our month of March is departing with more winds and some colder temps. Six weeks until we close on the house. Next year we will begin again with flower beds.

Luke 12: 27 NIV Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Covid-19 Vaccine TOGETHER

I am so thankful for each of the scientists who worked on producing the vaccines. Bob and I have both had 2 doses of the Pfizer brand. After the second dose we both had a couple days of feeling just crummy. Had already planned to lay low and let our bodies adjust. We are much better now.

I must admit, I have been cringing the past few months with all the ads on TV about the vaccine and showing those needles filled and up close, in arms, too.

When I was three or four I played jump rope with my sister and her friends. They were trying to get me to do double dutch.

I fell. I broke my leg. I rode in the backseat of the car many miles to the hospital. I was put in traction for 6 weeks. (Think 1954.) My father was in the same hospital with one of his many heart attacks. In 1954 there was not much they could do about heart disease. At one point they rolled our beds into the same room so I could see him. When I came home from Good Samaritan Hospital I was in love with the Sisters of Charity who took such good care of me. I am certain I learned the Presence of Jesus while there. I remember them holding my hand when the doctor was ready to cast my leg. The wraps were hot and I was so afraid.

Once home I was also terrified of white coats and needles. I was so fearful my parents could not tell me about any doctor appointment the night before because I would get very worked up. I worked for years to overcome all of that trauma. And I succeeded.

As to those ads showing the injection and those needles. I was more than unsettled knowing I would get that twice. I did okay. The first nurse to administer it did not do well. The second nurse was great.

We are still washing our hands. Avoiding crowds. Wearing our masks. Keeping our distance. But there is a sense of coming freedom!

We still need to keep well so we can get moved and unpacked! Bob says this virus will likely become like the flu. We will eventually get annual injections. We are both in high risk categories, but so grateful for the vaccine developers, nurses who administer the injection and the other people who actually get the injection to help keep it from spreading and killing people.

TOGETHER, yes, we are in this together and we can get through this TOGETHER. I praise God giving the scientific community the wisdom and methodology to develop these vaccines. I rejoice that He is able to keep us. I cannot answer the questions about those who died, and those who grieve their passing. I have been holding my breath afraid that Bob or I might die before we get this house built. So far, it looks as if we are moving there together.

Regardless, I will continue to praise my Lord and my God. He is “worthy to receive glory and honor and power for You created all things and by Your will they were created.” Revelation 4:11 NIV

This song keeps following me and I decided it fits right here. All along there was another in the fire. And He remains with us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

–Daniel 3:16-18, 25

Spring Peepers

Bird song is not the most amazing sound, though now, March 18 they begin before dawn. Spring peepers also delight me with their evening songs. Psudacris crucifer. Not surprising the educators dropped the CROSS on the back of this tiny frog and now simply refer to it as an X.

Hearing a spring peeper is rather easy. Seeing one is a different challenge altogether! Once Bryan brought me one cupped in his hands. This video helps my imagination.

I just love it! Makes me laugh and know regardless of the ground hog nonsense and the thermometer, spring IS coming.

Keep your ears and eyes open!

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

–Revelation 5:13

“The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”

–Psalm 19:1

What Pneuma Pleases

The wind chimes are playing in the breeze outside the office window this morning.

Daffodils in the front garden with tuned chimes. Narcissus in the side garden on land we do not own, but no one cares that we have planted there! This also the milkweed bed later in the year.

The giant tuned wind chime off the deck only rings when winds are strong. Harder to get a photo of this one!

Chimes tuned to deep notes, daffodils on back hill

I often listen to the Calm app and select Mystic fountain for the background sound. Can even make it my sleep sound. It is a dribbling source of water with wind chime ringing occasionally in the background. Why do I enjoy the wind chimes so much? First it reminds me the wind is moving.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8 NIV

The wind blows – is similar to the action of the Spirit. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Volume 2, p. 281 says:

“This verse contains a wordplay which cannot be adequately expressed in English. The Greek word pneuma means both wind and Spirit. The work of the Spirit (pneuma) is invisible and mysterious like the blowing of the wind (pneuma). Man controls neither.”

Exactly! I cannot control the wind. I cannot control the Spirit of God or how It wants to use me. Like the wind chime, I can yield to that power.

Obstacles ought to set us singing. The wind finds voice, not when rushing across the open sea, but when hindered by the outstretched arms of the pine trees, or broken by the fine strings of an Aeolian harp. Then it has songs of power and beauty. Set your freed soul sweeping across the obstacles of life, through grim forests of pain, against even the tiny hindrances and frets that love uses, and it, too, will find its singing voice. —Selected

Streams in the Desert Devotional February 4

Obstacles set me singing? Not quite there yet, but working on being more like the Aeolian harp below. Set your freed soul sweeping across, through and against the challenges of life, and perhaps you, too, can sing !

Hit play for 3:45 minutes of wonder wind music!

Before Spring Fever Consumes Us

Lest we forget a few weeks ago, I decided to post this last hurrah to winter.

In the Throes of Deep Winter © 2014 Molly Lin Dutina

In the throes of deep winter
snow muffles our noisy world
playing havoc with human plans
the season reigns.

Globs of winter white
cascade from treetops
as wind whips their froth
no comforting cappuccino this.

More shovels, blowers, chemicals
as men reclaim their surfaces
trying to conquer black ice
on surface nature never intended.

Help us, just now, to be still, Lord
stilled as winter woods
stilled as inches deep snow
quiet, still.

Enjoy the crocuses and daffodils with great thanksgiving!

Miracle of Melting

Have you ever watched autumn leaves falling? Didn’t it seem rather miraculous that one week they were offering you shade and the next they were colored as if by crayon and tumbling through the breeze? The February snow reminded me of the leaves.

I had been complaining about snow that fell and melted in just a few hours. Once in Wisconsin it had been a delight to watch snow fall at the rate of an inch an hour.  Then we had snow in Ohio, upon older snow upon piling snow until there was an accumulation of about 14 inches that did not melt but stayed!

After two weeks of constant snow cover, birds that do not usually come to the feeder were suddenly eating the seed we put out. There was nothing else available except for a few bugs under tree bark.

Fourteen days in I was more than weary of wading into deep snowbanks. Sinking into deep snow while walking this dog who still refuses to ‘do her business’ in our yard was giving me a workout. Irritability was growing. At least I had long zip up boots instead of having to lace up ankle bracers!

My husband and I had been daydreaming about not having to bundle up against the arctic cold to walk the dog. We even mused about the time we could just grab her leash, hook her on and head out the door!

And then there began a slow but gradual thaw. At first there was only a tiny border around the base of the trees. Then on the hill patches of brown leaf detritus with birds hopping around, turning over leaves looking for lunch.

This miracle of melting snow, the return of rocks, grass, and soil – a marvelous discovery. Today I walked the dog amongst snow banked on the sides of the road. The melting was a constant sound as the water flowed out of the yards, across the seams in the sidewalk and down into the storm sewers. Gurgling water, not created by a man made fountain!

It was as if I was watching a holy transformation. Suddenly we do not require boots, scarf, hat, and gloves. Today it was 50 degrees! Tomorrow’s forecast is 51 degrees. Then almost every trace of snow will have vanished.  One more of the many miracles of our God.

By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.

Job 37:10 ESV

Out walking on 2/27/21 there were still patches of snow!

One Autumn Week

One Autumn Week © Molly Lin Dutina

 
 The other morning
 woods bathed golden with
 sunlight shining through autumn leaves
 making butterscotch in LED format from on high,
 amazed.
 The depth of the woods has been
 secreted all summer in leaves and shadows.
  
 I awoke next morn to gray sky
 shaking pillowcases full of snowflakes
 upon fallen leaves and naked trunks.
 No surface was chilled enough to hold
 the flakes for more than a few moments
 murmurs of winter to come.
  
 Today the woods are bare
 the sunlight shows brown trunks and black
 punctuated by an occasional leaf
 all this
 within one autumn week.