August 22, 2020
Over the past several years, my partner has bemoaned the scarcity of magpies in our yard. We’d see them throughout the neighborhood, but they weren’t spending much time in our yard anymore. We missed their raucous energy.
Then one day last month (which just happened to be our wedding anniversary), we noticed a whole bunch of magpies in our neighbors’ backyard, their trees, and on the fence between us. We’d hit the magpie jackpot! But why?
Rainbow peering through the fence at magpies frolicking in our bird bath. August 15, 2020
Well, according to our neighbor, when he came home that day to find his yard filled with magpies, he was equally puzzled. Then he went to feed his dog and couldn’t find the nearly-full bag of chow, which was also a puzzle. So he stepped out in the yard and pieced together the sequence of events. His doggo had dragged the bag of food into the yard, scattering the kibble everywhere. The smart corvids had quickly found the treasure.
They also immediately found our bath and took turns tidying up.
August 15, 2020
And as a sign of their appreciation for the use of our facilities, they began leaving gifts for us on the deck rail and tucked away on the steps.
The best news is they’re still hanging around and we’re treated to magpie sightings every day.
Four Black-billed Magpies. August 15, 2020
We salute you, Rainbow Dash. Pure genius.
Marcel assesses the activity. September 28, 2020
Cat and squirrel face off through the glass as a House Finch dines in the background. Meanwhile, a fish (window sticker) swims across the scene. Would’ve been even more awesome if a reptile wandered into the picture.
Guess it could happen…the day’s still young.
Mourning dove. August 29, 2019
We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
September 14, 2020
narrow wire high above ground
Cooper’s Hawk. May 23, 2020
Waiting to retrieve
dead Mourning Dove from the deck
flew off without meal
House Finch. September 3, 2019
Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
~ Leonard Cohen
Spotted Towhee & House Finch. July 26, 2020.
Water for the bees
Towhee and Finch say “Yes, please”
clean feathers are key
This photo seems fitting today as I continue revising my middle-grade novel based on a critique partner’s (CP) comments.
House Finches + Goldfinch. May 23, 2020.
Her insights are helping me ground each character in key scenes. This CP excels at noting the many moving pieces in my story, reminding me to take into account each character’s perspective. Revision is a dream when I’m equipped with such a good map. Much gratitude to Marcia.
(Another CP is reading the same version Marcia received and I’m beaming thoughts to the universe that his feedback aligns with hers because otherwise, yikes. What will I do with a whole new map? Breathe, Tracy. Breathe.)
I just hit SEND on the 44,000-word middle-grade manuscript I’ve been revising. I sent it to two readers who haven’t seen it before which means fresh eyes/fresh insights. Woot! Hitting SEND also means this project is no longer my concern (temporarily, but still!) and that I’m free to be and do as I please for the next week or so.
Right now, I’m feeling like this doggo that walked past my house this morning.
Unknown happy dog. June 28, 2020.
I didn’t leave my house today, not even for my daily walk around the neighborhood. In fact, I didn’t get exercise of any kind, unless I include snuggling with my cats and dog.
I did, however, sit in front of my computer most of the day, revising the final chapter of my novel. I’m not thrilled with the results.
Young scrub jay. June 21, 2020.
I did also photograph a young scrub jay as it preened its wet feathers. In fact, I took about 50 photos of that scrub jay and this one is probably the best. (I can’t say for sure as I tired of looking at/deleting them and somewhat randomly selected this one).
Am I satisfied with this Sunday?
Does it matter at this point?
It is what it is and was what it was.
May 14, 2018.
Mood: Unfocused and less-than-amused.
April 17, 2020.
It’s only Monday and I’m feeling anxious about various family members and all I want to do is hunker down with tasty snacks and forget about the rest of the week and everything that comes with it. Alas, life doesn’t work that way. Even this squirrel, who appears so content in the photo, was moments later focused on my intrusion. None of us are allowed to just be. Or, are we?
“There is a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the same. A much more interesting, kind and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our curiosity is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. If we are committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing.”
April 17, 2020.
Can’t tell from this pic
tail-flicking squirrel enraged
I feel the same way
“Look up at the miracle of the falling snow, – the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes, noiselessly transforming the world . . .”
~ John Burroughs from The Snow-Walkers
View from my kitchen window. April 16, 2020.
Glanced out my kitchen window and saw this guy using his quarantine time to acquire (or maybe, improve upon) a skill. It was great fun watching him.
I never popped a wheelie, but did grow up riding a hand-me-down bike with pedal brakes (which involved rotating the pedals in reverse), and by the time it’d passed through three older siblings and gotten to me, the brake action was practically non-existent. Riding downhill was always an “exhilarating” experience.
While this guy did wobble a few times in the cul-de-sac, he never laid it out flat the way I did with my bike once when stomping on the “brakes” as I went around a sand-covered curve at the bottom of our hill. I can still feel the burn of that road rash.
Fortunately, no gravel in this daredevil’s knees and palms.
I can vouch for my Stay-At-Home household in Colorado: we are NOT amused by this snowstorm and the accompanying cold temperatures.
We need sunshine. We need warmth. We need dry streets and trails.
Woodhouse’s (aka Western) Scrub Jay. March 20, 2020.
The peanut challenge
extricate from wire and shell
we’ve got a winner
Yes, it’s snowing again in Colorado. At this point in the year, I’d prefer the sunshine and warmer temperatures we’ve had the past week or so, but this storm has it perks. Exhibit A: looking out my window at Rainbow.
Rainbow Dash (so-named in honor of My Little Pony)
As I write this, she’s still out there, content to let the snow accumulate on her beautiful, thick fur.
Black-capped Chickadee. 3.10.20
no need to sing for supper
always welcome here
Red Maple budding out, March 10, 2020.
Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress. ~ Charles Dickens
I didn’t realize this maple was budding out until I was standing next to it, and I swear it didn’t look like this yesterday. Gentle and easy changes, indeed.
Bushtit , March 11, 2019.
As I work chapter-by-chapter to revise my manuscript, my task feels similar to that of this Bushtit. We both take aim and then chip away at what’s there. The difference is, this feathered friend gets a tasty treat for her troubles while my satisfaction comes from page count.
Maybe I should print out a page or two, and see how they taste . . .
Mourning Dove. February 14, 2020
A mourning dove’s beauty is an understated one: the colors of its feathers ranging through various shades of gray and drab violet, often with a striking splash of turquoise around the eyes. ~ Jonathan Miles
HA! As I looked through my photos and came upon this dove, I thought the same thing. Apparently, this Jonathan fellow and I think alike.
American Robin. February 14, 2020.
You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes …
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing –
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.
~ Douglas Malloch
February 14, 2020.
A Dark-eyed Junco
feathered flamenco dancer
February 5, 2018.
You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness — perhaps
ignorance, credulity — helps your enjoyment of these things. ~ Walt Whitman