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Posts Tagged ‘birds’

March 13, 2015 Edition A sunny high-rise home with an ocean view and plenty of fresh air ventilation sounds like a perfect place to rest a spell and, perhaps, even raise a family. That’s what this seagull thought as it sat on a comfy nest on top of a roof. Roman author and naturalist Pliny the Elder once philosophized, “Home is where the heart is.” What is your heart telling you?

#1 – Unusual Homes For Sale
12 Strange and Unusual Homes for Sale For $1.1 million dollars the Mushroom House in New York can be yours. Check out photos of this unique home and eleven other homes in 12 Strange and Unusual Homes for Sale.

#2 – Going the Distance
Top Ten Amazing Migrations Did you know that the Arctic Tern has the longest migration of any animal? Read how far it travels and learn more about other animals who “go the distance” in the Top Ten Most Amazing Migrations.

#3 – Crafty Gift Ideas
35 Easy to Make DIY Gift Ideas Homesthetics presents a nice variety of ideas in its post 35 Easy to Make DIY Gift Ideas That You Would Actually Like to Receive. From bath and body products to photo pendants to stepping stones and more, you’ll feel creatively inspired to try out one of these ideas.

#4 – Helping Homeless Pets
Helping Homeless Pets Meet Duke, a part Corgi, part Dachshund, and part Jack Russell bundle of love. Duke is a rescue dog whose owners recently surrendered him, because they are expecting a baby. That action gives Duke two strikes on his rap sheet, not to mention a few behavioral issues born from insecurity. He is currently being fostered by my oldest son, until someone steps ups to love and adopt him. To learn of ways you can help Duke and other animals in his situation, read 10 Ways to Help Homeless Pets, Even If You Can’t Adopt.

#5 – Home
“It’s not the size of your house that makes a home . . . it’s the size of your heart!”
Jane Lee Logan

Now go and spread joy!

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January 9, 2015 Edition In the stillness of a winter garden, where many plants rest to conserve their energy, songbirds flit here and there while singing their songs. When skies are more grey than blue and when landscapes are more drab than vivid, these birds spread joy by serenading us all day long. When was the last time you went outside just to listen to the birds sing?

#1 – Feed the Birds
Winter Feeding Birds In North America During the winter, don’t forget to keep your bird feeders full and provide a source of fresh water for our faithful little troubadours. If you are wondering what type of food to feed birds in North America, Bird Watcher’s Digest has a list of Top 10 Foods For Winter Bird Feeding.

#2 – Winter in Japan
Winter in Japan When it’s cold, space heaters and sweaters are my best friends. I rarely heat my entire house, because it seems like a waste of energy when I know I’m going to be in only one room for a significant period of time. After reading the interesting article How to Cut Out Home Heating Oil—Japanese Style, I have greater appreciation for my cozy warm house and a newfound appreciation for what families can gain by not having central heat.

#3 – Free As A Bird
Vandog Traveller Could you quit your job, convert an old rusty van into your new home, travel, and be free as a bird? That’s what Mike Hudson did. In 2013, he quit his job and began the painstaking task of converting an aging van. With the conversion complete, Mike is out and about discovering the world. Check out his blog called Vandog Traveller for details on the conversion and for tales of his travels. I love his list of wants: Vanddog's list of dreams

#4 – More Awesome Kitchen Hacks
16 Awesome Kitchen Hacks If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried many kitchen hacks and discovered that some of them worked and some of them didn’t work. Don’t get discouraged by the past failures, because there are always more hacks to try! Here are 16 Useful Kitchen Hacks You Need In Your Life. Let me know which ones you like the best.

#5 – Break Your Shell
“The bird dares to break the shell, then the shell breaks open and the bird can fly openly. This is the simplest principle of success. You dream, you dare and and you fly.”
― Israelmore Ayivor

Now go and spread joy!

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Acorn Woodpecker “Splish, splash, I was takin’ a bath . . .” sings an Acorn Woodpecker as he splashes around in the top tier of my backyard fountain. Goldfinches stop short of landing on the rim once they eye the big fellow dominating the cool water. Oblivious to other approaching birds, the woodpecker takes a leisurely bath, shaking and lifting his wings periodically. During the drought, my little fountain has become a center of much activity. Small and large birds, butterflies and other insects all make use of the fountain. For their sake, I continue to run it during these times of water conservation. Little water is wasted, as it uses a recirculating pump and is set on a timer. More importantly, my husband adds only bird-safe algaecide to the water. I am ever cognizant that the plants in my garden are not the only living things struggling to survive during the drought.

#1 – Through His Eyes
Photos by Trey Ratcliff Whether it’s your people-watching fix, your travel-itch, your appreciation of nature, or your love of photography, you’re bound to find a photograph in this portfolio that mesmerizes you. Take your time as you scroll through the textural and color-rich photographs taken from around the world by photographer, artist, writer and adventurer Trey Ratcliff.

#2 – Unflabby People
The 10 Habits of Highly Unflabby People GQ Magazine’s article on The 10 Habits of Highly Unflabby People is a good reminder about how the “little things” add up. If you follow the author’s tips, you could potentially save 10,142 calories a week!

#3 – Nailed It!
Baking Projects From Pinterest That Went Hilariously Wrong We all do it. We all see something on the Internet or in a magazine and say, “That doesn’t look too hard to make.” I’m not going to lie, looking through the photos of Baking Projects From Pinterest That Went Hilariously Wrong made me chuckle. As a tester of recipes for this blog, I’ve had my fair share of creative disasters.

#4 – Tips, Tricks, and Hacks
Life Hacks Imagine 466 pages of life hacks for you to investigate. Some of them are very intriguing as well as clever. LifeTricks is an online community that allows people to post “tricks, tips and life hacks for absolutely everything!”

#5 – Do More
“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”
― William Arthur Ward

Go now and spread joy!

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Goldfinch acrobatics “And for my next trick, I will perform a double rotation with a half-twist . . . ” That’s what I imagine a Goldfinch hanging on a nearby wire is saying. As other birds wait patiently for spots on the bird feeder, this particular bird preens and performs acrobatics. He (I believe it is a male, because of its brilliant color) sports a showmanship flair and a touch of attitude. My creative juices recharge and I feel inspired as I stroll through my yard. My garden hums with vibrant energy as baby squirrels scamper from branch to branch, as blossoms flutter in the breeze, and as birds fly about and fill the air with song. Where do you go to recharge and gain inspiration? (Click on the photo if you want to see this little bird up close).

#1 – Random Acts of Kindness
Random Acts of Kindness Kindness lives in all of us. For some of us it’s always on the surface of our hearts. For others, it may require a direct tug of a heart string. Acts of kindness rarely make the news, unless they are on a grand scale. But in my opinion, every act of kindness is significant, because small ripples of kindness create big waves of good. Check out Moments of Human Kindness and you’ll instantly feel better.

#2 – A World of Hope
A World of Hope March 8th is International Women’s Day. CNN asked women to complete this sentence: “Build a world where I can . . . ” Click here to read answers from men and women around the world and see what kind of world they want to build.

#3 – Repurpose! Repurpose! Repurpose!
28 Creative Ideas for Repurposing Old Items My husband will confirm that one of the most frequent phrases he hears me utter is, “You’re not going to throw that away are you?” Being big on repurposing and upcycling, I always like to share any repurposing inspiration that I come across. Here are 28 Creative Ideas for Repurposing Old Items that just might save a few things from being discarded.

#4 – Inspirational Quotes
Miles Davis Quote If a walk outdoors doesn’t inspire creativity in you, maybe reading 10 Quotes To Inspire Your Inner Creative will help.

#5 – What Do You See?
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity . . . and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.“
William Blake

Now go and spread joy!

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Bathing Birds The lyrics “Splish, Splash, I was taking a bath . . . ” played in my head as I watched a Mourning Dove and a Lesser Goldfinch shake and shimmy while bathing in the cool waters of my backyard fountain. With triple-digit temperatures predicted for the next couple of days, I have no doubt that the fountain will be a HOT spot for my backyard friends!

#1 – Hot Weather Tips
Hot days create dangerous conditions for pets. If you have a pet, refresh your hot weather knowledge by reading these articles:
ASPCA’s Hot Weather Tips
Keep Your Pet Cool During Dog Days of Summer
How to Cool Your Cat Down in the Summer

#2 – Travel Smart

Travel Tips

Use straws to bring small amounts of liquid with you

Whether traveling near or far, you are sure to find at least one travel tip you’ll want to try from the article 14 Clever Travel Hacks To Make Your Trip Awesome.

#3 – Can You Unlock the Lock?
If you’ve ever imagined yourself being as clever as Sherlock Holmes, you’ll want to try playing CombinationLock. With a timer ticking away, you’re given clues to determine the lock’s 3-digit combination. Additional clues can be requested to make the game easier and an additional reel of digits can be added to make it more challenging.

#4 – Unwoven Light
Soo Sunny Park Art Installation Artists push boundaries to find ways to express themselves and to interpret the world around them. American artist Soo Sunny Park used chain link fencing and iridescent Plexiglas tiles to create an ethereal fantasy of light. She says of her artwork Unwoven Light, installed at Rice University in Houston, Texas, “Like a net, the sculpture is a filter that is meant to capture the light that is already there and force it to reveal itself.”

#5 – Your Journey
“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”
― Asha Tyson

Have a great weekend!

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Young Hummingbird Feeding

Photo by Linnell Chang

There’s quite a buzz around the water cooler these days, except in this case the water cooler is a hummingbird feeder. With their fuzzy-looking baby feathers and miniscule stature, young hummingbirds buzz around the feeder competing for food. Some of them are so small that they cannot stand on the perch to feed. If they did, they would be unable to reach the nectar. Most of the adult hummingbirds tolerate the young birds and some even feed simultaneously with the little ones. But like the human species, greed also exists in the bird world and some of the older birds bully and chase away the young ones. Watching the hummingbirds interact reminds me of all the times I told my children, “Please set a good example and share.”

#1 – Mosaic Marvels

Mosaic art by Laura Rendlen

Winters Beauty by artist Laura Rendlen

After viewing the incredible art at the Vatican several years ago, I left with a greater appreciation for the pain-staking art of mosaics. Mosaics may be an ancient art form, but they’re just as beautiful now in modern art installations. I’d like to share with you these 10 stunning examples of modern-day mosaic art.

#2 – Frisée or Mâche?
In my last post, I wrote about growing my own lettuce and serving a very fresh salad for dinner. Also growing in my yard are arugula, kale, and chard. Not bad for a container gardener with a brown thumb! With a variety of salad greens available for us to grow in our yards, buy at markets, or eat in restaurants, it can be difficult to tell them apart. Here’s a Visual Guide to Salad Greens, courtesy of Epicurious, to help you identify them, learn about their characteristics, and link to recipes using them.

#3 – More Great Ideas
Storing wrapping paper Some of the ideas in Even More Simple Ideas that Are Borderline Genius have been around the block a couple of times. However, there are a several of them that had me thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I particularly like the idea of using wired shelving to hold rolls of wrapping paper vertically. Check out these ideas, because maybe there’s one that will make your life easier.

#4 – Furoshiki
Furoshiki are Japanese wrapping cloths. They serve to transport, protect, and/or decorate. Since Furoshiki are reusable, they prevent product waste, especially in the case of wrapping paper and bags. There are different ways to tie Furoshiki, depending on an item’s shape and size. Click here to learn about Furoshiki wrapping techniques.

#5 – Shared Words, Shared Worlds
I share this poem, written by Arab-American poet, songwriter, and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye, with the hope that you will share it with others. Its message is clear: that there’s so much good in a little kindness and that living in a “shared world” is a much better world.

Shared Words, Shared Worlds
–by Naomi Shihab Nye

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,

I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
Questions.

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

Have a great weekend!

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Goldfinch molting

Photos by Linnell Chang

“Whatcha lookin’ at, lady?” the bird seemed to say crossly as it stared back at me. A rather rotund, but scraggly-looking bird sat on the ground, hardly moving, not even as I approached it. “It must be sick,” I said to myself as my brain tried to recall information on local bird rescue groups and as I considered the possibility of West Nile Virus. I sat there watching it for several minutes, willing the little bird to move, “Come on little one . . . get going . . . fly away.” And it finally did, but not very far. Sitting on a weeping cherry tree branch, five feet away from its original spot, the bird posed for my camera and dared me to observe it more closely. I noticed its feathers were dingy and bedraggled-looking. Some stuck out at odd angles on his head and neck.  Since some Goldfinches molt twice a year, I thought, “Maybe it’s molting.” I am hoping this is the case – that this little bird was merely changing into the fall version of its beautiful self.

#1 – Begging For Change
Holding a sign scrawled with the word “Change” and a small tin can, a homeless man sits on the pavement in front of a store. Is he asking for change, as in money, or for change, as in changing the world? Watch this 10 minute movie, written and directed by Sharon Wright, and think about her message.

#2 – Sugar High
How apropos that I came across this infograph the day after Halloween. With my own sweet tooth trying to sway the decision as to what to do with the leftover candy, this graph helped me change my mind. The candy is going to my husband’s office!

SugarGram

 #3 – Be the Change

Hurricane Sandy rescueMohatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” We’ve seen the images and read the stories of the brutality of Hurricane Sandy. Now is our chance to “be the change” – to help change someone’s life. Check out How You Can Help After Hurricane Sandy and consider making a donation.

Hurricane Sandy dog rescue Sadly many evacuees left their homes quickly and either could not take their pets with them or became separated from them. For many people who have lost everything, they anxiously want to find and be reunited with beloved pets. To read about and to find ways to help with animal rescue as a result of Hurricane Sandy, check out these links:
Red Rover
North Shore Animal League
Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets
Petfinder

#4 – Light Graffiti

TCB Light Graffiti

Light Graffiti by TCB, Twin Cities Brightest

In art, light is a key element. In light graffiti art, light is THE most important element, for in a mere second light can change the entire piece of artwork. Squiggles, curves, and lines of light create focal points, movement, and color that are captured in photographic compositions. Much imagination and skill goes into creating light graffiti. You can see spectacular examples in Light Graffiti: 10 Masters of Light Photography. Pablo Picasso is one of them.

#5 – Change
Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.
William Somerset Maugham

This weekend, change something for the better!

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