Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Bird In The Hand...

We're very happy to welcome back our friendly family of Carduelis pinus (Pine Siskin.) They visit us every winter and spring, and are a delight to feed and watch. Their numbers are strong this year, probably due in part to the mild winter we've been experiencing. I was a rather worried for them after last winters harsh weather. During the worst of the snow and deep frost, I would wake up hearing the birds in the nearby trees, calling me to come and put out their seed.

The deck railings had to be swept first and the snow shook off the assorted feeders.. On one of these mornings I went out, and found one of these sweet little birds, shrugged over, eyes almost closed.... I slowly walked over to him and put my hand gently next to him.. He didn't move, his eyes barely blinking. So I scooped him up and let the heat from my hands warm his cold little feet. I put some seed on my hand for him and he slowly ate. I was so surprised by how unafraid he was,, maybe he didn't have the energy to be anything, he was too frozen.

I loved the quietness that the freshly fallen snow allowed, and as I slowed my breath down, and held that little Siskin, I imagined sending not only warmth but love through my hands to his frozen little body, I spoke with a quieted voice, and told him everything was going to be alright and that he just needed to eat and all would be well.

He seemed to enjoy this new perch on my hand and even after he'd thawed out and began to look around and perk up he didn't want to leave. How special this time felt, to be able to connect with something wild and untamed....

Have you had an experience communing with a wild living thing???

Friday, February 26, 2010

Its time for daffodils..

At this time of year Daffodils "flash upon the inward eye," and bring back memories of my self as a young girl running to school, passing by the church yard filled with grave stones adorned with hundreds of brightly bobbing daffodils flowers...

They hold a special place in my heart, as they herald the coming of spring, and I would guess they're a welcome sight for those of us who live here in the Pacific Northwest due to the traditionally long grey winters we get.

So I send you all this photo and lovely poem by William Wordsworth to brighten your day.

With Love,


I Wandered Lonely as a cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed ---and gazed--- but little thought
What wealth and show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Taste Of Home...

My eldest "chick" left the nest to go to college back in August of last year. Though she's been home three times in the last six months I miss her very much. I know that she misses us too, (in those rare moments between classes, going to the beach and hanging out with her friends..)

Actually, what she misses, and tells me often, is food from home. Which is understandable, she eats once a day at the dorm canteen and scrabbles to feed herself for the other two meals. (Without kitchen facilities.) So I get weekly requests to send "treats."

Today I made some Gluten free, low carb, lotsa LOVE, "Orange Chocolate Chip Scones", which will be winging their way to my daughter tomorrow.

And I thought I'd spread the love some more and share these goodies with you...

Below is the recipe, inspired by Elana Amsterdam's Chocolate Chip Scones, found in her new book "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook."

2.5 cups of blanched almond flour
.5 tspn sea salt
.5 tspn baking soda
grated zest from 1 large orange

Mix all the dry ingredients and zest in a medium sized bowl

.3 cup of safflower or coconut oil (Elana suggests grapeseed oil)
.25 cup of honey
2 large eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Mix oil, honey and eggs well and then blend with dry ingredients.
Add the chocolate chips to mixture and stir in a BIG dose of Love.

Drop generous tablespoons of mix on a baking sheet lines with
parchment paper, two inches apart.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes until brown at the edges.

Cool for 30 minutes before eating (if you can wait!!!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Little Altars Everywhere

Do you have favorite little corners of your home?
I do.

To some eyes these places might look like an untidy mess, a mishmash of random feathers, art, rocks, postcards, pottery, books, photos... But to me they are little sacred altars, that feed the quiet place in me that needs to pause during the day, a place for my eyes to rest upon and feel a sense of comfort and softness.

This photo is of one of those special places. Its in the kitchen, so I get to look at it often. I feel like I'm being watched over by a very loving Madonna.

Do you have any special or favorite places in your home that you love?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Signs of Spring..

Is spring just around the corner? After this weekends gorgeous weather, I'm inclined to think so.
It seemed like all the birds knew it too.

We are very fortunate to have woods on two sides of our house, which makes excellent cover for wildlife, the birds especially seem to like it. We've fed them daily for more than five years and we reap the benefit of being able to observe some of Western Washington's most beautiful birds.

My daughter Isabel calls me a "bird nerd," I guess that's about right. I love to watch birds, listen to birds, and photograph birds and i.d them... If I see a new one that I haven't seen before, I just HAVE to know what it is, and won't rest till I know its name...( I feel the same way about plants too.)

On Sunday we were visited by a frisky pair of Sphyrapicus Ruber - Red Breasted Sapsuckers, they flitted and flirted in the sunshine all morning long. It was the first time I'd ever seen one, let alone two!

Birds bring so much joy, by just being themselves...

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Year Of Finding Love

We have been blessed these past few days here in the Pacific Northwest with some truly gorgeous sunny days.., inspiring us to get out and shake of the winter doldrums, the blahs or whatever you prefer to call it...

In our neighborhood it seemed like everyone had decided they had to garden, including myself..., I LOVE it when the sky is clear blue, with a bit of a nip in the air, I don my old scruffy pants and sweatshirt and get stuck in to whacking back all of the dead wood, branches, leaves,,, anything that looks remotely brown, is not safe from my loppers when weather like this rolls around.

I like to think that the plants are relieved when I cut back all that dead stuff, and allow the new growth emerging from the chocolate cake colored earth to breath and take in the warm sunlight.

I looked through my stock of photos taken over the last couple of years, funnily enough, I don't have many that pertain to "sunshine." But I did find this one taken on a very sunny day...

It was taken a year and a half ago, in my most favorite of states, where sunshine is never in shortage.., New Mexico.. here I sit by the Rio Grande, like a lizard, soaking up the heat from the sun, loving every moment of being there.

I wanted to find a poem about the sun, and found this one by the incredible poet Mary Oliver.
I hope you enjoy:)

The Sun

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone--
and how it slides again

out of the blackness
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance--
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love--
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world--

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Year Of Finding Love

On the road today

I love to ride motorcycles. I owned my first bike when I was 18 years old and lived in England. When I bought the bike, I had no idea how to ride, I just paid the man for the bike, jumped on and took off. Though it had a small engine (125cc), I came close to wrecking it and myself a number times, usually going full throttle, often without knowing what was around the bend! I was a little reckless to say the least, and a LOT lucky. But I was hooked.

About 7 years ago after a long respite from riding, I took a class to learn how to ride bikes the right way (I recommend this way to anyone considering owning a motorcycle.)

Nowadays I still love the speed and power (my current bike has about 1640cc's), but I'm a lot safer rider.

But the thrill hasn't changed, and I feel like a Bad Ass, as I ride like the wind...


You get the idea...?

I dream one day of riding my bike through the Southwest, me , my bike and miles of open road and beautiful weather...

In order to be as safe as possible, you have to be fully present, in the moment.., all senses on alert. So many other things I do during the day I can do on "automatic pilot," but not this, my life depends on it..., which is why I love to ride.