Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Newsletter - 2/1/12

Hello Dear Friends!

American Robin - Click for Larger Image
In mid-January we had a flock of Robins come through the front property.  They love our holly berries and were all over many of our bushes and trees.  They are such a beautiful bird, even though considered rather common.  I just think they're like an artist's painting with all the variations in color.

God has a bit of sunrise and sunset in them with those white markings to declare the brightness of day.

We were thrilled to see them, but we usually don't see Robins until mid-February, so this was a month early.

Red-winged Blackbirds
At the end of that same week, on our first icy morning of winter, we had a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds come in the back of the house at the feeders and under a bush where we place cracked corn for the doves.

My photos of previous years show them here early March. We didn't have a large flock of them - probably around 10 which is really miniscule. Many birds band together during winter, but none are as notorious for flocking behavior as a variety of species of blackbirds.

 Find out more about why blackbirds form large flocks in this article. As you know I've been hoping for a very early Spring this year, so these visits were great things to ponder.

Our First Winter Wonderland with Bit of Ice - January 21
Click photo for more winter wonderland views.
As I mentioned we finally got some weather that looks like winter on the 21st of January.  It had rained a bit of ice during the night and left our woods looking like a winter wonderland.

 It wasn't a bad ice storm like we had a couple years before when we had to cut down many of our pine trees that were on the front of the property on the bank by the street.  Actually, there were too many there and I never could choose which ones to "thin out" so this was a blessing in disguise.

The ones remaining have done much better with the others gone. The last half of January was definitely colder, dreary and rainy.  Great weather for more puzzling as I'd mentioned in a previous post.

Rainforest Puzzle - Click for Larger Image
After doing several 1000-piece puzzles we've taken on smaller ones to get more gratification sooner.  As you might guess, I love puzzles with images of God's Creation, especially jungle and rainforest scenes. There are so many amazing animals in the rainforests.

A friend sent me a link to a video showing a troop of gorillas coming through a camp in the jungle.  One man was sitting on the ground and the young ones wanted to check him out.  The huge parent was nearby watching as they picked in his hair and ended the time with a kiss.  How awesome an experience that would be.  View the video.

Male Pileated Woodpecker - Click for Larger Image
I'm still enjoying the many views of our beautiful woodpeckers.  That's one blessing of winter ... we see so much of the woodpeckers since they love the suet feeders, not finding much in the way of "fat" bugs out there in the woods. 

The Pileated Woodpecker is always a fascinating bird.  They are the largest common woodpecker of North America.  They grow up to a length of 20 inches.  That's a big bird!  Especially when you see them hanging from a 6-inch suet feeder.

 If you'd like the recipe for what we made, I did a post on My Favorite Suet Recipe.

We've had an increase in the number of doves that are feeding on our property.  Don't know what that's about, but I love seeing them. The couples mate for life and look so cute following one another around.
Dog Chauffeur with Canine Passenger - Click for Larger Image

While we were out and about we came out of a store and there was a car facing the door.  Randal noticed instantly the couple in the front seats of the car.  I actually missed it looking at the sky.

The sun visors blocked the view a bit, but can you see the big guy at the wheel?  It must be nice to have a canine chauffeur drive you around while doing errands.  I know that our kitty, Squeek, has no interest in cars, so we wouldn't get her to even join us shopping, much less consider driving.

I'm ready for a trip to Florida.  Been wanting to go to the Everglades for many years.  We thought we might do it this year, but we've had a few interruptions in that thought.  But winter is not over.  I've been told I've got some serious heart problems, but I'm focusing on the fact that Jesus provided me with healing in His atonement, so I'm working on getting that appropriated and manifested from the spiritual realm to the physical.

Psalm 147:3:
He heals the brokenhearted. And binds up their wounds.

I take the Word of God as literal, so it's a matter of exchanging my unbelief for belief.  That's what Paul called renewing the mind.  Getting all the old religious untruth teaching out and the actual Word in, for only God's Word is alive and powerful.

Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit ...

Do you see that? Alive and active! It will divide between what is in your soul (mind, will and emotions) and what is in your spirit, which resonates with the absolute Truth of the Word. There is nothing else on earth that has that kind of power to change us. That's why the devil tries so hard to get us out of the Word. Even with other religious things such as books and devotionals and articles. Only the Word can change us.  There are more promises for reading the Word, so why do most Christians spend so little time in it?

Local Groundhog in Autumn - Click for Larger View
I wonder what Phil, the groundhog, will do when he comes out of his burrow tomorrow.  Having been born and raised in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil, is a sweet childhood memory.  It's a big event up there.  We've never been and have no interest.  Personally, I'd like to see them let Phil alone to live a normal groundhog life.  Besides, his accuracy is not good as you can see by the data in this article on his predictions.

I'm no groundhog, but I say Spring is going to come early!  I'm watching for the daffodils to begin sprouting any day now!  Only 5-1/2 weeks till Daylight Savings Time!

Saving the best for last!  We were blessed to have a flock of Cedar Waxwings come through our property.  They were gobbling up the holly berries.  Seemed to be intermixed with Robins and I read that they often migrate together.

© Donna L. Watkins - Cedar Waxwing with Holly Berry
Click For More Waxwing Photos
Again, these birds aren't supposed to be here until March, and they arrived on January 25.  I can hardly contain my excitement for an early Spring!

They were early birds and arrived while the sun was still coming up giving them a beautiful glow of sunrise on their breasts.  I've been taking photos of quite a few visiting birds.  It seems there's a lot of busyness lately.

If you'd like to see a video of the Cedar Waxwings, I was able to get one through the window.  They were only 10 feet away so it was a great event to get to see them.

We've had Yellow-rumped Warblers coming through also.  They are the prettiest of birds.  They always seem so fluffy and well-dressed.

Keep looking for those daffodils to be popping up in the yard!  It's going to be a glorious Springtime!  We went to Charlottesville a few days ago and saw forsythias blooming at one place.  Somebody else told me their tulips were beginning to come up.  It's like a dream ... such a mild winter.

Love and Hugs,

P.S.  If you enjoy this newsletter ... share the website with somebody else.  Maybe you know of somebody who needs something in this issue.  There's a "Share This" option on the right side.  Thanks!

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written by Donna

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