Monday, October 29, 2007

A Definite Chill In The Air

Sunday morning brought the first hard frost of the season to southeast Michigan. This has been a very mild autumn thus far, with temps in 90s as of a few weeks ago, and summer flowers still in lush bloom.
This morning was decidedly different - more like autumn. The temps were in the 30s, and frost was definitely in the air. Our house top roofs were silvery white, and the grass had a shimmering silver cast to the blades. It was a beautiful sight. The few leaves that have fallen were preserved in visible frost crystals. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I thought I would hang out here and eat!

This Red Bellied Woodpecker stopped by for a bite to eat on my suet cake feeder. This was shot through a window standing about 6 feet away from the suet holder. I used my Canon 20D with a Tamron 70-300 mm lens.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Whitetails in Michigan

A recent visit to a family member's home brought us to an encounter with Michigan Whitetail Deer.

I created this scrapbook page as a dedication to these tame deer who let us get so close, pet them, yet kept their distance.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak at feeder

This stunningly beautiful male Rose Breasted Grosbeak stopped by the feeder in May of '06 for a quick refueling on his migratory route. His mate was a little more shy about coming to the feeder. This bird stayed around for a few days and then disappeared. I was lucky to get these photos since they are here for such a short time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Handmade by Me - A Garden Journal

I created this garden journal to document my backyard garden observations.
This was once a children's composition book that I decorated with paper weaving, rubber stamping, water brush coloring techniques and liquid glaze to enhance the decorative elements.
Copyright - Close To My Heart

Michigan Backyard Bird Photos

Here is a sampling of the birds that visited this afternoon. A beautiful sunset photo to close a great birding day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Scrapbook Necklaces by Janet

I made these mini-scrapbook necklaces at a recent workshop. I used 1-1/2 inch photos on 2 x 2 scrapbook pages inserted to 2 x 2 glass frame. Miniaturized scrapbook pages are constructed just like the large 8-1/2 x 11, and 12 x 12 pages, only tiny so you can insert them into these frames. You can wear these, or hang them on your refrigerator with magnets or whatever suits your fancy.

Fall Themed Greeting Cards by Janet

Copyright - Close To My Heart
A Fall Birthday Card.
Copyright - Close To My Heart

Fall Themed Greeting Cards by Janet

Here are a few of my greetings cards that I share with friends.

Copyright - Close To My Heart

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Red Breasted Nuthatches ..... Everywhere!

In my backyard, suddenly I have a few new winter migrants who have chosen my backyard as their favorite, and, hopefully, winter feeding grounds. It all started with some fellow birding people mentioning them appearing in SE Michigan. This started about a month ago. I went listening for them, because listening is easier at first than looking for them. Just ask any birder. Listen first and then look. Well to my delight and surprise, my backyard has been chosen as a favorite feeding spot for this group of winged travelers. I have at least two Red Breasted Nuthatches, and possibly more. When they start chattering to one another, it is hard distinguish how many there are making their cute nasal "yank... yank" sound. These birds are tiny, and very quick to grab a seed and fly off to God knows where to store his stash. These birds compete with the White Breasted variety, and all of the other much larger birds at the feeder. They are very bold and very comfortable with me in the backyard. They will let me walk within a few feet of the feeders to get a look at them. They are absolutely cute and beautiful little birds. I am so thrilled to have them as my temporary guests, and bring along some of your other friends from the north country - Purple Finches, Common Redpolls and a few Pine Siskins sure would be welcome in my backyard, too. Come on down, the weather is fine, and the food supply is a smorgasbord for your delight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thoughts about a wonderful Chocolate Labrador Retriever

My dear Chip was bought as a Christmas gift for our daughter Sarah in 1998. Sarah wanted a more lively dog, and Chip came into our life. We also had a 12 year old Golden Retriever that was slowing down a bit, and we felt needed a companion. Chip was his companion for 2 years. Scotty did his job well, and showed Chip the yard, and how to go outside properly. Chip was housetrained in one day. This 6 week old puppy was housetrained in one day, and he let us know just how intellegent he would become as an adult dog. As it turned out, Chip became my dog. While he has always loved Sarah and always sleeps under her bed, he chose me as his human. That has not changed in 9 years together. He waits by the front window for me whenever I leave the house, and comes to the kitchen /garage entry door awaiting me with a big kiss and wag of the tail. Once I am home, he is at ease, and then becomes my shadow. I can't count the number of times I have tripped over him, tried to squeeze my feet between him and the sofa so I can put my feet on the floor, or just plain had to move him to get out of my way. This is his way of gently saying, I am watching over you, because I love you so much. As he is recovering from his paralysis, I will show him the same devotion and love he has shown me with his various funny antics and constancy. I will go out and assist him in the middle of a cool Michigan autumn night (while in my jammies), bathe him after a skunk spray, help him up the stairs when he barks, lift him when he needs a gentle lift, and feed him his special chicken to keep the pancreatitis away. He deserves all of this because that is what I will do for this dog that would do everything I have ever asked of him, and mostly because he chose me to be his human.Tomorrow, we start our physical therapy together. We will get that right leg strong again, and with continued prayers, he will live to run strong again. While he may show the wear and tear of his FCE's, we will enjoy our time together improving him to as much of his former self as possible. Perhaps, with his life preserver on, we can go for one last boat ride for the season before we pull the dock and store the boat for the season.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why I chose "Some birds aren't meant to be caged" as my blog title.

This blog title is an inspiration from my daughter, Sarah. She happens to cherish this line from the movie, Shawshank Redemption. Some birds aren't meant to be caged.....their feathers are too bright. Her insight into this title is what I wish to share with people; find beauty in everything around you, don't confine it or cage it, enjoy it and share it with others. Beautiful birds should fly free to show the world their beautiful bright feathers.

I dedicate this blog to the birds that are flying free in my backyard and who bring joy with their very presence. They are beautiful creatures to be observed and enjoyed.

I am the proud owner of a 9 year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever named Chip. He is a great retriever and loyal companion. He is always there with a doggie smile and a wag of his tail for me when I walk through the door. Nothing beats that tail!

My deepest affection is for my husband and our daughter. To them, I am most grateful. I dedicate this blog to them because they are my source of love, support and inspiration. They are my nest of comfort. I could not do this without them by my side giving me confidence and inspiration.