Thursday, February 5, 2009

Those Elusive Snow Faeries!

I've been trying all morning, quite unsuccessfully, to get a picture of the dazzling snow effect taking place in front of our house this morning. There is no new snow falling, but the wind has taken to blowing about a very fine dusting of the snow that has until now been blanketing our roof. I think the sun was a bit jealous of the play taking place between wind and snow, and so he decided to add his own element, causing every single snowflake being blown about to sparkle in the most ethereal way. As soon as I opened the shades this morning, I gasped and ran to get the children thinking that this phenomenon might be short lived. It's been going on for hours, though, and we've all been pressing our faces unflatteringly against the windows to absorb the beauty of the day. When the bus comes to pick up Annie girl, the two of us will swirl about and pretend we're snowflakes too.

I apologize for the pause in posting here. As usual, life intercedes. Airius has contracted strep throat and an ear infection, so I've been busy playing nursemaid. This is the first ear ache any of my kids have ever had, and I'm glad that I caught it right away. I had chronic ear aches as an infant/child, as did my brother, and I remember the agony that such a thing can cause. One of my most comforting memories involves laying my aching ear against my aunt's very pregnant belly (at her bidding, of course) and just absorbing all that life-giving heat. I think I fell asleep there. Airius has been partaking in the same luxury here, but his unborn sister isn't quite as accomodating as my cousin was. She squirms and kicks all day long, so there are only very short windows of time where it's comfortable enough for him to rest on my belly. We have other warming, comforting things for his ear of course, but what could be better than skin-to-skin contact with Mama?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Into February

(Photo taken last February)

Today is a holiday for us, but there will be more posting about that tomorrow (hopefully). I just wanted to send out a reminder to everyone that February is National Bird Feeding Month.

Birds are a vital part of the homestead, whether it be urban or way out in the country. These beautiful feathered creatures are the natural predators of many of the insects that gardeners consider pests, but they're also plant pollinators, though they leave the limelight of that subject to bees and bats. If you're a wildcrafter, birds are often responsible for the spread of wild plant species, especially berries. If all that isn't enough, birds are just plain mesmerizing and relaxing to watch. They are often the centerpiece of therapeutic gardens for those with Alzheimer's, Autism, and other diseases or disorders.

The children are already keeping their eyes open for that first robin of spring, though I'm sure it's still at least a month or two away. For now, we delight ourselves with the songs of the mourning doves, sparrows, and starlings. And oh! That dash of red as a male cardinal darts in to pick at the sunflower heads we've hung out for them... Gorgeous.

For more information on the proper way to feed birds and attract them to your yard or homestead:

The National Bird-Feeding Society
Audubon at Home
Wild Bird Feeding Industry