What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Let the Adventure Begin!

If you read my post from Friday Fotos HERE, you will remember that I was sort of challenging myself to a little "adventure" toward the end of the post.  If you recall, there is a little island in the middle of "Still Waters Pond", that I have been long desiring to find a way to reach and explore.  The Sand Hill Cranes showed me that the water in our pond is only about two feet deep in some areas, and I know it has to be less than that over in another area that is closer to the island...and my thought was, if a Sand Hill Crane can literally walk through the water over to that island, why can't I?

Of course, I have no desire to walk through that water barefooted. The bottom of the pond is obviously mucky and who knows what all lies beneath the surface of that dark murky pond?  However, if I could find some waterproof boots that go high enough so I wouldn't get wet, then why not walk across to the island once and for all??? Sounds reasonable doesn't it?

Well, today I kept talking about this to my hubby, and he said if I could find some boots he would approve my walking over to the island.  With that encouragement  I drove to our local ACE Hardware, because we had been there a couple of days ago and I happened to notice that they had some knee high rubber boots on sale there. What I didn't happen to notice was the price...and when I got there and realized those boots would cost me almost $40.00, I decided that would not be a good use of our hard-earned money just so I could walk through the water to a little island to see what was on the other side.  So, sadly I drove back home and was about to give up on the idea altogether when I remembered that my hubby had some waterproof snow galoshes (overshoes) stored somewhere in our shed...at least I thought that is where they were.  It ended up they were in the guest room closet in the farthest corner behind the most boxes of stuff that I could possibly reach without having to pull everything out from in front of them...Anyway...I found them!  Just because my hubby's shoe size is a men's 12 and my shoe size is a ladies' 9 wasn't going to stop me at this point. Besides, they go over the shoe, so they need to be a little larger, right? 

And since it was such a beautiful day, and it would seem that I have all this nervous energy bottled up inside me, why not go on an adventure?  Hubby said he would take pictures of me as I went, but since there was only one pair of boots, I would be the only one walking through the water.

 There I go with my trusty walking stick and my camera around my neck. 
 When I got to the point where I thought the water would be the shallowest, I started testing the water levels to see how deep it was...
 and I tried to walk out a little ways into the water, but honestly, it was so mucky I immediately sunk right up to my ankles and it was obvious that if I went any further I would be in too deep and stuck in the mud in no time at all...  Those Sand Hill Cranes made it look so easy! But then again, they don't weigh nearly as much as I do...and their feet are made for walking in mucky ponds apparently.
 These "rear view" pictures are not very flattering of me, and I was wearing my old baggy jeans cause I certainly didn't want to ruin my good ones in that mucky water.
Sadly, I had to give up on the idea of crossing in the water to the island.  However, I was undeterred in my mission to at least see what was on the other side of that island.  So I managed to walk around the edge of the pond on top of the mud to where I could at least see what was over there...
 Before I started my journey around the bend, I noticed that I had another friend visiting the island...
 He wasn't too sure about my being there so close...but I kept going in the opposite direction anyway so as not to bother him.

When I got around the bend of the island, I realized there is not one, but two little islands there...and someone had definitely been there before and had built  some kind of dock. (Above picture)  It appeared that perhaps someone had camped out under there at some point, or maybe just something blew under there in a storm and got stuck there.

Below is also evidence of another little dock that is no longer in use...

Apparently at one time someone had built a dock connecting the two islands!

And then I was really surprised to discover this dock connecting to the smaller island from the "mainland".  I don't know the condition of those boards, and it appears there is no way to get onto it from the land as it is quite high above the ground...also, this leads me to believe that the water in the pond used to be quite a bit deeper. Probably after the hurricanes it was quite full, but over the years we haven't had as much rain and the water level is quite low in most of the small lakes and ponds in this area.

 This view is of the larger island around the bend from where I can usually see it from our yard. It really is just a small strip of land, probably not more than 15-20 feet wide, but interesting none the less...

Well, look who's here!  Our lovely White Egret friend has flown over to this side of the pond, probably thinking that he was safely away from my prying eyes...

They sure do get nervous when people get too close...so up he went, flying over to another spot a little further away from "danger"... (see his reflection in the pond? I wish I had gotten a more complete reflection...I love these flight scenes)

 Perhaps this will be a better spot for fishing...

 I can tell by his stance that he is getting ready to fly again. I hope I can get a good picture of that...

Up, up, up he went, but he was into the trees before I could get focused well enough to snap the photo.
With that I decided I'd better turn around and work my way back home before I fell  into the water in all my excitement of trying to take pictures...Thank goodness I had my trusty walking stick with me...it really did keep me from slipping down into the mud. Now that would have been quite the picture! However, hubby was too far around the bend to see me at this point and he would have never gotten that picture! 

So all in all it was still a great adventure, even if I wasn't able to actually step foot on the island, I at least was able to see what was around on the other side! And it was quite enlightening.  Since we moved here last summer we have not seen any other people around this pond, even though there are some other houses hidden over on the other side. I don't think the other people are nearly as interested in life on Still Waters Pond as I am.  But that's just fine with me. The fewer people bothering the "critters", the more "critters" will come around.  I just have to be careful that I don't scare them away too much!!

We were reading in our Lenten Devotions for today from Isaiah 58:1-14.  A couple of verses stand out to me tonight as I am re-reading this passage in light of my "adventures" today, and also in thinking about my other "adventure" that I will be going through next week:
Isaiah 58: Verses 8-9:

"Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
your healing shall spring forth speedily,
and your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer,
You shall cry, and He will say,
"Here I am."
Verse 11:

"The Lord will guide you continually, 
and satisfy your soul in drought,
and strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail."

These words give me great comfort and encouragement for the days ahead, as I prepare my heart for a closer walk with the Lord during this season of Lent and preparation for Easter, and also as I go through surgery and the period of recuperation and healing that follows. It is always good to know that God is right here behind, beside and before me, guiding me continually. We are so blessed to be His children! Now, THAT is the best adventure of all!!!

Friday Fotos - New Adventures with New Friends at the Pond

Hello Everyone...I am posting this for Friday Fotos...and it may get posted on Thursday night since that's when I am writing it! But most of you won't look at it until tomorrow, so it's for Friday! Does that make sense? I hope so!

Every day seems to be a new adventure here on "Still Waters Pond".  Spring time is bringing new visitors to the pond almost every day. This is a wonderful time for us, as we have only lived here since late last summer, and so we have no idea who or what to expect in spring time!  Actually, we saw our first young deer running along the shore of the pond early one morning this week. However, he saw me just as I was opening our blinds on the deck, and he made a very quick about face and ran in the opposite direction like he had seen a ghost!  I know I don't look all that wonderful first thing in the morning, but really...that was a little insulting!  Ha Ha!  I was actually very excited to see him even briefly,  as we have not seen any deer since moving here, and I was missing them. Sadly, I didn't have a chance to grab my camera before he was gone!

However, today was a different story and a different kind of critter! Beware: Excessive Photo Alert!!
 Many of you will remember that I used to enjoy watching the Sand Hill Cranes in our previous neighborhood, and there are many past posts written about their lives, nesting, raising their young, etc.  Since moving to this neighborhood we have not seen very many of these interesting creatures up in this area, and I must admit that I was also missing them much like I was missing our frequent deer sightings. 
 But today gave us hope that things are looking up here in our neighborhood! The Sand Hill Cranes have found our Still Waters Pond!

 Maybe they are checking out that new bluebird house that we just put up yesterday in hopes of attracting Mr. Bluebird and family to nest here!  I do believe this kind of "nest" would be a bit too small for the Crane Family!!

 They did give me a good looking over as they passed by, and they hurried on along the shore hoping to put some distance between us real quick like!

Then they decided to venture into the water a little further...
  And further...

 And this one decided to head back along the shore...

While the other braved the "deep" waters of the pond to head toward the island...

Again, this one stayed close to shore...

 And the other kept heading further out to "sea" and made a bee-line toward the island...

 There he goes, right up the bank to the island.

He's the bold one...going where no man has gone before...

Oh, but eventually they both ended up on the island...perhaps they are checking it out for suitability for nesting???

Looking every direction...

 And then they decided to head back down the bank and around the bend...to see what they could see...

Kind of reminds me of the little song, "The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see...to see what he could see, to see what he could see...  (have you heard enough yet? Are you singing along?)

And so this one decided that things look better back over on the other shore...

And decided to test the waters again and head back in that direction...

There he goes (which is actually heading back toward our shore beside our house).

The other one put one toe in the water and decided to stay put on the point of the island, and wait for her partner to do the exploring...(she's the NOT so bold one!)

She stood there waiting so demurely...

But before I knew it, they both spread out their huge wings and flew away around that bend to the other side of the pond, never to be seen again, at least not today... Of course they flew before I could get my camera up and ready to capture the flight of the Sand Hill Cranes, which would have been a marvelous grand finale, but you will just have to imagine that you can see them flying away:
The End.

Well, maybe not "The End".  Let's hope it will be a new beginning for many more happy moments captured on film for us to enjoy. Every day is a new adventure. We just have to open our eyes and pick up our cameras and start snapping!!!

I also learned something else in watching the crane literally walk through the water all the way to the island. Our pond is not more than two feet deep between our shore line and the island. I could literally walk over there myself and never get in water above my knees!! SO....I am thinking that I may have to get some high rubber boots and go on a little exploration adventure...but I will probably wait now until after my surgery...unless someone wants to get me some boots tomorrow...Nah...I'd better wait...but what if the rains come and it gets too deep?  Maybe I need to hurry and do this now...well...maybe I'm not really THAT adventuresome!  But I sure would love to go stand on that island and see what is on the other side!  Some day...

Okay, Good morning if you are just waking up to read this...
What kind of adventures have you been having lately? Are you the "bold one" or the "not so bold one"?  I tend to be more bold than I should be for a woman of my "age". But life is too short to just stand on the shore and watch everyone else having all the fun. Sometimes we have to get up our courage and jump in and enjoy the adventure that God has placed before us!!

Psalm 16:11  (NKJV)

11. "You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Let's go find God's Adventure for us today!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Breakfast With Buster Brown and Teddy

 I woke up this morning with a hunger for Bran Muffins.  Anytime I go to the trouble to mix up fresh homemade muffins for breakfast, the occasion deserves a little fanfare and celebration! I'm sure some of you are saying, "She has too much time on her hands."  "The girl's gone daffy in the head, and she hasn't even had anesthesia yet!" Yes, you are probably right...but if I don't do this now, it will probably be a while before I feel up to baking anything for a while, and besides, today is a good day for a good day!

So, in honor of this great occasion, I decided to use my little "Buster Brown" Tea Set and invite my teddy bear friends for a tea party.(Click HERE for a little more history on this tea set)

This antique child's tea set originally belonged to my mother's oldest sister, my Aunt Margie. My mother remembers playing with this tea set when she was a child, and when my Aunt Margie passed away, my mother was given the set.  My mother knew of my love for having tea parties, and she promised it to me when she passed away, and so now I have it.  I have actually shared a part of the set with my sister so that we both could enjoy it. One of these days I would love for my sister to bring her little cup and saucer and whatever else she has over to my house and we will have a little tea party together like we did as children. (Perhaps when she gets around to retiring one of these days!)

Meanwhile, I will just enjoy this by myself...with the little Teddy Bear friends.

(Remember my "One Word" for 2020 is "joyful" ?  So  this is one way to be "joyful", by "enjoying the little things".)

You may wonder about this picture card that is sitting there beside the tea set. Well, I've had this card for I don't know how many years, but I fell in love with it whenever I found it.  It is called,
"Breakfast with Teddy" 
Jessie Wilcox Smith

I guess I loved it because I could picture myself as that little red-headed girl, enjoying her breakfast with her Teddy Bear watching.

 By the way, the flowers are another bouquet of those lovely "Lady Lupine" flowers that I found while on our walk yesterday.

Just in case you want to have your own little tea party with some fresh homemade Blueberry Bran muffins, here is the recipe:

Recipe for Blueberry Bran Muffins   Servings: 12 small muffins, or 6 large.

2 Cups Bran Flakes or All-Bran Cereal
1 1/4 Cups Milk
1 egg
1/4 cup oil or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (my choice)
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
3/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 to 1 cup of fresh blueberries (depends on how many blueberries you prefer)

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400℉ Grease Muffin pan for 12 muffins

1.  Combine cereal and milk in mixing bowl. Let stand 1/2 hour, until cereal is well soaked.
2.  Add egg and oil (or applesauce instead of the oil, which is my preference), mix well.
3.  Add rest of ingredients. Mix just until combined.
4.  Put into muffin pans sprayed with PAM.  (Today I used cupcake papers, but I think the greased muffin pans would have worked better as the muffins really stuck to the paper.)
5.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy the Little Things !!