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!

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Saturday Wanderings...Come Along for a Nature Walk with Me...

Happy Saturday!  I thought you might enjoy something a little different this evening. Why don't you come along on a nature walk with me?  There are so many different things to see!

This morning we took a walk at our usual walking place in the woods, and this lovely butterfly was accompanying us along the way. I loved how he flew beside us and before us, and all around us. I literally asked him to please stop long enough for me to take his picture, and so he did! He stayed on the ground like this for about a minute, allowing me to enjoy his magnificent colors and markings! And then he flew back up into the air and continued on his journey, leading the way for us along the road. Sometimes I do wonder about butterflies, don't you?  If anything, he was God's special little gift to us this morning to brighten our path and bring smiles of joy to our faces!  What a blessing!

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly  (Click that link for more information about him)

The next thing I wanted to see was this Hawthorn tree, to see if its berries are developing, and yes, they certainly are!

Florida Hawthorn Tree Berries

These are the Hawthorn Tree flowers, back in early March! I thought I had already shared these with you, but I can't find a record of it.  That was about the same time that my computer died, and so I was limited on what I was able to post for while, so I guess these photos were left out. Glad I still had them in my phone so I could share them now!

This information below is from the Florida Native Plant Society Blog

"Hawthorns belong to the Rose Family, along with the plums, cherries, serviceberries, and crabapples. Roses are revered for their beautiful 5-petal flowers, which are often present in the spring, and the production of nutritious fruit, generally high in vitamin C. Florida’s hawthorns all produce white blooms; either solitary, in small clusters, or in large masses across the canopy. 
 The fruit are variable in color, size, and time of year that they ripen. Like true roses (Rosa spp.), hawthorn fruit are often called “hips”. Most are rather bland in taste, but an entire industry has been built in the South around the hips of the mayhaw (C. aestivalis) and its close relatives (C. opaca and C. rufula). Hawthorn hips are also frequently available in natural food stores for use in teas and as nutritional supplements."

Also along the way we are starting to see these Pricklypear Cactus flowers starting to bloom! They are so beautiful, but please don't get pricked by the thorns! That would not be very pleasant!

Pricklypear Cactus  (click on that link to the Florida Wildflower Foundation for more information)

Now, back in our neighborhood I have been enjoying the discovery of these amazing huge Live Oak trees on the property next door.

Live Oak Tree (click link for more information from the University of Florida Gardening Solutions website)

This Live Oak tree above is on the lot beside the lot that was just cleared next to us, and the pictures below I have already shown you, but they are also Live Oaks that are on the lot that was cleared. I do hope they won't have to cut down too many of these trees in order to build the house on the lot. They provide such beautiful shade and many of the trees on this property appear to be quite old.  

Here is another picture of Mother Goose, sitting on her nest, patiently waiting for the arrival of her babies. Doesn't she look peaceful and calm sitting there? A perfect example of what a mother's love looks like.  According to what I've been reading, the mother goose does NOT leave the nest at all during this month of waiting, nor does she eat. Apparently the goose who comes begging for bird seed at our door is the father, not the mother! And he is always in a bit of a hurry because he has to get back to his station in the water nearby her nest.   

We have become a bit more lenient in this regard. He literally stands there and it looks like he is trying to speak to us. He doesn't make any sound or hiss, he just opens his mouth and it looks like he is saying food please?  So we have given in and have been tossing him a little bit of birdseed when he comes begging so politely.  It's only for a short period of time, and then they will be off to their further adventures. We decided it's the least we can do to help out a young father in distress...LOL.  

Speaking of birds in distress...Since so much of the habitat was cut down on the lot, the birds have been rather noisy and active.  I fear there may have been some nests destroyed in the process or at least their favorite hiding places.  
This male Cardinal was hopping around this morning on the ground where there used to be more bushes.  I just happened to be out for an early morning stroll over to see what was going on with the goose nest and saw this fellow too.  Hopefully the birds will all get back to some kind of normalcy soon.

Speaking of hungry critters...LOL. Today was really sweet. Our kids were all here for a grilled BBQ chicken lunch.  Scott came home and Benton and Rose and the grandpups came over, and Scott grilled the chicken for us. We had salad,  deviled eggs, and boiled new potatoes with sour cream and cheese, and also some coleslaw.   There was no special occasion...just a happy and thankful family to all be together.  I baked a blueberry pie, using some of the blueberries I had frozen a little while ago after getting them fresh from the blueberry farm.  I didn't take any pictures of us all together, but here's what's left of the pie:  
Yes, it was delicious, eaten when it was still warm with vanilla ice cream! 

I think I will close on that note!

Here's a good thought for today:

Philippians 4:4-7
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

One more thought, please keep the people in the paths of those horrific tornadoes in your thoughts and prayers. I know of one of our blogging friends in particular, Betsy, from "The Simple Life of a Queen", who lives in Omaha, NE, and the storms were very close to her and her family. Thankfullly, they are all safe and no damage to their homes, but the severe damage is all around them, so their lives will be greatly affected by all of the storm aftermath.  There may be others that we don't know about, so let us keep them in our prayers.


Friday, April 26, 2024

Friday Foto Friends and Blessings!

Good Friday morning from Still Waters Pond!  Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird greet you today!

To me, it appears they are sharing love messages with each other as they enjoy a cool bath in the late afternoon sunshine (yesterday afternoon).

God speaks to us with love messages every day, if we just pay attention...

Jeremiah 31:3
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird came back to check things out at their house and take a bath...
Ah, so refreshing!
Then she flew up into the tree to fluff her feathers and dry off...
Apparently their baby (ies?) flew the nest when I wasn't looking, as it appears the nest is empty. There's no sign of any eggs left in the nest, so I am assuming however many babies were in there flew away to the designated place in the treetops.  I am sorry to have missed it!  But sometimes they prefer to do it when no one is looking for the safety of the baby birds.
Maybe they will come back for a visit too in a day or two, but for now I will just believe they are enjoying their new freedoms and learning to fly "high" with the rest of the birdies.

Meanwhile this was happening next door to us:
This is a lovely large lot on Still Waters Pond that has been recently purchased, and the new owner is actually a developer who is planning to put a brand new manufactured home on the lot and then sell it.  
Thankfully this fellow was just clearing out the underbrush and not really cutting down any big trees.
He was also cleaning out an area to give visual access to the pond...
I went and checked on our Canada Goose father, who is still patiently guarding and waiting for his mate, who is sitting on the nest on the island. I have dubbed the big island "Goose Island" because that is where they have built their nest each time they needed it over the past several years. This is only the 2nd time that we are aware of in the almost five years we have lived here.  If they did it every year, we weren't aware of it. Maybe this isn't the same couple as before? No way to tell. 
Here is the view of the island from the perspective of the newly cleared out area on the lot.
I still can't figure out exactly where the nest is, but I know it is somewhere on the right end of the island above.

Here is a view looking from the middle of the new lot towards the pond:

This is where the bushes were cleared out along the shore...it is kind of mucky down there because the pond has a mucky bottom, due to the decomposition of all those water lilies over the years.  The water levels are getting kind of low right now due to lack of rain.

But this is what you can see if you stand down there and look to the left:

And this is what you can see looking to the right...see the goose to the far right?
This is a wider view looking toward the right...

And this is looking straight ahead:

Back up on the lot, there are some beautiful live oak trees in addition to many other kinds of trees, pines, maple and other kinds of oaks.
Whoever gets this lot will have a beautiful woodsy place to enjoy!

Another view looking toward the pond:

After the clearing was done we found this Yellow Bellied Slider turtle up on the land, laying her eggs and burying them in the dirt.  She apparently found the new trail out of the pond up onto the land and decided the newly cleared lot would be a good place to hide her eggs. She will leave them there and when they are ready, they will hatch and come out of the ground and go back to the pond to live.  I was thinking I should put a marker where she laid her eggs so I can tell the builder not to put the house on top of it!   

Later in the evening we walked over to the lot again, and it seemed as though the birds were making a lot of calls back and forth...this beautiful male Cardinal was calling and calling his mate from the big oak tree in the front yard of our house. I think some birds may have become displaced with all the clearing on that lot and they are trying to find new places to roost...

This was taken just before sunset. It was getting "buggy" out, and I didn't want to stay and get eaten alive by mosquitoes while waiting for the sunset, but it does look like it will be a lovely vantage point to watch the sunsets.

Just after sunrise this morning hubby and I ventured over to the lot again to go and check on our goose family. There's Daddy Goose, sitting on the pond, continuing his vigil of watch-care over his mate on her nest. But where is that nest? I wish I could figure it out!

This is the view of the island and pond around it in the early morning...

I asked Mr. Goose where his lady love was, and he pointed in that direction:
I said, I know she's over there on the island, but I can see her!  She's well camouflaged!
Meanwhile we heard a knock knock knocking sound in the treetops overhead, and I looked up and saw this Pileated Woodpecker up there pecking away at the bugs in that tree:

Then I looked back at the island, and zoomed in on something on the hillside at the end of the island, and what did I see?

That looks like the goose on the side of the hill!!! I NEVER would have thought to look on the side of the hill for her nest!  But she is definitely sitting there, pretty as you please, well camouflaged behind the tall grasses, in a little flattened out area on the side of the hill!!

She was right there before my eyes all that time, and I never noticed!  However, of course, until the land was cleared where I could move over to that different vantage point, I couldn't really see around to that side of the island very well!  So there she is, safe and sound!  I wonder how much longer until the eggs will hatch?  I'm thinking it could be very soon, so please stay tuned!  I hope all the noise on the lot being cleared, etc., doesn't upset her.  So far, she seems pretty oblivious to it all...she's just concentrating on keeping those eggs warm and safe!  Such a good Mother Goose!

Now, in case you are wondering, here is a view looking from the middle of the new lot toward the left (as I stand in the middle of the lot facing the pond), and there is our house!  If you were to come and buy this lot and the new home that is going to be placed there, we could be neighbors!!!!!

This is where I was standing when I took that picture above. This could be your view as you look out the back of your house, maybe from your kitchen window, or from your back porch, and look toward the pond!  Yes, you could probably clear out a bit more of the brush that's blocking the view from there, but just think, you could have your own spot right here on Still Waters Pond!
But you better hurry, because once this place starts being constructed, I expect it will be sold quickly! And it is the very last vacant lot on Still Waters Pond! And just think! We could be neighbors and enjoy watching all the wildlife/and birds together while we sip our cup of tea or coffee or iced tea and take pictures and enjoy all that God has blessed us with!  To quote Mr. Rogers, "Won't you be, won't you be, please won't you be my neighbor?"  

Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 
38 This is the first and great commandment. 
39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

I am praying for whoever our new neighbors will be. Perhaps God is preparing them for this move right now as we speak...God already knows who they are.  Whoever it is, it is my prayer that they will be blessed here in this location and that we will be able to be good neighbors to them.

Okay, one more thing...You may remember that I told you about my hubby not feeling well last week? Well, he ended up having a CT scan of the brain and a chest X-Ray, per doctor's orders.  We got the results yesterday...the doctor said his brain scan and x-ray were both normal, and that his brain looks exceptionally GOOD for a man his age! No signs of any kind of deterioration or former strokes or anything adversely affecting it! Wow!  We both said "Praise the Lord" right out loud!  That was pretty amazing! And he does feel much better. Not sure what was going on last week, but he's fine now, and we are very very thankful to the Lord for this good news. 

Well,  that's all for now my friends.  But seriously, if you are thinking about moving to Florida...or to relocate to a small country town and live on Still Waters Pond where you will have some good neighbors waiting for you...let me know!  I can put you in touch with the right people!  

Have a blessed and wonderful weekend!!