Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just Stuff

Back to Earth!

Hot Air Balloon Ride
Should you be wondering why I haven't posted again about my marvelous hot air balloon ride, it's coming, it's coming! Sorting through and choosing the best of several hundred photos is taking time, and I do want my tale to have some sort of order to it. My fellow passenger is sending me a CD of the photos she took, BalloonLR is sending a CD with photos taken from the ground by the Chaser and, with their permission, I may include some of those in my post.

 Greeting Cards
I'm not working on much of anything EXCEPT cards! Our World Card Making Day event was a success, with 16 ladies creating 240 cards. As I've stated in a previous post, half the cards are going to the Little Rock Ronald McDonald House, and half will be sent to Cards for Soldiers. Below are photos of two of the cards we created during this event.

As if that were not enough, one of my church friends and I have organized a project to create Christmas cards for the inmates of one of Arkansas' prisons. Several members of our church are actively engaged in the "Kairos Prison Ministry" there. Our priest told us of a need for cards for the inmates to send to their families and several ladies have risen to the challenge. We'll be making Christmas cards next week -- several hundred if we work it right.

Why Have All the Birds Gone? 

All summer long, my yard was filled with birds: four or five families of cardinals ; a plethora of squawking blue jays; grackles by the dozen; lots of sparrows of different sorts; some randomly visiting chickadees and nuthatches; a family of hummingbirds. I filled my feeders at least twice a day and spent hours watching them. On the first day of Autumn, except for the hummingbirds, the majority of them disappeared, leaving only a few stalwart hangers-on. I've seen only one blue jay in the last three weeks, and not a single grackle. Even the squirrels have deserted me. I suspected that the neighbor's cat, lurking under the trees, had scared them off. I shooed her out of the yard every time I saw her (Maggie's a nice cat, but I don't want her around my birds).

Maggie may be playing a part in their absence, but something else is scaring them off, and today I saw the culprit! A large hawk swooped through the yard and perched in the branches of one of my trees not far from the feeders. I've never before seen a hawk in this neighborhood, much less my own yard! Of course I ran to get my camera but was not quick enough. Just as I was focusing the telephoto lens, off it went!

I watched for quite some time, and finally a brave little nuthatch visited the feeder, soon followed by two cardinal pairs. The hawk must have been long gone for them to come out of hiding. Fortunately, all my trees are still fully leafed, so there are hiding places for them.

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More, later.


Teacher's Pet said...

...When I enlarged the photo, my breath was taken the colors....the size...the magnificence of the balloon. I'm so happy you had this experience. I look forward to every photo you post.
I clicked on the prison ministry link you included in your blog. I have been interested in prison ministry for a while...and am so thankful that you are working on these cards for the innmates...What a beautiful and loving ministry. Thank you for sharing the link.

Peter said...

What beautiful cards you people make, it would be such a pleasure to receive something like that, all put together by hand and with love.

Sad to loose the birds, but interesting about the hawk. On one particularly cold winter we had a native falcon arrive here and menace the budgie that we had at the time. After the falcon did its best to try to find a way into the budgie cadge it eventually flew off and probably, from the sound, got one of the neighbour's hens! Our falcons are fearless, but are creatures of the great out doors and rarely come into suburban areas.

Ah, the balloon! In a way, modern photography can be a curse, as there are now hundreds of photos where once the choice would have been between a dozen or less! If sorting through them all becomes too much of a task, please stop, put on a blind fold, and grab a handful at random! We will love them, I am sure!! Best Wishes, P.

Anonymous said...

You put me to shame. I spend a great deal of time THINKING about doing things so that there is no time to actually DO them.

Suldog said...

As much as the little birds are wonderful (and they are - I love to see them in my backyard, too) a hawk is a magnificent thing to see close up. Very regal.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a great shot and such a beautiful balloon. Looks like you all had a nice landing. Can't wait for pictures.
My hummers are only the migrating ones that stop mainly when it is bad weather out, like right now. The feeders are under the porch so the get a rest,fuel, some shelter and then off they go. Hearty little buggers.

Snap said...

You are busy, Pat. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your balloon ride. The cards are beautiful and so many will be helped, remembered, by the generosity of you and others. And your birds .. a hawk of all things!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Love your cards, Pat. You are just so creative...

Between the cat and the hawk, your birds have moved to a safer place I guess. Mine are still around --and luckily there are no cats neaby--and hopefully no hawks. I do know that we have hawks nearby--but I don't see them...

We've had the migrating Grosbeaks for over a week now. We also have our usual (Tufted Titmice, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Cardinals, Goldfinches, House Finches, Carolina wrens, etc.)... BUT--our Bluejays disappear from my house in the winter for some reason. They don't migrate --but they don't seem to stay in my area. Same for the Bluebirds.

Hope you get yours back during the winter.
P.S. Can't wait to see more pictures of the hot-air balloon ride.

Hilary said...

The little birds.. the hawk.. the balloon ride - all wonderful and impressive. But your kindness to put in the kind of time and effort making those cards.. you're a gem. I'm happy to know you, Pat.