Saturday, January 3, 2009

Backyard Bird Series: #2 (A Little Bit of Winter)

A Winter Eden, by Robert Frost

A winter garden in an alder swamp,
Where conies now come out to sun and romp,
As near a paradise as it can be
And not melt snow or start a dormant tree.

It lifts existence on a plane of snow
One level higher than the earth below,
One level nearer heaven overhead,
And last year's berries shining scarlet red.

It lifts a gaunt luxuriating beast
Where he can stretch and hold his highest feat
On some wild apple tree's young tender bark,
What well may prove the year's high girdle mark.

So near to paradise all pairing ends:
Here loveless birds now flock as winter friends,
Content with bud-inspecting. They presume
To say which buds are leaf and which are bloom.

A feather-hammer gives a double knock.
This Eden day is done at two o'clock.
An hour of winter day might seem too short
To make it worth life's while to wake and sport.

I tried to post this in time for Garden Blogger Muse Day at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago--but I'm a little late, as you can see. Join GBMD on the 1st of each month!

--Today I am thankful for...a little bit of winter ('though I'd like more!).


  1. What beautiful photos in this post - I especially love the last one.

  2. Beautiful photos of the birds and a lovey poem.

  3. Hi Kim, Debi, and Linda, Thank you so much for your kind comments!

  4. Wonderful bird photos Jan, and lovely poem to go with the pictures.

  5. Love the first picture of bright red on a frozen pole!!

  6. Jan, your pictures are incredible! Yhey set off Frost's poem beautifully. He is one of my very favorites. Thanks for such an uplifting post.

  7. What beautiful photos of the birds. I like the last one most. We haven´t got any birds like the red one.


  8. Isn't it wonderful that birds of a different feather can share and get along together? Now if only humans could learn a lesson from them. I love this post as a New Year's invocation for peace. Thank you, Jan!

  9. Such beautiful photos, Jan! I'm not very good at identifying birds--what is the black and white one in the middle photo with the female cardinal and dove (I think)? You got an amazing shot of him! The birds are certainly a welcome sight in the winter garden.

    Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets; this is perfect for January!

  10. Beautiful photos... you have much to be thankful for as you gaze out your window!! :-) (And I do, too, as I enjoy your photos.)

  11. Thanks, Karen. I'm glad you like it.

    I love the bright red cardinal too, flydragon!

    Beckie: I have always liked the work of Frost, too...and hoped it would be appropriate for January's GBMD. Glad you found it uplifting:)

  12. Gunilla: The red bird is a cardinal. They are very bright and pretty. The trees are all full of ice--I wish I had a close-up to show.

    W2W: I also find it interesting to see the different species of birds all eating together. It does show peace, where everyone works together. That's a nice thought:)

  13. Rose: The bird you're asking about is a Hairy Woodpecker. It's unusual that it would land on my feeder...I just happened to be focused on that feeder when it landed! The Hairy Woodpecker is larger than it's relative, the Downy Woodpecker. I was just lucky to capture him at that moment! I'm happy that you also like Frost and thought this was a good choice!

    ShadyG: I have a perfect view of most of my feeders from my kitchen window. I have a lot of opportunities available to me and still need to perfect this photography thing...I'm pretty much a beginner:) I am glad you enjoyed them!

  14. What a lovely poem to compliment your bird photos. I can't believe all those icicles, our climates are so different.

  15. The customers at your restaurant are very happy! Not too much jostling for a space and everyone plays well together! Great photos Jan and a very nice Muse Day post. Gail

  16. Nice poem and pics. I hope to see more than sparrows and squirrels on our feeders.

  17. Hi Racquel: The icicles were from a small freezing rain we had last week. I suppose you didn't get the same weather we did. A couple of hours away can really make a difference!

    Thank you Gail, my birds are very well behaved:)

    Hi Sue: Thank you! Hopefully you'll get some colorful birds this winter.

  18. Jan, I loved your choice of poetry--and the wonderful photos you set to it. They are perfect!

  19. You have a nice variety of birds at your feeder. I always love to see cardinals, and chickadees, and woodpeckers and... well I just love to see them all!

  20. Hi MorningGlories, Thank you--I'm glad I chose that poem as well. It seemed appropriate for January.

    Robin, I am a bird-nut, too! Any kind will do, but especially the colorful ones! It's been fun to watch as they all come together and eat at the same feeders and seem to get along pretty well:) Of course, the blue jays will always interrupt any peace, and if a hawk flies by, they will all leave in a hurry:) It's never dull here with all my birds!

  21. Beautiful photos! And your creatively pairing them with that great poem- even better. I really enjoy your posts.

  22. Jan,
    What great photos!
    How interesting to see (what looks to be) a cardinal, morning dove and woodpecker on the feeder at one time!
    The final photo is stunning, with the vibrant red cardinal, center stage! Cardinals and chickadees (and eagles) are among my favorite birds.

  23. (Happy sigh)
    Just lovely Jan!


  24. Lovely photos, Jan. You feed your guests amply and they certainly seem happy about it. Great!

  25. Jan,

    Sorry that I didn't make it by yesterday. I was cooking and entertaining (and clean up) until about 1:00am this morning!

    Your bird watching is just spectacular! You have a lot of grateful friends. I love the woodpecker, cardinal and dove together on the feeder. We love watching the woodpeckers doing chin-ups to feed from the tube feeders like that.


  26. Just lovely photos, Jan! We are trying to attract birds to our garden now and they just seem to be absolutely ignoring us (except the town wrens). At least we can enjoy yours!--Randy

  27. Hi, Jan--I love Frost (Robert, that is--not Jack so much)--and you've illustrated the poem so beautifully with your photographs--I especially love the last one of the cardinal in the icy pine. But yikes--we'll be coming back to some cold weather!

  28. Jan, I always like your bird photos! Wish we had cardinals around here, at least I get to enjoy yours.

  29. Gorgeous photos, Jan and a wonderful selection from Robert Frost. Thanks so much for your contribution.

  30. Tessa: I'm glad you liked the poem and so glad you came to say hi!

    Aerie-el: It was exciting to see that woodpecker on the feeder, along with other birds...that's a little unusual, because they are normally at my suet feeders:) Glad you liked it!

    Thanks, Amy:) Glad it made you (sigh) :-)

    Chandramouli: Yes, I do try to provide lots of different types of bird seed and suet during the winter, especially. I get a variety of birds and I so enjoy them, and I suppose they are happy, too!

    Cameron: Yes, life goes on outside the blogosphere, as well! I hope your party went up is the only problem, (but the entertaining part is worth it:))

    I would like to post even more bird photos but all of the uploading takes time, as does I'm doing as much as I can manage. But I have so many more to post! I love it when the woodpeckers hang on my seed feeders...they usually go for the suet. I find birdwatching in my backyard an entertaining 'sport'!!

    Hi Randy, I'm sorry you are having trouble getting birds to visit you! Have you tried a variety of bird food? I use thistle, sunflower (both black oil, and hulled), safflower, various suets, sometimes nuts for the bluejays, and I always have fresh water...the water seems to really draw them here in the winter.

    It's nice to know you can get your 'bird fix' here!!

    Hi Cosmos: I've always loved Robert Frost and thought this particular poem was a good one for January!

    The icicle's were over a week ago, and we haven't had any I wouldn't worry too much about the cold weather at this point. Today it's 49 degrees and sunny! I suppose even that is 'cold' though, to you, after being where it's warm for so long! You just never know what the weather will do here in No. Va!! I did love it when the pine iced-up and the cardinal sat on it. It was picture perfect:)

  31. Hi Michelle, I am so glad my cardinals make you happy; we do have a plentiful supply of them, and I suppose I take them forgranted and forget that not everyone gets blessed by having them in their backyard. So happy to know you can get your 'birdie- needs' met here:)

    Carolyn gail: I was sorry it took me so long to get this on your site for the GBMD--but, better late than never, right?! I like poetry, so your muse-day activity is something I hope not to miss!

  32. Jan, I posted this on my blog, but wanted to also post it here just in case you didn't see it there.

    Jan, I went to your blog and some of the pictures do enlarge when you click on them. It may be that you're saving the smaller pictures with not enough pixels to enlarge. Or maybe you're using something other than Picasa to upload the ones that don't enlarge when you click on them. The Blogger pictures that are automatically uploaded from Picasa, (with enough pixels), should enlarge when you click on them. Hope this helps. I'm not very good at explaining this stuff, because I barely understand it myself!

  33. Loved you bird photos. What a cute baffle over your feeder. It reminds me of Mary Poppins:) I've never seen one quite like it.

  34. Hi Jan...You have a lovely series of captures here. I enjoy watching different species of birds all crowding the same feeder. The last photo is my's as if the Cardinal is sitting on upon a frosted royal throne! I needed an uplifting view of winter today!

  35. Hi Jan, Thanks again for visiting my blog today.

    I enjoyed the poem much and thought it quite fitting. The birds are so beautiful. We're not seeing such beauties as these right now so thanks for sharing.

  36. Beautiful photos!! I also found it interesting to see the different species of birds all together at the feeder. So often they spend much of their time chasing each other away. Happy New Year!!

  37. I love the cardinals! I never see them in my yard - probably because I don't have tons of delicious food out like you do. All we need now is some snow so the color contrast is even better:)

  38. OH I just love it when you share you bird friends with us! I love how they are perching on the wire covered with ice! They are so fun and colorful in the dead of winter! Kim

  39. Hi Jan! I love your photos with the ice and the birds. The one with the Hairy Woodpecker, Mourning Dove and Cardinal is really beautiful.

    Have you figured out what's going on with your statcounter account yet?

  40. Robin, I do so appreciate your extra comments here, and I will try to figure out what I've been doing to prevent my photos from enlarging. It will take a bit of figuring out, I think. It shouldn't have to be so complicated, should it? I think part of the problem is Blogger itself...but, I better not complain. I'd hate to think they could make my blog vanish if they don't like what I have to say:( Anyway, thank you for your feedback Robin!

    Hi Marnie, I see what you mean about the squirrel baffles looking like the umbrella in Mary Poppins! They sell those baffles at the wild bird center near here.

    Kim; I'm glad this uplifted you:) It is a pretty scene, with the cardinal on the frost-laden branches. And having different bird species all together on one feeder is a sight to see!

    Hi Susie, thanks for stopping by! I'm sorry you aren't having many birds right now, but glad you can enjoy them here:)

    Hi Liisa, I am so glad you stopped by! I also find it interesting to see all these varieties of birds eating from the same feeder at the same time. Happy New Year to you, too!

    Hi Bek: You probably would get birds to your feeder if you'd put out some bird food! Once they know you are there, supplying them with an endless source of food, they won't want to go away!! Every year in the winter the same ones from the year before seem to come back...Yes, all we need is a good snow! I want one...soon!!!:)

    Dear Kim, I'm so glad you enjoyed seeing the birds perching on the icy pole. I love being able to capture them with my camera:)

  41. Hi SweetBay, I think my favorite photo is the same one you like, with the 3 different birds all perched on the feeder together. No, I haven't had any success whatsoever with statcounter. I cannot access their site at all, neither can I access another site, sitemeter. I have no idea why. Thank you for asking. Do you have any ideas??!!

  42. Sorry, I don't know why the site counters aren't working. Statcounter does have a user forum. The only thing I can suggest is to go there and see if anyone has seen this problem before.

    So you can't access at all, or your account?

  43. Hi Jan, You have such a nice variety of happy birds at your place. The seed looks good enough for me to eat!

    I read you comment on the photos not enlarging. Someone once told me that if you move photos around on your post that prevents enlarging? Not sure, but sometimes when I do mess with my posts so often, it is true the photos will not enlarge. I am so not technical but thought I'd pass it along. Good luck with the Sitemeter. I really like it but wish I had put it on right away. It takes time to get a good count on a blog. Wonder what is going on it with it. Anyhow, take care!

  44. Tina, Thanks for the helpful and thoughtful comments and ideas. Between the photos and stat's things are rolling right along...'un'smoothly, at the moment! Ah, but I've decided the stat's don't really matter. It's having fun here that means the most to me, as well as meeting other like-minded souls (like you!).

  45. Lovely thoughts and poetry. Wow, those birds (and pics) are stunners! Can't resist a fat little chickadee, I think they are my favs. Hope you get the VA garden bloggers together, it seems like a good goal to take the virtual into the real when folks are willing. Happy New Year!

  46. Wow--I've *never* seen a mourning dove sitting on a feeder. Love all your photos; they set a nice mood.

  47. Thank you so much for reminding me to be thankful for everything in my life, even a bit of winter! What a lovely post and lovely photos.

  48. Karen,
    The birds are wonderful to watch during the winter. I think they come when the weather is cold because they see an available source of 'free food' and water! I haven't even discussed this with the VA gardeners yet but it might be a possibility later would be fun, I'm sure!

    The mourning doves are always on my feeders. It's funny to watch! Only 2 of them can balance on that spinning spins around so squirrels can't get on it, and if more than 2 doves get on it keeps spinning! So, when are you coming to DC??!!

    I'm happy that this reminds you to be thankful...even when everything around us seems dreary:)

  49. Jan, these are gorgeous. I think I like the first one the best.

  50. Beautiful shots.....I'm especially taken with the chickadee!

  51. What a beautiful blog you have, and what a lovely sentiment behind it. Thanks so much for stopping by at mine and leaving such a thoughtful comment. It's a luck day indeed that brings a new friend.

  52. Jan, these photos are beautiful! I especially love the one of the hairy woody, cardinal and mourning dove! You get a lot of variety in birds there. I've only seen one purple finch this winter, and that was in December. They'll come later, I guess.

  53. Thanks for your welcome message on Blotanical Jan and for your recent visit to my blog. What beautiful birds you have visiting your garden. I love the little blue birds at the bottom of your blog page. Some really colourful characters. It's also nice to see that we have some birds in common :)


Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment! Please enjoy your TODAY and all of the gifts in YOUR garden of life!


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