Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I went back  to see how many posts I have made that referenced the drought we have been in here in Texas for the last several years.  Twelve.  Twelve posts.  And though drought is creeping back into our vocabulary and our reality, today I am focused on how green things are this spring thanks to some good rain last fall and winter.  No matter where I am in my house I am enthralled by the beauty of our trees.

From my front door.

My back door.

My dinning room.

My kitchen.

My guest room (and possibly my favorite window view).

My master bedroom.

And yes, even the window in my shower.

I love them all, and the ones I didn't show you.  Do you have a favorite window in your home?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Name That Tune

We had a wonderful houseful this weekend with lots of activity.  However, in a moment of calm while sitting at the kitchen table, we began to spy humming birds flying by the windows.  (Now does the title make sense?)  Today the guests have left, but I still had hummingbirds on the brain (Can you name the band?).  Of course this means I grabbed my camera and set out to find some birds.  I got lucky.

This shot really let me know what kind of hummingbird he (yes, he) was.

A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

I would be over the moon if I could find this guy's nest.

If I do . . . trust me . . . you'll know.  And by the way, in case you were not able to figure it out, the answer to Name That Tune is Hummingbird by Seals & Croft.

If you are a total geek like me, you may like the Hummingbird nest cam.  There is a commercial at the beginning  but fun to see.  The wings are so loud when they fly in and out of the nest.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

LIVE Cams Rock

I admit to being obsessed.  You may be able to identify with me here, or you may think I am just a little crazy.  I'm sure at one time or another you have come across something that you just couldn't tear your eyes away from.  Like television coverage of a toddler trapped in a well surrounded by 100's of workers, or a white Bronco driving around the city from a helicopters view (not to mention the ensuing trial).  Okay, so we are on the same page now.  I knew you would understand.

This week I was introduced to Cornell Lab Bird Cams which provide live feeds of nests.  The kindergartners at my school have been watching.  Some nests (Great Blue Heron and Osprey) have eggs, some have chicks (Red Tailed Hawk).  On Thursday we saw the hawk fly in with a snake to feed her young and on Thursday she brought various small birds.  It's now the weekend, no kinder kiddos around, and I still find myself checking in on the birds to see what's going on.  Interested?  Here are my favorites.

Watch live streaming video from ospreys at livestream.com

Watch live streaming video from cornellhawks at livestream.com

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bluebonnet Seeds and Critters

I came home from work today and thought to myself, "Sandi, you really ought to get out the tractor and mow down the wildflower meadow."  I took my advice, left the car in the driveway, but grabbed the camera to get a few shots first.

It is definitely scruffy looking now that the flowers are going to seed.  Except of course my prized Indian Paintbrush.

I even found a flower that was still hanging on that I had not photographed yet.

But honestly, my grand plan to mow came to an end when I saw this guy.

And when I started to pay a little more attention, I found he had about a dozen more friends close by.  And still more in other areas of the yard.  They were having a field day with the milk weed.  Soon to be butterflies?  Maybe, but the fact that they are so hairy means they are probably moths.  I just know now that I have seen them, I can't cut them down.  I'll wait a few more days and see what they do.

As for the bluebonnets, they are way past prime and their seed pods are getting ready to burst.  Here are some pods that are still on the green side.

Some of the pods are a little closer to opening.  The seeds in these pods are a little drier, but still not ready.

And still others have now opened and spilled their seeds.  I love the way the opened pods look like little spiral staircases.  The seeds from these pods are much drier.  I collected several pods in an old pillow case to bring inside to dry.

There are a few bluebonnet holdouts.  The flowers are small, but the lady bugs don't care.  There were almost as many of them as there were caterpillars.

I love my yard.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two More Blocks

It's a funny thing to write a blog.  Some people focus on cooking or home decor, some on travel or politics.  You can always find a blogger writing about something you are interested.  I, however, have no focus.  I love so many different things and will write about almost anything (except politics).  I know this can make it hard to follow me sometimes, and some of my posts may have no interest to you whatsoever.  I guess what I am saying is that if my Dear Jane is not your thing, stick around.  My next post may be a hike, a home improvement, or a cooking post (but not political).  I hope I have a little bit of something for everyone.  Tonight it's a quilt block update.  Two more done.  Only 36 to go.

K3 Seven Sisters
L9 Walter's Place

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Little Something

Not every project around the house needs to be a big one.  Sometimes the small things can make you just as happy.   The crosses I took out of my half bath (now lovingly refereed to as my owl bathroom) I stacked on my sewing table.  They sat there, out of mind, for quite awhile.  I found the perfect place for them where I can appreciate them on a daily basis.  Three nails later . . .

This is the view from my master bedroom.  Such a simple thing, but it makes me very happy.

Do the little things make you happy?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Park Number 14: Lake Tawakoni State Park

Since we were in the Dallas area for a birthday party this weekend anyway, we decided to squeeze in a state park Sunday before heading home: Lake Tawakoni State Park.

I really didn't expect much.  This is a very small park with lots of great fishing if you are into that, but few hiking trails.  Honestly, I worried I was not going to get enough interesting photos to even make a blog post.

It's good to be wrong.  The trails were shady and the trees fascinating.

You just can't beat Texas spring wildflowers for color.

Indian Paintbrush
Texas Vervain
This guy was tiny.  Another perfect beauty for a fairy garden.

Texas Aster

So many butterflies, as well.  They are much more difficult to get good photos of since they are always on the move.

And I know spiders can be creepy, but boy were they interesting.  Look at all the pollen trapped in this guy's web.

This little lizard, though, taught me a lesson that I really needed to learn.  I have the habit of shutting off my camera after each shot.  Bad.  By the time I spotted this guy 20 feet up a tree, turned on my camera, and got him in the frame (all the while he is moving, mind you), I was only able to get this blurry shot of his backside.  I need to keep my camera on at all times so I don't keep missing great photo opportunities.

Even thought the park is relatively small, the lake is huge.

Erosion has not been kind, however.  The lake on this day was 5.17 feet below it's full line leaving the root balls of these guys exposed (lakesonline.com)

Same with this one which is still hanging on by its tap root at the shore line.

I really didn't need to see these bird tracks to know there were birds around.  We heard and saw several while hiking in the woods.

Once out on the shore line we saw even more.

Great Egret and Blue-Winged Teal
Great Blue Heron
Male Mallard and some other species of duck
And of course there were American Coots.

American Coots
There always are.  I really need to learn to take better action wildlife photos.  I'll spend some time researching that this week before our next trip.

The sunset over Buffalo, Texas was the perfect shot to end our day.  No Sangria.  I was driving.

See more of our Texas State Park Adventures