Signs of Spring

24 03 2010

Signs of Spring

We moved to the Pacific Northwest in April 5, 2004, from Colorado.  It was quite the caravan:  One car with a dying transmission, 1 flatulent dog, one constipated and very unhappy cat, a very chatty African Grey Parrot,  5 hermit crabs, 3 curious Arabian horses in a trailer, being pulled by a F350.  It took three days and two nights.  There were no problems, although the car did not last the first week in our new state before it was traded in.  Anyways…

When we first we moved here, we rented a house with 7 acres and a barn (that’s why I started with the caravan story…)  It wasn’t long afterward, that we noticed that the barn and sky were full of these little acrobats joyfully flying through the morning and evening skies.  The Violet-Green Swallow makes its summer home here and other parts of the West.  They are so much fun to see zip through the sky catching and eating flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects.  The spring after we moved into our current home, we nailed a swallow nest to the back of the house and it was quickly adopted by a pair of these wonderful little creatures.  For the past 4 years that nesting box has been used and each of those years, a clutch of swallows leave the box, spend a few weeks around the neighborhood while the juveniles gain strength and endurance.  During this time, I always have a camera in hand or at least close by. You will see their photos at different locations on my site.  (Yep!  One of them are on the splash page.)  Before the end of August, the newly enlarged families start disappearing and start their flights south.

It is getting close… they’re getting close, returning from their winter vacations in Mexico.  There are plenty of bugs flying now and I’ve cleaned last year’s litter out of the nesting box, ready for clutch number 5.  Everything is ready.  I cannot wait, because the return of these little acrobats is my sign that spring has arrived!!

Thanks for reading!





Winter Snows

29 12 2008

Barn in the Snow

Simply stated, it just does not snow here in Olympia… or didn’t.  But it did.  It started snowing on the 15th and didn’t stop until the 26th.  It was pretty at first.  I’ve always enjoyed heavy snows, snow falling so hard you can actually hear it.  I used to love backpacking in the winter.  It was a physical and mental challenge.  It helped to develop and shape my appreciation of the beauty of the settling of snow on the branches and boughs of trees; the million swirling individually shaped snow flakes collecting and gathering into drifts; the beautifully lit night as it reflects the smallest amount of ambient light transforming the nighttime world to an rarely seen netherworld.

It was with this anticipation that I stepped out the other day with my camera and took this photo.  The snow was falling as hard as I have ever seen in the mountains of Colorado.  So unusual for this area… but that is also what made it so beautiful.

As the sun set and neighborhood Christmas lights came on, I caught the following photo.  Winter is not the time to hide out inside. It is a time to explore and appreciate the many different worlds just outside your front door.

Happy Holidays and may the New Year bring you, inner peace, love and prosperity.

 

Neighborhood Lights