A Goodbye, Blue Happiness, and A Hello There

Last week we had a yard full of rose-breasted grosbeaks until we did not.

Goodbye grosbeaks!

At one point, I counted at least 7 milling around our feeders and in the yard. My husband even set up his hunting blind in the backyard so I could try for better pictures. (Most my pictures are through the glass on the back door.)

And then by Wednesday, perhaps Thursday, I noticed I didn’t see them any longer.  Come back anytime grosbeaks! We’ll be here.

A Different Bluebird of Happiness

Feeling a bit glum about the disappearance of “my” grosbeaks and a yucky weather week, I went for a walk on our one sunny day. Drove myself to a park full of trails where I often see little bluebirds of happiness. Usually right as I turn the bend into this tree lined area here:

I did see bluebirds around the bend but not the Eastern bluebirds I usually find. Wow, you are a very blue bird indeed!

While I was fairly sure I’d spotted an indigo bunting, I did consult my bird book at home. My youngest son helped me look and compare (I toyed with the idea it might be a blue grosbeak as well) and we’ve decided yes, I did spot a male indigo bunting on my walk. They’d certainly be welcome in my backyard any time as well as the grosbeaks.

A New Hello at Home

It’s baby season in the backyard.

It’s no secret the house sparrows annoy me with their “suet feeder school” (They’ve now also taught a starling these skills along with the blue jay from last week.) However, the little baby sparrows are quite cute and fluffy.

And so are the babies of my regular backyard residents, the house finches. I’ve been quite enamored with this little one:

Makes me smile. The little gray cat, not so much. She doesn’t care and these birds distract me from my more important duties like showering her with constant attention (until she’s tired of it).

Why do you want to watch birds when you could be petting me?


Other birds spotted this week: a nuthatch, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, robins, bluejays, cardinals, grackles, brown-headed cowbirds (though not as many thank goodness!), starlings, goldfinch, and my white-crowned sparrow (he also disappeared it seems about the same time as the grosbeaks). Oh, and turkey vultures plus maybe a killdeer (not sure, far away in tall grass) at the park.

Joining in with the Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’.

What’s Going On Wednesday: Gratitude and Optimism

This week’s been a bit slow so far. It’s given me time to stop and reflect on how nice we really have it during this time at home.

I’m not sure what my word of the year for 2020 (home) is trying to teach me. That I want to live outside? Not really. I’m an indoor plumbing, electric and hot water, people loving city girl. Not likely to change now. However, I do know it’s time to start seriously applying the lessons from my 2019 word. Gratitude. Not that I’d stopped being grateful but I just don’t think I was quite ready to go there full force in a blog post until today.  First though, let’s look at the numbers for our area. While increasing, I’m grateful for the lower overall numbers when compared to other parts of the country and world. And that they are doing a bit more testing now.

Numbers and COVID-19 Info for Our Area

Cases statewide: 10,142

Total deaths:  542

Total tested (through 5/12/20):  124,006

In the Kansas City Area: 808 and 16 deaths

Our local county:  401 and 15 deaths

And the number of cases within our zip code:  36

Moments of Gratitude So Far This Week

Here are a few lovely moments/thoughts from this week working backward from today:

  • My boys and how they came up with the idea on their own to give me a video game for Mother’s Day. And the time to spend (way too long) playing it this morning. Jeansland is coming along nicely (aka Animal Crossing: New Horizons).
  • My husband. He keeps us supplied with everything we need. I don’t think I’ll complain about hunting season this year (Have you seen the price of meat?!). While I might complain about the junk food purchasing, I do also enjoy the junk.
  • Yesterday. New faces. And a bit of “some things just don’t change”. Truth: I’ve gotten up and pulled myself together (showered, dressed, hair fixed) all but maybe 3-4 days during this entire time. Yesterday was one of the 3-4 day kinds of days. Spent the day in my pajama pants. What? A knock on the door! J’s band directors on the front step dropping off a marching baritone and music for the fall show. Definitely, thankful for teachers who care enough to show up at the front door to say hello and drop off materials.
  • The sweet sound of marching baritone notes. It’s been far too quiet in J’s room.
  • A bit of cold sunshine on Mother’s Day and the Monday after it.
  • My backyard birds, all the flowers springing up and ready to bloom
  • And of course, I don’t want to leave out the one who’s really in charge around here, the little gray cat. She certainly keeps an eye on things.


What little or big things are you appreciating more during these squirrely times? 


Happy Homemaker Monday, The New Normal Begins

Our new normal begins this week. The county and our local cities start opening back up in phases. Not really sure what it all means. Really, I think everyone is a bit confused. However, it’s nice to think about getting out a bit again.

Sunrise today:

Been awhile since I was awake for a sunrise! Plan to try and get up at a more normal time this week. And maybe be productive, not watch TV for an hour. I also took a shower, ate breakfast, and spent some time outside getting a few photos. Now, it’s time join up with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for the Happy Homemaker Monday prompts.

The Weather

Wanted to get outside a bit this morning because the weather the rest of our week is pretty stinky! Already, the clouds are rolling around in the sky. We barely escaped at frost warning this morning as it was 41 degrees when we woke. In May! And there are chances of rain every.single.day. this week.  Just slight ones today but it’s only supposed to hit 53 degrees. Then, the rest of the week the chances for rain with strong storms increases. I’m glad to see that the temperature does also at least with highs in the 70’s again (a lot more normal for this time of year).

How I Am Feeling This Morning

Like I drank a bit too much coffee this morning. A bit restless, lots on my mind. Oh, look at the next category!

On My Mind

Cautious optimism for a new normal this summer. I’m ready to get out of the house but I still feel strange about it all. Thinking ahead to the fall and winter and wondering if we’ll be on a repeat loop of this shut down stuff. Wondering what we should do to prepare for it. Christmas shopping. One of my 20 in 2020 was to buy 2 presents each month. Current total on that: 0. Thinking I really should get on it in case of another quarantine situation. As well as stock the freezer. My work. Jury duty in June. My house should be spotless but it’s far from it. Uh, did I mention I drank a bit too much coffee this morning?

On My To Do List

  1. Have J figure out his schoolwork priorities (it’s the technical last week)
  2. Also, have J gather his items to return to school (books, band tux, etc). On the 18th, they’re having a drive-up to pick up/drop off of supplies.
  3. Wash our face masks (I need to figure out an easy way to do this. Any tips?)
  4. Check in with J’s private baritone instructor to see how/if he plans to proceed with lessons
  5. Order some Christmas presents (see rambling thoughts above)

On My Breakfast Plate

The usual, a Chobani Flip yogurt (peach cobbler flavor) and too much coffee

On My Reading Pile

Finished my current book, One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker. Didn’t really expect to like it and ended up loving it! I’ll probably write a proper review over on Goodreads later. Seemed to be just the book I needed to read for our current circumstances.

TV Viewing

We watched Terminator on regular TV one night. I do love that movie for some weird reason. Other than that, I caved and watched Tales From the Loop on Amazon, really kind of enjoyed it though my husband didn’t last the first episode. And I’ve been working my way through the Spring Baking Championship on Hulu, a nice, positive little cooking show.

On The Menu This Week

While it’s the time of year we should be enjoying quick, simple things, the weather keeps crying out for warm, fall comfort foods. Add in the meat shortage thing and I don’t even know what to plan. Oh, and I want to go to the store though I should wait it out one more week. Might try to plan around the pantry a bit this week.

MONDAY: (depends on whether my son has a baritone lesson tonight) turkey hot dogs, sweet potato fries, strawberry brownies (leftover dessert from yesterday) (LUNCH: leftover BBQ from yesterday)

TUESDAY: Waffles, bacon and sausage (leftovers in fridge) (LUNCH: popcorn chicken)

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti (pasta of some sort anyway), salad, garlic bread (LUNCH: ham sandwiches)

THURSDAY: Roast in the crock pot (carry over from last week) (LUNCH: soup maybe?)

FRIDAY: Teriyaki Chicken (from freezer) (LUNCH: Burritos from freezer)

From The Camera

I’m waiting impatiently for this random bloom in the front yard. Anyone know what this is going to be?  My husband set up his hunting blind in the backyard for me to take bird photos that weren’t through the backdoor glass. We’ve been especially enamored with these backyard guests:

Rose-breasted grosbeak

One morning we had no less than 7 of them milling around under the feeders!

Looking Around The House

Needs a good cleaning.

Chore I’m Not Looking Forward To Today or This Week

See above

To Relax This Week I Will

For Mother’s Day, the boys pooled some Nintendo gift cards to give me Animal Crossing: New Horizons and helped me get started.  So I’ll escape to Jeansland for a bit.

On My Prayer List

Family, friends, strangers. A smooth restart to our new normal and an end to this pandemic.

Quote For The Week

“Make hay while the sun shines” 

(English proverb though I think of the Little House on the Prairie books with this one.)


Is your area starting to re-open? What are your plans for the week?




Now Showing In The Backyard

Happy World Migratory Bird Day! It’s been slow around here so far this morning but yesterday was exciting. This week brought a few new and exciting birds to our yard. Some of our “old” birds learned new tricks. And we even had a garden rescue!

First to show this week. A new one for our yard! And believe it or not, the reason I started feeding the birds. Who knew it would be so hard to attract these little birds…


Some credit must go to the Tractor Supply store as I’ve bought these little white bags of food previously at other stores with no luck. Right away, I noticed I could actually smell this stuff as I put it out. So perhaps my other food was stale. I don’t know. However, the very next day I had a gold finch on it!

The above photo might have been better had some nitwit realized they left their camera on close-up mode a bit sooner. Anyway, this little goldfinch departed and returned with friends! Just one more because this fellow is handsome!

Also, showing up in our backyard: A White-Crowned Sparrow and a pair of Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks!

Let me apologize in advance as these photos aren’t the best quality but the Rose-breasted grosbeaks is another first for us! 

And it certainly was strange when my husband happened to be watching a show about Alaska and they showed footage of the white-crowned sparrows just after I’d seen one. He really needs to get a move on. It’s bit late for him to be hanging around here.

New Skills From A Blue jay!

Not sure if the house sparrows are running a secret school teaching other birds about how to manage the suet feeder but this happened yesterday morning:

And Now, A Garden Rescue Story!

It’s nesting season around our backyard. And garden season. We finally tilled our garden last Saturday. A pair of cardinals likes to nest under the gutter curve near the garden. Not a great spot but certainly better than the boxwood bush by the front porch. I finally succeeded in getting them to move away from that sight.

On Sunday, I was walking around surveying the garden work and noticed what looked like a bird embryo on top of the dirt. Hoping we hadn’t done something to harm it with our tilling, I returned inside to grab something to remove it and mentioned it to my husband.

Windblown cardinal

He said he’d seen an egg there the previous night. We’ve had some super windy days so were not sure whether it blew out of the nest or someone evicted it. A concern of mine considering the run of brown headed cowbirds around here lately.

As I returned to it with two paper bowls, it moved! My husband scooped it up and returned it to the nest. Later, mama returned. And just yesterday, the baby bird remained still getting care from the mama bird. Sadly, the other egg in the nest had a hole in it and never hatched.

Fingers crossed mama cardinal is raising an actual cardinal and not a darn brown headed cowbird. We’ll know in time, I suppose.


Joining the Bird Depot hosted by Anni of I’d Rather B Birdin’.


Five On Friday: Bird Photo Outtakes

Had a hard time deciding what to share for a Five on Friday today. My friend, Rebecca shared birds today for her Five on Friday and it gave me an idea.

I love watching the birds. And I take quite a few photos (really an obnoxious amount). Recently, I revived my Saturday bird watching posts.

Just for fun, I thought I’d share some of my bird photo outtakes with you. Sometimes I have fun photos that I haven’t shared simply because it’s a repeat bird from the previous week. Or the bird didn’t really cooperate. Hope you enjoy these 5 fun photos.

This pair resides by the pond at the end of our street.

ONE: Geese Portrait

TWO: House Finch

I’m guilty of ignoring these fun birds a lot in my blog. I have a whole bunch who spend lots of time at my feeders. And I do enjoy watching them. They’ll wait for me on days I need to fill the feeders and aren’t even put off by the little gray cat. This little fellow posed for me.

THREE: Brown Thrasher

I noticed this bird sitting on a branch when I was outside soaking up some sunlight one day. Couldn’t resist snapping photo.

FOUR: Robin

I can’t seem to get a decent photo of one of our most common backyard birds! However, I like how this photo somehow came out looking a bit like a painting. 

FIVE: Baby Sparrows

I fuss a lot about the house sparrows. They eat at my suet feeder and chase the downy woodpecker away. He’s been fighting back lately. Hooray. However, even I can admit the little baby sparrows are cute. Saw this fun sight today.

No idea why these sparrows were all in the fence but I thought it was interesting. So did our cat. Don’t worry, she behaved.

It’s so fluffy!


Are you a bird watcher, too? Be sure and check out my post tomorrow for more birds.

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