Wednesday Wings: Hunting Kinglets

Kinglets, or more specifically goldcrests, are the prettier cousins of our common wrens. They aren’t exactly shy birds, although they don’t like too many people in the woods, but they move fast in an area with lots of bushes and twigs. I know a spot where I have good chances of spotting them. Taking their picture? The work of Sysiphus… The big lens needs a lot of light and the autofocus needs time. Given the terrain, chances are good that the bird is long gone once it has found that particular twig*.

So here are my results of several hunts.


©Giliell, all rights reserved

The best shot, though I don’t recommend “click for full size”. It is grainy, since the ISO went through the roof, but shooting birds at less than 1/125 is impossible anyway.

*I could still bite my own ass for not having waited a few months longer until I had enough money to buy the “sports” version…

And now for a whole row of “I should have put superglue on the branches”…

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Speaking of Gratitude…

Beautiful, delicious and all gone.

A few days ago I posted about the resin horse that Giliell sent me, but I didn’t tell you about the rest of the package. Giliell also sent me a box of home-made cookies and, Oh My but they were good. It doesn’t show up well in the photo, but the chocolate cookies were dusted with gold. The waffers come from a recipe of Giliell’s grandmother and they were so pretty. The ‘S’ shaped cookies are just like the ones my German grandmother made and they brought me a flood of warm, happy memories from childhood.

Origami and a pair of adorable llamas

There were lots of other surprises too. Origami ornaments and a pair of adorable llamas. Ha! Not just on the card, but the whole damn llama stamp set. What a great idea.

Look! I can make llama art.

Birds are just so Affinity and they don’t come with more personality than these 2 fellows.

Birds of a feather to keep me company.

I saved the best for last. Giliell has made me an undersea world in a bottle, which I love. It’s madly creative and also came with a flood of memories, this time of my happy place by The Gulf of St. Lawrence on the beach in Perce.

An undersea adventure world.

Giliell, you’re incredibly talented and I thank you so much for the treasures. To all of you who’ve seen Giliell’s wonderful baking, I can tell you it tastes as good as it looks.



Jack’s Walk

Minion down, ©voyager, all rights reserved

This is a bit of a pensive Jack’s Walk. 2018 was a long difficult year and now that it’s over I’ll tell you that I feel winded by it all. The loss of Caine hit me hard, it hit all of us hard, and it seemed after that that things kept piling on. Personally, mother-in-law was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had her right kidney removed. Mr. V’s heart condition worsened and the swelling in his legs caused calf ulcers that won’t heal. My mother developed congestive heart failure and refused to take the medicine because she didn’t want the inconvenience of peeing out all the extra fluid (Mom can be a pip.) Jack had a big, expensive surgery and a very close friend was diagnosed with liver failure. She’s still waiting to see the specialist, but it’s likely she will need a liver transplant. Sometime during all of that (between August and December) I developed shingles. That’s not new, I get shingles a few times a year, but this time they’ve persisted. One patch clears up and another erupts. It’s enough to make you feel like the minion above. Face planted.

Time has already fixed a few things. My mother-in-law is thriving after surgery. She’s 92, lives alone and is as active as any 50-year-old. She bakes, she cleans, she irons, she walks and she even has a new beau who sends her little notes and flowers. My mother now has a catheter in place and she’s gotten rid of all the extra fluid with no peeing required. Jack is happier than ever now that Larry (the lump) is gone. His gait is as good as it was when he was young and he prances when he’s happy. Mr. V has only one small ulcer left to heal. That may take some time, but it’s definitely improving. His heart is stable and still as beautiful as ever.

And look. That minion might be down, but he isn’t out. He’s still got his wind and even more importantly he still has friends. How lucky. Me too. This past year something profound happened in my life and that is Affinity. I’ve been around since the beginning, but I lurked. I just didn’t feel confident enough to participate. Caine kept encouraging me, though, and so I finally joined the comments and even sent in a photo or two. When she became ill I was still fairly new to all of you, but I wanted to help Caine so I took the chance and stepped forward and what I found was a community who welcomed me. All of you have added to my life.

So last year brought some very good things, too. Like all years I suppose, with their measures of bad and good not always equal, but always both. I try to focus on the good because I prefer to live in gratitude. So, this seems like the proper place to end with Jack and I both looking at the pluses of life and prancing into 2019.

Tree Tuesday

Nightjar has sent us some fabulous photos of the fully fruited-Persimmon trees near where she lives.

These are some photos from local persimmon trees. As you can see, as of December 23 all leaves have fallen but the fruits remain on the trees. Most haven’t fully ripened yet and are showing no signs of falling. This is unusual for this time of the year, persimmon season should be over by now. I have no explanation for it, but the result is many alternative “Christmas trees” around the village, naturally decorated with unconventional orange balls. I think they look amazing right now and I thought you would enjoy them too.

Yes, Nightjar, I am enjoying them and so will everyone else. Thanks.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

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Walking in a Winter Wonderland, part 6

In the morning of the 26th, we went for a walk in “our” woods, in the afternoon we visited my parents. I was saddened to see that some asshole had taken great pains to actually tie their plastic waste to the trees. There won’t be pics of that. We walked to the nearby fishing pond and back, bringing back childhood memories of walks with my grandparents.


©Giliell, all rights reserved

There wasn’t a lot of light that day, it was all foggy, but that pond is high enough to catch a glimpse of sunlight over the fog.


©Giliell, all rights reserved

Just use a wide angle lens and low light and the Norwegian fjords can go fuck themselves.


©Giliell, all rights reserved

Same pond, just from the opposite side.


©Giliell, all rights reserved

The smaller pond was frozen over.



Everything’s Coming Up Rainbows

Well, maybe not everything is coming up rainbows, but a rainbow does seem like a pretty damned fine way to start the new year and thanks to Lofty I can make that happen. This photo

goes back to the end of our southern winter, the best season for bike riding in the rain shadow side of our little mountain range.

Absolutely breathtaking, Lofty. Thanks.©Lofty, all rights reserved

So, Welcome 2019. May this rainbow set the tone for things to come.