Pheathers – Cornell Lab Live Bird Cams

The joy of this pair of Bermuda Petrels, as they met up in their burrow, and welcomed an egg, gave me joy this morning too. Throughout the cold Northeast Winter, and sometimes chill Spring, watching these cams several times a week, if not daily, brings me joy. Take a look at all the amazing feeders, nesting live cameras, and other highlight videos on this amazing site.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Live Bird Cams

The Panama Fruit Feeders is one of my favorites. I enjoy viewing the unique birds and other wildlife that visit.
The Giant Albatross Cam is interesting.

If you don’t have a bird feeder in your yard this one is fun to watch and usually very lively!

Paths – A Woodland Walk

A few years ago, I took a weekly photo of a path through the woods to show how the seasons change the appearance of the area I live in. This year, same woods, different path, an old habit with new direction.

The summer canopy of green leaves has shattered, falling away from the sky to the floor of the woods, carpeting it in many shades of amber. The grey of exposed tree trunks and limbs is dotted with the green of ground pine, holly, and laurel. Another soul who walks this way, created a bit of enchantment and direction when they lined the way with fallen branches.

New photos of THE PATH will be added to the sidebar weekly, with a link to THE PATH page containing all the weekly photos posted in one place.

Here’s a look back at THE PATH, different area of the woods, that I took in 2017, and a surprise to me, this is the third time I am attempting a weekly photo, I found this earlier video of the same concept from 2014. THE PATH 2014.

This post is part of Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge: Amber

Phlower – Crown of Thorns

I love the soft pink of these dime-sized blooms on my Crown of Thorns, the color almost a copy of cotton candy. The plant lives outdoors on the screened-in porch for five months of the year. Through the Autumn and Winter it delights me with flowers when everything outdoors is dormant. No coddling needed, the plant is easy to grow and maintain. This beautiful flower is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Praise – I Am His


by Wade Robinson 1890


Loved with everlasting love,

drawn by grace that love to know,

Spirit sent from Christ above,

thou dost witness it is so.

O this full and precious peace

from his presence all divine;

in a love that cannot cease,

I am his and he is mine.

 Heav’n above is deeper blue,

earth around is sweeter green,

that which glows in ev’ry hue

Christless eyes have never seen.

Birds in song his glories show,

flow’rs with richer beauties shine

since I know, as now I know,

I am his and he is mine.

Taste the goodness of the Lord:

welcomed home to his embrace,

all his love, as blood outpoured,

seals the pardon of his grace.

Can I doubt his love for me,

when I trace that love’s design?

By the cross of Calvary

I am his and he is mine.

His forever, only his–

who the Lord and me shall part?

Ah, with what a rest of bliss

Christ can fill the loving heart.

Heav’n and earth may fade and flee,

firstborn light in gloom decline,

but while God and I shall be,

I am his and he is mine.

Phloral Arrangement – IAVOM – It’s not Impossible!

My first 2023, In A Vase on Monday bouquet is muted in color by Winter’s cold temperatures. Today, here in southern New Jersey, the weather is mild, though grey-tinged, but we had quite a preview of frigid temperatures in December. The greens, pods and berries I chose for the tall vase are the only choices to be had in my yard. My participation in this interesting challenge will probably be limited until Spring, but I will keep my eyes open when I’m outdoors, and perhaps inspiration will strike.

To be honest, I prefer the appearance of the stems tossed across the floor, pre-arrangement. They resemble the cascade of a Bride’s bouquet. I would have thought making a bouquet impossible at this time of year, but a walk-about in my yard yielded a few interesting pieces: dried hydrangea & sedum blooms, pods of Echinacea, velvety Wisteria, and Rose of Sharon. Barberry berries (ouch, very thorny), hoya & myrtle leaves, and ivy vines.

Pheathers & Perspective – One Liner Wednesday/Never Give Up!

Last week, here in Southern New Jersey, our temperatures were in the single digits. Thankfully, this plummeting into frigidity occurred after the heavy rains, and although we had a coating of ice for a few days, we did not have the mountains of snow that northern areas experienced.

Today, the sunlight warmed the air, and I grabbed my coat and camera hoping to find an area in the woods near me to photograph once a week in 2023. I found this sweet spot, a trail created by a thoughtful, though unknown person, bordered with fallen limbs. Ground pine and holly trees give the scene some winter color. I think this is the perfect place to photograph weekly to watch the changes occur in what is growing and changing.

My next thought was to capture several photos of local birds, perhaps I’d come upon some blue jays, juncos, cardinals, finches, sparrows, titmice, woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, all the lovely wintertime birds who visit my feeders. A few images of them in their more natural habitat would be perfect. I wasn’t having any luck until I turned a corner at the edge of the woods and spied a flock of what I thought were sparrows or juncos. A flash of blue feathers confused me for a moment. No, could it be? Yes! For the first time in my life, I gazed on a flock of bluebirds.

I didn’t have my ‘readers’ on, inexpensive glasses that help me see up close. I didn’t know if my viewfinder was locating the birds. I kept on trying, click after click after click. I had no idea until I was back home and downloaded them if even one image had a bluebird in it. Most of my photos were blurry or missed my subjects completely, but some captured the beautiful bluebirds. Oh, Happy Day! I had a few good photographs.

I’m so glad I followed the advice of, “Never Give Up!” My motto for One-Liner Wednesday.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

Project & Phloral Arrangement – Christmas Tree

Over many Christmas seasons, I created several of these small trees with my mother. In fact, the first trees we created were from an idea she had seen and mentioned to me as something we could do together. Precious memories. Thanks Mom, I miss you.

To create the trees, you will need:

Wet Floral Foam, moistened as per directions on package

A knife, or as I used, an old credit card

A waterproof container, heavier and smaller than the foam works best. If the container is larger than the wet foam you will need to anchor it in with some type of waterproof tape.

Evergreen cuttings, holly, other greens still alive outdoors. Cut a larger amount than you think you will need cut into 3 – 4 – 5 inch pieces, too much is better than running outdoors in the middle of the project to cut more. The list of greens I used: pine, myrtle, holly, ivy, butterfly bush, unknown evergreens, ground pine, and nandina.

Optional: dried flowers, beads, glitter, etc.

I used dried flowers with mine, strands of green beads, and small twigs lightly touched with glitter glue.

Photo Challenge – Pear Green

Cee’s color choice for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge is one of my favorites, pear green, or as some call it, chartreuse. We painted our front door and shutters a creamy yellow in the summer, and my lavender and silver Christmas decor created a hideous color combination with the yellow. To appease my sense of what color goes with yellow, I chose a rather different Christmas theme this year. It’s also a vague self-portrait.

Here’s another seasonal example of Pear Green: sunlight casting a luminous reflection through Jamestown blown glass.

Water, water, everywhere. A good fit for the Photos by Jez Challenge. This photograph is out of season. It is a summer photo, taken on the Glassboro/Williamstown bike trail. I wish I could have captured more of the enchanted nature of the place; a swamp covered in duckweed. The growth is so thick the water was completely obscured. Beneath a canopy of trees, the place took on an otherworldly appearance. Hopefully, it will grow again this coming summer, and I will capture better photographs with a camera rather than my phone. I think this is a good example of pear green too.

Phloral Arrangements – In a Vase on Monday – Fairy Roses with Friends

In A Vase on Monday – Fairy Roses with Evergreen, Holly, and Friends.

These are the last of my 2022 garden blooms. They are among the most delicate in appearance, but oh my, though small, they are still blooming in bunches. They are a bit worn and damaged by the cold, but they are still showing new buds along the stems.

This small miniature rose is called ‘Fairy,’ and the name belies its resiliency. Fairy Rose is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

“The Fairy is a polyantha rose. Polyantha roses produce their flowers in sprays or bunches rather than as single flowers. Unlike a lot of heirloom roses that only bloom once a year in the spring, The Fairy blooms continuously from spring until fall.” Dengarden

The small angel was given to me when I was a baby. I don’t remember who, but I am so grateful to have this vintage remembrance of a time long past.

Another of my Christmas favorites showed up in my photo. Christmas is wonderful: Angels, Scrooge, The Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph, the list can go on and on. Of course, my favorite is the reason for this season, THE CHRIST CHILD. This is a good time to leave a link and reminder to watch THE NATIVITY during this special season. I am always thrilled to my core when the child is born and wish I could have been there to be in his presence. God is so good to us.

Plant Tips – Propagating in Water Update/Rooting Roses in a Potato

I’ve rooted several cuttings in water from my outdoor garden. Most sent out roots, some didn’t. I found the Pineapple Sage was one of my best plants for rooting in water.

I rooted two types of Firecracker Plants in water. I’m not sure if the variety made a difference, but it reminded me of an old post. Plant Tips – Green Glass for Quick Rooting. The cuttings on the right were rooted in a green vase, the plants on the left in clear glass. I think I need to keep a few more green vases/bottles around the house.

Recently, three stems from a bouquet of florist roses sent out shoots. I couldn’t resist an experiment. I’ve seen YouTube videos on rooting rose cuttings in a potato. This seemed the perfect time to attempt an experiment since new growth had already begun. I went the traditional way with one stem and rooted it in soil. I sealed off the top of the stem with glue gun first to keep moisture from escaping.

I popped the second into a hole I made in the potato. Easy-Peasy.

The third was also popped into a potato, but then I placed the potato in soil. All three stems were then encased in a ziplock bag to seal in moisture. None of the stems had any sign of roots when I planted them. I’ll update in a few weeks.

Pages/People/Philm – Legends

I am near the end of Killing the Legends – The Lethal Danger of Celebrity – by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The book is excellent, there are many facts included I did know, and several new insights into the lives of all three men of which I was unaware. The book is so well-written you read along at a quick pace. The book has a few photographs, but not many; I would have enjoyed more photos.

As far as the legends are concerned, I was always fond of one, disliked the other, and was a bit ambivalent about the third. My feelings haven’t changed much after reading, and I realize I should always trust my instincts.

ELVIS was one of three films that lured me into a movie theater in 2022. The other two, Downton Abbey – A New Era, and Where the Crawdads Sing were the others. I enjoyed the latter two, but ELVIS was my favorite. Where the Crawdads Sing was a close second, and after I saw the movie, I bought and read the book.

I am reading Chicken Soup for the Soul – Best Advice I Ever Heard, now, and loving it. A few days ago, I read chapter 51 by author Laurie Davies. Her topic was advice she received from a teacher on how to overcome her fear of elementary school recess. “Walk out onto that playground like it’s yours,” the teacher told her. This is advice I sure wish I had lived by in the past when uneasy or thinking myself out of place. Maybe in my senior years I’ll manage to live by her wise words. That brings my thoughts back to Elvis. He owned the stage he performed on, but through most of his career, offstage, he was owned and controlled by others. He couldn’t escape the web they wove, and was, in the end, consumed by the prison of success.

Photograph – December Moon

I was going to title this post Silent Saturday’ but then realized I couldn’t stay quiet about this beautiful moon. The photo was taken with my Canon camera, zoomed in, and with a flash. I have no idea, other than I was blessed by the Lord, how I managed to capture this image. I took several photos, all were fuzzy and indistinct, and then this one turned out perfectly. Reminds me a bit of life, so many aspects can be blurry, and then suddenly, crystal clarity when it matters.

Initially, I wasn’t interested in a moon photo, but went outdoors to find Jupiter alongside the moon. The planet didn’t disappoint and was glowing large in the sky. I have an app on my phone called Stellarium, and it shows me the position of stars in my area. The view is fascinating. More info here: Stellarium.

Moon watching has its roots in my youth. On a summer night, July 20, 1969, I watched with millions of others as Neil Armstong took that first step on the moon. I have never lost my love for gazing at the moon. I wonder if neighbors think I am crazy, for often, I am outdoors in the moments before dawn in pajamas and robe, taking photographs of the moon as it sits low on the horizon. Since they can’t read my mind, perhaps they are looking at me out their windows a bit askance. 

Product – Gifts for Gardeners/Amazing LED Grow Trays

Sometimes recommendations are annoying, sometimes very welcome. Last week I had a recommendation pop up in my Amazon account, growing trays with an LED light attachment. It looked too good to be true, but it was a decent price, and so intriguing, I decided, ‘Why not?’

Kennedich Plant Seed Tray Kit arrived in just a few days. I was hoping I wouldn’t be disappointed by the trays, and I wasn’t, they are AMAZING! Hard, durable plastic, with a disk LED light that fits in an indentation in the top of the dome. The dome itself is double, maybe triple, the height of most other trays on the market. The cord needs a power block to plug into, not included with the product, but since we have several of these floating around the house it was no problem.

I use a lot of fresh herbs in cooking, and even though they are readily available from my local supermarket, growing my own will be fun and save costs in the long run. Placed on top of my heating mats, these seed trays should become one of my favored seed starting methods.

A few tips – I had to open up the middle hole a bit with a pencil so that the light fixture would lay flat. Also, the cord had kinks from being wound for mailing in a box. I laid it on the table and taped it down for a few days to straighten it out. One drawback, it would have been better if the cord was longer. I will have to use an extension cord to give me more length.

Photographs, Perspective & Place – Cedar Lake or Missing the Window

We revisited Cedar Lake over the weekend. I posted about this place in February 2022, and meant to showcase it again on the blog in its Springtime glory and spectacular Summer abundance, but somehow, missed my window of time and once again am writing a piece when all the growth has fallen away. Whatever the season, it is a perfect place to revisit and blog on Jo’s Monday Walk and Skywatch.

If I had visited when undergrowth was growing wild and lush, I would have missed this sight. “Look, through these trees,” my husband said, pointing the way. I didn’t see much at first, but then saw the gleam of sun on a living creature.

I zoomed in with my camera, and since the doe was resting, and unafraid, I was able to take a good photograph through the twiggy protection around her. She must live in the park, accustomed no doubt to many people walking by her on the criss-crossing paths. Can you see her eye?

Further along the path we saw some robins, hanging around long after the first frosts. They never leave our area to fly south; they Winter over here, finding berries and other fruits. I need to remember to place a bit of fruit on the platform birdfeeder and maybe draw them in.

A few mallards swam within a small pond hidden in the woods. There are creeks, small ponds, and larger bodies of water every hundred feet or so in the park surrounding the lake. A perfect spot for a ‘Water, Water, Everywhere‘ post.

Cedar Lake and Washington Lake Park, Sewell, NJ, is the setting for this post.

Planting – Protecting Bulbs

I found a packet of Butterfly friendly Spring bulbs this year. Since I am all about attracting butterflies to my gardens, I couldn’t resist. Of course, just one wasn’t enough, and I bought two. I had an instant dilemma when I opened the packages, the bulbs were all mixed up. I had no idea what was which, or which was what, and there were dozens of them. I gave up trying to identify variety and sorted them by sizes. Larger bulbs in the back of my pot, smaller sizes up front, and a row of a tulip I like in the middle.

They are planted way too close, but since they are a one season planting in garden pots, I will decide after they bloom if I am going to save and replant another year. The biggest problem I must solve is keeping the critters that munch on bulbs out of the pots. In soft dirt they will be easy pickings for rodents that dig.

I came up with a solution I hope will work for me. I used this tactic in my spring garden buckets and will try it with the bulb plantings. I cut the grates out of flat trays and secure them with large six inch anchor pins. When the bulbs begin to sprout I will remove the plastic grids and drape some netting over them. It gives me joy to think ahead to Springtime and butterflies.

Pages – Kindred

I read Kindred for the first time in 1979/80. Written by Octavia Butler, the story is about time travel, a setting I love. Flash forward to 2022, and I am utilizing my Hoopla app, reading/listening to Kindred once more as an audiobook. It still entrances me. My interest was renewed when I recently heard that the book was going to become a mini-series. I hope it is true, and most of all I hope they faithfully follow Ms. Butler’s excellent writing.