Place – Sanibel Island/The Sea

Sanibel Island has warm water and strong surf. This helps bring up shells, and also sweeps them back into the sea. We were amazed a few times to find the beach, filled just hours before with thousands, if not millions of shells, swept pristine clean.

The waves are strong. I was knocked backwards once by one that caught me by surprise. Even strong swimmers need to be aware of the strength of the surf. I didn’t see any lifeguards while we visited in October. It’s definitely a swim at your own risk area.

We were able to see sunrise in the mornings from the beach in front of West Wind Inn, and in the evening, beautiful sunsets, featured in the photos above.

Captiva Island is next door to Sanibel. My  husband rented an hour on a sailboat at the Yolo shop located at the far end of the island. Yolo stands for ‘You Only Live Once.’ While my husband was having fun living life to the fullest, I had my only bad hour on the vacation. I watched from the beach in street clothes rather than a bathing suit, and by the time he sailed back to shore, I was about the hottest I have ever been. I will be wiser if we do the same thing in the future and wear a bathing suit and sit in the water to watch.

The Bubble Room, on Captiva Island, is an amazing restaurant filled with all kinds of interesting memorabilia. Despite the pandemic, and wearing masks upon entry, we were able to have a wonderful lunch of prime rib sandwiches.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday.

Photographs – Rainwashed Blooms

We had a hard rain, and afterwards came that splendid late-day light, breaking through the storm clouds, giving the rain-washed blooms gorgeous luminosity.

Cosmos

Dahlia

Zinnia

All three are common flowers, easy to grow, and found in many gardens, but washed in the rain and light they were as beautiful as any rare masterpiece on a museum wall.

Reminds me that while I am common, and really nothing special, I am washed in the blood of Jesus, forgiven, headed for heaven, and devoted to HIM.

Here’s a great old song with some timeless guitar. Are you washed in the Blood?

Thus post is part of Skywatch

Quote & Pheathers -The Hummer

Saturday evening, we watched two hummingbirds battling for rights over a firecracker plant. We were amazed at how long they dove and swooped at each other in the air. Finally, only one remained, and exhausted, he took some respite in the back yard pine tree. After the big battle with another wondrous flyer, an earthbound human didn’t seem very threatening to him, and he let me take at least a dozen or more photographs of him. What a wondrous little bird God fashioned when he created the hummingbird.

O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
~ Psalm 104:24

This photograph is part of Skywatch.

Pheathers – Beauty & Rest

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30

Even in the midst of all the upheaval in 2020, there is beauty to be found, there is rest. May God bless you this day.

This photo is part of Skywatch.

Pheathers & Phlutters – On the Wing

I was able to photograph a few favorites this past weekend. The butterfly with the beautiful orange wings is an Eastern Comma Butterfly. I don’t see many of these and was pleased to find it posing prettily in my front yard.

Cabbage White butterflies are plentiful, but not easy to photograph with wings outstretched.

I saw the first Monarch Butterfly of the season at Fortescue Beach. I didn’t know I had captured it in flight until I downloaded the files. This photo is part of Skywatch.

I love the seagulls in Fortescue. They haven’t learned the bad habits of raiding picnic hampers and snack bags. In neighboring beach towns the gulls are formidable. Never walk across the boardwalk with uncovered French Fries. You will be dive-bombed and might lose them.

The funnel on top of the piling is there to keep the gulls off. The pilings without funnels are usually occupied by a gull.

I watched this Osprey fly over the bay, descend, and come up with a fish in its talons. They are excellent at fishing.

I enjoyed my weekend full of flyers of all types…except maybe the Greenhead Fly who bit my ankle. That flyer is now lying beneath the sand I kicked over it after I swatted it. Happily, the Greenhead was a solo flyer, and no others visited me while I fished off the beach.

Phlowers – Flower of the Day/Fan Flower

I love Fan Flowers (Scaevola aemula) for many reasons. The fan-shaped bloom comes to mind first. The ease in growing them and the way the blossoms cascade over the edge of a hanging basket is also a plus.

They combine well in their pot with yellow and black pansies, purple heliotrope and diamond frost euphorbia.

My plants are often visited by goldfinches. They pluck the ripening seeds from the lower branches of the plant, giving me many moments to admire their beauty as they feed. Fan flowers are one of many plants that attract and shelter backyard birds.

I have a pinkish fan flower, but it is not as vibrant as the purple. I like having more choices though, and this color combines nicely with other shades of pink and purple.

Fan flowers are one of my favorites for flower pressing. If picked just after they unfurl they retain their color perfectly. They combine well with other pressed flowers.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Project – Natural Birdhouse

The weather has warmed up. The birds are beginning to nest. It’s time to create a few birdhouses out of the gourds I’ve been drying throughout the winter.

I bought two large varieties in late Autumn, and grew the small one myself. They hung from my porch rafters through the colder months and grew some interesting molds on their surfaces. After brushing them with a light bleach solution, and leaving them in the sun for a few hours, I began my crafting.

I cut a small hole with a craft knife, pushing it in carefully at tiny intervals. Removing the seeds was easier than I had anticipated. I used a paint paddle, swished inside a few times, and all the seeds and fluff fell out. Two holes at the top were easy to drill for the hanging wire.  I also drilled several small holes in the bottoms to allow any collected rain to drain out. To stop larger birds and squirrels from raiding the nests, I used my glue gun and glued a border of pennies around the opening. I like the way the copper sets off the color of the gourds.

I placed one birdhouse on a tripod of sticks near my back window,  two are hanging on thin twigs. I am hoping the close proximity of the house, and the thinness of the twigs will keep squirrels from tampering with the houses. I’ll update later in the season.

This post is part of Skywatch.

Pheathers – Lion or Lamb

DSCF7328 (2)

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens

Beneath the blue skies of midweek it appeared March might come in cold, but beautiful and clear. I admired the migratory flock of birds dotting my neighbor’s tree. Host to an iridescent mix of grackles, red-wing blackbirds, cowbirds and starlings, the tree was the stage for a twittering cacophony of bird talk.

Unfortunately, winter has not reached its turning point, and March arrived wrapped in a mantle of snowfall. Regardless of its chilly start, I know warmer, radiant weather will eventually ensue and appease my winter-weary mood. March days will soon find me in my garden turning over the soil to once again welcome spring.

Pleasures – Warm Day Walkabout/Emerging Spring

We’ve had an up and down week, snow one day, gorgeous sunshine and a taste of springtime the next. A midday walkabout was just what I needed.

A glance upward revealed a blush of Venetian red maple buds against the blue sky.

In my yard I noticed the wisteria pods have been scavenged for food. Spring can’t come quick enough for the hungry animals.

The daffodils are pushing upward. I love the smooth texture of the spring green in contrast to the brown leaves, mosses, and dried grass textures of winter.

I checked on my winter sown containers. Nothing is sprouting as of yet. It’s time for me to take my permanent marker outdoors again and reinforce the labeling of the contents. I don’t want to try and guess what’s growing inside when it’s time to plant.

As always, the first bloom in my garden is this tiny yellow crocus. Every year, it’s a reliable forerunner of all the glorious flowers to come. Am I excited about this taste of spring? Oh Yes!

Praise – Gratitude

“Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.”     ~ A. W. Tozer


In the winter, I’m grateful for the barrenness of the tree branches, for they give me wonderful views of the neighborhood birds. Even a humble grackle is a glorious representative of feathered beauty as he suns himself in the sunshine of a January morning.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” —Robert Brault


A nuthatch having breakfast on a pine cone thrills me, and my heart is filled with gratitude as I witness God’s providence for the birds of the air. God bless you on this Sabbath Day

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” —Robert Brault

This post is part of this week’s Skywatch.

Praise – Looking Up

“To bear witness to God the Father, to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and to be guided by the Holy Spirit.”
~ Parish of St. Michael the Archangel

I love the mission statement, quoted above, of the Parish of St Michael the Archangel. What an amazing goal and purpose for a church in this modern age.

We were on a drive and spotted this beautiful bird on the steeple of St. Catherine of Sienna. (Merged in 2010 with Parish of St. Michael the Archangel.)

““As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“There are joys which long to be ours. God sends ten thousands truths, which come about us like birds seeking inlet; but we are shut up to them, and so they bring us nothing, but sit and sing awhile upon the roof, and then fly away.”
~Henry Ward Beecher

The modern world chooses not to honor God’s truths or hear his voice. In many churches world views contrary to God’s word are condoned in the name of love. I plan to keep looking up, my eyes and spirit focused on God’s truths, instead of being in agreement with what the world considers politically correct.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday.

Phriday Pheathers – Over-wintering

White Egret in Salt Marsh – Fortescue, New Jersey

I read a post today written by Be Creative Mary that spoke of the salty smell of East Coast seashores. My state’s coast, including the Delaware Bay, also has a distinctive fragrance of salt marsh. Even though we are in the throes of cold wintry weather, the first day of the year was filled with amazing birds over-wintering in the salt marshes of the Bay near Fortescue.

The swans were busy grooming, but one lifted its head long enough for me to capture their graceful beauty.

The sparrows, sheltering in bushes near the beach houses, were a cheerful sight to begin the year of 2019. The scrubby brush provided wintry hospitality for the small birds. I felt a sense of gratitude to see and hear the sweet chirping of this small flock.

I am hoping, that although most of the birds seem to be common house sparrows, perhaps there are a few that are a member of the endangered Salt Marsh Sparrow and the species will experience a recovery of numbers in the coming years.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and Friday Foto Friends.

Photo Challenges – Copper Snow & Candelabra Trees

We had a small snowstorm this week. It took me by surprise; I hadn’t heard the forecast and didn’t know snow was on the way.

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.”

                                  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Can a snowstorm be perfect? This one was near perfection, quick, never accumulating on roads or sidewalks, in and out of the area in a hurry, leaving behind a beautiful dusting of white to reflect the waning sunlight.

The winter sun gleamed so brightly in the sky it almost seemed as if it had become a supernova for a moment, illuminating the frozen landscape with a burst of copper.

I looked up the street towards my friend‘s house; she would soon be one of the drivers heading home from work. Maybe she had already made plans to open the curtains, heat up a hot drink, and enjoy the beauty outside her window. The tree in her backyard blazed so bright in the sun it resembled a lit candelabra.

In my backyard, the sun continued to set, leaving behind a pure lavender and gold sky…utterly breathtaking! Winter does have its delights after all.

“Silently, like thoughts that come and go, the snowflakes fall each one a gem

                                          ~William Hamilton Gibson

Places & Pheathers – Town, Country & The Pied Pipers of Raptor

Small Business Saturday has arrived, and we supported the cause by window-shopping in one of the small towns near us, Pitman, New Jersey. I like the reflection of the Broadway Theater in the door.

It’s fun to check out how the small businesses decorate their windows to draw shoppers inside.

We went from town to a small woods and field behind our home. As we walked, a large bird swooped in front of us, almost as if it was showing off a bit, and flew to a tree on the edge of the field. What excitement filled us to see not just one very large hawk, but two. I zoomed in with my camera and after downloading was able to make out their markings. I believe they are a pair of red-tailed hawks, although one appears to be much older than the other. Not only did we see them, they were very aware of us and split up, one flying into the horizon beyond the woods and one towards the homes nearby.

I followed the hawk that flew to the trees near our neighborhood as if it was the Pied Piper of Hamelin, or as my imagination deemed it while I played catch up with it on foot: The Pied Piper of Raptor. I never did get close enough to get a photograph without using the zoom on my lens. Smart birds! What a perfect Saturday we’ve had, a little bit of town, a little bit of country.

This post is part of Skywatch.

Phriday Phads, Pheathers & A Photo Challenge – Pull Up a Seat

I was pulling the trash cans to the curb when my neighbor across the street called out to me, “Look up.” I did, immediately ditched the trash can, and ran for my camera. I was lucky and the bronze and brown hawk wasn’t disrupted by my motion beneath him. He sat prettily for his portrait against the overcast sky. He’s a beauty, and I believe he is the same hawk I’ve written of in past posts.

For some reason he brought to mind pole-sitters. I’m assuming that in the generations born after me, most people have no idea what constitutes a pole-sitter. Pole-sitting didn’t take a lot of skill, just a bit of bravado and endurance.

Wikipedia says: “Pole sitting is the practice of sitting on top of a pole (such as a flagpole) for extended lengths of time, generally used as a test of endurance. A small platform is typically placed at the top of the pole for the sitter. Led by the stunt actor and former sailor Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly, flagpole sitting was a fad in the mid-to-late 1920s, but mostly died out after the start of the Great Depression.”

If you have never heard of pole-sitting, take a look at this quick Youtube video:

This post is part of Pull Up A Seat Challenge.

Pheathers – Russets

Autumn walks are glorious. I enjoy looking up and finding sunlit leaves to photograph.

Yesterday, I noticed an especially tall tree with brilliant color in the distance. In a patch of barren branches glowed one shining leaf. When I zoomed in with my camera lens, I found my single leaf was a robin basking in the sun, his feathers perfectly matching the russet of the leaves. Robins, like geese, don’t seem to fly south anymore, but winter over in many northern areas.

Journey North has an excellent article on why robins winter-over in the north. One reason I might see so many in my area is the abundance of natural food source trees and bushes in our area.

Here’s a few of the Autumn trees in my area of New Jersey this week. I can’t wait until the leaves lay ankle-deep on the sidewalks like a gigantic potpourri of color. What fun it is to kick through the piles, enjoying the inimitable fragrance and crunch of the dry leaves beneath my feet. This post is part of Skywatch Friday.

Photo Challenge – Fore #2/Pitman Golf Club

Today’s Weather Vane Wednesday post is once again a golf theme. The weather vane is quite large in comparison to the first golf vane post. You can find this nattily-dressed golfer atop the Pitman Golf Club in Pitman, New Jersey.

A little closer…

The photo is a bit blurry since I zoomed in from afar, but you can see by the weathered surface the weather vane has been there quite awhile. I like his jaunty cap.

Thanks so much to the 59 Club for two weeks of #weathervaneweds posts.

The 59 Club/Faith During Calm and Turbulent Times
…and…
The 59 Club/Dock Duty

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

This post is part of Skywatch Friday/September 11th Edition.