365 Somethings Project: Week 5

And so, I have made it to week 5. Each week, I keep a short list in my notebook of what I want to accomplish creatively. This week, the list didn’t happen, primarily because I have a book to review and reading takes up my precious bits of creative time. Still, I did find ways to be creative.

1. Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop: I managed to complete Rachel’s highlighting and shadowing project. I like how this turned out. Furthermore, I genuinely enjoyed the time I took to work through this project. I was very happily absorbed, and that feeling counts for a lot with me.

The highlighting and shadowing project in Color Workshop

2. William Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken with Lemon Vinaigrette Couscous with Raisins:  This one is absolutely delicious. The house smells fantastic with spices I don’t typically use, and hungry teens seem to be lurking in the shadows around the slow cooker. I’m calling that a win.

Moroccan Chicken with Lemon Vinaigrette Couscous with Raisins

3. Photography: I posted an entry in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for the subject of variations on a theme. I have also been goofing around more with my Nikon D500 and Picasa and posted several pictures that made me smile.

4. Daily Prompt Books: This week I dabbled in some of my daily prompt books. I certainly didn’t do so with any consistency. Still, grabbing a prompt and writing or drawing for a few minutes let me exercise my creative muscle without feeling too invested in an outcome. The books I’m working through at the moment are Draw Every Day Draw Every Way and A Writer’s Book of Days, and they seem to suit me quite well. That said, I will not post any pictures from these exercises because I need a place to simply learn without an audience watching. (Thank you, Pierr, for the good advice.)

With that, I’ve completed my fifth week of the 365 Somethings Project. I think I’ve created enough of a fledgling habit to justify to myself announcing my goals and parameters for my project in my sixth week. So, it’s finally time to reveal my master plan . . . . 😉

Miscellaneous Photographs

I’ve been playing with my Nikon D5000 this week and had some fun doing so.

A heron decided to visit a seasonal pond in our front yard.

Heron

My middle son got my gene for loving all things living. Joining Quincy the leopard gecko, and Pipsqueak and Piper the guinea pigs, let me introduce

Almond Biscotti the hamster

For the record, that shot is magnified. At a month old, Almond is about two inches in length. She is also the most charming member of the rodent family that I’ve ever met.

A typical winter moment in my office. Note: it’s not my magnetic personality. I have the space heater.

Can I please come back as one of my cats? Please?

Finally, a couple of shots of the flowers my amazing husband surprised me with, just because.

Flowers from my thoughful spouse

Second shot of flowers

Gotcha!, Part 2

After discovering far more patience than I normally exhibit, I finally had the opportunity to get a clear picture of my chickadee. I’m pretty certain he’s a Black-Capped Chickadee.

Black-Capped Chickadee

Black-Capped Chickadee

In the process of obtaining this photo, I’ve actually become quite fond of this little fellow. He’s pretty darn interesting. He does not eat at the feeder like the goldfinches. Instead, he sneaks up and snatches a sunflower seed before darting back into the safety of the shrubbery. Although it made taking his photograph more complicated, I admire his cleverness.

Gotcha!

I finally moved quickly enough to capture pictures of hummingbirds at both front and back feeders!

Hummingbird at back feeder.

Hummingbird at back feeder.

This little lady appeared at our back feeder. I believe this is an adult female Anna’s or Rufous hummingbird because of what I think is a small patch of red under the neck. That said, I reserve the right to change my mind if I get better photos.

 

 

 

Meanwhile in the front, I took two nice shots of this little visitor.

Close up of hummingbird at the front feeder.

Close up of hummingbird at the front feeder.

Hummingbird at the front feeder.

Hummingbird at the front feeder.

I believe this is also a female because her tail feathers are clearly white tipped in another photo, but again I’m not sure whether she’s an Anna’s or Rufous.

Now, I wondering if in fact she is the same bird in all three photos?

In any case, gotcha!

 

Bird Feeder Update

“And they told two friends. And they told two friends. . . .”

The Nyger seed feeder traffic is definitely picking up. Several times a day, I see one or two finches feeding and one day, we saw a total of six! And they are showing interest in the suet feeder!

Six finches!

Six finches!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And one more, just because. . . .

Gotta love the symmetry.

Gotta love the symmetry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finally managed a photo (albeit terrible) of the elusive hummingbird as well.

Hummingbird at front feeder.

Hummingbird at front feeder.

For one brief moment, we saw a small bird resembling a chickadee at the Nyger seed feeder, but I couldn’t get a clear shot. That said, I know he’s out there and would feed if he could!

I am wondering if the finches scare away other birds. They fight pretty intensely among themselves. I’m thinking of redesigning the feeder configuration once the finches empty the Nyger seed to give more feeding stations to the finches and move the other types of feed further away. Most definitely, putting the suet almost under the most active feeder was not my smartest move.

Of course, I am not the only one enjoying this new adventure. Apparently, Stormie, Wiley and Moxie are budding ornithologist. Who knew?

Stormie, Wiley, Moxie observing the feeders.

Stormie, Wiley, Moxie observing the feeders.

New Friend!

We were re-stacking horse fencing panels yesterday when we discovered this little fellow, who, according to my field guide, is a Northwestern Garter Snake.

Northwestern Garter Snake

Northwestern Garter Snake

My middle son, the budding environmental biologist, immediately made a new friend on whom he bestowed the name, Dave.

Dave

Dave

Bird Feeders & Bath

It’s only taken almost three years, but I finally set up my bird feeders and bath. I’m pretty certain that I have too many feeders on one pole, but I’m on a fishing expedition at the moment to see who comes to dinner. The ornamental beds in front of the house provide beneficial cover for the birds who come to feed.

I will note that I designed and built the bird feeder stand, a project I really enjoyed. I also gave the bird bath a new coat of paint to match our front door. I’m pleased with the results.

Bird Feeders

Bird Feeders

Bird Bath

Bird Bath

Thumper, Bambi and his brother, Bob

Now that summer has arrived, I have more time to notice the wildlife in our own backyard. This past week, Thumper the rabbit came by to trim our grass at the same time Bambi and his brother, Bob, meandered through to trim our blackberry leaves. You really do have to appreciate helpful neighbors.

Thumper

Thumper

DSC_0112

Bambi and Bob

DSC_0122 According to my best naturalist skills and the National Audobon Society’s Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest, Thumper is probably a brush rabbit, while Bambi and Bob are mule deer.