In the movie Contagion, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character received a virus from a chef she came in contact with in Macau.


Photo: Warner Bros. Industries

The chef got the virus from the carcass of a pig which got the virus from a chunk of banana an infected bat had dropped into the pig’s pen.

The screenplay was the brainchild of writer Scott Z. Burns, who may or may not have read Cook’s novel of the same name, although the two stories are world’s apart. That’s not important, what is important is that the movie demonstrated the ability of viruses to jump between species. A little thing called species-jumping. You might remember from high school biology that animals of one species can’t breed with animals of another species. That’s what makes them, well, species! And vectors, such as viruses and bacteria, love jumping between species.

Where am I going with this? No, I haven’t decided to start a career as a virologist, although, back in the day, I did look great in a lab coat.


In my dreams.

The reason I’m discussing the topic of species-jumping is I’m faced with a potential outbreak (Now, that was a fun movie!). The annoying creature I’m dealing with is a bacterium called Mycoplasma gallisepticum, and it’s jumping all over the place.

Mycoplasma_gallisepticum - bacteria - bird_flu - chicken - infection - contagion

Mycoplasma gallisepticum, super, duper enlarged.

This little devil originally worked its damage on domestic birds such as chickens and turkeys, giving them all sorts of nasty respiratory problems like cloudy eyes, conjunctivitis, swollen sinuses, sticky nasal mucous, and labored breathing. First described in the early 1900’s, MG, as it’s affectionately called, had extracted a serious toll on the poultry industry, but, for many years it stayed species specific. Unfortunately, MG mutated and has jumped to a whole new group of species: the taxonomic class called Passerines.

aves.png - birds - songbirds


According to Cornell Lab’s Feeder Watch (

In the winter of 1994, Project FeederWatch participants in the Washington, D.C., area began reporting that House Finches at their feeders had swollen, red, crusty eyes. Lab tests revealed that the birds had Mycoplasma gallisepticum, a parasitic bacterium previously known to infect poultry. 

From Washington, D.C., let’s give a warm Concord River welcome to (drum roll, please) Mycoplasma gallisepticum.  

I first noticed this little lady at the end of July.

house_finch - songbirds - birds

My Patient Zero: a female House Finch with the first signs of Avian Conjunctivitis.

A few days later, this guy developed conjunctivitis too.

goldfinch - avian_conjunctivitis - birds - songbirds

My infected American Goldfinch.

Species-jumping at its finest!

How does the infection spread, you ask with a breathlessness that is nothing short of amazing? Watch and learn:

My bird feeder is like a Roman bath; a veritable hot bed of disease.

It’s the style of feeder that seems to enhance the spread of the infection. Feeders with large ports seem to enhance the spread of the disease. To feed, the infected bird has to poke its head into the seed hole and the bird’s eyes scrape against the edges of the opening, thus leaving a tiny trace of nastiness for the next bird. Think of it like this: you meet someone who has conjunctivitis, who has just rubbed her eye, and then you shake hands. Yuck!

Avian Conjunctivitis doesn’t kill, although new studies indicate it is getting more virulent. It can result in blindness, however, which prevents the bird from finding food, ultimately resulting in starvation. Also, if the bird becomes blind, there’s the risk of flying into solid objects like trees and windows, another thing that has a negative effect on the bird’s overall health.

Many birds overcome the disease, as some research suggests. If the birds can find food, they stand a chance of their immune system defeating the infection, and becoming healthy again. My little finch still manages to find the seed, despite being visually impaired.

What can you do to help? If you see a bird at your feeder with eyes issues, don’t try to catch it. No, the condition can’t be passed to humans or other mammals, but you might risk injuring the bird more than it already is. Take down your feeder, and dispose of the seed. Soak the feeder in a 10% bleach solution for about 20 minutes, rinse it really well, and let it dry completely before using it again. I recommend a drying time of 48 hours. If you have more than one feeder, disinfect them all, disposing of ALL the seed.


goldfinch - birds - songbirds - yellow - sunflower - sunny

“You don’t eat off of dirty dishes so don’t make me eat from a dirty feeder.”

Following good bird feeding practices will help reduce the spread of the disease and, according to Cornell Labs, might stop infections from starting. Here are their guidelines:

  1. Space your feeders widely to discourage crowding.
  2. Clean your feeders on a regular basis (weekly) with a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach and 9 parts water).
  3. Remove any build-ups of dirt around the food openings. Allow your feeders to dry completely before rehanging them. It’s a good idea to have a back-up feeder to use while one is drying.
  4. Rake the area underneath your feeder to remove droppings and old, moldy seed.
  5. If you see one or two diseased birds, take your feeder down immediately and clean it with a 10% bleach solution.

You can opt to stop feeding the birds until the diseased bird has moved on, but you’ll just drive the infected bird to a new location which will increase the chance of spreading the bacteria. Be vigilant about cleaning your feeders during an outbreak. Disinfect your feeders with every seed change. Follow these guidelines established by Wild Birds Unlimited.

  • Always store your bird seed in a cool and dry location outside of your home.
  • Store bird seed in rodent- and insect-proof containers.
  • Never mix old seed with new seed.
  • During periods of warm weather, store only the amount of seed that your birds can consume over a two-week period.
  • During the cooler winter weather, store only the amount of seed your birds can consume over a four-week period.
  • Keep your bird feeders filled with a one- or two-day supply of seed to ensure it is eaten quickly and stays fresh.
  • Discard moldy, rancid or foul-smelling seed, because it can be a health hazard to birds.

My added recommendations are to remove perches from your feeders to discourage lingering lunches and dinners.

bird_feeder - feeders - songbirds - birds

Also, avoid communal feeders.

Screen feeders reduce the issues created by the large feeding holes. Soon, my feeders will be replaced by the style shown below. I’m just waiting for Amazon to deliver them

screen - feeder - birds

I like this type because it also allows the spent seed shells to drop to the ground for easy sweeping up.

Now, this is what I want you to do. I want you to go on Netflix and rent Contagion, and while you’re there, rent Outbreak too, but disinfect your feeders first.

goldfinch - songbird - birds - finches - yellow

And help the songbird population by contributing to ongoing research, join Feeder Watch at:

Blessed be :}





Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


It took her long enough!

mallards - ducklings - ducks - babies - chicks

Here comes Mama Hen with her Mallard chicks close behind.

I’ve been patient, I have, but I’d given up hope at ever seeing chicks this season when what do I see, a proud hen with six cute, little ducklings. It took her long enough.

She wasn’t the only one with chicks in tow. Another hen arrived a few days later with a few older ducklings, and they had a lot to say to the adult ducks when they arrived. Two of them didn’t hesitate to blend right in with the flock, leaving siblings and Mama to fend for themselves.

mallards - ducks - ducklings

“Hey, that’s my corn!”


Mama kept a close eye on them as they chowed down on the cracked corn.

I’m sad to report the six little chicks didn’t last very long, and soon Mama Hen was down to five.

mallards - ducklings - ducks - babies - chicks

And then two.

mallards - ducklings - ducks - babies - chicks

Maybe it was losing most of her brood that made her so protective, but their mama kept a tight reign on them when they were feeding with the flock.

Hearing about all the fun, a third hen brought her slightly older, pre-teens to the party.

mallards - ducklings - ducks - babies - chicks

All-in-all, I’d say it was a successful breeding season.


Thank you, Goddess. Blessed be :}

Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer 2019

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as writing The earth laughs in flowers. If that is the case, my little corner of the Concord River is a raucous riot of laughter.

flowers - rivers - lilies - geraniums - gardens

My gardens are a blaze with color to welcome the first day of summer. Litha. A time of celebration for the abundance that is Mother Nature.

flowers - gardens - pink - yellow - beauty - summer - porchHave you ever wondered what each summertime flower means? What you’re saying when you give the one you love a bunch of posies? Here’s some meanings to help get you going: Dianthus: pure affection; Lavender: devotions; Pansies: loving thoughts; Violets: faithfulness; Red Salvia: esteem; Red Roses: I’ve got the hots for you!

Some people find the first day of summer a day for sadness. After all, the days begin to shorten from this point on as winter turns over in his sleep and dreams of snowstorms and icicles.

junco - birds - songbirds - animals - wildlife

Slate-colored Junco wondering when the heck summer would arrive.

But Old Man Winter isn’t my concern right now for today is a day for celebration. A time to bask in the light. As the grasshopper knew, summertime is a time for making music.

grasshopper - ant - fable - aesops

Aesop’s fable about the Ants and the Grasshopper teaches us a valuable lesson: There’s a time for work and a time for play.

When I was a young girl I didn’t get the message about work and play. I took Aesop’s fable to mean our friends will turn their backs on us when we need them the most. This interpretation goes a long way in explaining my philia relationships.

Here’s the full fable. You be the judge.

The Ants & the Grasshopper

One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.

“What!” cried the Ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”

“I didn’t have time to store up any food,” whined the Grasshopper; “I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”

The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.

“Making music, were you?” they cried. “Very well; now dance!” And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.

Reprinted with permission from the Library of Congress.

My Great Blue Heron isn’t sitting on her tail feathers and fiddling in the sunshine. She’s busy doing what she must to survive, and doing a bang-up job of it, too.

Sorry for the shaky camera work; pretend you’re watching a John Wick movie.

A blog post about summer wouldn’t be complete without a recipe for Caprese Salad.

caprese salad - food - summer foods - tomatoes

caprese salad - summer foods - salads

Italians certainly know how to savor the flavors of summer.

As you enjoy your salad I hope you’ll take some time to thank the earth for her beauty. No matter where you live, city or country, in an apartment building or on a farm, there is beauty all around you.

Sometimes all you have to do is look straight ahead.


Other times you need to look up.


Wherever you look, take a moment and pause. Summertime is here, and the living is so, so easy.

Blessed be :}



Hey, it’s my blog and I can advertise my book all I want. 😉



Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stranger Things

The times, they are getting strange here in my little corner of the Concord River. Just the other day I was working in the yard and was joined by a Little Brown Bat.

bat - brown - mammal

Little Brown Bat, Myotis lucifugus

At first it freaked me a bit since it was early afternoon and the little fellow, or gal, should have been snoozing in a dark crevice somewhere, but it didn’t appear to be aggressive so I calmed down, and checked out the National Wildlife Federation’s website. As long as the bat’s behavior wasn’t erratic, and there wasn’t any foam around the mouth, I was instructed to let the bat do its thing, and I should do mine. Unfortunately, the bat’s thing involved fluttering around, riding the gentle afternoon breezes, and following me. No matter where I went in the yard, it would come to settle nearby.

little brown bat - mammal - bats - animals - wildlife

Clinging to the tree alongside the pile of dirt I was shoveling.

Who knew Little Brown Bats were so curious? I eventually took a break, and sat to enjoy my iced coffee, and my small, mammal companion clung to an overhanging branch.

bat - brown - mammal

“I can see you.”

Little Brown Bats are very cool. Did you know one bat is capable of eating 1000 insects in just one hour! Sadly, a deadly fungus is decimating bat populations across North America. That, and the destruction of their natural habitats (thanks Trump, you clown), the Little Brown Bat, and other bat species a facing an uphill battle. To learn how you can help save our bat populations, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service .

brown bat - mammal

Do it soon, before bats are gone forever.

Over the past two days I’ve been visited by two Musk Turtles. No, it isn’t one turtle coming back for a rerun. How do I know, they’re different sizes.

It’s not odd to see turtles in my gardens but two Musk Turtles, back-to-back, must be some kind of omen. I’m thinking it might mean Keanu Reeves is coming to pay a visit. Either that or I’m going to fall off my retaining wall. If I do, the snapper will make short work of me. What, you don’t remember my manhole-sized Snapping Turtle? ( Well, she’s still around, and she’s gotten bigger.


Each morning, as I sit on my wall, and sip my coffee and feed the carp, she stops by for some bread, and a duck leg if she’s feeling extra hungry.

mallard - duck - hen - wildlife

Duck legs taste like chicken, or so I’m told.

Next truly strange thing: THERE ARE NO DUCKLINGS!! This time last year I had fuzzy little ducklings running around the yard. This year? None! Oh, sure, Shannon and St. John are still tooling about–eating their weight in corn, and lounging on the retaining wall when I’m not, but zilch in the duckling department.


St. John, the Mallard drake.


Shannon, the Mallard hen.

Not only are Shannon and St. John here, but I think every gosh darn duck on the river are too. But no ducklings!

I’m going to start charging them rent if they don’t lay some eggs. I WANT DUCKLINGS.

duckling - mallard - duck - animal - bird

Little Ducky from Summer 2018.

Last strange thing going on is a Cooper’s Hawk has been going after the chipmunks in my yard. The ducks seems to know it’s not here for them so they don’t flip out when it swings by. They just relocate from the grass into the water, and come back as soon as the hawk flies away, with or without its lunch.

Cooper's hawk - bird - prey - wildlife - animals - falcon

Sorry for the grainy image, the picture was taken through a window screen.

That’s pretty much all the strange stuff I have to report. The gardens are coming to life…

and the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are humming along.

hummingbird - birds - wildlife - humming - ruby

Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

hummingbird - female - songbirds - birds - wildlife

Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.


And … wait for it, drumroll, please … I reached a 1000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. It’s happy dance time.


Have you subscribed? What are you waiting for?

Anyway, it’s time for bed. I thank you for reading my humble post, and following my little blog. You are following my blog, right?

Blessed be :}

songbird - birds - phoebe - wildlife

Eastern Phoebe


More shameless self-promotion. 😉

Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to Say Goodbye

rabbit - white - bunny -

RIP 5/17/2019

Yesterday, my white rabbit, Stew, aka Hazel, but mostly Stew, died in my arms while we were at the vet. She’d been acting weird for the past few weeks, some days happily hopping around her indoor pen, while on other days having no interest in food or me. Yesterday, her breathing became labored and she couldn’t move his hind legs. Chris and I took her the vet and while I was waiting she died in my arms.

A little background on Stew. On October 6, 2014, a friend and I found a cardboard box in the marsh along Elsie Ave. Inside was a frightened white rabbit missing a toe.

white rabbit

Hazel, when we found her, which I thought was a him. Stick around and I’ll explain her gender and name change.

Sparky was alive when I found Stew and they got to know each other rather quickly. Now they’re both gone.


Sparky and Stew, October 2014

On October 30, 2014, Stew helped me build her pen which I kept in my office. She had the run of the house back then and learned to use his litter box rather quickly. She was a good little bunny.

white rabbit

Stew, checking out her new Wabbitat.

This is how the name and gender thing happened. I originally named Stew Hazel, from the rabbit in the book, Watership Down, by Richard Adams.


rabbits - bunnies - watership down

I love this book.

Chris thought the name Hazel was a bit odd, and pointed out a better name would be Stew, since Hazel is a rabbit and rabbit stew is delicious. Thus, Hazel became Stew.

In January, 2017, I had a hysterectomy, and Stew went in to be snipped. Surprise, surprise, he had no penis but two, well-developed ovaries. Can you say Stewina?

That same month Isabella arrived, a rescued Himalayan rabbit.

rabbits - bunnies - white rabbit - animals - pets

Stew and Isabella

Things have been rocking along since Isabella arrived. Stew loved the company. I eventually built them an indoor run down in the basement and a second run outside for the summer months. They had a ball and every time I visited them Stew would hop over to me and cuddle. He loved to have the space between his ears scratched. He was a sweet little bunny.

But now Stew is gone and Isabella is alone. I’ll take a drive to Nevins Farm, the MSPCA adoption center in Methuen, and adopt another rescued rabbit for Isabella.

Did I mention Stew died in my arms?


I hope your soul is hopping around in the green fields of Summerland, Stew.

Blessed be :}



Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Magic of My World

I wish I could take you by the hand and show you the magic of my world in real time. You’d hear the song of the Northern Cardinal, and feel the scented breeze on your skin as the sun warms your tired bones.


But, alas, I can only share my world with you through the lens of my camera. Come along with me, will you, the best is yet to be.

The birds of spring have all arrived, from the Baltimore Orioles to the Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. Let’s start with the orioles, shall we.

As in the past, the male is elusive and damn hard to capture with my camera. However, I know how to entice the female Baltimore Oriole to pose for me. String. I sprinkle fine strands of string throughout the yard, and she comes and gathers them for her nest, stopping to thank me along the way.

songbird - nature - wildlife - birds

Female Baltimore Oriole with a strand of string.

A Baltimore Oriole nest takes a lot of string but no worries, I have plenty.

birds - nest - Baltimore Oriole - songbirds

Photo courtesy of:

Now for my Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. Truth, I have two males spending time at my sunflower feeder. They first arrived while I was suffering through a nasty bout of the flu a couple of weeks ago. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw them outside my bedroom window, but, nope, two males for twice the beauty.

I happen to think the female Rose-Breasted is mighty spectacular as well.

songbirds - birds - nature - wildlife

Female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Sure, the male got the scarlet red chest, and the classic black and white feathers, but the female of the species has some fine markings all her own. Plus, she has golden chest feathers. Bravo, Mother Nature.

This past Saturday, after I finished a long day working in the gardens, Harlee and I spent some time relaxing. We sat and watched four Tree Swallows perform their courting flights. Of course I didn’t get any pictures, they more too fast for me. Although, they did stop and rest at the top of one of my oak trees, and I was able to capture a few nice shots even if I was underneath them.

No springtime blog post would be complete without the mention of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

ruby-throated hummingbird - songbirds - nature - wildlife - birds

Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Shannon and St. John are still making their daily visits. St. John keeps a watchful eye while Shannon relaxes or eats. I hope she has some eggs in the nest and isn’t leading St. John on. He’s too nice a duck to be scammed by a sweet quacking hen.

The Great-blue Heron strolled through my yard last week. She is a truly magnificent bird, and one of these days I’m going to hop on her back and demand she take me for a ride.

heron - bird - nature - wildlife

Great-blue Heron taking a walk through one of my gardens.

I hope you enjoyed this little visit, I know I loved having the company. It gets lonely here in my little corner of the Concord River, and now and then I’d love another person to talk to.

dog - black Lab - animals - pets

Harlee is a great companion but he’s not much of a conversationalist.

Oh, one last thing before you go.


The American Goldfinches finished molting.

Blessed be :}

The following is a blatant attempt to sell you something.

If you’re interested in purchasing some of my photographs as greetings cards and other nifty items, visit my store at The money I earn helps to pay for the duck’s corn. Thank you.

And don’t forget about my newest book.


Okay, now you can go.



Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Month of Wonder and Delight

Welcome to May. Beltane. The position on the wheel of the year that marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. A time to frolic like a randy squirrel.

tumblr_inline_o6bdkpkdpG1qitufs_400 (1).gif

Before the festivities begin, let’s take a look back through April and recount the days gone by.

Day 1: A Brown Creeper spent a little time scouting out insects in the bark of my oak tree.

Day 2: The American Goldfinches started molting.

goldfinch - songbird - wildlife

Day 3: I repaired a portion of my walkway.

Day 4: A female Goldeneye, a type of diving duck, spent some time demonstrating her diving abilities.

goldeneye - duck - diving - waterfowl

Day 5: A pair of Wood Ducks enjoyed some cracked corn.


Day 6: I met Shannon and St. John, the breeding pair of Mallards who chose my yard as their nesting territory. They’re named after the main character’s in my newest book, Breaking the Rulesmallards - ducks - drake - hen - waterfowl

Day 7: While I worked in my gardens, Shannon would come up to me and quack softly for her afternoon feeding.


Day 8: The American Goldfinches continued to molt.

goldfinch - songbird - birds - wildlife

Day 9: Since my health had returned, yay, I was able to finish the hummingbird garden expansion.







Day 10: Harlee investigated the mulch delivery.

Day 11: A female Northern Cardinal posed for a picture.


Day 12: More Wood Ducks arrived.


Day 13: A wild turkey investigated the side yard.

wild - turkey

Day 14: The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrived in Massachusetts. I haven’t seen one yet but my feeders are up and ready.

hummingbirds - migration - maps

Day 15: The Downy Woodpecker pretended she’s a hummingbird.


Day 16: St. John kept a watchful eye while Shannon ate so her chicks will be fat and healthy.



Day 17: A couple of Hooded Mergansers visited for a bit.

sea ducks - mergansers - waterfowl

Day 18: I finished adding mulch to both enlarged gardens.IMG_1034.JPG

Day 19: Yup, you guessed it; more molting American Goldfinches.


Day 20: Shannon continued her daily visits for lunch.

Day 21: My fourth book went live on Amazon.

new books - novels - fiction - romance

Day 22: A Spring Peeper started singing at night in the marsh across from my house.

Day 23: The Forsythia bush I planted last summer returned in a blaze of yellow.



Day 24: Rain, rain, rain, and my neighbor’s yard flooded.


Day 25: The American Goldfinches almost finished molting.


Day 26: The river rose from the continued rain and flooded my side yard. Shannon and St. John loved that they had a private pond to swim in.


Day 27: The Trout Lily bloomed. She’s getting bigger every year.


Day 28: Harlee and I took a nap that lasted the entire afternoon. In my defense, I’m one little, old lady who’s just gotten over a mysterious illness that turned out to be not so mysterious and I’ve been doing a ton of yard work. Garden’s don’t mulch themselves, you know.

Day 29: My YouTube channel reached 500 subscribers. Have you subscribed?

Day 30: The Great Blue Heron returned from her winter vacation.

Great blue heron

Thirty days of wonder, enchantment, and delight.

Blessed Beltane. Blessed be. :}


Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look out!

They’re coming in fast!

hummingbirds - migration - maps

I’m behind in my posting of the ruby-throated migration map and I am so very sorry. Get your feeders up NOW! It’s a wave of red and they’re going to be hungry. Remember, four parts water to one part granulated sugar. No need to buy fancy nectar when good old sugar will do.


Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Heat the water first, it helps to dissolve the sugar completely. Then let it cool before filling your feeders.


No red food coloring required. Keep it simple and pure. Go on, what are you waiting for.

Do it!


hummingbird - nectar - feeder

Yum. I love sugar water without red food coloring. One cup of sugar to four cups of water and I’m good to go. Slurp, slurp, slurp.


Blessed be :}

Are you still here? Go!

Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring is officially here!

And it’s about time. Maybe it’s the whole getting older thing but this winter felt endless and I’m glad it’s over. The last snowstorm on March 4 dumped over a foot of snow on my little corner of the river.

March 4 - snow storm

Even the songbirds were like ‘WTF is this?’

But my ducks just rolled with it. They’re hearty souls and it takes more than a little, or a lot, of snow to phase them.

Mallard - duck - hen - snow - bird - waterfowl

I will admit my river was pretty.

Concord river - snow

But I’m done with snow for a while. I need to get my hands into some warm earth and feel the worms wiggling around my fingers. In short, I need to see my flowers blooming!


Have you started your seeds yet? It’s time, you know.

seedlings - seeds - plants - flowers

This year I plan of planting loads of zinnias. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds love them.

I’m also trying to start nasturtium and moonflower seeds. Nothing yet but I’m hopeful.

I have this silly fantasy of lying in my bed at night and smelling the fragrant aroma of moonflowers outside my open bedroom window. I also have a fantasy about Keanu Reeves, but I’ll save that topic for a different blog post.

Last night, the first night of spring, 2019, saw a super Worm moon.

rare super worm moon - full moon - 2019

The last time the Vernal Equinox hosted a super full moon was in 1905! I hope you got a chance to see it. The next time a super full moon and the spring equinox coincide will be in 2144. I don’t expect to be here for that one so I’m thrilled the night was clear and that I could get a good look last night.

Now that spring is in the air the activity along the river has picked up. The red-winged blackbirds and grackles are back from their southern vacation homes.

grackle - songbirds - birds - blackbirdsred-winged blackbird - songbirds - birds - blackbirds

Both Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles belong to the Family Icteridae which also includes orioles, such as my beautiful Baltimore Orioles that visit my yard each summer.

I hope you’re paying attention because there’ll be a quiz next week in biology class.

The coming of spring has also stepped up the romance in the air. My Northern Cardinal pair is feeling amorous and the male cardinal performed his tender courting ritual of feeding the female a sunflower seed.

Northern cardinal - songbirds - red - male - female - courtship - mating

Not being ones for PDA, they hid behind the branches of my forsythia bush. When he was finished feeding his lady love, the male gave me a nasty look as if to tell me to mind my own business.

Northern cardinal - male - songbird - red - birds

Too bad, I told him. My house, my money, my sunflower seed, my rules.

There were a few bachelors wandering around the river last week. First a swan stopped by…

Trumpet swan - birds - swans

Trumpet swan.

…and also a male Northern pintail.

Northern pintail - ducks - waterfowl

Northern pintail.

Although both birds should be with their respective mates by now they didn’t seem bothered at going stud. I guess they’re keeping their options open. Maybe the pintail thought he’d get himself a little Mallard action but the hen kept her eyes closed and ignored him, though I’m sure it didn’t hurt that her drake was by her side.

Mallards - ducks - pintails - males - drakes - hens

Mallard drake and hen, and Northern pintail.

As long as I on the topic of ducks, a pair of wood ducks have been hanging around my beach.


Wood duck hen and drake.

Two springs ago I put up a wood duck nesting box.

Fine, for the record, my friend put up the wood duck box, but I paid for it, and I supervised. Anyway, I’ve never hosted a pair of Wood Ducks in the box. Just sparrows. Lots and lots of sparrows. This year things might work out for me. The pair has been here for a few days.

And the hen is getting comfortable with me being out in the yard.

I have all my toes and fingers crossed she’ll lay some eggs for me. I want to be a grandma to baby wood ducks.

wood duck - chicks - hatchlings - baby ducks

Wood Duck hen with her chicks. Photo courtesy of:

Until then I’ll keep myself content by photographing the daddy-to-be.

wood duck - male - drake

Male wood duck.

Tell me, who do you think is more handsome – a male Mallard or the male Wood Duck?

The most handsome of all is my Harlee! Today is his second anniversary. He and I met in 2017 and it was love at first sight.

black Lab - dogs - rescue

black Lab - dogs - male

Thank you, Labs 4 Rescue.

To celebrate the beginning of spring I made a batch of cookies that I call Spring Cakes.


I would typically frost them with tinted icing but I was out of food coloring. They were still delicious–Chris ate a bunch. Here’s the recipe.

spring cakes.png

Now, I want you to go and make some Spring Cakes, brew a cup of tea, and head outside salute the beginning of spring.


Blessed Ostara :}




Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shake off the dirt, Persephone, it’s time to dance.

Lately, I’ve felt like Persephone, caught in the underworld of darkness, but no more. It’s time to dust myself off and embrace the light surrounding me.

persephone - underworld - darkness - depression

About a month ago my primary care physician decided to wean me off my anti-depressant medication, Wellbutrin. I had read several articles about Wellbutrin being associated with Parkinson-like symptoms and a slew of other neurological issues and I posed the question to him, ‘Could Wellbutrin be the cause of my mysterious neurological issues?’ This is the same question I presented to the eight, yes, eight neurologists who examined me over the past year. The eight, yes, eight, neurologists poo-pooed me and told me to go see a psychiatrist. Thankfully, my primary doctor took action because (drum roll, please) my symptoms are gone!!! Here, see for yourself.

I’m happy to write that I’m on day five of my CBD treatment and I’m…wait for it…it’s almost here…any second now… TaDa! I’m not depressed.

It’s happy dance time. Come on Persephone, let’s boogie.



Happy first day of spring!

Blessed be :}


Posted in Life on the Concord River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment