Nature Study at Nana & Pop’s

Observe the lizard perched on Pop’s head. I just love Mary Elizabeth’s expression here.

*This is just a reminder that there’s still time to enter to win a copy of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul or Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body. Details are here.

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, visit Soulemama to leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

On Waiting

The baskets are hanging above the white railing.

On the side porch of our house, we have these big, beautiful hanging baskets that are brimming with flowers. My husband bought these planters to beautify our exterior (he also planted the garden of flowers you see below running parallel to the porch – what a guy!) as well as to make our porch seem more homey. There’s a swing on the porch and a black wicker rocking chair, and the girls and I enjoy reading stories sitting outside together while rocking back and forth.

We also like to watch birds dart in and out of the baskets. A perfect place for nature study right outside our home.

While the flowers certainly have added a splash of loveliness to the porch, they have given us an unexpected surprise as well. It turns out that they make the perfect spot for little birds to nest. We wondered what an industrious little bird was doing one day when she kept disappearing deep into the baskets, swathing herself among the colorful blooms. I wasn’t tall enough to see what was going on, but I suspected some nest-building might be underway.

My much-taller husband confirmed my suspicions. We’ve now had not one but two nests built within the hanging baskets’ flora. The first nest we identified as belonging to a House Finch. The second we weren’t as sure about. It looked a lot like the finch but without the red markings on its head, and the eggs were bigger, splattered with darker speckles, and weren’t the same pale blue-green as the finch’s.

What’s been really exciting about having a bird sanctuary right outside our side door is that we’ve had a chance to watch the eggs crack to reveal squirmy, small, featherless hatchlings. Then with more time, the pink, scrawny things turned into fluffy puffs of fidgety energy. Eventually, the downy softness gave way to real feathers. The girls were delighted to see the birds develop. So was I.

The first batch of baby birds flew away and left their first home when we were at the beach. We returned, and the nest was just an empty straw bowl.

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