Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Pickin'

A few weeks ago our son and DIL and our two little grandsons came for a visit.
The boys were anxious to see the pumpkins that Grandpa had grown for them, so off we went to the pumpkin patch to pick them.

All were examined carefully.

If they're big and you're small you can roll them!

Test to see if you can lift it....

This one's just about right. Posted by Picasa

Here's the Fairytale pumpkin! (click for a larger version) Posted by Picasa

This one's been nibbled by a critter! I wonder what kind?

Jasmine is enjoying the fun. She loves to have the boys to play with.

Pile the pumpkins in the wagon.

Pose for Mom!

Off we go! Hop on Grandpa!Posted by Picasa

Decorations for Grandma and Grandpa's front porch.

And Jack-o-lanterns for theirs.

(photo sent by son & DIL)

This week our pumpkins are wearing white caps after an early snow storm! We were without power for 30 hours during Tuesday and Wednesday, with only local phone service and no internet. Ah, the joys of winter...and it's not even officially here yet!

Murphy follows me as I snap pictures of the bright orange globes against the snowy white.

And Jasmine isn't far behind. Posted by Picasa

Guess what Daddy helped the boys carve? Posted by Picasa

Happy Halloween everyone! :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Autumn in New York

Here in our little corner of upstate NY the autumn leaves reached their peak 2 weeks into October. Driving home from church on that second Sunday of the month the beauty of the countryside was overwhelming. DH and I decided an afternoon drive, armed with the camera, would be a perfect way to spend an hour or so.

We drove first to our top meadow, where fields of corn, dried by sun and wind to a warm shade of russet, are awaiting harvest.

Trees clothed in fiery reds, burnt umbers, tawny oranges...a vast array of warm earth tones....surrounded the meadow.

Bright sunshine magnified the colors......

...and dappled the leaves, Posted by Picasa

filtering through the woods....

and enhancing the vivid greens of the hayfields.

As we drove down out of the meadow I marveled at the beauty of the fall and God's artistry.

Just a little further along the road a few farms nestled on the hillsides, surrounded by the splendor. Posted by Picasa

The dark green of pines interspersed with the deciduous trees....

.....made a brilliant contrast.

We didn't actually drive very far,

and stopped often, so the time passed quickly. Posted by Picasa

Soon we headed for home to do a bit of work outside before the sun set. That's another of our cornfields, with our farm tucked at the bottom of the hill.

Ecru, against rust, green, gold and a cloudless blue sky. What could be prettier?

Another view of the farm a little further down the hill.

It was hard to put the camera away and settle down to work on such a glorious day! Posted by Picasa

So I took a few photos from our back yard of the surrounding views.

I'll miss the soft browns of the cornfields once they're harvested.

This maple tree still has its green leaves, with just a few yellowing tips on the branches.....strange, because it was the first of our maples to begin the transition in early September.
Rain has been pouring down continuously today, and the glorious fall colors have turned to drab, but the memory of the splendor lingers on. It will help to carry us through until spring brightens our corner of the world again.
Have a lovely weekend everyone! Posted by Picasa
Dave over at The Home Garden is hosting " The Garden Blogger Fall Color Project", which I've just noticed this past weekend as I visited a few of my garden blog friends. I've added this post to his comment section. Click the orange link and pop over to add a post of your own, or to see more fall foliage extraordinaire!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Project FeederWatch

Project FeederWatch Benefits Birds and People
Connection with nature promotes wellness

Have you ever participated in this? We're thinking of giving it a try this year.

My hubby is an alumnus of Cornell University, and when we go to Ithaca we try to fit in a visit to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Sapsucker Woods (this link gives you a peek at one of those visits). It's a great place for observing birds - either from inside the main building, which has a huge glass wall overlooking a wooded area and pond, or outside on the beautiful woodland trails. We love this fascinating place!
Below is some information, if you're interested, along with a sampling of photos I've taken of some of the birds we see at our feeders, and in the yard during the year.

Purple Finch - male

The 2008-09 season of Project FeederWatch gets underway November 8 and runs through April 3. Participants count the numbers and kinds of birds at their feeders each week and send the information to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Participants submitted more than 115,000 checklists during the 2007-08 FeederWatch season, documenting unusual bird sightings, winter movements, and shifting ranges -­ a treasure trove of information that scientists use to monitor the health of the birds and of the environment.

Tree Swallow

Beyond the benefits to birds and science, however, is the benefit to participants. “Nature is not merely an amenity; it is critical to healthy human development and functioning,” says Nancy Wells, Cornell University assistant professor of design and environmental analysis. Her studies find that a view of nature through the window, or access to the environment in any way, improves a child’s cognitive functioning and reduces the negative effects of stress on the child’s psychological well-being. Wells also notes that when children spend time with nature early in life it carries over to their adult attitudes and behavior toward the environment.

American Goldfinch - male

Project FeederWatch welcomes participants of all ages and skill levels, from scout troops and retirees to classrooms and nature center visitors. To learn more and to sign up, visit or call the Lab toll-free at (800) 843-2473. In return for the $15 fee ($12 for Lab members) participants receive the FeederWatcher’s Handbook, an identification poster of the most common feeder birds in their area, a calendar, complete instructions, and the FeederWatch annual report, Winter Bird Highlights.

Visit the “Explore Data” section of the web site to find the top 25 birds reported in your region, rare bird sightings, and bird summaries by state or province.

White-breasted Nuthatch - male Posted by Picasa

Blue Jay

Mourning Dove

Cardinal - male

Female Cardinal on top of feeder, Red-bellied Woodpecker on left, and House Sparrows on right. Posted by Picasa

Red-bellied Woodpecker - female

Downy Woodpecker - male

Hairy Woodpecker - male (longer beak and larger body than the Downy)

Tufted Titmouse and Downy Woodpecker Posted by Picasa

Tree Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - male Posted by Picasa

Red-winged Blackbird - male

Female Red-winged Blackbird (front) and Female Cowbird

Cowbirds - male

Chickadees Posted by Picasa

This Chickadee is using a new feeder my dear hubby bought recently as a surprise Christmas present for me......but he decided it was actually for the birds, and they should have it now rather than wait for Christmas :) The surrounding cage keeps the bully birds (Starlings, Grackles, etc.) from eating all the seed that we'd rather see the smaller birds get. It also foils the squirrels.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - male (they've now deserted us for warmer climes) Posted by Picasa

This will be a fun activity to brighten up the winter days, and the little grandsons should enjoy it too, when they come for a visit. Anything that benefits birds and our environment is worth a try, don't you think?

Click this link if you'd like to visit Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website to identify birds and listen to their songs and calls. This is a wonderful source for bird IDs.