Sunday, October 7, 2012

Autumn and The Harvest Moon come to Frogbirds Farm!

The Black Gum Announces the beginning of Fall.
Two weeks ago yesterday was the first day of Autumn at Frogbirds Farm and the day was just beautiful. Temp's were the 70's, the sky a beautiful blue and there was a lovely breeze. I was sitting on the deck and of to the left is a small Black Gum tree at least in my attempts to label it that is what it seems to be. It is the first tree on the farm to start to turn color in the fall. From what I read often Black Gums have leaves of red and orange but sometimes as with this one the leaves glow with a brilliant yellow with the lightest touches of red or orange.

The Oak Applauds the News! 

This year of course after the brutal summer the color of our Black Gum may not be as brilliant, but as usual it is still the first to announce the start of autumn. One of the larger Oaks, standing closer to the woods, echos its color on a couple of its limbs as if to applaud the announcement of the smaller tree.

The cooler weather and promise of rain (we had around 4 inches in the last several weeks) and the promise of snow gives hope to the trees of Frogbirds Farm.

The Black Gum in Full Color.

Last week the Black Gum was in full color and this week more trees are sporting the colors of fall brightly standing out amongst the occasional evergreen. We can hear the crows calling in the crisp Autumn breezes.

I am happy to see fall come and glad to see the relief it is bringing to Frogbird's Farm and all that lives here. We have hope that the pond, which is so important to the wildlife, will replenish to it normal levels.

This winter we will start the planning for next years garden and I will sit in the warm glow of candle light and hope the Tree of Life will bring a better year for all the flora and fauna of Frogbird Farm and for all the earth.

The Harvest Moon rises over Crow Cemetery.

As we drove down the road last Saturday evening we saw the Harvest Moon rising over Crow Cemetery. It was beautiful and Kelly stopped the car to take a picture.

As I sat in the quite magical light I thought about the circle of life and how...The rebirth begins with Autumn. 

The Baroque Crow is calling at Frogbirds House.

The Tree of Life brings renewal.

Amanda and Frogbird, wherever he is:-)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Last Hummingbird of Summer

At the edge of the woods.
It was a cold crisp morning at Frogbirds Farm. Kelly was in the shop, I was on my way to the pond with some food for the catfish and Aspen as usual was investigating the morning and all its wonders. She had already been down to the woods and back and the deer were feeding on the edge of the woods.

Female Rubythroat Hummingbird
As I walked by the shop I heard the chirp of a humming bird and mentioned it to Kelly. He said he had heard it as well. I started back toward the pond when the chirp became a cry and when I turned I saw that Aspen had found something on the ground. She wasn't hurting what ever it was it she was just curious.  Kelly rushed over and discovered she had found a hummingbird. A little rubythroat female lying on the ground. He picked her up and she did not seem to be hurt but he said he could feel its heart beating very fast and she looked very cold and hungry and a little shocked to be in such a spot.

While Kelly held her I ran to my work desk in the basement to look for an eye dropper. Finding one I went back outside to the feeder and filled the eyedropper. I always keep one feeder filled late into September for the last of the travelers on their way to Mexico. She drank a little food from the eyedropper. Aspen tried to jump on Kelly's lap to see what it was going on but Kelly told her "No, Get Down!". She got down and went of as if to say "Oh all right, there are other things for me to find."

"There are other things for me to find."
I moved a chair into some sunlight and Kelly transferred the little hummingbird to me, so he could finish his work, but he came back often to check on us as we sat in the sun and she continued to feed out of the eyedropper. She tried to fly a couple of times but fell to the ground. She moved up my arm and nested in the crook of my elbow, keeping warm in my jacket sleeve. I was not sure if she would make it but at least if she didn't it would not end on the cold wet ground.

Figuring she was still cold, I moved the chair into complete sunlight and held her in my open palm.  The rays of the sun fell on her back and warming her. I hoped she would soon feel strong enough to continue her trip.  I could finally feel her getting stronger as she continued to feed. She drank with her little tongue lapping up the nectar. She tried to fly again and once again fell to the ground, but at least this time she landed right side up. I could tell she was feeling much stronger and warmer and at last she was able to sit up, with wings neatly folded. All of a sudden she took off like a shot, flying to the road then she soared to the sky. I called to Kelly but it was to late she was gone. It was so wonderful to see! I know she may not make it, it is after all a long way to Mexico but at least she got another chance. I hope she makes it.

Throughout all this we where so focused on helping our little friend get back in the air, neither Kelly or I thought to take her picture. I don't think we will need a picture to remember her by but I am sorry I don't have have a photo to share.

See you next Spring!
When fall comes our little hummingbird friends, who have given us so much joy through out the summer, have a long and dangerous trip to Mexico. Kelly and I felt good today, because we helped one along their way. On first seeing these little jewels of the garden, these beautiful little birds, they seem so delicate but indeed are very strong and brave. I will keep them in my thoughts, wish them a safe trip and look forward to their return in the spring.

Amanda and Frogbird, wherever he is:-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Have A Safe Halloween

School has started and Halloween is not far behind. With that in mind we should start thinking about making this Halloween safe. For our children and yes even for those of us who are still kids at heart and love the chance to dress up and go to a party, take the kids out for Trick Or Treat, or just stay home and hand out candy.

There is much posted about Halloween safety on the internet including, reflective tape on costumes, of course go with smaller children and teach older children the safety rules for a save Trick or Treat. You can find lots of ideas for a safe Halloween with a simple Google search. Here is the link to the CDC, one of many sites with ideas for a Safe Halloween.

You may notice the last item in their Safe Halloween List is: "Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes".

We all love candles especially on Halloween, so what can you do to keep everyone safe? Here are some stats and ideas about Candle Safety from Fema.

It is a good idea to have flame-resistant costumes but not always possible. One way to be safe is take the flame out of the holiday. This is important for children and adults. Using LED Flameless candles is one of the best ways to have the beauty of candlelight without the worry about the hazards of a flame. If you have a pumpkin to display, are using luminaries or lighting your decorations inside or outside your home, why not light them with LED Flameless candles, tea lights or votives. Turn them on at dusk and forget them. The wind won't blow them out, you will not have to worry about something or someone catching fire.  If you want to create some special effects with your lighting, you can even use a little colored cellophane for your LED tea light to shine through. The only thing you will want to keep in mind is that the smaller LED candles and Tea lights often use button batteries so be sure to handle and dispose of them properly. You can find out more online or read Button Battery Safety.

Handle and store them safely.

I like to have candles all around the room, in the windows and at the door when I am handing out candy. Like most of you I also like real candles, but Halloween may not be the best time to use them. Candles can be a fire hazard if they are close to curtains or Halloween decorations and with all the excitement it is not easy to watch all the candles and the the kids. The last thing I would want to do is have a candle cause harm to my home, my family,  or to anyone visiting my home so I decorate with LED's candles. You can find all shapes and sizes, with timers and without, some even have remotes. Learn more about LED flameless candles on this site Flamless Candles 101.

Flameless Candles 101

Again, when you use LED flameless candles it is all about using your imagination. Put them in a cool setting to light up your decorations, or make them into decorations. Use a candle wrap from The House of Frogbird  to create your candle decorations or for your children to carry with them Trick or Treating to help them be seen and stay safe.  

Halloween at Frogbirds House is for the kid in all of us!

Make it Fun, Keep it Safe and Have a Happy Halloween!!!

Amanda and Frogbird, wherever he is:-)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Make Your Meditation Child’s Play.

Remembering the Clouds of my Childhood.
Remember the clouds when you where young? The kind you saw when you lay out in the yard and looked up. The ones you made a game of with a friend finding shapes in them, faces, places, cartoon animals and even mythical creatures. Your mom call out to you, “ If you lay in the grass you’ll get chigger bites”, but you didn’t care because the world was a magical place and you didn’t want to miss a minute of it. What if a really great cloud came by and you missed it? Oh no, you had to live life and you relished every minute of it, chiggers or not. This was a child’s form of meditation. I think, as adults, what might be missing in our lives is the joy we found on those lazy days of childhood.

This weekend the weather finally turned cool enough to really enjoy everything the earth has to offer. I was sitting on the deck out at Frogbirds Farm enjoying the day. Everything was perfect. Temperatures were in the mid 70°. There was a beautiful blue sky, a lovely breeze, a sun that warmed without making you hot and just enough high clouds to make it interesting. A little humming bird probably on his way to Mexico, stopped by my table and tried to take a drink out of the straw in my cup. He then chirped “good by” and headed south.
Flying Home to Mexico

Many of us try to fit meditation or yoga into our busy lives. It is good for you but I think some times we might just be working at it a little to hard. Don't let it become a chore.  Remember your childhood and the ease at which you found yourself falling onto the grass, looking up at the clouds, laughing with a friend and loving the earth. It wasn’t something you planned, it just happened.  It can still happen if you just let it and it is time very well spent.

Om, Aum, Ohm, a holy meditation symbol.
We stay very busy on Frogbirds Farm but, I always find a little time to stop and look at the clouds. I sit in my chair, (getting down in the grass is not a problem, these days it is the getting up;-), I watch the clouds, and listened to the leaves on the trees making soft music with the frogs, birds and insects singing along. It makes me think of those simpler times and those wonderful childhood games.

When evening comes to Frogbirds Farm, we go in for the day and when a candle lights up one of my favorite candle wraps I stop for a bit to watch and enjoy the light and let its beauty wash over me. It is a form of meditation I just let it happen. It brings me peace.

Always remember, take the time to watch the clouds. It's child's play.

Amanda and Frogbird, wherever he is:-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tree of Life on Frogbirds Farm.

High water line for Frogbirds Pond.
We were in the city this week when a storm moved through the area. We have had a serious drought and heat wave this summer. You could see all the trees suffer, their leaves curled against the hot dry weather, and often turning brown and dropping. The pond level, here on Frogbirds farm, has dropped over a foot and I think some of the older catfish have died in the over heated water. This last storm did bring some needed rain but as often happens you take the bad with the good.

As we got closer to Frogbirds farm we wondered what damage might have been done. It was dark as we came up the drive but our headlight revealed a sad site.  There had been very strong straight line winds in the area and one of the twin Oaks that stood by the shop was down. Snapped in half about 12 ft. from the ground.

These two trees had grown up together and although almost 4.5 ft. in circumference they where still relatively young as Oak trees go. The one left standing and untouched stood as a quiet sentinel by its broken sibling.
The Twin Oaks: One will stand alone.

In the morning, I went out to take a closer look at the storm damage. We had a glider that had stood down by the pond blown into a couple of pieces and some limbs on several other trees broken, but the one Oak broken in half was heart wrenching. I walked over to the two trees. Touching the tree left standing, I could almost feel it shudder. I thought of these two trees weathering storms together through out the years, bending and swaying, protecting each other, until this storm with its treacherous wind tore between them, sadly leaving one to stand alone.

We will have to finish the work the storm did, taking down the remaining stump and clean up the mess but first Kelly had to do some repair on the roof. We had a leak and he had planned to fix it this weekend since the storm left it cool enough for him to get on the roof. Our home will continue to shelter us, but the broken oak, home for so many creatures on the farm, will take years to replace.

Seeing this sad site made me think of the ravages the weather has brought to the earth this year. In this country alone we have seen record setting drought, horrific fires and flooding rains. Our friends the trees have had to stand against all these disasters, sometimes not surviving.

My heart breaks to see so much damage to the lives and homes of my fellow man.  I also grieve for the trees as I see them struggle through drought, flood and fire, these giants of life who have sheltered us, warmed us, fed us and given us the very air we breath. We are connected to them all and they are all connected to each other and to us.

Struggling against the drought.
For all the trees I ask you to do this...

Be thankful and take care of all the blessings given to us by our Mother Earth. When you plant a tree, see a seed spring to life or witness a tree die, take a moment to thank it and all its family for everything they have given.

Light a candle, bow or lift your head, depending on your chosen faith, acknowledge the trees life and always remember it’s name, for all trees are called “Tree of Life”.

I lit a Candle and remembered it's name.

 Light a Candle and Remember their names,

Amanda and Frogbird, wherever he is:-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wrens in Frogbirds House and How He Got His Name!

Frogbirds House will always be Frogbirds House and for those who do not know how it got its name here is the story.

Several years ago I was given a wren house by my stepfather and I brought it out to the farm so I could hang it up. I took it outside to hang but got busy I set it on the deck rail and thought I would come back out and hang it later. Several days later I came out to hang the little house but as I walked toward it I noticed a little face. As I got closer I realized it was a little gray tree frog. I came in and told Kelly, my husband, that we had a little Frogbird living in the birdhouse and his new name stuck.
Frogbird in his Birdhouse.

I didn't have the heart to move Frogbird out of his new home so there he stayed for almost 2 years. After all, finders keepers and anyway I felt he should be commended on taking the opportunity of making the little birdhouse his home. When I wanted a name for my Etsy Shop I named it The House of Frogbird in his honor of this industrious little frog.

Last year Frogbird moved out of his home and I like to think he went on to bigger and better things. We miss him and the little bird house is still called Frogbirds House. Kelly hung up the house for me and this spring the wrens moved in to raise a family.

We have really enjoyed watching the wrens darting in and out of their home feeding their family and warning the cat not to get to close. Wrens are small but scrappy. This weekend we let Aspen, our cat, out to spend time in her garden. I noticed the wrens where really yelling at her when Kelly pointed to a little baby bird. Sure enough it was one of their babies. Kelly got a glove and carefully picked it up and put it back in Frogbirds House. I finished my work in the garden watching but I could not see any signs of Mom and Dad but ever so often I heard the little one calling to them. I had to take some kitchen scraps to the compost and heard Mom and Dad calling back from the near by wood.
Baby Wren ready to fly.

Kelly and I where going to a Steeldrivers Concert so I told the little guy to keep calling and his parents would come to get him and Aspen and I went in so I could take a shower.

Aspen Sky Dancer
I was getting out of the shower when I heard the wrens outside calling to their baby. I barely had time to get this shot before they all flew into the garden. I brought our cat, Aspen, in to give them time to get the little guy to the safety of the woods.

Update: We now have a second family of wren in Frogbirds house. It is on the north side of the house so it has been a great place to raise a family is the dreadful heat.

Feeding family number two Summer 2012.
Out on the farm we love all the wildlife and all the seasons bring something new. I also like to bring the outside in and to brighten my evenings I can put a LED candle on timer and fall asleep with the flicker of light and a little farmland friend.

Frog and Water Lily

Humming Bird Garden

LED candles with Frogbird wraps make great nightlight in a child's room or for anyone who enjoys a soft light to fall asleep to.

Good Night, Happy Dreams:-)

Amanda and Frogbird, wherever he is:-) 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Belated Happy Mothers Day !!!

  I have been so busy with everything else, I neglected to send out a Happy Mothers Day Wish.

  I am not sure it really matters that I am late, since once you are a mother you are one every day of the year. I not only have my two daughters but I also have many others in my life that I am lucky enough to call my extended family, my children. I traveled out of town this year to spend Mothers Day with my husbands Mother. Since I would not be home my daughter Robin and her husband Jeremy called me and sent me a lovely gift card. I have my eye on an embroidery hoop for free motion machine embroidery. Then a couple of days before Mothers day I spent part of the day with my daughter Mickie and her husband Dan.