Thursday, February 25, 2021

Nature's Blessings and Miracles

I don’t know how many of you remember my story last May about the little mallard hen who built her nest in one of the flower beds in our front yard. If you didn’t see it, you might want to read it before you finish reading this post. You can click on the following links … 

[Part1]   http://southernlagniappe.blogspot.com/2020/05/a-blessing-at-our-door-step.html
[Part 2]    https://southernlagniappe.blogspot.com/2020/06/a-blessing-at-our-door-step-part-two.html

Here are a few pictures I captured of the hen and her babies last Spring (there were nine!). 






Just minutes after they all hatched, she marched them down the driveway and down the street to the neighborhood storm drainage pond, which was to be their new home until they could fly. 

We were so happy to have received one of Spring’s greatest blessings – new life – in the form of a little mallard hen who chose, literally, our front door step as the place to build her nest and bring her babies into the world. 

I had read that if the abandoned nest is near the feeding area, the family may continue to use it for brooding and nesting. I really didn’t think we would be so fortunate ... but early this morning my husband was looking out the window and called me to come quickly. When I looked out the window, I couldn’t believe my eyes – there in our driveway sat the mallard drake “standing guard,” while the hen was checking out the flower beds looking for her nesting place from last spring! They were so precious, I almost cried. 

It didn’t take her but a few minutes to locate her nesting place, and I really felt as if we were witnessing a miracle. To think that that little mama duck could return to the exact spot where she raised her babies last spring, and the daddy duck stood watch over her … well, it was just too much to comprehend! 

I was so excited, but managed to hurriedly get a couple of pictures of them with my cell phone ...



My husband had to leave and the ducks flew when he backed out of the garage, but I have high hopes of witnessing the miracle of new life again this Spring, when that little mama duck returns to her nesting place and gives us the pleasure of watching her raise her new family. To be continued … I hope!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Cats!

During my photo shoot ramblings, I have had the pleasure of visiting with a few cats who just happened to be close to whatever I was photographing. Some of them were shy and would run away, but others were curious and followed me around.

My favorite cat is this one who resides at the Old Court House Museum in Vicksburg. He's a friendly little fellow and seemed to enjoy posing for my camera.

I came across this little cat napping in a flea market booth, and thought he was real until I got a little closer to him. I was amazed by how real he looked!

A couple of years ago, I did a post about The Gates of Vicksburg, and was shooting a picture of this gate at one of the cottages of Cedar Grove Mansion ...

There is an enclosed patio area below the gate and I interrupted these little guys sunning themselves.

During a "country roads" photo shoot, I discovered this little "peeping tom" watching me from the side of the road. He ran away when I tried to get closer.

On a photo shoot I did at the Jackson, Missisippi Zoo, I found some more cats, but they didn't follow me around, thank goodness.

As I was writing this post, it occurred to me that I haven't encountered many dogs during my travels. In fact, I can only think of one that was sitting in some tall grass beside an intersection of two country roads, and I quickly snapped his picture.

This has inspired me to add to my collection of cat pictures. They have such beautiful faces, and I would love to get some good closeup shots.

Friday, June 12, 2020

From "Fairy Jungle" to "Fairy Garden"

Yesterday was one of those rare days in Mississippi when the humidity didn't hit the "smothering" level, and I took advantage of it by tackling a long-neglected job.  There was actually a light breeze blowing and the area I needed to work in was in the shade ... so I didn't have any excuse to neglect it any longer.

So, armed with gloves, tools, trash bag, and water hose, off I went to try to rescue the two little fairies who live in my fairy garden in the back yard.  This is the way it looked last summer ...


Sadly, yesterday it looked more like a fairy jungle, than a garden. The poor little fairies were no where to be found, their house was completely covered by fig vine and ivy, and the "jewel" path was dirty and covered by weeds and vines, too.  They had literally taken over everything ... kinda like fairy kudzu, if there is such a thing in Fairyland.  I can't believe I let it get in that condition. What a mess!



As I knelt and pondered the mess before me, I saw the fairies partially hidden in and amongst the tangled vines.  Bless their hearts ... they looked pitiful, and I felt even guiltier as I noticed that the girl fairy had lost her wings during the winter, and they both were faded and washed out.  



You'd never know that they actually looked like this many years ago, when the fairy garden was new:


I was so ashamed to see how pitiful they looked, compared to back then.  I have not been a very good fairy caretaker! 

By the way, that's their house in the picture above, before it was consumed by the vines, and the little chairs they're sitting on disintegrated long ago.  I felt so bad about letting what was once a peaceful little haven turn into a jungle of vines and weeds, and decided to take some "before and after" pictures to remind me to not let that ever happen again.




You can see just a little bit of the house peeking out in this picture ...


It was very satisfying to pull the weeds and begin trimming the fig vine and ivy back. It had a firm grip on everything in its path, but I finally uncovered the house and the jewels scattered on the path leading to the house.  


The "jewels" are actually little glass gems I found at Dollar Tree and, of course, they were dirty and lots of them were totally covered up.  I began digging them up and this is where my OCD kicked in.  I couldn't just uncover them and put them back on the path, could I?  They were DIRTY ... and I couldn't just scatter them helter/skelter ... could I?  The answer to both of those questions is "No, of course not!"

I took the gems and put them in a container and rinsed them in water several times until they were clean and shiny again.


Then I carefully put them back on the dirt path, one by one, and they looked like a beautiful blue-green river meandering its way through the fairy garden.


Notice that you can also see the house now ...





 I also uncovered this little bunny who is nestled in the rocks beside the arbor.


And the fairies are all smiles now.
     


The girl has her wings back, even if they are a little askew (and speaking of "askew," her right arm appears rather strange looking as a result of a previous glue job gone bad) ...


 And the boy seems to have gained a little color in his cheeks.   


They are so sweet, and the least I can do is give them names, don't you think?  How about Jack for the boy and Jill for the girl?  Hmmm ... seems like those names have already been used in another story.  Okay ... how about Lily and Tom?  I kinda like those, so Lily and Tom it will be.  

I hope they will have a happy summer now that they and their garden have been restored to their former glory.  I know I will enjoy our backyard more now that we have a fairy garden instead of a jungle, complete with fairies (with wings!) and a shiny, bright jeweled path leading to a little fairy house.  

I'm inspired!  I think I may  try to find Lily and Tom some chairs, and maybe even a couple of friends to keep them company!