Me, Mostly Naked, With a Hawk

Our bedroom window looks out over the garden. Yep, it’s HUGE, a lot of work with neverending projects, but I love my sanctuary.


This is where I see bunnies and roadrunners and all sorts of wildlife.roadrunner

One day last week, early in the morning, I was getting dressed to go to the gym and spied a hawk perched on a low branch in the eucalyptus tree. I think it’s the same hawk that’s been hanging around for years.

He was facing the pond, quietly and patiently waiting for breakfast to appear.


Therein lies the dilemma. What’s a girl to do?

If I finish getting dressed, I’ll miss this amazing shot; but if I run outside half naked, will anyone see me?

Because we have six-foot fences all the way around our property, I felt pretty certain that no one would catch a glimpse of the real me in my bra and bikini bottoms, so I grabbed my camera and ran outside.

I felt so NAUGHTY hee hee.

This is what I was rewarded with — and do you see how he gave me a shady side eye — so much human flesh this early in the morning clearly offended his sensibilities.


Isn’t he gorgeous? The hooked beak and talons are MAJESTIC.

My presence was distracting (he was looking right AT me) so I went back in the house to allow him to catch his breakfast without further interference.beautifulhawkjuly1620152

Don’t worry, I didn’t snap a selfie in my state of undress; you didn’t actually THINK I WOULD, did you?

If nothing else, this screams the sad fate of my tugboatman-less existence — running naked in the trees to catch a perfect pic.

P.S. Hub was able to make one last call before he was once again out of cell phone range and I told him what I did, just to give him a lasting visual for the final leg of his voyage, and I can still hear his laughter ringing in my ears. At first he thought I had been running around out in the front yard with cars driving by, but once I clarified, he was able to picture the whole scenario as it really happened, and I’m sure it’ll sustain his imagination until he returns SOMEDAY.

Around the Garden Photography: House Finch on Loquats

There are plenty of loquats to share and a comfortable seat to soak up the sun’s rays.

House finches love fruit. 


Such a bountiful harvest; where do I begin?


This one looks good and ripe.


How about a profile pic?


Empty Nest Disaster

I need to finish the last bits of my empowering road trip, but first must share sad, sad news.

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did (as always) was to check on the baby hummingbirds.

They have grown so much and by my calculations, would be fledging the nest next week.

I took this picture on Sunday.


When I didn’t see two little heads bobbing up and down and squirming around, I opened the back door and saw this empty nest.


The chimes upon which the nest was built was in disarray and a feeling of dread washed over me.

I knew something bad had happened, but couldn’t find any clues to suggest who or what had attacked the nest.

I had one last hope; that the two babies were in the mulberry tree that shades the deck, and were only trying out their new wings.

But then mom flew by and sat on the nest looking all around.

She was as confused as I was.

Calling out to her babies, I could feel her distress.

Over the course of the morning, she’s flown back no less than a dozen times, looking everywhere for her children, which confirms my worst fear that they were abducted by a raccoon or a crow or even a hawk.

But this story gets worse.

As I climbed on the bench to peer inside the empty nest and to snap a pic, I positioned the nest/chimes with my hand to get a better angle.

When I went back in the house to sit down and email tugboat man the tragic news, I saw tiny little creatures crawling on my hand.


After washing my hands and arms more times than Lady Macbeth and dousing my entire upper body with rubbing alcohol, I took a boiling hot shower and scrubbed myself and my hair three times.

The mere thought of a creature in my hair and I knew my life would be OVER. Thick, long, curly hair is hard enough to deal with, but the thought of mites nesting up there provokes extreme mental anxiety.

I threw away the shirt I was wearing and washed the other clothes twice in bleach and hot water, so much bleach that they’re now completely devoid of color at this point.

Then I freaked out that the mites were going to invade the house and with gloves on, cut down the nest and chimes and put them into a sealed bag to put in the trash or somehow keep the chimes if I can sterilize them to my satisfaction.

After that, I found ant spray (the only chemicals around) and sprayed every possible surface on the deck and the eaves where the chimes/nest had been.

Bird mite infestations from nests is a real thing. There are horror stories on the internet about it.


I wonder how long the feeling that things are crawling on me is going to last?

I’m a clean freak ANYWAY, but this is pushing me over the edge, and hub is out of cell range and not available to calm me down and/or offer his sage advice.

An empty nest is bad enough. To be violently snatched from a warm bed in the middle of the night is every mother’s nightmare.

I don’t know what to say to the hummy mom.

Even now, she’s desperately searching for her babies and there’s no way I can tell her that they’re gone forever.

Her heartache is palpable. I can FEEL her pain.

Hub and I fell in love with the whole process, from watching mom build the nest to laying the jellybean sized eggs to watching them hatch and grow.

This is not the ending I could have predicted.

Poor mom.

She’s extremely distraught; even as I’m typing this, I still hear her calling to them.

Who said animals don’t feel things?

Because of course they do.

A mother’s love has no equal.

I feel like I let down mom down, that she trusted me to help her take care of her precious kids, and I failed miserably.

One of my favorite photos…

Property of

Property of

Sometimes Mother Nature sucks.

June 1 SUCKS.

A Mother’s Love #WordlessWednesday

Our very own full nest.

Property of

Property of

#hummingbird #nature #nestingbirds #birds #MotherNature #love #motherslove


It started raining in the middle of the night, so hard it woke me up.

Rain, wind, five inches of snow in our local mountains — is this May or is it December?

I was worried about my little hummingbird and her full nest.

How would they weather the storm?

First thing this morning, I looked out the kitchen window and there she is, swaying back and forth on the hummingbird wind chimes under the eaves, safe and dry.

See the rain coming down? What a smart mom to choose a home that’s protected from the elements and allows her to survey the entire back yard.

hummyMay8rainHumans can learn a lot about good parenting from other species.HummyMay7

There is no more important job than caring for her young.

Soon enough, they’ll hatch and grow and fly away, leaving her with that empty nest she worked so hard to build.

Maybe that’s what her tiny little hummingbird mind ponders as she sits there hour after hour.

And I know exactly how she feels.


Yummy Hummy Mummy

Anyone participating in World Naked Gardening Day?


Well, I’m not either, that’s for sure.

I’m moving furniture, shampooing carpets, channeling Cinderella, and obsessing over the only full nest at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

My little yummy hummy mummy is doing what most animals do naturally — be an attentive and protective mother.

In the late afternoon sunlight, I removed the screen in the dining room window and leaned all the way out to capture the iridescence.

Have you ever seen a hummingbird stay almost perfectly still for more than two minutes?

I set up the tripod and took some video of her nest sitting, blinking her little eyes, and swaying in the breeze.

There’s a bit of shake (sorry) but the tripod was in a precarious position on top of a bench in order to get the best angle.

When she first started building the nest, I waited until she flew away in order to reinforce the chimes with twine to make sure they’d support the extra weight and not fall down,

YouTube video:

(And congrats to Princess Kate for giving birth to a royal little girl! )

Empty Nest or Full, Mother Knows Best

Single status: Day 50

Yup, tugboat man’s been gone since March 10.

I’ve almost forgotten what he looks like, and if he didn’t make a brief satellite call once a week, I’d forget what his voice sounds like, too.

This is the transitional time for absentee spouses.

The initial missing of his constant presence is OVER, life goes on, and my own routine is firmly established.

It looks like he should be home in about two weeks or so, PROBABLY missing my birthday, but in time to go camping with son/DIL, which is my birthday present, so I don’t mind being alone on my bday if it means he’s for sure home for the celebration.

And just in time for Mother’s Day, an Anna’s Hummingbird built her nest right outside our kitchen window on the deck, on HUMMINGBIRD WIND CHIMES.hummingbirdchimes

Isn’t this the craziest thing?

Do you think my little hummingbird KNOWS where she is?


It’s magical, watching her build her nest out of spider webs and feathers. I touched it and it feels like a handwoven sweater, soft but strong.hummingbird5

Can’t stop taking pics; look at that beautiful color.

hummycloseup4A Mommy hummy in flight.


Isn’t this amazing?


2015-04-26 05.18.22

Mom doesn’t mind when I walk back and forth or get up close and personal for pics, but she’s so protective of her nest when another bird flies into her personal space.hummyapril29(7)An egg!! There are supposed to be two; waiting for the next one!


Hummingbird sitting on hummingbird nest on hummingbird chimes.

Could anything be more adorable?

Who needs a dumb old tugboat man when this magic is inches away?


Another Empty Nest, Another Sad Mom

Another empty nest

Poor mama bird, I know how she feels…


I found a broken shell from a newly hatched baby under the ficus tree. A pair of warbling vireos make a home year after year in this birdhouse.


It’s so sad that she puts all that work into building a nest and feeding her babies and they always fly away.

They always leave mommy. *sniff*

I guess that’s the way Mother Nature intended it to be, but it still sucks.

Facebook is full of moms who can’t wait until their children turn eighteen, almost pushing them out of the nest with a packed suitcase and a sigh of relief so they can resume their “lives”, but that’s not the way I feel about it.

As much as I’m bursting with pride at the independent and successful young professor he’s become, his bedroom is still quietly waiting — just as it always was, with fresh sheets on the bed, clean clothes in the closet, and his favorite books lined up on the shelf.

In the beginning, when he first left for college (years ago), the hardest thing to deal with was the silence — the QUIET was deafening. I have no idea how one child could fill up the space with his presence, but he did.

Now, nothing makes me happier than a call telling me he’s coming home for a visit (sigh) so I can load up on the ingredients for his favorite foods.

You know how mama birds feed their young, don’t you? They regurgitate partially digested insects and worms directly into the beaks of their babes.

I’m not THAT extreme, but you know what I mean.

It’s one of my greatest joys to watch my son eat.

I admit it. I do. I sit across from him at the table and soak it all in, every single mouthful.

(Don’t feel sorry for him, he’s used to it.)

And then he leaves again, and the quiet fills our house and our hearts.

Can you guess that I’m missing my Angel Boy right now?

Finches and a Flowering Loquat Tree

My tugboat man is home; he was able to take an earlier flight, yay!

I hope you all have a lovely day and special good thoughts go out to mariners and their families who are away from each other during the holidays. Been there, done that many times.

In our land of (mostly) perpetual sunshine, winter doesn’t always mean that all living things are dormant. Our loquat tree is flowering, buzzing with bees, hummingbirds, and a flock of the most beautiful little yellow finches.

You have to be quick on the shutter button to catch these guys — they flit around the tree like I run from rack to rack at a clearance sale!

loquattree3One minute he’s there, the next second, GONE! (Just like my tugboat man!)loquattree1AND they’re back!

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