IMG_0913The other day, I heard a loud knock outside. I figured a bird had flown into the glass on the porch, as sometimes happens. I looked around, but no bird was on the step. Then I spied this guy, hanging onto a stem of the hydrangea, quite upside down.

The photo is taken through the glass, with me trying to hide behind a chair, not to scare the poor thing even more. He hung on, somehow, and I wondered whether he was knocked out, or dead. As I watched, he slid even further.IMG_0914Do you ever feel like you’re hanging on for dear life and still everything is spinning sideways? Where up becomes down and no matter how much you’ve done everything “right” you fly into some unexpected glass wall and are knocked senseless.IMG_0916After a few minutes, the little bird strained to pull himself up. I certainly can’t do a pull-up, can you? Not even when I was young. It was clear he was making an all-out effort to right himself. Once perched on top of the stem rather than hanging below it, he shook his head, like “ouf! what happened?” Having regained his spirits, he flew away, hopefully to someplace higher and out of reach of the neighbor’s many cats. They are well-fed and cared-for and don’t need any bird snacks. I don’t hesitate to chase them away from the birds in our yard. And we have lots, because we hang suet balls from the trees to feed them.

It is constantly amusing to watch a bunch of little birds alight on the balls, all on the same one, even though there are at least a dozen balls hanging out there. The other day, a friend and I went shopping in Toulouse. We passed a little boutique that was packed with people, and more waiting on the sidewalk to get in. We had to see what in the world they were selling–it was jewelry, nothing unusual, all very simple. A few doors down was another jewelry shop, then another and another, all empty of customers. Kind of like the birds all on the same suet ball.IMG_1120I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it, but we have been enjoying incredibly mild weather. As in 24 Celsius (75 Fahrenheit). Blue, blue skies every day. Windows open all afternoon, laundry happily flapping in the breeze (yes, breeze, not wind).

IMG_0922
The Pyrénées give me a thrill every time I see their peaks.

IMG_0927IMG_0929IMG_0921All along the roads, the wild almond trees are blooming. They look like clouds or like ballet dancers.IMG_1119IMG_0876IMG_0917

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Breathtaking performances.

Other things are blooming, too. The yellow wildflowers were taken on Jan. 17! And the roses on Feb. 5. We have butterflies already. Too soon. I want to tell them, OK, play now, but then go hide someplace warm! Frost is still possible!Jan 17IMG_0817The asparagus seller has been at the market for two weekends already. So early! Not complaining. Asparagus season is too brief.IMG_0966A group of gitanes, or gypsies, has set up on the outskirts of the village. They hooked a hose to a fire hydrant across the road and they even have a truck with a basket lift to go up the street lights to get electricity–the lights have plugs at the top for the Christmas decorations (when the circus came through, they were able to shimmy up the poles without assistance). It seems like a lot of investment and effort to avoid having a light bill.

IMG_0919
Water under the bridge. Literally. As you can see, it isn’t troubled in the least.

This is another post without a theme. Random thoughts. I have about four others started, but I want to get a photo of a certain detail to better explain a point, or I ran into a wall getting information about the history of something and I just haven’t had time to investigate further. Thank you for sticking with me anyway.IMG_0920

34 thoughts on “Life Lately

  1. Oh, Catherine- the nature shots are just beautiful, making me hopeful. Your bird photos are stunning! Can’t believe you shot those through the window- so clear. And the blossoms/ ballerina analogy is perfect!!
    Our birds are returning- love the sounds as they congregate around the feeder. The bluebirds arrived in January and I feared for them; they’re so delicate and we’ve had bitter temps.
    But the sun is shining the last few days and the dog is enjoying a lay in the grass rather than veg-ing in the house. And, walking outside this morning in my jams, cup of tea in hand, I see the daffodil green is shooting up. Spring comes slowly to Ohio.

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  2. March has come in like a lamb, as they say, here in Ontario Canada this morning. Although the sun is shining, (for a change!), it is cold and snowy with more snow promised for the weekend. The days are getting longer, which is always a welcome sign, but your pictures have brought spring that much closer to me and I thank you for your cheerful post!

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  3. One of the reasons I like your posts is because your focus is on life -the mundane, simple and pure everyday life. I also have a soft spot for little birds, isn’t quite miraculous how much resilience they have? And although their life is on the tough side, they sing!!! The analogy with ballerinas is brilliant! Spring has some magic in it, no doubt about it!

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    1. Thank you! A few days ago, on Instagram, I posted a little video of my favorite bird, Merle (which is French for blackbird, and I think perfect for a singer with a slicked-back black coiffure). He sings most at sunrise and sunset. Merle is not very afraid of me–I can get within about a meter of him, but any closer and off he goes. Still, it isn’t close enough to get a good photo.

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  4. Lovely, all of it, and so glad the little bird recovered. I do hope your weather behaves there. Ours is not. 70 deg yesterday and dropping into the teens by early next week. Sigh… Spring is such a tease this year.

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    1. That’s a huge drop! It’s so hard on the plants, above all. Once they put their energies into budding and blooming and producing fruit, it really hurts them to get hit with frost.

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  5. A nice pootling post. The butterflies will be fine, btw. They’ve overwintered in hibernation in someone’s shed or cellar and have awoken because of the warmth, but they’ll just go back to their shelter or hide out behind the ivy or whatever if it gets colder again (which it has here in the Touraine from yesterday).

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  6. We have hummingbirds here year round. A few weeks ago when the temperature dropped below freezing, we brought in the feeder at night. In the morning the birds are waiting, flying around us. The sugar/water would freeze overnight, and crack the feeder. It is magical to see these small creatures flitting around with snow falling. Because they are here, we feel responsible for feeding them. Oh, they are called Anna’s Humming Birds…
    Ali

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  7. Love your photos of the countryside. I live in California and certain areas here look just like your pictures. We drove through central California and the Sierra Nevada looked like your snow capped mountains. We also visited the countryside near Paso Robles and Cambria which at this of year looks like winter in your area. Beautiful.

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    1. I haven’t been to California (yet) but I agree the photos are so similar. Some spots remind me of Africa, though we don’t have the flat-topped acacias but much of the other vegetation and topography seem related.

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  8. I needed that sunshine and those flowers. It’s been mostly cloudy, rainy, and sometimes cold here since the first of the year, with just a few sunny days.
    Daffodils blooming now, and yesterday I noticed all the flowering trees are leaping into bloom. Then I start worrying that it’s too early and a warm spring augurs a hot summer and oh, my.

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  9. Whenever I’ve seen a bird fly into my windows, I wait, almost afraid to take a breath, hoping it will be okay and fly away. Poor babies. The bluebonnets and some of our other wildflowers are blooming here in Texas, and yes… It’s too early! This weekend we’re due for another freeze to last a couple of days (only at night it drops down.) I watered everything around my house and then will cover a few things in hopes of protecting them. Interesting to know your temperatures are up and down as well. The weather ballet.

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  10. -8° here in Wisconsin today. Winter just won’t end. While the sun is out the wind is howling, finding its way in my little old drafty cottage. Five heaters on for my girls out in the coop, just to keep it at 30° inside for their comfort. Oh how I dread the electric bill. Your photos are a warm welcome and hopeful reminder that someday, sigh, winter will end in Wisconsin.

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    1. It’s chilly and gray today and only in the low 50s, which feels shocking after the recent warmth.
      I hope you didn’t hit too hard with the snow. Just read about the tornados in Alabama–awful.

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  11. It saddens me when birds hit our windows here. Although we keep something in the window it doesn’t deter all of them. I’ve read that even if they manage to get up and fly away after hitting the window they are very likely to die soon afterwards.

    About 3 months ago I found a tiny guy that had hit the large sliding doors outside a store. He was just laying at the entrance. I picked him up and he was able to open his eyes but not much else. It really broke my heart. I didn’t know what to do so I put him to the side where I thought he would be safe. I really wanted to take him to a vet but I know that birds aren’t easy to treat. We had a Lovebird for 16 years and it crushed me when we had to put him to sleep. He got so sick and was having seizures all the time. Just thinking about him makes my heart ache. He was such a big part of our family.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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  12. Poor little bird, I do hope that once he righted himself that he flew off and is enjoying life. I could not agree with you more about the pull up, I have never been able to do one, ok, maybe one way back when I was a little kid and had to take the Presidential Physical Fitness Test)does anyone else remember that).

    As for the weather, how wonderful for you. It has been raining and raining and raining and the weather is 35-78 in the span of a week and has been like that all winter, a little crazy.

    I love your photos, especially the one of the water, it is beautiful!

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