Blueberries for Everyone

It’s the start of blueberry season, a treasured time of year because I can pluck warm, juicy, perfectly ripened berries from the bush & pop them into my eager mouth.  You have to have this experience for yourself to know the world of difference between freshly-picked & store-bought berries.  There is no comparison!

Two years ago, I asked my boyfriend to build a wooden structure covered with netting to keep the birds off the blueberries.  After spending all day running errands, I came home to find a mourning dove with her wing tangled in the netting, flailing to free herself.  How long had she been trapped like that?!  I helped her get loose & thankfully, she flew away unharmed.  No amount of blueberries was worth seeing her frightened & distressed so I vowed to do things differently next year.

Last year, I didn’t cover the bushes at all.  While I thought I could get up early enough in the morning to get a few berries before the birds got them, it never happened.   Sure, the birds were happy but I was starving for blueberry pancakes, muffins,& smoothies.  Again, I vowed to do things differently next year.

It’s taken a couple of years but I think I’ve worked out a way to do this without being “extreme” in my methods (or ideology).  The solution… compromise.  (Isn’t that so often the solution?)  This year, we designed the perfect protection for the blueberries so we can enjoy them now & have plenty to freeze for winter while leaving two bushes uncovered to feed the birds.

Berries for Us

Berries for the Birds

This compromise is a symbol of my gratitude for what Mother Nature has given me as well as my belief that we must share what we have with others.  By freely sharing our abundance, there is more for me & more for the birds, too.  We all win!

Who knew that blueberry bushes would come to represent my spiritual journey? 

Plenty for Everyone

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Little Feathered Muses

I absolutely love every season of the year, appreciating the beauty in snow hanging on tree limbs, fireflies glittering in a summer night, & autumn leaves blanketing the park where we love to hike.  But what gets my creative “sap”
flowing after months of tired browns & greys are the energetic pastels of spring– joyful blues, yellows, greens, & pinks.  My senses celebrate every fresh breeze, budding tree, & blooming daffodil.  This past week, I’ve especially delighted in soaring, swooping, singing birds– my little feathered muses.

Over the past 6 years, I’ve turned a barren backyard into a wildlife sanctuary full of native plants, bird feeders, & a stone birdbath hoping to provide a habitat for birds who, in turn, provide inspiration for me.

I laugh out loud, watching songbirds & robins inspect the 18+ birdhouses I have scattered around my property.  They’re looking for the perfect place to have their babies.  They flit from one house to another, peering inside, considering their options.  Location, location, location.  I’ve seen Househunters & Househunters International on HGTV but I can only imagine a series called Househunting for the Birds 🙂  The comical scene inspired me to grab my sketchbook & get cozy on the sunporch.

I just bought Grumbacher’s Opaque Watercolours so I turn my favorite birdhouses into a quick watercolor study so I can play with my new art supplies.  First, I wash yellow ochre over each house.  Then, I go back over them with richer colors.  Lastly, I use a permanent black fine-point marker to add an outline & details.

A light wash of color makes the composition cohesive.

Rich, earthy colors give the piece interest & depth.

A fine-tip marker gives detail.

Inspiration isn’t far away when my muse is in my own backyard.