They're back! Plus, GRAND Social No. 220 link party for grandparents

They're back!

For many years and through most seasons, we could count on seeing a small herd of seven or so deer in our neighborhood at various times throughout the day. Mostly in the evenings or when I walked the dogs (now just dog) in the mornings. Up until about three months ago.

We started noticing the absence of the neighborhood deer the beginning of summer and throughout, except for a lone female we'd spot now and then seemingly in search of the family that had left town without her. (Not that I anthropomorphize or anything.)

Last week as Jim and I headed home from my picking him up after work, we noticed neighbors gawking at something or another as we turned onto our street. Turned out it was deer! I hurried into the house, grabbed my camera and documented the return of the deer to our 'hood. Several of them. From two big guys on down to to two wee ones with a couple does in between.

neighborhood deer

Hooray! They're back!

I don't know...

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Perfection... no effort required

“About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.” 
 Gloria Pitzer

Most days I agree wholeheartedly with cookbook author Gloria Pitzer's quote above. I put in a fair amount of effort — and thoughts on how to most effectively put forth said effort — toward being a halfway decent wife, mother, friend, human being.

The same is true regarding my attempts to achieve something at least halfway close to pleasing when fiddling about with photography. I take a jazillion photos, choose one that's perhaps meh, then...

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Operation Wasp Annihilation

My husband and I ate dinner outside on our deck on Saturday evening. As we noshed on our nummy gyros from our favorite Greek restaurant, I had to keep swatting away what I thought were bees.

"What the heck's up with all the freakin' bees?" I asked Jim.

One quick look around—and up—told us exactly what was up... and that it wasn't bees. It was wasps! A huge melon-sized hive of them just above the door to our garage.

The size of the hive floored me! I immediately...

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What I learned this week: I am blessed

As a long-distance grandma, there's this fact about me: I miss my grandsons. Daily. Sometimes hourly.

Thing is, despite missing my grandsons all.the.<cuss>.time, I have a pretty good life. I was reminded this week of just how good it is.

I have mornings that feature:

Hummingbirds on my deck...

hummingbirds 

Deer doing their daily doings while I walk my dogs...

deer 

And this heartwarming feeding I was thrilled to witness...

 

(Though I was chided for interrupting...)

All that while Pikes Peak keeps watch from the west...

Pikes Peak 

And that's just my morning, just one small sliver of my day, my life. There's much more that's equally amazing, equally jaw-dropping awesome. How could I consider myself anything but blessed?

Though that's not really a lesson I learned this week, it's one I tend to forget. The sights above — all photographed yesterday morning — reminded me once more how blessed I am, despite missing my Megan and my grandsons. And reminders are nearly as good as a lesson, I think, especially when reminded again and again, just as I was yesterday.

So there you have it: I am blessed. And that is what I learned — or re-learned — this week.

(Now if I could only learn how to not miss my grandsons.)

I'm off for the weekend! Best wishes for a lovely one for you and yours. I look forward to seeing you here again Monday. Cheers!

Today's question:

What did you learn this week?

Predator at Grandma's house

Yesterday as I worked on my computer in the study, I heard a big ol' thwack on the window in the living room.

I'm fairly used to such sounds, as birds often — for some crazy reason — bang into the windows throughout my house, usually leaving feather-dusted imprints of their wings and more on the glass as proof of their poor navigational skills.

This time, though, the intensity of the thwack seemed doubled. So I got up to see if a bird had been bonked lifeless and might be dying (or dead) on the ground below the window.

Sure enough, I saw a baby bird lying spread eagle, face down, just below the window.

My first thought: Shoot! Now I have to go out in the cold, pick up that bird and throw it in the garbage so the dogs don't get it.

I then noticed that just beyond the obviously dead bird was a bigger bird, stumbling about as if stunned.

It was this guy:

hawk

I've no doubt he had been chasing the smaller bird, hoping for an easy feast, when they both banged into my window.

I watched for a few seconds as the hawk gathered his wits. Then he stood there, staring back at me. He looked from me to the dead bird, back and forth, back and forth.

I ran to get my camera, quickly returned (he was still there!) and snapped several shots of him.

hawk

Though I was just a few feet from the guy, separated only by glass, the predator seemed unafraid of me and my movements.

hawk

Now, I've seen hawks in our yard several times, but Jim — as much a bird lover as I am — has lamented his lack of hawk sightings. So I quickly put down my camera, ran to get my iPhone, then called Jim at work for a FaceTime chat so he could see the hawk.

(Yes, such things are important enough to interrupt Jim at work. He agreed without hesitation.)

When I returned to the window, the hawk was still there, oblivious to my scrambling about.

Colorado hawk

I held up the phone to the window. Naturally, Jim couldn't see the hawk very well. (FaceTime needs a zoom function!)

hawk

As I turned the phone about trying to provide a better angle, calling out to Jim to Look right there!, that darn hawk swiftly rose from the ground, swooped over to the dead bird below me, snatched it up in his claws, then soared fast as could be over the fence and off into the wild blue yonder, all in the blink of an eye.

Gah! The nerve of that thing!

My first thought: Oh, that poor baby bird.

My second thought: At least I no longer have to go pick it up and throw it away.

Such is the nature of nature, I suppose. The predator had served his purpose. (The least of which was serving as blog fodder for today's post.)

My final thought: Jim has yet to see a hawk in our yard.

Today's question:

What wild animal do you wish you could see up close?

Three-word Thursday: New camera lens

(Jim gave me a new telephoto lens for Christmas. This is my first shared photo using that lens, taken from my living room window.)

(PS: This week you got Three-word Thursday instead of One-word Wednesday because, to be quite honest, I forgot what day it was when I wrote yesterday's post. The holidays can do that to you.)

(PSS: Words italicized and in parentheses don't count in post word counts today.)

Today's question:

What unexpected gift did you receive for Christmas, tangible or intangible?