Just a few weeks back, I wrote an article for Heart of the Matter entitled “Getting Rid of the Winter ‘Blahs’ “. I wrote that article when it was 30 degrees here–as a high. I now have to laugh at the positioning of myself–even if only briefly–as an expert in winter weather given that we’re now back in the 70’s, and will perhaps see only 1 week more of the cold before Easter.
Much of what we do in our homeschool I absolutely love, and I’m thankful that, after years of frustration from failing to emulate others, we’ve found a “style” that works with our home. The kids are (on most days) in a peaceful flow of a well-established routine, and if I could get me together, we just might be alright. Having said that, if there is one thing I would change, it would be the amount of time that we spend outside. Every school year I say that, especially for our youngest, who loves the outdoors, I am going to get out more. Every year, I fall into a routine of work, chores, computer time, and playing taxi cab, all on top of school, and I fail miserably at taking that time to get out and just breathe the fresh air. By the way, did I mention that it’s now competition season?
The beauty of my inefficiencies is that, in my weakness, He is indeed made strong. Years ago, when our son studied birds, we purchased an inexpensive feeder from Home Depot and filled it with black oil sunflower seeds. We also made suet and bought a suet feeder. In a fairly new neighborhood, we placed the feeders at one of our few trees, which just happened to be at the window. Though the suet feeder drew little more than ants, the sunflower feeder has been perhaps one of our homeschool’s greatest joys.
The following pictures are not mine. Beauty met with practicality as we realized that a solar screen would block some of the western sun and lower our electric bill. So capturing our daily eye candy through our own lenses is now impossible. These shots were taken from “Bing’d” images and www.allaboutbirds.com.
We regularly see these little fellows, but they show up in droves during the winter. Funny how, since we see them so much, their presence doesn’t send us running to the window anymore. It’s a shame because they are actually quite colorful and gorgeous in their own way.
The treat this winter, and I suspect that it was because of the extremes in weather that we had for about two weeks, was a relative wealth of even more colorful visitors, like this blue jay.
The Northern Cardinal came often enough this winter that we even learned his song, and the kids would often hear him before they saw him. Wanting to see more of him prompted us to break out our field guide, and we found out that he prefers the sunflower seeds spread out on the ground as opposed to eating from a feeder. So we spread out the seed and he brought friends.
The Orange-Crowned Warbler was a new visitor this winter. At first, we thought he was a yellow finch, but our daughter is learning a thing or two about wing bars and crown markings.
With an early spring coming (or so it would appear), there will be plenty of opportunities to clean up weeds and remove plants that winter killed. Given that my yard-obsessed neighbor has already put down her spring plantings, our house looks like I’d better get busy, and I will have help, come hell or high water. Until I get there, though, I am thankful for the chance to study nature from our window, and for God to meet us right where we are. He’s doing the same for you, too, and I’d love to read about it.