Today was a really beautiful day. I was so happy to spend it with my family.
Sophie came downstairs early this afternoon wearing her sun hat. She asked if she could use some binoculars and then asked me to help find her bird book. I gave her both and then watched out the kitchen window as she took off in her Jeep. She was off to look for birds!
She ran inside a little while later and told me she'd found a Mourning Dove (which she'd identified herself using the book!). She knows I have a very soft spot in my heart for Mourning Doves so I ran out with her to try and get a photo. I'm not sure if it's their sweet call that instantaneously calms me or knowing that 20 - 70 million of these quiet, gentle birds are killed each year (for sport and/or meat) but I adore these birds. It makes me so very happy that our yard provides a safe spot for these few to live and flourish.
As Soph and I crouched down in the middle of the yard, we noticed these two finches in our neighbors' bush.
My cute little ornithologist.
I aimed my camera at her as she turned her binoculars in my direction.
And then she flashed me her adorable smile!
Be still my beating heart.
For years I'd been trying to take bee photos with my old camera and they just never turned out. Honey bees, for me, are one of the most fascinating animals. I did my research on bees when I studied Animal Behavior and it only fed my fascination....
Look at who I found hanging out in the clover today!
Other people can have their fertilizers and "perfect green grass" and boring yards but I'll take a nice, big clover patch ANY DAY!!!! The bees and rabbits and Harry (!) love the clover.
As I was in my bee trance, Soph came running over to tell me she'd found a Goldfinch.
That girl's got a good eye!
Then Clara woke up from her nap and came out begging to take a ride in the Jeep.
Afterwards, I pulled out some sidewalk chalk.....
....and then I dragged our art easel out into the yard/shade so Sophie & Clara could draw.
Alain brought out a watermelon snack for the girls.
Sophie took this photo of her finished drawing (can you believe I let her touch my camera? ha). Adorable.
I'd been telling Alain, Sophie & Clara that Harry (Winston) & his wife had a baby boy. Today was the first time they got a glimpse. Harry, Jr. is really hard to photograph and this was the best I could do! His feathers are just starting to turn red.
It took a couple of hours of trying but I finally got a photo of one of my beloved Chickadees....
I sometimes drag two A-frame trellises out into the yard and drape an old sheet over them. Sophie likes to call it her "safari tent". My little Jane Goodall.
As we hung out on our picnic blanket, I was telling Sophie that the more still & quiet you are in nature, the more animals you notice. While we were having this discussion, I could see a tiny bit of movement under the feeder. I had to look hard but I realized there was a tiny little mouse hanging out in the brush. Can you see him/her?
And a tiny bird was hanging out not a foot away from the mouse! We were amazed...
Alain brought out a nice, cold cocktail for the worn out parents. Clara asked him for some lemon. While she sucked on it, she pointed out a plane flying overhead.
She's become so very interesting and can almost carry on a full-blown adult conversation. She walked outside at some point this afternoon and called out to me, "Hi, Sweet Pea!"
Who's the Sweet Pea???
As I walked out to collect the mail, I noticed that my bee balm plant had bloomed (since yesterday). Bring on the butterflies!
I do get frustrated because the plant is literally taking over our entire side bed but then it blooms.... This photo just kills me.
As I checked on the garden, I decided to take a picture of our eggplant. It always elicits a laugh from me. I clearly picked out a different type of eggplant this year and it's quite different in shape from any eggplant I've grown before. Can't wait to see how it tastes!
And Harry....my sweet, beloved Harry. He's super hard to photograph (like father, like son!) but I tried all day. I was giddy after I took these....
Sophie asked me if Harry is short for something and I said, "Yes, of course, Harold!". Ha!
Isn't he something?
Lately I think a lot about how the world seems too loud, too busy, too hurried, too impersonal, too crowded, too careless, too uncaring, too violent, too destructive. This is nothing new for me. I have an extremely sensitive heart.
Hanging out with our girls, more than anything else, leaves me feeling hopeful.
As these snapshots from our Saturday show, our backyard is my sanctuary. I'd rather hang out here with this family that I love and adore more than anywhere else!
Such a perfect little day.