Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Yes, I feel like a mid-wife.
For 3 days, I've waited, and watched, and waited and watched.
And in my spare time, I've learned about ROBINS!
This site is fabulous----> AMERICAN ROBIN .
I read, and took photos.....LOTS of photos!
(and I deleted unfocused photos. MANY!)
Things that I never knew.......
Things that I took for granted.......
Things that I learned about my camera (HA)......
This learning extravaganza started last week, while I was hanging stringed lights on our backyard patio.
Climbing the ladder, I noticed the nest.
I gasped.
Where was the mother?
Are the eggs OK?
How long have they been here?
When will they hatch?
I had my cell phone attached to me, so I grabbed a quick photo.
*Note the color*
"Robin-egg blue"
'The eggshell color comes from pigments in the mother's blood. Hemoglobin from ruptured blood cells is transformed into "bile pigments," which are carried by the robin's blood to where the eggshell forms.'

A purple-plum tree planted outside a bedroom window, provided a safe haven for the Robin to build her nest. This process took 2-6 days. The nest is made of over 350 dried fibers of grass and small twigs.
Setting up the camera, and tripod, taking out the screen, focusing on the nest were the easy steps.
WAITING was the difficult part for me!
Momma was getting her eggs ready to hatch!

It wouldn't be long now!
The first baby hatches 12-14 days after the last egg is laid (this is called the incubation).
Eggs usually hatch a day apart, in the order they were laid.
Hatching can take all day!!!!!(No wonder I was tired)

Immediately after the chick is born, the momma bird  regurgitates partly digested food into the baby's mouth. Not until about day 5 do the nestlings get earthworms. Both parents feed the babies, making 100 feeding visits to its nest each day.

WOW. That's all I can say! I was at the right place at the right time to see this little miracle, through my camera. (It helped to have my camera set to 'high-speed-continuous-shoot' and a handheld 'external remote'.)
Both parents have full-time jobs. They protect the nest, find food, and feed hungry babies, that are in the nest for at least 9 days. And yes, they plop right down on the nest, keeping the newborn warm and continuing the incubation process for the eggs that have not hatched!

DAY 2 was the same as DAY 1, except the nest has become a bit more crowded.

I cannot tell from my standing point (inside the house) if there is still a third egg ready to be hatched.
Mom and Dad Robin were busy, flying back and forth feeding, incubating, protecting. The nest is not used as a bed at night for the parents. They usually perch on a limb close by. Today's research included trying to tell a Male Robin from a Female Robin. Here is a link that may clarify some confusion-----> How to Tell a Male Robin from a Female Robin . I recommend this link!

DAY 5 (June 4, 2017)
One of the baby robins had grown and is now eating worms. There is at least one more baby in the nest, not quite ready to show his/her face.

DAY 9 (June 8, 2017)
Today I observe one baby bird.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 13, 2017 Sarasota Sunshine

Some vacations are extensively planned.
Some vacations are simply experienced with dates marked off on the calendar.(Some of our best  vacays have been stay-cays!)
This vacation/get-away was a last-minute-fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure, lasting for almost 2 weeks!
Retirement has its perks, and being able to come and go without deadlines is at the top of the perks list!
Sarasota Florida is 827 miles from Roanoke (12ish hours of driving time).
We drove to Savannah for the first overnight.
Savannah is always a fun stop for us, providing excellent restaurants,views of the water, touring the city with its southern charm, and of course people watching! Here is another blog posted last year of Savannah with more photos! --->SAVANNAH, A SOUTHERN JOURNEY (If you haven't been, GO!)
Forsyth Park Fountain


We love Savannah's River Street, paved with 200-yr old cobblestones. The century old buildings once cotton warehouses have been converted to shops, galleries, pubs, restaurants, and inns. 

Our evening meal was 5-stars! THE COTTON EXCHANGE (click here to see their menu).
It was sooooooo delicious that we ate another meal there, on our return home!
I'll be making that shrimp and organic stone ground grits lightly fried and roasted red peppers, onions, andouille and smothered in sherry cream sauce..... for sure!

The views outside the restaurant were stunning!

The Sunshine State welcomed us with LOTS OF WARM WEATHER AND SUNSHINE.
Here are a few "ahhhhhhh" moments from our first day! Siesta Key Beach is THE PRETTIEST, WHITEST, SOFTEST, beach, ever! The sand is 99% pure quartz, soft and cool on the feet!.

The beaches are equally beautiful when the sun is setting!

While staying in Sarasota, we visited 5 beaches!(Click on highlighted links below to see additional  info).

One would think that we both were a couple of beach bums.


The Sarasota area includes many residential sections.(and some extraordinarily large abodes, making me even more grateful for my modest 'el-rancho in the mountains of southwest Virginia!) 

Downtown Sarasota is lively, lovely, and luscious!

Within walking distance is the popular BAYFRONT PARK and MARINA JACK
Of course, we spent lots of time here!

Downtown Sarasota is the civic and cultural center of Sarasota. Here is an article published in the December 2016 issue of Sarasota MagazineWHAT TO DO IN DOWNTOWN SARASOTA. Included are places to eat, shop, and do. "Having fun in Sarasota doesn't require a lot of money." Listed in this link are 50 fun and free things to do in and around Sarasota!50 FREE AND FUN THINGS TO DO. And one more link about Florida: FLORIDA'S BEST KEPT SECRET
Not to be forgotten is the MOTE AQUARIUM.
One could spend days at John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art---> or even days just on the link here: The RINGLING
We read, we slept, we walked, we ate, we talked, we laughed, and we took a few photos.
We were easily entertained.
But most of all..... we enjoyed being with each other

We visited long-time friends, Bob, Jane, and Kelly, who now reside in Venice!
Seems like 'almost yesterday', we were living in Richmond, while hubbies were in dental school! 

Most of our photos were taken with iphones. But we managed to take some with our 'other' cameras as well. We loved walking around at night. Here are some photos from the Sarasota area:

Palm trees, palm trees, and more palm trees:

St. Armands Circle is a must-see, if you visit Sarasota.

Here is a little history of the Allegory of Sarasota, It's Seven Virtues represented with Statures----> Allegory of Sarasota. Yep, we saw all of the statues, and a bucket-load of high-ended retail stores, and busy restaurants. People-watching was a definite past time for us!

Before arriving in St. Armands Circle, we stopped to admire the retirement community that Ron's great Aunt Ruby resided in for many years. Little did we know then, that she lived in the HUB of the Sarasota area!

We lost track of time, days, schedules, and reality!

Our get-away was great!
HOME-SWEET-HOME is the best place to be!