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Sunday, January 31, 2021

STOP THE SPREAD (of lovers's quarrels)

HOUSE FINCHES ARE FEATURED IN WIOB

The other day was quite cold and I noticed a male House finch puffing up as he perched on a branch within an Ailanthus tree in my courtyard. Puffing up is something birds do to keep warm as I mentioned in this past Friday's posting

Male House finches are red and the females have brownish tones thus they blend in with nature, which is helpful in them being able to protect a nest.

The one seen here (lower left) blends in with the branches so much that I may not have noticed her had I not wondered what the male was looking at. Their distance reminded me of the social distancing, a "task" that folks around the world have been asked to keep to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Friday's Fact: Mourning doves have their love to keep them warm!

This is picture of a Mourning dove puffing up. I’m not sure of the bird’s gender so I’ll refer to the creature with the he pronoun. He is doing this activity while sitting on an orange metal railing which surrounds a garden. From the position he is in we can only see one eye and it almost closed, which allows us to notice his pale blue eyelids —  a characteristic of Mourning doves. We can also see his pink feet which are a characteristic of this bird type. Mourning doves have a story within volume one of my three volume book series. Info re these books is another post within this blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html
MOURNING DOVES ARE FEATURED IN WIOB

It's been very cold and I've been wearing layer upon layer, but Mourning doves don't have to bundle up when the temps are so low, all they do is puff up (as evidenced by the image atop this entry which was taken in my garden the other day). Another way they may be keeping warm is by their love for their partner.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Tu B’Shevat 2021


Just four days ago on January 24th 2021, I published a blog post (where I included a copy of the snapshot above this entry) in which I discussed my maternal grandfather's apppreciation for trees, something I seem to have inherited.

Then last night I had a conversation with a neighbor (LS) about the recent vandalism which occurred in my building and my roof extension garden, I mentioned that a main concern I had experienced during that crime was for the birds who visit my place and who have enjoyed the trees that I have planted over the years.

Knowing my love for trees, LS kindly told me that Tu B’Sheva had begun at sunset then explained that it would end at sunset tonight (1-28-2021). She went on to say Tu B’Shevat (or the birthday of all fruit trees) is s a minor holiday.

My knowedge of many aspects of Jewish holidays is minimal, even though I have a somewhat famous paternal Jewish ancestor, Rosa Sonnenschein, whom I've written about on this blog and who is featured in the image below).

After I spoke with LS, I did some research. I learned (from a writer re Jewish learning who calls him/herself MJL) Tu B’Shevat's name "is Hebrew for the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat. In ancient times, Tu B’Shevat was merely a date on the calendar that helped Jewish farmers establish exactly when they should bring their fourth-year produce of fruit from recently planted trees to the Temple as first-fruit offerings." 

Now, honor of Tu B’Shevat, I will share photo-ops of birds enjoying the trees in my garden (during by gone years and at this present time).

I will also include photographs of them enjoying the Ailanthus Trees in the courtyard and trees. I will start with the trees that are no longer with me as a way of honoring their memory.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

"Birds are like teenagers They don't write. They don't call." (Wednesday's Wisdom)

This image features a male cardinal perched on a metal rod. Bare branches are behind it. He is staring very intently at something  unbeknownst to me, but whatever he sees might be making him uncomfortable, as his crest is slightly raised. This bird type is featured in my three volume book series, "Words In Our Beak."  Information is in another post within this blog @https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html
CARDINALS ARE FEATURED IN WIOB

This image features a male cardinal perched on a metal rod. Bare branches are behind it. He is staring very intently at something  unbeknownst to me, but whatever he sees might be making him uncomfortable, as his crest is slightly raised. This bird type is featured in my three volume book series, "Words In Our Beak."  Information is in another post within this blog @https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html
CARDINALS ARE FEATURED IN WIOB

Cardinals used to visit my garden on a frequent basis but lately not so much and I was thrilled when one stopped by a few weeks ago. He is featured in the images atop this entry. I never know the reason for their absence. When I expressed this concern to a neighbor, he told me, "Birds are like teenagers They don't write. They don't call."

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Teens Are Running Across NYC Rooftops and Up To No Good (Tueday's Truths WK 202)

This “aerial” image was taken from the vantage point of a high rise building in close proximity to me.  It features rooftops of buildings covered in snow and my garden during a snowstorm that occurred on 12-16-2020.  The picture was taken from far away so other than the string lights which hang above my place, details of my garden are not recognizable.  For your info, my garden is the setting for my three volume book series, “Words In Our Beak.” You can read about these books in another blog post @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html

The photo atop this entry was featured in my December 17, 2020 blog post where I mentioned the atmosphere that a then recent snowfall and readers could "see how my garden [It is under the string lights seen in this picture] looked in relation to the buildings in close proximity."

That magical atmosphere became creepy this past Sunday when a group of teens were on the rooftop and tossed a substance on to my garden's floor.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday's Sentiment: Remembering my Grandfather's Appreciating Trees


My maternal grandfather, Albert Elmer Herman Lewis Melahn, can be seen in an unndated snapshot (directly above) with a tree he had just planted. He died in the mid to late 1970's on this day of January 24th.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

In the spring, becomes the geranium....

This picture is taken in a garden that is in an apartment building in NYC. The container has been wrapped in burlap for the winter and part of this material is visible in the image, as is the brick wall behind it. The focus of the image is a couple of pink colored geraniums who are poking their heads up through the mulch (which has been placed on the plant to protect the flora from winter temperatures. A few of the geranium’s green leaves are also poking up through the mulch. Garden winterizing is discussed in volume two of my three volume book series, “Words In Our Beak.” Information re these books can be found within another post on this blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html

When I am in my garden on a cold January day and notice few geraniums who are poking their heads through the mulch (as that flower type is doing in the photo directly above) that was put there to protect them during a cold winter days, I think of some lines from a The Rose, a song written by Amanda McBroome

Her song was made popular by Bette Midler and the lyrics I'm thinking of go like this, "...just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow, lies the seed that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes the rose."

In this instance, my geraniums weren't lying beneath the bitter snow (although they were doing that last month), they are lying beneath layers of mulch put in their container when iI did my annual garden winterizing ritual.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Friday Follow Up: Miracle on the Hudson

In this picture a pair of Canadian geese are walking on the lake in Central Park which was frozen at the time I took the photo. This bird type is featured in volume two of my book series, "Words In Our Beak." Info re these books is within another post on this blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html
CANADIAN GEESE ARE FEATURED IN WIOB

The photo atop this entry features a pair of Canadian geese walking on a sheet of ice that is covering a lake in Central Park. I was surprised to see this happening as this bird type can often be seen trying to keep their feet warm.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Squirrel Appreciation Day 2021

This photographic features a squirrel lying on his stomach on the branch of an Ailanthus tree. His front legs are hanging on either side of the branch. His ears are pointed straight up above his forehead and he appears to be looking straight into the camera.

his photographic features a squirrel balancing himself on a branch of an Ailanthus tree. He is staring intently at something beneath him. One of his ears is visible and it is standing straight above his forehead. A portion of his tail is dangling over another branch.

Today, January 21st, is the annual day to celebrate Squirrel Apppreciation Day. I've written about this holiday within a number of venues including entires on this blog.

These animals can provide a lot of entertainment when you observe them as I've done in both Central Park and Riverside Park over the years when I've encountered various types including Cinnamon Variant squirrels, Black squirrels and Eastern gray squirrels.

On July 8th 2020, shortly after NYC started to begin easing up on lockdown restrictions (many of which were subsequently put back in place) which had been in effect since March due  to the devastating consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, I had the chance to watch squirrels from my window for they began to visit the Ailanthus Trees in my buildings courtyard and as you might surmise from the photo-ops atop this entry, their antics gave me many reaons to smile during those isolating times.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Feather by Feather

This is a picture of a Mourning dove preening. I’m not sure of the bird’s gender so I’ll refer to the creature with the he pronoun. He is doing this activity while standing atop an outdoor garden table made of marble. The surface is white. From the position he is in we can only see one eye and it is almost closed, which allows us to notice his pale blue eyelids —  a characteristic of Mourning doves. We can also see his pink feet which are a characteristic of this bird type. The feathers that he has preened are standing straight up (as shown in the left portion of the image) resembling a paper fan. Mourning doves have a story within volume one of my three volume book series. Info re these books is another post within this blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html

Here is another view of the Mourning dove seen in the first image (directly above this one). I’m not sure of the bird’s gender so I’ll refer to the creature with the he pronoun. He has paused from  doing the activity of preening and is still standing atop an outdoor garden table made of marble. The surface is white. From the position he is in we can only see one of his dark eyes eyes and he is staring intently at something unbeknownst to me. We can also see his pink feet which are a characteristic of this bird type. The feathers that he has preened are standing straight up (as shown in the left portion of the image) resembling a paper fan. Mourning doves have a story within volume one of my three volume book series. Info re these books is another post within this blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html

This is another picture of a Mourning dove preening. It is a slightly different view of the of bird referenced in the first image (two pictures above this one). I’m not sure of the bird’s gender so I’ll refer to the creature with the he pronoun. He is doing this activity while standing atop an outdoor garden table made of marble. The surface is white. From the position he is in we can only see one eye and it almost closed, which allows us to notice his pale blue eyelids —  a characteristic of Mourning doves. We can also see his pink feet which are a characteristic of this bird type. The feathers that he has preened are standing straight up (as shown in the left portion of the image) resembling a paper fan. Mourning doves have a story within volume one of my three volume book series. Info re these books is another post within this blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html

I've been very overwhelmed by my circumstances which have been aggravated by a number of consequences re the coronavirus pandemic. I'm now behind in every level for many of my tasks from the mundane to major projects and it's getting out of hand. 

Therefore visits to my garden by Mourning doves have become more important than ever.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

N'tl Bird Day 2021 has come and gone! However, one can continue to celebrate! (Tuesday's Truths WK 201)

This image features a male House finch perched on the left side of a bird feeder that is shaped like house. The feeder is made of metal and is hunter-green in color. House finches are featured in volume one of my book series, "Words In Our Beak."  Info re these books is in another post on my blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html
MALE HOUSE FINCHES ARE FEATURED IN WIOB

This two hundred and one segement of Tuesday's Truths is to alert you to the fact that National Bird Day has come and gone for the year 2021. It was celebrated three weeks ago on 1-5. Information re this holiday can be found in a number of places on the web including a page for National Day

In bygone years, I've published posts about this occasion as I certainly appreciate any occasion that aims to raise awareness about members of the animal kingdom and I don’t think it needs to be limited to one day.

But this segement is also designed to let you know that if you missed this year’s National Bird Day, just make it a point to do something that will benefit our feathered friends, such as making sure any bird feeder you have is clean as well as replenished. 

They will truly appreciate your efforts as evidenced by this male house finch (in the photograph directly above) who is enjoying a snack from a feeder in my garden.

Another thing you can do is to make sure your bird bath is clean and if winter temperatures are prevailing, make sure the water isn't frozen.

Monday, January 18, 2021

“A new day. A blue jay. A new beginning...."

This is a picture of a blue jay perching on the rim of a flora container in my garden. The bird’s beak is open ever so lightly and he appears to be looking into the container.  “Blue jays are large for songbirds, typically measuring between 9 and 12 inches long, and weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 ounces. Distinguishing characteristics of the blue jay include the pronounced blue crest on their heads, which the blue jay may lower and raise depending on mood, and which will bristle outward when the bird is being aggressive or becomes frightened. Blue jays sport colorful blue plumage on their crest, wings, back, and tail. Their face is typically white, and they have an off-white underbelly. They have a black-collared neck, and the black extends down the sides of their heads - their bill, legs, and eyes are also all black. Their wings and tail have black, sky-blue, and white bars. Male and female blue jays are nearly identical.” (Info from https://forum.americanexpedition.us/blue-jay-facts). They are featured in my three volume book series, “Words In Our Beak. Info re these birds is in another post on this blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html

Blue jays visit my garden frequently and the other day was no exception. My latest visitor can be seen in the image atop this entry as well as in the ones directly below.

This is a picture of a blue jay perching on the rim of a flora container in my garden which is wrapped in burlap. He appears to be looking on to the garden floor.  “Blue jays are large for songbirds, typically measuring between 9 and 12 inches long, and weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 ounces. Distinguishing characteristics of the blue jay include the pronounced blue crest on their heads, which the blue jay may lower and raise depending on mood, and which will bristle outward when the bird is being aggressive or becomes frightened. Blue jays sport colorful blue plumage on their crest, wings, back, and tail. Their face is typically white, and they have an off-white underbelly. They have a black-collared neck, and the black extends down the sides of their heads - their bill, legs, and eyes are also all black. Their wings and tail have black, sky-blue, and white bars. Male and female blue jays are nearly identical.” (Info from https://forum.americanexpedition.us/blue-jay-facts). They are featured in my three volume book series, “Words In Our Beak. Info re these birds is in another post on this blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html

This is a picture of a blue jay perching on the rim of a metal saucer that is in my garden. He appears to be looking at what is there which bits of fruit.  “Blue jays are large for songbirds, typically measuring between 9 and 12 inches long, and weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 ounces. Distinguishing characteristics of the blue jay include the pronounced blue crest on their heads, which the blue jay may lower and raise depending on mood, and which will bristle outward when the bird is being aggressive or becomes frightened. Blue jays sport colorful blue plumage on their crest, wings, back, and tail. Their face is typically white, and they have an off-white underbelly. They have a black-collared neck, and the black extends down the sides of their heads - their bill, legs, and eyes are also all black. Their wings and tail have black, sky-blue, and white bars. Male and female blue jays are nearly identical.” (Info from https://forum.americanexpedition.us/blue-jay-facts). They are featured in my three volume book series, “Words In Our Beak. Info re these birds is in another post on this blog @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html

Upon my seeing this creature, I thought of some lines from a poem by Eleanor Farjeon which go like this, “A new day. A blue jay. A new beginning...."

You may recognize her name as she wrote the hymn, "Morning Has Broken," which is usually associated with Cat Stevens whose recording of it popularized the song.

This bird type, which sometimes gets a bad rap, has influenced me from an early age when I drew (albeit not very well) the creature's picture.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Taking a Cue From Mourning Doves

This image features a figurine designed by Lori Mitchell who has named her Miss Teachy.   Miss Teachy is wearing a yellow cardigan and plaid skirt. She has a pencil in her right hand and is holding a book about trees in in left hand. Teachy is wearing horn rimmed glasses and the look in her eye dares students to not pay attention.  At the top left corner of my image I’ve included text that states, Take a cue from what mourning doves are doing when they visit you.  Mourning doves are featured in my book series, “Words In Our Beak,” and info re them is in another blog post @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html
MOURNING DOVES ARE FEATURED IN WIOB

The other evening after the sun went down, I noticed at least seven mourning doves sitting in my rooftop garden. Due to their coloring and the darkness of the sky, they nearly blended in with the blacktop surface; so it was hard to observe their behavior and impossible (given the constraints of my camera equipment) to photograph them.

Friday, January 15, 2021

It's just another day?

This photo features a woman wearing "costume glasses" New Year's glasses for 2021. They are made from a metallic plastic material comprised of a several colors including shades of blue, shades of pink and shades of yellow.
CARDINAL THEMED FACE-MASK AVAILABLE VIA FAA


As we face this day of 1-15-2021, two weeks into a new year, I am reminded of some lyrics in a song written by Linda and Paul McCartney which state, "......Ah, it's just another day. It's just another day. It's just another day."

Indeed it’s just another day and a number is not going to instantly bring about changes to the consequences of where we are today (with the on-going coronavirus pandemic and with our political unrest).

A wise thoughtful, prophetic FB peep (SR) pointed out, “…presidency isn't the answer. This goes beyond politics… So for now do no harm. Try to promote peace and do good deeds. Leave others alone unless you have something positive to offer."

If we heed the wisdom of SR we can make this day and the ones to come more than "...just another day."

Thursday, January 14, 2021

"...When January brings new faces!"

This is an image of the words to a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson titled "The Chickadee." It reads: Piped a tiny voice hard by,  Gay and polite, a cheerful cry,  " Chic-chicadee-dee! " Saucy note  Out of a sound heart and a merry throat,  As if it said, " Good day, good sir.  Fine afternoon, old passenger!  Happy to meet you in these places  When January brings new faces! "
"THE CHIKADEE" BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON

As promised in my last entry (published on 1-7-2021), I'm back in the blogging saddle for now. My absence wasn't so long when I consider it has been over eight years (November 18th 2012) since I heard the sound which poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, calls the "gay and polite" "cheerful cry" of a Chickadee occcuring in my rooftop garden but I heard it this morning.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

My Recent Articles


Once again I've been out of the loop re my blogging as I've been doing research and photo shoots for a few articles I was assigned to write.