birding – part one

27 May 2013 Comments Off on birding – part one

upland sandpiper (c) 2013A little over a year ago E decided to start birding
as a way to get outdoors more often.
We quickly joined in as a family –
surprised at how many species we knew and didn’t know,
surprised by the variety and their habits,
and by the opportunities migration brought to our hometown.
Of course with the lake nearby there are many species of waterfowl
that stop over,
though my favorites are the little warblers –
hopping around in the yellow-green of new leaves on hedges.
The boys have learned so much,
more adept at identifying songs and learning about habitats,
absorbing everything we read and share.

Because we’ve had a lot of people ask about our hobby
I thought I’d share what has been helpful for us.

There are the obvious accoutrements:

binoculars ::  these are our favorite. The high quality of the lenses is amazing – true clarity and easy focusing. While E has great eyesight, mine is a little wonky and we both prefer this pair. We can share them fairly easily, adjusting the focus quickly to catch whatever is flitting around. Of course, wanting to share is a different story…

bird books :: we started with the National Geographic guide, but have recently added the Sibley guide and Stokes book. The variety of styles have been great for helping us identify. On the go the iBird app is awesome. (It also goes on sale a lot, so don’t pay the full price for it!) The boys have a Golden Guide, and some “flip hand-phlets”, as they call them. They also enjoy playing Larkwire either on the computer or using the free app. Identifying birds by song is something we’re all still learning, but Larkwire is a fun way to do it.

We also use some online resources, such as which is run by Cornell. Local Facebook birding pages, the Audubon society, and are all great for finding out what birds have been spotted recently.

***More on our not-so-obvious accessories in a few days.***


monday recap

20 May 2013 Comments Off on monday recap

(c) 2013(c) 2013 (c) 2013(c) 2013(c) 2013(c) 2013(c) 2013

Goodness, where did the week go?!

A fairly typical one for us, a lot of quiet yet busy days at home.
The lilac hedge came into full bloom,
We’ve been watching the finches, indigo bunting, and hummingbirds
fly in and out of it all week.
We’re hoping to find a nest from one of them.

We read, and walked, and played outdoors.
Training wheels came off
Now two are two-wheelers!

I sewed a pair of pajama pants out of an old men’s shirt.
An extra-large makes the perfect size for a five year old.
The eight year old will get some shorts out of a different one,
but I need to get more elastic.

I got a new dress, which I love –
comfy, practical, and cute.
I discovered my bathroom mirror was really dirty ;)
And we took more walks while the weather was nice.
E and I had a date night while the boys had a
sleepover with grandma and grandpa.

Such full and happy days right now.

sewing for girls

11 May 2013 Comments Off on sewing for girls

pj pants (c) 2013fabricsdutch costumedutch baby (c) 2013

Last week my sister asked if I could sew up some pajama pants for her eldest
since she couldn’t find any cute cotton options,
and those polyester pajamas are horrible to wear in the spring and summer.
We popped into Joanns and found some sweet and fun
Lisette prints in a lightweight lawn fabric.
The fabric is really quite lovely,
the shorts and pants are going to be breathable and cool during those hot nights.
I had planned to use the Parsley pants pattern,
but I didn’t have enough fabric for the layout in a larger size.
So I used a smaller old butterick pajama pattern that I resized.
I always forget how easily pants come together,
the boys will definitely have some summer pajamas coming their way soon!

We had a slight “emergency” in the dutch costume department for our local heritage festival,
For the life of us we could not find the baby sized costume,
but thank goodness for my fabric stash.
With a bit of shirting, leftover calico from my grandmother,
and some black broadcloth from previous dutch costumes
I was able to pull together a little volendam outfit in a short amount of time.
It was one of those projects that was meant to be,
I had everything on hand,
all the pieces of my self-drafted pattern came together perfectly,
and all the trims were the just the right size.
I don’t think it could have happened better if I had purposely tried!
And of course, the best reward is the little doll baby dressed in it.

the whooping crane {!!!}

10 May 2013 Comments Off on the whooping crane {!!!}

whooping crane 9May2013 (1)whooping crane (c)2013whooping crane 9May2013 (4) whooping crane 9May2013 (5)

This has been a good week for spotting birds we didn’t expect to find.
First the sora and virginia rail, and last night the whooping crane!
The whooping crane is especially exciting as they aren’t supposed to migrate through Michigan,
however, it seems as though this one has mixed itself into a
group of sandhill cranes.

Because they are so rare,
less than 600 birds total
and only 109 in the Eastern states,
we wanted to make sure someone knew this bird was seen.
I found the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership online
and we were able to see where the few cranes have been recently.
Each bird is marked with a series of colored bands on its legs,
one to three bands in four different colors
to help determine which bird is which,
along with those and a transmitter,
each bird is tracked and mapped.
From what we could tell the bird we saw
is a first year migrator that mixed with the sandhill cranes
to teach it where to go.

I don’t know if we’ll see it again, but we’re so glad that our whole family
was able to see such a threatened species in the wild.

Some more info on the conservation efforts ::

a little spring birding

7 May 2013 Comments Off on a little spring birding

brown thrasher (c) 2013towhee (c) 2013yellow warbler (c) 2013solitary sandpiper (c)2013virginia rail (c) 2013 sora (c) 2013

On Sunday we walked into a meadow,
stood still and reveled in the variety of spring songs
surrounding us.
The brown thrasher – its long mimicry cascading loudly,
proclaiming its territory against the robin and her cousin thrush
their own songs a delight to hear.
A little yellow warbler, whose voice outshone its tiny size.
Around the bend and down a little hill
where the path was covered by water
we spotted a solitary sandpiper – carefully walking,
on stilt-like legs and long bill reaching into the thick mud.
A sparrow doing its own dance nearby.
Farther into the marsh,
we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the elusive
sora and virginia rail.
And today, after an hour of patient waiting,
we captured the two on film,
in all their quiet glory

summer wishlist

6 May 2013 Comments Off on summer wishlist

If you follow me on Pinterest you know that recently
I have been eyeing loads of sweet boys clothes.
Some of them will have to be recreated this side of the pond
(I may be sewing mass quantities of linen shorts),
but others have been rather tempting at the local stores.

A few of our favorites ::

From Makié Clothier:

Don’t you just love the gingham
and muted tones of the blues and greys?
The boys are also digging the slip-on Bensimons.

W is loving light blues and greens in shirts.
Like the sweet henley above from Cordelia de Castellane

And these simple tees from JCrew factory.

Unsurprisingly, A loves these red pants from Lands End.

And of course, we all loved the striped tees from Tea –
these were awfully hard to put back on the shelf at a local shop :

Their croc pjs are super fun for summer nights.

Simple silhouettes in muted tones to offset
the vibrant summer light and colors.

What fun summer clothes have you been eyeing lately?

let’s go fly a kite

4 May 2013 Comments Off on let’s go fly a kite

fly a kite (3)fly a kite (2)fly a kite (5)fly a kite (1) fly a kite (4)fly a kite (6)fly a kite (7)

Today we walked out at the old country club,
now an open park.
Flew kites for hours atop a low hill,
saw our first oriole of the year,
striking orange against the dark, dark green of a pine.


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