All posts by ruthsoaper

Birds and Bees

Hello everyone. I just thought I would share a few stories from this past week.


Early this spring I watched for several days as a pair of robins flew in and out of our arborvitae bushes carrying building materials. I was hesitantly excited about having baby birds hatched in the bushes that I view from my kitchen window. I say hesitantly because these bushes are not always the best place to support a nest. High winds have a tendency to bend the branches. In past years I have seen eggs that have fallen from a nest under those bushes as well as baby birds that have fallen from the nest and died. Cats that roam the neighborhood also like to hide under those bushes and sometimes climb them.

After watching that pair of robins building their nest this spring they seemed to disappear for a while. I wondered if they had abandoned their nest. It was over a week ago when I noticed the pair coming and going again this time carrying food. I knew there were babies in the nest.

Sunday evening Ruby and Ranger were outside on the deck, and I was sitting at my desk. The window next to me gave me a clear view of the deck, the courtyard and the arborvitaes. Suddenly Ranger and Ruby went running down into the courtyard. As they did two birds came flying out of the arborvitae. One was an adult robin which flew up into the maple tree. The other was this baby which landed in the grass.

I watched it as it sat there for a while just looking sort of confused. Then it began to hop around in the grass. The adult robin stayed in the area observing what was happing with its young one. I’m not sure if it was time for this baby the fledge or if the dog’s sudden movement startled the birds and it accidentally tumbled out. I haven’t seen it around since nor have I seen the parents so I am not certain if this baby lived or not. I have, however, concluded that since the parents did not return, this was the only baby in the nest.


Sunday evening my husband was sitting at the picnic table under the big oak tree. He said he could hear a lot of bees buzzing, and when he looked up, he spotted this large swarm of bees that had landed in the oak tree.

He wasn’t prepared to capture them that evening but decided if they were still there Monday morning he would because A) these bees came from our son-in-law’s hive that had survived last winter so they are apparently a hardy breed of bees. B) We had friends from out of state who were coming for a visit and picnic at the farm Monday afternoon, and we didn’t want bees buzzing overhead as we visited and ate.

The swarm was still in the oak tree on Monday morning so he took my camera to get a picture of them before he captured and rehomed them in this hive.

By the time we set up for our picnic only a few bees remained in the area.


I think it was Thursday or Friday that my husband told me about a lone Canadian goose he spotted wandering in the field next to our property.

On Saturday when we arrived at the farm the goose was sitting in the grass near the pond. As we and the dogs went about our business we were surprised that the goose did not fly off. He just relocated in an out-of-the-way, wooded area where many of the chickens were hanging out.

He didn’t seem injured or ill but we didn’t see him eating and when my husband offered chicken feed and water he just hissed at my husband. He also hissed at Ruby and Ranger if they got too close. Just a warning that he wanted to be left alone.

When I did some online reading about geese, I found out that geese mate for life and if they lose a mate they will go into mourning, often wandering around looking for their partner. They may isolate themselves and not eat. I suspect that this guy lost his mate. I suspect they were nesting near our neighbor’s pond and his mate, and perhaps babies if they had any, fell victim to a fox. Heartbreaking.

The above picture was taken on Monday. He was still there when we were getting ready to have friends over. I decided to try to get him to leave the beach area since we wanted to be able to enjoy the beach with our company. As I approached the area where he was swimming Ruby came running up as well. When Mr. Goose saw Ruby making her quick approach he instinctively took to the sky. We were very happy to see him fly off. He first flew east then a couple minutes later he flew back over heading west. Hopefully he will join up with a flock and find a new mate.

Thanks for visiting!

Monthly Inspiration

Hello and welcome. June snuck up on us and here we are two days in already.

From my 2023 wall calendar.

Our inspirational birds this month are black capped chickadees and as pretty as they are I think the verse is even more beautiful. “Peace and love be with you in abundance.” Jude 1:2. It is my prayer for all of you.

Thanks for visiting and Happy June!


The whole flock greeted us as we arrived at the farm.

Fortunately we had a bucket full of food scraps for them. Ruby had to help clean them up.

Two of our young roosters posed for a picture. Notice their combs and waddles are larger than the hen on the right.

My husband showed me a recently build nest he spotted in the woods. We’re not sure who it belongs to. There were no eggs or babies in it.

I spent some time pulling weeds in the Prayer Garden and as I got up to empty my weed bucket I caught a glimpse of the setting sun.

I set my weed bucket down and grabbed my camera to get some photos of the bright orange ball in the sky.

I had to wander to the north a bit to get a shot that was more sun than trees.

As I returned to my weed bucket, I found that some of the chicks had decided to explore it.

Several years ago, my oldest daughter and her husband bought me a Solomon’s seal plant for Mother’s Day. I planted it in a wooded area and had a small fence around it so I could keep track of it. It came back for the first few years but last year it never came up. Last week I noticed it was up. It’s not flowering yet but should get small, white, bell-shaped flowers soon.

Peanut was resting in the multi-purpose chair. I call it the multi-purpose chair because a while earlier my husband had been sitting in it, and even earlier in the day one of the hens laid an egg in it. LOL!

Thanks for visiting!

From Eggs to Tadpoles

In April, when I published this post about toad mating day, one of my readers asked what a nest of toad eggs looks like. I was able to describe them and send a link of a website that had pictures, but I never saw any nests of toad eggs to get pictures of.

Two weekends ago, May 6th and 7th, what I thought were frogs were loudly and proudly singing their mating song.

I wandered the edge of the pond until I found the “party”.

It was a two-day event.

I took some pictures on Saturday and more on Sunday.

On Monday the frogs were quiet. I went to the area of the pond where the “party” had taken place and discovered eggs. It wasn’t until I did a little research on the internet that I realized that these are toad eggs. The difference being that frog eggs are laid in a large cluster while toad eggs are in strings like beads. What I thought were frogs were really toads.

They may be a bit difficult to see in the photos but the eggs look like black strings under the water.

Closer up they look like tiny black beads enclosed in a clear gel-like tube.

I couldn’t even begin to guess how many toads laid all these eggs or how many tadpoles would emerge from them. It’s my understanding that these eggs could take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks to hatch. It largely depends on the temperature of the water.

It was Friday, May 12, when they hatched.

These are probably the tiniest tadpoles I have ever seen. (Can you make out some of the tadpoles in the picture?) They were making their way to the beach area where the water is shallow and thus warmer.

It will now be two to three months before these little wigglers grow legs and lose their tales. That is when they will leave the pond and spend most of their lives on land.

Thanks for visiting.

A Mother’s Day Bouquet

In honor of Mother’s Day I decided to share a collection of flowers that we have in bloom right now. I hope you enjoy.

Dandelions surrounded by clover.

I don’t think a Mother’s Day bouquet would be complete without dandelions since they are often the first gift a child gives to their mother or grandmother. What a delight it is to see the little one tottling through the grass plucking as many blossoms as their little hands can carry then presenting them with pride to mom or grandma. That is a gift of love!

Addie blowing dandelion seeds.

Then it’s mom’s turn or grandma’s to teach the little one the value of a dandelion that’s gone to seed. Pluck the biggest puff ball you can find, hold it in front of your mouth, (some will tell you to make a wish) then blow, scattering the seeds as far as the wind will carry them. What precious moments shared generation after generation.

Apple Blossoms
Apple Blossoms
Apple tree in bloom.
Fading forsythia and heavenly lilacs.

Every bouquet needs a beagle. LOL!!!

Strawberry blossoms.

Strawberries in raised beds. Looks like a good crop coming on.

Violets blossoming around the salvia plant.

The violets that showed up on their own in our prayer garden often hide under or around other plants.

Crab Apple tree in bloom.
Addies Bouquet

Addie loves flowers so grandpa cut her some daffodils and lilacs. After using them in various arrangements to decorate our picnic table she decided to wrap them in a towel.


The pansies that we bought and potted back in February are enjoying spring.

Wild Geranium

I took a short walk in the woods behind our house this morning looking for blooms.

Wild Geraniums.

Among the flowers were wild geraniums.

Unidentified flowers

These tiny pinkish/white flowers that I am not familiar with. (Anyone know what they might be?)


The Mayapples are up but not blossoming yet.


Two different varieties of ferns. Ferns are plants that do not produce flowers or seeds. They reproduce through tiny spores.


My main reason for trekking into the woods was to look for trilliums. They were one of my mom’s favorite flowers and they usually blossom around Mother’s Day, so each year I try to remember to look for the trilliums in memory of my mom.


Happy Mother’s Day!