Love My Western Scrub-Jays…..

Western Scrub-Jay
Western Scrub-Jay

The Western Scrub-Jays are beautiful, bright and entertaining…..

They spend their spring and summers in my yard and for that I am grateful.

Every morning, when I go outside to put fresh water in the bird baths, they come gliding in, demostrating  just how graceful they are.

They also come with hopes of getting a peanut or two.

Baby - Western Scrub-Jay Not the best place to land, but he/she is still just a baby.
Baby – Western Scrub-Jay
Not the best place to land, but he/she is still just a baby. It has been fun watching this baby learn what and what not to eat!

Blog name Change…..

A beautiful Sunset
A beautiful Sunset

From “My Side View” to “Wolf Song Blog”

When I started this blog, I knew nothing about creating a blog. I saw other people’s blogs and wanted to give it a try – mostly for fun, to try my hand at being creative and to continue my love for using the computer. After all my college degree is in a computer field and my career was spent using my technical degree (not too much creativity there).

When I first created my site I called it “My Side View” with the intention of sharing adventures while my husband and I travel in our RV. Well since then I have come to truly enjoy writing and sharing my photography.

The My Side View title, I believe, is not relevent to the time spent at home when not traveling.

I soon realized I had made a few mistakes when setting up my blog. My email address, for many years has been WolfSong. It is a name I picked years ago and is a reference to my love and respect for the Wolf. The blog address and the blog title did not match, so I decided to change the blog name to Wolf Song Blog. Now they match – WolfSongBlog as the address for the blog and Wolf Song Blog as the title.

Hopefully, this name change is a better fit for my site – it feels right to me. Let’s just hope this change works and does not create other unknown problems!

You may now reach my blog just by typing: WolfSongBlog.Com

Sheila

Roll on Along…..

Vivid and bold shades of reds, blacks and silvers
Vivid and bold shades of reds, blacks and silvers

🎵 Roll on highway, roll on along

And roll on eighteen-wheeler, roll on🎵

Alabama

Dazzling, sparkling wheels turning washed and waxed to perfection. Vivid and bold shades of reds, blacks and silvers, glittering in the evening sunlight. All three left their western home, in northern Loveland, rolling south to downtown Loveland with precious cargo on board. 

🎵Roll on highway, roll on along

And roll on eighteen-wheeler, roll on  🎵

Alabama 

Gentle Giants – Majestic, Powerful and Beautiful…..

Groomed to perfection – bathed, brushed, braided and combed. They are pampered and spoiled and rightly so. It was a first for Loveland, it was exciting, it was a fun way to spend a Thursday evening.

Nancy, a friend visiting from the Lone Star State, and I heard about this event and decided we wanted to be a part of the fun. I longed to see them trotting down Fourth Street – the heart of downtown Loveland. However, we were a tad late arriving or they were a tad ahead of schedule. As we were trotting up Lincoln Street heading to Fourth Street they made the turn prancing in all their glory straight toward us.

What a magnificent sight, gold adornments flashing almost blinding in the sun. Eight majestic, powerful, beautiful, draft horses lovingly referred to as Gentle Giants entertaining the large crowds.

The Clydesdales…..

Matching, in their beautiful black collars and gold harnesses – mirror images of each other, bay in color with white markings on face and legs. Their muscled legs lifting in rhythm causing the feathering, on their lower legs, to flair up and out, symbolizing grace and power.

Can you imagine, eight Clydesdales, each weighting between 1,800 to 2,000 pounds and standing proudly  72 inches high, pulling their striking red wagon filled with Budweiser Beer.

Clop, Clop, Clop, the thunderous sound of their feet hitting pavement…..

In his green and white uniform, sitting tall and proud a top the traditional beer wagon, he expertly and commandingly drives his team. I will just call him – “The Driver” . 

At his side and also sitting tall and proud, wearing his own taylor made gold collar is the other four-legged symbol of the Budweiser team – the handsome black and white (gentle) Dalmatian. His tail wagging to express the crowds heartfelt affection. As he sits and watches I call him – “The Sentinel”. {I later learned, when I got a big hug, his name is Chip}

As the team continued north on Lincoln we trotted along side, wanting to observe these Gentle Giants up close. They pulled to a halt several blocks away, along side the huge, red eighteen-wheelers that would take them back home. 

Crowds gathered, young and old, standing in awe with cameras in hand. The Clydesdales thrilled the crowds, I know, because everyone was wearing a smile. 

 We talked to the caretakers of these beauties, again pride showing as they answered questions and spoke lovingly about their charges. One such young man, Will is his name, told us he has worked with draft horses since the age of five. We could tell he loved these horses!

The time passed quickly, they soon started unhitching the team – removing the gorgeous, black collars and gold harnesses, removing the leather leads and finally loading these amazing animals into their home on wheels.

Not wanting to leave just yet we watched until the two strongest and tallest, those just in front of the wagon, were loaded. All eight were wiped down, watered and feed. People continued to watch, peeking through the big doors as the horses rubbed their necks (spots needed scratching), throwing their heads up and down eager to be rolling and biting the poor horse stalled in front of them on the butt, I guess just for fun.

 Next came the red wagon – Chip was allowed down, had to jump onto the shoulders of his caretaker, to the applause of the crowd. The wagon was then loaded into one of the sparkling eighteen-wheelers.

As the sun was setting over the mountains, its last rays of light striking the vibrant colors of the eighteen-wheelers they and their precious cargo pulled back out onto Lincoln, leaving downtown Loveland heading north – back to the barn.

It was with deep emotion, mixed with pride, as we watched the three eighteen-wheelers rolling on along. Will, his duty now as driver, saw us watching and tooted his big, loud horn and with a final wave they rolled on out of site. 

We realized this event was special and that we had been graced with the presence of these symbols of strength and beauty.

 Their gentle spirit touched our hearts leaving a delightful memory to treasure…..

🎵 Roll on highway, roll on along

And roll on eighteen-wheeler, roll on 🎵

Alabama

May you roll this way again……..

A Simple Task…..

Clover

A walk outside to perform a simple task, offers me a relaxing break

While performing this task, my mind is unburdened allowing pleasant thoughts to weave in and out

A walk outside to perform a task, my flowers need a drink and birdbaths need filling

Looking around I am delighted to see,

~ Clover showing off their tiny blooms 
~ Ladybugs in a romantic mood
~ Succulents seeking the sun, so little time to display their beauty, dusk looms

Not really a task for being outside is what I enjoy most

Close-Up…..

Close-up

Honey Bees love Speedwell Flowers
Honey Bees love Speedwell Flowers

A beautiful day to examine you closely

Your…..

~Bold anatomy is needed to defy harsh climates

~Craftiness is your ability to survive

~Delightful details disclose your secrets

 ~Exposed expression shares with us your true meaning

 ~Faults are forgotten and blended with your overall beauty

 ~Graciousness in your offering to those dependent on you is

admired

~Hidden beauty goes unnoticed for most, but not all

~Intricate symmetrical angles and shapes reflect the sun’s rays

 ~Joyful existence is what you present to those who truly see

~Kaleidoscope of colors and hues so vivid they appear seemingly unreal

Looking close, into your soul, reveals your inner strength

Day Trip to Rocky…..

Small but vigilant scout
Small but vigilant scout

     Early Monday morning a friend and I left Loveland and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a short drive of about twenty miles and I always take the scenic route through the town of Glen Haven. It is a gorgeous drive.

     Traveling though the Big Thompson Canyon is always a special event, with its tall, jagged, cliffs jetting into the sky above you and the flowing waters of the Big Thompson River running below you. 

     Most times, driving this canyon, one will get a glimpse of a few Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep grazing on the sides of these steep, stone walls, but on this trip we did not spot any.

     As you drive through the canyon there are many places to pull off the road and enjoy the scenery and the smoothing sounds of the rapidly flowing river, especially this time of year with the spring snow melt raging downstream.

      It is relaxing to stand by the river, close your eyes and listen to the sound of the water as it searches it way over, around and even under boulders that are in its path as it traverses down the canyon.

      Fly fishers (men and women) {Smile} come to the waters of the Big Thompson from all over the world to cast their lines hoping to snag a Rainbow Trout. It seems so memorizing observing a person out in the middle of a stream, dressed in waders and all their waterproof clothing, casting their long lines back and forth, back and forth. I will have to try to photograph a fly fisher person.

     As we left the canyon having traveled through the little mountain town of Glen Haven we  crested the last hill and descended into the valley toward Estes Park. The Rocky Mountains, with their snow covered peaks, are what you see first. As your eyes adjust to seeing these magnificent mountains you can then and only then take in the beauty of the valley as it stretches out in front of you.

     Mountain Blue Birds call this area home in the spring and summer and you will usually see them sitting on a fence post or flying up to catch a bug. I did not get to take a photo of one, but next time….

     This year we had two late-spring snow storms that took a told on the Mountain Blue Bird population as they were migrating through the area. People were reporting large numbers of dead birds in their yards. One lady had twelve. My husband and I found two in our yard.

     Leaving the valley, heading to the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, we had to make an immediate u-turn. We had spotted a huge, bull Elk along the side of the road and decided he would definitely be worth a photo or two. One can imagine, or maybe not, spending the winter at or near 12,000 feet. This poor guy was looking exactly like he had experienced a harsh winter – a little ragged with tuffs of fur hanging in clumps off his body; however he still was wearing his beautiful felt-covered antlers. He was having a mid-morning snack at a backyard bird feeder. Good for him.

     We finally entered the park. As we drove and hiked around experiencing the serenity and wonder of this national park, as on this day and with every visit, it did not fail to bring joy to my soul and deep appreciation for the beauty of nature.

     The highlight for me, this visit, were the two dueling male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds defending their territory. Each surveying their world from the high perch of their own pine tree. High into the air they would fly, soaring downward and then back up just as you think they are going to crash into the ground. Who is the bravest?

     We drove the twenty miles back home with wonderful memories and meaningful impressions of a successful and fun day visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.

     

 

Bullock’s Oriole…..

Bullock's Oriole ~Enjoying its new feeding station~
Bullock’s Oriole
~Enjoying its new feeding station~

Cheh, Cheh, Cheh, Cheh

I have been hearing this harsh cheh call for a few weeks now while out in my yard. It is a very distinct call – loud and repeated very quickly many times.

Cheh, Cheh, Cheh, Cheh

I knew, by this call, it was a Bullock’s Oriole. A beautiful and very colorful bird of orange, black and white.

For many years during the spring, I would see these Orioles flitting around. You can hardly miss the flashes of bright colors nor their noisy vocals. They would fly into my yard and fly right back out. Not much to entice them to stay I guess. This spring I noticed a pair hanging around more than usual and considered that they might be nesting near by. I was hopeful!

Both the male and female seemed to like a Hawthorne tree I have in my front yard. I noticed that they would fly into this Hawthorn tree and not any others. In the spring this tree is simply beautiful with its dark green leaves and clusters of white flowers. In the fall and winter it has bright, red berries. It is what I call an umbrella shaped tree, which to me makes it even more lovely. It seems as these clusters of white flowers reach their peak this tree begins to – stink! Yes, truly stink! This smell must be what attracts the bees and birds. I can’t think of any other explanation for the smell.

Hawthorn Tree (Stinky) We planted this tree over 26 years ago.
Hawthorn Tree (Stinky)
We planted this tree over 26 years ago.

I wanted to see if I could entice these Orioles to stay around in my yard knowing the stinky tree would not totally do the trick.  So I did a little research on what type of feeder and food to put out for them. Yesterday, I bought my first Oriole feeder, which is designed just for them. 

This feeder holds Oriole “syrup” just like the Hummingbird syrup you can mix up yourself or buy already mixed to put into a Hummingbird feeder. The Oriole syrup is “orange” in flavor and color! It smells pretty darn good! I also brought some oranges, cut them in half and placed them near the feeder and the “stinky” tree.

During the day today both the male and female would fly into the “stinky” tree and then over to the feeder. Not very quickly  as they are very wary birds. They seemed perplexed and would peck on the clear plastic bulb containing the syrup. They did not know how, it seemed, to get to the liquid. With this particular feeder they have to use their bill to depress the covered opening to get to the syrup. For whatever reason, they seemed to be ignoring the oranges.

Okay, I’am thinking, what can I do to help them find the spot to depress. After all I had just bought this feeder and I really wanted it to work for them. I remembered they also like jelly. There are jelly jar lids that you can buy, which allows the jar to be hung on a feeder and the birds eat right out of the jar.  I did not have a jar holder, but I did have some jelly!

I placed a few dabs of jelly over the spot that they needed to depress. What the heck it was worth a try. Well, I don’t know if the dabs of jelly worked or the birds were smart enough to figure it out for themselves. I did see them eating the jelly off the feeder.

This afternoon I was delighted to see that I had three male Bullock’s Orioles and one female at my new Oriole feeding station, enjoying their Orange Syrup (finally), Grape Jelly and fresh Oranges. I finally observed them munching away on the oranges.

This sighting of three males together was a first in my yard. 

A little money, a little effort and a little time has resulted in one of life’s little pleasures.

Smile!

Hopefully, I will get some better photos as they get use to this feeding station.

Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home