Showing posts with label bluebirds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bluebirds. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Bluebird by Genevieve Graham ~ A Book Review

Bluebird is a story that just fills a whole bunch of "MUST HAVES" for a book that I would recommend.  I was given an "Advanced Readers Copy" through Netgalley (https://www.netgalley.com)

Reading is one pleasure that I enjoy immensely and now that I am retired it is what I consider my "job".  So I'm happy to be a member of Netgalley and help authors by reading their books and commenting on them!  It helps the authors to know that they are on the right track and gives them feedback before that book is actually published.

Genevieve Graham is not new to writing and has many other books under her belt.  Bluebird is the latest and will be available  April 5th of this year 2022!  

 



Synopsis:  What happens when a home renovator finds a stash of ancient looking bottles that have been hidden in a wall!  The wall is coming down as part of the renos and the stash is uncovered in the process.  It looks like these bottles are full of something, but what?  Bailey Brother's Best is on the label and whiskey is the scent that follows.  Who has ever heard of Bailey Brother's Best?  

Guessing that the local museum might have some answers, Cassie, the Curator of the museum, is astounded  and eager to solve the mystery of the hidden bottles.  She is actually quite stunned by what Matthew Flaherty (the renovator) has brought to her attention.  She knows some of the history, but not all of it.  Given her own history, she is very eager indeed to find out more.  

As you read this book you will relive some of the horrors of World War 1, and the hardships that the men endured.  You will also learn about the "Bluebirds", the nursing staff that saw as much of the horrors of war as the men who fought.  The Bluebirds was a nickname given to them because of the uniforms they wore.  Many a man was thankful for the services that these strong women performed during their confinement. I'm sure that more than one of them fell in love with the caring nursing staff too! 

I don't want to give too much of the story away because I know that you will be totally enthralled and captivated by what is happening in and out of the trenches during the war and then the return to civilization when the war is over.

This book is a history lesson, a mystery, and a love story all rolled up into a great book!  Not only is it a great read, but, because of the times, so much was changing  all around.  Hemlines were going up, dancing was becoming wilder, booze was illegal and women were becoming independent,  It was a brave new world that these men were coming home to.  

 I know for a fact that you will enjoy this as much as I did.  I could not put it down.  Congratulations to Ms. Graham on this book, it's another one that needs to be read by many.


Also By Genevieve Graham:

Letters Across the Sea

The Forgotten Home Child

At the Mountain's Edge

Come From Away

Promises to keep

Tides of Honour

Somewhere to Dream

Sounds of the Heart

Under the Same Sky

Bluebird Available April 5, 2022!






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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Review of Designing Collages and Composites in Photography


Putting photographs into collages is a fun way to display a grouping of photos.  In the grouping above I show a simple collage with a group of my bird photos.

Create a Simple Collage in Lightroom


The above collage is one that I created in Adobe Lightroom.  To make this collage I moved several of my bird photos to the Print option at the top left of the Lightroom screen and then followed the directions to add the framing and sizing.  You also have options to change the color on the frames and the background and to add some text.

Here is another collage that I made in the same way.


Composites


I belong to a Facebook group called "Create 52" where each week we have a theme to create a photograph and post it on the page.  One of our recent themes was called Collages/Composites.  I posted one of the collages that I made on Lightroom.  I then decided to try to stretch my knowledge and try some of the composites.  Many of the other members were posting some very interesting composites.  Composites are a very creative way of using your photographs.  For my first try I went to Photoshop and opened the collage of the Cardinals and then opened a texture that I had of snow.  I combined the two into one photograph and then changed the opacity to get the desired effect.  Here is the resulting photo.


More Advanced Composites


After seeing some of the other posts in our "Create 52" group, I decided to try some composites using multiple photographs.  I had been on a field trip with a group I help mentor in photography and we went to a local college and several students displayed their musical instruments for us to photograph.  I took several of the photographs and combined them into one design and then used a photo of some sheets of music for a texture.  Here are two of my designs.  Remember, I'm just learning but I think you can get the idea.



Creating your own Collages and Composites


If you are interested in trying one of these procedures there are a lot of tutorials that will help you online.  If you have Photoshop just search for tutorials for creating composites in Photoshop.  If you use other editing software just search online and I'm sure you will also find tutorials for them.  Many of the tutorials are on YouTube and are free.  You can watch them and pause whenever you need to review a step.  I have learned a lot on YouTube.


Zazzle Design from my Collage





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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Review of Bluebird Facts and Photography


I have long been a fan of Bluebirds but until this year I have not been able to  capture any photographs that I really liked.  During a very cold spell in January a group of Bluebirds visited our backyard and I was able to capture some nice photos.  I had a camera set up on a tripod in front of our glass doors and I snapped away as the Bluebirds checked out our feeding spots.  For those interested I am using a Sony A57 with a Tamron150-600 lens.  My camera is set to A (aperture mode) and I'm using a 6.5 aperture in most of these photos.



Eastern Bluebird Identification

These birds are small thrush type birds with a round head and big belly.

Male Bluebirds

The male Bluebirds are particularly bright in color as you can see in the photo above.  They have a bright blue colored head and back along with their tail feathers.  Their throat and chest are a bright rusty color.

Female Bluebirds

Female Bluebird

The female bluebirds have the same color pattern as the males and they are a similar size, however their coloring is much more subdued.  Their head appears an almost grayish color as you can see in the photo above.

Juvenile Bluebirds

The juvenile Bluebirds have spotting on their backs and chests and some blue
beginning in their wings and chests.

Feeding Behavior and Diet


From spring to early fall the Bluebirds diets consist of mainly insects.  In the winter they rely mainly on fruits.  As you can see in the photo above they will also resort to seeds in the winter.

I have found that if I do not clean out my flower containers after blooming season the Bluebirds and other birds like to rummage through the dead plants.


Nesting

Although Bluebirds will use a nest box they also like holes in old trees, particularly old woodpecker nests.  They fill their nests with grass and other plant material.  A Bluebird usually lays 4-5 eggs and they are inculpated by the female for 11-19 days.  The fledgling birds leave the nest in about 19 days.

References

I gathered my information from several online sources as well as from my book Backyard Guide to the Birds.  Here are my references.
  • allaboutbirds.org/guide
  • Audubon.org
  • wild-bird-watching.com

                                              



Zazzle Products from my Photos





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Friday, February 3, 2017

Wooden Birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds Reviewed

Eastern Bluebirds photo by Sylvestermouse

How to Attract Bluebirds to Your Backyard!

Every year I look forward to the arrival of the Eastern Bluebirds to our backyard.  We owned our first bluebird birdhouse over 30 years ago, but I remember well how excited we were when our first bluebird couple built their nest our our wooden birdhouse.  Now, I watch for them year after year.  The thrill of seeing them investigate our bluebird birdhouse for the possibility of a home never decreases.

Just this morning, my husband excitedly whispered from the backdoor of our home, "The bluebirds are back!  Grab your camera!"  I must admit, I was very surprised.  It is still a little early for them to arrive, but I grabbed my robe and slippers and headed for the door.


The Eastern Bluebird


As you would expect, Eastern Bluebirds are blue.  They have pinkish-orange throats and breasts with white bellies.  They are small birds with bodies about 6" - 8" long.  Their wingspan can easily be measured up to 12½" and they weigh approximately 1 ounce.  They may be small, but they make a tremendous visual impact when perching on a gray fence, bare tree branch, or on their birdhouse.  They are stunningly gorgeous subjects for photographers.

Eastern Bluebird photo by Sylvestermouse


Eastern Bluebirds mostly eat berries and insects, therefore they prefer to live close to trees or wooded areas.  One thing to keep in mind, they like the ground under their nesting area to be clear of debris.  I've always believed that was a natural instinct to avoid areas where predators may be hiding. 

Eastern Bluebirds have been known to live up to 10 years in the wild.  You may well have the same couple return for several years to set up their nest and lay their eggs in your birdhouse. 


The Bluebird House


There are a few considerations when selecting and setting up a birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds.   The first consideration is obvious, do you have Eastern Bluebirds in your area?  Once you have identified them, then all you really need is the right wooden birdhouse set facing the right direction, at the right height.

There are a few considerations when selecting and setting up a birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds. Find out all about them here.
The Female Inspects the Birdhouse While the Male Stands Watch
Later, he will gather twigs & materials and bring them to her once she is inside building the nest.

 
The birdhouse selection does matter!  An Eastern Bluebird requires a small opening that will serve to protect their nest and eggs from predators.  

As I said earlier, placement matters.  A bluebird house must face east for bluebirds to nest.  It should also be nailed approximately 5' off the ground to a fence or on a post.  As you can see in the photos, our bluebird house is nailed to a fence.

Since the Eastern Bluebirds build their nests in the spring, you need to have your birdhouse up and ready to occupy in early spring.   It doesn't take long to nail up the perfect ready-made birdhouse like the one featured above!

Eastern Bluebird photo by Sylvestermouse



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Wooden Birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse




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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On Belonging, Astonishment, and Becoming Spring


Each Petal a Heart... My Heart
“Every spring is the only spring—a perpetual astonishment.”  ~Ellis Peters

There are mornings, such as these, when I am baptized by astonishment.  And in these moments of breathtaking wonder, I belong—I belong to the land, to the first wildflowers of the season, to the mountain chickadee and bluebirds, the oriole, the purple martins, and the mighty hummingbirds.

What is the purpose of green living if not this—to belong to that which is a perpetual astonishment?  Without that sense of surprise and sheer delight, the days would merely be hours.

I’m supposed to be writing reviews, but my spirit wants to sing a different song as this glorious day unfolds.  To deny the song would render my writing moot.  One can only write what one feels deeply, madly, and truly. 

On what feels like the first day of spring I have ever truly known, the words that want to be written are tender, unfurling leaves.  To stand under a young elm tree, witnessing buds giving birth to green... how does one review that? 

Perhaps, if I get still, and quiet, and deeply absorb all this green, it will become embedded in my DNA and I can be a perpetual spring. Wouldn't that be something to write on my heart?



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