Sunday, July 27, 2008

Family Stuff

Brother and Sister*

Sandland Brother has been in the Toronto area over this weekend but today was our first chance for a brief visit before he boarded a plane for more business meetings in Newfoundland. He has been living in the United Arab Emirates for a few years now and has actually enjoyed the heavy rain we have been experiencing in Ontario. It has been almost three years since I last saw him.

The Becka and I picked him up at the hotel, stopped for lunch and then went to Toronto's Harbourfront for a stroll. The Becka had the audacity to take a rear view photo of the two of us as we took photos of the skyline with our almost identical Canon Powershot cameras. Family traits run deep. I couldn't help but notice how my brother talked and moved his hands like our father and our next brother, Philip.

Terminal One, Pearson Airport*

We drove him to the airport and headed home again. My husband had some backyard news for me when I returned. We had noticed a pair of Cardinals in the garden recently and they had been checking out our empty feeders. I have not been feeding the birds over the summer. Yesterday I bought some seed again and filled one small container.

Mama Cardinal with a tasty grub

Today he noticed a nest in the top of our lilac bush and four little heads poking out as they waited for their next meal. Mama and Papa Cardinal took turns bringing tasty grubs to their youngsters and then the adults would fly down to feeder for a little treat of their own. It was cloudy and rainy when I tried to get some pictures of the action but there was not enough light to get a shot of the nest.

Time for her...

Families are important. Life goes on from generation to generation. Sandland Brother is off to Spokane WA later this week to see his new grandson of whom he is very proud. Then he has to return to the Middle East. He was commenting on how the internet has made it easier for families keep in touch, even when they are far apart.

I will be keeping an eye on the Cardinal family and an eye on my family as some grow up and others get older. Cardinals don't migrate, but my family seems to. But life is always about change isn't it.

*Photos by The Becka


  1. Families are great--humans and birds!
    Enjoy your time.

  2. I just wondered why you don't feed the birds in the summer? I've had the best time watching the parents show the fledglings how to use the feeders. Granted they eat mostly insects, but as you said, the treat is nice..Michelle

  3. KGMom- I know you understand the distance thing. Visits are extra special.

    Michelle- We attract hordes of House Sparrows, Grackles, Starlings and squirrels at feeders here in the city. Our deck and borders get so messy that I take them down. There is abundant food around this summer for the birds...bugs and seeds. But I will make an exception for these Cardinals.

  4. At a time when I'm immersed in family stuff, this post is timely. Thanks, Ruth. It's so true, even though sometimes we forget just how important families are to us.

    I haven't been feeding birds much this summer either. Tonight, however, I saw a female Cardinal looking for a morsel at the feeder and I caved in...and will take care of them. They stay but the families keep moving on. So true. Great post.


  5. Ruth..Oh yes..I had more than ever this summer. I finally have a system that is almost grackle free, is starling free and no squirrels. The little snarling starlings were driving me crazy. I finally have the bird feeders set for small birds only, suet dough in upside down feeders and the tray feeder with safflower for the cardinals and doves. Fingers cross, it's working.

    I saw a poor chipping sparrow pair shoving seeds into a cowbird. Last summer it was the song sparrows who had one.

    Enjoy the cardinals, I haven't seen any fledgling cardinals at my feeders. I think the traitors go to a neighbor's feeder. GG

  6. This was a really sweet post. I'm so glad that you got to see your brother and that picture of you two is very artistic--it should be in Life magazine or something! Isn't it nice that you came home to news of a cardinal family in your yard--they won't have the advantage of the internet when those little babies fly off on their own.

  7. A lovely post Ruth. So good that you all got to spend some time together face to face, for as wonderful as the internet is, it can't replace that.

  8. Anonymous7:55 am GMT-4

    What a special time for you and your brother. Sorry it was just a short visit though. As Jayne commented, internet is nice but it doesn't replace the real thing. I am very fortunate to be blessed with lots of siblings and able to spend time with them often.

    Lucky you to have a Cardinal family in your backyard. They couldn't have pick a more appropriate home to raise their young. I'm sure you will keep a watchful eye on this family as they grow. Must make you feel like an adoptive grandparent - lol.

  9. I love your first image of family. It reminds me of one of my older brother and cousin on a beach over half a century ago when they were children. It is the same pose. Poses have the power to recall similar images from times past.

    I love your butterfly photos as well. We get all of those species here as well.

  10. Ruth,

    I love the photo taken from the rear while you and your brother were busy taking other photos. A moment in time. I have some great shots taken from behind. I'm glad you were able to see your brother while he was in Toronto. You must miss him, but the Internet is a great tool, as he said. I'm glad he is getting time to go and visit his new grandson.

    How lucky you are to have a cardinal nest in your lilac busy. We have cardinals here but not as many as we did at one time. Our area has dozens of blue jays, but it's hard to get a good photo. The are so fast and we hear them throughout the day and evening.

    Thanks so much for your comments on the Pow Wow. We had not gone for a few years but decided to take a break. I enjoy seeing the crafts and the dancers. I am sending you and email telling you about other Pow Wows in our area.

    Take care and have a great week.

  11. I am really glad you got a chance to see my dad. I am so glad for the internet as well, we haven't seen each other in years (in fact I am unsure how many it has been) but this allows us to keep up with each other.

    (Is there anyway I can get a bigger version of the "rear shot" I am a big fan of more abstract family photos, I think another one of your watchers called it a "A moment in time" photo. It really shows your personalities.)

  12. Nice post and so true. We need our families more than we realize.

  13. That was a very nice post BS&S. Just one family comment - my girls say I'm like your dad, so does that mean Nathan & Phlip are like their aunt :-)

  14. I found the remark about your brother's gestures reminding you of your other brother and dad - very interesting.It's so neat to see family looks and characteristics emerge among family members. It can also be a little haunting.

    You've had a lovely summer as indicated by the your wonderful photos.

    They're all neat, but oh, my! how I'd love to see a field of bobolinks. I haven't seen this bird in years.

    Thanks so much for dropping by my blog with your well-wishes. I know you understand the challenges of the body's attempt at mending.

  15. I just couldn't resist not taking that photo of the both of you with the cameras. :P Classic.

  16. Thanks to all who commented. Cathy, family traits do become more apparent as we age, and they really stand out when you see someone just occasionally. Oma Lois...You look like my dad, but your voice and gestures are far more feminine ;-)


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