Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Special Visitors

Thank you to everyone for their birthday wishes for my dad. As most of you know, he has dementia, and he no longer recognizes me, but understands me when I say I'm his daughter. He has lived in a seniors' residence in the dementia ward since my mother went into hospital five years ago and passed away four months later. He has declined since then, and not all days are happy ones for him. He does brighten up considerably when I take him for a favourite walk along the wooded path below his home. My friend tells me there are coyotes in these woods, although I've never seen them. Once we get outside and into the woods, he forgets all about telling me how he doesn't like living there, how he wants to move back to England, why can't he live with me, etc, etc. Those types of conversations are agony for me, and I answer as best I can, but he's on a one-minute loop and will ask all these questions again and again. I've posted this photo of my parents before, but I just love those happy smiles. 

Mom & Dad on their wedding day 1956
Some days when I'm feeling a bit low and missing my mom and feeling sad with how things have turned out for Dad, I am blessed to have a visit from an unexpected quarter. Birds. It never fails. I could be having a quiet sad and selfish mope about how I still miss Mom (even though she's been gone for five years), and suddenly I will look around me and see a beautiful feathered friend of the familiar, but maybe not quite so common, variety. Today was such a day. I was sitting at the kitchen table and was attracted by some movements on the patio. I grabbed my camera and here's what I saw ...

He was eating ants!

you can see his tongue sticking out in this photo!

Isn't he gorgeous?! A Common Yellow-Shafted Flicker ... part of the woodpecker family, and one so striking in his colouring. He licked up those ants with some relish, and I was cheered up by having him come to visit. A few minutes later there was a pair of red-breasted nuthatches visiting the fountain, but they moved so quickly I didn't get any photos of them. I haven't seen them since earlier in August, so a nice treat to have them come by again.

Yesterday I caught a chickadee having a bath in my cheap-O fountain (ie. "free"), and every time he came up for air, he looked a little more disheveled.

He blends in so well with the grey fountain, but he's really having a good splash in there!

Another dip & splish splash!
Completely and satisfactorily drenched!

Chickadees really love this small fountain for their baths. They barely fit in the middle basin, but they sure get a good soaking with the water pouring on their backs as they dunk into the water head first!

Then up in the sky I spied a huge bird getting ready to soar. Wings flapping slowly as he rose up higher and higher, and then he was off and circling lazily around. He was so far up, I couldn't identify him, so grabbed the camera and luckily it was able to zoom in on that tiny speck. Much to my surprise ... an osprey! Not a bird I see from my backyard normally. Earlier in the summer I took the daycare kids to a park along the lakefront and we watched a family of osprey diving for fish right there in front of us. Every one of the birds dove into the water and came up with a fish. It was incredible watching them, but I didn't have my camera with me that day. I was amazed that after they dove into the water and got so wet that they were able to pull themselves up and out again and still have the wriggling fish in their talons. Then as soon as they were flying level, they would give their body a full and violent shake and the water was dispelled off them in every direction. There were a few seagulls bobbing on the water in the same area, and a couple of times the osprey crashed into the water only a foot or so away from a seagull. Great viewing that day!

 Storm clouds were gliding in quickly as we BBQ'd our supper last night. No rain came of it though, and it doesn't look like the threatening clouds rolling over today will provide any relief either.

My backyard neighbour trimmed butchered the cedar hedge dividing our properties last week. Suddenly the windows that have been hidden behind a lovely tall hedge are now exposed to us, and we can see that he really is a hoarder!! This house used to be so nice when an elderly couple lived there and cared for it lovingly. The new owner rents the house upstairs and lives in the basement. There is a pile of discarded wood, bikes, lawn mowers and chairs piled along the fence line ... his own personal garbage dump. Now this ... ugh!

Is it any wonder skunks, possums and raccoons have been running wild in his yard (and now into mine). There's an empty inground swimming pool with a discarded plastic cover draped into and around it filling the backyard. Not very nice to look at or sit beside.  It's on a rather nice street too.

Anyway, just a bit of this and that ...

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. HI Wendy...
    Lovely words about your Dad died when I was mom many years later. A stroke, and thankfully gone the same day. I really feel for people...such as yourself....caring for aging parents. I know he doesn't live with you...but the burden of feeling guilty must weigh heavy.
    Your bird visitors are fabulous...I have never seen a flicker...must have been thrilling!
    Hope you have a great long weekend....
    Your neighbour? hideous is that?
    Linda :o)

  2. Hi Wendy, Happy Birthday to your Dad! Whenever you talk about your parents, I feel like I am reading my own story, too - it is so very similar. It is so hard......You want them to be well cared for and with dementia, they even forget the most basic of things and need 24 hour care. I remember those drives home from the care home - they would tug at my heart, but like you seeing the birds, I would also see positive signs like birds and rainbows. It would cheer me up and reaffirm my faith that all would be well. Great capture of the flicker and how good of him to take care of the ants! Your little chickadee looks so cute. I have a neighbor like that. His parents left him their beautiful home and now he is busy trashing it. He doesn't even mow the lawn and there is trash everywhere. We are sick about it. I guess we have to wonder what is going on in their lives to make them that way. Hope your 'last' weekend of summer is fun! xx Karen

  3. That's so nice that your mom sends the birds to cheer you. The night Colin's mom died we saw the most amazing meteor streak across the sky (the pea soup fog cleared for 5 minutes at just the right time). It felt like Isobel letting us know she was OK now (we lost her so suddenly). And the night after my FIL put down her dog Rex we had the most amazing green Northern light.

  4. I'm glad the birds were able to cheer you up, I really do feel for you xx

  5. I didn't get to read your last post, so popping back now, but Happy Birthday to your Dad! Sending you love and hugs from someone who doesn't totally understand, but understands the frustration and pain and difficulty. Hugs my dear. Love too. Amy xx

  6. A belated Happy Birthday to your Dad Wendy, I wish I could give you a big hug, I know how hard it must be for you but you are doing a great job and he's getting the best possible care. We never stop missing our Mum do we, but it's lovely that you have such beautiful wildlife so close by to lighten your heart, I never tire of looking at your photo's . :) xx

  7. Dear Wendy, I had forgotten your Dad has dementia, and it certainly doesn't show in his photo. God bless him. Yes, it is very hard, the repetition, the heartbreak of it. Having so recently trod this road, my heart goes out to you all. The wedding picture is absolutely beautiful: what a handsome couple! Finding joy in the birdlife is a tonic, and I love the Flicker bird, new to me, and always the little chickadees make me smile. Lovely photos.

  8. A great picture of your mom and dad. I know of so many bloggers who are dealing with parent dementia right now ... mostly their moms. Emotionally taxing, that's for sure. How wonderful to have that lovely little flicker visit you. Take care, Tammy

  9. Love the photo of your Mum and Dad. They were married the same year as my parents.

  10. Hello, lovely photo of you Mom and Dad. MY father also had Dementia, I know it is a sad time. I love the Flicker, Chickadee and the Osprey photos. Great captures! Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  11. How sad about your Dad, I don't know how you deal with it, I fear it would break my heart. Wonderful photos, loved the Flicker. Ugh , your next door neighbor, can't you report him to someone.
    Wonderful photo of your parents, he still has that smile

  12. It is so sad when a loved one gets dementia. I understand how you feel about your dad, since my father has dementia too.
    What lovely bird photos! And the osprey watching experience sounds amazing Wendy!
    What a crying shame to have a neighbor and renters next door like that. It sounds just awful. Are there any laws that would make them have to at least clean up the dump in the yard?

  13. Hi Wendy!
    Happy belated to your Dad! I'm playing a bit if catch up as I took a little blogging break for a bit, but I'm finally back.

    YOu know I feel your pain when it comes to the conversations on a loop and sadness with slowly losing our loved ones this way. Prayers to you and hugs my Friend.

    I LOVE these photos!! You're so good at capturing birds - which is so hard to do!! Great shots of some beautiful ones.

    So sorry about your neighbor - ugh!! Is there maybe a way to report him? He may welcome some help and intervention.

    Blessings. xoxo

  14. If your neighbour is attracting vermin, you should be able to get your municipality involved. Could he have some mental health issues? Some municipalities are really starting to crack down on these folks.

  15. Your parents were a striking couple.

    Holy Hoarders! It's a shame that the house isn't being properly maintained. The stacks of boxes look like a fire hazard to me. Does the front of the house look as bad as the backyard?

  16. Lovely pic of your parents, Wendy. My paternal grandmother had dementia and although she didn't appear to know who anyone was, when my dad visited her at weekends she would say, "Hello Son," so we knew it was locked away in there somewhere. My mother visited her every weekday and sometimes she would call her "Son" too, so although she didn't see them together, she knew they fitted together. That was comforting and sad all at the same time. I love your birdie pics, as always. x

  17. Nature has wonderful ways of cheering us up when we need it the most. Lovely photos!!



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