For several weeks before Thanksgiving, son Chris had been occasionally seeing a pair of very large brown birds at the edge of the woods bordering a business park across the street from his northern VA apartment. He described the birds to me, but I was drawing a complete blank.
Until I finally saw them myself, it had never occurred to me that they could be Wild Turkeys.
I first saw them on Thanksgiving Eve, and then again several times during the holiday weekend. They were very shy, so I photographed them using the car as a blind, since they seemed accustomed to passing vehicles.
This photo taken in the nearby business park's lot gives a better idea of the size of the bird, compared to a small SUV -- they're surprisingly large!
Finding these turkeys was an unexpected and timely discovery that topped off an extremely fun Thanksgiving weekend with our family. Wish they would hang around to become part of the annual tradition!
So the hummers continued their crazy airshow off and on for most of the day. Every now and then I would hear one bump against the window as it miscalculated an attack or escape. Luckily, there were no apparent casualties.
I went outside around 4 pm (when it was finally sort of warm) to try and capture some hummer photos in the afternoon sunlight. My little friends quickly showed up and resumed their squabbling.
One of the females settled in to feed, but trouble quickly arrived in the form of the male who claimed that feeder as his turf.
Although it looks like he's getting fresh, I think he was just trying to use his weight to push her off the feeder.
But she wasn't easily moved, nor did she seem the least bit impressed by his maneuvers.
She wouldn't budge, no matter how hard he tried to unseat her.
Finally, he gave up and flew off to annoy someone else.
This may be the same stubborn female (you go, girl!) at a subsequent visit.
And here's the little troublemaker himself, his feathers just a wee bit ruffled.
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Thanks to all of you who come here, and especially thanks for enduring my endless fascination with the hummingbirds.
I'm resolving to try to get back to more diverse creative topics in the new year, which means I need to oil the sewing machine and dust off the printer and get busy.
I'm proud to report that despite the outdoor distractions, I actually got some baking done today.
Bourbon Walnut pie. No, we're not Southerners, but my dear mother-in-law believed nut pies were always better with a dash of Jim Beam. It's become a family tradition.
You-know-who took a break from patrolling "his" backyard to check on what was happening through the kitchen window.
These are a variation on the classic Hershey kisses cookies; you put the peanut butter dough balls in mini muffin tins to bake for 10 minutes, then smush a chilled mini peanut butter cup in each, so the dough puffs up around it like a crust. Let these sit in the tin for another 10 minutes, then put the cookies on a plate and watch them disappear!
And continuing (concluding!) the bourbon theme, this is my Bourbon Spice cake, which I used to make every year for my mother-in-law's birthday. The recipe is from the October 1984 Bon Appetit magazine and is mixed using a food processor -- all the rage back then!
I finished up with today's baking around 5 pm, and dashed outside with my camera when I happened to notice out the window...
Late afternoon sunlight streaming from behind a huge horizontal cloud over the Gila River valley, across the Estrella mountains. This is the same view where early this morning, the clouds were settled way down below the mountaintops. This photo doesn't begin to do justice to the true beauty of the scene, but it will have to do.
Now, to make my plan of attack for tomorrow. I find (in my foggy middle age) that I accomplish more & forget less when I take the time to write such lists during my down time. The Christmas pecan rolls are the big prep item tomorrow -- dough made from scratch, with the recipe used by my mother and her mother, to be baked fresh on Christmas morning. These rolls have been part of our Christmas breakfasts for as long as I can remember, yet every year I worry that I'll goof them up, even though I've been making them for about 25 years now!