Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Small Gifts of December . . .

"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring

Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."
~ Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing 

One thing that we really love to do here at Casa de Rayner, is to feed the birds. Not a crumb in this house, or bacon rind, or fat from off of a roast goes to waste at all. Stale cookies and bread, or cake . . . whatever we, or Mitzie, don't eat . . . goes to the birds. 
Oh my, how they love it! We don't have very many species that come to our garden up here where we live.  When we were down south we had everything from sparrows, to gold finches, nuthatches, blackbirds, thrushes, tits,wagtails, etc. There were quite a lot. At night we could hear the housesparrows in the eves of the house, their little wings fluttering against the walls. It was a very comforting sound, and I would imagine them all in there, cosying up and bedding down for the night. We even got the occasional woodpecker that visited our nuts from time to time, in all his glory and splendour, his great majesty to behold. 
Here we get mostly Sparrows, the occasional Tit, and Starlings of course. 
A robin or two, our resident wood pigeons, and sometimes a surprise.
We love them all, no matter how splendid or not.
 I like to make my own fat balls in the Winter.  They are a mixture of peanut butter, suet, chopped apple, raisins, honey, oats and seeds. They really love these. I make them up quite a few at a time, and then keep them in the freezer, doling them out as the birds eat them up. 
The other morning, as the sun was rising, I could hear a beautiful song coming from the top of the shed roof in the back garden. I just stood and listened for a time. It was a blackbird. We don't get many, but we do get a pair that visit from time to time. I am not smart enough to be able to tell the song of one bird from another yet . . . except for the very obvious ones like the song thrush or the cuckoo. But I knew this was a blackbird as I could see it. As I stood and listened, my heart swelled with joy. It was so lovelyand sweet . . . and then another gift appeared . . . up on the branch of an oak tree, I saw a little Jenny Wren hopping from one dry branch to another. They are so small, these little wrens, and it is quite easy to miss one if you are not carefully watching. What a wonder to see this shy little bird!!! I stood very still and watched it for a time . . .  it was like they were putting on a special and secret show for just me. 
When I get out in the garden, I often appear to be dawdling.  I am enjoying all the sights, smells and sounds. Although we no longer live in the countrysound, I can still be blessed with these little gifts every day! Things are oftimes still very  peaceful and quiet except for the bird song, or the slight rustle in the leaves beneath the hedge of a shy creature going about their way.  The other day there was a squirrel perched on our back gate. I happened to be on the telephone with Todd at the moment I spied it.  I almost deafened Todd with my squeal of delight.  I am sure Monsiuer le Squirrel has visited at other times, but it was the first time I had seen him!  He was much bedraggled . . .  not as fat and bushy as the ones who used to visit us at the cottage down South  . . . 

I am sure he was there to feast on our rose hips, all swollen and red and juicy.  The birds love them too.  They are lovely and ripe at the moment.  Each year I say I am going to make rosehip jelly, and then  . . .  I don't.

Gone now are the flowers of spring and summer . . . here are the red berries in the holly bushes and the orange berries of the buck thorn. The trees are vacant, having shed their leaves in the last few dances of autumn, but still beauty abounds . . . as all nature bursts out in the last fruits of the year, as it gets ready to bed down for the long winter sleep ahead. Is there a season that I do not love??? I think not . . .

They have had snow all over the country, except for here.  We can look up into the Welsh Hills and see they are snow covered, and the radio as I sat in the Doctors on Thursday afternoon was filled with road collisions and closures, etc. My friend's feeds on facebook are filled with lovely snowy photos, but except for that light dusting of sleet the other morning, our streets and gardens remain placidly devoid of any of the white stuff altogether.  It is just cold, cold, cold  . . .  and we have had to have our heat on morning, noon and night.  We try to bundle up indoors, but it just doesn't cut it . . . the cold here seems to sink right into your bones. 

I did manage to capture a spectacular sunset on my phone
last night.  All is well, all is well . . . 

And with that I will leave you with a thought for today  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

“There is October in every November 
and there is November in every December! 
All seasons melted in each other’s life!” 
~Mehmet Murat Ildan  •。★★ 。* 。 


BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading - 2 Nephi 5:10-25 
Question -What have you learnt from the reading today? What were Nephi's priorities?
My thoughtsI love how Nephi teaches his people to be self sufficient, both temporally and spiritually. They plant their seeds and reap the harvest, raise cattle, forge steel, refine ore into useful things, read the scriptures, and keep the commandments and laws according to Moses. They are a far cry from the idleness of the Lamanites. I feel so blessed to have been counselled to be self sufficient. It seems the world is always encouraging us to live beyond your means, borrowing money you don't have through loans, everything fast from food to contactless payment. It can sometimes be very hard not to fall into those traps, but because of the Gospel and our teachings I can clearly see where that is a huge trap, and brings lasting contentment, rather than having to bear the burden of wondering how we are going to pay for it all. 
 I've been thinking about how there are things we need to be active in doing to protect our homes against the adversary. We have been taught the importance of daily personal and family prayer. We have been taught the importance of daily personal and family scripture study. We have been taught the importance of weekly family home evening. Church leaders continually bring these basic gospel principles to our attention. Why?
Three hours of meetings on Sunday clearly isn’t sufficient time to prepare our families to withstand the wickedness of the world. We need to connect our celestial goals with everyday life in our homes. Remember that gospel basics, those seemingly “small and simple things” we strive to practice in following the Lord, will ultimately confound Satan and protect our homes & families.
Some days doing these small & simple things in our home feels like a battle!! But I don't give up because of something I read & remember often in a talk by Elder Bednar from the Oct 2009 conference, it's called 'More Diligent and Concerned at Home'. Well worth a read. 
In it he says "Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” 
Tomorrow's Reading (Day 44) - 2 Nephi 5:26-6:7
Question -What have you learnt from the reading today? How can you live after the manner of happiness?  
Baking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  delicious Gingerbread Biscotti.  Such a simple bake and soooooo delicious!  
Have a lovely Saturday.  Stay safe and stay warm!  Don't forget along the way of your day! 
 ═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ 

 And I do too!!  



  1. I enjoyed all your thoughts on birds. When we lived in Spokane, Washington I did seem to listen to the songs of the birds more.
    We did have a male and female Mourning Doves made a nest in our tree out front one year and that was fun to see how they cared for their little ones.
    I love that you feed them, that's something I want to do.
    I did hear that there was snow in England. I was kind of hoping you might get a little. Sorry, it is so cold. It has been unseasonably warm this year, but we might get some snow this weekend.
    I really loved all of your thoughts today on The Book of Mormon readings.
    Sending warm thoughts and hugs your way!

  2. Such cute things..and with all our snow and deep freeze..I cannot believe these tiny creature survive so well..She shore birds..on their spindly little legs that carry them fast and fast..some seem to walk diagonally..cuties.

  3. We a currently enjoying a brief respite of lovely weather. We've sunny days, not too cold and even though a jacket is still needed, it isn't biting cold at all. I don't live in the country either but still enjoy nature. There is always something beautiful to see. Your sunset is spectacular!

  4. Hi Marie~

    I love birds - I could listen to them everyday of every month, I never tire of their song...yet one more thing we have in common... ;0) I have many little birds all over my home, not real birds, but cute little ceramic or fabric birds. Right now, most of the birds have gone south for the winter, but just this morning, I saw a Woodpecker, two cute little Sparrows in the bird feeders, a Morning Dove, and a few Magpies flying around hoping for some left over seeds. I don't normally feed the birds in the summer, but in the winter they all need some food to keep warm. We see an occasional squirrel, but not very often, I love them too.

    I love that little poem about, Jenny Wren, so cute, and the illustration is adorable!

    We woke up yesterday to about and inch of fresh white snow, I love it as long as it stays off the road, not likely though in this part of the world. Oh, I wish I could see the snow on the Welsh Hills!

    Your sunset is gorgeous! I just love those pinky, orangy, golden clouds!

    Nephi was such a good man - spiritually prepared and temporally prepared. And, you are right, it is hard not to let the world tempt you with...things. I know too that it is just as hard to stay spiritually prepared, living the Gospel is not just something we do on Sunday. I love, Elder Bednar, he always says things so eloquently...a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls...I love that image! I hope that I can be covered with brilliant brushstrokes when I meet, Heavenly Father. But, I am a work in progress, I have many faults.

    You stole my heart with your, Gingerbread the stuff!!

    Have a wonderful Saturday, Marie.

    Hugs and Love,

  5. Thanks LeAnn! Snow, snow everywere but here, lol. Its okay, I don't mind too much as when we do get snow it is paralysing! We have a mourning dove couple They are so sweet and like you I love to see the birds caring for their young in late spring, early summer! Love, hugs and blessings. xoxo

    They sound so cute Monique! Have you tried to paint them? xoxo

    Pam, its not as cold here as what it gets in North America, but it is a damp cold and so it feels very brrr. xoxo

    Thanks Barb! I hope you posted snow pics on your blog! I would love to see that. So pristine is a new snow! xoxo


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