Not only can I not get a good photo of the thrush with a grape in it's beak, I can't get a photo of a Mourning Cloak butterfly that I've seen around for more than a week. For the first time today I actually saw it land, but it didn't open its wings, then it disappeared.

Then I wasted way too much time trying to get the thrush with a grape in its beak. When I saw it approach I held the camera shutter down. At first, that sound startled the bird away.....

but it quickly returned for a grape. For some reason my camera stops continuous shooting if it's out of focus (or something) so I missed the action again. Tomorrow's another day.

Meanwhile, check out the incredible shots Alton Patton got of the bird a couple of days ago, grape and all.

Had a couple Red-breasted Nuthatches visit for a short while today and did not get a satisfactory photo of that species either. Here's a documentary-only shot.

Winner & Top 3 October

Good morning fellow crafters

Many thanks to all those who joined in with our 
* Traditional * challenge gorgeous creations made 
here are our winners and top 3

Winner of the £10 voucher from Joanna Sheen chosen by random org is.....
No 71 Jane Middleton

Winner of 5 digis from Robyn's Fetish chosen by random org is.......
No 31 Joyce (claimed )
Well done Ladies fabulous creations 
please email me Shaz so i can organise your prize
Please help yourselves to our badge for your blogs.
Sparkles Winners Badge

Now onto our top 3
which i must admit was a very hard job to do as there were so many gorgeous creations
No 120 Chris Olsen

No 129 Irene M

No 148 Lourdes R

Fabulous creations Ladies 
 please help yourselves to our top three badge for your blogs
Sparkles Top 3 Badge

Thank you all for joining in the fun please pop back tomorrow for our 
November challenge

prizes must be claimed within 14 day 

The table is set

Today I resolved to get a photo of the Varied Thrush plucking a grape from the branch I have them impaled on. I wasted all morning and barely saw the bird, but every time I left for a minute to get a drink, or go to the bathroom, etc, I'd come back and see a grape or two missing. I started out with 12 grapes and by the time the branch had only 6 left I was so frustrated. As I waited, I saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk come and perch near the grapes.

But he seemed only interesting in bathing...

Speaking of bathing, I got distracted watching hummingbirds bathe and while I was thus engaged, 2 grapes disappeared from the branch.

Then a birder (Harry Forbes) who drove from San Antonio today to see the bird, a lifer for him, joined me mid-afternoon in my vigil. I tried everything I could think of. I turned on sprinklers, tried to flush it, tried to call it. Nothing worked. I figured it was stuffed full of grapes and resting, with no need to be out foraging. (In winter their diet consists mostly of berries.) But I still figured before it retired for the night it would crave one last grape.

Finally, around 6 PM it came in for a grape. Harry was so excited he snapped non-stop, which may have slowed the bird down and made it a bit nervous. It paced and circled.....

By the time Harry had snapped over 600 photos of the action, I feared he'd miss the bird grabbing a grape. His memory card would be full, or his camera battery dead. But he was well prepared, and did catch the bird nabbing the grape. Here's all I got, after the millisecond act.....

Ah well, tomorrow's another day, and for me, another opportunity.

Snipe hunt

The refrigerator stopped working again and I had to come to town. Couldn't take a chance on everything spoiling so I plugged in a small chest freezer I normally don't use, and a tiny refrigerator from the guesthouse. The stuff that wouldn't fit in it, I brought to town. I think it's time to abandon that 35 year old refrigerator. It's huge and not movable so I'll use it for a food pantry. It's a Sub Zero and sounds like a tractor. But I love the ice maker in it. Oh well... My happiness is not going to be impacted by a refrigerator. Especially, when I have a Varied Thrush hanging out at the oasis.

Anyway, a birder today located a Wilson's Snipe that I managed to get a distant photo of...

I promised my lepidopterist friend that I'd post butterfly photos today. Alas, it was cold and windy all morning and I didn't see a butterfly. Then I had to spend two hours messing with the refrigerators, etc. Then I had to get to Alpine. So here is a Vesta Crescent I photographed two days ago.

And a Question Mark I photographed in Alpine in August.

This last one, I think, is a Question Mark, maybe the same one, that I photographed in September, just in its winter form.

Sorry, Brian. I promise I'll do better next year. And wouldn't you know, the wind stopped raging and it was warming up nicely when I had to leave. Bummer!

Fairy Lights Honors

Here are this week's winners!  Sorry about the confusion on the linky tool...the challenge was supposed to end at 6pm GMT!  It's my fault (Mynnette), and I really apologize to those entries that were not commented on until after another challenge had gone live.  Let's get back to business, shall we?

Honorable Mentions~
(in numerical order)


Top Honor 

for her amazingly
brilliant and colorful card is

Meg, please contact me (Mynnette) at in order to claim your prize!  You've won an amazing stamp from Alota Rubber Stamps!

Congrats to all!  Please grab you badges and place them on your blog!  Don't forget to check out our Facebook page--we've got TWO Facebook Favorites this week!!!  Hope to see everyone this week for another amazing challenge!  Merry stamping! :)

October Embellishment Challenge

Welcome to the final October 2012 challenge here at 52CCT!  This is also the last week we have the terrific prize sponsor Alota Rubber Stamps. We have been so delighted to have this wonderful sponsor! We hope you have enjoyed it too and have popped into check out all the stamps they have to offer.  Thanks also to Birgit for being our Guest Designer for this month - what terrific inspiration she has provided us.

The last weekly prize is the beautiful Village stamp that our October GD Birgit has used in her card. To see the full stamp image click HERE.  Winners can contact Mynnette ( and she will provide you with details on how to collect your prize.

We've got a fun embellishment for you to work with this week--die cuts or punched pieces!


DT Cards~

Birgit (GDT)


 Please link up your projects below, and follow these rules:

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One heck of a day

OMG, I searched all morning in the cold and wind for the Varied Thrush with no luck. So right before noon I posted to the world that the bird was gone. Then I went back down to the oasis, after I warmed up, and there was Sam Taylor. He was by his vehicle when I approached and regretfully informed him that the bird seemed to be gone.

He happily told me he'd not only just seen it, he showed me a photo to prove it. So I rushed back to the house to email everyone that I had been mistaken. Whew! Later, other visitors saw it too. The temperature briefly made it up to 51° today, but with the wind raging, it sure didn't seem like it.

Sam photographing the thrush.
No sooner had I recovered from thrush stress than my refrigerator quit working, so now I'm stressed about that. Seems it's always something. But it could be worse. I'd rather the refrigerator not work than the thrush not show up. Now that's the mark of a true birder.

UPDATE: The refrigerator started working and when I went to check the thrush-kabob, two grapes were missing. Tomorrow I'll try to see which bird got them, but it's a good sign. It wasn't an animal or the twig would have been disturbed. YES!


I figure there's very little chance the Varied Thrush will partake of my offering, but what the heck! Worth a try.

Hopefully, it won't leave with the impending cold front, because quite a few birders have their hearts set on seeing it this weekend.

Varied Thrush still around

Yesterday Kelly observed the thrush eating blackish berries from vines. It took some detective work to identify the vine, but with the help of Bill Lindemann, via an email description by me, I finally discovered the vine is an Ivy Treebine (Cissus incisa), alternately called Sorrelvine, Grape Ivy, or Possum Grape.

Mine now have purplish-black berries that are not edible to humans. A mockingbird was very territorial and chased the thrush away from the berries, but the vines are growing so profusely up, down, and along the arroyo that I doubt the thrush is much deprived of them.

I also learned that the vine is considered invasive and undesirable in some areas of Texas, but I've always loved it, and never more so than now.

Christmas at Lowe's and Dollar Tree

Yes, I have been missing in action here on my Christmas Blog but I am crafting like a maniac for my 2 upcoming Craft Fairs....

I was at Lowe's recently and they have all of the Christmas decorations out.

I thought I would share them with you.....


I am loving that white tree which is in a nice planter in the back. Hopefully, there will be some left for 50% or 75% off!!

I recently attended the Harvest Tea held annually at my church where hostess's chose a Theme and decorate a table according to that Theme for their guests.

Here are 2 tables that were decorated with Christmas themes....

Peg did a beautiful Christmas Themed table....
And it is hard to realize that these vases are plastic ones from Dollar Tree???

Don't they look wonderful??
And here is another Christmas Theme table....

 These are some goodies I bought at Dollar Tree this morning along with a bunch of Christmas Florals for wreaths...
 The pack of 2 white trees are a real buy!!

 These translucent snow flakes came in a pack of 10 and can be use for a multitude of things.....

The tray on which they are displayed will be painted with Black Board paint soon....
 LOVING these candy ornaments especially the larger ones. I grabbed these before they are gone....
 Ornament picks for wreath making among other crafts....
 Loved this ribbon.....
 5 shatter proof Balls in various colors will be great for all kinds of crafts....
Check out your Dollar Tree soon for some great Christmas goodies.....

And Lowe's too!!

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