Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Birding at Berryridge

 It's been a fun month of bird-watching at our little farm in the Foothills! 

Early in March, the hens were in what we call their "back 40" yard--a fenced-in area we carved out of the woods for more scratching places. Suddenly, one hen stopped scratching, stretched up her neck, and started buck-buck-bucking like crazy. 

The other 4 hens quickly joined in, heads up, all of them cackling raucously, and John, standing just outside this fenced area, silently beckoned me over. He pointed to an alder tree near the fence line. There sat a barred owl, quietly watching the hens, then us from about 10 feet up--it's coal-black eyes intense.

Interestingly, while the hens were on high alert, our presence didn't seem spook the owl. John and I stepped a little closer, and the owl lazily took off, settling again in a nearby tree. We did it a second time, and once again, the owl flew away, but only a few trees over.

We left the owl to its own devices, and ushered the bucking hens into their pen, where they quieted down. The owl  hasn't returned, at least as far as we know. But a week later...

A hawk in our woods
It was mid-morning, but John and I hadn't yet let the girls out of their caged pen. Impatient to be in their fenced-in yard, the hens were all clustered on the big-leaf maple stump they liked to hang out on. Just then, a red-tailed hawk glided right over their pen--and in a flash, all 5 girls were instantly across the pen and into the coop. 

Yet how all 5 hens got through their little door simultaneously remains a mystery!

A week ago, a bald eagle settled onto the very top of a massive Douglas fir tree at the edge of our property. It's a favorite spot for the raptors in our neighborhood, but this time, the bird sat up their for over an hour! I could swear he was looking toward the hens, busily scratching in one of our orchards, but never made a move. At about 150 yards away, he was apparently too far from the hens for them to take notice. Still, whew! Felt like a close call.   

Getting a bird's-eye view

The last few years, game birds have been showing up around our little woodland lane. This past week, a grouse (ruffed grouse, I think) has visited our place, just outside our garden fence, several times! I'm hoping the spot becomes a regular feeding area.

Grouse are visiting!

And a few days ago, I saw our first hummingbird of the season! We've transplanted April-blooming wild currant all around our house--it's a favorite food source for hummingbirds--and this one was checking out the buds, which were not yet open. (He flew away before we could get a pic--but here's one from summer, a couple of years ago.)
Hummingbird in the bee balm

Happily, the currant bushes will soon be in bloom, and if past Aprils are any indication, it will be a veritable hummingbird party in our yard! 

What interesting birds have you seen lately?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Two Irish Novels now 40% Off!

Set in Ballydara
 My latest novels, The Galway Girls and Becoming Emma, are currently 40% off at Kobo! Selected for one of Kobo's special promotions, these two feel-good Irish novels will be on sale until March 29--here's more about The Galway Girls:

In this warmhearted tale of women’s friendship and discovering love where you least expect it, The Galway Girls follows Irish thirtysomethings Kerry and Fiona as they search for their heart’s desire among the misty green hills of the Irish countryside.

And Becoming Emma:  What happens when an unlikely friendship turns to something more?

An office attraction
Dublin girl Emma Carey has just embarked on another fresh start—the job of her dreams at Ireland Place, an Irish arts center in a picturesque Victorian mansion near Seattle. At thirty-one, sweet, plucky Emma is finally poised for career success…if she can only avoid her fatal flaw—the one that’s ruined every other job: falling for her boss. 

With humor and tenderness, Becoming Emma continues Emma’s journey toward her own happily-ever-after. This heartfelt, charming page-turner is connected to the Village of Ballydara series, set in a cozy Irish village in the West of Ireland!

At Kobo, both books are in the Fiction category, and all you need is the promotion code, MAR40...Find all about my Irish novels and country memoirs at

Monday, March 15, 2021

St. Paddy's Day is Coming!

 Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? If you do, I have a couple of fun ways to help!

Here I am in Cong, Ireland
For Irish film lovers, I have an eclectic list of my favorite Irish movies to share! 

Well, maybe it's not that eclectic--mostly feel-good movies like "The Secret of Roan Inish" and "The Quiet Man"--but I mention a few mystery-thrillers and thoughtful family dramas too. You find the list on my website!

Also on my site: an Irish Glossary of Irish expressions and idioms, a free mini-ebook!

To help me celebrate, I'm enjoying some wonderful memories of our visit to Ireland a few years back. Cong, in County Mayo, is the picturesque village where "The Quiet Man" was filmed--behind me is a statue of  the stars John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. 

And here's John and me on St. Patrick's Mountain, also in County Mayo!  

Here on this blog, you'll find Irish recipes and stories...and lots more Irish stuff at