The Fresh Breath of Spring


This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

It’s time for planting and all around us are farms with tractors making rows and planting seeds. The smell of the fresh dirt never ceases to make me feel good – a deep earthy scent that you know will soon yield crops.


We have many Amish farms in our community and we see them with teams of horses and discs as they prepare their own fields for planting. It’s like being in a time standing still but I’d venture to say a lot more work than the farmers using machinery.


We’ve been planting, too. Last year my husband planted a wildflower garden for me just like one my mother had at our farm when we were young. It was such a good feeling to see and smell the flowers and watch them sway in the breeze and open up to the sun. This year we cleaned up our rock garden at the lake and totally planted all wildflowers. I can’t wait to see it bloom. Our tulips are up and beautiful as are our daffodils. Some of last year’s flowers are popping up through the ground and each day they get a little taller.


Ralph has planted his favorite (hollyhocks and sunflowers). Last year he had twelve, eight, six and four foot sunflowers that were grand. They are majestic and this year he planted all the seeds he took off the heads, plus more packages. We may end up with a back yard full of sunflowers!

When I was a young wife and mother I loved putting up food for the winter, but I wasn’t so good in the garden. The want-to was there, but I didn’t seem to have the know-how and a lot of my plants died. Thank goodness for a mother-in-law who grew a huge garden and gave me lots of fresh vegetables and fruits to can.

I’m lucky to have a husband with a very green thumb. We’ve given up planting vegetables and fruits and switched to flowers. I do a lot of the prep work and I love raking and clearing the spots for seeds to be sown. I even got to plant a few seeds of my own, with Father Nature standing over me, of course.

Now all there is to do is wait. Flowers, vegetables, fruits – all reaching to the sun and begging for gentle rain. I can’t wait for the corn to be ripe because in our area there are big corn roasts almost every weekend when it’s ready. Nothing better than getting an ear of corn from the roaster, dipping it in a can of melted butter and standing around with friends laughing as the butter drips down your arms 0nto the ground.


I’m ready to enjoy summer (already have a hoarde of books to read, writing, knitting, coloring, journaling and sewing). We are moving to the lake lot next week and won’t move back home until October 15. What I most look forward to in the summer is the sound of loons on the lake, geese returning home, red-winged blackbirds, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, cardinals and blue jays all chattering at the bird feeder, plus the squirrels and chipmunks yipping and gathering peanuts in their cheeks. Throughout all this gentle patter I sit on the deck, watch the lake, and listen to children laughing as they  play in the water while I read. Ah, the glory of it all!

Hummingbird Feedermale cardinal




L.Leander is the author of the Inzared series (available on Amazon):


Inzared the Fortune Teller

and books for authors (also available on Amazon):

10 Extreme Tips to Publishing an e-Book

10 Extreme Tips to Marketing an e-Book

She may be found on these locations:

L.Leander Books on

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The Waiting Game.

Me3By S. J. Brown

At some time in our lives we all have to wait. We wait in line at the grocery store, or sit in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.  Farmers wait for just the right time to plant their crops, students wait for the end of the school day and all of us are now waiting for spring to truly arrive.

1 Flower

This time of year I am waiting for the days to pass, waiting for eggs to hatch, and baby animals to be born. Photographing baby animals is one of the hardest things about my job, besides paperwork of course.  Baby animals are soooo cute, but their mothers keep them close and are very protective.  I prefer not be clawed, pawed or pecked in the pursuit of an adorable image.

4 Goose

Once I am in the field I wait some more. I wait for the critters to get comfortable with me being in their home. I wait for just the right angle, and that treasured shot that fills the lens.  I don’t like causing Mama critters stress so I use a telephone lens, stay down wind, and shoot from behind a tree, bush, large rock whatever is in the area.

3 Squirrels

Then after I am sure I have the perfect shot I wait for the lab to develop the film.

2 robin

Once I have the prints in my hands I submit them to publishers, then I wait some more. I may wait just a few days or it could be weeks before I know if what I sent is what they were looking for. While I wait I am working on a memoir, once it is done I will wait some more.

5 Butterflies

I am also waiting for April 23rd.  That Saturday I will be signing books at the Chocolatefest & Book faire in Martinsburg WV.  This event includes over 20 authors, a chocolate walk, tours of a chocolate factory and more.

Chocolate 2016 both

So what are you waiting for? What drives you crazy when you have to wait for it?  What don’t you mind waiting for?

Thanks for stopping by.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.


S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover


IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

So how was your Valentine’s Day? Did it include candy, a card, flowers and dinner out?  Jay and I celebrate Valentine’s Day in a less traditional way.  Last year it was bitter cold, and windy, I am sure most people opted to spend the day indoors.

We chose to get up before the sun, bundle up and head to Delaware.  My thought was if the critters could brave the cold, so could I.  The Horseshoe crabs and most of the shore birds I normally photograph in Delaware were gone.  The robins and goldfinches were basking in the warmer temperatures further south.  However my efforts were rewarded by thousands of Snow Geese.

Snow Geese

We enjoyed being just below the gigantic flock of geese as they soared over head. However the Hawk that was trapped beneath the flock wasn’t having any fun.  He had to be content with hovering in the same general area until the flock had passed.

Large numbers of Canada geese also decided to spend the winter in Delaware.

Canada Geese

This year’s plan includes venturing just a bit further to New Jersey. There we will be looking for Loons, waterfowl, Owls, Tundra Swans, raptors, deer, and coyotes.   Yes this is a long list, but when we go looking for birds that migrate it really is hit or miss.  On our trip to Minnesota we missed the Loons by just a few days.   However the Whooping Cranes arrived about the same time we did.

Whooping Cranes

On our way beck to West Virginia we will spend some time in Delaware.   I am hoping this trip will yield lots of new images to share in the future.   The purpose of this trip is multi fold.  Of course I will be photographing any critter I find.  I will also be counting birds.

For 19 years volunteers have been counting birds. This year the count dates are February 12 to February 15th.  Last year more than 140,000 people took part in the count.  You can count from your own backyard for as little as 15 minutes.  More information on the Great Backyard Bird Count can be found at .


Why count birds? This annual count gives scientist a snapshot of the world’s bird population.  Those of you that follow my blog know I also tag and count Monarch butterflies. My part in these annual events is small, but when combined with the efforts of other volunteers our efforts provide a huge amount of data.


Is there an annual event you take part in?  Your contribution, no matter how small, really does count.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope I can count on you to comment and share this blog.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.


S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover

Critters by S. J.

Sue profile_pp

This Blog by S. J. Brown











As part of an A-z blog challenge I was asked to base my blog on the letter C. I took some time to 1Coloradoconsider what to write about. I could have written about my trip to Colorado. It was an interesting experience with a Wedding, a Pop up town, blue people, and yes wildlife. No matter where I am I seek out wildlife to photograph.


I also considered blogging about creativity. We all have a creative side and I could talk about mine. The many creative endeavors I approached over the years would make a good blog. I ran a ceramic business, dabbled in stained glass, and sketching and of course I write. However it just seemed natural for me to blog about critters. I photograph them, I write about them, and hang out with them whenever I can.

A critter is defined as being a living creature. I use the word critters a lot to describe my target 2chipmunksubjects when I am photographing. Critters come in a variety of sizes, shapes and temperaments. All of them fascinate me.


Some critters don’t live in areas I have access to so I have to visit them in zoos. While the challenge of finding my subject doesn’t exist in zoos there are other factors like fencing, fellow visitors and angles to contend with. Having a captive subject doesn’t always guarantee great images.


Wild critters are the real challenge for any wildlife photographer. They aren’t acclimated to people and tend to be where they want to be, not always where they are easy to find. Occasionally I get lucky and a critter magically crosses my path.


Most however need to be searched for, then not all of them are co operative. Others love the camera and will hang out with me for quite a while.


Some critters that are commonly seen can be quite difficult to photograph like the cabbage white6cabbage white butterfly. They flutter around and only pause for a brief few seconds. This leaves me with a very small window of opportunity to get them into the frame at desired angle and click the shutter button. Generally it takes several attempts even when I ask them to hold still.


Canada Geese are another critter that is easy to find and photograph. Since they hang out in groups or flocks I can zoom in on one or two and click away.

7canada goose

Larger critters can be easier to photograph, but few of them begin with the letter C. So I will end with one more critter who’s name begins with the letter C. This is a very popular critter who adorns holiday cards, symbolizes relationships, and vitality, and often visits my yard.


Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my thoughts on Critters.

You can find me on facebook at


Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013

Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website

A to Z Blog Challenge Post A-to-Z Road Trip