Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

January 21, 2013

What does winter mean to me? (and a little mystery too!)

Filed under: For the Birds,Photo assignments — Karma @ 10:14 am
Tags: , , , ,

If you ask me how I feel about winter in general, “Grumpy Cat” does a good job of expressing my feelings! (You’ve all seen Grumpy Cat around the internetz by now, right?)

I generally don’t like being cold, dealing with poor driving conditions, having the wind whip across my face or feeling like my nose has frozen shut when I step outside. I am a summer girl at heart, as I have expressed many times here on the blog. So when Scott proposed this month’s assignment on winter, I felt a bit like Grumpy Cat up there.

However, having lived in Massachusetts my entire life, even I can appreciate some of the simple beauties and offerings of wintertime.

My backyard does have a tendency to look a bit like a Currier and Ives painting after a fresh snow fall:
snowy backyard

Although I’ve pictured them many times here on the blog, a blog about winter has to include my two goofball dogs loving the snow:
golden retriever loves snow!

collie face full of snow

Winter time sometimes also means an afternoon hot coffee break. Curling up on a cold afternoon with a cup fresh from the Keurig and a biscotti for dipping can be a nice way to warm up:
coffee break
(like my cute teacher-cat mug?)

I enjoy bird watching all year round, but I have a tendency to fill the feeders and watch and enjoy the birds more in the winter (especially since there are no flowers to take pictures of!):
chickadee at birdfeeder

Birdwatching on this particular day brought me the answer to a mystery I’ve been trying to solve for years now. I took this picture of this adorable little brown bird sitting in the rhododendron right outside my window:
carolina wren
and set out to identify it afterwards. It was about the size of a sparrow but didn’t look exactly like most of the sparrows around here. I went to my go-to birding site, Cornell’s All About Birds and started searching. I found what I believe to be a match, a Carolina Wren. Now here’s the mystery part. For years, my husband and I have been joking about a bird call. One day he said to me, “I wish that bird’s girlfriend would answer him! Can you hear him calling ‘JudyJudyJudy’?” Then the call seemed to change slightly and I said, “Hey, I think she’s finally answering – it sounds like she’s saying ‘JimmyJimmyJimmy’!” And hence began the saga of Jimmy and Judy. One of us would often say “I think Jimmy and Judy are having a fight!” or “I wonder where Jimmy and Judy are today?”

Throughout all this bird-calling, I was never able to identify Jimmy or Judy. I’d see a little flit of a brown bird pass through the yard, but could never quite make out exactly what the bird looked like. Now the Cornell website includes typical bird calls for help in bird identification. While identifying the Carolina Wren the other day, I clicked on the bird call and guess what? “JudyJudyJudy,JimmyJimmyJimmy” played out from my computer speakers! Mystery solved!

Thanks again for the photo assignment Scott!


  1. Wonderful post. Love how you solved that bird mystery.

    Comment by sybil — January 21, 2013 @ 10:38 am | Reply

    • Thanks Sybil. Maybe I should start a side-story on the blog “The Adventures of Jimmy and Judy”…. or maybe not πŸ˜‰

      Comment by Karma — January 21, 2013 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  2. Great bird name story! I am trying desperately to make myself like winter! It’s a struggle that will only get harder this week as the arctic air sets in. Love your dogs and your birds.

    Comment by Becky Sue — January 21, 2013 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Becky. I don’t know that I will ever get to the point of “liking” winter – tolerate it seems to be the best I can do!

      Comment by Karma — January 22, 2013 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  3. I love little wrens. We have them down here in Arkansas. Next time I see one I’ll have to listen to see if he’s calling for Judy or if she’s calling for Jimmy ( and I think a side story of their courtship/domestic life would be fun to read about). Beautiful photos, but I”m tired of winter, too. I like it for Christmas and my daughter’s and my birthdays, but then I’m ready for spring and opening up the windows to the fresh air outside. Hang in there, summer will get here soon!

    Comment by Kate — January 22, 2013 @ 8:59 am | Reply

    • I didn’t realize you are in Arkansas, Kate. Somehow I’m thinking your idea of winter cold and my idea of winter cold may be two very different things, lol.
      Well, if I get any more photos of wrens over the next few months, you never know – a story could arise. I’ve been known to create an imaginary animal conversation from time to time:https://karmardav.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/an-imagined-conversation/

      Comment by Karma — January 22, 2013 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

  4. Bonsoir Karen et merci pour tes si jolies photos d’hiver et d’animaux. J’aime l’histoire de Judy et Jimmy. Ton environnement est un paradis pour les oiseaux quand je regarde tes photos. Hiver comme Γ©tΓ©. Merci pour tes moments d’hiver sympas.

    Comment by isathreadsoflife — January 22, 2013 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

    • Merci Isa – j’aime tes mots aimables! Peut-etre je vais avoir plus l’histoires de Judy et Jimmy! πŸ™‚

      Comment by Karma — January 22, 2013 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  5. What a sweet story about the bird. I know how it is, I do the same thing, see new birds in the garden and try to identify it, but it is difficult. For some reason, it is difficult afterwards to remember the exact look, now I have started to repeat typical signs while I watch them, black head, black head…hoping to remember. But it is difficult. At the moment we have many new visitors, because it is so cold and the food is missing.

    Comment by Giiid — January 22, 2013 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Giiid. It is difficult to remember markings on birds later – that’s part of the reason I try to get pictures when I see a bird I don’t recognize; also a difficult task!

      Comment by Karma — January 22, 2013 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

  6. Hope Judy and Jimmy are getting through this cold snap OK. The dogs are so CUTE!!! Mine doesn’t want to be out in this at all. She’s a wimp. Loved your photos!

    Comment by dawnkinster — January 22, 2013 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

    • I’ve often wondered about the birds that decide to hang around here for the winter when the truly frigid weather arrives.
      My dogs do love the snow, but now that this nasty cold air blew in, they are content to spend more time inside.
      Thanks Dawn.

      Comment by Karma — January 23, 2013 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  7. I love this post!! I know Judy and Jimmy too. The black and white photo of the backyard is really interesting. The grumpy cat is who I am in winter as you know. When I go out at 6am and start my car in the dark and freezing cold I’m pretty sure thats the face I have.

    Comment by trish49 — January 23, 2013 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

    • The backyard photo is not actually in black and white – that’s just how it looked outside when I took the picture!

      Comment by Karma — January 25, 2013 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

  8. It looks beautiful in your backyard, and love your bird shots. I have to keep an eye out for Judy and Jimmy. πŸ™‚

    Comment by Nye — January 24, 2013 @ 12:11 am | Reply

    • Thanks Nye! Jimmy and Judy are not easy to spot, I don’t think – they seem to blend in to their surroundings very well.

      Comment by Karma — January 25, 2013 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

  9. Who would have thought I’d ever miss the harsh Chicago winters??!! I hate being cold (and I’m always cold, even in the Texas winters) but if I’m going to be cold, I’d prefer to have some snow! πŸ˜‰
    Love that picture of your snowy back yard….so beautiful!
    And glad you were able to solve your mystery.

    Comment by TheDailyClick — January 27, 2013 @ 7:02 am | Reply

    • Thank you Michaela. My neice, who lives in the Dallas area, was saying on FB the other day that it was 70 degrees outside – that’s not too bad for a day in January! πŸ˜‰

      Comment by Karma — January 27, 2013 @ 8:45 am | Reply

      • Oh, it’s BAD! I just told Kathy that there’s NO chance of snow when it’s that warm 😦
        Personally I think that if you have a niece who lives in the Dallas aea, you should go visit her πŸ˜‰

        Comment by TheDailyClick — January 27, 2013 @ 11:55 am

  10. I hope working on this post helped you see winter through less grumpiness. πŸ™‚ Wren’s are hard to identify though most have a funny tail. I shall be listening for this one now.

    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — January 29, 2013 @ 1:39 pm | Reply

    • I’ll still be grumpy when its really cold out Scott! πŸ˜‰

      Comment by Karma — February 1, 2013 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

  11. […] Karma gets grumpy during the winter yet she shows us the beautiful way winter decorates her lawn, how cold winter days allow here to enjoy a hot drink and snack, how her dogs love to play in the snow and her joy in watching the birds.Β  Hey, her post got her to solve a family mystery.Β  Not bad, eh? […]

    Pingback by Assignment 23: Recap | Views Infinitum — January 30, 2013 @ 6:33 am | Reply

    • Thank you for participating, Karma! You always come through with fun and impressive stories.

      Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — February 1, 2013 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

      • I’m surprised, actually, how much folks have responded to the Jimmy and Judy story, lol.

        Comment by Karma — February 1, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

  12. Very Interesting photographs!

    Comment by sonali — January 30, 2013 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Sonali, and thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      Comment by Karma — February 1, 2013 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  13. I love your story about Jimmy and Judy πŸ˜‰
    It’s a nice winter-post you’ve made, Karma. And although I feel the same way as “Grumpy Cat” (and you!) about winter – we will find the the good sides of it anyway!

    Comment by Truels — January 30, 2013 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Truels… let’s think good thoughts about the possibility of an early spring!

      Comment by Karma — February 1, 2013 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  14. I’m a bit of a Grumpy Cat about summer Karma! Especially when the humidity kicks in, after the rain, which is happening right now.

    I love the photo of your garden, all snowy and white. Last year I looked at the view at the back of my home and tried to imaging snow on the mountains there, but it’s not going to happen in this lifetime! πŸ™‚

    Comment by Joanne — January 30, 2013 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

    • I’ll take warm summer rain and humidity over sleet and cold wind any day!
      Thanks Joanne.

      Comment by Karma — February 1, 2013 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  15. Wonderful post, Karma. I love your solved mystery story, and your images are beautiful (especially for a Grumpy Cat who doesn’t like winter…lol!).

    Comment by Robin — January 31, 2013 @ 9:04 am | Reply

    • Thanks Robin. I was happy to finally find out who Jimmy and Judy are πŸ™‚

      Comment by Karma — February 1, 2013 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

  16. Just think–if Scot hadn’t given the assignment you might never have known about Judy and Jimmy. Who would have thought bird calls would sound like that? Beautiful winter pics. Thank goodness snow is beautiful. Otherwise we’d never recover from Winter grumpiness.

    Comment by Kathy — February 1, 2013 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

    • I may have still solved the mystery- I’ll always try for bird photos, even without a photo assignment. πŸ™‚ It may be a little bit of a reach to think the bird calls really sound like that, but once you’ve heard it that way, it is kind of hard to not hear it like that – does that make any sense, lol?
      Thanks Kathy!

      Comment by Karma — February 1, 2013 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

      • Perfect sense!

        Comment by Kathy — February 1, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

  17. I wish my bird pictures came out that crisp. Instead of birds I get blurry blobs.

    Comment by Lunar Euphoria — February 17, 2013 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  18. […] downy woodpecker (the bird on the left) has been a very regular visit to the suet cake. Now that I’ve identified the carolina wren, I seem to notice them all the time. Does that ever happen to you? You identify something new that […]

    Pingback by Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda « Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — February 20, 2013 @ 10:11 am | Reply

  19. […] last shot in the black and white assignment because when I originally posted it in color in the “What Winter Means to Me” assignment, my mother happened to comment on how much she liked the “black and white” photo of my […]

    Pingback by Stripping Away the Color | Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — March 18, 2013 @ 6:13 am | Reply

  20. […] Carolina Wren (of “Jimmy and Judy” fame) […]

    Pingback by Three Little Birds | Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — February 15, 2014 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

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