Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Great Backyard Bird Count 2013


DARQ:  In our Jan. 29th blog post here, “Valentines & Birds,” Catherine and I discussed the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) held Feb. 15-18, I thought it was a grand idea to participate. Little did I know that it meant standing absolutely still, outdoors, in thirty-five degree weather with a brisk, intermittent breeze!  Chilled toes were nothing compared to freezing my poor fingers (Catherine didn’t make me any gloves!). And I was none too happy about the bird seed working its way into my boots.


The squirrel is easy to find. Click on the picture to see the Tufted Titmouse in the feeder and find the Black Capped Chickadee.

CATHERINE:  My, my, Darq, all that grumbling. Just think about the critters you got to see and count.


(Check out the logo on Darq’s new blouse.)

IMG_0150DARQ:  Birds are not critters. Okay, I’ll admit it was interesting meeting the grey squirrel, but ID’g the little birds you called vultures?  Woman, according to  Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds, there’s no such thing as a “little vulture.”  You were talking about the Black Capped Chickadees!

CATHERINE, chuckles, then says: Well, click on the photo at the opening of this blog post and enlarge it. You’ll see those tiny Chickadees are perched like little vultures eyeing the good eats you set out for them.

DARQ: Maybe so . . .   Oh, just get on with it and post the rest of the photos.

CATHERINE gives Darq a Wysotti Elpoccalli Space Fleet salute, and says:  Yes, Ma’am!

(Click to enlarge photos)

Spotting the Cardinal is easy, but where's the Titmouse. Sparrow,  and Nuthatch?

Spotting the Cardinal is easy, but where are the two Titmice, the Sparrow, and the Nuthatch?

Left: Chickadee incoming on feeder; Downy Woodpecker eyes Darq. (click to enlarge photo)

Junco exits upper left; Chickadee incoming on feeder; Downy Woodpecker checks out Darq.

Chickadee watches sparrow sneak up behind Darq to get at the seeds.

One Chickadee watches the sparrow sneak up behind Darq to get at the seeds. Can you spot 4 more Chickadees?


Click to enlarge. Find the Hairy Woodpecker, Chickadees (5 of them).

Click to enlarge. Find the Hairy Woodpecker, Chickadees (5 of them).  










For those visiting this blog for the first time: Darq is a doll who just happened became the avatar/spokesperson for the Indian heroine of JEWELS OF THE SKY, which is a fantasy/sci-fi adventure about Indians in outer space.  The novel is available as an eBook or paperback at Excerpts can be found on this blog’s masthead.

Curious about Darq’s attire or the photo-shoots? 

Questions and comments are always welcomed!

And do stop back or, better yet, join us at Twitter for updates.

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Posted by on February 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Valentine’s Day 2013


DARQ:  Wishing everyone a hearts, flowers, and candy day!

(CATHERINE, whispering: Darq is wearing a new pair of shoes.)

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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Darq’s Superbowl Sunday

SuperBowl 2013 1

It took the sports sections of five area newspapers to create this montage.
Darq is holding pennants and a can of Budweiser, but can you spot the other “beers?”

CATHERINE:  So, Darq, all psyched up for the Super Bowl today?

DARQ: I’m curious, not hyped.

CATHERINE:  Which team are you rooting for?

DARQ: Considering we have nothing like football on my homeworld, and I don’t want to be seen as partial to either team, I’m going to root for them both.  Is that pizza done yet?SupBowl Pizza 1

CATHERINE: Yep, here’s your very own, individual pizza pie to go with your beer.


WHAT WILL DARQ’S NEXT ADVENTURE BE?  CHECK BACK — or better yet, FOLLOW THIS BLOG or JOIN US AT TWITTER and keep abreast of Darq’s visit with Catherine on Earth.

 Darq is the avatar-heroine of JEWELS OF THE SKY.


Curious about Darq’s clothing, backdrops, or accessories? Questions and comments are welcome!

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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Ground Hog’s Day?

GHDay-outfit 1DARQ, enters the kitchen wearing the skirt she bought while in Mexico on her “Interview with Father Dragon” trip–and wearing her new purple shoes.  Scooting into the kitchen’s booth seat opposite Catherine, Darq sets down her mug of tea and bagel, a d holds the sign she’s made to get Catherine’s attention, which is engrossed in reading her newspaper.

DARQ: Yoi, Catherine!  It’s snowing big, fluffy flakes of snow.  No sun.  No shadows. And guess what?GHDay-table-nwspaper (She waves the sign.)

CATHERINE eyes the sign: “NO SHADOW, Punxsutawney Phil predicts Early Spring.” She glances at the oven’s clock and says:  Wishful thinking, Darq.  Just because we have snow here is no reason Punxsutawney has snow.  Or did you turn on the TV news?

DARQ grins: Internet.

CATHERINE:  You were on the Internet?

DARQ:  How else was I to find out about this Ground Hog’s day I’ve been hearing about?

CATHERINE: Turn on the TV.

DARQ: And flip through all the channels hoping to find one that was broadcasting the information?  It’s just easier to go to and get the answer.

CATHERINE:  So you figured out what the day was all about?

DARQ: Sure did.  Although today has no religious significance anymore–it originated with the Christian holiday of Candlemas, the blessing of candles, and people thinking that if the skies were clear on Candlemas that meant a longer winter–and they’d be burning lots more candles.Then those Roman legion on their conquest of Germany brought the tradition to them, but the Germans turned it into a hedgehog seeing his shadow. Not too sure about how that came about but, anyways–  German immigrants brought the tradition to Pennsylvania, and the rest is your American and Pennsylvania history.

CATHERINE chuckles:  Did you also know that February second is the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, the start of spring?

DARQ: Really?

CATHERINE nods. And that’s likely the real reason for celebrating.

DARQ looks out the window:  “It’s snowing.  It’s winter-winter.”

CATHERINE:  Nonsense. it’s clearly spring here, on our farm.  The snowdrops are in bloom. (Catherine points to the two blossoms in the vase in front of Darq.)

DARQ:  You plucked them out from under the snow.  I saw you do it when you fed the birds this morning.

CATHERINE: They bloomed January 30, just before the snow began. I was too busy making purple footwear for an avatar-doll and forgot to bring in a few. Did you know snowdrops are the first flowers of spring?  The very first.  For me and my husband, they are our official indicators of spring. Now, your tea has likely gone cold, and I want to finish reading the paper–

DARQ:  Not so fast. Do you believe Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction?

CATHERINE:  When you were on the Internet, did you skip the part about Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions being decided by a committee–of human beings? It’s publicity, tourism, big business–not to mention being an excuse to get outdoors and party and have some fun.

DARQ:  Well, people need an excuse every once in a while to party, especially in winter, but you and your husband don’t seem to be readying for any Ground Hog’s Day party.

CATHERINE:  It’s just another day.

DARQ: Pessimist.

CATHERINE scowls: I’m a realist.  And consider this: when the groundhog makes his prediction, the optimists who are tired of winter have something to look forward to–which is spring–and the pessimists can continue to complain about winter lingering on. Everyone is satisfied.

DARQ:  Except you realists!

CATHERINE sets the little sign Darq made aside, flips her newspaper over to read a headline, and says:  Your bagel is going stale.

DARQ, before she bites into her bagel: Pass me the comics.

CATHERINE complies but in her mind niggles the fact that she and Darq just had a conversation a day or so ago about Valentine’s day and the GBBC, the Great Backyard Bird Count. What  will Darq think about tomorrow, Sunday, and the Super Bowl?  What questions will she ask or erroneous conclusions will she make?  With a sinking feeling, Catherine remembers next month’s St. Patrick’s day–and then Easter–and then . . .  Oh, crud . . .

CHECK BACK AND FIND OUT–OR BETTER YET, FOLLOW THIS BLOG or join Twitter and keep abreast of Darq’s visit with Catherine on Earth.

Darq is the heroine of JEWELS OF THE SKY. (Buy the book or download the eBook at

************ SPECIAL OFFER  *****  TODAY, FEBRUARY 2, ONLY **************

GrndHog Nwspr

DARQ:  Catherine and I would like to get more reviews posted to and GoodReads, so for today only, here’s my offer:  you can download one free copy of JEWELS OF THE SKY by  clicking here.  Although the book is also available as a paperback, that’s not on sale today.



Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


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February 2nd

If you’re reading this, or came here to see Darq’s shoes, you are too early a riser.  As soon as I get up and find out what the groundhog prediction is, I’ll post Darq’s reactions and pictures of her wearing her new, purple shoes and outfit. — Catherine

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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Uncategorized