Spring Nesting


House Sparrows will create a house just about anywhere, even on the side of a house ! Some of them cleverly use sticks and straws to wedge open a vent cap so they may slide inside.


They work tirelessly to get things looking like a home.


Father’s asking: “How do you like our house so far?”

Notice how the Sparrows use their tail feathers to help balance themselves on the side of this brick building. They easily can spike their claws into the rough surface of the bricks, then they spread their rear feathers to enable them to hold fast.


In the beginning of the nest building, pairs may take turns hauling up material and opening the hatch by pecking under its edge with their sturdy beaks.



 Father’s about to deliver a bunch of bedding,


while Mother waits her turn to do the same.


Mother (left) tells Father: “No lunch breaks, dear. Open the cap and then go for more grass. We need lots of soft bedding material.”


 Father replies: “Yes, dear. Got it !!”


Mother brings branches to hold the bedding together.

Sometimes it gets crowded (BELOW) as the work is nearly completed and Father’s lunch is long anticipated and overdue!


But in the end, the nest is finished, and Mother is pleased when she checks inside, then peeks out to see all is safe (BELOW):

The nest is ready for offspring.

Nature’s wondrous cycles continue every Spring, free for humankind to observe… and, perhaps, learn a trick, or two !

Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


Oh Daddy Clarence…


Group fishing in and on icy waters.


Young Hooded Merganser: “Hey, where did everyone go?”



“Dad! Oh, Daddy! Where are you? These Canada Geese are getting obnoxious!”


Young Hooded Merganser still calling: “Dad! Now it’s a Greater Scaup invasion! Where are you, Daddy?”

Young Hooded Merganser, in panicky voice: “Dad! The Goldeneyes are here! They’re catching everything in sight ! Daaa-dd! Help! Where are you!?!”


“Dad! There’s an Eagle in the sky! Help!”


“Mallards on the ice, Daddy! Hello !?!”


Daddy Clarence: “Coming, son. I have you in sight. Not to worry.”




“All right, now, son. All’s safe and sound.”


Young Hooded Merganser after being rescued by Dad: “Daddy, I really wish you wouldn’t stop to fish just now. Let’s just get out of here!”


Daddy Clarence: “It’s okay, son. We’re back to group. Just think of the experience as A Day in the Life on the water.”

Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


Just for Fun — Firefly


This is where we have fun, some of which is poignant, with talking animals. Also, this particular story represents a time when I was experimenting with pseudonyms. Thus — Grace Strange. My given middle name is Anne, which interprets to “grace”, and my first name, Barbara, means “strange”. Have fun with that! I did!

The short story Firefly came about as an experiment, too. For a writing project in the Writer’s Digest School’s “Writing and Selling Short Stories”, 2002, we were asked to play with POV. I created three different viewpoint characters to relate this horse racing drama.

The version presented here from the racehorse’s POV, I created as a fantasy. For extra fun, I’ve scanned the copy of the story as it was edited by my WDS instructor!  Enjoy!













The original short story, Racing Dilemma, from which this fantasy was taken, may be read at
My Writing Life Xposed 
my Primary Blog here, at WordPress. Excerpts of this story, and other versions of it may also appear at some of my other numerous WordPress blogs.

Short Stories and Story Art

Story and Roughcraft Artwork from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Meet Breezi


Breezi makes herself at home in my office chair meant for comfy thoughts.


A new rescue and a new beginning — Breezi and me

We don’t forget our pets when they pass. (Cee-Cee died October 19, 2017.)

We must be aware when we take on the pets we choose that we will likely outlive them, and that losing them is part of loving them and establishing a family-like relationship with them.

And we must never forget that losing a pet doesn’t mean we shouldn’t adopt again.

Seeking a new relationship, not trying to return to an old one, is the point of rescue. We never forget the lost; they are part of our makeup, our memories, our lives.

But to rescue again means our hearts are rescued again, also, by a new personality and a new experience, which, in the end, we will cherish just as much as those we’ve previously lost.

Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Kitten of the Mountain

Playful kittens attempt the game “King of the Mountain” on a pile of siding boards:

Golden (left) and Cale begin the warfare.


Golden goes on offense, then quickly deserts Cale to begin his climb.


GOLDEN: “Oh, Cale. What’s holding you back?”


CALE: “Golden, c’mon. Give your li’l sis another chance… C’mon… That was too fast.”


GOLDEN: “Hmm… Well, it is kinda lonely up here…”

Back down Golden goes, and Cale dances around him.


Then, Cale deftly gives Golden her best move: fake flop and cry;


fierce and startling spit; and


the over-your-head leap upward;


and to the top!


CALE: “Haha! Now who is ‘Kitten of the Mountain’?”


GOLDEN: “Okay, Cale. That was clever. Draw?”


CALE: “Sure, Golden. You’re my bestie!”

Story and Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg
(View more of Golden and Cale at:
http://www.photosandbeyondwordpress.wordpress.com )

Sticky Squirrel

Roland is a hyper-active young Squirrel. Like all youngsters, he likes to investigate his new world. Let’s pick up the action with Roland:


ROLAND: “Hmmm… Wonder what this thing is… ”


ROLAND: “I can pick it up, but what does it do? Can I eat it?”


ROLAND: “Okay, cool. I can roll with it!”


ROLAND: “Weeeee… !”


ROLAND: “Hahaha! I’m all over you, Thing!”


ROLAND: “Oh! Ah! Thing poked me in the eye!”


ROLAND: “Ah! Get away, Thing! You’re dangerous!”

STICK “THING”: “You know it, Bushy Tail! Go find a nut, like a normal Squirrel… ”


ROLAND: “Okay. Yeah. Scary Thing was right. This nut is better!”

Story and Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Where Have All the Kids Gone…

At the Henry County Fair in Napoleon, Ohio, Jay and his cohorts, Marylou and Mart, had another break in their work day, which they discussed thusly:


JAY (foreground pony): “Anyone coming aboard back there, MaryLou? Mart?”

MARYLOU (in white): “Nary a child, Jay.”

MART (blond mane): “There are less and less riders this week.”

JAY: “Where in the world are they? Gets very boring just standing here.”

MARYLOU: “It’s the computers taking over the world.”

MART: “What are you babbling about now, girl?”

MARYLOU: “It’s the modern thing.”

JAY: “What is?”

MARYLOU: “Remember our grandparents telling us they didn’t know what the new generation was coming to? Then our parents said the same thing?”

MART: “Well, yes, but what are you getting at?”

JAY: “Yes. What, Marylou?”

MARYLOU: “It’s another change in the technology of the universe. Kids used to play baseball all Summer. Then they turned to clubs and gangs. Now…”

Jay: “Yes?”

MART: “What!?”

MARYLOU: “This generation is inside, home, or at their friends’ houses, playing computer games. Or walking around using only their thumbs to think — texting. The majority of them won’t be coming to the fair any more.”

JAY: “You really think so, Marylou?”

MART: “Wow! The world does keep changing, doesn’t it? It’s just like Grandpa and Dad said!”

Story and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

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