Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Meet Bill Murray

I have a new friend.  I'm naming him Bill Murray.  He is brown, furry and makes daily appearances outside my kitchen window.  He is a groundhog and I think I like him...for now.

Look at Bill, just chomping away at the weeds!
I can't help but smile every day when I see him in the yard.  He, and I assume he is a he, but he could be a she, is always munching away at grass and weeds.  If I could train him to eat only the weeds in the garden we could have a beautiful friendship.  He lives under the shed, which could be a problem.  I think he lives under there with and entire commune of small furry animals!  I saw a chipmunk run under there the other day.  I know the squirrels run under there from time to time.  Without Sadie to patrol our yard, it is an animal sanctuary.  Mice, groundhogs, chipmunks and squirrels.  Sadie would never have let them reside under that shed without constantly tormenting them and forcing them to relocate!
Here is Bill eating weeds near our bird feeder.
I am sad to say Bill's days are probably numbered here at the farmhouse.  As soon as he discovers all those beautiful greens in the garden TJ will slam him in the live trap faster than you can say, "Groundhog Day"  and cart him off to another weed ridden property far, far away.  In the meantime, I kind of like looking outside and seeing him scamper around the yard, rain or shine.  I guess I miss brown furry things in my yard!
In other wildlife sightings here at the farmhouse....we have seen several pheasants.  This one in particular walked the entire yard, and it's a big yard!  He was huge, I know he was a he because of his beautiful coloring, the poor girls get stuck with ....brown!
Pheasant outside of glass
On the opposite end of the bird spectrum, we have many hummingbirds.  It is a riot to watch a hummingbird try to drink out of a feeder while it swings in the wind!  Even funnier is to watch me try to take a picture of the swinging feeder and bird.
It took a lot of tries to actually get this one!
So while I am away, Bill Murray will be chowing down on dandelions and will hopefully leave the lettuce alone!
Speaking of being you read this post I will be in South Africa.  If all goes as planned this post will come out while I am living a dream come true...and how often does that happen?  I don't think I ever expected to go to Africa when I was growing up.  It was always a far away, very wild, exotic, country filled with vast lands where zoo animals roamed freely.  I have been looking forward to this trip for months!  I can only hope it lives up to my very high expectations.  The next wildlife photos on the blog will likely be lions and tigers and hippos!  Stay tuned for a chapter or two of my trip to South Africa!  Cheers!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lessons Learned on a Rainy Day

Three gray, cold, rainy days in a row and I'm beginning to wonder...."what was I thinking?".  I am here, against my better judgment, much earlier than usual and my hesitations are coming true. I feared it would be cold, I feared it would be dreary, I thought it might be buggy and wondered if it would be wet.  All of the above!  Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side.  Although I don't know how it could be any greener than the wet, deep, spring grass up here that desperately needs mowing!  I decided yesterday morning there must be a few lessons I can learn from these solitary days inside.  Other than, don't come to the shore in early June!

I learned how to make a fire in our wood stove.  I also learned that when you get down to the hard, round, wet logs at the bottom of the wood pile it is harder to get the fire lit.  This taught me that waking up to a cold house in the morning is no fun and to layer up before coming downstairs.

I have learned there is no limit to the amount of time I can waste on the Internet.  My ability to sit is the only thing that limits my wanderings on the world wide web.  One thing leads to another and in the blink of an eye and hour has passed and my numb backside insists I get up and do something productive.

I have noticed birds don't like to eat in the rain. My usually popular bird feeder has been idle over the last few days.  The finches and doves are probably hunkered down in their little nests watching Netflix too!

The rainy days have made me realize this house is starting to feel like a place I live and not a place I vacation.  As I sat in the living room last night, watching Netflix, I had a glimpse of what my future could look like when TJ retires.  We have been heading this way and it gets closer and closer every year but last night I looked around and it was just all so familiar.  I've stayed here enough that it feels like a home.  This may not seem like news to you but it is to me!

I learned that everyone else is in the same boat as me and they probably aren't enjoying these rainy days either.  I tend to forget that everyone else around me is stuck inside too!  Luckily we all live so close and manage to get together enough that we break up the isolation of the day.

The rain is teaching me to have patience.  It can't rain forever...right?!  The sun will come out eventually and as soon as it does my mood will instantly change and life will be breathed back into my sluggish body.  All I need is a day that looks like this....
and all will be right with the world!
So I will take these rainy days and try to do all of those "inside" jobs while the clouds hang low in the sky.  I know eventually the sun will shine again and I will not want to be inside cooking, cleaning, crafting, surfing the Internet or watching Netflix.
Meanwhile, I am taking this break in the clouds as a sign!
Tomorrow is going to be a nicer day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Of Mice and Man

No matter how neat, clean and organized I leave the farmhouse at the end of the summer, the first week back is spent doing those same things again to get the house to feel, look and smell like a home.  This year, TJ came up a week earlier than I did and took care of a few little things like planting the garden and cleaning up mouse droppings.  Having a big old house that may or may not be air tight, located in a large field, is like posting a neon sign on the basement door that says, "Welcome field mice!  Food, water and bathrooms available....please come in!".  We have begun our all out assault on the mouse population.  So far the population is down five mice.  The little furry friends did not do much damage this winter but they left their little signs scattered about and it would be nice to rid the house of them...asap!  TJ's morning ritual now includes checking the traps and disposing of the little varmints before I come down for breakfast.  I think we need a basement cat!
One man's playground
During his week of bachelorhood TJ planted the garden and lived the spartan life he dreams of back in Houston.  He is a man of few needs.  Give him a large plot of dirt, a shovel, some sunshine, a few hundred seeds and seedlings, some food and a few beers at the end of the day and he is happy for a week the entire summer.  I won't say the house was a mess when I arrived but I wouldn't say it was neat and clean either.  He tries... I know, but the man is closely related to the Peanuts character Pigpen.  His level of clean is a far cry from mine as are his household priorities.  If left to his own devices he would happily live in a place that resembled a junkyard.  He is a gatherer of stuff and projects.  He uses the stuff and leaves it right where he finishes.  He starts doing a project and sometimes he finishes and sometimes it stays in a state of suspended animation for weeks, months or years.  He is never without something to keep him busy though!  A busy husband is a happy husband.

The garden wasn't the only thing to get planted last week.  One of my favorite things about spending the summer here is being able to enjoy all of the flowers.  We planted the flower boxes that sit on our deck all summer and provide me with joy every time I see them.  We are trying to plant enough different plants around the yard with varying bloom schedules so we have a constantly changing floral display.  The tulips were still blooming when I arrived and after today's storm they are naked, one week of tulips and poof...gone.  Never fear, the lilacs are about to burst and the lupins are close behind.  Yes, I do love the flowers up here!
A truck bed of possibilities!
The other thing that provides me with joy is the ever changing sky!  Last week was a banner week for sky watchers like myself.  We had clear skies, cloudy skies and most things between.  The cloudy sky may have been the most interesting!
A storm is definitely coming!

"Are those funnel clouds, Dorothy?"

and then there were a few clear nights!
All in all, the first week was a good one....unless you are a mouse!
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