When we show our respect for the other living things, they respond with respect for us.----Arapaho Proverb

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Each season the hummingbirds keep me amused with all their flying acrobatics and rivalry for the feeder.  I read somewhere that if you hang three feeders it makes it impossible for one little piggy to guard them all and they will settle down and share nicely with one another.  It didn't work!!  So now I am back to just one feeder.  And on occasion I HAVE seen two eating at the same time, barely tolerating each other, but sharing none the less.  So much for the experts!!

All day long I can hear the beating of their tiny wings, like itty bitty weed whacker motors. We have a few regulars and they each have their own personalities and traits.  One female is the most diminutive little hummingbird I have ever seen.  She has returned to us from last season.  And what a little toughie she is!!!  At times she will sit high in the giant forsythia bush, (that shelters our bird neighbors from our resident hawks), and guard the nectar, successfully fending off much larger hummers of both genders. I am secretly rather proud of her!

There is another female who is exceptionally tall and has a really long beak!  She just minds her own business, sits and eats her fill, and doesn't stick around.  The assorted males share the feeder nicely for the most part, except for one guy who sometimes hides out in a tree around the corner and chases off all comers.  But he tires of guarding his post eventually and wanders off.

For the most part, this seasons hummingbirds are the most docile ones we have had yet!  Perhaps all the really hot, humid weather we have been suffering through this Summer has made them all less aggressive than they would normally be. I know it has certainly knocked the starch out of my sails!!! Most of the time I feel like a human glue stick!!!

I really do enjoy each and every one of them, and yet, every time I see (or hear) a hummer at the feeder, I am reminded of a most delightful little fellow who graced us with his presence a few years in a row.  And although it's been a couple of years now since he was last seen, I think about him often.  He was a very special little guy, so much so that I even wrote a poem about him that I would like to share with you today.


There's a funny little hummingbird
Of whom I wish to speak,
He's quite the personality
And I fondly call him Squeak.

For each time he arrives
At our feeder for a meal,
He hovers for a moment
Then gives a tiny squeal.

It sounds so very pleasant
Though I really can't perceive
If he's greeting me most warmly
Or informing me to leave.

I know he hates it awfully
When ants pace around at random
He chips and squeaks most crossly
And throws a little tantrum.

He's quite the epicurean
Who's not afraid to say,
"Hey!  This nectar needs replacing,
Please see to it today!"

I look forward to his visits
For he's such a little dear,
And I love to hear that little squeak
Each time he does appear.

With mighty wings that beat so fast
They sound just like an engine,
He's such a tiny miracle;
A most profound invention!

He fills my heart with gladness
Every time that we thus meet,
And I wish for him the very best
Each time he comes to eat.

I don't imagine that after all this time he is still among us, but he shall live on forever in my heart. Thank you Squeak, for all the joy you once brought into my life!!  I miss you!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


These shots were all taken from the same tree at my daughters home.  I loved watching them constantly transforming over time and teased her about having a 'fungi of the week" thing going on.  And this is where my little story begins!

One day I went to visit my daughter and was greeted by this inquisitive face. "Who goes there?" he  asked as he shyly peeked out from inside his hollow tree home.

For quite a few weeks I had the pleasure of knowing him. He also kept a close eye on my car for me, and promised to whistle if anyone disturbed it.

But then one day, when I pulled up to my usual parking place, I found he no longer lived there. In his stead was this exquisite bouquet of vivid golden mushrooms.

And such delightful speckled beauties they were too!  It now became evident that the fairies had taken up residence in the itty bitty cave now left vacant at the very top of the miniature mushroom steps.

I enjoyed watching for a glimpse of the fey with each visit as all those golden caps gradually flourished into dainty fairy parasols. Can't you just imagine them sitting outside on a  warm Summer's day shaded by those delicate canopies?  As a matter of fact, I am certain I saw some movement on several occasions as I pulled my car up to their  tree abode.
But then one day I arrived to discover that the fairies too had decided to move on. In their wake were these tiny amber steps leading to the land of the fey and an open invitation to come and play any time I might find a way to shrink myself down Alice in Wonderland fashion.  I am currently in search of a bottle that says 'drink me'!  Have you by any chance seen it? 


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I have a dear little friend whose name is Remy.  Well, not really.  You see, I just call him that as I have no way of knowing his real name. After all I had to call him something! The title does fit him to a tee though. Remy is our 'stray gourmet', a cat who sort of adopted us as his ( very willing) benefactors.  He's a fellow who definitely knows what he likes and what he doesn't. That's why I chose the name, from the movie 'Ratatouiille', a story about a little gourmet rat who becomes a fine chef.  It just seemed a perfect fit!

Remy stops by when he chooses, eats only what he chooses, and turns his cute little nose up at the rest.  I guess you could say he is his own cat.  Over the couple of years that we have been feeding him now, Remy has gradually taught me his culinary preferences.  At first I was very slow to learn, but he persisted until my training is now complete.  I am still awaiting my feline chef's diploma.

Our little gourmet takes his meals on the bench outside the kitchen porch where his blue placemat, with the cut-out hearts, has been stapled for his dining pleasure.  He always has a three course meal. A stickler for tradition, his dishes are ALWAYS placed just so. There is a bowl for dry cat food on the left, sort of the croutons for his second bowl,  which is filled with Friskies pate, on the right. Then there is a smaller one with the treat du jour (i.e. diced cheese or lunch meat, a tidbit leftover from  one of our meals, etc.), always  carefully placed between the other two.

What fun it is to watch him eat!  First he just sits and surveys his banquet for a bit before beginning.  Then he will nosh a little of this and a little of that, going back and forth from bowl to bowl. He takes his time and truly savors every meal.  It is a pleasure to fuss over him; he is so appreciative!!!

Remy and I do share one common food passion; salmon.  Whenever I poach some for myself, I always save a little for him. And so, when my husband and I treated ourselves to a couple of lobsters,  I decided to give the carapace, the body part with the (you don't wanna know) in it, to our little 'stray gourmet' to see if it met with his approval. I am happy to report it was an instant success!  As a matter of fact, I was able to get a couple of photos of him as he was about to begin his feast.

Remy is a curious little fellow who approaches life in much the same manner that he approaches a fine meal.  I have observed him, on many occasions, just sitting very quietly and looking about him to see what was going on in the present moment. A very zen cat!  And the little dear has been an excellent teacher to me, reminding me to chill out and take time to smell the roses.

Lately he has taken to lounging on the porch after a hearty meal.  It is such a pleasure (and an honor) to be in his company. And yet he wants nothing more than a good meal from us.  He shies away from any physical contact and runs away if we should get too close.  I respect his wishes although I have informed him that the door is always open should he decide to take up being a house cat.  I think he would be excellent at it!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I just love all the many sounds of a Summer night!!!  The music is sublime!!!  And as the season builds to a crescendo, the tunes become more and more intricate, as various newcomers join in; their voices each overlapping and adding its own texture to the mix. 

Have you ever been camping out in the woods?  It starts out so very peaceful and quiet.  But late at night that 'peace and quiet' becomes SO INTENSE that it is almost deafening, as what I like to refer to as 'The All Bug Chorus' revs up for the night, and each tiny creature tries to outdo its neighbor in volume!!  I love to just lie there and listen.  Yet at times EVERY SINGLE VOICE OUT THERE will just stop!!!  All at once, as if they have been rehearsing it for weeks.  And a shiver will inevitably run down my spine as I wonder what could possibly be out there to intimidate them ALL at the same exact moment like that, as I lay there so vulnerably in a flimsy fabric tent!!  More than a little spooky really!!!

Just the same, the voices are all marvelous!  But most of all I love the song of the crickets.  As a matter of fact, I think I would have to say that is my favorite sound in all the world.  I love to fall asleep at night listening to the beautiful music they make.  Over the years I have written a couple of poems about them that I would like to share with you today.


I hear a concert just outside
It started about even-tide,
And as the melody does play
All else just seems to slip away.

Such a lovely serenade
No sweeter sound was ever made.
Hidden 'neath each shrub and fern
Every soloist takes a turn.

This nocturne lasts throughout the night
Imparting absolute delight
And to this lullaby most fair
I fall asleep without a care.

I borrowed from this second poem for the title of this post, because I think it speaks most directly of what I wish to convey to you about my love of  the crickets.  I hope you will enjoy reading it, and that it will perhaps cause you to listen a little more closely to the delightful music made by these amazing little creatures.


The concerts of the Summer,
Such charming melodies,
Echo through the darkness
And play most hauntingly.
Each tiny musician,
Cicadas, crickets too,
Will play its little heart out
As entertainers do!
Playing each their own song
Underneath the moon,
How beautifully they meld
Into this lively tune!
Listen to their music
If only for a while,
It sounds like a conductor
Is leading them in style.
And if you listen closely
As they play throughout the night,
The masterpieces that they share
Will fill you with delight.
So come and sit beside me
And listen with your heart,
I think that I can hear them,
They are about to start.

And with that I shall wish you all a good night!  

Saturday, July 10, 2010


A while back I learned a delightful technique from Margaret Oomen at Resurrection Fern.  She has a tutorial teaching how to cover a river rock with this 'picture frame'  type cover.  She made these berries in the Winter snow on hers. Margaret is a fantastic photographer and crafter as well, and you might want to check out her blog (see my list of blogs that inspire me).  It is a very uplifting site!!!

And this is the stone that I made from Margaret's tutorial.

Before long I had a bowl full of them for my hearth.  I just looked at pictures of Margaret's for inspiration and did my own thing. At first it felt awkward to crochet upon the rock, but after I made a few it was easy.

Sometimes I will spread them out on a doily for the day so I can enjoy them more fully.

It's fun to create a centerpiece 'of the day', especially if the weather is overcast and kind of gloomy

Then I decided I would make a rock for each of the four seasons of the year.  This is my Summer rock.  There was no pattern, I just did my own thing.  I am very partial to dragonflies, so of course my representation of Summer just HAD to include one!

My home is very season oriented and that is how I choose to make my blog as well, so you will just have to wait to see the other three rocks as their time rolls around on the calendar.  I do hope you will find the time to check back from time to time.

Yes, that IS a giant bowl of sea glass (another of my passions), but that's a story for another day.......

Friday, July 9, 2010


Nature, of course, is my main focus in life.  Following the seasonal changes is such a joy for me.  I particularly love to accentuate my enjoyment of each season by decorating my home, not only with items I find out in nature, but also with themed doilies representing each one in turn. So today I thought I would share with you just a couple of my Summer doilies.

Of course, flowers abound in the summertime and these doilies represent just a few of them. I have to pick and choose my patterns carefully as I don't have very many places to display them.  And it's just too sad to think of storing them away (in pizza boxes) for the season.  Sort of like getting a bouquet of flowers and sticking them in the closet!!

Daisies, as you may or may not recall from my first post, are my favorite flower in all the world.  Oh yes, I admire and delight in all the exotics as well, but for me, there is nothing else like a pure white daisy. They are the friendliest of flowers because they always look like they are smiling back at me.

This little beauty covers my doumbek drum perfectly!  The colors came out slightly muted in this picture, but but that's alright, because the butterflies steal the show anyway!

Ruffly little pansies!  Once again I could not quite capture the lusciousness of the brilliant purple and orange, so you'll just have to use your imagination. 

This is one of my very favorites!!  It looks difficult but it was so easy that I made another for a hostess gift for the dear lady who hosted my Herb Clubs Summer Tea last year.  She loved it, and the accolades of all the other ladies was fun too!

And last, although certainly not least, is this delicate little beauty.  It graces the top of the wood stove for the Summer, bringing just a smidgen of  seasonal warmth to the one that keeps me so toasty warm all Winter long (while it takes a much deserved long Summer's nap)!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little doily sampler.  I look forward to sharing many of my other creations with you along with way.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I know that by now you must feel a little bombarded with the woodchuck theme, but please bear with me one last time as I share with you a story I wrote a few years back. This incident, along with the one I already shared with you, so enthralled me with their possibilities, that they became the impetus for my delving into animal communication. So here we go, one last time....


Each day, immediately upon rising, the very first thing I do, is to welcome the dawn from my bedroom window. Most times, I find the sky still cloaked in darkness, except for a thin line of exquisite brightness just above the mountaintops, promising the break of day, soon to arrive in all its glory. As I begin to sing and offer praise for the gift of this brand new day, the many magnificent colors of dawn greet me. Each day finds a thrilling palette of hues so intense and diverse, continuously transposing, from second to second. I am positively filled with awe as this superb display of nature unfolds before me.

But one day, rising slightly later than usual, I found the sun just beginning to peak over the ridge. As I set about my usual morning ritual, my eyes came to rest upon a tiny woodchuck, standing out in the meadow. He held his chubby little body fully upright on stubby hind legs. He too was facing the direction of the sunrise, and he remained in this same position, his back to me, throughout my celebration of morning. How serene was his countenance, how very absorbed in this moment in time, and I couldn't help but wonder....

What was going on in his tiny woodchuck mind as he stood there, gazing intently in the direction of the rising sun? Was he, perhaps, showing his delight at a new days dawning? Could it be that this little one was also offering up HIS praises for this beautiful new day? Are not ALL creatures equally grateful for the blessed light of day after the long, dark night? Maybe he was only thinking about how marvelous those warming rays would feel on his belly later on in the day when the sun gained its full strength. OR, could I be witnessing a woodchuck morning ritual, so like my very own? Perhaps I was sharing a special time of gratitude with this dearest of little fellow creatures. And I began to wonder how many other mornings we might have done so without my ever having noticed.

My Granny once told me to listen to the birds in the early morning hours as I lie in bed. How grateful they sounded for every new day beginning and how beautifully they sang out their praises at each new dawning, without fail! It wasn't until many years later that I discovered that they were merely giving their territorial morning calls, reminding their many neighbors that this space was still definitely taken and to keep out it they knew what was good for them. I remember how terribly let down I felt at the scientific truth of the matter. But now, once again, I find myself questioning what I have been taught in school. For I have seen the unexplainable on this and SO MANY other occasions. And I find myself embracing wonder anew, as I have been reminded by this gentle little chuck, to consider ALL of the infinite possibilities. The constant array of unanswerable questions. And to once again allow myself to view EVERYTHING in nature with a childlike sense of wonder.

Well, that is my story for today. And I hope it will help to inspire the same childlike sense of wonder in all of you as well, my dear readers.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Sometimes we hear an animal tale that defies our standardized ideas of what one of our alleged lower fellow creatures are indeed capable of. This is one such story.

Spring that year was exceptionally wet with puddles and small ponds appearing where none had been before. And the summer followed suit. Everything was a soggy mess, with mud, mud and more mud. Being outside for any length of time just wasn't any fun! So I found myself coping the very best I could by becoming what I termed a 'porch potato'. After having my fill of being wet and mud coated, I would retreat to the screen porch where at least it was merely damp. Comfortably perched upon my cushioned wicker armchair, I could still enjoy observing the goings on of the wildlife that graced us with their presence.

For the rest of nature, of course, it was business as usual. The birds were noshing at all the feeders, bunnies in the goose and corn feeders, a squirrel, tail held up like an umbrella over the top of his head, scoffing sunflower seeds. Everyone still needed to make a living despite the rain. To my mind, the rest of nature never seemed to be bothered at all by the inclement weather the way we spoiled humans are.

But one day, I happened to glance over in the direction of the driveway where the utility and kayak trailers were stored, covered over neatly against the ravages of snow, rain and sun with bright blue plastic tarps. And there was a woodchuck tugging on one corner of the smaller tarp on the utility trailer. With a modicum of annoyance I clapped my hands loudly and told him to get out of there. Figuring that was the end of that, although puzzled as to why he would do such a thing, I put the matter out of my mind. After all, no animals had ever bothered with one of the tarps before.

A short time later, I glanced out there once more, only to find that pesky little chuck again tugging at the corner of the same tarp. I couldn't believe my eyes. What was wrong with this guy anyway? Clapping and scolding once again drove him away, although he did glance over his shoulder at me with a look that definitely resembled disgust. Now I was really confused. Why on earth was he behaving like this? (Do woodchucks get rabies?)

None-the-less, I more or less forgot the incident and went about my own business of the day. Surely I had made myself perfectly clear and he would not return to do his mischief again. But much later, when I happened to glance in that direction again, something just didn't look right. Then suddenly it hit me! The blue tarp was gone from the utility trailer. What the heck? The wind was calm, so where could it possibly have gone? It was then that I remembered the woodchuck. Could he perhaps be the culprit? I just had to investigate further.

Heading outside, I looked around in vane for the missing tarp. It couldn't just vanish! It was then I caught a glimpse of blue out of the corner of my eye. And there was the missing tarp, halfway down the hill, wedged amongst the sticker bushes and small tree trunks. Darned if that determined little chuck hadn't somehow gotten that entire tarp off the utility trailer and all the way over to there all by himself. But he must have had to abandon the mission when the tarp became so impossibly tangled. Still I wondered what would make him do such a crazy thing. Standing there dripping wet, I pondered the scene before me. Could this little guy have reasoned that he needed the tarp to make his home below the sodden ground more comfortable? Wasn't he just a dumb animal without the ability to think such lofty thoughts? Was I bestowing upon him an intelligence that he was incapable of? Or was I witnessing a very smart animal that put me and my superior human mind back in my place? Maybe we humans are not the only ones capable of reasoning. There was really no way to know the answers and so I finally gave up and went back inside.

That event took place a year or so ago and still I find myself wondering what really did occur that day. Never having come up with an alternate solution, made me ponder anew each time a woodchuck appeared in the yard. And I wondered what he was thinking about as he went about his day so peacefully.

Once again, the combined rains of Winter and Spring have caused the streams to overflow their banks and water is ponding and puddling everywhere you look. There has been considerable flooding in many areas. The ducks are the only ones having a terrific time of it. Off in the overgrown meadow, under the big clump of assorted wild berry bushes, where the woodchuck has his burrows, there is a small scrap of bright blue tarp. It is sticking conspicuously out of one of the chuck holes. I suppose that was as far as he could get it. I'm not quite sure where he nabbed this one from, but have to admire his persistence.

This whole matter has definitely given me new respect for this little neighbor of mine! I sincerely hope he succeeds in getting that piece of plastic down into his home. He must really have need of it! And, after all, wouldn't it be a terrible ending to a gallant tale of determination if his efforts have all been for naught?

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Woodchucks have played an important part in my country lifestyle for over 20 years now. When we first arrived here and built a house upon our 8 acres it literally felt like the Ponderosa (from the old Bonanza series.) I was delighted with all the wide open spaces and the abundance of wildlife in this neck of the woods and embraced it all. The baby chucks, in particular, were the most adorable little guys I had ever seen. I rejoiced at watching them frolic and play and I mourned them when they got hit by cars crossing the road out front.

When it came time to plant my first garden, I had every intention of sharing the abundance with my 'neighbors' but the little buggers chomped off my plantings before they even had a chance to grow! Over the years I tried every trick in the book to get rid of them but all my efforts were thwarted. Those voracious creatures even had the audacity to move into my small garden shed so they wouldn't have to travel to nosh in my vegetable patch!

Oh, there were good years and bad ones to be sure, but I continually lost ground, retreating a little more with each new onslaught. In the end I was losing more than the effort (and expense) was worth and raised the white flag of surrender. I had won a few skirmishes along the way but the woodchucks had won the war!!

It's been at least 5 years since I even attempted a garden although the fence still cordons off the area. Woodchucks continue to live inside the fence, adding insult to injury. There has been a change in menu though. Now the food du jour is the goose feed which they are so enamored with that I hardly ever see them even pick at the grasses they are supposed to be eating! All day long there is a woodchuck at the feeder. They have grown so huge that when they stand up on their stubby little hind legs, they resemble overstuffed teddy bears!

Where once I felt shear delight in their presence I now have come to resent them for becoming such mooches and costing me a veritable fortune in goose feed. (you would not believe how much of the stuff a single "piggy" can consume on any given day!) And we have been 'blessed' with SO MANY of them!!!

And yet, I am reminded of something very interesting that occurred a few years back that caused me to not only admire this pesky rodents resilience but reconsider my opinion of animals in general. At the time I wrote a story about the event which I look forward, with pleasure, to sharing with you tomorrow. So until then......