Mulch, and More Mulch

I suppose I just gave away what *we’ve been up to this weekend.

*For clarification, “we”  means I went along for the ride to Lowe’s. 🙂

I came outside to create today’s post, but there have been a lot of distractions. Thinking I’d take care of some plant watering, the timer keeps reminding me I need to move the hose. The birds were creating quite a ruckus. When I looked to see what had gotten them all atwitter, I spied a cat stealthily creeping behind the euonymous (shrub) and promptly shooed it away. You have not heard such a cacophony until you have a tree full of grackles exercising their trademark “rusty hinge” voice. Peaceful birdsong has returned, and it is music to my ears. 

Saturday I watched Mama Downy (tiny woodpecker) make several trips from the suet feeder to the oak tree. Here’s a picture of who was waiting for her to bring sustenance. 

That day, I also got the sad news from our neighbor that this oak tree is scheduled to be removed this coming weekend. It’s certainly going to make a big difference in the amount of sunshine that reaches our yard. Maybe I should look into the care and feeding of cacti. 

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Circle of Life–Spring

Many of you have a favorite season of the year. I’ve been giving it some thought, well, I only had to think about three, because winter was taken off the list post-haste. I know I just lost a few readers. Bye, Diane. 🙂

Today, spring is my favorite season. I couldn’t help but smile as I observed Mr. & Mrs. House Sparrow bringing their young to the bird feeder to learn about life. There appeared to be a couple of juveniles, one tending to stick closely to mom, and the other was all about exploring everything. I apologize for the picture quality, shooting through my kitchen window and giggling all the while does not equal tack-sharp photos. 

We have wire cages around a couple of feeders so the pigeons and blackbirds don’t eat ALL the seeds, therefore catering to the smaller birds. There are square openings in the cage, where the birds perch briefly when either entering or exiting. This is what the cage looks like:

It’s fun to watch the young birds try to figure that out. Some will hang there, reminiscent of me on the pull-up bars in high school, until they figure out they need to tuck their heads.

Once inside, Little Explorer was having a hard time getting out. He finally exited through the bottom, which just looks funny, because that’s not usually how it’s done.

There is a squirrel/raccoon baffle surrounding a section of the pole to keep those intruders from climbing it and eating the feeders, as well as the seed. This is what the baffle looks like, along with half a flock of blackbirds (the other half was on the other side of the yard, and the OTHER half–LOL– was at my neighbors):

Intruder alert: (nighttime, through the window, sorry)

I have square, plastic dishes in metal holders arranged here and there on the pole (as seen in the first picture). One dish sits just above the top of the baffle on that one. Little Explorer got on top of the baffle, and was walking around in circles, crouching deeply to fit under the bowl where mom and sibling were dining. It was hilarious to watch, and that’s when I decided I like spring best because it makes my heart happy to watch the circle of life begin. 

A New View of Our Big Backyard

Tuesday morning, I noticed these scattered under the oak tree, a sure sign that a squirrel was building a nest. 

 I gathered this pile of gnawed-off branches for you to see, and planned to share another joyful backyard post. My husband joked that they waste a lot of construction materials.

 We spied a young bunny 🙂 in the yard this past weekend. 

 Tuesday afternoon, we were on the receiving end of a severe thunderstorm, which I knew not of, as I was getting a massage and listening to peaceful music while havoc was wreaked on the great outdoors with 60-70 mph winds. When I arrived home, the snowy white substance in the landscape bed caught my eye. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was hail. 

 There was a LOT more debris found in the backyard, but it couldn’t be blamed on the squirrel. Poor thing, it was running back and forth across the tree, like it couldn’t find what it was looking for; and I wondered if animals experience shock. Taking a closer look at the plants in the butterfly and herb garden, I found leaves shredded, plants flattened as if they’d been forced to bend in one direction,  broken limbs and stems. A gerbera daisy had every flower stem broken, as did the bee balm.

A cherry tree between our yard and the neighbor’s had been uprooted.

This is what is left of those beautiful rhododendron blossoms. I’m glad to have enjoyed them while they lasted.

Sometimes I wonder if gardening is worth the effort. Realizing the sense of loss I experienced at seeing what had happened in our yard, how much more I felt for those who have had everything familiar stripped away by the recent tornadoes. I thought of the squirrels that once ran through the trees of their now-destroyed landscape. And how many gardens were ruined, if they could even find their garden?

This quote I’d seen posted on Facebook recently came to mind:
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” –Martin Luther

Let us continue to sow our seeds into the soil, and into the lives of others, for we all share this Big Backyard.
May God bless you this day, in a very special way.

Birthday Card

Sorry I’m late posting today, had trouble getting card reader to download photos. 

This is the card I made for my aunt. She is celebrating her 92nd birthday today. Unfortunately, due to a mail pick-up snafu, it probably won’t arrive on time.

I hope she doesn’t mind me telling her age, but she isn’t online, maybe she’ll never know. (?) Besides, one of my sisters-in-law posted it on Facebook, so why not share it with the whole world? Ninety-two years is quite an accomplishment, and I celebrate her this day.  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AUNT NEL. 

Inspiration Monday XIII

Here’s my story for Inspiration Monday XIII. This time, I included all five prompts.

SWEET DREAMS

I used to have dreams of being a heartbreaker; lovin’ ‘em and leavin’ ‘em, a trail of broken hearts in the wake. All those disposable men were pining for me—at least, that’s how it was in my delusional mind. But in the pain of reality, they turned into angry apes rather than weeping wimps. Boy, do I know how to pick ‘em! Threatening emails litter my inbox; the tires on my car, slashed; and I’m always looking over my shoulder, sensing an evil presence.  I never breathed a word about this to anyone, complying with the muffled voice on the answering machine. This has to stop. I can’t go on living like this. I won’t! I started this madness, and I’m going to end it. On my lunch break a couple days ago, I visited a local gun dealer, filled out the necessary paperwork, and tomorrow I pick up my new best friend, one that’ll be close to my heart, a Colt Cobra. Oh yeah. And then I’m going to invite a special someone to dinner, you know, to patch things up. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to Google “how to make a mask,” you understand, don’t you? And I need to run down to the market and pick up some bleach, to leave the stink of clean behind when I’m done and gone.

Scattered Showers–So What?

Once again, the forecast for our area includes the term, “scattered showers.” The best way to summarize this is, “if I don’t water the garden, it won’t rain, and if I do water, then it will.”  I spent some time this morning watering our new plants, and watched dark clouds move in as I finished. It wasn’t long before the clouds released a nice downpour, but that’s ok. I only watered lightly, enough to keep them from wilting for another day, but hoped the act of actually traipsing around the yard with the hose would trigger precipitation. 😉

Normally, I would be a bit peeved at this forecast. I guess I don’t like uncertainty. Should I run errands, or not; take the umbrella, or not; wear the raincoat, or not; sandals, or closed shoes?

Today, that seems so trivial.

Seeing the devastation wrought by tornadoes on our nation recently, I am thankful “tornado watch or warning” is NOT included in our forecast. I’m thankful for early warning systems that are in place for areas well trafficked by them, and for technological advancements available to meteorologists to “see” what’s coming. I’m thankful for the sheltered areas, built as a precaution. And I’m thankful to be part of a great nation of people who give so much in monetary and physical ways to reach out to those who are/were unfortunate to be in the path of a deadly storm.

God, bless America. Amen.