Saturday, May 28, 2016

Woodland surprises

It seems we've become a wildlife sanctuary or adoption service for newborn fawns.

I was surprised this morning to look outside and see Hannah had returned.

She was lying in the tall, unmowed grass, beneath a tall oak tree.

I accept responsibility for the unkempt backyard. Too much wet weather, a week of suffering with a bad back, and frankly, too many other things to do,  have all kept me from it. I don't worry about such trivial matters; I know it will be there when I'm ready. Now, Hannah gives me another excuse for not getting to it. I certainly don't want to disturb her. I was positively joyous to see her again, just hangin' out in a place that she, and apparently her mother, consider to be safe.

So, just when I was feeling pretty good about the accepting wildlife around here, I glanced out the front window. I saw something moving in what was once a flower bed. I haven't gotten around to that either this year.

Ironically, it was the deer population that ate all my flowers, raccoons, squirrels, and armadillos to name a few, that dug out tulip bulbs and a myriad other plants, that have changed this into just a bunch of overgrown unidentified plants.

When I first saw something moving, I thought it might be our cat, Timi. She likes to hang out in the Russian Sage plants. It makes her smell nice. But then I saw those unmistakable ears. I had to get a little closer. It was another fawn, just lying in the weeds, chillin'.

I'd seen a baby romping with her mother within the last couple days. I wondered if we had one or two little ones around. Now I know.

So the backyard fawn is Hannah. The front yard fawn is Dawn fawn. As I crept a little closer to her, she bolted. Dawn fawn will not allow petting. I doubt Hannah would either anymore. They have probably both been instructed by prospective Mom Deer to stay away from the crazy stalker lady with the camera. I'm sure she tells them to just pose and be cute, but don't let her touch you again!

That's OK, I've had my thrill as noted in a previous account of getting to pet Hannah. I'm happy now, but have no idea if I will ever be able to have flowers again. Time will tell.



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I'm a little bit country, and more so every day

I admit, it isn't always easy to adapt to being a country girl, but it is so worth it.

Yesterday, I was thrilled to watch a doe with her newborn fawn scampering around in the backyard. In fact, I shot a video to mark the momentous event.

video

I watched until the fawn lay down at the base of an old cedar tree, right in the backyard. I could see it from most of the windows of the house, and certainly from the deck.

She looked to be sleeping quietly as her mother went off into the woods. I named her Hannah.

This morning, I went to check to see if Hannah was still there. She was. I knew how young she was, so I was worried that she was no longer alive. Upon closer inspection, I realized that she was breathing.

Since I know nothing about newborn fawns whose mother is nowhere to be seen. I watched her mother give a glance over her shoulder as she bounded into the brush. That was the last I saw of her.

Not knowing what to do, I sought out advice from the Internet. I learned that what I was seeing was not uncommon. Often times mothers will leave their fawns for as many as 12 hours while they eat and sleep. I feel good knowing the doe entrusted her baby to the crazy lady on the deck with a camera. If she is the doe I suspect she is, she knows I am harmless. She has seen me aim my viewfinder her way many times.

As noted, I checked to see if Hannah had a scab over her umbilical cord. She did. I didn't need that to tell me she was a newborn however. It was pretty obvious that she was brand new to this beautiful world in which we live. I lifted her tail--no problem there. She had no puncture wounds and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Hannah

As I was performing my cursory examination, I took the opportunity to faun a little over this adorable fawn, petting her soft coat and touching the many spots on this beautiful, perfect, little creature. I didn't think once about how annoyed I get when the deer in the neighborhood decimate my vegetable garden and eat all my flowers. Instead I was mesmerized by the sheer wonder of this tiny critter.

Just as we were starting to bond, our resident mama cat, Timi happened by. Hannah must have been startled because she got up on those long, skinny, and unsteady legs In a blink of an eye, they not only held her upright, but she almost gracefully leaped away. She entered the woods at about the last place I saw her mother. Perhaps she is going back to her birth location. I hope so. I just hope her mother finds her and nurtures her. She deserves no less.

I hate not knowing what will become of her. No doubt I will be a nervous wreck until I see her romping around with her mother once more, as it should be.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Stuff happens; and sometimes that is a good thing

This morning, I heard the doorbell ring. When I went to answer, a young man asked if I needed any tree trimming done.

CHMusings: Tree trimming
My mind raced as I thought about the tree that not only sprawls over the bedrooms of the house. Some of its branches actually scrape the roof. It has been a concern of mine for some time, especially with the storms we have been having of late.

It also poses a danger to our heat pump/air conditioner. In the winter, ice on the branches falls into the motor and causes it to seize. We've enjoyed that expense more than once.

Needless to say, I had been thinking for some time that we needed to do something about this.

While there is always a danger in hiring people you don't know, there was something about this guy. For some reason I had a good feeling about him. We chatted for a little while about what needed to be done with this tree. We agreed that its proximity to the house and other trees would make falling it a little tricky. We decided that a good trimming would work just as well. So, I said, let's do it.

tree trimming 2
tree trimming 1

I couldn't be more pleased. I will be happy to call Ben Frost next time I need work done. He and his partner did an excellent job and at a reasonable cost.

They trimmed the branches, cleaned the gutter, and swept the roof.

trees trimmed
Now for the icing on the cake. There are no low hanging branches for the squirrels to use to get to my backyard birdfeeder, via the roof.

If only house painters, bathroom re-modelers, power washers, and flooring experts would ring the doorbell, I could rest easy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Must be Spring!

So here we go again...
Love the American Goldfinch
Here's lookin' at you!
All good things must come to an end! :-(

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mundane chores or as I like to call it, bonding with my kitchen...

Sometimes, the same ole thing just gets boring. That was the case with my same ole, same ole dishes.
I decided it was time for a change. I was finally going to replace these clear glass dishes and the chipped black stoneware ones with a matching set. I ordered eight small square plates and eight bowls. I could have purchased an entire set, but didn't want the cups or the large plate, so I just ordered them individually. They are very pretty--red and black. 
While dishes may not seem like an important part of your life, think about all the times you look at them. There are all those meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner, ever day. How many times do you wash the same old dishes, over and over again? Sometimes I wash them by hand, but mostly I use the dishwasher, loading and unloading day after day.

The dishes hold all the leftovers. They are sometimes vessels for cat food or they can hold tiny nuts and screws when I'm trying to fix something and have to take things apart. I've used these dishes to death. It is time for a change.

I'm a little ahead of myself. I actually have parts of two sets of dishes that I use everyday. Ours is an eclectic household.

One set of our dishes is older than the other. One contains dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, and cups that we've used for so long I can't even remember where they came from. They are clear glass, yet have been very durable. Replacement pieces can be found at garage sales and stores like Walmart and Target. I guess that is why we still have at least a serving for eight. For two people, that may sound a little excessive, but I'm not so sure it is. Thinking back, we used those dishes when are kids were still home. That was a long time ago.

A few years ago, we came across a real bargain--an interesting set of black square dishes that both my husband and I really liked. They were dirt cheap, a service for four, which seems to be how most dishes are sold nowadays. Isn't it funny how the price for four is now what it used to cost for eight? At any rate, we started using these new, pretty, stoneware dishes. We found that we liked square plates better than round ones, though I'm not sure why. We used the salad plates regularly because the dinner plates were just too huge. Of the entire set, the only thing we really used were the four salad plates. They were just the right size for us.

There were only two bowls with the set. I don't know if there were two that had broken, or if there were only supposed to be two. We don't use them however, because they are way too big for one serving size of cereal or salad. There were four cups too, but again, they were huge. Because they are stoneware, a whole cup of coffee would be too heavy to hold comfortably.

Gibson Home Soho Lounge 10.5" Square Dinner Plates, Red, Set of 8The bottom line is that we were still using many of the pieces of clear glass dishes; we used the bowls, salad plates, and cups. Admittedly, when I didn't do the dishes in time, we were relegated to using the old round clear dinner plates.

They came this week. Lo and behold, the plates are much smaller than I had hoped. I ended up ordering the large plates after all. They will arrive next week and we will finally have matching dishes once again.

I wanted a nice, clean place to put them, so I ended spending the morning cleaning cabinets. One thing led to another, resulting in a little spring cleaning. I cleaned and rearranged most of the cabinets in the kitchen, moved some things around, throwing away some unnecessary junk and filling a box for a future garage sale. I even cleaned off the top of the refrigerator, a place my 5'2" self never sees. That was epic in itself. That led to cleaning out the refrigerator, and making a few salads we can enjoy in the coming days.

Funny how one thing leads to another, including organizing the spice cabinet. I wonder how hard it will be to find things in my new, improved kitchen?

I worked hard today, but bonding with my kitchen was good and satisfying. Thank you Springtime, for the added burst of energy and enthusiasm that always happens at this time of year.




Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Simplify

One word exemplifies my philosophy; simplify.

Though I already was a plant-lover, maintaining about 30 of my own house plants in what was then my small apartment,  I learned so much from this man, whose shows I never missed. When John and I bought our first home, I couldn't wait to plant a garden.


This isn't new for me now that I'm in the autumn of my life. I've never claimed to be a minimalist; that is, I really like 'my stuff,' as the late, great George Carlin often joked about all the worldly possessions a person gathers in a lifetime, in one of what I consider the funniest stand-up routines ever. But I do prefer a simple life.

I have never figured that bigger was better. It is just bigger. I've never liked the drama even though I rather enjoy problem-solving. I do not like, and will sidestep at every turn, creating them.

I had an epiphany this morning, as I was watering my plants. There could hardly be a more simple task. But this Tuesday morning, with no plans for the day except to get caught up on some chores--at my own pace--, and the sun shining brightly through the windows, I realized how much joy I felt in doing this simple task.

My life has been complicated of late, not of my own doing. So, those simple, moments of pure joy, mean all the more.

I have always been a hobbyist of some sort, whether it be quilting, crocheting, writing, or whatever. I have always loved plants. I suppose it is in my DNA.

My mother had house plants. My father liked to garden. When I was very young and my grandmother would steal me away to spend the weekend with her at her spacious three-flat in Chicago, it was always my job to water her plants. I guess you could say my thumb has history of being green.

Grandma had lots of cacti and other succulents. My mother had beautiful African Violets. I love them all. With the exception of the Bermuda grass that invades my gardens outside, I love everything that grows.

Image result for jim crockett victory gardenWhen John and I got married, we honeymooned in Florida. On a Saturday morning I was watching television; it was an episode of Crockett's Victory Garden on PBS. It was the first time I had seen it, and was immediately hooked. I fell in love with Jim Crockett and so admired his gardens and method of sharing everything he knew about raising both indoor and outdoor plants.


I also liked to grow roses. I recall one day a lady walked by. I was outside pulling some weeds when she stopped by to admire my roses. They really were incredible, although I don't think I had very much to do with that. I had purchased nine hybrid tea roses from Jackson & Perkins. A cold killed them the next winter, but they were lovely. I haven't bought a rose since then. Perhaps I should give it another try.

Whatever the endeavor, I believe it is the simple things that bring the most pleasure. So, the word of the day, every day, for me is "simplify."

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Straw on a camel's back or a broken washing machine...

How many people can say they have a washing machine saga?

Did you ever have one of those days? How about one of those months? I'm up to about two years now...

Most recently, my nemesis is the killer cold from hell. I've been sick for most of February. It started with the stomach flu, about three days of it. There were a couple good days before I got the worst cold I've ever had. It was a B-A-D cold that left me coughing severely for more than 3 weeks. I was definitely ill, but  couldn't really rest as I'm the caretaker for my poor husband who is trying to recover from a stroke. All of the chores got done, but minimally, as I just didn't have any energy to muster.

Early this week though, I was starting to feel a little better. I actually wanted to tackle some of the piles o laundry that had piled up. I did one load of John's clothes, got them folded and put away and started on the next. That is when the washing machine refused to finish the cycle. The clothes were wet and water remained in the drum of my front loading GE machine. When I opened the door, the water came pouring out. I grabbed a bucket and held what I could. I retrieved the heavy, wet clothes and wrung them out the best I could into a bucket. I had no idea if they were clean or dirty. Still, I tossed them into the dryer which took a very long time to dry them.

In the meantime, I called a local appliance repair company. I was told it would be a week before they could come out. I called Home Depot where I bought the machine and they suggested a guy they contract with. His phone was busy. I called Sears who said they repair appliances and would have someone get hold of me.

A very nice man came out, but explained that he had never repaired a front loading machine before, but he offered to take a look at it. As it turned out, he was in training and his instructor had to take a few days off for personal reasons. He had only been on the job 10 days. He took one look at my washer and explained that he really didn't know how to deal with it. Apologetically he suggested I call someone else. Of course, it didn't cost anything. I appreciated his honesty and called someone else. They would come out tomorrow.

The next morning, the nice man from Sears called me and suggested that if I didn't have anyone to help me, Sears could bring out a loaner machine and would take mine back to the shop and repair it when the main man came back. I thought that was way above and beyond and really appreciated this man going that extra mile. While we talked, he mentioned that sometimes, the pump filter might be clogged. I might want to try to clean that out and see if it helps. So, I did.

Of course, the water still inside the machine, about a gallon of it, ended up all over the floor, but I got that cleaned up too. Sure enough, that filter was a mess. I cleaned it, got it put back and turned on the drain and spin cycle. I threw in a wet towel and it worked like a champ. The machine was quiet, like it was 7 years ago when we bought it. It spun all the moisture out of that towel so that it was almost dry, just like it was supposed to. Its spin cycle was fast and furious. I was really proud of myself thinking I fixed it. I canceled my appointment with the repair man.
video
See, I got it to work. I honestly thought it was all better. I loaded up all the wet towels that I used to mop up the water on the floor, threw them into the machine with soap and turned on the machine. Gosh, it sounded good--so quiet. It worked like a dream. I went back a few minutes later and it had stopped. It is not fixed.

The Internet is filled with comments about this kind of a problem, where the machine pauses, locks and unlocks the door, never finishing the cycle.

I'm so disappointed. So much for my elation. I almost forgot about how miserable the last few weeks had been. I ended up calling the repair man back and getting put back on the list. He may or may not be able to come today.