Along the Road

My mind thought back to the events of the day. A day of presenting balanced literacy to an elementary staff, K-2 in the morning and 3-5 in the afternoon. Analyzing each group’s reception of the information presented and pondering where to take them next when I return. I have eighty miles of time to think this through.

Suddenly, there is movement ahead. My senses heightened and my speed decreases as I zoom closer to the movement. It is a young fawn who has stepped out of the thick brush that lines the road.

Each step taken with deliberate care. No quick movements for this young fawn. A multitude of spots spilling down its back. The head upright, watching. Eyes wary. It steps closer to the highway. It pauses. Is that confusion or wonder in the fawn’s eyes, as my car speeds past.

My mind no longer thinking of my day. Now my thoughts are questions. Where is your mother? Will you continue on your way across the road or did the sounds of the cars frighten you back to the woods? I watch my rear view mirror as another car follows me. That car has not stopped, so I hope the fawn stood its ground or dashed away.

My thoughts linger on that fawn for many miles, hoping it returned to the woods where it might be safer. Eventually, my thoughts returned to my day, hoping the teachers won’t always stay in their safe zone, but try some new ideas.

 

 

Two Views, Inside/Outside

Happenings from the Inside:

“Oh my gosh!” my husband exclaimed as he was passing through our living room while looking out onto the patio. There was a tone to that exclamation that made me aware something was seriously amiss on the patio.

Quickly I put aside the iPad to arrive at the patio door the same time as my husband. Looking out the door, I could not see an issue. The furniture was in place, there was no wildlife lounging on our cushions.

Step outside on the stoop, there was a different story.

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A quick scan of the yard did not reveal the culprit. The birds were chattering extra loudly. I think they were trying to tell us who had been digging in our flower pot. We suspect it was a squirrel who has discovered our backyard. We will be watching!

Happenings from the Outside

Oh, what a gorgeous morning! Last night’s rain has made the world sparkly. It’s time for me to head out and explore. I need to check my latest find. There is a yard that is a veritable playground. So many trees to scamper up and down. I could spend all day exploring, but I don’t have that kind of time for play.

I have serious work ahead of me. I need to dig some holes and bury my nuts. I can’t wait until fall to do this work. A squirrel’s work is never done. There are always more nuts to bury for future meals.

I must admit, this new yard is a wonderful playground, but they have recently filled all their beds with rock instead of mulch. Do you know how hard it is to dig a hole in gravel? Mulch is much easier on my paws. Check out my work below.

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Pretty good hole right? Don’t judge, it’s not really a hole, but more of an indentation. I’m just getting started here. I just need a little more time and I will hit dirt, but it’s a start.

Now that I’ve arrived in the yard, I noticed there are a couple of pots with flowers. Hmmm, I don’t remember seeing them on my last visit. Surely they didn’t fill those with gravel. Yes! Soft sweet dirt! Perfect for my next nut! I’ll just dig my hole, it will be ready for the next nut I find. Oh how I love digging in dirt! I just love it when I find people who set planters out for me. Maybe next time I come, there will be even more planters. I’ll be watching!

Additional Note:

Recently on a walk around the neighborhood, my husband and I spotted a squirrel had been hit by a car on the road. I’m wondering if this was our squirrel. There may be no future squirrel tales. No one had disturbed the planter or created any more holes in the landscape rock.

 

 

Feasting on My Greens

Before the last snow, I wandered about the backyard looking for signs of plants waking from the winter. First place I check is my mini patch I call a garden. Tulip bulbs and asparagus crowns lie beneath the soil. When they begin the journey from underground to breaking through the dirt, I know spring is on its way.

A quick look to the right ends in disappointment. The asparagus continues to rest underground.

On the left, I discover shoots have broken ground. The tulips pushed their way through! But wait what’s that? The shoots are sheared off, level to the ground. It appears that someone with a sharp clippers has come along and clipped my green tulip shoots down to their nubs.

Do you see how this has been nibbled off? This was taken after the snow melted, so it had grown slightly from my previous viewing.

Do you see how this has been nibbled off? This was taken after the snow melted, so it had grown slightly from my previous viewing.

 

My eyes narrow, I know the predator of my tulips. It’s a rabbit! He has the teeth that would gnaw away at my young, green sprigs, which survived the winter cold only to be a tender tasty treat for him.

Now we will enter into a war. I will be more vigilant over my bulbs, he will not deprive me of my springtime flower.

Here are the shoots that have not been nibbled on.

Here are the shoots that have not been nibbled on.

A Hawk Among Us

Wings spread wide, floating on air currents high above our roof, the hawk surveys the land below looking for dinner. Tired of scanning from the sky, it settles in the maple tree. Head slowly turning left, then right. It rests on this perch for some time. Eventually soaring off to better hunting grounds.

Waiting and watching

Waiting and watching

The hawk continues to reappear over the course of several weeks. I only see it from a distance, always in a tree or circling the sky, until Wednesday.

My husband and I were backing out of the garage, on our way for a dinner out when I noticed movement at the neighbor’s walk. The hawk was standing on the sidewalk pecking and pulling, dinner was served. Bits of something were flying in the air, I didn’t know if it was fur or feathers.

I wanted to jump out of the car, run into the house to fetch my camera. But alas, I did not. It was dusk and I was afraid the light would prevent a good picture. However, when I got home, I wandered over to see what was left. Feathers were scattered all through the flower bed and into the grass. I think there was also some internal organ left behind. (If I had to guess, I would say it was the intestine. It resembled a long pink worm.)

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In the morning, I went back to snap a few photos of the scattered feathers. I skipped the organ (I know you are saying, “Thank goodness!). Our neighbor, Dan, has declared it must have been a dove because of the gray feathers mixed in with the white downy feathers.

We have a couple of small puppies in the neighborhood. I hope the owners keep a watchful eye on them.

“Not On Our Pole!”

Saturday morning found me sipping coffee, scrolling through emails on the iPad, wondering how the day would unfold when suddenly out of the corner of my eye, a movement in the backyard made me dash to the window to verify my suspicions. I think I saw a squirrel!

Side note: I know many you are thinking, what’s the big deal? We have squirrels and they are annoying. Let me explain, we moved to this house about ten years ago, and we have never had a squirrel in our yard or trees. Our house was built on a farm field, so there were no trees, therefore, there would be no squirrels.

I caught a glimpse, but quickly moved to another window to get a better view. I could not find it. I looked for any motion, but all was still. In my fuzzy pink bathrobe, I went out to the patio hoping to discover where it went. I was just curious to see what the squirrel would do. No luck. I returned to the house.

A few minutes later I glanced out the window to discover the squirrel was checking out the bird bath. This time I had my camera ready, but it quickly scampered from the bird bath to the viburnum bush. I watched the bush, zooming in, but could not find the rascal.

Suddenly it leaped to the top of the fence and headed across the green space behind our house. Sadly I thought there would be no picture of this fuzzy fellow, but wait! It is climbing the power pole! Up, up, up it climbed. What will it do when it reaches the top?

Up, up, up, it continued until it passed a bar where two birds were resting. The birds immediately attacked the squirrel. The squirrel didn’t know what was happening! The birds flew and screeched. I’m sure the message was loud and clear, “You are not climbing our pole!”

Immediately the squirrel retreated, scampering down about six feet. There it froze, head down, spread eagle on the power pole. It stayed in that position for at least ten minutes. It got the courage to try again, but the birds fought it off. More birds came to help the original two. The chatter was quite loud, I can only imagine the language they were using.

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Finally, the defeated squirrel abandoned its idea of climbing the pole. It scooted down the pole, shook its tail, and scampered off to the neighbor’s pine tree. The squirrel’s attitude said, “I didn’t really want to climb that pole anyway.”

Close up of the squirrel trying to decide what to do.

Close up of the squirrel trying to decide what to do.

 

Battling Bunny

A growl erupts from my husband and he flies out of his chair into the backyard. The first time this happened I wondered what horrible thing had occurred in the yard. I discovered it was a small four-legged creature taunting my husband.

Early morning, catching a few rays of sunshine

Early morning, catching a few rays of sunshine

 

If I sit really still, no one will notice me.

If I sit really still, no one will notice me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I can keep an eye on what's happening in this yard.

Here I can keep an eye on what’s happening in this yard.

 

I need to check out this new land.

I need to check out this new land.

Running, clapping, chasing only sent the bunny into the bushes. This called for a new plan. The hose was brought into action. Bunny did not like the hose! It bounded out of the yard to escape the spray.

The dreaded hose!

The dreaded hose!

However, either it has a short memory or it is a new one who is back and exploring the patio. I guess the war isn’t over, yet.

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Fall Hazard

Fall has it’s own special delights that it brings to our world. Beautiful colors light up the landscape with the warm colors of reds, oranges, and yellows. Cooler temperatures allow us to add a layer, whether it’s to our bodies or our beds. We look forward to this change of season, but sometimes summer snaps its head and reminds us that it is not ready to depart.

The blue sky with billowy clouds called us to enjoy a bike ride down the paved path of the Frisco Highline Trail. The colors were just beginning to creep into the foliage. Sunlight caught the silver sparkle of web lines overhead. Humidity pushed its way into the ride and wrapped its arms around me, but I didn’t let that slow me down. Pedaling created a breeze to savor.

The world went into s-l-o-w motion when I saw it flying toward me. A teeny tiny, neon green worm (?) was riding the breeze and headed straight for my face. I turned my head and bike trying to miss it. Whew! That was a close one!

I pedaled on, but something was on my sun glasses. I thought it was a hair. As I pedaled, I pulled off the glasses and found myself gazing at that neon green worm frozen to my glasses. I guess it wasn’t a close call after all.

I stopped my bike, because of course I needed a picture of this little critter. Multiple shots were taken, but they all came out blurry as it scurried across and around the lens of my sunglasses. Finally I blew a puff of air and it vanished.

Look down along the bottom edge of the lens to see my hitchhiker.

Look down along the bottom edge of the lens to see my hitchhiker.

I looked down at my neon green shirt. There were several more little worms hanging on for dear life. A quick shake of the fabric sent them away. Fortunately I wasn’t that far from the end of the ride, I could just imagine/feel the worms crawling around on my damp skin and through my hair. I needed a shower to rid this creeping feeling!

I was not the only one with green hitchhikers. My husband had several spots of green stuck to his face and shirt too.  I just hate these hazards that Mother Nature sends my way.

Invasion!

At last, my husband and I made it to southern California to spend a few days with our son and his family and to celebrate my birthday. So far our trip had been great! We were looking forward to a few more fun days before heading back to the Midwest. After dinner we made plans to visit the aquarium on Tuesday with our daughter-in-law and granddaughter. As we pulled into the hotel parking lot, we gave a sigh of satisfaction. Life was good, but that all changed in the morning.

My husband is an early riser, so he usually gets to the breakfast area ahead of me. I wandered down and normally he is finishing up his breakfast, but he was no where in sight. I wandered over to the coffee, poured a cup, wondering where he was. As I was scooping up some eggs he came into the lobby.

One look at his face told me something had happened and it was not good. “The car is crawling with ants!” he tells me. “The front of the car is covered and they are inside too!” He had gone out to clean the windshield and discovered the invasion when they began crawling up his legs.

He pulled the car around to the covered area right outside the entrance. We emptied the trunk and car of all items. All the while wiping away, knocking off, smashing ants, teeny, tiny, minuscule light brown ants. We opened the hood and they ran for their life. He took the car to a car wash, but once he got back they began crawling out of every crevice.

We eventually pulled the car around back and the hotel had the maintenance man use the hose to spray the engine area because that seemed to be where most of them were. He sprayed the radiator and the water looked like it someone had poured five pounds of pepper in the water. As the water flowed away the ants pulled themselves out and scurried away.

There would be no aquarium this day. My husband stayed to battle the ants while the “girls” went to see The Giver. I think I got the better end of that deal.

What we learned was ants LOVE dead bugs. Our radiator and front of the car were full of tasty treats for ants. The sprinklers at the hotel turned on, which brought the ants out of the ground. Once up from their dens, they discovered a smorgasbord had been delivered to their doorstep. Eventually their numbers dropped off. Of course that could be due to the can of Raid we purchased.

Needless to say, we did not park near landscaping for the rest of the visit.

 

Glimpses

Today Kim left. It has been an action packed week of fun, fun, fun. On Saturday, I listed some highlights from each day. There were so many moments worthy of being a true slice, but I don’t have the time or energy to develop them properly. Some of the moments will live deep in my heart as memories to savor. Here are a few more glimpses into my past week.

My one little word this year has been sweet. I have found sweetness in being with friends and family. These people are especially important in difficult times. So it was particularly sweet for Kim to bring me a gift bag with some “sweets” inside.

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The first stop on my tour of St. Louis for Kim was the botanical gardens. The Climatron had a special exhibit with Lego sculptures incorporated into the plants.

These strange critters were mostly made of Legos.

These strange critters were mostly made of Legos.

I took lots of picture of flowers and plants. Perhaps these photos may appear in another post, but here are a few to give you a glimpse into the gardens.

These gates had Chihuly glass. There were other places throughout the gardens with more of this glass.

These gates had Chihuly glass. There were other places throughout the gardens with more of this glass.

 

 

Elizabethan herb quilt garden.

Elizabethan herb quilt garden.

Not everything was plant based in the gardens. We spotted several geckos wandering about.

Not everything was plant based in the gardens. We spotted several geckos wandering about.

The Arch is a must do for any visitor to the city.

Kim snaps a picture of Cardinal stadium from the top of the Arch.

Kim snaps a picture of Cardinal stadium from the top of the Arch.

Dinner with Slicers and Tweeters and others was a wonderful way to cap off the day.

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Christy is all smiles.

 

 

 

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Tam and Ruth, wonder what they are focusing their attention on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ruthRuth inspired and filled hearts with her opening message. I wish it had been filmed and saved on You Tube. It would be a video to view over and over.

My day was spent with Mary Helen, Tammy Shultz, Franki Sibberson, and ColbySharp. Each one nudged me to think in a new way.

After the entertaining dinner with Barry Lane, a group of us sat outside visiting. Eventually we had to move our talk inside, but it was fun to visit with new and old friends.group

Friday came too early, and once again my thinking was pushed by Martha Horn, Kristin Ziemke, and Kelly Gallagher. This evening had a perfect ending. Dinner at a delightful restaurant with very special friends.

Next week, I will share the adventures of map reading. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Creepy and Crawly

The darkness of night obscures things that might frighten you in the light of the day. You just have to trust that you are safe in the dark. This trust lets you sleep through the night and awaken when the sun rises to face a new day. Are you fearful or fearless each night when you lay your head down on your pillow? Several nights ago, my trust was shattered.

Something brushed against my neck, bringing me out of my sleep, but yet not fully awake. I moved my head on the pillow and out of the corner of my half opened eye I saw movement. That was enough to put me on high alert. Sitting up, heart pounding, I discovered a centipede scurrying across my pillow. Ewwww! I snatched my pillow and hustled into the bathroom, balancing the offending critter so it didn’t fall off. Quickly I shook the pillow and it dropped into the toilet. Soon it was whisked away in a whirlpool of water. (Side note: I did feel a pang of guilt, but the hour of the night did not allow me to release it into the wild.)

I returned to bed, but examined the bedding for any other critters. I laid my head down, but still felt the whisper of movement against my skin. I jerked my head up and scanned the pillow surface. Nothing there. It was a long time before I settled down and was able to fall back asleep.

Sleep did return, but each night I wonder what is hiding in the dark.