Time to Say Goodbye

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RIP 5/17/2019

Yesterday, my white rabbit, Stew, aka Hazel, but mostly Stew, died in my arms while we were at the vet. She’d been acting weird for the past few weeks, some days happily hopping around her indoor pen, while on other days having no interest in food or me. Yesterday, her breathing became labored and she couldn’t move his hind legs. Chris and I took her the vet and while I was waiting she died in my arms.

A little background on Stew. On October 6, 2014, a friend and I found a cardboard box in the marsh along Elsie Ave. Inside was a frightened white rabbit missing a toe.

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Hazel, when we found her, which I thought was a him. Stick around and I’ll explain her gender and name change.

https://concordriverlady.com/2014/10/06/go-ask-alice/

Sparky was alive when I found Stew and they got to know each other rather quickly. Now they’re both gone.

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Sparky and Stew, October 2014

On October 30, 2014, Stew helped me build her pen which I kept in my office. She had the run of the house back then and learned to use his litter box rather quickly. She was a good little bunny.

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Stew, checking out her new Wabbitat.

https://concordriverlady.com/2014/10/30/movin-on-up/

This is how the name and gender thing happened. I originally named Stew Hazel, from the rabbit in the book, Watership Down, by Richard Adams.

 

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I love this book.

Chris thought the name Hazel was a bit odd, and pointed out a better name would be Stew, since Hazel is a rabbit and rabbit stew is delicious. Thus, Hazel became Stew.

In January, 2017, I had a hysterectomy, and Stew went in to be snipped. Surprise, surprise, he had no penis but two, well-developed ovaries. Can you say Stewina?

That same month Isabella arrived, a rescued Himalayan rabbit.

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Stew and Isabella

Things have been rocking along since Isabella arrived. Stew loved the company. I eventually built them an indoor run down in the basement and a second run outside for the summer months. They had a ball and every time I visited them Stew would hop over to me and cuddle. He loved to have the space between his ears scratched. He was a sweet little bunny.

But now Stew is gone and Isabella is alone. I’ll take a drive to Nevins Farm, the MSPCA adoption center in Methuen, and adopt another rescued rabbit for Isabella.

Did I mention Stew died in my arms?

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I hope your soul is hopping around in the green fields of Summerland, Stew.

Blessed be :}

 

 

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The Magic of My World

I wish I could take you by the hand and show you the magic of my world in real time. You’d hear the song of the Northern Cardinal, and feel the scented breeze on your skin as the sun warms your tired bones.

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But, alas, I can only share my world with you through the lens of my camera. Come along with me, will you, the best is yet to be.

The birds of spring have all arrived, from the Baltimore Orioles to the Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. Let’s start with the orioles, shall we.

As in the past, the male is elusive and damn hard to capture with my camera. However, I know how to entice the female Baltimore Oriole to pose for me. String. I sprinkle fine strands of string throughout the yard, and she comes and gathers them for her nest, stopping to thank me along the way.

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Female Baltimore Oriole with a strand of string.

A Baltimore Oriole nest takes a lot of string but no worries, I have plenty.

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Photo courtesy of: http://www.birdrap.com

Now for my Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. Truth, I have two males spending time at my sunflower feeder. They first arrived while I was suffering through a nasty bout of the flu a couple of weeks ago. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw them outside my bedroom window, but, nope, two males for twice the beauty.

I happen to think the female Rose-Breasted is mighty spectacular as well.

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Female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Sure, the male got the scarlet red chest, and the classic black and white feathers, but the female of the species has some fine markings all her own. Plus, she has golden chest feathers. Bravo, Mother Nature.

This past Saturday, after I finished a long day working in the gardens, Harlee and I spent some time relaxing. We sat and watched four Tree Swallows perform their courting flights. Of course I didn’t get any pictures, they more too fast for me. Although, they did stop and rest at the top of one of my oak trees, and I was able to capture a few nice shots even if I was underneath them.

No springtime blog post would be complete without the mention of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

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Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Shannon and St. John are still making their daily visits. St. John keeps a watchful eye while Shannon relaxes or eats. I hope she has some eggs in the nest and isn’t leading St. John on. He’s too nice a duck to be scammed by a sweet quacking hen.

The Great-blue Heron strolled through my yard last week. She is a truly magnificent bird, and one of these days I’m going to hop on her back and demand she take me for a ride.

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Great-blue Heron taking a walk through one of my gardens.

I hope you enjoyed this little visit, I know I loved having the company. It gets lonely here in my little corner of the Concord River, and now and then I’d love another person to talk to.

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Harlee is a great companion but he’s not much of a conversationalist.

Oh, one last thing before you go.

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The American Goldfinches finished molting.

Blessed be :}

The following is a blatant attempt to sell you something.

If you’re interested in purchasing some of my photographs as greetings cards and other nifty items, visit my store at Redbubble.com. The money I earn helps to pay for the duck’s corn. Thank you.

And don’t forget about my newest book.

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Okay, now you can go.

 

 

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A Month of Wonder and Delight

Welcome to May. Beltane. The position on the wheel of the year that marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. A time to frolic like a randy squirrel.

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Before the festivities begin, let’s take a look back through April and recount the days gone by.

Day 1: A Brown Creeper spent a little time scouting out insects in the bark of my oak tree.

Day 2: The American Goldfinches started molting.

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Day 3: I repaired a portion of my walkway.

Day 4: A female Goldeneye, a type of diving duck, spent some time demonstrating her diving abilities.

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Day 5: A pair of Wood Ducks enjoyed some cracked corn.

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Day 6: I met Shannon and St. John, the breeding pair of Mallards who chose my yard as their nesting territory. They’re named after the main character’s in my newest book, Breaking the Rulesmallards - ducks - drake - hen - waterfowl

Day 7: While I worked in my gardens, Shannon would come up to me and quack softly for her afternoon feeding.

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Day 8: The American Goldfinches continued to molt.

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Day 9: Since my health had returned, yay, I was able to finish the hummingbird garden expansion.

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Then

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Now

 

 

Day 10: Harlee investigated the mulch delivery.

Day 11: A female Northern Cardinal posed for a picture.

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Day 12: More Wood Ducks arrived.

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Day 13: A wild turkey investigated the side yard.

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Day 14: The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrived in Massachusetts. I haven’t seen one yet but my feeders are up and ready.

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Day 15: The Downy Woodpecker pretended she’s a hummingbird.

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Day 16: St. John kept a watchful eye while Shannon ate so her chicks will be fat and healthy.

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Day 17: A couple of Hooded Mergansers visited for a bit.

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Day 18: I finished adding mulch to both enlarged gardens.IMG_1034.JPG

Day 19: Yup, you guessed it; more molting American Goldfinches.

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Day 20: Shannon continued her daily visits for lunch.

Day 21: My fourth book went live on Amazon.

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Day 22: A Spring Peeper started singing at night in the marsh across from my house.

Day 23: The Forsythia bush I planted last summer returned in a blaze of yellow.

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Day 24: Rain, rain, rain, and my neighbor’s yard flooded.

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Day 25: The American Goldfinches almost finished molting.

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Day 26: The river rose from the continued rain and flooded my side yard. Shannon and St. John loved that they had a private pond to swim in.

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Day 27: The Trout Lily bloomed. She’s getting bigger every year.

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Day 28: Harlee and I took a nap that lasted the entire afternoon. In my defense, I’m one little, old lady who’s just gotten over a mysterious illness that turned out to be not so mysterious and I’ve been doing a ton of yard work. Garden’s don’t mulch themselves, you know.

Day 29: My YouTube channel reached 500 subscribers. Have you subscribed? https://youtube.com/c/TinthiaClemant

Day 30: The Great Blue Heron returned from her winter vacation.

Great blue heron

Thirty days of wonder, enchantment, and delight.

Blessed Beltane. Blessed be. :}

 

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Look out!

They’re coming in fast!

hummingbirds - migration - maps

I’m behind in my posting of the ruby-throated migration map and I am so very sorry. Get your feeders up NOW! It’s a wave of red and they’re going to be hungry. Remember, four parts water to one part granulated sugar. No need to buy fancy nectar when good old sugar will do.

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Heat the water first, it helps to dissolve the sugar completely. Then let it cool before filling your feeders.

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No red food coloring required. Keep it simple and pure. Go on, what are you waiting for.

Do it!

NOW!

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Yum. I love sugar water without red food coloring. One cup of sugar to four cups of water and I’m good to go. Slurp, slurp, slurp.

Hurry!

Blessed be :}

Are you still here? Go!

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Spring is officially here!

And it’s about time. Maybe it’s the whole getting older thing but this winter felt endless and I’m glad it’s over. The last snowstorm on March 4 dumped over a foot of snow on my little corner of the river.

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Even the songbirds were like ‘WTF is this?’

But my ducks just rolled with it. They’re hearty souls and it takes more than a little, or a lot, of snow to phase them.

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I will admit my river was pretty.

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But I’m done with snow for a while. I need to get my hands into some warm earth and feel the worms wiggling around my fingers. In short, I need to see my flowers blooming!

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Have you started your seeds yet? It’s time, you know.

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This year I plan of planting loads of zinnias. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds love them.

I’m also trying to start nasturtium and moonflower seeds. Nothing yet but I’m hopeful.

I have this silly fantasy of lying in my bed at night and smelling the fragrant aroma of moonflowers outside my open bedroom window. I also have a fantasy about Keanu Reeves, but I’ll save that topic for a different blog post.

Last night, the first night of spring, 2019, saw a super Worm moon.

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The last time the Vernal Equinox hosted a super full moon was in 1905! I hope you got a chance to see it. The next time a super full moon and the spring equinox coincide will be in 2144. I don’t expect to be here for that one so I’m thrilled the night was clear and that I could get a good look last night.

Now that spring is in the air the activity along the river has picked up. The red-winged blackbirds and grackles are back from their southern vacation homes.

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Both Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles belong to the Family Icteridae which also includes orioles, such as my beautiful Baltimore Orioles that visit my yard each summer.

I hope you’re paying attention because there’ll be a quiz next week in biology class.

The coming of spring has also stepped up the romance in the air. My Northern Cardinal pair is feeling amorous and the male cardinal performed his tender courting ritual of feeding the female a sunflower seed.

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Not being ones for PDA, they hid behind the branches of my forsythia bush. When he was finished feeding his lady love, the male gave me a nasty look as if to tell me to mind my own business.

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Too bad, I told him. My house, my money, my sunflower seed, my rules.

There were a few bachelors wandering around the river last week. First a swan stopped by…

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Trumpet swan.

…and also a male Northern pintail.

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Northern pintail.

Although both birds should be with their respective mates by now they didn’t seem bothered at going stud. I guess they’re keeping their options open. Maybe the pintail thought he’d get himself a little Mallard action but the hen kept her eyes closed and ignored him, though I’m sure it didn’t hurt that her drake was by her side.

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Mallard drake and hen, and Northern pintail.

As long as I on the topic of ducks, a pair of wood ducks have been hanging around my beach.

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Wood duck hen and drake.

Two springs ago I put up a wood duck nesting box.

Fine, for the record, my friend put up the wood duck box, but I paid for it, and I supervised. Anyway, I’ve never hosted a pair of Wood Ducks in the box. Just sparrows. Lots and lots of sparrows. This year things might work out for me. The pair has been here for a few days.

And the hen is getting comfortable with me being out in the yard.

I have all my toes and fingers crossed she’ll lay some eggs for me. I want to be a grandma to baby wood ducks.

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Wood Duck hen with her chicks. Photo courtesy of: https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/wood-duck

Until then I’ll keep myself content by photographing the daddy-to-be.

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Male wood duck.

Tell me, who do you think is more handsome – a male Mallard or the male Wood Duck?

The most handsome of all is my Harlee! Today is his second anniversary. He and I met in 2017 and it was love at first sight.

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black Lab - dogs - male

Thank you, Labs 4 Rescue.

To celebrate the beginning of spring I made a batch of cookies that I call Spring Cakes.

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I would typically frost them with tinted icing but I was out of food coloring. They were still delicious–Chris ate a bunch. Here’s the recipe.

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Now, I want you to go and make some Spring Cakes, brew a cup of tea, and head outside salute the beginning of spring.

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Blessed Ostara :}

 

 

 

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Shake off the dirt, Persephone, it’s time to dance.

Lately, I’ve felt like Persephone, caught in the underworld of darkness, but no more. It’s time to dust myself off and embrace the light surrounding me.

persephone - underworld - darkness - depression

About a month ago my primary care physician decided to wean me off my anti-depressant medication, Wellbutrin. I had read several articles about Wellbutrin being associated with Parkinson-like symptoms and a slew of other neurological issues and I posed the question to him, ‘Could Wellbutrin be the cause of my mysterious neurological issues?’ This is the same question I presented to the eight, yes, eight neurologists who examined me over the past year. The eight, yes, eight, neurologists poo-pooed me and told me to go see a psychiatrist. Thankfully, my primary doctor took action because (drum roll, please) my symptoms are gone!!! Here, see for yourself.

I’m happy to write that I’m on day five of my CBD treatment and I’m…wait for it…it’s almost here…any second now… TaDa! I’m not depressed.

It’s happy dance time. Come on Persephone, let’s boogie.

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Happy first day of spring!

Blessed be :}

 

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John Denver Would be Proud

There are times in my life when I realize I’ve been wandering around with my eyes open but also closed. Today was one such day.

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I’m looking but I don’t see.

I live on a beautiful plot of land in a nestled spot on the Concord River and every morning I offer thanks to my goddess for another day, but, and this part saddens me, I’m not paying attention. I’ve been given a magnificent gift but I’m too damn busy thinking about other things to really appreciate it.  It’s like that quote by Allen Saunders:

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John Lennon did not come up with this quote, he borrowed it

Well, today I got a wake-up call. Mother Nature grabbed me by the shoulders and forced me to notice the splendor surrounding me, and boy am I glad she did.

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Yup, my American bald eagle visited me…along with a friend.

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Turns out they were fighting over something that resembled a mangled rodent, and I got to watch the whole encounter.

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If I’d been sitting on my couch feeling sorry for myself, as I’ve been doing lately, I would have missed the entire show. Not cool.

After eating, the eagle sat and posed for my camera.

He then flew to a tree and sat there for over two hours!

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He preened, fluffed, and watched the ducks (thanks goodness he’d just eaten) while I drank a cup of tea and marveled.

Yes, John, I would be a poorer woman if I never saw an eagle fly.

Blessed be :}

Video courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP7Chi9MPSg

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Welcome Brigid

If you’ve been following my blog you’ve read my posts about Brigid (pronounced Breed), the Celtic Goddess of the hearth; healing arts such as music and poetry or, put simply, inspiration; and smithcraft, or the forge, i.e. fire. If you’ve ever offered a supplication to Mother Earth, you’re speaking to Brigid.

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Source: Espressocomsaudade

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Hmm, the only piece missing is the harp. I guess the early Christians didn’t care for music.

 

I won’t get into the Christian adoption of Brigid but, tell me, do you see any similarities between the Goddess and Saint Brigid?

Here’s an interesting tidbit, the perpetual flame burning in most early Christian churches is likened to Goddess Brigid’s fire.

 

 

 

 

 

The celebration of the Goddess Brigid corresponds with Imbolc, the halfway point between the solstice and the vernal equinox. For those of us following the pagan path, Imbolc marks the first day of spring, the day Brigid wakes from her winter slumber.

It’s a time of year I like to cast off the heavy coat of doubt and reaffirm my goals as I look to the future.

A time to clear out the old, making both your living space and inner space open to new possibilities, and since the new moon is upon us, it’s the perfect time to make a wish for wonder and light to return to your life.

I celebrated the day by purchasing a bouquet of tulips as an offering to the waking Goddess.

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I also scratched the word Thank you into the top of a white tea light for the blessings coming my way. If you do the same, let the wick burn to the bottom.

To help give you inspiration with your Imbolc celebration, here’s a recipe for Baked Custard. Imbolc translates to mean ‘ewe’s milk’ because back in the day the lambs were calving, thus custard is a traditional food.

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Baked Custard

Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cup cold evaporated skim milk (or regular whole milk if you’re not counting Calories)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and beat for about 15 seconds, or until well mixed. Pour mixture into ramekins or custard cups. Place the ramekins into a baking dish, and fill the dish with hot water up to a depth of about ¾”. Bake the custards for one hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Dust with nutmeg before serving.

 

Imbolc marks a great time to revisit my goal of cleaning my office. I got waylaid and only succeeded in getting halfway through the project.

By the end of the week (fingers and toes crossed) I’ll be finished and then I’ll share what I learned about the Konmari Method and tidying a home office. Stay tuned.

Let’s see what’s up with my ducks. I took this video on Friday, February 1. The temperature was -10 F with a deadly windchill. I guess the word got out River Lady’s homeless shelter was open for business.

I’m going to leave you now. I hear the ducks calling me and I have a hankering for custard. I wish you a blessed Imbolc weekend: Light your fire, kindle your joy, celebrate the warming sunshine, and be true to your authentic self.

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Blessed be :}

 

 

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Clean up, clean up…

My apologies that you’ll now have that song stuck in your head for the rest of your life.  Back to my regularly scheduled post.

When I learn about something I find particularly exciting, upsetting, annoying, etc., my son likes to say that I’m a little late to the party, meaning the ‘something’ has been around for a long time. For example, when, in 2009, I discovered an awesome band called Matchbox Twenty I also found out they’d been around since the mid-nineties.

What does being fashionably late to life have to do with cleaning up? Be patient, I’m about to explain. You see, I’ve only just arrived at the party hosted by the tidying queen herself, Marie Kondo.

Marie Kondo.

If you haven’t heard of Marie you must have been living in the same cluttered, oops, sorry, untidy cave I’ve been in. I’m not surprised I didn’t see you amidst all the stuff surrounding me.

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I’m over by the model airplane.

One Saturday afternoon I came upon a story about Ms. Kondo. Because I’m an inquisitive woman, I researched the smiling, tidying guru and was immediately sucked into her world of tossing shit (bleep), items that no longer bring me joy.  I’m not a stranger to the joy thing, I’ve been pursuing it for 60 years. One time I almost had it but the slippery little sucker managed to get away.

I’d already done a purging of the kitchen; not willingly, mind you. My 16-year-old cat spends his nights prowling and, well… You get the idea.

dead mouse

One of the many gifts Shadow has left me.

Okay, back to Marie and my disorganized life. After discovering Marie I spent the remainder of the afternoon learning about her system for tidying-up. The basis of her formula is as follows: Instead of looking for items to throw away, look for items I want to keep because they bring me joy. I get the joy part when it comes to personal stuff, such as Chris’ drawing of Batman when he was four. No, Batman wasn’t four, Chris was four. Yup, I’m an author. Dah.

And cue Marie.

Did I mention Marie is selling items to help you organize, sorry, tidy your home? Very expensive items. The good news is they’re guaranteed to declutter your life because you’ll have less money to spend on things you don’t need.

So, in closing, I’ve decided to give the KonMari Method a try in my office. Here are my before pics:

I’ve been trying to organize, argh, tidy my office since the first of the year. A futile attempt but I did find $15 under my desk. Sweet!

I’ll keep you posted on my KonMari Journey. After I tackle my office I’m heading outside. The ducks need tidying.

Blessed be :}

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Before I say hello, allow me to say goodbye.

I didn’t want 2018 to leave without saying goodbye. In many ways the year was wonderful, and in many ways it sucked. The purpose of this post isn’t to dwell on the sucky parts but to revisit all that Mother Nature brought me one year ago. Let’s begin.

coyote

Remember my coyote? He stopped by early one January morning and walked across the frozen river to say hello.

And then there was this guy (or gal). He/she helped him/herself to a nice duck dinner. Orange sauce, anyone?

Not to be outdone, a hawk enjoyed his/her own tender duckling. I was left with feathers and a pair of feet to clean up.

January 2018 also brought frigid cold temperatures and snow.

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Mourning dove, one cold dawn in January.

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My ducks doing what they do best — eating.

A lot happened to my ducks back in January, 2018. Being eaten by assorted birds of prey, freezing their little duck feet in the snow or on the ice. I hope this January is kinder to my ducks. So far they seem to be doing okay. The river isn’t frozen…

…so they get to frolic in the water and even do the wild thing when they think I’m not watching, but I see them, those dirty little birds.

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A Cooper’s hawk has been spending time in my tree tops.

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It (I’m giving up trying to figure out if I’m looking at a male or female) must have heard about my succulent, meaty duck lunch specials.

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Do these feathers make me look fat?

I don’t know what the new year holds for my little corner of the Concord River. Or me, for that matter. One thing I do know is that I’m grateful for the blessings that will come my way and those that I’ve already received.

It’s my hope that 2019 blesses you with joy, love, abundance, and good health. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll visit me in the coming year.

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American goldfinch – female.

Blessed be :}

 

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