What is essential?

How does one determine what is and isn’t essential? Consider this caterpillar; is it essential?

caterpillar top

Catocala ilia

It’s a cool caterpillar that lives in oak leaf litter. It flips over to show its pinkish-purple belly, thus playing dead.

underwing moth

Eventually it will finish its transformation to the Underwing Moth.


Underwing Moth

These moths can do considerable damage to herbaceous plants and are, therefore, considered undesirable because, hey, we all love our herbaceous plants.

Therefore, you might say the Underwing Moth is not essential.

But, wait, birds eat moths and birds are essential, right?

Or are they?

How many people do you know who care about birds? I know a few but most of the people I come into contact with don’t give a rat’s ass about birds. Or herbaceous plants, for that matter.

Well, I like birds.

great blue heron

I like Great Blue Herons…

American Goldfinch

and I like American Goldfinches…

Northern cardinal

…and I like female Northern Cardinals, even ones with conjunctivitis…

tufted titmouse

and Tufted Titmice…

rose-breasted grosbeak

and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks…

ruby-throated hummingbird

and of course I like Ruby-throated Hummingbirds…

Mallard ducklings

and you know I LOVE ducks.

Okay, but wait, are ducklings essential?

mallard ducks

Based on a cuteness scale, they’re damn essential, but to the guy who drives his jet ski on the river, steering for the ducks in his path, I would venture to guess he doesn’t consider them essential, except for playing target practice (jerk).

The adult ducks in the flock don’t consider the ducklings essential either, only the hen does. The others have no problem stomping on the little ones if they’re blocking the corn.

Why am I discussing what is essential and what isn’t, you might be asking? First off, it has nothing to do with COVID-19 and which businesses are considered essential and which aren’t, although I must ask why liquor stores were deemed essential when ice cream shops weren’t. Or why aren’t elderly people considered essential? If you don’t know what I’m referring to you must not watch FOX News or Tucker Carlson (jerk).

Moving on.

Here’s a quiz: Choose what is essential.

If you chose the dragonfly, good for you, because one dragonfly eats 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes per day, while Mitch McConnell doesn’t. Nor does he eat worms, even though he resembles a turtle.

Mitch McConnell

Okay, okay, politics aside, I have a reason for jumping on the essential versus nonessential bandwagon. There is a man in my neighborhood, who shall remain unidentified, who will be cutting down several large oak trees.

It’s none of your business, you might shout, and, if it didn’t affect me directly, you would be correct. But you see, the loss of those trees will change the dynamics of my yard. Plus, birds use the trees for nesting, and bats use the trees for nesting, and owls, and squirrels, and, and…damn it, trees clean our air and give us oxygen, and, screw it, I LIKE TREES.

garden (2)

This man I’m referring to isn’t a spiteful man; he’s not mean or unkind. He brakes for turtles and even moves them from the road when he can. And I’m sure his reasons for cutting down the trees are valid.

Plus, you’re right, it is none of my business what he does with his trees. Just because I consider trees essential doesn’t make it so.


This raises an important question–am I essential?

Are you?

Rainbows are definitely essential…

double rainbow

but what about groundhogs?


Questions to ponder on the hot, sticky nights here in my little corner of the Concord River.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.

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Bluebirds All Day Long

‘Bluebirds singing a song; nothing but bluebirds all day long.’ Irving Berlin

I’ve spent close to 65 years on this blue sphere called planet Earth and only saw juvenile bluebirds in photographs.

Up until now, that is.

My bluebirds, you know the ones who embody my deceased sister’s spirit? Well, they have blessed me. Or Dyan has blessed me. Heck, the Universe has blessed me. My pair of bluebirds have three offspring and they’re bringing them to my yard…my little corner of the world… for their daily meals. How cool is that?

juvenile - bluebirds - songbirds - birds

Slightly blurry – sorry; shot through a window screen.

I have to admit I’m exhausted watching the offspring constantly flying after the adults, chittering and chattering at their parent’s tailfeathers: “Feed me, feed me.” My feeling is if the kids are able to fly, they’re able to feed themselves, which they eventually figure out.

When asked what I have done to make this world a better place I can now answer: I have added a bit more blue to the sky.

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How cool is that?

Eastern_bluebird - songbirds - birds

Welcome to my little corner of the Concord River, little one.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.

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Death on the Nile

Okay, it’s not really the Nile, it’s the Concord River, but my river does flow north, just like the Nile, and I have been watching past episodes of Poirot, the British mystery drama, and there has been a death, so, it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to pull it all together and come up with:


Who has died, you ask? Well, mon ami, it’s the snapping turtle. Yes, sadly, she was run over by something very large going very fast on River Street. So, it is with a very heavy heart I bid a fond farewell to the lady of the Concord River.


Goodbye, my dear.

Losing the snapping turtle only adds to the death toll the roads Harlee and I walk each day claim. There are snakes, chipmunks, squirrels, and other turtles. One day I saved a hatchling that was trying to cross Elsie Ave.

turtle - hatchling - painted turtle

Take a good look at the seedpod next to the turtle and you’ll get an idea of just how small it was.

The same day my neighbor saved a slightly larger painted turtle, and then, sadly, later that day an even larger painted turtle was flattened by one of the speed demons who live in my neighborhood. The circle of life is a bitch.

Let’s move away from death and focus on life because, really, my depression has been whooping my butt these past few weeks. Even Ben and Jerry aren’t helping, except to make my butt bigger, which is a whole other story.

The ducklings are getting bigger and, surprisingly, there are still 12.


They hold their own when it comes to the adults ducks of the flock. Take a look:

Don’t mess with my little duckies!

So, the balance sheet keeps getting recalculated. Animals come and animals go, just like people, and the world keeps spinning. It’s as Hercule Poirot once said: “There is no such thing as Death, really, you know, only Change.”


David Suchet played Hercule Poirot over the span of 25 years. Bravo, sir.

And so, mon ami, until we meet again, I bid you farewell. Stay safe and remember to maintain social distancing.


And slow down for turtles!

Blessed be.

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.

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Welcoming Back Old and New Friends

It’s May, as you already know, and this is the month when old friends return to my little corner of the Concord River. For example, my Rose-Breasted Grosbeak has come home to make her nest and raise her young.

songbirds - birds - nature - wildlife

Female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

I happen to think the female of this species is the most stunning of all female songbirds. She has that Cleopatra eyeliner going on, and if you could see under her wings…well, let me show you what I’m referring to:

There, see what I mean? How can another female compete with this beauty?

Okay, so my female has returned and with her is, of course, her mate, the well-dressed male of the species.


Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

If I’m lucky I’ll get to see their offspring, like I did last year when a juvenile spent a summer afternoon on my window ledge. He’d take a sunflower from the feeder, sit on the ledge and eat, return to the feeder, back to the ledge, and so on and so on. My fingers and toes are crossed that I get a repeat performance this year.


Juvenile Rose-Breasted Grosbeak from 2019.

My other friends have also returned, namely the Baltimore Orioles. I haven’t been able to get photos yet but I can hear the male establishing his territory.

I’ve already told you the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds have returned. I’ve only seen one but I can hear their chittering when I’m out in the yard.


Ruby-Throated Hummingbird from 2019.

I need to have my camera attached to my body so it will be handy when I need it.

The Great-Blue Heron decided to stop and pose for some photos. Up to now it’s been doing flybys.

I haven’t see the snapping turtle yet. It’s possible the river is too high for her to come to the surface, plus, I have to admit, it’s been too windy and cold to sit on the wall and throw bread into the water. Even the tree swallows haven’t been performing their ariel shows like they did last year. However, one did come and check out the nest box I put up for the Wood ducks. As it turns out, the Wood ducks are out of luck, along with the tree swallows, since the sparrows have taken over the box and guard it with a vengeance. At least the swallow stayed and posed for me.


Tree Swallow

I have a pair of Acadian Flycatchers who’ve been spending time in my yard.

Seriously, these are the cutest little birds and watching them catch the white moths that flit about during the day is entertaining as heck.

This morning we had snow on the river. The Eastern bluebirds didn’t mind, nor did the ducks.

By the time ten o’clock rolled around the snow was gone but the wind kicked up, knocking branches onto the ground. My neighbor was nice enough to come by the other day with his John Deere and mow up all the twigs and branches that were littering my yard and now I have a ton more. Sigh, my hip had better hurry up and heal so I can handle my chores.

Since today is Mother’s Day, I thought I’d end this post with a celebration of motherhood. Ready?

Fourteen Mallard chicks for one hen! This certainly makes up for last year when I received a pitiful amount. Hopefully there are more to come. If you head over to my YouTube channel, there’s another chick video posted there. http://www.youtube.com/c/TinthiaClemant

Okay, that’s it for me. I want to wish all you mothers and grandmothers and mothers-to-be and every other kind of mother a Happy Mother’s Day. And for those of you who have lost your mother, grandmother, mother-in-law or other kind of mother due to COVID-19, cancer, or for other reasons, remember, your loved one is with you. Be peaceful and you will hear her speak to your heart.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.


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The Lusty Month of May is Here!

It’s the merry, merry, lusty month of May. The month when naughty thoughts run wild and maidens swoon for strong men with pirate grins. My, my, I just might need a cold shower in a moment.

For those of us who follow the Craft, May first is the sabbat of Beltane, the halfway point between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice, and a time to celebrate the blossoming of the fertile earth around us.


Dancing around the May Pole is the original pole dance.

My male Mallard drakes are eager to get in on the lusty fun. Since there’s a shortage of females in my little corner of the Concord River, they’ve begun courting each other.

I guess the saying is right: When in Rome…

Unfortunately, that-which-shall-not-be-named might put a damper on the Beltane festivities in some parts of the world. If the fear of contracting that-which-shall-not-be-named doesn’t stop people from joining together, chicken feces might. The Swedish city of Lund placed more than a ton of chicken poop in a popular park where revelers gather to dance and sing.


At least the park’s lawn will get a little fertilization.

Well, don’t let a little thing like manure, or that-which-shall-not-be-named, stop you from celebrating the arrival of May. At its roots, Beltane honors the return of the light and fire is an integral part of its celebration. Light candles, either as part of a magical ritual or simply for a joyful intention.


Photo by Matej Novosad from Pexels.com

Beltane is also a time to give thanks for the abundance Mother Earth has given us and what better way to say thank you than with a feast. Your feast doesn’t have to be lavish, a simple cup of tea will do nicely. Just remember to say a blessing before sipping.

After you’ve finished your tea, head outside and look for signs of spring, but remember to maintain a safe distance from one another. And wear your masks, please.

Look for budding trees.


Listen for singing birds.

Count pansies…


and tulips.


Try to find some that haven’t been nibbled by dastardly wabbits. Argh!

Listen for spring peepers.

And, of course, watch for bluebirds!

Let’s face it, 2020 might not be the best year so far but it’s all we have, so let’s not count the days; let’s make the days count.


Oh, one more thing–they’re here!!!!!


Ruby-throated hummingbird

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.


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Waiting to Exhale

Back on April 12, 2013…Wait a second, that’s incorrect. Allow me to begin again.


Back on April 11, 2013, I wrote an essay about buying a house. Here is what I wrote:

“Why do you want to buy a house?” The question seems so simple, but I still have trouble answering it in a way that will make my friend understand. Her eyes probe, wondering why a woman in her late fifties would want the obligations of home ownership. “Apartment living is safe,” she says, “no worries. If the roof leaks, call the landlord. No hot water, pick up the phone.”

I search for the magical words; the ones that, when I speak them, she’ll have that ah-ha moment—nod, and smile, finally getting my reasons.

“It will be mine,” I offer. Foolish, I know. Words that seemed so logical in my brain now hang empty in the air. I tried again, “I want a place where I can exhale. I want to be home.”  

She still didn’t get it.

In bed that night I thought about her question. In fact, that’s all I seem to be thinking about since the house search began six months ago. Why am I trying to buy a house? I’m a single mother, for goodness sake! And old!!

I mentally traced back over the past four years.

2009 brought my second divorce and the loss of my job. Next came foreclosure and bankruptcy. With trashed credit and no place to live, I was lucky to get a small apartment, complete with spiders the size of Texas, and overhead neighbors who think jumping up and down with their dinosaur-sized dog at two in the morning was a fun time.

I worked two jobs, and scrimped and pinched pennies so tightly they squeaked. Eventually, I clawed my way back to standing and pushed forward, never losing sight of my dream—a home of my own.

Thanks to an FHA loan, home ownership became a possibility in late 2012. And even though my family and friends thought I was crazy for wanting to take on the responsibility, the search began. I had a system: view the on-line listings, visit Google maps for an aerial view, drive-by, then call my agent. I’m not implying it was easy. Most of the homes in my price range had one thing in common—bring your demolition crew! After months of looking, I started getting worried my dream might never come to fruition when houses I wouldn’t sell my ex-husband looked good.

“Do I really need heat?” I asked myself on more than one occasion.

But then it happened. Eight hundred square feet smack on the Concord River. Surrounded by trees, land for a garden, even a fenced-in yard for the dogs. I parked my car, stood in the yard, and knew I was home. I made an offer, and dreamed. I’ll buy a canoe and I’ll put a rocking chair by the retaining wall.

This isn’t my first rodeo. I know the house won’t be mine until the last signature is in place, the deed is filed, and the keys are in my hands. It will happen though. Tomorrow’s the day.

And when I stand on the deck, looking at the river and listening to the birds, I’ll spread my arms and exhale.

I’ll finally be home.

April 11th, 2013

dog - Sheltie - puppy - animals - dogs - rivers

Sparky, sitting on the retaining wall.

On that day, seven years (OMG, seven years!!) ago, Sparky and I arrived at the house with a hot Dunkin Donuts coffee in one hand (My hand, not his.), along with my new keys and a flag in the other hand. (Again, my hand, not his.) Sparky ran to check out the river and I posted the flag for all to see. I was finally home.


Look closely and you’ll see Sparky sitting on the wall.


This was the view from my little corner of the Concord River. Not bad for an elderly lady buying a house after going through bankruptcy and foreclosure. Not bad at all.





Fast forward to now, seven years (WTF!) later and my mind is reeling at how quickly time seems to have passed. Truly. Seven years!!!!

Anyway, not much has happened in those seven years, (HA!) but let’s not travel down that rabbit hole. Let’s talk about happy things, like 2020’s biggest and brightest, pinkest supermoon rising over my river.

Or, that the American goldfinches are molting into their breeding colors.

American Goldfinch - birds - wildlife - animals - songbirds

“Give me another week or so and I’ll look stunning.”

Orrrrr, the return of my Great Blue heron. Now, that is very cool.

Great blue heron - bird - waterfowl - animals - nature

Great Blue heron

Each morning the Mallard hen of the mating pair that chose my property as their home let’s the entire town of Billerica know she’s on the case, protecting her nesting territory.

When she’s not quacking, she’s either eating or chilling with the drake.

Along with my ducks, a pair of Canadian geese have decided my yard is home.

Canada - geese - waterfowl - animals - birds - nature - wildlife

“Who you looking at?”

The male is one nasty dude, let me tell you. Even Harlee is afraid of him.

If I ignore 2020, I can truthfully write the past seven years have been good to me. Actually, even with all that’s happened over the past five months (I’m counting November, when Dyan passed.), I’m blessed. That’s more than a lot of people can say at this time in the world. So, thank you, Goddess.

Oh, before I leave you, I have one announcement to make. Ready?

HERE THEY COME! The Ruby-throated hummingbirds are on their way. Yipee!

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird migration map

Check out this link for updates on their travels. https://www.hummingbirdcentral.com/hummingbird-migration-spring-2020-map.htm

While you’re waiting for them to arrive, relax with my newest YouTube video, then get your hummingbird feeders washed and filled. They’ll be here soon.

That’s it. That’s all I have for you right now. Thank you for sticking with me for the past seven years.

Stay safe and remember, don’t touch your face.

Blessed be :}

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped chickadee

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.

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That Which Shall Not Be Named

This blog post is not about that which shall not be named. You know what I’m referring to.

Lord voldemort

No, not him.

You know.


Yes, that! I’m not going to blog about it. I’m not going to name it. I’m not going to spend another second on it. What I am going to blog about is happiness, joy, jubilation — Spring!


Although it feels as if the world is going to crash and burn, the earth is still spinning and that means the seasons change. Winter is gone, and even though I can’t say the sad memories of the winter went with it, the season of snow and ice, freezing cold temperatures, and dark nights is behind me.

What? It’s going to snow tomorrow? WTF!

Screw it, let it snow. One thing I’ve learned is that where there’s a will there’s a way and spring has a very strong will. As I hobble about in my gardens, I’m thrilled to see tender shoots peaking up from the cold earth.

peony bush

Welcome back, peony.

My doctor cleared me to do some light yard work; 20 minutes at the most. Sooooo, I’ve been doing about two hours of raking each day and then moaning at night because my hip hurts. Hey, the gardens aren’t going to clear themselves, you know. Although, that would be very cool if they did.

garden - flowers - spring - hay




There’s still a ton of work to be done, but you know what else they say: One day at a time, baby.

I’m thrilled to write that the bluebirds are still gracing my mealworm feeders on a daily basis.

I know my sister, Dyan, is bringing them to my yard. Thank you, la mia amata immortale.

A friend told me once that I don’t have many pictures of American robins. That’s because they move so damn fast, always running here and there, looking for worms. All I end up with is a bunch of blurry photos. Well, not this time. This time the early, elderly old lady with the titanium hips gets the job done.

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Let’s see, what else can I tell you about the first weekend of spring here in my little corner of the Concord River?

No, I’m not going to mention that, stop asking.

Harlee turned seven today! Happy birthday, big guy.


That just about does it for me. Oh, one last thing I need to mention…

No, not that.


The Goldeneye ducks came back. Two drakes and a hen. A ménage à trois of waterfowl! Cool.

Oh, and the Wood duck drake has been hanging around, but, sadly, no hen this year.

duck - wood - waterfowl - animals - birds - wildlife - nature - animals

I guess he’s ……… (wait for it) ……………..  flying solo.

Now I’m finished.

Nope, still not going to mention it.

Stay safe, wash your hands, don’t touch your face or anyone else’s face, and, above all, remember to see the beauty in the world around you.


Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.

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Time and tide wait for no man.

Nor do they wait for an elderly woman in her sixties who’s recovering from hip surgery and grieving over losing her sister.

Three months have passed since Dyan’s death. It seems like eons since I last spoke to her, damn I miss her. Add my forced captivity because of my hip, and I’m ready to lose my mind. All I’m able to do is hobble from room to room in my small house, trying to work through my grief while gazing out my windows at the brown world around me.

My gardens are nothing but collections of sticks and leaves strewn about.

garden - flowers - spring - hay


gardens - spring - straw - flowers

Double blah!

gardens - flowers - Labrador - dogs - wildlife

Triple Blah! (Except for Harlee)

The only saving grace for my blah surroundings is that the bluebirds are still here.

bluebird - wildlife - blue - birds - animals - mealworms - feeders

My sister promised me she would return as a bluebird and she has, a dozen times over. You see, I’ve never had bluebirds stay this long into the late winter season. Typically they come with whatever snowstorm arrives in late January and then move on by the beginning of February, but, for some reason, they’re sticking around. Are the mealworms I’m putting out doing the trick or is Dyan working her magic?

I even have a male bluebird investigating one of my nesting boxes.

I’m more than happy to purchase whatever furniture he’ll need to create a comfy home for his mate. Please stay.

One of the items I inherited from Dyan are her runes. I performed a cleansing ritual over them and then asked her for some direction as I cast my first rune. I drew Hagalaz.


Let chaos reign. Basically, everything I took for granted was being challenged. Hagalaz literally translates to hail and the chaos that occurs once the icy pellets have bombarded the surroundings.  Great!

My next casting brought me Isa, literally meaning ice, as in a mother-frigging blockade of ice, one large enough to stop me dead in my tracks.

rune isa

I let my soul search for the meaning of drawing this rune and came to the realization that I needed to stop forcing what could not be moved. I needed to allow what was blocking my progression to melt on its own. I could almost hear Dyan whispering, “Patience, my sister. All will be as it should be, in time.”

Dyan’s wisdom never failed me when she was alive and I am blessed she continues to watch over me from her heavenly location. Thank you, mia amata immortale.

To help take my mind off my dreariness, besides the glorious bluebirds, I’ve done a little investigation into the new perennials for the 2020 growing season and narrowed my search down to a half dozen.

Of course I won’t be ordering anything just yet, I’m on a tight budget at the present time, but, hey, I can dream, right?

As long as I’m dreaming, join me on a walk down memory lane from 2019.

Ahh, that’s better.

Blessed be :}

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My Left Hip

On February 3, 2020, I underwent a total replacement of my left hip. My new titanium hip now matches my right hip that was replaced in 2011. Little by little I’m getting closer to becoming the Bionic Woman.


Jaime Sommers, the Bionic Woman, played by Lindsey Wagner.

For me to be truly bionic, I would need my right arm and right ear replaced as well but hey, who knows what my future holds.

bionic - woman - jaime - sommers - superheros

I won’t be wrangling any bad guys any time soon. At present all I can handle is hobbling from my bed to the couch and back to my bed, while munching on pain pills.

It would be great to type that I’ve spent my recuperation time in productive mode but, sadly, that isn’t the case. The most I’ve accomplished is finishing the first five seasons of Schitt’s Creek and consuming my titanium hips worth in ice cream. Harlee spent the first three weeks with friends of mine (Thank you Bob and Jill!). Now he’s home and, unfortunately, extremely unhappy about it. Not only is he upset about the ice cream containers he didn’t get to lick, he misses the other dogs he played with while having his sleepover, and all the walks he went on.

Labrador - black - dog - canine - puppies

“When will you be taking me for a walk?”

Once I receive clearance from my doctor, I’ll take Harlee for a stroll down Elsie Ave. Of course we’ll have to be extremely careful because the residents of Elise drive like maniacs, treating the road like the Massachusetts version of New England Dragway. I swear, do these people even know what a speed limit is?


Being stuck in the house has given me way too much time to obsess over my neighbors’ poor driving habits.

When I turned my attention from the side of my house that faces the main road to the back, where the river is the focal point, I was treated with the spotting of a red-winged blackbird at one of the feeders.


February is mighty early for this guy to be in my area but maybe he got a special discount of his flight ticket. The good news about this sighting is spring can’t be far behind. Hopefully, my hip will be ready.

The eagle is still performing fly-bys in the hopes of snagging a fat hen or drake.


The ducks don’t seem to care very much, more concerned with placing themselves into breeding couples…


and basking in the sunshine.

Mallard hen

Do these feathers make me look fat?

And the male Wood duck has been hanging around in the water, calling out for a mate.


Male Wood Duck

He hasn’t found any takers yet but I’m cheering him on from the sidelines.

As you can see, even with one very painful hip, my life on the Concord River continues to flow forward.

Oh, one last topic. I have managed to load photos to Zazzle and Redbubbleto help raise money for Ovations for the Cure, an ovarian cancer support group. (hint, hint).



Blessed be :}







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Blessed Imbolc

Imbolc - flowers - spring - crocus

May the joy of Imbolc bring you health, light, and peace. Blessed be :}



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