Lift the Veil

Samhain 2020

Today is October 31, which means today is Samhain, a Celtic sabbat that should not be confused with Halloween, which also falls on October 31 but is Christian in its roots.

Samhain (pronounced saa-win) is celebrated from October 31 to November 1, and yes, November 1 is another Christian day of importance called All Souls Day.

Confused yet? Just wait.

Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the start of the darkest time of year–winter. And…, it’s used as a time to connect with those who have passed into the afterlife because the veil between the world of the living and the world of the departed is at its thinnest at midnight on the 31st.

By now you may be saying, ‘Wait one darn-tooting second, River Lady, that’s Día de los Muertos you’re describing.’

Um, yes and no. You see, it’s all intertwined because some Christian missionaries decided to ‘educate’ the Celtic people. Yup, those Celts were too damn uneducated for the Christians and needed a good education about how the spirit world worked. Soooooo, Samhain got a makeover and became Halloween, one night to honor the spirits and the Christian feast of All Saints Day (also known as All Hallows – hallowed means holy) was assigned to November 1, also known as the The Day of the Dead.

Thus the Celts were somewhat allowed to keep their Samhain cakes and eat them too.

Samhain Cakes

1/2 c veg. oil
4 sq unsweetened chocolate (4 oz) melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt into oil mixture. Chill several hours to overnight. Heat oven to 350 deg F [175 deg C]. Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball (yes, it’s messy). Drop balls into confectioner’s sugar & roll around until coated. Place about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 min. They will be a little soft but should not be mushy. Edges should be firm. Don’t overbake—these burn easily. Makes about 3 dozen. (Courtesy of

What does this religious history lesson have to do with living in my little corner of the Concord River? Truthfully? Not much except that I’m pagan and this is my blog, meaning I get to write about whatever I want.

Therefore, I wish you a bountiful Samhain, a Happy Halloween, and may the loved ones you’ve lost bless you with their love.

Oh, one more thing about this magical night. It’s a full moon, called the Hunter’s Moon and (drumroll, please) it’s a rare Blue Moon. According to the Farmers’ Almanac the last Blue Moon to appear on Samhain was in 1944, and it won’t happen again until 2039.

The term Blue Moon has nothing to do with the color. It’s now considered to be the second full moon of the month. The last full moon was on October 1.

See, I told you this was a special night.

Okay, now let’s catch up on the critters in my corner of the Concord River. I’ve received a few new visitors over the past month that I thought you’d enjoy learning about. First, White-throated sparrows have shown their sweet faces in my gardens.

White-throated sparrow on Autumn Joy sedum.

These cute little birds have the call: Oh Sweet Canada. I don’t really hear it but who am I to argue with ornithologists?

White-throated sparrow Oh Sweet Canada call.

I love to watch them dig under the leaf litter for seeds and small insects. One very good reason to not rake leaves.

A few Song sparrows came flying in, even a one-legged one.

‘I don’t need both legs to be able to fly, silly.’
‘However, having both legs does help with landing.’

I’m not sure why White-throated sparrows get a catch-phrase for their song and Song sparrows don’t. It doesn’t matter I guess, their call is still pretty.

While looking up at the songbirds gracing my corner of the world, I almost missed what was happening down at my feet. A nearby nest of Painted turtles hatched and three hatchlings ambled into my driveway.

I thought it was unusual for turtle eggs to hatch in Autumn but according to, the occurrence is quite common.

I also found a fourth hatchling smashed on the road. If the drivers speeding along Elsie Ave. aren’t willing to stop for large turtles, what makes me think a hatching stands a chance?

A part of me wanted to keep one of the turtles to raise but then I remembered Little Ducky…

duckling - mallard - duck - animal - bird
Little Ducky from Summer 2018.

… and I opted to give the hatchling freedom.

Needless to say the little guy might have stood a better chance with the road than my handling techniques.

A Purple finch stopped by for a quick snack of sunflower seeds then continued on his merry way to wherever he was going. They spend the year in my area so I’m confused why they don’t visit me more often. Perhaps it’s the brand of seed I offer.

Male Purple finch.

The Slate-colored juncos are back. As with the Purple finches, juncos stay all year in my area and again, I don’t have a clue where they’ve been but one thing I do know is when they show up, so does the snow.

Male Slate-colored junco.

And bingo! Yesterday my little corner of the river received an October snowfall. About three inches of the heavy stuff flattened my hydrangeas.

My Twist-n-Shout hydrangea a few days ago.

You can view the carnage the snow created in this YouTube video. (By the way, have you subscribed to my YouTube channel yet?)

Before the snow arrived, my river was stunning, decked out in her Autumn colors…

…and she’s still a knockout dressed in her October whites.

The ducks are back.

Actually they came back for a couple of days after my last post when I wrote they were MIA, then they disappeared again, but now they’re back. I see a trip to the Essex County Co-op in my future. (Update: I did drive to the Co-op and while waiting to pull into the parking lot got rear-ended by a guy in a panel truck who was too busy texting to watch where he was driving. As luck would have it, two police cruisers were on the side of the road and the policeman saw the whole thing. Now I need a right rear quarter panel but, thankfully, no one was hurt. And I still got corn for the ducks.)

Last weekend my friend, Bob, helped me remove the roof to the screen house, and just in time too, what with all the snow flying around.

Harlee wasn’t too happy about what was happening since it meant nights sitting outside were over.

Today I received a treat. Do you remember that I wrote about Samhain being the time when the veil between the two worlds is at its thinnest? (You should, you just read it like five minutes ago or do you skip the words and just look at the pictures?) Well, this afternoon a flock of Eastern bluebirds came through my yard.

Male Eastern bluebirds.

They stayed just long enough for me to snap a picture of two males and whisper hello to my sister. Before she dies she promised she’d return as a bluebird and today was the perfect day for her to, once again, deliver on her promise.

Mio immortale.

It’s time to wrap up this blog post. I’ll leave you with two things. First, this Samhain blessing:


The second thing I’ll leave you with is my thanks for following my blog. Please share the goodness.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.

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Summer 2020: Don’t let the door hit you…

Goodbye, Summer 2020

I may be in the minority, and that’s perfectly okay, but I am NOT sad to see Summer 2020 hit the road. In fact, if it would have helped, I was available to help pack its bags.

The days were beastly hot, the nights rivaled a tropical forest environment with the level of humidity I had to endure. Add to those annoyances the lack of rain and That-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named…

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

… along with a deep depression regarding losing my sister, and the overwhelming sadness for all the other poor souls filling the night sky, and Summer 2020 became a bushel of turmoil, despair, and unhappiness.

In a word, it sucked!

Oh, and included on the above list was Harlee ripping out his stitches and his paws getting infected.

I thought socks would keep him from the stitches. I was sooooooo wrong.
Black Lab.
His expression mirrors my feelings.

I feel much better getting all that ranting off my saggy, elderly lady chest.

Thank you.

Now let me see if I can find some joy from what was really a s@#t summer.

For starters, I had bluebirds and I truly am grateful for that.

Male Eastern bluebird with mealworm in his beak.

And along with the adults, I had young bluebirds.

Two juvenile Eastern bluebirds with adult male.

I had a Baltimore oriole stop by now and then.

Male Baltimore oriole songbird.
Male Baltimore oriole.

I had a plethora of Ruby-throated hummingbirds, adults and juveniles alike.

A red-tailed hawk kept me company.

Red-tailed hawk.
Red-tailed hawk.

True, it also chose to sit on one of my ducks.

Red-tailed hawk sitting on one of my ducks. GET OFF MY DUCK!

The Rose-breasted grosbeaks were here.

Male rose-breasted grosbeak songbird.
Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Now and then a muskrat wandered through my yard.

Muskrat in grass.
Muskrat love (If you don’t know that song, Google it.)

And I had ducks. Lots and lots of ducks.

That’s my friend, Bob, with my ducks; lots and lots of ducks.

My gardens held their own, despite the dry, hot, humid conditions and the crazy old lady who refused to tend to them and instead sat in front of her air-conditioner and complained about the dry, hot, humid weather.

Chris and I spent some time in the somewhat cool basement bracing the old insulation back into place. The other option was replacing all the insulation with new product. NOT!

Basement with insulation in ceiling.

On July 19 I found a four-leaf clover and on August 2 I purchased a new solar statue and wind chime for my hydrangea garden, so I guess the clover worked.

Ahhhhhhh, nirvana.

Actually, now that I’ve looked back, there were some good things about Summer 2020. However, it was still a long, hot, humid, dry, sad, frustrating, depression-filled, season of turmoil and despair.

Welcome Autumn 2020.

A Carolina wren has been spending time in my yard. Maybe this is a sign Autumn 2020 will be more gentle than the summer was.

Carolina wren singing outside my front door.

Most of the ducks are gone. When I drive along Pond Street I can see a large flock on the shore of Richardson Pond. Perhaps those are my ducks or maybe they belong to another crabby old lady. No biggie, I’ll stick with the four I have at the moment; less beaks to feed.

Mallard ducks lined up on retaining wall.
Remaining Mallards chilling on my retaining wall.

It’s still terribly dry in my little corner of the Concord River and the water level of the river is low enough that the Rock is visible once again.

You might remember the Rock from my October 12, 2016, post. Well, the Rock is once again a popular place to bask in the sun. I might give it a try. I could sit in the lotus position and dream of a kinder, gentler future.

While I was working on this post a gusty wind came blowing through the yard. A remnant of some weather system I knew nothing about. Anyhoo, it took a large branch from my dead oak tree and brought it crashing to the ground. Just missed taking out my lacecap Twist-n-Shout hydrangea.

The Universe was smiling on my hydrangea.

I found a Wooly Bear caterpillar while out walking the other day.

Based on the width of his middle band it’s going to be a mild winter. I’m down with that, less snow to shovel.

The anniversary of my sister’s passing is fast approaching. Try as I might I can’t slow the passage of time. Losing her shattered my soul and I’ve yet to figure out how to put the pieces back together. I do find some comfort in knowing she is shining down upon me when I look at the stars in the inky dark of the night sky.

And for all the people who have lost loved ones, my heart is very sad for you. Perhaps you too will gaze to the stars and find some peace. I hope so.

So, in closing, I wish to say farewell to Summer 2020, don’t let the door hit you where the Universe split you.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.

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Poetry Corner

A few years back, four to be exact, I wrote a blog post about a hawk and a rock. Here’s the link:

It was a sweet little ditty about all manner of creatures who would sit on the rock that peeked out of my river while a Red-tailed hawk watched from his perch high in an oak tree.

Well, once again it’s time for my Poetry Corner, starring my hawk, although I can’t be sure it’s the same hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk

The Hawk and the Duck

Ahem. (virtually clearing my throat)

There once was a hawk.
A Red-tail it is called;
Who hunted over the river by day.
His beak it was sweet (and by sweet I mean sharp, but I couldn't find anything to rhyme with feet), 
As were the talons on his feet; 
Like razors, they could slice through duck meat.

One day the hawk he did spy,
A flock of ducks all in a bunch.
The hawk he did cry,
From high up in the sky, 
'By jove, I think it's time for lunch!'

The hawk he did come,
And the ducks they did run,
To the river for safety they fled.
Except for one fat duck,
With a waddle too slow;
She would soon have a hawk on her head.

The hawk he did swoop,
And I'm sure the duck she did poop;
When the talons they closed round her neck.
Though the duck she did squirm,
Our hawk's grip it held firm;
The duck would be toast in one sec.

The old lady did shout,
But the hawk he held out.
With no fear in his eyes,
He must have surmised, 
The old lady wasn't worth his time;
Not when duck du jour was on the line.

The dog, oh the dog,
Who had been laying in the sun,
Thinking he would join in the fun,
A Bounding he did come.
'Screw this,' the hawk called. 'This is truly a bore.'
And away on feathered wings he did soar.

The story it ends, 
On a note bittersweet;
Because, the hawk never did get to eat.
But the duck, she was lucky,
And waddled away all plucky; 
As she quacked, 'I'm free, I'm free, I'm free!'

So, this is how it all went down. I was working on a new YouTube video about pruning powdery mildew off tall Summer Phlox (You do subscribe to my YouTube channel, right?) when I heard a commotion behind me. That would be the noise at the beginning of the video, which was caused by the flock of ducks taking off from the yard when the hawk swooped in.

I walked across the driveway, camera still in my hand and still on record, when I spied the Red-tailed hawk sitting on one of my ducks. You can see in the video that Harlee has no idea what the heck is going on. The rest of the story is pretty self-explanatory. As for the shaky cam? Pretend you’re watching one of the Bourne movies.

Oh, by the way, the duck is fine.

And the hawk? Well, he’s still hanging around.

Only, now the American eagle is doing flybys.

Sigh, my ducks don’t stand a chance.

Blessed be :}

Mi manchi, mio ​​immortale.

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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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

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

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.

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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