Woodsy Neighbors in Spring

 

 

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An early morning presents nature at it’s best,

with my cup of coffee and quiet moments.

Frosty air and clear skies welcome wild

encounters.

Proud and skittish deer skirt the woods edge.

I notice that something lures them closer to the road.

It’s salt that the plow trucks scattered and

they lick it cautiously and look up now and then.

A gray squirrel performs a trapeze act in the nearest tree.

Mysterious tracks were left in the

depths of night.

A fox, perhaps?

 

 

Hilarious turkey theatrics

amuse as the Tom fans his goods

and courts all the surrounding hens.

Chickadee birds flutter and tweet, a song dear to my heart.

All the woodsy neighbors politely co- existing,

share the space with respect

and love for our home.

Upon watching these creatures’ presence

I am simply amazed!

With this week’s sporadic rain showers

and a dampness in the air,

snow piles are shrinking and brown grass

becomes uncovered.

Waiting for heavenly rich green grasses,  

this morn I spied my first robin

on the lawn!

A sure sign of spring!

 

What spring signs are you seeing now?

 

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

 

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My Home Amid the Fall Foilage

 

Most of my life my feet have been planted in Northern New Hampshire, where I proudly call home. When I was born until about the age of 6, my family lived in Wilder and Burlington, Vermont. From then on we lived in Lebanon, Haverhill and then Woodsville, New Hampshire. I left home at 19 to seek new exciting places, attending college in Boston. This was a stark difference from rural living I was used to and it just lasted the first semester. My dream was misguided and faded fast. The reality punched me in the face, I missed home. I longed for my family, friends and the small town where everyone knew your name. So I came home and have been here, in New Hampshire, ever since.

 

 

 

 

The  country way of life that I was raised in is precious and familiar.

 

It’s also the slow thoughtful living that feels comfortable and not hurried.

 

The looming mountains that tower in the distance with their majestic forms

 

guard our place in the world.

 

My heart chooses this land because of the wild animals that freely roam here

 

sharing the land with us and granting us moments of peace

 

and wonder with every glimpse of them.

 

The people in small towns, who know all your business but will be at your doorstep to help if you need it.

 

In Autumn the highlight is the enhanced beauty of the landscape

 

with shades of amber, pinks, and mustard yellows.

 

Walking down my road the colors serenade me

 

as crows caw their call and deer saunter in the woods.

 

Fallen piles of leaves decorate green lawns with pumpkins and scarecrows on display.

 

 

Apple trees host ripe red beauties to twist and pick.

 

Perky pumpkins lay on vines in patches

 

Turkeys trek across the road often and

 

Geese fly south, forming a V in the sky above

 

and I pray they have a safe journey.

 

imageimageimageimageimageAs all the out of staters travel through and gawk at our beautiful home, I realize how blessed my family and I are, to live here. We rise to the beauty with no travel time and rest at night under coal black skies lit with shining stars. Some people see mere glimpses of this, while we live it everyday!

 

As you may know by now, this region is so beautiful to me. My soul thrives here amid the spectacular colors and cool night air. It is my home… up north where people live, breathe fresh air and work hard here, raising families and honoring God. It’s a quiet place to raise your children without fear or violence.

I hope YOU all have stopped by here to enjoy fall foliage in October. If not hopefully you’ve indulged in beautiful photographs of our state. It’s a special peaceful place and worth the trip.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

A Few Days Away

 

 

 

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EEK! Facebook, email, messaging! Recently I needed a tech break, just a couple of days to let it go. Sometimes in our lives we experience overload from too much information, especially with technology in this age. The reason why I chose to unplug from my iPad was that the minute I got up in the morning to the time I go to sleep, it was an important player in my day and this scares the heck out of me!

 

 

While I was away I watched a mother deer slowly lead her young twins across our road, all the while I held my breath hoping a car wouldn’t race towards them. The mother moved confidently and with a proud stature, while her babies swayed to and fro with new naive life. The fawns’ spotted coats stood out in the morning sun and their little white tails flickered behind them as they dutifully followed mom. I could smell fresh morning air and feel a refreshing coolness tingle my skin. All this was a blessing.

 

 

 

 

I worked and walked in my garden, watching a pair of goldfinches twittering in a nearby bush. Chirping birds of all sorts were my morning song. This is peace, I thought. Forget email and messages and the drama of Facebook. Forget bills and worries, I thought.

 

 

 

The next afternoon ( still under a tech break), I spotted something long and chestnut brown beyond our pond. It moved slowly with slick movements. It paused behind lush vegetation, with a rustle of branches. Suddenly a stunning deer showed itself and looked at me. This creature had a long smooth body and a twitchy whitetail with an endearing head with bright thoughtful eyes. She gawked at me, as if I didn’t belong here. At this moment we shared space, air and the yard’s tranquility. We both were  meant to be here, together, staring at each other in vast silence.It felt like hours of gazing but it was just a minute or two, just enough to feel it’s peace and beauty. Then it was over, as sudden as her magical appearance. I held my breath as she gracefully glided across the road and followed the game trail into the thick woods.

 

 

All these moments remind me of why I took the break. I needed to reconnect with the simplicity of nature and to soak in all of its peacefulness. There’s a profound need to heal my wounds from the past year, to mend things and recharge for fall. Some people take long summer vacations and do this. We don’t…we never have gone on vacation for more than a couple of days, since my husband has so much work this time of year. A part of me mourns this and secretly wishes there could be a get- away for us. Years ago it was his care taking job in the way and now it’s all his summer landscaping jobs. Don’t misunderstand me, I know those jobs pay the bills! Yet, I worry that Tom doesn’t truly get a break and we don’t get to relax like we should. Even though I’m depressed about this, I look forward to a few day trips and a few weekends away in the fall, when it’s quieter and he’s able to do it.

 

 

 

If there comes a time when you need peace and quiet in your corner of the world, unplug. Forget the cell phone, iPad and email messages. Take a walk in nature. Get out and watch wildlife, birds, deer, and whatever is in your backyard. Breathe deeply and take a moment for peace. I did and I feel great and may just do this again on the weekend.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom’s Squirrel Patrol

 

 

When you commit to a home renovation project, there are many factors to consider. The obvious ones are having enough time and money for what needs to be done. Another imperative consideration is the vast amount of patience needed to spend months and possibly years on the project. The last challenge that brings the most conflict ( in my opinion) is when the house sits vacant and there is a possibility of sneaky, opportunistic critters moving in…

Eight months ago, when we prepared to move in our new home, my husband and I found a few acorn nuts in a corner of the living-room. It was an awkward moment, when I stepped on them and performed a very ungraceful pirouette, landing on scattered tools. Amid the upset tools were various pine boards and a box of very long nails. Surprisingly we quickly dismissed the presence of house guests because it would have thrown a wrench in our timely plan of moving in! Although we both knew there was exterior work ahead, we thought the house would be fine for the time being.

A few summer months passed by…one night a haunting, scratchy noise violated my deep sleep. My thoughts were that a mouse or two were lurking behind the walls and that our trusty mouser, Smokey would take care of them. During a quiet breakfast the next morning, I told Tom of the suspicious noises and he brushed it off. He was sure it was a mouse.

Days were progressively becoming crisper as summer transitioned into fall. The days were hosted with vibrant sunshine and cool nights brought wispy smoke stretching from chimneys. Chipmunks and gray squirrels hurriedly scampered around our yard, gathering their nuts for the long winter. The lush vegetable garden was no longer vivacious but frosted and tired. A dead plant odor hung in the air as well as rotted squashes thrown in the compost. Tom and I cleaned up and put it to bed in silence, as the scurrying chipmunks and squirrels went about their hoarding. We were all preparing for winter, but in very contrasting ways.

While we settled in one night and watched television, there was flitting, rustling movements above us. It almost sounded like there was an apartment of people upstairs. At one point, Tom and I stared at the ceiling in disbelief. Imagine hearing something running about, rolling nuts in between the floors. What wild creature would possibly be leaving the woods and setting up shop in our attic and between our floors? Flying Squirrels. Little reddish brown furry squirrels that resemble the size of a chipmunk and goggle like eyes popping out.

Christmas vacation came along, bringing a once a year energy! There was excitement in the air, as we trimmed our full Christmas tree and Tom’s mom visited from Florida. The puttering and scrambling was long forgotten and we settled in for the holiday festivities.

In the middle of the night, I awoke to a clanging eruption in our kitchen and reluctantly decided to investigate. Padding down the soft carpet, sleep lingered and I couldn’t wait to retire back to our flannel bedding made up like a hibernation nest. Suddenly another loud bang arose from the far end of our kitchen and our skittish older cat, Katy, raced around the corner with fear. I flicked on the kitchen light, curious now of what was going on! Smokey had to be involved, for he is our trusty night patrolman and prowls the downstairs at night, in search of any prey in his path.

What happened next triggered a hysterical EEK from my inner gut! I discovered Smokey wildly chasing a wild rodent of some sort with a big bushy tail across my kitchen floor! I ran upstairs with as much vigor as a seasoned marathon runner! Needless to say Tom and my mother-in-law jumped out of  their slumber and Tom flew down the stairs to investigate. It took a few minutes but he trapped it and we all trudged back to bed.

What nerve these house guests had! I know they must have resided here long before we moved in, but it was time for an EVICTION NOW! Just the thought of flying squirrels in the attic and walls made me squeamish. It’s not that I was scared of them but they are wild and rodent like. Sharing our space with critters sent chills up my spine in a bad way.

Weeks have gone by since the first exciting and eery encounter. Tom and Dylan set up havahart traps in our attics, pretty confident in their trapping ability. Days passed with not a spring, even with peanut butter to entice the squirrels. Then one early weekday morning I sat quietly meditating and drinking my first cup of coffee. A steaming cup on my placemat and twinkling white lights lit above the cupboards made a peaceful setting, yet not for long! Suddenly I heard a clattering up in Dylan’s room and frantic running down the stairs. Around the corner plunged Smokey with a flying squirrel dangling from his mouth! Oh no and Tom had left for work 45 minutes earlier! What I would do? There may be a few brave women out there, who would problem solve and capture the squirrel or remove it from the cats mouth. I am not one of those women. After a call to Tom’s work, he showed up with canvas gloves on and handling a small cooler to catch the critter. Thank goodness for a strong, kind husband and his understanding boss!

Now we didn’t want to harm the squirrels and ideally we planned to avoid that altogether. Sometimes things just don’t go as arranged and the last resort is upon you and there is no other choice. A visit to the trusty hardware store and $20 later, Tom and I held a paper bag of wooden rat traps with huge springs, loud enough to really cause a ruckus. Baiting them with creamy peanut butter and sliding them ever so cautiously between the floors, we waited. Within 5 minutes we heard a vicious snap! Five minutes later another loud crack and our population was two less. We thought there were two or three left scampering about.

Snap, snap, snap! Would you believe after a month of diligent trapping and releasing, Tom has caught not two or three, but twenty four flying squirrels! There were times that’s all Tom did after work was check traps, unload them and start the vicious cycle again. He kept a tally on a scrap piece of paper, every time he caught one.

The entire Landaff flying squirrel population flocked here in seek of shelter and we can’t fathom how they found us or how long they stayed. It’s much quieter and serene here now. The only scampering heard now is of two grown cats and sometimes a teenager upstairs on his exercise bike. In the spring Tom and Dylan will patch up the gaping part of our house, shutting out winter visitors. I’m sure we will be telling this story for years to come, but I hope it’s the ending. Eek!

 

 

 

 

An Untold Story

 

As I grow older my love for animals and wildlife matures. My respect is heartfelt and carries immense emotion. Whenever I see a hit deer by the road I wonder if it has relatives nearby. Seeing abused or hurt animals on television or in the media, chokes my throat and a profound sadness hovers over me.

Two summers ago, one early morning, Tom and I watched a graceful doe eating the brush from the raspberry bushes just a few feet away from our living room window. Do you know those silent, peaceful moments when your world is a framed scene and nothing can penetrate it….words or actions, just the view? We watched this doe for a few minutes as it chewed away without interruption.

The next day I was puttering in my flower gardens, which lined the front of our yard. From where I was perched, one could see my neighbor’s farm across the way. Rich green fields surround the farmhouse(which has been in his family for generations) and a dirt driveway stretches up the hill, leading to the farmhouse and a sprawling red barn is in the rear. My neighbor, his son and grandson, and a few other people stood aimlessly around the stalled tractor on the edge of the field. As I watched commotion gathering on the edge of the field, I wondered what was hiding or found that was causing all this fuss. The mid day sun beat harshly down on us, a steamy blazing day, a day farmers relish because it’s hay making time and that means their livelihood. Suddenly the son, who tirelessly works on the farm with his dad, lifted something out of the grass. Oh no! I knew what it was but was apprehensive to really believe it! Was this really happening? A light hazelnut colored lump lay in his arms while his son stood in shock, for he was the driver. It was a fawn, who had been hiding in the grass per order of its mamma.

If you live on a farm or are exposed to the culture, you know there is always a chance of this happening. One never knows if something is masked within the tall foliage and there’s not a sound as the loud obnoxious tractor plows through. Neighboring farmers will share their stories amongst themselves on their porches, “We had one this year, had a couple last summer, a yut.” The brave son gently laid the fawn in a wagon to bring to the barn. I don’t know what they did with its little body but I know it must have been difficult to dispose of it in morbid silence.

As the day wore on, I said a little prayer for that living thing and for my neighbor’s young grandson. They were both in the wrong place at the wrong time and it couldn’t be helped. As I was pondering what occurred and talked about it to my husband, I remembered that lone doe from two days ago. Little did I know that she was an important piece of the story.

The next day the tractor was long gone, cutting in another field. The farmer, his son and grandson had probably discussed this enough or maybe they dealt with it in silence. All there was to do was to move on. Once again I pulled endless weeds peeking out of my gardens and spotted our doe friend looking frantic and lost. She paced back and forth on that edge of the field, tirelessly trying to find what she lost. Her baby! It’s scent lingered and she smelled desperately with immense anguish. Any mamma would do the same. The beautiful doe came back everyday for four days. She just wasn’t ready to believe that the fawn was gone. Then one day she didn’t come. It was time for her to carry on, maybe not forget, but live without her love. This poignant scene of nature hung over me all week. I couldn’t shake the terrible feeling, that I knew how that mamma doe felt. Being a mamma myself, that frantic bitter loss would be life changing. I know she probably had another fawn the next year, but it doesn’t change what happened.

I haven’t told this story to many people. Some stories are better kept locked away and told one day, when it’s not so upsetting. Our framed in moment was special and will always stay with me, but I long to forget the painful, turbulent days after.

All my best,

Heart and Soul ❤️