gray mouse

A Little Mouse Story

I really don’t remember how I came across this little mouse. But I believe I saw my cat, Skittle, chasing something outside my back deck.

When I went outside there he was, “hiding” behind the dying nasturtium vines. Luckily for him, Skittle doesn’t seem to have the greatest eyesight. She couldn’t find him, but she knew he was in there someplace.

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Mouse hiding in the nasturtiums

This is skittle perched on the deck post, looking for the mouse down in the plant (lower right). The little guy stayed very still, thinking he was hidden… or maybe too scared to move.

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His little nose was pushed into the vines and maybe he thought that made him safe.

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You can’t see me… right?

Now, mice are cute. But up north, where I lived in New Hampshire, they always seemed to find a way inside the house for the cold winter months. I fought them every winter.

I hate to kill anything, but they can’t be left to take over the house. I set traps in my basement, and trusted the cats to help keep them away.

More than once I was up in the night because the cats were out in the kitchen “playing” with a mouse. They never killed one in the house, but Skittle liked to bring them into my bedroom – up on my bed – in the middle of the night, just to show me her treasure!

Ya… no.

I would get a plastic bowl and plop it over the mouse, then slide a piece of cardboard under it to catch the thing.  This was surprisingly easy to do.  Then, I would open the door and let it outside… where it belongs.  Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep if I knew there was a mouse running around my home.

This little mouse in the Nasturtiums got away, as Skittle gave up looking for him.  I’m sure he eventually made his way inside and scurried around my basement enjoying the warmth.  The never-ending cycle.

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mother swan mothers day

The Mothers Day Post You May Not Like

mother swan mothers dayWell, here we are, another holiday to celebrate. Mother’s Day is upon us and it falls on a Sunday… oh yes, it always falls on a Sunday. Maybe that is so mothers everywhere can have a day of rest.

Nope, that’s not it.

I have four children, but Mothers Day has never been much different from any other day for me. I used to wish I had a caring husband who would work with the children to make my day special. I wished that for a few years, and then realized wishes don’t come true. Ya think?

I got gifts, and sometimes I got things I actually liked, needed or wanted. Once they were unwrapped, I made dinner. The day went on like any other.

But gifts were never what I really wanted for Mother’s Day. Like many mothers, I simply wanted a day off – a day for me. A day without meals to plan and cook. A day without dealing with the needs of the children. Without housework, walking the dog and feeding the cats. I used to dream of time for me, where I could sit and read a book, or do some drawing. That was the gift I craved. I would have accepted that gift any day of the year.

As I write this, imagining what Mothers everywhere are doing on their special day, the diversity of how they will celebrate is huge.

I can’t help but think of my own mother as well. She died of Alzheimers in 2008 so there will be no celebrating with her. She loved the attention, and believed the day was hers, no matter that her daughters were mothers too.

One year, my husband and I were invited out on a boat with some friends for a Mothers Day celebration. I asked my own mother to babysit and she never let me forget how I ruined her day by asking that.

I’ve been raising children for 40 years and I’m tired. I never got the gift of a caring husband who catered to my needs for a special day. But he’s out of my life, and that is an everyday gift I enjoy. My children are finally all grown, and they will wish me a happy day. That is enough.

Today I will stay off of Facebook and avoid reading the “I’m so blessed” posts where women will go on to brag about their fabulous husband and kids. Pictures will be shared where whole families celebrate all the moms with dinner out together. Oh I know it’s coming. Holidays – any holiday – is the time to show the world what a fantastic life you lead. I wonder if kids and husbands feel pressured to compete with other FaceBook posters?

Imagination is a wonderful thing. It’s how I come up with creations like the swan above.  I have some of those attributes, but not all.  My own mother had even fewer.

Mothers are not perfection, but if we try to be what our children need most, we succeed in giving the world the gift of more good people in it.  Sacrifice is a long-term commitment to carry on creating something we started.  From squealing baby to grown person, the trip is long and exhausting, and for some mothers, it’s a very lonely one.  In the end, I can say I did my mothering to the best of my ability.

Today, I am at peace.

red rose open petals macro

Sunday Morning Garden Photography

Is there anything better than a quiet, peaceful (and fairly cool) Florida morning? Sure, lots of things, but today I enjoyed the cloud cover as I checked on my gardens this morning and took some photos with my iPhone.

hibiscus
Hibiscus Colors

The hibiscus is blooming profusely and I noticed today that some of the flowers are a lighter color than others. They look pink here, for some reason, but they are really light orange. I was too lazy to use my graphics program to fix the color – look at the photo below to see a more true version. …….Still, the beauty is apparent.

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The Sunflower is Growing Tall

In New Hampshire I always had sunflowers growing in my garden during the summer. They sprang up on their own, known as “volunteers”. I just let them grow where they were and planted my vegetables around them.  In the Fall, little goldfinches and chickadees would land on the big heads and eat the seeds.

Because I don’t feed the birds in Florida, no sunflower seeds will voluntarily grow after being buried under the winter snow, so this one I had to plant. In fact I planted a lot of seeds, but this one the only one growing. Animals (squirrels) probably ate the other seeds.

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Big “volunteer” sunflower in my northern garden
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Open Rose

My rose bush is doing fine so far. I am seeing roses bloom continuously. Their color is stunning, but the flowers don’t last long.

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Watermelon Vine

I’ve never been able to grow my own watermelon, but I am trying again. This one seems to be doing well enough.

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Desert Rose is Flowering

The Desert Rose, which at first was thought to be a Plumeria, is planted in the ground and doing well. Lots of bright pink flowers have bloomed and I am seldom watering it, as required.

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Little limes growing on the Persian Lime tree

The Persian Lime tree is blooming like mad and little limes have formed. Many of them will end up falling off, I assume, but I’m hopeful that some will grow to be edible size.

Other happenings in my small yard:  I saw two black snakes (black racers) yesterday within the span of about 3 minutes.  They are “good” snakes and not poisonous, but still creep me out as I watch them slither through the grass.  Now I’m back to watching where I walk.

Later today I will pick the one zucchini growing on my single zucchini plant.  The potatoes have been dug, and the carrots pulled.  Time to plant some new things that may, or may not, be able to take the Florida summer heat.  At this point, it’s all an experiment.

Have a wonderful day!

Memories of April in New Hampshire

Every now and then I look back at my life in New Hampshire through the many photos I took while living there.
Since Spring is upon us (in Florida it’s hard to tell) I decided to share some April photography and memories.

yellow forsythia flowers
Forsythia

In April the forsythia begins to bloom and the bright yellow flowers are a wonderful sight after a dull and colorless winter. I had planted a forsythia bush up near the road in my front yard in New Hampshire. I thought it was far enough back from the road to survive the snow-plowing in winter, but I was wrong. This big branch was broken off so I cut it and brought it inside to enjoy the flowers.

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Skittle, being Skittle

Skittle, the cat enjoys drinking water from all sorts of places. And once she discovered the vase of water holding the branch, she just had to partake!

The Lenton Rose will be full of flowers by April. It blooms before the snow is gone. I really enjoyed this little flowering bush.

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Lenton Rose

The coreopsis is popping through the ground and so are the thick red stems of the peony. I love peonies. They remind me of my grandmother, so I had a lot of them planted in my yard in the north. I had white, red, and pink. One of the reds was more like an open flower, but I can’t recall the name of it.
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Peony

And of course the hydrangeas were coming to life. It’s always thrilling to check out the gardens in Spring. Each day more green is showing and it was always fun to watch the progress as the perennials came back to their beautiful showy state.

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Hydrangea in Spring

The first photo is my house taken about three months before I moved. I couldn’t afford to live in New England, but it’s where my heart is.
I miss it and always will.