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A Wicked Good Bird Feeder

At the beginning of the week, a bear knocked down our bird feeder. The pole was snapped off at the base, and the top was smashed to smithereens. (For those who haven’t read all about it, here is the link:

Time for handyman Clif to spring into action. First, a new top was needed. Clif went back to the store where we had bought the feeder umpteen years ago, but no luck. He also checked online. Again, no luck. You might think at this point we would have considered buying a new feeder, but you would be wrong. We are Mainers, and Mainers have a reputation for making do and coming up with, ahem, creative solutions.

For various reasons, we had accumulated four laundry baskets over the years. Clif asked, “What do you think about using one of the white ones for the top?”

“Excellent idea,” I said, delighted with the notion of using something we already had. And after all, we would still have three laundry baskets. Plenty for a household with two people.

Lickity split, Clif cut off the top of one of our white laundry baskets and fashioned a top for the feeder.

The sacrificial laundry basket
The new top


Next, it was time to pound a new pole deep into the ground.

As Clif couldn’t find the right sized pole for the feeder, part of the old pole was slipped into the new pole. Then, to support the lower baffle, out came the trusty duct tape—the delight of all handy men and women, especially Mainers. (I’ve even repaired old gloves with it.)

Then, voilà! Time to put on the feeder with its new top.

“Pretty darned good,” I said, borrowing an expression from my Yankee husband.

Almost immediately, the grateful birds began coming to the feeder. Following the advice of several of my blogging friends, we have taken in the bird feeder at dusk. No point in asking for more trouble.

Next week, we will get some black spray paint for the pole. But the top is plastic, and we will leave that alone.

A note about the use of the word wicked in the title. Mainers use the word wicked the way brilliant is used in the UK. Nearby, there is even a business named Wicked Whoopies, and I could have one of those delectable treats right now. They really are wicked good.

So there you have it. A wicked good fix for a wicked good feeder.

That Golden, Dazzling Time of Year

Here we are, heading toward late October, a special time of year for us as this was when our eldest daughter was born forty-two years ago. (Oh, my!) What a darling beautiful baby she was. I suppose most mothers think this about their babies, and rightly so. They are our best beloveds.

Speaking of beauty…in Maine it is all around us even though the storm took down many of the leaves.

When I look up

and when I look down.

Even the black-eyed Susans, which have dropped their petals, still glimmer in October.

In October, the landscape positively glows, partly because of the brilliant leaves and partly because of the way the sun, low in the sky, sends its dazzling light at a slant. As I sit at my desk, the month’s golden loveliness flickers in my peripheral vision, and I find myself gazing outside far more than I should. (Fantasy novels don’t write themselves.)

Well, October comes but once a year, and it would be foolish not to drink in this glorious month. As with May, I wish I could hold onto October’s coattails and implore her to stay longer. “Don’t rush, don’t rush.”

But Nature is on her own schedule, and luminous October must give way to the muted russets of November.

Until then…



Spring, Glorious Spring!

Yesterday, on my way to hang laundry, something loud buzzed by my ear.

My first thought: What’s that?

My second immediate thought: The hummingbirds are back!

Lickety-split, I went into the house and set a pot of sugar water to boil. Clif went down cellar to retrieve the hummingbird feeders, and by afternoon, they were out and ready for the little winged visitors.

Later that day, as Clif and I were having drinks on the patio, a male hummingbird came for a sip of the sugar water in the feeders. Readers, as the season progresses and more hummingbirds come, I will try to get a shot of these whizzing beauties. But between the birds’ speed and the limitations of my wee camera, my chances of success are not good. But I will make a valiant attempt.

Around the yard, there are more signs of Spring, glorious Spring.

The ferns continue to unfurl.

The sweet red maple blossoms are falling, to be replaced by a tender fringe of new leaves.

Slowly, I have begun removing leaves from the beds in the front yard, and although there are no flowers yet, it looks pretty darned good to me. No snow, no muck. Lots of glorious green.

Finally, here is a picture of Clif at the gate.

He is happy that, at last, spring is here.

And so am I.

March Misery

Readers unfamiliar with Maine might think I’m exaggerating when it comes to the horror of March in northern New England. Au contraire! And I have the pictures to prove it.

This was the view this morning from my office window.

Here is another one from a slightly different angle. Note the spitting snow and the hard, dirty snow banks.

Yesterday, Snow-Gauge Clif did  his measuring duty with his trusty red yard stick.  Hats off to Clif for looking so cheerful.

In the backyard, Clif doesn’t look quite as cheerful. Maybe it was the penguin-walking he did over the icy paths to get there. Fortunately, he didn’t fall and break anything.

Despite all the griping, I do have to admit that some progress has been made in the driveway.  There are actually bar patches of tar amid the ice and snow.

So onward, ho! April is just around the corner, and as I sit at my desk and write, I can hear a male cardinal singing his sweet song.

Spring is coming, albeit ever so slowly.


The Last Butterfly of the Season

This still beauty will soon go in the basement, or down cellar as we Mainers put it.

As for the live butterflies…they are gone, along with the dragonflies. Last night, I listened for crickets but couldn’t hear any. I’ll listen tonight, too, but they might be gone as well.

October, with all this loss, it’s a good thing you’re so beautiful.

The Waning of Summer

Summer has pretty much come to an end. While the days might still be warm and sunny, the gardens around the house tell a different story—autumn is coming.

The back garden is definitely ragged, no two ways about it.

The bee balm is no longer in vibrant bloom, just a few red petals here and there.

Except for the border of annuals, the rest of the garden doesn’t look much better. But the impatiens are positively thriving—I have never seen them so big and full. Clearly, they liked the heat and humidity, even if I didn’t.

And the begonias, troopers that they are, continue to provide welcome color.

The front yard actually looks a little better, and it’s all because of the hostas that I divided and planted in the many holes in my garden. Hostas might not be showy, but they maintain a cool, even presence. Surely there must be a lesson in this.

One plant that is coming into bloom is the sedum—autumn joy. Here’s a close up with a little friend on the top.

Farewell, summer. You might have been too hot and humid, but I treasure those evenings on the patio, the nights with the windows open, the gatherings with grilled bread.