Category Archives: Nature

Fur and Feathers on a Snowy Day

Last night it snowed, and we got enough—several inches—so that the plow has roared past our house. A true sign of winter. Here is a picture of our house tucked in the snow, and it always looks so cozy to me. (For supper, Clif is making Snowy Day Potato, Cabbage Soup, a perfect meal for a cold day.)

I always like the sight of dried plants—in this case, ferns—against the white snow.

The remaining garden ornaments take on a different look.

The backyard, with its feeders, draws in woodland creatures with fur and feathers.

One of my favorites is the chickadee, a jaunty little bird.

My friend Barbara, who passed away thirteen years ago, once noted that while chickadees might be plentiful, they are never common. How right she was! I recently learned that in the fall, the brains of chickadees increase in size so that they can remember where they cache seeds. And in the spring, when the chickadees no longer need to remember, their brains shrink in size. Here is a link for the Audubon site for more information about the incredible brains of chickadees.

What a wonder nature is!

And British blogging friends, do you think chickadees resemble coal tits? I know I sure do.

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Brisk and Invigorating

Yesterday was a fine, brisk day. The sun was shining, but the air smelled cold and fresh, and if it weren’t for creaky knees, I would have been positively frisky. What can I say? I’m a Mainer, and for me the first touch of winter is always invigorating.

Even with creaky knees, I got a fair amount done. Up the road, where the winter berries grow, I clipped quite a few branches of these red beauties to use in a winter arrangement for the front deck.

On the way to get the Sunday paper, I stopped at Maranacook Lake to take a few pictures.

I found blue sky, blue water, and a beached boat

as well as golden and dried plants against the rippling lake.

When I got home, I raked the driveway, perhaps for the last time, but we shall see.

At the end of the short day, I was tucked on the couch with the orange cat on my lap and a cup of hot cocoa nearby. I am going back and forth between two books—A Manuel for Cleaning Women, a collection ofĀ  sad, moving, short stories by Lucia Berlin; and Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics by Stephen Greenblatt. Of the latter book, in brief, let’s just say that Shakespeare knew.

Now There Is Hope

No two ways about it. The recent elections threw me in a tizzy, and I am oh so glad that overall there was more good than bad. I am also coming down the homestretch with Library Lost. Between those two things, I don’t have much energy for anything else.

But yesterday afternoon in the front yard,Ā  the light was so beautiful that I did make time to take a few pictures.

Looking up, there are oak leaves.

Looking down, ditto.

Little Minerva is nearly buried.

And one lone phlox flower hangs on.

Finally, this captures how I feel after Tuesday’s elections. So light, so grateful.

While the work certainly isn’t done—we can never say, “There! Finished!”—after the past two miserable years, there is now hope.

Bursts of Yellow and Russet on a Rainy Election Day

A brief note about the election: For Maine, it was a very good night. The Democrats now control all three branches of government. Finally, finally, 70,000 low-income folks soon will receive good, affordable health care and not have to resort to going to the emergency room when they are ill. Nationally, there are many states that switched from RepublicanĀ  to Democratic, and Democrats now control the House. Unfortunately, the tide did not turn in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, and the Republicans gained more seats in the Senate. So, Trump’s scare tactics worked to some degree, and we are still a very divided nation. However, real gains were made. Because of all the election brouhaha, I won’t be getting much work done, but I will allow myself to be happy on this day.

And onward, ho!

I’ve Been Book Reported

Here we are, firmly in November.

We set back the clocks on Saturday, and now it gets dark at 4:30, which always gives me a claustrophobic, restless feeling. I have come to the conclusion that I am neither a morning person nor a night person. Instead, I am a day person, and when the dark comes, I am ready to kick back. This is fine when it stays light out until, say, 7:00 p.m. But when the dark comes at 4:30, it’s too early to relax for the evening, and in addition, it makes me fidgety to be inside so much. Therefore, as soon as I am finished with the copy editing of Library Lost, I will be spending some part of every day outside. Being outside helps with the fidgets.

Speaking of Library Lost, I am coming down the homestretch with copy editing. Wowsah, what a job! Fortunately I have the patience to go over the book line by line. Many times. I wish I could get it right with one pass, but there you are.

This weekend, at a craft fair, there was another first for me. A young man who was about thirteen came to my table and told me that he liked Maya and the Book of Everything so much that he did a book report about it for his English class. Readers, I have been book reported. Holy cats, I was thrilled.

In the United States, tomorrow is Election Day, and it’s going to be a nail biter. As I have written in previous posts, I am heartbroken about the direction this country has taken—the ugliness, the racism, the threats, the lack of tolerance and compassion, the total disregard of the environment.

There are some—a minority, I hope—who think it doesn’t make any difference as to which candidate wins. How wrong they are! And I can use the small state of Maine (population 1.3 million) as an example. Because of our current governor and his refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion money available through theĀ  Affordable Care Act, 70,000 peopleĀ  in our state have gone without health insurance. These are people who earn too much to qualify for standard Medicaid and too little to qualify for subsidies from the ACA. They are caught right in the middle.

How many people died because of our governor’s refusal to expand Medicaid coverage? How many went to the emergency room, thus driving up the overall cost of healthcare?

In each Maine gubernatorial election—alas, our current governor won two times—if the other candidate had won, then those 70,000 Mainers would have had health insurance. This is but one issue of many where there has been a sea of differences between the candidates, and the same is true with the current election.

So out Clif and I will go tomorrow, to cast our votes and hope, hope, hope that we have come to the turning of tide.