Sunny’s Miracle

The last time we saw Sunny, the chipmunk who had only a stub left of her tail, was a few days after our wedding in September. According to my research chipmunk’s tails do not grow back. As you can see in the photo above from last summer, whatever happened to Sunny caused her to lose not just her tail but the fur around it. Because the other chipmunks went underground for their winter torpor at the same time (one to two months earlier than the year prior) I was confident then that she was safe in her burrow. Even though I hadn’t seen her this spring I wasn’t giving up since we’ve had so many cold rainy days that it has felt more like March than May.

This morning after more days of cold rain the sun rose and quickly warmed things. I still had seen no sign of her, even after I walked over to her house entrance and called her name.  Not long afterward I was standing in my backyard speaking with a salesman about an estimate when Sunny suddenly appeared (after Buster had followed me around like a little puppy and Tailor tried to chase him away)! However, what I saw next filled with such hope and joy that I had to share it with you here!

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Early Garden Prep

We’ve been having a record-breaking cold and rainy spring so far but it’s still time to start with gardening prep, both ornamental and vegetable. It might seem strange to those not from Maine to think of people flocking to the plant nurseries in wet and blustery cold weather to buy annuals that will only live for a short season. It makes complete sense, however! Summer in Maine is a Very Special Occasion deserving of festive flowers and the planting beautiful life forms. It’s still too early to plant, but never too soon to buy as long as you can keep the plants warm.

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Tailor the Chipmunk (named after Elizabeth Taylor!)

We have a new friend and neighbor in our yard. If you look closely you may notice that she has a light colored “ring” around her tail. I thought “Tailor” would be a fitting name since Elizabeth Taylor loved both chipmunks and jewelry. She seems to be a bit sassy since she’s sticking out her tongue in the above photo. On my Instagram you can see a video of Tailor enjoying her mandarin slice and one of Buster running over to me to get seeds and pets!

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Visit to Carlisle Academy Integrative Therapy & Sports

During coffee hour after church a few weeks ago I was speaking with Kate Chappell about her daughter, Sarah’s horse therapy farm in Lyman, Maine. Kate mentioned that one of the things the farm offers are programs for people with PTSD! I have often dreamed of one day operating a little animal therapy farm for traumatized youth so I was immediately fascinated. The offerings are extensive and include organizational/leadership development, team retreats, hippotherapy for people ages two and up with a diagnosed emotional, physical or cognitive disability and riding lessons to the general public.

Kate was so kind to arrange with Sarah (pictured above) an opportunity for me to visit the academy and share it with you here on my blog. My post is focused on the equine enrichment groups and working farmscape education tailored for at-risk youth and young adults, senior citizens, veterans and people in early recovery from addictions.

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Waterfall Trail Hike At Fuller Farm

It was a cold morning with temps in the 40s and the sky was overcast, however we joyfully navigated mud, snow and ice to see a seasonal little waterfall that’s tucked in the woods. The thing is, we hadn’t planned on the snow and ice…or snakes! Even so, nature put on a beautiful show.

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Grace Before Meals For This Recovering Ingrate

When I first started “eating retro” and lost weight over ten years ago I was leaving behind the tyranny of an insatiable appetite which seemingly stemmed from two issues: my relationship to food and eating junk. Underlying the usual analysis of overeating and weight loss was that I was feeling sorry for myself. Why? Because I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted when I wanted without consequences. I was also attached to the illusion that a lifestyle of eating too much, especially sugar and refined carbs was somehow good for my soul. I mistook edible artifice for nourishment. I was always “hungry” but was feeding the wrong appetite. I was focused on eating all the things instead of seeing all the gifts from a healthy relationship to and with food. Why would I, right? Shouldn’t I be entitled to unlimited access to what was mine? Did God put food on my table? No! I worked hard to put that food on the table, and why even talk about God when all I wanted was an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

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The Mysterious Brilliance of Chipmunks

Every sunny day beginning mid-February I’ve been looking outside my kitchen window for a sure sign of spring: a chipmunk on the deck. Our three friends, Claude, Buster and Sunny had not been seen since a couple of days after our wedding in September. The neighborhood chipmunks went underground much earlier last fall than the year prior, when they were out and about until November and reemerged in February/early March. Even at the boatyard a few towns over Wayne reported the same: no more chipmunk sightings by late September and none to date. So instead of going into a burrow for three months, it’s been SIX!

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Nellie’s “Certified Humane” Eggs?

Two years ago in the early spring I blogged about buying beautiful pullet eggs (shown above) from a local organic farm in my town. Off-season we’ve been buying “Certified HumaneNellie’s “Free Range” eggs. I decided to Google Nellie’s just now and am so disheartened to see this report about the cruel conditions of the chickens. I will never purchase Nellie’s eggs or trust the “Certified Humane” label on eggs again! (Update: check out this link “American Humane Scam” featuring Bob Barker!) It can be so hard to make informed food choices when we can’t even trust the “certification” labels! All the more reason to buy from trustworthy sources when the trustworthiness can be verified by you. Of course if you can realistically, affordably and humanely raise your own, that is ideal!

Simple Living New England

Yesterday I took a trip to Frith Farm in Scarborough to buy some organic pullet eggs. It was a fun mini-adventure!

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Immersion in the Moment

I love the winter wind like no other. I need to go to the beach at night when the cold air is cool mint with hints of salt. I need to be alone. I wondered if no one else showed up here because it was so real. People were drawn into their TVs and computers. I plugged into something real. I needed to, the way things were going. I felt like the ocean would not give up on me, and I wasn’t at all dissuaded by its indifference, drawing things in and spitting them out years later, bony and white. -Me when I lived across the street from the sea, pre-internet, 1993

One of the things I gave up for Lent is Facebook which has helped me revert back to enjoying “empty” places and moments in time. The void has left room for hearing the quieter thoughts within. One doesn’t have to spend much time on Facebook to obliterate those gems that don’t announce themselves in a feed. As an example, when I’m waiting in line at the grocery or early for an appointment I’m not opening the app on my phone. I’m tuning into more ethereal and earthly things, just like I used to back in the day. I’ve missed it!