Right now if you look very closely you’ll see signs of spring. A cursory glance still shows bare trees, dead leaves and patches of snow. We spent some time walking in our woods, hanging out with Cider and relishing in home comforts. I have a new camera/phone so I practiced getting close-up shots that capture the lively details of renewal. There’s also a sweet video at the end of this post. On to the pics:
Thank you to all who took the time to comment on my last two posts. Your participation is important for me to be motivated to keep writing here.
I have some sad news about my book, The Thrifty Yankee’s Guide to Frugal Living. It’s only 1/3 finished (managing the pain after my fall on the ice and endocrine disorder issues/testing further delayed my writing) and I won’t resume until after coronavirus is history. I know you’re thinking, wait, what do you mean? We need to learn how to live with less now more than ever! We need Yankee thrift!
Yes, that’s true and not to worry, I will continue to share my frugal living tips here in this new landscape. However what I’ve written so far in my book applies to a different world. Examples? Talking about eating out less where now we can’t at all; a whole section on how to yard sale like a pro where I share my hard-earned secrets when in reality for the foreseeable future (a year or more?) buying second-hand in crowded spaces won’t be happening. Those are just a couple of examples, but really the issue is that the overall approach would come across as tone-deaf now. This represents a loss of income I had planned on for this summer but this sort of thing is happening for so many of us. (By the way L.L.Bean which is normally open 24/7, even during the big ice storm of ’98 had to install locks because they, too are closed.)
Look at Sunny’s tail! It filled out even more during her overwinter in her burrow! My buddies Cider, Ricky and Sunny are out for another season of stockpiling seeds. Still hoping to see Buster any day now. The world including Maine was a drastically different place when I last posted but it’s business as usual in my backyard, thank God. Turning to nature has always been my balm. First off I hope you are safe, healthy, staying sanitized and that you have enough provisions to get you through a couple of weeks or longer should you need to self-quarantine or isolate. I’ve been an introverted work-from-home bookworm homebody for much of my adult life and often prefer the company of animals to people so social distancing isn’t must of an adjustment for me. I do, however, have some maladjustments due to coronavirus.
Is that Godzilla punching my roof as I type this post? Kind of, only its name is February. It’s the occasional sound of things expanding and contracting when it’s in the single digits or below. It also means my house is nice and toasty inside. We had an ice storm on Friday, and while they can be extremely destructive, like cutting power for days or weeks, and most recently lifting me in the air before smacking me on my behind (I’m getting PT now, recovery is up and down but happening), it can also be beautiful. I snapped the photo above yesterday afternoon. I love how the sunshine makes the icy branches gleam brightly as if I’m living in an enchanted fairyland.
This morning when I got into my car I noticed that the condensation on my windshield looked like a rising icy sun with warming rays. When I returned home I heard a bird singing and a chipmunk calling as I started walking towards my sunroom doorway. The mysterious chipmunk who made a brief appearance yesterday morning for Groundhog Day must have returned but I couldn’t see it.
“Where are you?” I asked.
It immediately came out from under the deck and jumped on the deck railing.
Just seconds before I took this pic there was a chipmunk on the deck railing, the first sighting since late November! It’s also one year ago that Wayne and I adopted the Degu Sisters. I can’t tell you how much seeing that chipmunk (not sure who it was) raised my spirits this morning. Surely it’s a good omen!
Here is our Christmas card everyone! A special thanks to my dear little friend, Cider who is presently underground in torpor until the spring. I’m so happy to have and share the gift of chipmunks in my yard with you all. I would greatly appreciate it if you would answer a few questions in my comments:
I’ll be posting Cider the chipmunk’s Christmas card sometime next week, but until then I thought it would be fun to share some outtakes!
Wayne and I attended a Pow Wow at the Maine Wildlife Park this summer after which we spent some time exploring and looking at the animals. Unlike a zoo that operates for profit, the animals at the park cannot survive in the wild. It’s there that they are provided a safe forever home because they were injured, orphaned, or became human dependent while being raised illegally in captivity. The park is self-sustaining and owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife within the Division of Information and Education. Each animal becomes an ambassador for its species to help educate (and charm!) the public. It has a staff of thirty and over two hundred volunteers which includes retirees, college interns and during the off-season, inmates involved in correctional trade instruction. The inmates gain experience and can give back to the community by doing necessary tasks like painting, shoveling and maintaining wood furniture.
I contacted park Superintendent Curt Johnson about the possibility of volunteering next season. Since I’m always interested in learning more about people who work with and love wildlife I asked him after he interviewed me if I could interview him for my blog. Not only did he agree to it but he also offered me a rare opportunity to visit the park and see the animals after it had closed for the season! I felt so lucky and of course I accepted his generous offer!
Presented without commentary: