Yesterday morning we went apple picking for the fourth time this season and took a drive to admire the stunning colors now that they’re peaking. One of the countless things I love about living in Maine is that you don’t need to spend money other than on gas to “do things”. I can’t think of a better production than what is happening around us right now and it’s completely free to witness. I hope you’ll vicariously enjoy our drive and scenic stops along the way:
Up until two years ago I had hired “lawn care” companies to “treat” my yard with fertilizers, herbicides, aeration and reseeding. For about $400 a season the grass had many dead spots and would turn brown in the summer despite watering it. When I’d contact the companies to ask why I was told that the grass had gone dormant for the summer. I went through three different companies over eight years. Besides being expensive, harmful to the environment, beneficial insects and wildlife it was making our yard look worse! I told Wayne last spring we would cease paying and spraying and came up with a plan to save money and the living things:
A quick and tender conscience is among the best gifts of grace; let those who have it guard its delicacy with jealous care.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
At the express check-out line at Whole Foods this morning I was greeted by the cashier who often checks me out weekly, so to speak. He’s always very jovial, not just to me but everyone, but he said something that startled me!
“You are a great lover.”
What did he just say?! I immediately blushed and said nervously laughing, “What do you mean I’m a great lover!”
After five glorious days of watching the babies poke their heads out of the burrow with mom pushing them back down, seeing the babies standing up at the top of the burrow and playing what looked like patty-cake with each other (my degus do that, too!), and exploring places not too far from mom, they have left home! I thought they would be around much longer, at least a week or two. The babies will now have to find an abandoned burrow or dig a new one while avoiding predators including humans, stock their burrow with enough food for the winter by the end of October when they will go into torpor until they re-emerge in April or May, all without any training whatsoever. Instinct is truly awe-inspiring, and the life of a chipmunk continues to fascinate me.
Unlike any other chipmunk I’ve know or read about, and going against all instinct, there was a chipmunk eating seeds on our deck instead of stuffing his cheeks and bringing them back to his burrow to store for the coming winter. People wonder how I know the gender of a chipmunk. It’s always been a guess and this one was a give-away: Ricky, as I named him, would gladly eat what I served him but then always left the shells behind so that I had clean up his mess. “Typical man!” friends would say when I shared the latest chipmunk news. (It warms my heart that people ask and take an active interest in their antics. If they don’t ask I tell them anyway.)
In reality I had no idea what was actually in store for the future. Ricky was not all what he seemed to be, and neither was Tailor, the chipmunk living in our side yard with a black “ring” around her tail and named after Elizabeth Taylor who loved and kept many chipmunks as pets and had a famous fondness for jewelry.
Early in July I finally found a charming weathered hand-painted concrete set of the Seven Dwarfs at an antique & collectible shop in Cornish for $45 that costs around $900 new when painted. Those who have been following my blog for a while know I adore vintage kitschy garden statues of animals and gnomes. Since it’s not unusual for people to call me “Snow White” when I tell them about my yard pets I wanted to complete the cast of characters. I also figured they would make terrific props for chipmunk photo sessions. Tailor, however, did not agree! Check out the little linked video for her reaction. A couple of days later, she disappeared!
With Wayne being a Baby Boomer and me, GenX, retirement is something for which our budget revolves around. When Wayne starts collecting social security it likely will be funded at 100%. For my generation? Not likely! Saving for us isn’t just a way of life but as old age approaches, a necessity.
In the examples below you’ll see how Yankee Thrift is the way to a richer life for us. It’s about making smart purchases without the purpose of showboating. In other words it’s not about buying something because it’s on trend, or you need the latest model, or to feed an insecure desire to impress. It’s about quality and self-reliance with the smarts to know when you need to secure the services of a professional or invest in a big expenditure. We save where we can and spend more on where it counts. You’ll see how in each example we’re cutting back but it’s not a sacrifice:
I haven’t seen my dear little Buster in over a week, and Sunny hasn’t been by since last month. I did see a fox run into the woods near Buster’s burrow a few days ago. I also heard a hawk in the woods later that day. Maybe it was the same hawk that dive-bombed my neighbor’s bird-seed party, the attendants of which were numerous songbirds and the chipmunk that lives in her front yard.
Wayne has been working six days a week for the past couple of weeks, so a three day weekend gave him more time….to work on our organic vegetable garden! I selected our annuals and living accents. Here’s how it all came together: