Thursday, June 18, 2009

Close encounters of the wild kind...

Tale #1 - Rocky Raccoon

The other night, the motion detector floodlight on the deck activated so, of course, I went to see what it was...

Chip(s) and Sammy(s) must have left a few peanuts untouched because Rocky came up on the deck to investigate.

We've lived in our house for over 27 years now, and this is the first time I've ever seen a raccoon in our neighborhood, let alone in our yard or on our deck (although Amanda said she saw a raccooon one time last year in our backyard)...

I know raccoons live in the country, in towns, and in cities (and have adapted very well), so I guess I'm not too surprised that we finally had one visit our yard... But it's usually a wayward possum or skunk that sets off the motion detector.

Rocky and Spotty's staring contest. Spotty won.

Lesson learned: Sweep off the deck every evening before nightfall and pick up any peanuts that Chip(s) or Sammy(s) missed.

Tale #2 - Oh Dear, Deer

Tuesday morning I had to drive Amanda to work because I needed to get the car into the shop to have a tire repaired (I'd been driving on the small donut tire all weekend after getting a flat on Friday night)... Coming down a neighborhood hill, we came face to face with a deer heading up the middle of the road... Now this was at 9 a.m., long after the little deer should have been in bed!
By the time Amanda realized she had her camera in her purse (she's more organized than her mom), the deer had decided to take a detour off the road and through somebody's yard.

As an animal lover, my first reaction was excitement at being able to see this beautiful creature so close. We live in an overly developed town and it's very uncommon to see something as large as a deer running through a neighborhood. But my feeling of exhileration quickly turned to sadness because the unfortunate reality is, there are very few areas left for these beautiful creatures. Around these parts, the woods and open land have been developed non-stop for the past several decades, making it quite tough on the wildlife...

So as Ms. Deer went on her way, and as we went on ours, I worried about her and prayed that she would safely make it to a thicket where she could bed down for the day; and I prayed for the safety of any drivers that might encounter her as well. As I said, people aren't used to watching for deer in this area...
Lesson learned: Always expect the unexpected.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A new garden sitting area...

...or "What My Family Did This Weekend"... Now if that title doesn't sound like an elementary school composition, I don't know what does!!

(click any photos to enlarge)

Please ignore any broken pickets you see in the photos... We (and by we I mean hubby) have obtained some weathered stockade fence so we (and by we I mean hubby) are in the process of replacing old and broken pickets...

These Adirondack chairs have replaced the old wooden bench that used to sit here (which hasn't been safe to sit on for years!)... I've always loved the look of adirondack chairs, but they're quite expensive!! The good ones are anyhow... (Actually, the not-so-good ones are, too, as I found out once I started looking! I got these two at Target - one was discounted, one was regular price.)

We (hubby) had problems with the first one since some of the pre-drilled holes didn't line up, but by chair #2 things were going much quicker... Hubby said it would sure be nice to be able to buy something high quality and pre-assembled for once, but then we wouldn't have had all that quality time in the blue air (only kidding, the air wasn't blue... well, maybe just a little teeny bit blue once or twice...)

All in all, though, they weren't too bad to assemble. The entire seat and chair backs with the individual slats were already assembled, so it was just attaching those pieces to the frames and arms.

Once the chairs were finished, the first order of business was to hang up a hummingbird feeder...

... Would you like to join me to watch for them? We'll have the best seats in the house!

But while we wait, I'll show you around a little bit... See the little birdbath that hangs between the flowerbox window and the chairs? It's one of my favorites. I got it years and years ago at Wal Mart....

There are three little cherubs that sit around the bath, which is a great size for the finches, chicadees, and sparrows (do wrens use birdbaths? I've never seen a single wren in any of my baths even though I have wrens on a regular basis!)

My windowbox flowers look nice and healthy, but they sure aren't growing very much...

Of course, as you can see from this photo, they only get a few late afternoon hours of filtered sun because the trees block this area (to me, this part of the yard feels a bit like a little secret garden, tucked in behind the crapapple trees and the weeping branches of the birch tree... I just love it!)... The bleeding heart (under the hanging birdbath) that I transplanted from the backyard a few years ago, is thriving in its new location. The flowers are done blooming, but the foliage is still gorgeous!!

See these purple flowers next to the chairs?

Back when the girls were little, one just popped up one summer. I looked through all my gardening books (that was long before I had the internet) and as best I can tell, they are spiderworts.

They've multiplied by themselves over the years and have even spread to a few different parts of the yard now (all in garden areas, too - thank you bumblebees!!)

They are absolutely the most beautiful shade of blue!!!

And if you peek through the trees from the chairs (see them back there?), you'll be able to see the gorgeous rose bush I planted last year.

It is doing SO good and has so many blossoms and buds! I honestly did not know how it would do since it's my very first rose bush!!!

It's called New Dawn, and it has just a blush of pink on the roses. I planted it next to our old corral fence. It's a climber/rambler and I believe it reaches close to 15-20'...

I plan to train it along the fence.. I've seen gorgeous magazine photos of climbing/rambling roses covering old fences and my dream is that someday you'll hardly be able to see the fence through the flowers! ha ha

So thank you for stopping by today!!! Now let's go plunk ourselves in those Adirondack chairs (which are VERY comfy) and watch for our little hummer friend(s)!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Continuous blooms 365 days a year...

...and never needs water! Now that's my kind of plant!!

Back in early May, Amanda and I happened to be in a junktique shop when I spotted this lovely little painted wood cutout of a blue hydrangea plant in a creamy white vase - some of my favorite colors!

Well guess what Amanda got me for Mother's day last month?

Oooooh, I just love it!!!!!! Now I can have pretty blue hydrangeas year-round!!!
Be sure to visit Smiling Sally's blog where you'll find a whole list of blue loving bloggers sharing some of their favorites on this Blue Monday!!!
Hope you all have a lovely week!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm guilty of playing favorites...

I know I shouldn't play favorites, but I can't help it...

(you can click any photos to enlarge)

(Sammy under the fuschia)
It's another overcast day here in New England. As I was looking through the window, hoping to see some hint of the sun trying to poke through...

... I noticed a "Chip" staring at me (but that is going to be a post for another day)... When I got back with my camera to take photos of Chip, I was very excited to see that my favorite squirrel (who I've named "My Sammy") had come for a visit.

I always know when it's "My Sammy" because his walk and movements are quite different from the other squirrels... (Here he is having a little chat with Nike, the garden turtle, on the deck railing)...

My Sammy stopped short when he saw little Christmas Tree Shop bunny, still on the railing from yesterday's "garden statue" photo shoot... I can just hear him thinking, "Well who are you? You aren't usually up here!"

He inched closer and closer, and after sniffing little CTS bunny, he was relieved to discover there would be no competition for peanut treats as she assured him she was more interested in flowers and plants!

Then he was off to check out the birdcage planter. I think he was trying to find a way into the cage to visit Mrs. Birdie for a bit! (As you can see, he's very social with all the garden statues!)

Oops - it looks like I've been spotted...

He stood up on his little hind legs, all excited - can you see the look of anticipation in his eyes? Ah yes, he knew what was coming next because he knows that I'm "The Peanut Lady"...

He scrambled down from the railing as quickly as he could... As I said, his movements are quite different from the other squirrels - more measured, a little slower. I believe his is a birth defect rather than an injury. He has a very short right arm with limited movement (most always held at a 90 degree angle), an almost non-existent paw, and one especially long claw extending from it. His rear foot is long and flat and flops around a lot, so he doesn't have full control over it to climb with.

I first noticed him at our feeder toward the end of fall last year, and I prayed that he would be able to make it through the rough New England winters since he was definitely at a disadvantage when it came to gathering food and escaping danger (the other squirrels were always quicker to get to the nuts thrown for them, or to climb trees to escape some of the neighborhood cats that roam free), but he has adapted very well.... It's fascinating to watch him gather nuts. Unlike most of the squirrels, who will take one nut at a time, he will try to take 2 or 3 at a time (very smart!). He lowers the front half of his body to the ground and rolls it onto the bad side so his short arm is resting on the ground. Then, with his good arm/paw, he pulls the nut into the crook of his bad arm, and then roll himself back up again.

Isn't he just adorable? Just look at that sweet face! It makes me melt.....
So yes, I know I shouldn't have favorites, but "My Sammy" tugs at my heartstrings in a very special way!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Macro fever in the garden...

I thought I'd share some of the garden statues and such that reside on our deck or in our little garden. The camera is set for macro, so here I go (trying to beat the rain that is due any minute now from the looks of the sky!)...

My prized possession - a vintage, chippy Mary garden statue that I found in a NH junktique shop last year (and on sale, too!)...

A little stone bird, from Target, living among the flowers in the garden birdcage (or is it bird cage - 2 words?).

A little fleur-de-lis adornment (from Wal Mart) for the top of the cage. I think it dresses it up nicely.

This little garden angel has been around since my primitive days...

She's been a steadfast friend, watching over our little garden for many, many years as her distressed wood attests to.

My biggest, heaviest wabbit; he lives on the patio. All our "Chips" enjoy sitting on top of his ears. I'll share those photos when I do my next "Chip" post.

Our little hedgehog (all cracked open in the back, but that doesn't seem to bother him so I don't let it bother me either)...

An old (but not yet vintage) lantern that was probably meant to hold a large candle. I like using it as a planter.

Littly bunny foo-foo is a little flower pot stake that I picked up at Wal Mart several years ago.

A very cute, short, round bunny that I got at a craft fair many, many years ago.

Mr. Tweet, who came from The Christmas Tree Shop a few years ago.

Mrs. Tweet, a little bit smaller, bought the same day.

A little garden turtle that I bought for Court so she'd always remember her box turtle, Nike, that she had when she was younger.

Rascally Rabbit, still down in the backyard chasing those flamingos around...

Rusty, a little bird who lives in our garden.

The "other" stone rabbit (because there can only be one original stone rabbit... Dana, my SR would LOVE to get together with your SR any time! Maybe we could have baby stone rabbits!)

The welcome bird, just picked up this year (Wal Mart I think?)...

I call this little guy David the Gnome becuase my girls used to watch that cartoon all the time when they were little. He was a Christmas present from a good friend (which is why he's holding a candy cane, but he's too cute to only come out at Christmas time, so he never gets packed away).

A happy little bunny from The Christmas Tree Shop....

Another bunny from The Christmas Tree Shop (not quite as happy as the other guy, but since his back has cracked I guess we know why!)

Rustic little church birdhouse on a stake which is strictly for decoration as no birds have ever used it.

I have a thing for chipmunks (Chips) so when I spotted these guys in the dollar section of Target this year I grabbed two - one for each corner of the deck.

One of two cherub "curtain rod holders" that I picked up at a church rummage sale a couple of years ago. I just use them for decoration out on our deck.

A little stone birdbath (with a broken rim, so it doesn't hold much water anymore), but I like to just set it out between plants.

A little birdbath that hangs from the oak tree next to our deck.

A little bird perched on the side of a birdbath down by the patio.

A bird perched on the birdbath I got at Christmas Tree Shop...
And now it's time to run inside and get these pictures posted because the rain has arrived!!!