Tuesday, June 17, 2014

All Mine

The weeks are flying by it seems, and this time of year is always hectic for us.  We have birthdays, mother's day, father's day, our anniversary, and other celebrations that are all clumped together from late April until mid June.  Although it has been a bit crazy around here, I feel like we've accomplished so much already this spring, and I hope the rest of the warmer months will be equally as productive.

Although we've spent lots of hours cleaning and getting our yard back in shape...or maybe I should say in better shape, we have taken time to just enjoy this time of year by hanging out on our back patio in the evenings.

Last weekend the weather was picture perfect, low humidity, breezy, and almost cool'ish as the sun was setting each night, so we would go out after dinner and watch for our little hummingbirds to visit the feeder we have placed not far from where we sit.  Of course I take my camera with me sometimes in hopes of catching these little creatures that move so quickly.

Sometimes, trying to get a good shot of them is a lesson in sheer frustration, but for whatever reason, I try and try again.  And although they don't seem to mind if we are outside, they don't really like us to be too close, and they seem to sense when I have the camera, and become well, camera shy!

I was so excited when the female pictured in the 2 photos above, sat still just long enough for me to capture a nice shot of her complete with a pollen covered beak.

Rarely do they land on the feeders when we are out, but instead they flit back and forth from hole to hole watching their backs the whole time.

This year we seem to have a bossy female, and her equally bossy female nemesis, and the two of them fight non stop over our feeder.  In years past we've had at least 2 feeders, and our neighbor usually has several as well, but this year we bought a new feeder, and threw out our old ones that were brittle and in poor shape due to the unrelenting sun we get here.

And our neighbor hasn't put her feeders out yet, so we seem to be the only game in town, so maybe that's why they seem so territorial at the moment.

As soon as one female comes in to drink, the other female is lying in wait with a not so secret sneak attack in mind.

Each female takes quick rapid sips from the feeder, all the while knowing that the other one will soon be there to shove her off for her own dining pleasure.

They often spar for a bit, and then the other one will fly off to our maple or cherry tree, chattering the whole way, as if she is cussing out the other one in secret hummingbird language.

This goes on for quite some time, and they never seem to come to any kind of understanding that there are multiple holes in the feeder, and the more the merrier concept seems completely lost on these two alpha females.

I've only seen a male at the feeder a handful of times, and my guess is that he's just happy to stay out of the fray of these bossy little ladies.

It reminds me of that scene in Finding Nemo where the seagulls are all saying "mine, mine, mine" as they fight over who will win the prize of something yummy to eat.

And of course they don't even seem interested in the various flowers I have planted to help give them an artisanal selection of nectars to choose from.  Thankfully the bees, moths, and butterflies don't mind sharing, and are happy with the flowers I selected for their cafe style dining experience.

I guess hummingbirds can be a lot like people...worried that if they share, they might miss out on something really good.  Perhaps they've never read the saying below!

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle
~James Keller~ 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Certain Sweetness

The past week has been fraught with change, some good, some bad.  With change comes a certain realization that things never remain constant, and for the most part that is a good thing, it is a way to make us grow even when we don't know that we need to.

Mr. Tide has taken a few days off from work and we've been busy cleaning out our garage, a task that was 7 years overdue.  Ever since we moved in to our "not so" new house, the garage has been a dumping ground for all things to be dealt with later.

It became the place we put the stuff from the attic at our old house as this house doesn't really have an attic.  It also became the place where the spare items from our renovation went to die...you never know when you will need that 3 inch piece of crown moulding, right? or how about that marble sink you got for a steal?!  It had to house our tools, including the riding mower, rototiller, etc.  It became our sports center, though truth be told some of those balls, sticks, and racquets haven't seen the light of day in a very long time!  And holiday stuff...forgetaboutit!

Of course there is the furniture that never quite fit in this house, but will work just great when your son gets his first apartment, so you better hang on to that.  The lawn furniture that you use for half the year.  The memorabilia from kids growing up...you can't part with that!  And don't even get me started on the number of pots I have...I could seriously open a nursery if I had the gumption to plant and water a million potted plants!

I did finally wise up this year and planted far fewer things that will require watering during our sometimes scorching summers...but that doesn't really account for the number of pots I have acquired over the years, perhaps I should add this to my shoe and flower obsessions.  On second thought, lets just blame it on the fact that I did inherit a lot of those pots and leave it at that.

I will say that over the past 3 days we have been taking stock of all of this "stuff" that was SO important to us that we schlepped it from one house after another, and haven't looked at much of it for 7 years now!

And along the way as we've cleared, cleaned, and contemplated, I figured out something very important.  My tastes have changed...a lot!  I don't mean in the last 7 years, but in the last 6 months.  I crave simplicity the way a person in the desert craves water.

I no longer want a bunch of "stuff" that I have to lug from place to place, and so I'm letting go.  I have never really been one to hoard things, I can't even really wrap my head around the concept of hoarding to be honest, and I feel for those who do suffer from that particular compulsion.

But in a way, we are all hoarders of sorts, no matter how small.  We tell ourselves that this or that will be important to us one day, we can't part with things people have given us, even if we never loved that thing to begin with.  Or as in my case, I often think "oh you should save that for the kids or maybe put it on Craig's List or sell it at a yard sale," all the while knowing that my kids probably won't want it, and the idea of having a yard sale gives me hives!  I mean really, getting up at 5 am after spending hours putting price tags on stuff that's only worth a quarter and then haggling with people who want to pay 5 cents for something really isn't my thing.  Though I am sometimes secretly jealous of those of you who do make the effort to go to yard sales and find amazing stuff...you know who you are Linda and Terri!!! :)

For me, and much more so as I grow older, the letting go is the simplest part.  There is a certain sweetness in filling up the back of your truck with bits and bobs that you know people will love discovering at the local thrift store.

Each trip we make to the dump, to the recycling center or thrift store is like a weight being lifted off of my shoulders.  And with each square inch of real estate I gain back in my garage I feel a sense of joy come over me.

Maybe it's the little things in life we are truly craving while we're busy accumulating or pinning things we hope to accumulate!  Like watching the muskrats swim back and forth all day long, perhaps accumulating their own clutter as they move from den to den?  Or the sweet smell of honeysuckle that wafts through the house from along our fenceline.  Or a very tuckered pup who thinks that all that crap you have is just something wonderful to cover in dog fur. 

Whatever has taken hold of me and turned me into a conscientious objector in the war on "buy more, it will make you happy," I'm liking it and I plan to keep ridding myself of things I no longer want or need.  By the time I reach 100, I should pretty much have a computer desk, a chair, and a bed...and that should be just about perfect, I think. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Revery

I know some people hate bees...and clover, but I love both!

We hadn't seen very many bees yet this year, though we have been very accommodating in not mowing all the clover that blankets our yard until it's knee high to a possum or we can't see the dogs! ;)  Then on Saturday, the bees finally arrived, and by the looks of the little lady above, they've been very busy while we weren't looking.  Check out those pollen saddlebags!!!...she is bringing home the proverbial flower bacon!

I have to say that both Mr. Tide's and my heart skipped a beat when we saw this lovely honey bee, and some of her brethren.  We have been worried about hive collapse and all the issues that seem to be challenging one of the most important creatures on our planet, and not seeing any this year had us wringing our hands a bit.

Did you know that some of the new hybridized flowers either don't produce much pollen, or that their necks are so long that pollinators such as honey bees can't access their pollen?!  Did you also know that all worker bees are female?

But as if to say..."thanks for not mowing the clover or killing the weeds and flowers we love with chemicals,"...these sweet bees gave us their nod of approval.  Thankfully, we won't have to rely on the revery as Emily Dickinson suggests, and the bees will find a way to overcome our notion that manicured, weedless, and flowerless are signs of a beautiful yard!

“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.” 
― Emily DickinsonThe Complete Poems