Waiting on Spring

Last year we were complaining … and worried … about drought. In the earliest days of Spring it was so dry that most mornings came without dew on the grass. Crops around here greatly suffered and many farmers reported a loss.

This year it’s rain. And more rain. And … well, there’s no lack of dew.

“Shoulda been a little more clear when I prayed for no drought this year,” a friend sighed.

Many of us don’t even have all of our vegetables planted yet which is a bit worrisome for these parts. It’s well into June but oh … so wet!

Rain though it may … nearly every day … there’s something pretty much everyone … even the curmudgeons in my circles are on the same page about for once …. we’re drained by the rain … but … there is a consolation.

Isn’t there always if we’ll just give it a moment?


The rain keeps falling … pouring …. Bucket loads.

But the flowers won’t be stopped. Thank God.

For me, Spring flowers are on par with a National holiday. After all, we wait all year for their brief appearance My husband and I may be a little goofy, but we anticipate and celebrate each bloom as if it’s having its own little birthday.

And this is just the beginning of what’s starting to bloom in our yard. All a little miraculous to us as when we moved here five summers ago there was nothing colorful in our yard except some tulips and a rogue hollyhock.

Life gives you rain … nature gives you flowers … or some saying like that. 😁

All photos are property of Sausmus Photography.

October Snow (II)

Where I live is more beautiful than where you live! Just kidding … well … not really …

Where I live is more beautiful than where you live! Just kidding … well … not really …

Either someone put up their Christmas decor a wee bit early and the weather took them seriously, or it decided to dress up as Old Man Winter for Halloween. This wasn’t a hint of Winter … it was a full on, 5 inches and 10 degree Fahrenheit, real deal Winter Weekend. Five days out, and it’s just starting to warm up enough to begin the melt down.

It’s not exactly unusual to get a “Halloween Snow” in Eastern Washington; my childhood friends and I remember crunching through a scant inch, sometimes a little more, rubbing together frozen fingers while trying to grip our candy buckets and not fall on our bums. We were so cold! But we refused to wear a coat over our costumes … because what was the point of dressing up then, right? All this for candy and treats … most candy, that is. I wasn’t a fan of black or orange jelly beans and could never understand why people spent money on anything other than chocolate …much of which was pilfered by my mom … so the more chocolate the better!.

Last weekend’s storm, tho’ … I can’t think of any October snow that could hold its own with this one. Every since COVID showed up in February, every month following has had something insane happen … attempts … I imagine … to not be forgotten against the backdrop of a pandemic. Who knew months were so competitive.

The first two tree pictures (above) are of our flowering cherry plum (my friend calls it our “Plerry” tree) First pic is “early storm” … the second one is morning after”. I went out three times to knock snow from branches … hate to think what would have happened had I not done that.

Moving back home recently provided a whole new perspective on winter weather. It was one thing to experience local winters as a kid. Besides freezing, I remember sled rides and snowmobiling. There were snow angels and being the first one to stomp across a snowy field. Hot buttered rums (sans alcohol for us kids) with the neighbors and daring each other to lick one of the glimmering icicles hanging from the eaves of the house.

Now there’s winter as an adult … an adult in a 100+ old house. The lesson of this crazy early snow is that cheap heating oil may not be the bargain we hoped for.

Our home is heated with a forced air, oil furnace … thus stove oil. I learned last year that when temperatures start dipping below 30 degrees you have to mix the diesel with kerosene to keep the fuel from clouding up and turning to gel … very bad for the furnace. Thankfully, we did not learn the hard way.

Our fuel guy, takes care of all that stuff, BUT when I called him in September to fill our tank, I said, “put in the cheaper stuff. We’ll go for the mixture (more expensive) when the temps drop in Nov. “

“Not a problem,” he responded. “Lot’s of people do that.”

Probably wouldn’t have been a problem in a normal year … but … we all know. There is NOTHING normal about 2020.

So My Guy and I faced a nearly full oil tank (fully exposed to the elements as it sits at the back of our house) in danger of freezing fuel that could damage our furnace. After a $600 dollar repair at the end of last winter, that didn’t sound like a good idea to us. We next discovered that an additive wouldn’t do us much good either. Unless we have a way to mix it in, it will just sit at the top of the tank.

So … we bought heat tape (didn’t even know it existed until today) and the equivalent of a poodle noodle to wrap over the top. Waaa Laaa! Insulation for the pipe that lets the fuel into the house. Here’s hoping it does the trick.

The upside of our storm is that it’s stunning outside. The downside is that trees all across town took a terrible beating. The day following the storm, I watched pickup after pickup creep off the slippery hill behind our neighborhood, truck beds brimming with branches that were being hauled to our town yard waste site. Leaves had just begun to turn color and very few had fallen yet. So with the weight of leaves and heavy wet snow, followed by a strong wind that came at the end of the storm … our trees couldn’t hold up.

Most of these photos are the morning after the storm. It’s truly a photographers wonderland around here. Thankfully, I managed to get out on the one sunny day before the storm and capture some fall color on a frosty morning … before the snow robbed all the tees of their leaves… but those pictures have been pre-empted by these. I haven’t had time to process and edit them, so a future post is all in the making.

I kinda hate to end with pics of broken trees (photos below) but they’ve reminded me of some things. In a world … and a year … where everything feels frightfully tentative … I’m reminded that I don’t get to choose my storms. Storms will come. And I … I will either lock myself away … or I’ll look for the beauty in a storm. Then I’ll clean up and carry on … find something new out of what remains. That’s what we humans do.

As my father would have put it, “How’s the weather faring where you be?” Are you enjoying a beautiful fall or are you enduring one of the storms that seems to have sprung up around the edges of the country?

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever your ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

I shared this photo on one of my Wordless Wednesday posts … too beautiful not to share again.

Where the Wild Things Are

2020 has been harsh. Can’t count the times that I’ve leaned back and thought, “Wow … what would I do without the wild things?”

When I can’t stand one more debate over face masks or listen to one more news headline that starts with the letters “C-O-” and ends with the number 19…

When my stomach is all knotted up over what how kids are being affected…

When I can hardly stand thinking about senior citizens battling a cocktail of fear and loneliness…

When all this craziness boils over in my brain …

I hunt down my walking shoes and head for where the wild things are.

Where the wild things are … nature.

Nature, resolute and unflinching.

Nature, luscious after drowning rain one week … busting with brilliance of color after scorching heat the next … growing peaked when the heat persists too long.

Nature has been a classroom. Early this Spring, My Guy and I spotted two geese flying with a small flock of ducks. Birds of different feathers joining forces. The news these days would have me believing that this can’t be true of animals or of people. Not true on either front.

Nature has been a reminder that powers much bigger than me are at play.

I’m not really a fan of sci-fi, but a high school teacher turned me onto Ray Bradbury, who in turn led me to Sara Teasdale.

I’ve thought of her words often of late …

There Will Come Soft Rains
Sara Teasdale, 1920

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild-plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

When I see wild flowers boastfully fanning themselves just before the sun drops them into darkness …

When birds hop carelessly free among untamed bushes, unworried about anything but the berries they’re about to pluck…

When owls wake up the darkness with the soft wooing…

When nature does what it knows to do …

I’m a little envious.

Envious of the simplicity …

Of the steadfast continuing on whether storm or calm …

Of the inability to seek revenge or hold onto grudges.

Our small town hasn’t escaped the blow of a pandemic or the shaking of racial strife … yet, I feel that it’s all a little gentler here. With the lessons of the wild things, there’s a strong sense of, “We’re all we’ve got … let’s make this work.”

People are not unlike the wildflowers. We strive to bloom. We bend with the winds.

We may be a bit battered by storms but not easily broken.

We may fade and wither under pressure, but even in fading, we can help others to shine … just like this field of wild flowers.

Nature is forgiving.

It seeks revival after storms.

It fights against drought.

It endures its seasons.

It refreshes a weary spirit.

Thank God for nature.

Because of later than normal rainfalls, wildflower season stretched further into summer months this year. Hope these photos gave you a break from the regularly scheduled mayhem, now known as 2020 and let you breathe a little deeper … where the wild things are.

How have you “de-toxed” from the craziness of this year?

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs.  You can read more on my “Thought Blog” at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

All photos on SmallStuffLiving are the personal property of Sausmus Photography and of this blog. Please do not use without permission. Thanks!

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