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?

Flowers.

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.

Sometimes You Just Need to See a Bird Taking a Bath

Someone in town mentioned that they haven’t seen any Robins for a very long time.

I think they’re all at my house.

There’s a pair that have taken over the rain puddles on this tarp, and then there’s a mama Robin who built her nest under the eave of our front porch.

And to think I worried that the lack of any established trees were keeping birds away from our place.

The hummingbirds are a little slow in showing up tho … probably the extra cool weather … I’m purposefully calling the weather extra .. so these Robin-antics are very welcome.

There’s a lot in the world to worry about these days. Much to give reason to stop and pray.

And then … there’s a Robin bathing on the tarp.

I love my country life.

Waiting on Spring

Spring has been flirtatious this year. Snow in early May. Only a single day that has edged to the 70 degree mark.

Now it’s a wet and cool Memorial Day weekend with my vegetable garden half planted.

About the only thing I’ve found this gloomy weather good for is a walk through the local cemetery… made me more reflective than normal, I think.

Lives willingly given to nail down the freedoms we enjoy.

Other lives gone just too soon … some by uncontrollable circumstances. Some by stupid choices.

Lives well worn … well lived.

Others that made us cringe.

Lives that started a legacy that is now our small town, still hanging on.

Lives that taught us to laugh … or hope … or to be reverent and merciful.

Lives that made us feel loved … tears well up because we miss them beyond words.

I walked away wondering what phrase or memory will someday sum up my days on the planet.

Seconds later I’m thinking about whether we’ll see weather in the 80’s before August. And will we complain when it does?

And … am I brave enough to grill our Memorial Day meal in the drizzle.

Ahhh … my thoughts are as fickle as the forecast.

Below are sweet reminders that nature won’t wait on inclement weather. Maybe I shouldn’t either.

All photos property of Sausmus Photography and cannot be used without permission.

Holy Bat Squirrel

(Heading Photo is a Pexels free Photo and not my own)

It’s squirrel escapades at our house

We were wondering why our cats have been meeting us at the door recently seeming emotionally needy. (This was pre-puppy, so Tillie wasn’t the problem at that point.)

Pacing, yowling, rubbing against us … we thought maybe this was a renewed tactic for extra treats. But as soon as treats were scarfed down it started all over again. So I’d clean the litter box, check the water dish, make sure the bottom wasn’t visible in the food dish (a major cause of cat discomfort in our house).

Nope.

They were still edgy and needy.

Then, I figured it out.

I was on the phone with a friend one day, careful to stay stationary because there are only one or two spots where the cell signal around here will stay strong enough for anything over a 30 second call. Afraid to even turn my head and cause another dropped call, I caught a bit of movement near the window where the cats hang out. I ignored it … but the shadow repeated … three or four times at least.

After the call, I crept over. Both cats were in place, one on the cat “tree” and the other in his special window seat. There were some birds on the feeder, but it didn’t seem like they were big enough for the huge shadow I thought I had seen. I was about to walk away when there it was …

A squirrel. Mr. Bushytail came tearing up the driveway, jumped onto the side of our house, raced up the siding and leapt onto the bird feeder.

That’s a big boy! I think he got more than he bargained for tho’ because he set himself into motion.

HaHa! He’s hanging on for dear life. After swinging back and for a moment he popped off and ran away. His buddy tho, was a little more clever. This guy climbed up the screen door (placed for decoration … not meant to be a squirrel ladder … I may have to move it) and carefully reached and stretched to scoop seeds out with his paw.

It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the smarter squirrel is a little smaller. Shows how the greed of the other guy mighta got the best of him. Either way these are both big fellows. Usually I enjoy watching them come into the yard and feast away, but up close and personal like this, I’m reminded that they are part of the rodent family. A little less endearing and this close.

It’s interesting how squirrels have resolutely moved into our town in the last two years. (I have a friend who captures squirrels where he lives and relocates them because of the damage they do in his urban neighborhood. Think I know where he may be dropping them off. No … he’s good, he takes them to wooded areas, deplete of people.)

Seriously tho’, other than an occasional chipmunk that high-jacked a ride on a logging truck through town, squirrels were uncommon until recently. I noticed two when we first moved here … a gray squirrel and a red one. Now I’m seeing about a half dozen red ones. Makes me feel like I’m in a city rather that a rural community. Every city I lived in came with squirrels it seemed.

In fact my first experience with squirrels came when I started college in a large city. On my second day in the hustle of cars, people, and businesses, I treated myself to a wonderful cinnamon roll at a neighborhood bakery and then went to a bench on the edge of the campus to eat it. Suddenly I became aware of a squirrel on the back of the bench. It stared at me for a moment. I sat intrigued … I’d rarely been this close to a wild creature before. Then, without warning it leapt from its perch right onto lap, ran up my arm and grabbed the piece of roll that was in my hand.

This must have been the person before me which would explain the greediness of the fella I met. Photo by Kristu00f3f Balogh on Pexels.com

I certainly had NOT been offering my yummy treat to the squirrel (I had NO intention of sharing it with ANYONE) so was startled at its boldness. It grabbed its treasure and ran off … leaving me apprehensive that I might get affronted by another bushy-tailed rodent. Thankfully I didn’t. And thankfully it wasn’t as big as the guy swinging on my feeder. “

“Our” squirrels are fun to watch, but obviously getting too bold. Pretty sure that having Tillie in residence will cool their bravado a bit.

And speaking of Tillie, a friend asked if I’d end my posts with an update or picture of her. Might not always do that, but I definitely have some cuteness to share today. Here’s Tillie learning the world of stairs. She’s not interested in what’s on the top floor but could race up and down them all day. You can see that she’s a little winded in the middle shot.

Have a great weekend … enjoy whatever escapades … squirrel or otherwise that come your way.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I write.  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 you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

When It’s Best to Say Nothing

Reflections

2020 was a year for voices.

Not always ones we’ve wanted to hear …

But there were things that needed to be said …

Sometimes helpful … sometimes not.

If I thought 2020 was noisy … 2021 has us screaming … already!

I’ve decided not to.

Scream, that is …

There’s so much of nothing to say …

I think it’s okay … best even … for me to say nothing for awhile … to let nature do the talking. This is what nature had to say on a recent walk at a favorite spot a short drive from my home …

It is true bliss have moved back “home” … immersed in the country side I love so much. To have all of this nature to escape to.

Putting this post together made me think of a Sara Teasdale poem that was part of the curriculum I taught in Junior English. We followed it up by reading Ray Bradbury’s story of the same name. I just noticed that Bradbury set his story in the year 2026. I hope he is wrong … that both writers prove to have given us warnings that are heeded … not prophetic pictures that come true.

There Will Come Soft Rains (Wartime) – Sara Teasdale

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.

Okay … that’s a little deep for this blog … probably should have put it on Rashellbud, my thought and faith blog, but this glimpse of nature is one of the joys of where we live.

Do you have any advice from your corner of the world for taking on 2021?

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I keep.  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 you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly



Walk in the Woods

One of the things that we love about where we live is our “back yard”. Thirty minutes from the driveway and we’re at the lake. Head in the opposite direction, and we’re driving down dirt roads, past iconic farm homes and old barns. And yet, one more turn in the road and we’re in Idaho at one of my favorite places on the planet … McCroskey State Park.

I grew up at the base of this ambling, understated wonderland … we knew it as Skyline Drive, and it was my Dad’s favorite place to drive. Now it’s ours.

Skyline Drive is where we headed on a recent Sunday afternoon. The crazy smoke and awful pollution from the onslaught of early September wildfires had finally cleared out and the sun beat down on us, unfiltered.

Camera in hand, I set out for a short hike between two campgrounds along the top of a long, tree-lined ridge. Unfortunately, the camera didn’t prove useful for the amazing wildlife experience I was about to have

I had just descended down the hillside, well out of view of the main road and deep into the brush on both sides of the under-used path. My feet screeched to a stop … I think they did so long before my brain comprehended why.

Something … something rather large it seemed … was rustling in the thick brush to the left and uphill from me. This wasn’t a chipmunk … at least not one of usual proportions. My heart rate agreed … this was bigger … and scarier than a chipmunk.

However, more curious than scared … a dreadful fault of mine … I readied my camera, but also reached for my cell phone and turned on the video setting. If this was my award winning moment at capturing a moose in the wild maybe I wanted it on video. (Or if I was trampled by a creature, like, say … Sasquatch ,,, the video would answer a few questions for my husband, who had stayed at the trailhead … he’s not into hikes so much. )

Snap, snap, snap. Rustle. Snap. I guessed that I was hearing chewing and moving sounds as whatever it was drifted closer. Seemed like there were echos because the sounds came from straight ahead AND to the left AND to the right. I strained to see through the leaves and shrubs but they were just too thick. I could see nothing.

I thought I heard a snort, so ruled out Sasquatch … he has never struck me as a being who grazes for food on all fours.

This apparently ravenous creature was now within 20 feet of me separated by a short clearing and maybe a 10 foot wall of brush.

Suddenly, a thought occurred. What if it were a bear?

Bear, although rarely seen, are not uncommon on Skyline Drive. A story that my neighbor told many, many years ago came to remembrance, causing little beads of sweat to roll off my neck. She had been at the restroom at the trailhead of this very same spot and pushed opened the pit toilet door to find a black bear inside. She raced back to her Jeep so fast she couldn’t remember if she left the door open enough for the bear to get out.

What if I were standing 20 feet from that very same bear? Forty years and a lot of imagination had it weighing about 4000 pounds. And from all the noise, something nearly that big must certainly be in front of me.

I had just decided that maybe I should slowly back my way up the path, when there came a loud crash to the right. Something burst into motion and bolted down the hill. I aimed my video in time to capture a blur and then a white butt with a short flapping tail above it. (Not very good quality, so I didn’t post it.)

Whew!

A deer.

But … the snapping, rustling noise DIDN’T stop. There were more…. and they were now about 15 feet away.

Deciding that it wasn’t worth having them burst through the brush on top of me, I scuffed my feet and broke a twig.

An explosion of movement sent several deer crashing uphill. I didn’t get a single glimpse of any of them, but marveled at how quickly they broke through the terrain and disappeared. In just a matter of seconds I could no longer even hear them.

A little disappointed that I hadn’t gotten even one close up photo, I was still thrilled at this close encounter with nature. “It was the greatest hike ever,” I told my husband later, although I didn’t have a good reason as to why … not even a truly good picture.

A smart person may have returned to the car at that point. I didn’t. Now that I knew what was on the hillside and how skitterish they were, I continued on.

Finishing the hike had its rewards. First the view …

Then, after reaching the other camping area, I followed the main road back. About a quarter mile away from the car, I had the distinct feeling that something was watching me.

It was.

Pretty sure this was the guy who first bolted away from the rest of the group. Love his ears … makes me think of a dog who got caught dragging the trash can all over the kitchen.

Eventually, we came off the mountain. COVID and politics were still down below. Laundry waited in the kitchen. Weeds in the yard hadn’t gone anywhere.

But that hour in nature … a sliver of time away from it all … no better medicine.

Oh … one more reward for the day … notice those flights climbed! That’s a BIG deal for me.

Cheers until next time!

Do you have a place where you can escape?

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I keep.  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 you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Wordless Wednesday – Wonder

This is the original post I had scheduled for today, but I’m finding it a hard day to stay Wordless.

I live in an area hard hit by the Pacific Northwest fires.

I’m sitting here wondering about this newborn that we recently stumbled upon in a recent jaunt into our beautiful region … I’m wondering if he and his mother are safe. My heart hurts as I think of all the wildlife in Washington, Oregon, and California displaced and terrified.

I’m wondering about our friends on the west side of the state where fires have encroached into suburban neighborhoods. Friends have had to evacuate … the school where I used to teach is threatened with a fire burning all around its neighborhood. With an unheard of hot and windy day in the forecast for this time of year and that area, those who had to leave aren’t likely to know the outcome for some time.

I’m wondering about the tiny community just 20 miles from us … Malden … that is suddenly known by everyone in the country. A until-now-nameless, sleepy town lost 80% of their homes and buildings … the fire department, city hall, community center, library … all gone. You’ve probably seen pictures of the devastation in the news. These are our friends … our extended community … our reason to set down what we’re doing and help.

If you are a praying person, I thank you for praying. It’s overwhelming … I know. So much to pray for this year … but in our small town, most of us are the kind who believe that the cataclysmic events of this year are best handed over to the hand of Someone who can give us the strength to continue on and the peace to know that we can overcome.

I guess at that … I am wordless and speechless … for now.

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

Wordless Wednesday – Family Time

Who knew beavers were so affectionate. I’ve been watching this little family all summer.

Who knew beavers were so affectionate. I’ve been watching this little family all summer.

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