Posts Tagged ‘nature’

It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

March 31, 2013

How lovely to have some pretty sunny days with a cool north breeze – what a treat!  I had an interesting week, seems as if everything needed to be done for others right now this minute.  I was able to have an adjustment with my chiropractor, go to breakfast club, (I am now President Elect – in 6 months I will be President), have a lovely massage and enjoy yesterday with Eddie.  Along the way I have been noticing the flowers and trees blooming.  Our next door neighbors are back from Hawaii – they had great weather while it rained and was cloudy and sulking here.  Strangely enough, no new mole mounds in our yard but Sheila, on their other side, has 2 or 3 fresh ones.

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This is what I see out the front windows

The mountains are gorgeous, snow on them and quite far down too.  Haven’t seen the big snow cone much, too many clouds over that way.  Yesterday it was sunny and the mountains were clear – except by the foothills – the fog was sitting there like a collar of whipped cream.  Usually the fog drifts over here and then we can’t see anything for a while.  Funny, that dissipated before it was halfway across the Sound.

I need to go out and take some pictures of the camellias, daffodils and Delores’s flowering quince – it is just coming out.  I have enjoyed seeing some azaleas blooming as well.  I wanted to add some pictures to this post – I will use some pictures from both my sisters – thanks Ellen and Candy.

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Thank You Ellen for the Easter Daffodils and the earlier crocus

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Thank You Candy for the apple blossoms

I noticed our Cherry trees are showing three or four clusters of blossoms – I doubt we will be getting any cherries from either of the trees before the birds.  I actually though the cherry tree was dead, so it is a surprise to see buds.  The red pear tree has an amazing number of buds, let’s hope the wind doesn’t blow the blossoms off before the pears are set.

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I took these last year, those pears are delicious.

Now that I think of it, I do have a picture of the Big Snow Cone.

sn-ranierNow that is a mountain!

It has snow all year round and when you go up to Paradise in the spring, there are the most gorgeous wildflowers all around – with the mountain right there.  And up at Tipsu Lake, you see the lake with the mountain behind it and wildflowers too – what more could one ask?  Having the Olympics outside my front window, across Puget Sound, it is a wonderful place to be.

However, people have to remember, it rains a lot here and there are many cloudy days where it just sulks or else can’t make up its mind what to do.  I love rain, so it is not a big deal to me, but people who like hot weather in the summer and snow in the winter can be very disappointed.  A good friend of mine is a Yooper, born and brought up for most of her childhood on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – she hates the constant rain, having hardly any snow and the mountains.  She feels closed in; whereas I love to see them in all seasons.  Some people even say there are no seasons here.  You have to be a little odd to like living here.

I have shown you a bit of where I live and what I see, I’ve lived in the Midwest, South and Northeast – this is the only reasonable place for me.

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A Bright Spot In The Week

March 3, 2013

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We are having a lovely sunny day after yesterday when the sun fought valiantly to come out of the clouds – unfortunately it lost and it began to rain.  But today is gorgeous and clear – though at some point this afternoon the clouds will be back.  So I am enjoying the times when the sun comes out for however long and I am grateful for it.

A couple of days ago I saw a small clump of primroses out and the first crocus – it may only be the beginning of march but they have decided it is spring.  Suddenly we have a bed with purple, lavender and white with purple stripes coming up and blooming.  The pictures I took I can’t get off my phone, so I need to figure out how to do it.  So I check Google and found some that are close to what mine are.  It has been a mild winter for us – some very nippy days and nights and even a dusting of snow 2 days in a row.  Last year spring didn’t cone until Junuary because it was so cold and rainy for so long.

Let’s just say it has not been a stellar or comfortable week.  I woke up on Monday morning with the most painful shoulder and neck – I don’t know if I slept wrong or something happened I wasn’t aware of at the time or afterwards.  At that moment, the cause was not on the top of my agenda, the knives and ice picks were clamoring for attention.  Thank goodness I had an appointment that morning with Dr. Cheryl, my chiropractor.  She helped some and then had me rest a bit while she adjusted another client.  Then she came back to me and did a bit more work.  I really appreciated the extra time.

She suggested I rest and eat lightly, tea and/or broth, and just relax.  So I did.  It was still uncomfortable but a little better, at least I could turn my neck again.  I had a lie down and probably rested, maybe slept for about 50 minutes.  Then the phone rang.  I got up and answered it – it was Mom’s doc at the Center.

She had seen Mom at the Center that day and noticed the lump in her breast had gotten bigger since her first exam in August.  She wanted my permission to schedule a mammogram to make sure  exactly what’s going on.  I have had fluid filled cysts several times myself, so I wonder if it is that or something else.  I could have said No since she is 94, but it is better to find out what is happening.  They will let me know in about 2 weeks when the appointment will be.  The part I am concerned about is the mammogram, I don’t think Mom has ever had one and at this point I am not sure how she will perceive it.  The doc wanted to know if I would be there and I said “Absolutely”!

I am glad to report I was feeling a lot better on Tuesday morning, though there were still knives and ice picks.  I went to see Mom in the afternoon and took her the baby doll I had arranged for in September for her birthday.  At the time she didn’t quite know what to make of it.  This time she was very pleased with the baby girl in pink.  My friend Charlotte gave me one of her Lee Middleton dolls, I was overwhelmed.  As I watch  Mom hold the baby, she smiled and was delighted.  She wanted to show her off to everyone.

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The baby on the left looks like Mom’s, she has blonde hair and blue eyes.  She is in a pink bunting of thin pink and white strips and a lovely lace edging.  She also has a pink fleece sleeper like the one on the right, but with the same lace edging around it.

I bought a small oval basket as a bed for the baby and it fit in the open shelf of her nightstand.  As I was leaving, she kept asking “where’s my baby?”, “where’s my baby?”, “where’s my baby?”.    Friday she didn’t mention her baby, so I think it is like most things now – they come and go.  We’ll see how this works out before adding anything else.

Things at the house have changed, John moved out with his cat and now there is another man in his room. I am not sure how old he is, probably looks older with the long grey mustache and beard.  I saw him on Friday but since he was fast asleep in his chair, I didn’t say hello.  Also Jennifer left, she is now in a nursing home right near her sister.  The new person for her room was due to move in Friday night or Saturday morning.  I may see her when I go on Tuesday.

Funny, I feel as if I have spent  a lot of time at home resting, yet it feels as if I have ben tooing and froing when I write about my week.  I a working on another post but have gotten stymied, not sure where it will go.  It took quite a while to finish “Woo Woo, Goofballs and Hocus Pocus Water”; one of these days this one will tell me where to take it.  The fun of writing a blog.

War of the Moles

February 20, 2013

We have been having moles for a long time now, but I find I don’t have to do anything about them because my next door neighbor goes after them with a vengeance.  She wants to be sure they don’t  come into her lawn.

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This is the latest one, it appear while she was on holiday.  Since she didn’t see it right away, the soil has dried a bit.  Usually they are a dark rich brown and certainly show up against the green lawn quite well.  She has been  digging down a bit, putting pellets down to kill them, then packing down the soil.  Sometimes they come up next to recent hole, so it looks like this:

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I noticed a couple of weeks ago by the drive were some tiny piles, as if the mamma was teaching her babies how to do it – some test holes to make sure they have the hang of it.  Over by the street there were some that were a bit larger, I think the teenagers were practicing their skills.  After all, what kind of parent doesn’t teacher their young the skills they will need for life.

There are times when I think the moles are oblivious to us humans, spending all that time underground makes the chances of encounters with humans slim to none.  Wonder if they come above ground when it’s dark.  To be honest, I don’t think I have ever seen a mole.  So I decided to look it up on Wikipedia and this is what I found.

Talpa_europaea_MHNT_Tete                                   Talpa_europaea_MHNT

I have to say, a mole is an odd-looking creature –  appealing and repelling at the same time.  This is what I learned about this little mammal:

Moles are small cylindrical mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle. They have velvety fur; tiny or invisible ears and eyes;[clarification needed] relatively atrophied hindlimbs; and short, powerful forelimbs with large paws oriented for digging. The term is especially and most properly used for the true moles, those of the Talpidae family in the order Soricomorpha found in most parts of North America,[1] Asia, and Europe. It also refers to other completely unrelated mammals of Australia and southern Africawhich have also evolved the mole body plan; it is not commonly used for some talpids, such as desmans and shrew-moles, which do not fit the common definition of “mole”, as well.

I have to admit, I am intrigued by the “velvety fur”, but not enough to  come face to face with one and hold in my hand..

Now there have been times in the past when my Mom has said we had voles, so I check out Wikipedia again to see the difference.

vole is a small rodent resembling a mouse but with a stouter body, a shorter, hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller ears and eyes, and differently formed molars (high-crowned and with angular cusps instead of low-crowned and with rounded cusps). There are approximately 155 species of voles. They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America. Vole species form the subfamily Arvicolinae with the lemmings and the muskrats.

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They are kind of cute and more a mouse while a mole is in the muskrat or shrew family.  However, as I read more about them, now they don’t seem so cute.

 They can have five to 10 litters per year.Gestation lasts for three weeks and the young voles reach sexual maturity in a month. As a result of this exponential growth, vole populations can grow very large within a very short period of time. Since litters average five to 10 young, a single pregnant vole can result in a hundred or more active voles in less than a year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo wonder they multiply so quickly!

Hmmm, maybe those little piles were voles and not baby moles.   However, reading a bit more , I learned something not too wonderful.

Voles will often eat succulent root systems and will burrow under plants or ground cover and eat away until the plant is dead. Bulbs in the ground are another favorite target for voles; their excellent burrowing and tunnelling give them access to sensitive areas without clear or early warning. The presence of large numbers of voles is often only identifiable after they have destroyed a number of plants. However, like other burrowing rodents, they also play beneficial roles, including dispersing nutrients throughout the upper soil layers.

Now we know why Mom’s yellow crocus didn’t come up after she planted them, no doubt some little burrowing animal enjoyed a lovely snack.  Now why didn’t the creature eat the purple and the lavender ones, they keep coming up every year – no yellow.  However, since our lawn is more dandelions than grass, I don’t get all hot and bothered about little piles of earth.  It’s my neighbor who gets agitated because she wants to keep them from coming over and do a number on their little square of lawn.  Actually, I find I find it rather entertaining.


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