Feathering My Nest

Yesterday’s gloom was a good excuse to stay home and feather my nest. Part of that involved simply straightening up the messes made last week when I was under the weather. Part of it was moving some furniture to accommodate a cabinet my parents gave me. I also tried to convince Scout that he wants to use the new larger litter box I bought for him. All of this plus a pot of potato soup for good measure!

It was a nice day.

The problem with a day like this is that it encourages me to notice things I want to change. My carpet is ugly and worn out and I have in mind a bedding look I would like for winter if I can find what I want. Then there’s the craft room/storage room that is a perpetual mess. I have a few fixes in mind but am honestly not sure how to proceed so paralyzed with indecision I will remain for at least a while longer. Then there’s the completely useless dining room I would like to transform into a library. Again, what to do with the furniture and which shelves should I buy?

The indecision regarding these rooms reminds me of the five year long saga that surrounded the need to replace my back door. Don’t ask. Just know it was excruciating.

While I wrestle with these and other issues, I will choose to be happy with this corner of my home.

Doesn’t it look inviting and cozy? It is pretty comfy.

Adventure season is not done but it is winding down. I have one big adventure and a few smaller ones planned throughout the holidays. Soon, though, I’ll be hunkering down at home and enjoying a no spend month or two. It’s good having a welcoming place and a refuge to return to at the end of a long adventure season.

We all deserve to have a place to call our own whether it be a corner, a room or an entire home. I hope you have a place like that for yourself.

Flying Jewels

Hummingbirds have been active in my yard for the last few weeks and several are coming to the flower pots on my front porch.

They can beat their wings thousands of times per minute so it’s no wonder I failed to get a clear picture of this little guy before he zoomed off. While it’s not a good picture, I kind of like the sense of motion.

They were nicknamed “flying jewels” by Spanish explorers visiting the Americas for the first time. This is the best possible name I can imagine for these tiny but majestic creatures.

Hummingbirds actually prefer to get their nectar from flowers instead of feeders. If you do feed them, be sure to clean their feeders daily and never use dyes. It’s a myth that the red attracts them better. What they crave is the sweetness.

Better yet, plant some flowers and shrubs that will also feed butterflies and bees. I read once that hummingbirds can visit around a thousand flowers a day so I’m sure they will appreciate whatever contribution you can make!

They are a migratory bird so they’ll be departing soon but I’ll enjoy them while they’re still here.

Five Minutes In Nature

As part of my new self care routine, I have been trying to start each day with five minutes in nature. That means five minutes in my back yard studying whatever I see.

Bees, moths, flowers and weeds are common subjects. Sometimes I snap phone pictures but the priority is always on enjoying the sounds and sights of these remarkable natural elements.

Yesterday’s five minutes were especially pleasant. When I walked outside, this guy was visible from inside the screen porch door.

Then I noticed this dainty little thing.

I was so busy studying these two that I nearly missed this character. Can you see that he looks camouflaged?

The purple balloon flowers are prominent right now and put on quite the show amidst all the rudbeckia and hostas.

Some of the flowers on my front porch got scorched a few weeks ago. Others are thriving but growing unevenly in the flower boxes. Isn’t that the way life goes? Even when we do well, it may not look how we expected.

All the same, the view is pretty at sunrise.

I just started doing my morning moment of nature about a week ago but it has quickly become a favorite part of my day. To steal away before work and simply absorb the sounds and sights of a new day is calming and good for the soul. I feel better equipped to face the day after a few deep breaths and a look around.

You should try it if you can. Really. It sounds nuts when your life is busy but time in nature has many positive benefits including sharpened senses and increased focus. Not to mention the stronger sense of life satisfaction that comes from being outside.

Morning works best for me but you should try it whenever it makes sense for you and see if it helps!

Self Care At Its Finest

Monday, 9:06 p.m.

My workday is complete, dinner dishes are washed and I’m lounging in a hammock on the screened porch. My parents gave me this hammock, a long ago Fathers Day gift that my dad never used.

It was in their way but it now holds a prominent position on my back porch. I just set it up over the Independence Day weekend and it has quickly become my new favorite hangout. From here, I can see trees and a slice of sky. From here, the birds and crickets, katydids and frogs are my only companions during many hours of the day.

After work tonight, I braved the heat to relax and read a magazine until I drifted off to sleep. It was hot but something about this hammock relaxes me and alleviates muscle pain. A short nap was exactly what I needed on this very long Monday.

That break was necessary and nice but not nearly as pleasant as this midsummer evening.

The air has cooled and the humidity has dissipated, almost like magic. A light breeze causes the treetops to sway and produces a gentle sound amongst the leaves. The shorts and tank top that were appropriate just minutes ago suddenly seem inadequate.

At 9:15 pm on July 11, it’s still light out but not light enough to continue reading my book. I do have white twinkle lights hung along the ceiling but getting up to turn them on would ruin the mood. Besides, the lightning bugs are just gearing up for their evening show and I hate to detract from their efforts.

I sit now in near darkness, except of course, for the light of my phone. An opossum just silently scurried past the porch. He paid me no mind but I wished him well. They eat ticks, small rodents and even prey on snakes. They are so ugly they’re cute and I welcome this night shift worker into my yard to help maintain my peaceful little habitat.

The birds are mostly quiet now, replaced by the gentle hum of locusts and occasional call of a distant Great Horned Owl. In the darkness, I can better appreciate the aromas of pine and soil and some kind of decaying wood.

Yes. This is my happy place and I am grateful for it.

As long as I’m expressing gratitude, I am grateful that these simple pleasures are even more luxurious to me than a day at the spa. This, my friends, is self care at its finest.

After The Storm

We had some excitement last night, waiting for severe weather to move through the area. We were under a tornado watch for most of the evening until it got ramped up to a tornado warning.

Everything turned out fine where I live but it sounds like a tornado touched down in an area where I often hike and where I had intended to hike last night.

When my phone started buzzing with notice to take cover, I packed up Scout in his backpack carrier and we headed to my parents house where I spent the evening in a small bathroom with my folks, a German Shepherd named Fritz, and Scout’s carrier strapped to me while I relaxed in the bathtub.

Fritz and Scout didn’t understand what was happening but they were troopers. The other three cats who live with my parents hid out under the bed.

As of this writing, I’m unclear as to the damage elsewhere but the power outage map is pretty comprehensive.

Since I tend to find humor at inappropriate moments, I’ll tell you that I had to giggle at one point. I went to meet a tornado dressed in hiking clothes and a sun hat with my cat and a big purse filled with snacks, water, a book and my journal.

Clearly, my priorities are straight. At least I had a book and cat.

When the tornado warning was downgraded to a severe thunderstorm warning, Scout and I headed home to our dark house. While we don’t know how long the power will be out, I was happy to just have a home to return to when others may not be so lucky.

It was then that I saw a good omen- a rainbow so large I couldn’t capture it all in one photo.

Here’s one more look.

What’s the old saying? Don’t fear the storm for the rainbow’s never far behind.