In my backyard | 8.25.23

In my backyard | 8.25.23

Learning to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance. — Morgan Freeman

In August I savored the stillness… the bird song has slowed. Gone is the territorial songs marking nesting territories so it seems that the birds, as well, welcome some quietude to their day. Late August is not completely silent though… the cicada drone is an ever-present hum.

This month I delighted in a wee hummingbird who has marked the feeders as her own. Watching her chase off other hummingbirds was a bit like watching a quidditch match… and just as fun!

Though the humidity kept me indoors most afternoons, I did manage a few times to do some porch stitching. But indoors or out, I have welcomed this quiet practice into my day. I now can get 2 squares done in an hour and set up my squares for the next day. I have found a rhythm to my stitching… and I have discovered that I prefer using some wee pins to baste the piece down versus doing so with a needle and thread. I am getting much better and using my milliner’s needle to turn the edge under as well… and my corners have improved dramatically! But still… I don’t feel any urge to increase my speed… I am savoring the quiet time with just a needle and thread in my hands. Slow, quiet making is the perfect sweet spot.

I have also been loving every bite of my tomatoes… and I am making notes on what worked and what I can tweak for next year. One thing I could not count on this year were a helpful army of bees to pollinate my tomatoes. Sadly, I have noted a sharp decline in the bee population… it makes my heart sore and I have mourned their absence. In their absence, I have become a master pollinator…but I much prefer the visiting bees so my plans include a “Cosmo Hedge” with hopes of enticing more bees, however many, back to my yard.

The days are now markedly shorter and my garden is looking… spent… tired… more than ready for a break. I still have some yarrow blooming, but soon that will be at an end as well. I have some iris to dig up and divide and that is my plan for September. But my brain has been thinking of spring… I have the Mother Lode of Bulbs coming and so I will have a busy autumn getting them all tucked in for a winter’s nap!

All in all… the stillness of August did have an incredible radiance to it. This might have been the best August yet… and I will continue to savor the final days of it!

Happy Friday, all and I will see you back on Monday with an update on my word!

In My Backyard | 7.28.23

In My Backyard | 7.28.23

I have very much been enjoying my blog break… perhaps a bit too much. I have done some serious contemplating on my continued blogging. Most of it has revolved around the “creativity” issue…

i.e. Do I have any fresh ideas, thoughts, or anything of value to release into the void…

My answer to myself was… maybe a thing or two… maybe. Jane, who is much wiser than I am, once shared this wisdom in a comment here “Blogging once a week has advantages.” 

It certainly does… and so these thoughts continue to rumble around my brain. I am not ready to give up blogging completely, but I need a shake up a bit in an effort to find a new creativity well to drink from!

So as a more quiet July draws to a close… a quiet that may extend into August as well.

So why am I here today? Well… some months ago I read a book and that book has stayed with me in a most profound way. I have not stopped thinking about it… but better, I have been applying it to my life… that is, I have been paying much more attention to the world around me with some delightful effects!

(and if you are not currently following Margaret on Instagram… you should be!)

I thought that a nice way to close out each month would be to share things I have noticed from the month… things outside and inside…

This week I have been closely watching my tomatoes begin their journey from green to yellow to orange to red. For a tomato lover this is absolutely the best thing of gardening… harvesting the fruits of my labor. A couple of FB friends have prolific gardens… and they both shared some advice recently that I am taking action on. It is all about when to pick those tomatoes… and both of these ladies pick their tomatoes when they begin to break color from green to yellow. (Judy Wright shared this article that explains it clearly.) I have a baker’s dozen tomatoes all at various stages of ripening on my kitchen sill and I am prepping my living room sill today as well!

Last Saturday, I watched in awe as our resident rabbit, a proud and watchful poppa, carefully dig a new nest for his mate. This will be the 4th nest I have noticed this year. However, this is the first one that I caught in the construction process. I have only seen the mother near the nest a couple of times this week, but he watches it all day. These rabbits have brought such joy to my days… I feel honored that they trust us to raise their young in my yard.

In July I began putting a few shelled peanuts (unsalted, of course!) out for our resident squirrel and imagine my delight when I discovered that putting peanuts out meant I would see more Blue Jays! Now, the Blue Jays greet me every morning with the hope of me putting out a peanut or two. Their antics are quite hilarious and I am enjoying them so very much!

The hot weather means that I have been putting out more water for the wildlife. I have also been making sure the gravel dish has water for the insects as well. That same heat and humidity has kept me indoors most mornings this week… quick trips out with Sherman that finds us both wilting a bit as we head back indoors. There is no joy at all for me in this heat and it must be even less joyful for the animals, birds, and insects that can’t escape to a cooler place.

Since solstice, we (Pittsburgh, that is) have lost 39 minutes of daylight… I did not notice less light so much as the month began, but I absolutely am noting it as the month ends. I am missing those minutes of daylight very much… and I am wondering if winter would be more delightful if it was brighter!

In the quieting of the days… I have much been thinking about my making. I am wavering a bit on finishing projects… my desire is to have small portable things… easy to pick up and put down. I don’t want to be “chained” to a room to craft so I did not sign up for a painting class this month. And despite all that I found myself craving artistic inspiration so I really am shaking things up!! I have signed up for a hand appliqué class that begins in August. I know nothing about appliqué and I am looking forward to learning more about the process. I have this lovely idea in my mind’s eye of me sitting in the cooler morning air as I get comfortable with needle turn appliqué. This idea fills me with joy and I think that it will give me something to challenge me… something to inspire me… and something to help me extend summer beyond August and into September sitting on my porch stitching something.

Last but not least… did you see these!? I have plans to begin them this weekend!

What about you? I would love to know how your are quieting your days or what you noted in July!

See you all back here on Monday with my word update!



Sometimes Monday | 6.12.23

Sometimes Monday | 6.12.23

Brings some much needed rain! I am hoping that it washes away much of the pollen that is making me miserable! (as well as bring a bit of life back to our very dead lawn!)

We did have a good weekend… there was a happy hour that might have celebrated a certain indictment! I made the NYTimes recipe for spinach artichoke dip (and it was insanely delicious!) A couple of weeks ago I picked up a set of these produce containers that Carole had raved about a few weeks ago. They are crazy… and amazing!

But perhaps the best thing of the entire weekend was this little cutie wandering into our back yard Saturday afternoon and spending a few hours with us!

So tiny and so stinking cute! For a few hours I felt very much like dear Margaret Renkl with her Comfort of Crows in my own backyard! (An added boon… that rabbit in the end of the brief video is the Papa Bunny who has successfully watched over his third nest of babies in our yard this year!)

Today I am going to savor the rain as I sit in and paint a bit today! Happy Monday everyone!

See you all back here on Wednesday with some unraveling!

Pin It on Pinterest