When one lives with animals their lives are dictated by animal care. When I wake in the morning I do not have the luxury of rolling over and snuggling in for another 40 winks. The dogs want to go out. Now. Even if I can lull them back to sleep, I know the chickens and ducks are in the coop waiting to get out and have a drink and breakfast. And the stray cat that lives in the garage wants a hand out, not to mention the cat we do own is usually calling for a meal. The bunny will be waiting,too, for a handful of grain and a carrot. I also know that the wild birds are waiting for me to scoop seeds into the feeders around the yard. Even the crows are out there, calling at dawn from the tall trees, wanting a treat. Sometimes all of that feels like unwelcome pressure. Especially in the winter, when the mornings are dark and cold; I long to snuggle into the warm sheets for a while longer before my feet hit the cold, cold floor.
But I cannot. So I swing out of the bed and gasp at the cold air as I pull on warm fleece clothing and heavy boots. Within moments of opening my eyes I am outdoors, a bucket of water in my hand, my pockets stuffed with carrots and treats, my hair wild enough to scare small children. The icy air is a slap, and most mornings there is this question in my mind; "WHY do I do this to myself?"
Then I look around, blearily. The sky offers a new view each day; sometimes a shroud of clouds, other times a bowl of blue. There are always birds to admire, and sometimes deer in the meadow. In this photo the valley and ridge across from the house were thick with a fog so dense it looked like cake frosting.
The bunny hops to greet me. The chickens cluck their happiness as I open the pop door from the coop and fill their bowl with fresh water, their dish with good food. The ducks strut. My dogs dance in the cold, gleeful. "It is a new day!" they seem to tell me. "What shall we do for fun?" The enthusiasm is contagious. As soon as chores are done I walk in the meadow with them, watching them sniff the spots where wild things have been and bounce over the frozen ground. And I look around at the quiet morning world and feel so sad for the people who are still in bed, missing all this beauty and happiness.
When one lives with animals their lives are dictated by animal care. And blessed beyond measure.
At a yard sale a summer or two ago I found this funky piece of wood. I think it was once the ornamental back piece of a sideboard. I paid $30 for it and brought it home. I loved it, but wasn't sure what in the world I would do with it. Recently, after re-arranging a lot of furniture, I found the perfect spot. However, the piece needed some adaptations... I wanted a shelf added to it, and since the wood had been stripped and left bare, I had to decide some sort of finish for it. My talented and kind friend Philip generously made me a wonderful shelf. That left me with only the decision of how to finish the piece.
If you've read my blog before you might remember that I am rather fond of... WHITE. My husband calls this "the decorating color of the uninspired." But I just like that absence of color thing! I got a wild idea and looked up on line how to whitewash. The site I found told me to merely mix 1 part water with 2 parts of white paint. I gave it a whirl, working on the back of the piece first to see how it looked. I liked it. A lot.
My sweet husband helped me hang my wonderful new treasure. It was no easy feat, the wall was made of some funky old plaster mix and it took us more than one try before we acheived sweet success!
Now this lovely white washed find hangs in the front room, a unique and funky thing. It holds wonderful crystal votives and when I look at I am infused with delight. Part of the fun in decorating the way I do is that each unique piece holds the memory of the hunt, the fun of creating something out of not much, and the pride in the finished product.
I have long been fascinated by windows. I like to peek into the windows of houses as I drive past, catching a glimpse of the light and the curtains and perhaps a bit of what is inside the house. I admit it; I'm nosy.
I've recently realized that many windows at my house are decorated in some way. Lots of them sport prisms suspended to catch the sun rays. Depending on the time of day and position of the sun I usually have rainbows dancing on the walls and ceilings of at least one room. Antique bottles are naturals on sills, and bird nests and bird figures seem to be at home in the space that unites indoors with out. Of course, as I look at these pictures I think how very much my windows need washing, but most of all I think that the ornamentation of these spaces is simply pretty.
I am blessed to have lovely views outside all my windows. The little things I put there merely accent and frame the vistas and add to the delight.
Catfish Hunter came to live with us in November. He was not terribly impressed with the move, at first, but he seems to have settled in nicely.
He is huge. He stalks the house with a regal air, and morning and evening demands food in a firm tone. In between times he arranges himself rather elegantly in picturesque spots as he did here; on the kitchen table enjoying the sun and the perfume from the Narcissus.
I don't think he has caught a mouse since he arrived, but then again, we haven't seen any rodent calling cards, either. Perhaps that is not a coincidence.
We hadn't really wanted a cat, but we are glad to have this big guy here, filling the house with his rumbling purr and looking quite fetching on the antiques.
I went to an artists house today. A bright, colorful woman who shares her little house tucked into the woods with an exuberant golden retriever. Everywhere I looked there were touches of lovely. She was smart and creative and kind. My favorite part of the visit was when I mentioned how much I liked her 1950's metal lawn chair, crusted in ice and abandoned in the yard. She looked at it fondly and said, "I love it, too. But my son tells me I have to get rid of it, that it is a piece of junk." Her eyes filled with sorrow as she looked at me. "My son? He is... normal." I could see this pained her deeply. And it made me smile all day long.
This has been a mild winter by anyone in Maine's standard. And today we had a lovely, sunny day with temperatures in the 30's. Chris and I did some creative things at home, got a few chores under our belt, and then ran some errands.
And there is where the magic happens. We will celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary next month, but get the two of us in a car with no set agenda and it's like we are zapped back in time. Chris hooks his iPhone up to the stereo and plays whatever music he is in the mood for that he thinks I'll like. We open up the sun roof, crank the heat, hold hands. Sometimes we chat, sometimes we ride in companionable silence.
In between dropping printer cartridges off to be recycled, getting a new watch battery and picking up vacuum bags we slipped in a trip to Rockland harbor.Chris grabbed a couple bags of popcorn. We walked out on a pier and soon were surrounded. There was the squabbling of gulls and the pretty cooing of pigeons all around us. The sun shone down and the wind was still, so it almost felt warm. We took turns taking pictures. I really like this one, a young gull heading in off the water, ready for some popcorn.
There were people walking nearby, and others sitting in their cars admiring the view of the harbor, but for a slice of time it felt like it was just the two of us, and the birds and the sun glinting off the water.
A car ride, some popcorn and some time alone. That is what a date looks like. And we like it just that way.