Category Archives: backyard

the garden shed





The little red garden shed continues to “go away”. It is a bit difficult for someone like me to dismember the years this little building has served me. The butterfly nets from long ago still hang on the pegboard and the little fish bowl still sits on the shelf. Little by little we are undoing it. With its dismantle comes the memories. I have found my mom’s “Bobbing for Apples” for Halloween bucket with a hole in it leaning against a rotten wall, and a scattering of clay pots, fishing poles and tomato stakes stashed in corners all pulled together with cobwebs and years of old narrative. It has had its life.

 It will come back as a garden shed once again but with new wooden walls painted red and a tin roof. It will also, I am hoping, have a large chicken coop attached to one side of it – that is what I wish for. I will then use my existing coop for broody hens and baby chicks. In all of the years I have kept chickens, I have never had baby chicks from my hens….maybe this spring?

It seems appropriate that our little garden shed comes down in the fall, Nature’s season of death and dying, and will, hopefully, be complete with fresh paint and baby chicks in the Spring when Nature wakes up once again and recreates Herself.

As autumn tries (and fails) so persistently to arrive here in the Deep South I have made a barnyard discovery, I think. It is about my rooster. He came after me today, an actual attack (scary). I suppose the abrupt hostility of the rooster, one I have had since he was 1 day old, must have something to do with mating and maturation. I don’t know this, just observing his possessiveness and aggression towards any threat to his flock. It’s all good, I totally respect him and the job he was born to do but I will have to be more careful when I am near the hens. He seems to prefer the sneak attack and the backs of my legs are his target. Also happening in the “barnyard” … my Americana finally laid her first beautiful blue egg.



“Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable…the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.”  Hal Borland

I am waiting for both…

b u

p s

being still



It was “that” night, that summer night I think about when it is not summer. The moon rose and it was full, a Full Buck Moon, the time when tiny antlers emerge from the new bucks, and the locust were there under the one street light near my house and the chimney swifts were diving for mosquitos while the tree frogs sang their glorious song – it was there, all of summer condensed into one perfect night – I had a front row seat to all of this unexpected bliss. I do the night no justice with these mere words but I had to at least make note of it.


rose of Sharon and ginger

My chronological age is wonderful, it has helped me to see again. Some of the busyness is over, busyness that comes with jobs and raising children and although those were choice moments and accomplishments and certainly the importance of my life, these days of less “participation” are brilliantly colored by my greater ability to see. Of course, this intensity to see the beautiful details of life also works on the flip side, I see and feel the hurt also, seemingly more now than then. But this post is not about that, it is about the beauty from our starship – this is about the Full Buck Moon in a clear July sky and an early morning text from Elizabeth telling me she watched it hoover over the Cape with a light pink and blue sky as its backdrop on her early morning walk to work…so proud that she noticed. This is about these summer days that will keep warm thoughts in your winter head as you remember the cicadas that had made their ascent from the dark earth only to mate and then to die and the sounds of the night as much busyness takes place amongst the nocturnal animals, animals that have been pushed from their habitats as cities and towns sprawl but I still hear many of them here. I sometime catch the racket of the raccoons following the bayous looking for food and mischief and while I fear for my hens, I love the reassurance that they still have space to run.

Again, sudden darkness where the sun sets and the moonlight takes command as I wish I knew more about constellations.  I wait for the illusive falling star and always wonder exactly how the moon moved to my kitchen window the next morning when I left it hanging over the woods. It seems so distant and different outside of the kitchen window as the day takes from it its glory. And there is the sun beneath it, another day, no matter what is happening here, there it sits doing what it must. It dries the dew on each blade of grass, it opens the blossoms on the summer flowers and stimulates the honey bees. It is unlike the moon, it is powerful in a physical way, it is basic and it is forceful. The moon lets you gaze at it and dream on it. It is not as (visibly) constant as the sun, sometimes it doesn’t show up and the night sky is not as peaceful but then, it appears as a sliver amongst the stars on a clear night and I stop to admire it as my thoughts soften and all the world seems mystical and beautiful as the night blankets all that is wrong.

bee fb

Ironically, I write this ode to the moon, to the night, in daytime. The day is brilliant here with light and color and although the bloom of summer has peaked, much is left to enjoy especially in the early morning. My bees are busiest then, preparing for their excursions to find what is left of the summer nectar , fanning the hive before the heat of the day makes a bit of coolness impossible and tidying up the supers where, hopefully, more honey can be extracted in early fall. Busy busy, as I try not to be.  bu ps


for real

It was a picture taken in 1962 that prompted this post. There was a Christmas tree in the background with a little girl in front. The tree was so real – the icicles were thick and sparkly and had been put on by a child, the lights were big and the branches were random on this ordinary Douglas Fir. A special time had been created there with magic and tiny hands – nothing was perfect except the moment and the baby doll she was holding was one like I remember,  the eyes sort of clicked and rolled, the hair was etched  and she was wearing a long gown with tiny buttons – so real and pure. I felt that Christmas morning, that place before now when the emphasis was not on materialism and the world was still so big and “virtual” was not something I spoke of.

Anyway, it was just a snapshot of “then” that made me look at “now” and while some things are much better, I do miss the purity of life that was “then”– the wholeness and the understanding that the things that matter have nothing to do with marketing and consumerism, it was the solid structure of family that was just assumed, and the glory in the everyday things that made us happy. I choose to remain there in that place where Christmas trees had big colored lights and imperfect branches and happiness was  warm socks and hot soup in winter and dragonflies on  clotheslines in summer.

dad and I

 a snapshot of real happiness – balloons and a dad

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an early morning walk

I am here to post something much more delightful and positive than my borderline rant. I have asked myself if I feel better after saying what I felt and I am not sure I can answer that. This uncertainty tells me, perhaps not. I think I stepped out of character for that post and not being “you” is never a pleasant thing. So, I’m back…pardon the detour.

I am off this week of Thanksgiving and the weather here is perfect. I was outside early this morning picking satsumas and newly ripened oranges off of my trees – trying to beat the squirrels and the birds. I stood there within the grove the citrus trees made and broke the fast of the night – it was so wonderful, pure, whole food from my backyard. I have to say, there is not many pleasures beyond growing your own food. I suppose it is somewhere in our DNA – a survival tool that we are hard wired for. I heard yesterday that one component of well-being and good health is to have something to look forward to. Well, growing your food gives that to you along with whole food that is free from chemicals and filled with nutrients. Just a small patch of land can do big things for your health. Just saying…


While in the woods, I was dazzled once again by the cobwebs that extended over the paths – masterpieces in the early fall mornings with dew outlining their shapes and emphasizing their details – little Rembrandts of the night reminding me of chalk artist in today’s cities – working so hard to create, only to be dissolved by an inevitable looming force of nature.
The day rolls out like a tapestry rug – each hour offering something different than the one before, like the chapters of our lives, unfolding and delivering little pieces of art that delight us and then disappear into the morning light of the next day where, if we look with open eyes, we will see yet another masterpiece beginning .
Anyway…I hope this post is back to normal and I hope you can find something to look forward to whether it is a child coming home for the holidays or a trip you may take or a ripe orange in your backyard – and when you do, I hope you are thankful for the masterpiece that was delivered to your door and know that soon, there will be another.
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