Autumn Ready

A few weeks left of summer … welcome Autumn! I am ready, and over the past few days, I have enjoyed a few cool days and nights around here. It has motivated me to do a few things around the porch, transitioning seasons, as well as a delicious meal using what we have collected from the veggie garden, although it hasn’t been much this year due to the hot and dry weather.

My husband made this sign for me from recycled wood. It is what we named the place. Plenty of crows around here year round.
Even during this downpour they are enjoying themselves. No other birds around playing in the rain.
Across the road, what looks like a portal to another world/dimension.

Gardening was challenging and not bountiful this year, and many plants are done by now, hence why transitioning to autumn is a natural next step for me, as there seem to be less chores around here for some reason. There were fewer cuts of grass; it just wasn’t growing fast, but my husband was happy about that I guess. In the meantime, there are a few projects that are up in the air, waiting to be done as time and money allows. I will share a few here. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Maybe Next Year

It is almost September, and by now, I should have collected several baskets of veggies, but not this year. The dry and hot weather in my area has made growing food challenging – no tomatoes yet, no giant sunflowers, and no signs of the beginnings of a pumpkin or even a cantaloupe – Where have all the veggies gone? Some of the plants died, even when we were watering once a day every other day or two. I only collected this so far, and even the lettuce, the easiest thing to grow, did not do so abundantly.

Just a few leaves of lettuce and a few cucumbers.
Second time – I collected only these veggies.

And that is it! Tomorrow it will be the first day of September, and I hope I can get at least a couple tomatoes before cold weather hits. The plants are not looking too promising, but I hope there is still a bit of time, although I think it will be slim pickings, and I will be grateful for it.

Unrelated but lovely.

The butterflies have been visiting the only bush that have been flowering continuously around here, so I am glad they are eating well from it.
This bush is like Central Station for all winged lovelies.
There are plenty of little white flowers for everyone!

They have their food, they pollinate, and we will have ours as well; not so unrelated now.

The Day I Had a Tiny Glimpse of God’s Love

It happened on New Year’s Eve, years ago. My husband was in the living room and we were about to watch the New York ball drop on T.V. (No, we were not drinking). It happened in a matter of seconds, very fast but very profound. As I stood in front of the kitchen sink, about to finish up and join my husband in the living room, suddenly, I was hit with an immense feeling of joy and love like I had never experienced before. It engulfed my whole being. I felt as if I was part of the entire universe, of everything that surrounded me, even the material. I was everything and everything was me, but all of it was engulfed by this immense love, unlike anything else. I heard this voice in my mind, but not audible, just present in my mind, and apart from my own thoughts – “Hold on to the feeling,” the voice said. In an instant, I was back, and I could not explain what had happened. A very small part of that feeling remained in me for the next couple of days, almost like a side effect. I kept thinking about the voice – “Hold on to the feeling” – but I could not recapture it. The greatness and oneness, the immensity of it is hard to explain with words, even today, as I recall the experience.

Much later on, that memory helped me through a very rough time. I knew that I was never alone. I don’t know why, or how, but I think that I was given a tiny glimpse of God’s love and oneness that day. I don’t think that my being would have been able to take all of it; it was sublime, supreme, great and indescribable. Today, I think about that day, and I share it here with the hope that it speaks to anyone who might be feeling alone, unloved, or unworthy. That it speaks about how much God loves us, and His immense kindness and care. You are not alone, God loves you, and you are valuable to Him. The entire planet seems a big giant ball of twine these days. The events happening around the world might be overwhelming to some people; I know these have affected me, however, even when I cannot recapture that feeling today exactly, I reminisce of it, and know that I am not alone, and neither are you.

Photo by M.A.D.

Less Will Have to Be More

Glancing back this month and reviewing our budget, I realized that expenses are on the up and up. Not that we are spending more, but that things are costing more. If you have been paying attention, not to the news but to the world around you, you might have noticed inflation creeping in. If you pay attention at grocery prices from month to month, you already know it. When people refer to “less is more,” they usually do so in the context of aesthetics, décor, clutter… I think that with our current “real” state of the economy, not what the news are reporting daily, but what you see people live day by day, less will have to be more. If you have no clue of what I am talking about, on your next shopping trip to the grocery store (a definite need) be a bit more observant and glance at people’s grocery carts on line ready for checkout. It is an eye opener. When people are downsizing basic needs, it is a sign of how real things are becoming. It is true that the pandemic caused much damage in many households, and for many people income dropped, while for others, unemployment assistance became a blessing, increasing their income compared to the job they had before being unemployed, hence why many people are not interested in returning to work right away, but that is another subject. So for many others, less will have to become more. Less groceries will have to be stretched out for more people/servings for a longer time. If you think that the pandemic already did this in 2020, wrecking people’s lives, incomes … you are right. Post pandemic it will be inflation.

For us who have been around in the 1980’s, we remember inflation. Interest rates to buy a home were at 14% or more, and the cost of living was high. In my opinion, and I am not a financial expert, only someone who observes life, the difference this time around will be that the salaries have remained pretty much the same since that time while everything else has gone up in price, and possibly much more if inflation hits us hard. For the younger generation, it will be an eye opener, as their purchase power will be challenged much more than it already is. Old timers will not be as shocked but will see the difference, especially, if they are on a fixed income. What a recipe for scrambled eggs, hopefully not kept in one basket. Maybe it will be a lesson in grateful living and appreciation of what one already has, and going back to basics.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Matthew 6:26 NIV

A Few Visitors

December and January have not been as cold and I have been observing more birds than usual around here, so I take it as a sign that it will be a mild winter. The forsythia is in full bloom, all covered in yellow flowers that did not shriveled with the frost and ice we had or the light snow that never stuck on the ground. The rose bush still has some buds and even a few flowers. Temperatures at night have been in the mid 20s and during the day in the 40s and 50s, with the occasional 30s in the mix. Not bad at all. The birds have been a very welcomed sight that has help me cope with all the sadness and craziness that is going around in our country. My faith has been an anchor, but watching these little ones go on and about with their day and routine has been a pleasure. Nature, as always, has given more than expected, and I have tried to find beauty in everything that surrounds me. I will share a few images with you, and I hope that these bring you joy as well.

The magic of an icy day. (Photo by M.A.D.)
Golden sunsets (Photo by M.A.D.)
The glow of a beautiful moon (Photo by M.A.D.)
The colors of a brand new day (Photo by M.A.D.)
The beauty of a chimney on a cold day (Photo by M.A.D.)
An old light post in the early hours (Photo by M.A.D.)
A gorgeous December moon (Photo by M.A.D.)
A kitty cat sunbathing (Photo by M.A.D.)
Our latest visitor in the early hours (Photo by M.A.D.)
Nothing says December and January like a beautiful Cardinal (Photo by M.A.D.)
The gorgeous orange of a Robin Photo by M.A.D.)
The cutest of them all. Noticed the green grass? Another sign of a mild winter? (Photo by M.A.D.)
Another cutie (Photo by M.A.D.)
A delicious meal for this little one (Photo by M.A.D.)
Ornamental grass seeds are yummy too (Photo by M.A.D.)
An unexpected punch of color (Photo by M.A.D.)
The word adorable (Photo by M.A.D.)
Taking a break from wood pecking (Photo by M.A.D.)
Can you find me? (Photo By M.A.D.)
Wearing a petticoat (Photo by M.A.D.)
Without words (Photo by M.A.D.)
First time seeing this one around (Photo by M.A.D.)
Unexpected (Photo by M.A.D)
These berries are favored by many birds (Photo by M.A.D.)
Blending with nature (Photo by M.A.D.)
The beginning of another day (Photo by M.A.D.)

I hope you enjoyed these, and that looking at them brought you a bit of joy. The hand of God is everywhere if we care to look.

Everyday Thanks

Thanksgiving will certainly be very different this year across the country. So much has changed for all of us. For me, it will be just my husband and I, and the cats, of course. Just a simple meal, and we plan to enjoy the day while relaxing and thinking about so many things we are grateful for. However, there are so many little things to be grateful for every single day. All we have to do is observe with intention, and we see miracles everywhere. I truly believe that, and moreover, I choose to believe that in this crazy time we are living. Yes, 2020 has been though for everybody, but it also has its blessings.

This morning was cold; it was 30 degrees outside. However, I spotted two beautiful miracles.

The “rose bush that could” has a few more roses. This was a little rose bush we rescued. It was covered in weeds, but it made it and grew to be beautiful. I see those last roses in a 30 degree morning as a thank you offering.
I even spotted a few buds ready to open.
This little forsythia bush (another rescue) keeps blooming. I noticed more flowers this morning, and more are ready to open. Another tiny miracle of nature.
Yesterday, I observed one of my favorite autumn moments that I look forward to every year. When most of the leaves have fallen, the sunrays filter through and it looks as if light is dancing through the woods, and parts of it become orange-red. It only lasts a few minutes, not much longer, but it truly is a magical moment.
During that brief time the tops of some trees are set on light-fire.
It is truly a beautiful sight that doesn’t last long and can only be appreciated during this time of the year.
And when the sun sets, and that brief moment of magic is gone for the day, I am thankful that tomorrow, I might get to see it again.

Even in the midst of worldwide sadness, a pandemic, unrest, and other less than perfect situations, we can still be grateful for the glimpses of blessings we have, no matter how simple or small we may think they are; but are they? May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving day, and for the rest of you who live in other countries where this day is not celebrated, may you find much to be thankful for every day of your lives.

The Magic of an Ordinary Life

I am sharing with you something special today. I came across this YouTube video by The Elliott Homestead, and as I watched it, I felt a sense of serenity, peace, joy, beauty, gratefulness, and love. I decided to share it here because its main message is so beautiful and true. I hope it inspires you to appreciate the beauty that is all around us every single day. Thank you to The Elliot Homestead for making this lovely video and sharing it with the world. It truly touched me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

When Nature Sings

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been hearing a mysterious sound, and I thought it was farming machinery at a distance. It was a cross between light grinding and the engine of a plane flying very high, far. The sound seemed to be at a distance, and it stopped when we had continuous rain for almost a week. Today, the sound came back, louder and closer. It doesn’t stop. Finally, I realized that what was making this sound were tons of cicadas, which are due to come out this year in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. It is supposed to be Brood 9, which comes out every 17 years. I had seen a few funny looking creatures with black heads and big red eyes walking around, and shells of creepy crawlers over the past week or so, and while researching them, I found out what they were, but I never put the three together, mystery sound + creepy looking shell = cicada. They seem to be clumsy flyers, and today they are everywhere. I cannot use the side entrance because they have decided to park themselves near it, and even on the steps. I guess they are coming out of the ground or from a big old tree near that entrance. I have seen them fly down, and fall down from it. They walk and they just turn over, and take an eternity to flip back over again. I have seen them stretch out their wings and legs, as if coming out of a deep sleep, looking a bit messy, later to have stretched their wings. At first, I was disgusted by their appearance, by now, I am intrigued, and even caught myself talking to one that was near the side door, on top of the railing. Did I find it cute? I think I did. Today, there were more than 10 staring at me from the side steps, and it looked like an airport out there, when the sun was shining for the first time after a week of heavy rain. My husband tried to blow them away with a leaf blower, but they kept coming back. I think they like the blue color of the railing. Thank God they are staying on that side, and I can go out if needed via the front door. I am happy to have discovered what that mysterious sound was, but I cannot wait for these critters to come out and fly away, and disappear for another 17 years. I cannot decide if I like them or not, but I don’t want them near me. I was able to take a picture of one of them. Are you seeing these where you live?

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Photo by M.A.D.

Lady Moon

As I was ready to go to bed last night, I glanced outside and saw this beautiful sight. I have been mesmerized by the moon since I was a little girl. My mom says that as a toddler, I used to point at it and call her lulu (for luna – moon in Spanish). I have looked at the moon countless of times since then, and each time I find it more beautiful. I hope we never damage it, as our species does with everything else. Here are a few pictures of the moon as I saw it last night. These were taken from inside because I was already in my PJs and ready to sleep but I could not pass the opportunity of taking just a few pictures of this beauty.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Isn’t she gorgeous?