All’s Quiet

At least around here. BW and our younger son headed off to Indy for the race this weekend. Fun for them. And I freely admit I did a little happy dance. Come on, let’s be honest. We love our mates, but a little alone time is . . . ahhhh.

Especially for the solitary type. May has been insane for me. Derby, two weddings, Girls’ Night Out, and next weekend a ballgame. This was the only full weekend home, and I was home alone. Just me and the dogs and the quiet. Oh yeah, big ahhhh. 

I started the weekend with some in-the-house chores. I’m giving the commencement address for Boonsboro High School’s graduation, so wrote that, picked up around the house, did my workout, then hit the garden. While I’m weeding and deadheading, the mobile groomer (I LOVE this service) has the dogs in his big van. By the time they’re done, all clean and shiny and with fresh new bandannas, I’m back to dividing and transplanting since everything I did last weekend seems to be holding. 

There were some questions about fairy gardens, so here’s mine. The backstory here’s a sweet one. Years ago at the far, shadiest end of my garden wall butterflies nested (do they nest?) one spring. Whenever we’d walk by they’d fly out, dozens and dozens of them in a gorgeous cloud. My granddaughter was so charmed, I told her they were fairies. She was, I think, about six. So every year since, she and I have done a fairy garden in that area. 

Faerie garden first view
Faerie garden first view

I change it up–fairies can get bored–but we always plant the foxglove you see in the background, and azuratum and mini fuschia. We put in little statuary, and this year I hung a wind chime on a branch.

Faerie garden second view
Faerie garden second view

It’s also expanded so we have more foxglove, lobelia, red rocket begonias, lungwort, backed by yellow bells that’ll bloom in the summer. Between are the ubiquitous Susies. 

I ended my very satisfying day with a little movie marathon and popcorn. Good deal. 

Sunday, I decide to get my workout done first thing. Not so many chores today. While I’m working out, I hear a bird hit the window. Not the bump that tells me there’s a bird with a little headache, but the violent thump that says broken neck. It happens, sadly. And this, I tell myself as I sweat through crunches, is a job for BW when he gets back. I don’t deal with dead things. It’s in my contract. 

BW’s brought home a couple of plants from Vesta that need repotting. He was going to do it, but they’re still sitting there. It’s a simple little chore, and I don’t mind. After, I start a walk-around, spot a deer up on the ridge behind the house. We have a conversation. You’re beautiful, but stay beautiful up there and out of my garden. I think she’s the same I had this conversation with last week. The dogs see her, too, but aren’t interested. Not even a bark to give her second thoughts about coming down later and munching on my plants. I glance over as Homer walks up to me, tail wagging. And see he’s gently carrying the dead bird in his mouth. 

He’s like George from Of Mice And Men. He really just wants to be friends, and he–as he’s done before–is bringing me his new friend. And is sad when I–as I’ve done before–let out a instinctive squeal, and order him to take that thing somewhere else. He lumbers away. Now and again he’s gotten past me with his friends, and I have to herd him and his pal out of the house. Laura will remember coming over one day, Homer coming in behind her. Is that a toy? she asked me. I glanced down, saw the long tail drooping out of Homer’s mouth. 

Definitely not a toy, but a pretty big dead mouse. The happy smile in his eyes dimmed when I turned him right around and ordered him out. 

He’s not quick enough to catch live ones–and is no more interested in that then barking at the deer. But a dead critter? He’ll pick in up and carry it around for hours. And in fact, hours later I see him lying in the shade, the dead bird snuggled between his paws. Oh well. 

That concluded the excitement of the day. The rest I spent walking around, putzing, watering pots, sweeping patios, walkways, steps, then sitting and admiring the results. With a glass of champagne. Really good deal. 

Shady spot to sit
Shady spot to sit
View from lower patio
View from lower patio
View from back patio
View from back patio

I love working outside with BW, and we’re both lucky to have a mate who’s passionate about gardens and yard work. But a little solo time? Yeah, big ahhhh.


A note from Laura:  Whenever someone comments to me about Nora’s glamorous life, I think of Homer and that mouse.  And just grin.

28 thoughts on “All’s Quiet”

  1. Everything looks lovely!!!! Terrific to have a fairy garden and a grand daughter who admires it! Lucky you Nora! Aren’t dogs the most sweetest things. The bird happening shows that dogs feel things that maybe we don’t realize they do. He is precious! Glad your weekend is quiet and satisfying…..Enjoy….

  2. I enjoy these email notes almost as much as your books, Nora. Thanks for making me smile so early in the morning.

  3. I love alone time. Unfortunately, I don’t get much of it. Probably why I love the booksignings so much. It is not alone time, but it is “me” time. Didn’t get a chance to talk to you at GNO, but loved talking to the other authors. See you in July!

  4. Your garden is pretty. I love that you nade it magical fir your granddaughter. Our choc.lab, Gromit, will not run after the deer in our back yard anymore (age) but he pretends he’s still the “mighty lawn lion” with a bark or two. The deer stare him down as they chew on their food that they’ve stolen from my gardens. He does run after a bird here and there.

  5. Thanks, Nora. Always enjoy these posts so much. I, too, love my alone time. My hubby (a retired HS math teacher) volunteers every morning at a local JH to help kids who struggle with math. I love these mornings to myself. In any marriage, I think it’s healthy to give each other space, from time to time. And what is it about Labs that they love to bring you presents. Finn is our third Lab (yellow this time) and he starting to bring us sticks and rocks. Nothing dead yet, thankfully! Love the idea of a fairy garden and especially your granddaughter’s delight in it.

  6. I see now where a certain scene in “The Search” might have come from – too funny! Your gardens are lovely! The fairy garden is so pretty. I tried foxglove here, but my little piece of the world is just too arid I guess.

  7. Nice. I miss having more garden space. I don’t know that I miss all the work that comes with it, but I do wish I had more room than we have now.

  8. Your Fairy Garden looks lovely. I hope you continue to get much enjoyment from it.

  9. Thanks for sharing that wonderful story and especially about the fairy garden. It is such a beautiful time of the year seems like every year there are more and more animals who come to visit. Your stories about Homer make me laugh and remind me of the time we had dogs and cats that would bring us those wonderful little presents all the time. Keep enjoying spring with its many shades of green. Thanks for taking time out to share your life with us.

  10. Hi Nora, just got caught up on your posts and really enjoyed the one about the Derby. How fun! We have a track here in MN about 20 minutes from my house(Canterbury Downs). Being sick, I don’t get there nearly enough, but when I do it’s always a favorite day. I taught myself a bit about handicapping the horses and found I have a knack for it. For some reason I have great luck with the Trifecta box. I always leave the track at least having paid for the entire day(food, bets, etc.), but also come out ahead quite often. My partner works in the poker room at the track and I keep forgetting to send her to work with my bet for the Derby. It’s really a bummer, as the last couple of years I’ve actually come up with trifecta bets for the main race that both hit for me. UGH! Thanks for another story that makes us feel like we were there. What an awesome talent you have!

  11. Oh yes, the big Ahhhh in full bloom. How fun to have some time to just work at your own pace, love your dogs and sadly even the dead critters and sit with a glass of champagne.
    This weekend, and Memorial Day is filled with rain here. We have had storm overload with people having to be rescued from their roofs and such. But today is bittersweet for me. So many memories of people lost for such a chance for the freedom to sit on my patio and have a cup of coffee and enjoy my own Ahhhh moments.
    I loved your blog post. Have a wonderful day. Beth

  12. A very lovely garden. I can’t claim a comparable feeling for the outdoors, but I can certainly appreciate what you’ve created. However this post did reveal to me one of the reasons I’m so drawn to your writing. I’m a solitary type as well. That comes through, especially with Eve. I feel a bond. Thanks for opening up to your fans. 🙂

  13. I loved this. My husband will smile over Homer. We had a sweet mutt, part retriever, who also just wanted to be friendly. She would come tiptoeing out if the brush (where I mean to have a real woodland garden one day), walking slowly with her head down. I learned to say, “put it down.” She would gently set s soggy baby bunny in the ground. The little bewildered thing would sit up, shake itself, and dash back into the brush. Phoebe would smile at me and wag her tail. “I retrieved, Mom!” She’s gone now and when I hear the Phoebe bird call her name in its sad notes, it makes me tear up, thinking of that sweet doggy smile.

  14. Gorgeous gardens. And the tradition of Nana’s fairy garden. Raven has found dead mice, and I have to make her leave them.

    Enjoy your alone time.

  15. I don’t think I would have been very calm seeing that dead mouse. I would have screamed so loud the neighbors would have thought something deadly had happened.

  16. I agree, Laura. No matter what our station in life, income level, education level, or job status, we are all equal in the eyes of the pets who want to present us with the gift of a dead-or sometimes not-so-dead-critter. I have spent most of my life dealing with sick, injured, and deceased humans. But a critter is just yucky. Best wishes for a good summer.

  17. Stunning gardens ! So many different styles and concepts and the Faerie Garden is perfect for the little people ,human and not so , I’m certain. Our cat “played” with a mouse one time and had it in her mouth when suddenly she opened her mouth the mouse dropped out and ran off ! I wondered why she dropped it and my son ( a biologist) said it probably bit her. I was surprised but when you consider it ,it makes sense why wouldn’t the mouse bite to get out ?

  18. I enjoy reading your blogs as much as I enjoy reading your books. Thank you for sharing them. The gardens are beautiful and I love the pictures. I have a black thumb so don’t even have potted plants. Oh, well, I have more time to read that way.

  19. Oh, Nora, I wish BW would take mine with him for a weekend so I could get something done! At least I got a lot of potting done…he was at the neighbors’, helping them with a project. I am getting a lot of inspiration from your gardens! We moved into our new house a year ago, and the yard is a blank canvas! If you’re ever bored, you are more than welcome to come and play! ~julie

  20. Thank you Nora, reading this reminds me of Roz but this is real. How large is your yard, seems vast.

  21. Oh I love those times alone. They came more often before DH retired. *sigh* Oh well. One of our doxies used to bring us “gifts” and be miffed when we weren’t just thrilled. LOL Sadly, she’s gone on to the play park in the sky but I immediately thought of her when I read about the bird (and mouse!). Your garden is lovely!! Esp the fairy garden, so sweet.

  22. I have a butterfly garden – sent several dozen Monarchs on to their winter sanctuary in Mexico last year. But alas, I don’t have a granddaughter to share it with. Have a great week, and thanks for sharing the photos of your gardens.

  23. Time alone is something I miss so very much. It is rare for me to get to leave my husband for an hour or two and he cannot go anywhere without me, or someone, helping him. When I read your “Ah-h-h-h-h” I could just feel that wonderful feeling of aloneness. Thanks for letting me experience it vicariously. You are so good at getting readers to experience what you are talking about. And I understand about letting BW take care of dead things. Last year I had to put out some sticky traps in the house because I had a critter I did not want to let stay in the house. Someone asked me if I would pick up the trap and get rid of it. Nope, not I. As I told them, I have an app for that, its called husband.

  24. Sounds like my kind of weekend!!! Love that you’re sharing so much of your life with us fans. Thank you.
    Have a great week you all!

  25. Our border collie, Poncho, has killed and presented us with not one, not two, but 9 dead opossum. I never saw a single one until we got the dog. hehe

  26. Thanks for sharing a peek into your private life! Our Lab-mix, Skeeter, will do her best to chase off the free-loading birds that think the chicken feeder is a community thing. She’ll randomly catch a starling. I added the phrase “Skeeter! Take that bird back outside!” to my list of things I never thought I’d say. I have 2 boys, so it’s a pretty long list. Funny thing is, Skeeter doesn’t hassle our chickens. She’ll convince the occasional one that figures out how to get over the fence that she really wants to be back on the other side of that fence, but other than that they’re just another part of her world. Gardening, dogs and chickens are cheaper than therapy! 🙂

  27. When I was a little girl, we lived far out in the country and had a very pretty white Angora cat. For some reason, she would bring my Mom “presents” only when a specific one of Mom’s sisters was visiting. She had four sisters, but this one did not react well to the presents. In fact, she was a little melodramatic about it, but Mom would just put her hand down and pet the cat and calmly thank her for the gift. Then just as calmly ask one of my brothers to take care of it. Meanwhile, my aunt was carrying on as if the cat had dropped something bloody and disgusting in her lap. Pets just love giving us gifts, don’t they. Someone told me it’s a sign that they love you.

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