Toad in a Trance

I suspect these high temperatures tricked my toad out of his torpor.

I am sure my snooping around weeding and cleaning also disrupted his winter rest.

He spent all day yesterday perched on this rock at the top of the wall.

I checked on him many times yesterday. He was unresponsive.

I did not touch him for fear he might plunge to his death, if disturbed.

He was still precariously perched last night when I went to bed.

This morning, I was pleased to find him in a less exposed location.

He has moved to a space between stones, not far from the hole he emerged from.

He still won’t look at me, maybe he blames me for early emergence. Typical toad attitude.



The Talking Bear

The North Carolina Arboretum wasn’t just twinkling lights last weekend.

There was also Buck and Bear drama in a life-sized, wildlife diorama.

These two animals had the speaking parts in the play about nature’s ways..

The old buck was reminding the young cub how to prepare a bed for hibernation.

The cub had forgotten what he and his mother had done to prepare for last year’s winter rest.

Bears make themselves a mattress to sleep on out of twigs, vines and leaves.

There were cameo appearances from some smaller stars. These included owls, raccoons, skunks and chipmunks.

There was even a wild rabbit.

I really wanted to crawl over the railing and pet these precious creatures.

The folks at the North Carolina Arboretum foresaw this urge.

There was a row of little bears outside the railing also watching the performance,

so that children (or crazy women) could sit beside them and pet them.

Because it’s really hard to resist a baby bear,

especially one that talks.


(This is in the NC Arboretum building near the fountain. The display is in a large room to the left of the lobby. We would have missed it, had not a worker in the gift shop told us about it.  The short show is a must-see for children.)


Forced to have Fun

It’s hard for me to leave tasks unfinished.

Since I am never finished, I rarely voluntarily stop working.

Sometimes a family intervention is needed.

This weekend I was forced to stop weeding, washing and writing

to travel up river by boat with the kayaks piled onto the front.

We have been wanting to do this for years.

There are side channels of the river that can only be reached by canoes and kayaks.

We anchored the boat and paddled under bridges


and through leaning trees to explore two of these protected areas.

I was pleased to see that nesting boxes and platforms had been erected for bird habitats.


The turtles, fish and snake I saw seemed undisturbed by my floating by.


I felt this was not only a haven for them, but also for me.

Maybe it’s time for FLOWER to get back to biology?

I returned home wet, tired and hungry…but with a new attitude.

Let’s call it water therapy.

That’s my kayak, but I don’t recognize that old lady in it. Ha!







Heron Yoga

We took at trip upriver last evening.

There is always a lot of wildlife to photograph.

One of the most unusual sights was this heron sunning.

I have never seen a heron in this position.

It was definitely airing out its wings.

It seemed to be meditating.

We watched it for quite a while.

It did do some feather preening, but mostly just stood in this position.

Wonder what its mantra is?

Fish. Fish. Fish.



Where is Mama?

A tiny fawn was discovered in one of my ditches at around 2:00 PM in the hot sun.


I had been in the general area for hours weeding and re-potting plants.

The bunnies had been only feet away since morning.

Mr. Flower discovered it while mowing. (It finally stopped raining.)

What an uncomfortable position!  It seemed not to be able to walk.

As we and the neighbors quietly gathered around to discuss what to do,

it struggled to its feet/hooves.

I thought it would just stop under the Cardoon to hide.


No.  It stumbled through my garden.


Then got stuck in a fence which was quickly moved.


Then it wobbled up the hill and into the woods.


Where is mama?


My Bad New Neighbor

Well the honeymoon is over.  I was hoping we could be friends.

But there are some habits that the Flower cannot tolerate.

At first the digging was a novelty. The excavation was a source of fascination.

It thought this was just part of getting settled in.

But its been months and the digging continues.

My new neighbor has an addiction to digging.

I did not mind its sharing my cold frame until the pots started sinking into the ground.

Now a line has been crossed.  I was out with the bunnies when I noticed a pile of fresh rubble under the bunny hutch.

This is not their home. They, of course, have their own room inside the house.

This hutch is their outdoor retreat from wind and birds-of-prey. It is also their outdoor toilet.

This huge pile of rocks has been removed from under a slab of concrete.

We still haven’t met our new neighbor. I tried to get Charlotte to identify him from photos, but she refused to squeal.

Mr. Flower suggested trying a trap. What should we use for bait I asked, “Rocks?”

We borrowed a critter camera that did not work. I suggested purchasing our own. Mr. Flower said he did not wish to spend money on such a purchase.

I interrupted him to inform him that I was saving my money for new bikinis for our trip to Mexico. ( Pure fiction is the perfect distraction. It throws them off course. When they recover from the shock, they are so grateful that what you just said was a lie that they will gladly give you the original object requested.)

I am expecting that critter cam any time now.




Nosy Neighbor

I went into my neighbors houses while they were away and took pictures. I  knocked at the door and if no one answered, I went in with my camera to check out their housekeeping and furnishings.

At one house, some babies were home alone.  I took their pictures while they were sleeping.

Once the lady of the house ignored my knocking and was inside when I opened her door.  It was quite a shock for us both, but she let me take her picture without a fuss.

Here is Mrs. Chickadee stuck at home incubating those eggs.

Spring!!! 065She was probably glad for my company.

That fluffy stuff is fur from my New Zealand rabbit named Barley. How cozy? I love her colors.





Baby chickadees Here are the babies that were left home alone.

I don’t get this free-range parenting.

I’m a helicopter mom, like my mother before me.










I saw Mrs. Wren leave, so I took the opportunity to check out her decor.

Wren nest.
Wren nest.

Then I dropped by the Bluebirds’ house and…

What’s this? Darn cowbird. You brood parasite! You need to mooooove on.


Kidding aside, let’s compare these three nests of three different species.

All three nests were in birdhouses  connected to the deck on my home. They are the standard bluebird type houses.

Three birdhouses
Three birdhouses
Three little nests are we.
Three little nests are we.

The Carolina Chickadee lays 6-8 lightly speckled white eggs in a flat, soft nest with fewer twigs.

Chickadee nest:flat but very soft
Chickadee nest:flat but very soft

The Carolina Wren usually lays 5 brown-spotted, whitish eggs in a domed nest.  It looks like a bassinet made of twigs and grass.

Wren nest: tallest with a dome
Wren nest: tallest with a dome

The Eastern Bluebird  lays 4-6 light blue eggs in a loose, cup-like nest. All three nests included pine needles and moss.

Bluebird nest: loose with an indentation in the middle
Bluebird nest: loose with an indentation in the middle

The Brown-headed Cowbird (not really pictured)lays one white speckled egg at a time in the nests of other, usually smaller songbirds.   The foster chick grows more quickly than the biological offspring of the nest owner.   The cowbird chick out-competes the smaller chicks for food and sometimes  pushes his “siblings” out of the nest.

If you hear a squeaky, rattling gurgle-like sound, look  around.  If you see two strangers and one is in all black with a brown hood, alert your neighbors to the possibility of an impending invasion.

NO, not me with my camera.    I was referring to the cowbirds.

Follow the Flower!