Didn’t see that one coming…

Hartwell Town Forest, Bedford, MA

In my last post I spoke about the winter holiday time as a time that I love. Today my love is being tested by the first blizzard of 2015.

I live in Boston, Massachusetts and in Boston we say that if you don’t like the weather just wait a minute. Most New England residents love the four seasons and that is why we continue to live here. Weather talk is a large part of our lives. We revel in both loving and hating  the conditions and temperatures. What is fascinating to me is that no matter how much weather I experience I am still able to be surprised by it.

The weather reporters have been talking about this snowstorm for several days but were afraid to commit to snowfall amounts because they know that the rest of us will complain if they are wrong. What they don’t seem to realize is that we will complain if they are right too!     Hartwell Town Forest, Bedford, MA

I have decided that for this storm I will not complain and I will be grateful for a number of things: My family members are warm, safe, and accounted for, I have a home that I am in and I am warm, and finally, for now it looks beautiful outside.

I pray that you have all of these things as well, if not- just wait a few minutes…

Kim       Hyde Park, MA




Something old, something new, something borrowed- now I’m blue…

tiny visitor

tiny visitor

I know that it has been a while since I have written anything here. I have been busy with any number of projects but that is no excuse. I write in this space because an issue is of interest to me or because something has happened and there is no one near to talk to me about it and writing allows me to get ideas out. I don’t know who reads our blog or looks at the photos or jewelry unless they drop me a note or purchase something.

I keep writing because I hope that by doing so, I will learn more about myself  or perhaps the story that I share will add something of value to your life. It happens to me all the time when I read other people’s web sites. I learn something or laugh or smile because of what they shared. I hope that I have that same impact when someone sees our site. With that long introduction, here is another story that you may be able to relate to…

A few days ago a cute kid was walking by my house carrying a cat that was too big for her to be carrying. I asked her where she found it and she said that she found it down the street in a park (the park is about five blocks from my house.)  She also said that she was taking it home to be with her other cat. This cat was beautiful. He was a very dark gray with deep orange eyes. The girl and I exchanged a few more words and she headed off happily squeezing the cat and enjoying herself. I later told my husband that the cat would probably end up walking itself back home to the park because who could take all that squeezing!

The next day as I cleaned my front yard I thought I heard a meow but I didn’t see a cat. I admit that I am obsessed with all things kitty like and I can’t even tell you how much I love Tigers but I was sure that I was not imagining the meow. I scanned the yard and made eye contact with the cat from the day before! He ran to me and rubbed my legs. He had me at “meow.”   I fed him!

The details of this story go on for three more days so let me give you an abridged version: The kid came over everyday looking for the cat, carrying it around, bringing it food and basically “loving” it to death. He started running away when he saw her coming.
I spoke to her about it a number of times and could not convince her to leave him alone until the third day he was in the yard.

My husband and I came home late in the evening from an after work dinner. The cat that I had begun to call Smokey was sitting on my front porch in a position that was weird even for a cat. He didn’t get up when we approached the step but he meowed and stretched out his head to be scratched. We checked him out and he behaved as though his rear right leg was hurt. After a brief discussion, my husband and I put him in a box with a blanket he had slept on and took him to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals.

I went through a number of emotions as all of this happened. At first I was angry at the child because I was pretty sure that she was the one that hurt him. Next, I was upset with myself for engaging with this cat because I know that if you risk liking or loving someone you also risk being hurt. Listen, I do not live for pain but I understand its importance in life- balance. I try to avoid emotional pain but I accept it because it proves to me that I am alive and able to like and love.


Don’t worry, I got over being mad at the kid right after I realized that the cat had a much better chance of getting a “forever” home as a guest of that shelter than running around feral in my neighborhood. I also realized that I would never have taken him to the shelter if he wasn’t hurt.

I cried my eyes out that night and when I saw the kid a few days later, I explained that the cat was hurt and that I gave him away so he could have a good home. She said that that was sad and that she was sad and I told her that I understand completely and I do. Now that I am on the other side of this situation I realize that it turned out best for all involved. It is a pain I can live with.


two former "guests"

two former “guests”



That’s me in front of you going slow on purpose…

Front spring garden

I keep telling myself that there are almost 4 more weeks of summer. This is factually correct because September 22, 2012 is the first day of fall this year. I have to remind myself of the date because so many forms of media want to rush the season in order to get all of us to purchase goods for that season.



I put a lot of energy into building up my front and back yard gardens. I learned a lot about myself in the process. First, I learned to be more patient. Sometimes you just have to wait for a seed to grow or a plant to emerge from the soil before you can enjoy the results.

Second, I learned that preparation is helpful in most situations in life. The more I prepared the soil or area that I was working in before I placed a plant in the area the better the plant fared. Many of my plants are in containers so preparing the soil was extremely important.

late spring deck








Now that we have entered late summer, my family and I are enjoying the fruits of my labor. We are picking tomatoes every day, enjoying the birds that are attracted to the yard and enjoying all of the flowers.

mid summer front yard

midsummer tomatoes

midsummer lilies

I will not be rushing into fall even though I love the season. I will take my time and enjoy each day as much as I can. Fair warning: that’s me in front of you going slow on purpose. Enjoy the rest of the summer if you can.


Hot, content, itch free…


It takes a wheelbarrow

It may be hot enough to fry an egg outside but I am happy with the results of warm dry weather on our garden. I have worked on our backyard/garden for a number of years now. My goal has been to create a space in which friends and family can relax and retreat. My tastes are eclectic and I believe that they are reflected in the way our yard appears. The other benefit is that there are plenty of items for my husband, Lars ,to photograph when he likes.

summer backyard beginnings


When you read any of our posts you can see many of the photos that he has taken. You also have the opportunity to learn some of the techniques that he uses in his photographic pursuits. Take note however, that for this post all of the photos are mine. For that, I apologize…

This week we are starting to harvest some of the tomatoes that I planted. Our perennials have been growing and our annuals are providing lots of color. Of course to keep all of this going, I have to do a lot of watering, feeding, and pruning. I don’t like it but I like the results. I collect rainwater and try to conserve water as well.

tomato plant

Last week we had to get rid of some poison ivy that was growing along our fence. I thought I had killed it all a few years ago but nature proved a formidable foe. Some of it came back! After some very careful, limited, spraying and pulling up roots- I believe the problem is solved. Right now I am hot, content, and itch free…

I hope that your summer is enjoyable. Let me know if you need some tomatoes.


a few summer flowers




a summer visitor



The weather was wonderful. It was sunny and in the seventies  most of the time and here it was early April. My husband was home sick and I ran out to the bank. Unfortunately, I left my wallet home. Fortunately I had the check and deposit slip with me. I went to the teller that I visit most often and was able to deposit the check without a problem. Since I didn’t have identification with me, I quickly went back home.

I looked in on with my sick husband and told him that he should spend 10 minutes out in the sun. The warm sun and bright sky would make anyone feel a little better. I went out first onto our deck and proceeded into our garage. When I returned, I noticed one of our outdoor cats lying next to a planter. That’s an odd thing for this cat to do because she is deaf and usually does not lie out in the open. She usually sleeps in a bed that we made for her or up on a concrete wall that borders our yard. By now I’m sure you know where I am going with this- she had died.

Well, I handled the situation the only way I know how- I felt it. I cried as though I lost someone I love because I had. Despite being sick, my poor husband consoled me and helped me to bury the cat. I prayed and thanked God for letting me love that cat.

It’s ironic, I never touched her but I watched over her for a couple of years and I fed her. She thanked me by hissing on occasion ( I told you earlier the she was deaf) and lying around where I could see her and take pleasure in that. Her final gift was to bring her last set of kittens into my back yard last year. I saw that as a sign of trust. She trusted me to give them a hand out and to not hurt them. Her trust was well placed…

So I  learned another great lesson in life. You don’t have to physically touch to love and what a gift to be touched by love. I feel good about that…

Warm and happy

What is it about the warm rays of the sun that make you smile? I find that even when the weather is cold, the warm rays of the sun make me smile. Believe me, I have many things to be concerned about in life right now but I appreciate any opportunity to smile.

This winter was cold but relatively dry and we had very little snow. I live in an old house and it gets quite cold in the winter. I have turned up the heat (very expensive) more often than I like in order to stay warm inside but a sun beam coming through the window makes me happy. I anticipate the good times that come with warm weather.

Over the past few days our New England weather has been incredible. Most of last week consisted of sunny days with temperatures in the 7o’s and even low 80’s! Plants are blossoming earlier than ever, birds are chirping and pairing up and I am thinking about my future garden.

Today I found some hyacinths growing up from under a pile of mulch behind my garage. I bought the plants last year and they were labeled as annuals. When they expired, I took them out of the pot and threw them in the mulch pile. Imagine my surprise when my husband and I were working in the back yard, looked behind the garage,  and two beautiful purple hyacinths were sticking out of the mulch pile! When I thought that things couldn’t get any better, my husband noticed one of the neighborhood cats sleeping in a pile of leaves near the flowers. Come on, you know that image makes you smile…

I’m sorry that I neglected my posts for a while but I’m back along with the spring. I will continue to muse and amuse if I can. Right now I’m feeling warm and happy and I hope that you are too.


Cold comfort

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are but here in Boston it is really cold. There is nothing unusual about cold weather in January, in Massachusetts, but it is unusual to have not suffered through a number of snowstorms by now.

Many would say, hey be happy – you don’t have to shovel, or try to maneuver your car over ice or worry about falling down into a slushy liquid mess. I am happy to avoid those negative aspects of winter but something is missing. I do believe that familiar weather patterns are just like other things that are familiar to us all, they make us comfortable because we know what is coming or what to expect.

For months now I have been posting photos of some adorable feral kittens that live in my neighborhood. They come through my yard frequently. I have never touched them but I observe them and draw pleasure from their existence. When I think they and their mother are having a hard time, I sometimes leave them food. The mom has lived in this neighborhood for at least five years and seems to be deaf. She also appears to be pretty old. Those of you who have observed or enjoyed the company of cats know that they don’t have wrinkles to tip you off to their age, but they do have a “look” that says I’m no kitten! I have never touched the mom and she hisses at me on occasion. She’s a tough kitty raising her litters on her own. I believe that I saw one of her kittens 3 years ago. I have never seen the others until now. For some reason in 2011 she let me see the last pair of kittens that she had. Note that I said “see” not “touch.”

Well, I was happy with this stand off. I knew that if I touched her or her kittens that I would be a goner. I would care too much. I would have one more thing to worry about. Guess what? It has happened anyway. What I am dealing with now is observing this family as it grows and observing more about their lives. One kitten is male and the other is female. They are now 7 or 8 months old. I expected the male to leave and look for a partner but the family has not separated yet. I sometimes see the 3 of them sleeping together in a pile of leaves.

Yesterday, on a very cold day, I observed the kittens sitting on a concrete wall near the side of my house. They both had blown up tails and were very still. I couldn’t see the mom and I tried to see what is was that had frightened them. As I continued to view them from my window, I observed a very large grey male cat on the other side of our fence looking very mean and hissing. I ran to put on a jacket, charged outside with a shovel and saw the large male and the male kitten (who is actually a good size himself) run off. They were growling and hissing as they disappeared from my view.

I could go on forever about this and I am sure that some of you already know where I am headed in this story. Let me end it this way:  I know that the cats can take care of themselves, all cats should be spayed or neutered, no I can’t own or protect every animal in the world, why didn’t I bla, bla, bla…

Listen, I am grateful to have the opportunity to love people and animals. I am happy to love these kittens from afar. The male cat will be chased away eventually, that is they way it works in the animal world. I am happy that they haven’t not be adversely effected by deep New England snows but you know what? That is cold comfort to me…

I can’t help it!


I love animals. I’m not a hoarder but I am a feeder of birds and wild life that routinely come through my yard. OK, I also will feed if an animal if is in distress.

This summer I had the pleasure of seeing all sorts of birds including the budgie that you see in the photo. When, he stopped visiting the feeders in late August, I was sad but figured he had moved on. Imagine my surprise when I visited our local zoo a couple of weeks ago and saw that they have a budgie exhibit featuring more than one hundred budgies! One of the zoo workers was outside the exhibit and I asked if they had any strays. She said normally, no but at the end of this summer they had a budgie show up that was banded. They quaranteened it and kept it. I don’t know if my friend is in there but I feel a whole lot better about the situation.

On a sadder note, I tried to save an injured sparrow last week. He seemed to have a broken leg and was on the ground trying to fly. I put in him a cage with the grass and leaves that I found him on. At first I left him on the porch to rest but squirrels and a neighborhood cat looked a little too interested so I ended up bringing him in the house. He kept taking naps. When I gave him water and seeds he ate the seeds. I covered the cage and he settled down. An hour or two later, I let him out in a bush in my front yard.


I went into my backyard to start some chores and he was back there on the ground near a tree. That wasn’t good so I caught him again and brought him back into the house. I intended to let him out in a couple of hours but by the time I planned to let him go- all of the other birds were gone. He didn’t tweet but tried to fly a couple of times.


I decided to keep him over night and let him out when the other birds were out. My husband indulged me and luckily he checked the cage in the morning before I got to it. My sparrow didn’t make it. I don’t know what touched me so much about that little bird but I cried most of the day.

It’s ironic because I have spent most of my professional life trying to fix the problems of the world. I never believed that I would solve any social justice problem on my own but I know that any effort to do good in the world and no harm to others is worth it. In order to do that kind of work, I often turned off what I was feeling (fear, disgust,anger and the like) in order to get the work done. Even I am surprised by the level of emotion a tiny bird raised in me.

I was sorry about the loss of that little bird. What I am grateful for is the love and emotion that I still have in me. I can’t help it and I don’t want to.

Tell someone you love them…


It really is wild in the city!

I am grateful every day that I live in the city, not because it is better than the suburbs or the rural areas but because it meets my needs so well. I love the vibrant, busy,always changing nature of the city and I really love Nature in the city.

My backyard is an awesome place. I have contributed to that awesomeness through gardening, maintenance, and the addition of habitats that many animals like. This year my husband and I made the environment even better by including an above ground fishpond ( I will post photos soon.)

What is fascinating to me is that no matter what I do, nature continues to make the space even better with features or animals that are completely out of my control. I have had raccoons, stray cats, dogs, possum, a wild turkey, hawks and all types of new england birds in my yard or bird bath. The big surprise this year has been my friend the parakeet/ budgie that has hung around most of the summer. I have gone to on-line lost pet sites, called the local zoo and looked for posted signs about a lost bird and non of these methods have worked. I don’t know his or her name and he or she won’t come to me. He or she comes everyday with the sparrows and tweets and twitters and eats. Friends and web sites have warned about the up coming winter and how hard it will be for my new friend the budgie. I’ll do what I can… any suggestions?