philosophy

Making Changes

Making changes can be a good thing in life. Things get stale, or go out of date, new things come into being, and you may want to have a piece of the new best thing. These are fine things, if they suit your life, and your lifestyle.

One such change is the new image I have put on the this blog – well, it isn’t actually something new, the image is one from ten years ago, bu it hasn’t been in this position before, so that is new (although it has been in different places on this blog previously, I think …).

Anyway, the image is of a Pharaoh Hound puppy, one of ours, and possibly the puppy we still have, Missy, who is now ten years old, and a long way beyond being a puppy, and she has the grizzled muzzle to show for it. The creature with the pup is Pumba, from The Lion King, a toy for our puppies at that time, to play with. The puppy and toy are both in our whelping box, where most of our pups were born, over our years as dog breeders.

Giving up dog breeding was definitely a good thing in our lives. Showing dogs and breeding them was fun for many years. Things change though, we had an actual human baby, he grew, we all found other things to attract our attention. We still had dogs, but they became solely pets instead of show/breeding stock and pets. The dogs aged, and passed on, and weren’t replaced with new dogs. Missy is it, and she happily lives her life between the backyard and her sofa!
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Anyway, gardening took over our weekends, rather than dog showing. We enjoy our garden, and our garden is certainly coming along much better now that it’s getting more attention. I am so happy with the vegetable garden, and those mandarins on our tree! I like the herbs in our garden too, in fact I was outside earlier today and chomped a few sprigs of parsley, which is far healthier than I previously realised.

dig it

I’m making a point of eating healthier food, with more vegetables. Today I chopped up a celery stalk into small pieces, and mixed it through my lunch of nuts and dried fruit. The celery was a lovely crunchy addition, and I’m glad I added it! I had a mandarin with my lunch too, which wasn’t so lovely. It wasn’t one from our garden, it was a purchased one, and even before I ate it, I had pretty low expectations of it regarding flavour.

This mandarin didn’t smell fresh, like the ones from our tree smell, it was old and stale, and that’s what the smell was like too. I love the smell of a fresh mandarin! Picking your own, when the fruit is at its absolute best is a wonderful thing. I’m so glad the change in our lives has brought these things into my life, more and more. With my husband retired from paid work, he is also glad to have so much more time to spend out in the garden, digging and planting! A fine way to get some exercise in the sunshine.

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Any other changes? This year I have been putting more attention into my writing ‘career’, including this blog and my others. That’s not a big change, but with luck, it may begin to actually bring me things, who knows. This blogging is fun to do, I love putting my thoughts ‘out there’ into the online world. I get a few comments here and there, and I love that, knowing that my words have found some interested readers. What writer doesn’t love that?!

I’m thinking about my life, and ideas, a lot more these days too. Being mindful is something that interests me a lot. I love to read interesting things, and share them with other interested people. Sharing thoughts on social media in this way seems like a fine thing to do, and even better is when I meet up with the people who share things like this, and we can give each other a hug.

doggone itAs I get older, I am loving getting hugs from friends, both new ones, and long-time friends. Hugs are gifts we give to others, which also give good things back to us, so hugging people I like, often, is a great change to make! It may be hard for people who know me these days to believe, but I used to be quite shy, and would never have hugged anyone, really. Now it can be a large hugfest, when I meet up with friends! More hugs is a great change.

If you have any good changes in your life, I’d love to hear about it – feel free to leave a comment here!

 

 

 

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garden, Uncategorized

Why Gratitude is a Good Thing

I sometimes do a week of thanking Nature, and the world, for the good things in my life. Things like gentle breezes, flowers, trees, the lovely night sky (I live in the country), yummy fruit and vegetables. Feeling grateful for the good things in life is a fine meditative thing to do, much healthier for your mind than focusing on the bad things.

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Missy, our dog, is another thing I will usually put on my list of things, although some of the things she does certainly don’t get on my ‘gratitude’ list. If you’ve ever had a sight hound, you may have an idea about the unlovely things our lovely dog sometimes does. There’s no need for me to go into that here.

 

I am grateful for her though, and I’m especially grateful for all of the lovely birds that love around where I live. We have ones that most Australians would have, Magpipes, Sparrows, Starlings. We also have two different kinds of Honeyeaters, Crows, Murray Magpies, two kinds of Miners, and many others.

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I have a list of the different kinds of birds that I have seen at my place. I’ve been working on this list for around twenty years, and I currently have around 45 different birds on the list. I live in country South Australia, about sixty kilometers north of Adelaide. We in a little townette, called Redbanks, on one and three quarter acres of land, with farmland on all sides of the town.

On our property we have around fifty trees and bushes over 2 metres tall, eucalypt trees, pine trees, a couple of citrus trees, and lots of others I don’t know the names of. There are different flowers at different times of the year, for birds to feed on, or for insects which also provide food for the birds. In am grateful for the trees, the flowers, even the insects because the birds can feast on them.

Feeling grateful for things, is so much healthier for a person than feeling angry about things, or despondent, or annoyed. There are things that annoy me, or otherwise are not things to be grateful for, but thinking too much about those things is a bad thing, not a good thing. It has been proven that positive thinking has good effects on a person’s health. I’m a believer in following good scientific studies, and I feel I am proof of the benefits on focusing on the positive in life.

As I have talked about on another of my blogs, where I talk about my life with Multiple Sclerosis. Talking about these things, and sharing the good things about my life with MS can help to remind me about how well I’m doing with this disease, and it can also give other people inspiration to find ways to be grateful about the good in their own lives too.

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garden, Uncategorized

Sunshine in the Garden

Yesterday was a fine day out in the sun! I was out there, exposing a small amount of skin, to soak up some of the good stuff the sun can give us, and also getting an environmentally good job done while I was out there.

We had lots of unneeded paper bags sitting in one of the drawers in the kitchen. They had previously contained fruit, vegetables, nuts, or who knows what. All I know is that they were unwanted, and that I didn’t want them to end up as land fill, I wanted them to do something good for the environment instead.

So I took them outside, set myself up with a comfy chair in the sun, and a container, and I ripped up all of those paper bags, and put them in the pot. We have a compost bin, which we put our appropriate scraps on, including used coffee grounds. The material in the bin has become a bit too damp, and I’m hoping the dry paper bags may help to soak up some moisture.

I’m certainly not an expert in composting, but I do know getting the correct amount of wet and dry is an important part in getting compost working well. I’ll take a look tomorrow and see whether it looks any better. If anyone out there is an expert, please leave a message.

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birds in garden, Uncategorized

My Weather, Beautiful, not Crazy

semicascade-jade

Today I had one task I had to complete, and am glad to say, the job is done, and well done! What was my successful task? Well, all I had to do was to water the potted plants in the backyard, including this jade tree in a pot. This involves letting Missy our into the backyard, to run around, sniff things, and do what she had to do. If she does what she had to do, it was my task to deal with that in the usual way (pooper scooper).

So yes, Missy and I went outside, into different parts of the the garden – Missy sniffing thing, running around a little, and mostly having a fun doggy time (and yes, pooper scooper duty promptly done). Once that was done, I switched on the tap, which has a hose attached to it, then I look the hose fitting to spray the things that needed to be watered.

There are flowering things, herbs, strawberry plants in hanging baskets, and a variety of different plants in different stages of life (or in some cases, death). When you have a garden, it’s almost inevitable there will be wonderful instances of rebirth, but also deaths of things that will never regrow. I thing our two tiny little olive trees in teeny little bonsai pots are in the never to be reborn group., victims of too little water and too much heat in pots that are too small.

We have plenty of more olive trees though, popping up all over our property, compliments of the birds that eat our olive fruit, and deal with the seeds in the usual, natural way. I saw one of the strawberries was looking ready, but before I got too excited about eating a homegrown fruit, I saw that a bird had been there before me and took a bite out of it. It didn’t seem anywhere near as yummy then … I’m thinking of how I can rig up something to stop the birds from eating our strawberries. Graham brought strawberries home from the shop recently, but they don’t taste anywhere near as good as our home frown ones taste …

We have some shade cloth and I’m sure I should be able to fashion some kind of shelter from some of that. I have to check with the chief gardener first though, he may have some other plan in mind for it. I don’t really mind sharing our produce with the birds, after all, I get lots of enjoyment when I can sit outside on the comfy sofa there, watch and listening to the birds … The birds are happy, and I’m happy. Of course Missy is happy when and if she can catch one of the birds to eat, which doesn’t make me anywhere near as happy, even though that too is a natural thing … Nature isn’t all flowers and sweet things …

So that’s it, I’ve got a meeting coming up later this afternoon, and I’ll hand the house back to Graham when he gets home again soon. Missy and I have enjoyed being the in charge of everything ones this morning, and I get to be the in charge of everything person, at the writers group meeting later! I love my life, sunshine, happiness, loved ones, friends, and lots of birds flying all around! Oh, and Missy too, of course!

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Uncategorized

Too Hot for Gardening!

Being out in the garden is lovely, almost all of the time. There are plenty of cool green things, grass, branches, leaves, and there is often a breeze that blows across the yard, for some extra coolness. But some days the yard can become a no go zone, except for letting Missy our dog outside and back inside, where the air conditioning is.

 

We do have a swimming pool in the backyard, but swimming in the pool just isn’t something I like to do, it appeals for more to my husband and our son. My main thing I do with the swimming pool is getting creatures out of it, if they fall in and can’t get out. There was a frog there the other day, and I was very glad to move it to a much safer spot. Apparently chlorinated water is deadly to frogs who are in it for too long …

We used to have a pond with fish in it, as well as the pool. The pond is still there, but the goldfish are well and truly gone now. When I get a frog out of the pool, I take them out the back of our place to the pond. The pond is a much same place for frogs!

goldfish piccapsicum

this was one of our home-grown capsicums, yum!

Anyway, after this weekend coming, it will be back to cooler weather again, with the slight possibility of some rain before the following weekend. I don’t know why it is, but the weather forecasts seem to be getting more attention than they used to. Is this because I’m getting older, or is it simply because I have that information close handy on my mobile (cell) phone? I know I look at the weather bureau app on my phone at least once a day, even though I don’t really need to know about the weather most of the time, because I’m inside, safe from the weather.

Looking after the plants, that’s an important thing, definitely. My husband does most of the watering, as well as almost all of the outside work. I’m a very lucky wife, and appreciate what he does! We both like our special plants, our bonsai and so on, which need special care in hot weather, because they’re kept in very shallow pots sometimes, which dry out quickly. Sometimes the watering gets missed for various reasons, but I’m glad that on the most recent occasion, the relevant plant has made a comeback. I hope we can keep this plant going for many more years!

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this bonsai is in a deeper pot, which is more suited to its lengthwise growing style …

Our tomato plant though, that’s definitely looking weather affected … The leaves look battered and quite dry, with only few tomatoes growing on it at the moment. I’m not sure if those plants will make as good a come back, and I’m not sure what is planned for further ideas for our vegetable garden. We’ve grown carrots (many years ago) capsicums (more recently), the (cherry) tomatoes, and various others – baby spinach, herbs, and things I’ve forgotten … We’ve always had various herbs growing in pots here, in all of our years of living in the country.

The bonsai interest and the herbs are both things we brought with us when we moved from the suburbs. The interests ‘grew’ even more, and I’m very happy with out results. Between the plants, the property, and our dogs (now only one dog) we have plenty of living things in our lives. There are practically no plants inside though, just two bits of the herb thyme that I’m trying to grow from cuttings. We have a hanging basket with thyme growing in it, and I was wondering the other day if it might be possible to grow thyme in a tiny bonsai pot, of which we have many …

I don’t know whether these cuttings are going to ‘take’ and grow roots, but I’m working at remembering to keep both of them sufficiently watered. I might look into the idea of growing herbs as bonsai plants, it seems like a lovely gift to give to people, a growing thing that can help to heal them … Oh, I’d better head off and do some research, inside where it’s nice and cool!

 

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dogs, Uncategorized

Summer Means Snakes …

We had a snake incident at our place a couple of days ago. It could have been a terrible time, but it was only and exciting time for our dog, Missy, and a worrying time for me. I’d let Missy out for a comfort break in the backyard, and she almost immediately sniffed out a snake that was by the fence to our pool area, in a bit of dying grass.

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When Missy was a baby pup, many years ago

I saw a familiar slithering form heading off through the fence and away from the backyard and from possible death. Missy wanted that snake, she knew what to do, and who knows, maybe this time she may have actually killed it, without getting bitten and almost killed herself.Β  But the pool fence is too high for Missy to jump, and the snake disappeared, into the back part of our place, well away from us, and from our avid hound …

Life in the country is lovely, and I’m so glad we are country people now, and have been for almost thirty years. We have fitted in well to life on our part of the Adelaide Plains. In summer, Graham and Jake both play lawn bowls, and if they’re playing at home I watch them. They both do Lions related things with the Mallala Lions group, they both swin in our swimming pool, Graham tends to the garden, and Missy and I laze around most of the time, with the occasional bit of greater activity.

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Missy relaxing

But in Summer, for Missy, that greater activity can mean chasing prey, as is natural for sight hounds, and it could end up with death, if we’re not there to keep her safely away from trouble, or getting her to the vet for (expensive) treatment, if trouble in the form of a poisonous snake bites back … I love Missy, our sole remaining dog. This has been a terrible year for us, losing Missy’s mother, her brother, and then more recently, our very old schnauzer.

Life is like that, we’re born, we live, we die, human, canine, snakes too, the circle of life goes on and on for all living creatures. I watch ants outside sometimes, and ponder about whether they may also think on these things. They tramp and tramp, soldiers out to collect provisions for home camp, finding them and carrying huge items back for their community … The things they carry back are the things that die during the night, moths and insects drawn by the lights on at night, and dying, to give life to other creatures …

In Summer, I’m outside on the back veranda more, and see these things happening, and yes, those snakes will come visiting too, and yes again, if Missy sees the snake, Missy will chase the snake and try to kill it. She’s such a sweet dog, our Missy, but I do worry about her, please may we have many more years together, well at least another four years would be good …

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our pool, in need of cleaning!
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Uncategorized

What do Dogs know about Blogging?

Well obviously dogs don’t know terribly much at all about blogging. Sometimes I wonder how much I actually know about blogging … I’ve probably broken most of the rules in blogging, and that quite likely is why I don’t get hundreds of hits on my blogs.

My first problem with blogging started when I got really really excited about all of the wonderful things blogging could do to help me in my writing career. Or the scribbling and (self)publishing that I call a writing career. A career is where you make all of your money, isn’t it? If so, I’m in trouble!

The government is looking after me though, and so is my darling husband, so I’m getting along well enough. I’m enjoying my life too, and inspiring other people too, apparently, and that’s a good thing, surely? Yes, of course it is. Now thinking about my blogging, and it’s lack of real success, I could look at in a different way, and it doesn’t look like such a failure.

This is a better way to look at it. I have many (too many) blogs, I got excited and went overboard. If I added up all of the words and all of the comments together, wow, that adds up to, well not impressive amounts, but better amounts of action. When, or if, I finally get my act together, get off these free blogs, and actually have one blog which I pay proper attention to, wow, that will be great, won’t it? Or maybe not. That ‘maybe not’ is probably the reason why I haven’t actually done it yet.

Anyway, I’m going to go to a workshop in July, which I’m hoping will assist me in getting a more cohesive approach to this online and blogging thing. Writers write, and blogs are made up of words. Well, actually the best ones have words and images too, don’t they. Sometimes, in fact far too often, I neglect to put images in my blogs.

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cute pic Pharaoh pup and Pumba!

I remembered this time, there’s an image!

What I’m actually going to do in the meantime is to post this to as many of my blogs as I can find, and then see what happens. It’s an experiment, and I’d love to get some feedback from other people. So, if you can offer me anything about this, please do so, I’d love to hear from you!

And here’s a picture of the things my husband and I picked from our garden today, because gardens and dogs and blogs and writing, along with pictures of some things, well, they’re things that help to keep me amused!

garden produce

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birds, dogs, Uncategorized

Wild Life in the Garden

I have a backyard, and I have a front yard, and I have other areas available to me, if I want to be outside, on my property. We live on one and three quarter acres, my husband and I, our four dogs and sometimes our son. It’s a good life, and I love the amount of wild life sharing our property with us. Except for the snakes, I don’t love them …BrownSnake_Australia

The dogs we have, three of them anyway, are keen hunters. They’re Pharaoh Hounds, which are very much like greyhounds in that they love to chase things, and eat them. Our Pharaoh Hounds will chase and catch birds and reptiles whenever they can. Yesterday, our youngest dog, Missy, caught a bird, a small one, I wasn’t there, but my husband saw the results, Missy chowing down on a feathered morsel. It’s natural to the dogs to do this, but I feel a little bit sad about it … I just hope it was an introduced bird, not a native bird.

Of course, all of the birds deserve to live, as do our dogs. It’s a tricky thing, trying to edge an ethical way around dogs and birds, and other creatures. Dogs do their doggy things, birds do their birdy things, and the reptiles do their own reptilian things too. We have those reptiles on our property at various warmer times, lizards of various sizes and kinds, and snakes of a potentially deadly kind. We’ve certainly faced potential death from a snake bite, and don’t ever want to go through that again.

It was Missy that time too, that caught and tried to kill a deadly snake, a brown snake. Missy bit the snake, but the snake bit Missy back. A worrying trip the vet, appropriate treatment and a sleep over at the clinic, and Missy was back with us, a little subdued, but soon looking for prey again … The Pharaoh Hounds are wired for chasing, and there’s not a lot we can or want to do about that – we just keep them safe inside in summer, keeping an eye out, and an ear out too, for that hound chase thing kicking in and looking for trouble …

There are lovely things going on in our garden too, of course. We have grass, tall trees, flowers, fruit and vegetables, all growing well and showing us a lovely green vision of cool beauty. We aim to keep things relatively hardy, and as organic as possible. There’s nothing better than eating a fresh strawberry, plucked from the bush just outside of our back door, red and plump and warmed by the sun – delicious!

We also have lettuce, capsicums, garlic and celery growing. The celery is a test, and is growing in the kitchen, in a little plastic container, with a little bit of water that we refresh daily. I read about this idea, and loved the thought that we could grow our own celery right there in the kitchen windowsill, so I tried it. And yes, the celery is growing from the leftover celery that would normally have gone into the compost bin. So in theory, we have grown new celery from old, but the growth rate is slow, and our need for celery is faster than the growth.capsicum

I’m thinking of transferring the celery outside and hope it will grown faster that way. Growing things inside doesn’t happen as often inside for us, going outside is enjoyable, and the dogs are always likely to steal anything growing inside! Speaking of inside, there is wild life inside at times too. We’ve had mice inside, and many others in our area have had them too. I feel sorry for every mouse that falls victim to the traps we have, but I also feel cross when I see evidence of mice in the kitchen – yuck!

Outside are lovelier things to see – I’m an amateur birdwatcher, and love to see the variety of birdlife that lives around us. From the usual sparrows and starlings, to the lovely honeyeaters, willie wagtails, and others, I like to sit on the veranda and watch them as they go about their business. Quiet and mindful fun for me – I do a kind of Nature Meditation and feel soooooo calm and Zen!

Living with wild life is a game of what you can put up with and what you can’t – sometimes Nature wins, most times, Mankind wins, but the balance is feeling pretty good for us. We have shelter, food, water, space – and we are more or less happy to share some of what we safely can, with Nature.

If you love the Nature around you, I’d love to read about it, feel free to leave a comment!

 

 

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dogs, Life Roles, Uncategorized

My Life Roles

I am many things, the name of this blog certainly indicates what some of my life roles may entail. I have four dogs, so letting in, putting out feeding and cleaning up after dogs are included. I also do lighter aspects of the required gardening needed at our place, watering, and some small pruning of our smaller plants, at times.

But I have life away from home, and do other things. I’m a blogger (obviously), a poet and a writer. I am currently in the middle of writing my next book, well I would be, if I hadn’t stopped to write this blog post. Although by saying I’m ‘in the middle of’ writing the book will be true as long as I go back to the writing of said book, after finishing off this blog post …

Does it matter whether or not I actually go back to the writing of that book? Hmm, yes it does, for various reasons. This as yet unfinished book is scheduled to be launched at an event that is taking place at the end of July. It’s currently at the end of March. As I mentioned I’m a writer and poet, not a mathematician, but I can work out that means I have four months to get the book done and printed. That sounds possible, depending on how many more words there are to be written …

This book is not going to be just words written by me though. The book will have some illustrations to go with it, and it will have some words written by someone else as well … I can’t get the illustrations done until I send the text toΒ the illustrator, and to the person writing the other words. And I can’t do that until I have more words written, to give those other people a better idea about what they need to respond to, for playing their part in the process. Such are the things one takes on, when one takes on the role of Self-Publisher, as I have to produce these books.

You may be curious about this book, of which I speak … Well, the book is titled ‘Dog Buddha’s Thoughts’ and it is written by not only me and another person, but also by a dog. ‘A dog?Β you may well ask, ‘how can a dog write a book?’

Well the dog isn’t one of the four dogs that live here with us, or lives somewhere else with other people, sort of … The dog lives in some spot at the back of my head perhaps, or in my imagination, wherever that actually is. Has anyone clever worked out where the imagination actually is yet, I wonder? But I digress…

The dog is Buster the Dog, a perhaps mythical dog, and we have already written two books together. Those books are “Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs” and “Doggone It – Mindfulness from a Dog’s Point of View”. They were also self-published and illustrated by the same person who will illustrate this partly-written book, once she has the words to work with. This new book will have more words but fewer illustrations than the first two books, I think. I hope. Or would more illustrations be a better way to go? No, that’s just me trying to get out of doing more work, when in fact I can feelΒ Buster the Dog straining at the leash, wanting to get back into the writing!

So I’d better close off here, I think, get some lunch and then get back into this book. I have another blog that talks about those earlier books, and have links to that blog scattered around this particular blog post. I’m slowly getting the hang of this promotional stuff, and hope to learn more about it at that Festival of Words I mentioned … There will be a workshop revealing all I need to know about Social Media!

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Uncategorized

Things to do in the Garden

There are a variety of things to do in the garden. Every garden, every person – they have their things. Some things are common to most gardens, and some people have to do the common things in their garden.

When you have plants, you must keep them adequately watered. We have a lawn out the back, with some lawn growing in patches in the dog run behind the back yard. We also have various pots of things in our pool area that need watering regularly, flowers and some herbs. I the dog run there are also some things I’ve totally forgotten the name of, that are doing well.

They are things that grow well in deserts, I think, and we got ours from our neighbour across the road. Not only have grown well, and are considerably taller than when they were planted, they also now have offspring growing alongside them, which is great.

We are growing some of our own vegetables as well as the herbs and we have hanging baskets too, with flowers, herbs (thyme) and strawberries. I love the fact that we’re able to provide some of the food we eat, and wish we had more growing. I’m not the one who does the work though, so I wisely leave the decisions about it up to my husband …

We have four dogs – not little dogs, but medium to big dogs. These dogs are all getting older, of course, with the oldest in her final years, I very much think. It’s a worry, living with such an elderly dog. She naps a lot, and I always fear for her life, when she doesn’t wake up quickly, as the other dogs do. But Nena is old and arthritic and deaf, so these things happen at a slower rate …

The best thing our garden has is lots of different kinds of birds. I love watching the birds as they go about their daily business. I have a list of the different kinds of birds I see, adding a new one if I see it here and isn’t already on the list. I haven’t added any new bird since I think early last year. I’d love to find a new avian visitor!

We have a bird bath in the back yard too, in the pool area where the dogs don’t go, so the birds that visit for a drink or a bath are safe there. I love to see them in there, splashing the water and looking like they’re having a great time! There are two bird baths in the front yard too. If I look out of the windows, left and right, I can see the bird baths, if the curtains are open.

I almost drawn the, rather than open, but I had to think, does drawn actually mean open? I looked in up online and it seems the general feelingΒ is that it can mean either. If curtains are open, you draw them to close them. If the curtains are closed, you draw them to open them. Confused yet?! I love our crazy language!

We have two rose bushes too, and sometimes I might bring in a rose bud like the one below. This one is still sitting next to the computer and I can see it, but it’s very very dead now, and dried out. I’m not sure why it’s even still there. We have new rose buds on the bushes. Maybe tomorrow I’ll bring a new one in. We have both the glorious fragrant red/pink ones, and we have yellow ones too, both planted next to each other near our pool.a-rose-by-any-other-name

So, birds, dogs, a pool, roses, home grown food, we have lots of great things in our back yard. We have some nasty things sometimes too though. Snakes in summer is always a worry. Our bigger dogs are hunters, and have had some ‘fun’, that one time didn’t go at all well, not for the snake, not for one of our dogs.

That’s life in the country though. In summer there are snakes, as well as glorious days of water fun … My husband loves summer and our pool! I prefer autumn – do you have a favourite season? I’d love to hear about it, if you do!

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