Welcome to 'Attic of the Heart'!

Welcome from north-central Connecticut! In this blog I will share whatever is in my heart, on my mind, or something interesting I've found to share. Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Autumn...

We are 1/2 way through Autumn, winter is officially still a few weeks away, but we are feeling the chill from those 2 arctic fronts swooping down out of Canada.  I can't complain though, as the grass is still fairly green, the burning bushes are still 'burning', and the temps were fairly mild until recently.  We keep saying (and hoping) that THIS will be the last weekend to do leaves, but I dare not make that assumption yet.  I think we are pretty much done for the most part, the oak in the front lawn still has about 1/3 of it's leaves, so we will see how next weekend looks.  My DH couldn't get the lawn mower started yesterday, it seems the spark plug was gone, and a wire was chewed on the magneto from the mice who tried to set up housekeeping 3 weeks ago.  They had built a good sized nest in the motor area, and it was occupied!  A year or 2 ago, it was chipmunks.  I even discovered a little nest in the middle of our portable fire pit.
Speaking of the oak tree, it dropped a few acorns this year compared to previous years. I have learned that nut trees in general do not produce the same amount each year.  There are some years we are lucky to find 1/2 dozen.  One year, the ground was literally covered!  This year, there were quite a few, but the squirrels were very diligent -- all you can find are mostly the caps left from the acorns.  Well, it made it easier raking, that's for sure.
Started my light box the around the first of October.  I've had some foggy days, but I think I'm doing better.  Combining SAD with peri-menopause, and oh what fun. The ups and downs of hormones and lack of sunlight, I never know what kind of day I'm going to have. Sigh.
Max is still hanging in there.  Poor guy.  Chronic Kidney Disease is a terrible thing.  It's hard to know when 'it's time' to make that one way trip to the vet.  I hate to think about it, but also don't want to wait until the last minute, which could end up being worse, for both of us.  The medicine I got for him a year ago has helped alot, but I think it gets to the point where there isn't much more you can do.  Combine that with other side illnesses that can crop up, like high blood pressure, thyroid issues, and it just gets more complicated.
A big factor has been his teeth.  He goes through what seems to be monthly cycles of gum disease.  He gets really bad breath, REALLY bad, and he doesn't eat very well.  With CKD, he cannot afford to lose calories, so I have to be diligent and watch him closely to see that he doesn't fail too badly during these times.  I do feed him 4 times per day, all canned food (even the dry Kidney disease food causes problems with him), with his meds 2x's day in his food.  He takes the generic form of Pepcid AC regular dose for his nausea that comes with the toxins building up in his system.  His kidneys just cannot flush everything out like they used too, because they are only operating at about 15 - 25% capacity at this point.   I am guessing, as he is in the later stages of this disease.
He still looks forward to his daily routine, though.  He gets cold very easily, and LOVES the electric wood stove in the evening with DH.  Parks himself in front of it. I finally put his big pillow there. :0)
Anyway, it weighs heavy on my mind at times.  He's been a faithful companion for 17 years.  I got him when he was 6 weeks old from our local vet, no mama.  When I saw him with his siblings, he was busy beating everyone else up. Ha!  I got him, a Tiger Tabby with a white nose, and his sister, Jellybean, who was black/calico, with an orange dot on her forehead.  She passed away from diabetes when she was 9.
I am still feeding the birds.  I can watch them out the window as I type.  There was a major flock of blackbirds and grackles that came through last week, many hundreds, moving from lawn to lawn.  I say, eat up those bugs and spiders!
The Juncos came around October 17th - 20th this year, as they do every year.  On stormy days, I can have up to 3 dozen, but usually about 15 or so usually.  The woodpeckers love the suet feeder.  I switched over from rendered w/seeds to the raw from the grocery store, now that it is colder.  I use this when I can find good pieces in the store, as it's slightly cheaper.   The white breasted nuthatches, I think 2 pr, they are so crazy and fun to watch.  Also, the titmice, cardinals, purple finches, chickadees.. but my very favorite is the Carolina Wren.  They are such perky inquisitive little birds!  I have a small basket hanging up under the deck which holds the remote for the weather station, and I watched them one day totally check it out, inside the basket and all around the outside.  Just in case it could be a home for them, I think.   And the doves.  Always the doves.  But at least it isn't pigeons!  Once in awhile, a hawk sweeps through, and I will find feathers, mostly dove.  That's ok, I have LOTS of doves. It's the little birds I'd feel real badly about.  The squirrels are quite tenacious too.  I had a lot of grays most winters, usually about 7, but the black squirrels arrived about 6 years ago, just one for a couple of years, but now I have more black than gray I think, and they chase the grays away.  I also noticed that the black ones are more skittish than the grays.  Interesting...
We took a day trip up to Gould's Sugar House in Shelburne, Massaschusetts in October.  We hadn't been up in awhile, and though it would be a nice trip for leaf-peeping, and it was.  Not a bad breakfast, although I thought the pancakes were quite mealy.  Flavor ok, texture wasn't my type.  They make their own breakfast sausage, nice big patties, not bad.  They serve their own homemade dill pickle chunks with breakfast, very good, but salty! They are open for 2 seasons each year, since like the 1960's, for breakfast/lunch, very limited menu, but very popular.  Some days you wait for an hour, so get there early!  They are open during sugaring in the spring, and a few weeks in the fall during apple season, which you can buy some while you are there. They have a small gift shop where you can buy their maple syrup as well.  All this is located in their old barn which used to bunk their help way back when.  It also houses their sugaring operation which you can see operating in the spring. I think it's all run by cord wood, if the large amount stored is any indication. It's worth the trip.  In fact, the lady who runs the restaurant must be near 80, and still works the counter.  She showed us an article about them in the Yankee magazine, which was very nice.
We also stopped at Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters, one of their 2 stores, if I remember rightly, also on Route 2.  Neat little place, very busy!  GREAT COFFEE!
Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters - Shelburne Falls, MA, United States


The store I stopped in has a nice little sit down area, several choices of pastries, and of course, coffee.

 
I brought home 4 different flavors to try - Chocolate Raspberry, Toasted Coconut, Sugar Maple Nut, and Amaretto.  They all smell and taste good.  Very smooth coffee.  I ground my own beans, as they sell whole beans in big stoneware crocks with wooden lids.  Nice!  Definitely better than most store brands.
That's all for now, laundry is calling, Max is looking for some lunch, and I've got a pot roast in the slow cooker and need to 'accessorize' it. :0)  Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Welcome Spring!!

Finally, spring has arrived!!  Long awaited, dreamed about, impatiently sought after, finally here.  Winter was LONG this year.  I guess it was for just about everybody, it seems. Even still, my folks further north still have snow in their yard, but as my mother says, bare spots are appearing.  When I boast about my azaleas blooming, she says, well, my flowers are just poking through the ground in the bare spots.

As I type this, I'm watching a grey squirrel cavort about like a kitten.  Having the best time!  He's bouncing off of tree trunks, rolling on the ground with a stick, squirreling around, enjoying himself (or her). 
The Goldfinches have been numerous this spring!  I counted at least 12 males outside my window at the bird feeder, plus Purple Finches, Chipping Sparrows, White-throated Sparrow, White Crowned Sparrows, and oh yes, one Pine Warbler!  A new one for me this year. The Downy Woodpeckers have been quarreling over the suet feeder, I think I have 3 pairs coming daily.  Plus the Hairy and Red-bellied. 
The male Cardinal has been courting his mate, by staying close to her and occasionally offering her a seed, which she shyly accepts. It's so cute! The nuthatches are crazy as ever, and courting as well.

I have one wild turkey who has been coming every day for over a week now to my bird feeder.  I'm wondering if it's a female, and if she has decided to nest in the woods somewhere out back of us.  Seems she's been staying in this area.  Would be cute to see the babies.  We did have a whole flock pass through in the last month or so.  I heard yesterday that the population of wild turkeys is down this year in CT, but still stable.  

We had a hard winter for our area.  My lavender suffered terribly, and I think I lost some perennials as well.  We've had mild winters for several years, with not a lot of snow for most of them, but this year was colder, longer and I think the frost might have gone deeper as well.

Today it is raining, we need the rain, and you can practically see the grass growing.  The trees are starting to leaf out, the wild rose bushes already have small green leaves.  I must keep an eye out for the Jack in the Pulpit this spring so as not to miss the bloom.
Well, I better get on with my day.   Have a great week!