Monthly Archives: August 2019

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, And The Irony

Today, I share the latest in the ongoing war between my plants and the deer and rabbits.

First : The GOOD.  I had one volunteer sunflower this year.  (Most likely a bird “planted” it as a result of the nearby bird feeders.) And thankfully, it chose to grow in an old enamel coffeepot on our deck (safe location from critters). What makes it even nicer is that I had “that old moss” already planted in that pot.  I think it makes a sweet combo.

Sunflowers are SO cheery.

Another item in the “GOOD” category: this mandevilla I planted earlier in the season has done really well. The tag said that it was the climbing variety, so I thought it would be pretty on this old trellis. Obviously, this is a mounding variety instead, but it’s obviously happy.  On the deck, it’s safe from the “critters”.

Next: the BAD. This spring, I had bought a beautiful hanging basket of purslane in shades of a pretty coral color. Thinking I had come up with a simple, but effective deer fence (one strand of monofilament fishing line strung about 3 feet off the ground), it had thrived all summer. Sadly, I don’t have a before pic.  I believe this is the work of two young fawn, who obviously fit UNDER the fishing line fence. This was ONE night’s work last week.  I’ve since moved it to the safety of the deck, hoping it will bloom again before frost.

And: The UGLY.  One of my favorite plants is a cypress vine (or hummingbird vine).  I first saw it growing at Bacon’s Castle on an old wooden fence.  The vine itself is so sweet and dainty, and the flowers are tiny, star shaped blooms in red, pink and white – all on the same vine.

Every year, I have a couple of these to volunteer from seeds I planted several years ago. This year, the two that volunteered chose a difficult location: immediately beside one of our deck posts. Motor Man helped me modify one of the cages that he had previously made for me, cutting it to make it semi-circular. If you look closely, you can see that dainty little vine, twining up the black trellis.

And I had ONE tiny white bloom.

There was a very small space between the post and the cage. And…..evidently, one  of the baby bunnies I’ve recently spotted discovered that tiny space. The next morning, the bloom and much of the vine was gone.

So….. I used rocks and fishing line to close up that hole.

Finally: the IRONY. You’re probably already thinking that I’ve created something very ugly to protect something so pretty.

Further IRONY,  I chased away the neighborhood cat yesterday as she was plotting to attack one of the baby bunnies.

~These Days Of Mine~




Poetic Thursday: The Recital

Once again this week, I’m participating in Poetic Thursday with Pam and her two “boys” over at Two Spoiled Cats.

Each Thursday, they provide a photo as inspiration and invite their readers to write a poem, based on the photo, and share it in comments on the blog post the following Thursday.

This was our photo for this week’s inspiration:

The Recital

White dress, hair bow and a booster seat;
A pedal extender for her feet.

Her first recital was a formal affair,
Parents and grandparents were so proud to be there.

She practiced for weeks for this special night
And gave no thought to the dreaded stage fright.

Her performance complete, everyone stood:
“Bravo!” ‘Chopsticks’ never sounded so good!

My poem last week was heartfelt and serious, so this week, I went for something fun. I’m sure this little girl is an accomplished pianist, and I don’t mean to make light of her talent.

Be sure to visit Two Spoiled Cats today to read Angel Sammy’s and their readers’ poems.

~These Days Of Mine~



It’s A 1949

A few weeks ago, Motor Man and I happened to notice an interesting looking old vehicle located not far from our shop.

Our buddy, “Lugnut”, frequently works at that location, and a few days later when we passed by and saw him,  we stopped.

Turns out, it’s his vehicle. Motor Man insisted I climb inside and sit in the driver’s seat. (Since this project is a “work in progress”, it probably wasn’t the best day for me to be wearing white slacks.)

This is a 1949 Ford, built as a mail truck. It’s hard for me to remember: mail truck or milk truck. I had to message Lugnut as I was writing this post and ask him again.

The previous owner had begun transforming it into an ice cream truck. Although it’s a Ford,  it now has a Chevrolet “heart” (Motor Man’s word for engine).

Lugnut isn’t sure what his exact plans are for this sweet little truck.

Ice cream, anyone?

~These Days Of Mine~








The Corolla Wild Horse herd suffered another tragic loss recently.

This was posted on the Corolla Wild Horse Fund Facebook page on August 17:

We are devastated to announce the death of Joaquin, a young stallion who was well-known in the Swan Beach community. Joaquin was severely injured when he attempted to go through a barbed wire fence on USFWS *  property earlier this week. A good Samaritan spotted him Thursday afternoon and immediately called us. Upon closer inspection of his injuries, it was determined by our vet that his leg was beyond repair and the most humane course of action would be euthanasia.

We have feared this scenario since the barbed wire was installed several years ago. USFWS has been very sympathetic and responsive since the accident occurred and we hope that we’re able to come up with a replacement for the barbed wire that serves their purposes without endangering the horses. Meetings are already being set for the coming weeks, and we are optimistic for a positive outcome.

We know Joaquin was well-loved and our hearts go out to everyone who will grieve his passing. He was just four years old; a lovely young Banker with a bright future as a harem stallion. His loss is a major blow to the herd and will have an impact for generations to come. And we will certainly miss seeing him regularly. Rest free, Joaquin.

(*USFWS: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

This was one of the photos CWHF shared with that post:

Corolla Wild Horse Fund photo

This is particular heartbreaking for me.  You may recall this photo from 2015. The foal is Joaquin. I submitted this to the CWHF calendar contest, and it was chosen to be in the 2017 calendar.

A few months ago, I shared a blog post with photos I submitted for the CWHF 2020 calendar. (More about that in weeks to come.) This was one of the pictures:

Yesterday, while speaking with a CWHF volunteer/staff member at the beach, I learned that this, too, was Joaquin. I hadn’t realized…..

Run wild and free, sweet boy, where there are no barbed wire fences.

~These Days Of Mine~


The Oak Ridge Boys…And Zombies

Did that blog post title get y0ur attention? And “zombies”: there’s a word I never thought would be included in any of my blog posts.  More about that later.

Several months ago, my long-time friend, Bev, learned that The Oak Ridge Boys would be in concert in Hopewell, a city a little over an hour from us.  Back in the day, she and I LOVED listening to their music. And we saw them in concert back in the early 1980’s at Scope, a huge arena in Norfolk.  Our seats were so far from the stage, the group looked like ants. But we enjoyed hearing (and “kinda” seeing) them perform live.

So, we got tickets to the show in Hopewell, which was Sunday night, August 10.  We met Bev and her husband, Bill, at a nearby restaurant for dinner before the concert.  Right outside our window were the most beautiful hanging baskets of petunias. The hummingbirds put on quite a show for us. I think the slight glare from the windowpane gives this picture a nice watercolor effect.

Then, on to the concert. This venue is much smaller than Scope, and we had seats on the 11th row from the stage.  Thanks, Bev, for the picture.

Now…. on to the zombie part of today’s post:

This is a slideshow of what we saw on the side streets just a couple of blocks from the concert venue.

It seems that they were filming a spin-off of “The Walking Dead”, which I understand has something to do with zombies.

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During the concert,  Joe Bonsall, spokesman for the group, would occasionally chat with the audience between songs. During one of those breaks, he asked if  we’d all seen the movie set. Then added that, of course, there weren’t any zombies there right now.  And a woman in the audience yelled out: “We’re all HERE!”.

The entire audience erupted in laughter, as did the guys on stage.

The show went on, and, thankfully, we made it out of Hopewell and back home without spotting the first zombie.

~These Days Of Mine~





Poetic Thursday: Kristen

Today, I’m finally participating in Poetic Thursday. My dear friend, Pam, is author of the blog, Two Spoiled Cats. (Well, she actually helps her current kitty, Teddy, and former kitty, Angel Sammy {from Rainbow Bridge} with the blog posts.)

Each Thursday, they provide a photo as inspiration and invite their readers to write a poem, based on the photo, and share it in comments on the blog post the following Thursday. I’ve often thought about writing a poem and participating, but never have.

Until this week.

This is the photo that Pam (and her boys) provided last week:

My first thought when I saw this picture was that it reminded me of my friend, Kristen.  Kristen and my son, Marshall were born THE SAME DAY.  But we didn’t know her until she and her family began attending our church when she was just a child. Then she also began attending Marshall’s school, and the two of them became good friends.

I must admit that I was honored a few years ago when she sent me a Facebook friend request. (I’m always flattered when a young person friends me.)

Here are just a few things I’ve learned about Kristen, both from her friendship with Marshall and the friendship she and I share: Kristen has a very tender heart, she’s a wonderful mother, she loves nature, is very knowledgeable about gardening, and stands up for what she believes.

So, in honor of her, here’s my poem for this week’s Poetic Thursday.


Butterflies flutter, fairies descend;

Their world is happier when Kristen stops in.

Lovely herself, she sees beauty in all,

A friend to God’s creatures that fly, walk or crawl.

Her voice is so gentle, she needs but few words,

And soon, she’s surrounded by deer, bunnies and birds.

Time quickly passes until day is done,

The friends part company with the setting sun.

But Kristen softly whispers, as their garden visit ends,

“See you in the morning and good night, my sweet friends”.

Please visit Pam’s blog, Two Spoiled Cats, today to read the poem that “Angel Sammy” wrote for the photo this week, as well as those submitted by Pam’s readers.

~These Days Of Mine~



6 Years, Gypsy

Well, sweet Gypsy girl, when we woke on the morning of August 19, 2013, we had no idea that, at the end of the day, we’d have a new fur baby in our world. But, there you were, at the back door of our shop….tiny, scared, shivering, hungry.  But, also very loving.

We tried to find your owners, but were unsuccessful, so you became ours. Or did we become yours?

You’ve made us smile so many times during these six years.

And you’ve made us laugh more than a few times, too.

You definitely entertain us every day.

You’ve greeted dozens of our customers/racing associates/friends when they’ve visited our shop. Other than a couple, you’ve quickly won them over with your charm.

You give Motor Man advice.

And help me with my office work.

You’ve definitely grown A LOT in these six years.

And although you’ve nearly outgrown our laps,

Our hearts will always have more than enough room for you.

Happy Gotcha Day!

(Programing note: my next post will be Thursday of this week, rather than Wednesday.)

~These Days Of Mine~