Ongoing Thanks, But Not So Much For The Mouse

IMG_3634Thanksgiving this year felt redundant.  We did not need a special day to pause and reflect on our good fortune.  We have done it every day for the past six months.  Maybe it is because we have time to reflect, now that we are retired.  But, somehow, we can’t seem to fully grasp that we stumbled on this place, so perfectly suited to us, and with such exquisite beauty.

IMG_3587Our house is on a hill, with a view to the east and south.  A small river and a series of rolling hills separate us from the ocean.  The sun and moon rise over those hills.  They don’t sneak up over the horizon quietly and unnoticed.  Because there is little man-made light nearby and the coast produces constantly changing skies, sun and moon rises tend to be dramatic and colorful.

Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.

Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.

Moonrise Thanksgiving Eve. The moon's color was much redder. Like that next photo.

Moonrise Thanksgiving Eve. The moon’s color was much redder, as in the next photo.

I have never lived in a place where I have been able to really see the sunrise.  And moonrises were not even on my radar.  Now they are part of our daily rhythms.

This was the actual color of the moon when it first rose and was low on the horizon, seen through the oak branches.

This was the actual color of the moon when it first rose and was low on the horizon, seen through the oak branches.

Here, the sunrise usually gets me out of bed the morning.  Our bedroom faces west and north so we can only tell the sun is rising by the quality and color of the light outside the windows.  A certain rosiness catapults me out of bed so that I won’t miss the morning show.  George is usually already up, with coffee freshly brewed and waiting.

IMG_3058Every single time I watch that sun emerge over the hills, a little farther south each morning as we head into winter–or watch the moon, which comes up at all different times, often taking us by surprise—I am so grateful that we found this particular place at this time in our lives.  In fact, I sound like a broken record, “I love it here … I can’t believe this place … yada, yada, yada …”  I’m sure the sense wonder will wear off over time, but it hasn’t yet.

In the meantime, Thanksgiving week brought our first snow.

We had some skimmings of ice, but no snow.

We had some skimmings of ice, but no snow.

It was a little unexpected.  We spent the day before, which was soggy and windless, burning brush from the area we are clearing for a little orchard.

Burning brush.

Zoe supervised.

Zoe supervised.

During the night, the wind started screaming, the temperature dropped, and the evening’s rain turned to snow.  It did not accumulate much, but when the sun came out mid-morning, everything was transformed.IMG_3698


The snow highlighted the giant limbs on this white pine.

The snow highlighted the giant limbs on this white pine.

IMG_3808Zoe was wildly happy.  Water is her element, and frozen water—in the form of snow—is best of all.  When we were on our RV trip across country, we would try to find patches of snow at high elevations so that she could run and roll in it.  She was thrilled to find an endless supply here in her own backyard.IMG_3794

George has cut some trails through our woods.  But it was treacherous going when the snow covered the fallen wild apples.  They acted like greased ball bearings.

IMG_3746IMG_3732IMG_3719Even through the snow, we continue to harvest vegetables.  We still have leeks, carrots, and spinach in the raised beds, and they just become sweeter, the colder it gets.

Snowy leeks.

Snowy leeks.


Our little cold frame, which I planted with greens back in August, is starting to produce nicely.

For some reason, Zoe is intrigued by the cold frame and visits it every morning on her rounds.

For some reason, Zoe is intrigued by the cold frame and visits it every morning on her rounds.

The frame's middle panel has a hinged opener that opens automatically for ventilation based on the temperature.

The frame’s middle panel opens automatically for ventilation based on the temperature.  It’s nice not to have to do it ourselves.

Some things were a bust.  One of the leaf lettuce varieties bolted, the broccoli raab did not do well, the mache’s growth is glacially slow, and the arugula was decimated by cabbage moth caterpillars (I had to spray it with BT).

The mache is growing, but very, very slowly.

The mache is growing, but very, very slowly.

Arugula stripped to the ribs. Voracious little buggers.

Arugula stripped to the ribs. Voracious little buggers.

But the mustard, tatsoi, kale, red winter lettuce, and claytonia are thriving and we are harvesting beautiful salad greens.IMG_3856

IMG_3814Not everything is rainbows and chickadees, however.

This recent rainbow ended in our back woods.

The inner arc of this recent double rainbow ended in our back woods.



Just a gratuitous chickadee shot.

When George took the truck in this morning for an oil change, the mechanics found a mouse living under the hood.  In retrospect, George thought he heard some unusual noises as he drove all over the state yesterday.  I can only imagine what that mouse thought when his new home went zooming down the interstate.  Apparently, the experience was not too traumatic, because the mouse stayed tucked up there overnight only to have the further excitement today of freaking out the mechanics.  Of course, it got away.  We will not have to deal with it anymore because it’s now hiding somewhere in the Toyota dealership.

I wanted to make a wreath without using any wire or frame. This is the funky result--a mullet wreath, business on one side, party on the other. Maybe I should hang it on the truck's grille to scare away the mice.

I wanted to make a wreath without using any wire or frame. This is the funky result–a mullet wreath, business on one side, party on the other. Maybe I should hang it on the truck’s grille to scare away the mice.

39 thoughts on “Ongoing Thanks, But Not So Much For The Mouse

    • Not so brrr now. A warm wind swooped in yesterday and melted all of the snow. We had no idea how well the cold frame would work for winter greens. So far, so good. I’ll give an update in January.

    • Thanks Peggy. With all the heartbreak going on these days, we are even more aware of how lucky we are. We love it here so much, we haven’t even had any desire to travel. But that will come, I’m sure. In the meantime, I love following your blog.

  1. What a truly truly incredible place you three found. It reminds me of here, but without the snow. And of course, you live further out than us, in our little town. you are very blessed!

    • I’m hoping that next year we will get out to visit you. We do have snow, but don’t have your drought or wildfires! We have a town about a 5 minute drive from here. It’s tiny, but has a good little store, a nice little restaurant, post office, hardware, library and yoga. Pretty much everything we need. Oh, and there’s a winery and a distillery nearby!

  2. Goodness but you are living in a beautiful spot. Wonderful photos. I did have a small smile when viewing your wreath because I’ve done many projects that looked one way when I visualized them and another when I finished. I wouldn’t hang it on the truck because it has so many contributions from Mother Nature that it might draw more of her creatures to it. 🙂

    • Thank you Judy. We lived in Alaska so long that I thought we’d have a hard time living in the dense trees of New England again. Where I grew up in Connecticut, the trees have grown up so much, they feel almost smothering. I didn’t expect to find the open vista and big sky that we have here. I think that’s why we fell in love with this place so quickly.
      Oh yes, the wreath … It has a face only a mother could love! It won’t be going on the truck, don’t worry. We’re researching mouse deterrents. I’m imagining spraying coyote urine under the hood and having the smell waft into the cab every time we start the engine.

  3. Your views are beautiful. I love the moonrise here. In winter, the moon rises through the trees to the northeast of my house and sometimes I turn off all the lights in the house to enjoy the show.
    At least your mouse didn’t pop out into the passenger compartment while George was driving. I’ve seen an unusually large number of mice in the house this year — 6 so far, after only 2 last year. At least I can trap them in the house; it’s more difficult to do that in the car. One year, when I took my car in to be serviced, they retrieved a perfectly formed mouse nest from the top of the cabin air filter. I am going to try some of those peppermint sachets from Gardener’s Supply which are purported to discourage mice; I might put one in the glove box.

    • The moonrises here really are a show. And the moonlight on the snow was spectacular last week. Almost like daylight, with long tree shadows.

      Trust me, we laughed about the possibility of the mouse popping out into the truck cab. I’m not sure how we’ll keep the mice out from under the hood, but I like your idea of peppermint in the glove box. When we were in our RV last year, we used a peppermint product, Fresh Cab, scattered in storage areas and we never saw a mouse. Not sure if it was a factor or not, but it smelled nice.

    • Thank you Sam. I agree, the sunrises seem more beautiful in winter and we seem to watch the sky more when the leaves are off the trees. I intended to do more work on the wreath, but it’s starting to grow on me just the way it is. Maybe in this case, familiarity makes the heart grow fonder!

  4. So happy for you to have found your perfect place! You are surrounded by so much beauty. You have put so much work into it in such a short time. I love your garden. Seeing your greens makes me want a salad right now!

    • Thanks Beth. You should know about perfect places–you have a very sweet spot where you are. I suspect that in a few more years we will come down to St. Simons for a month or so in the winter. I have very warm memories of our time there last year.
      The work here has all been pure pleasure. I am so excited about planting more gardens and a little orchard next spring. I’ve already ordered the trees and am looking forward to hours browsing seed catalogs.

  5. Thank you for sharing such beautiful photographs from your life. I feel like I am entering the rainbow when I look at that close-up. It’s jumping out from my screen! The transition between seasons is lovely. We don’t see that so much here so I appreciate being able to see it in your blog. The skies are gorgeous. 🙂

  6. Wonderful shots of the rainbow and the red moon. We got hit with snow recently, but within a few days it had melted away. We might get some more in a day or two. Why is it that dogs are so ecstatic in the snow? I am vicariously enjoying your good fortune through your blog.

    • Well, thank you. “Vicarious Enjoyment” would be a good name for a blog. It is the essence of the blogging community, isn’t it? As far as the dog-in-snow ecstasy, I don’t know, but it’s a pleasure to watch.

  7. What beautiful photos of the sunrise and moon rise and that rainbow is spectacular (did you go looking for the pot of gold!!! but then I think you have already found it in your perfect location.) Loved to see dear old Zoe playing in the snow. I do believe she is developing a middle age spread. Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden with us.

    • Thank you Pauline. We already know that this place is our pot of gold. No need to go looking! Zoe does look a little pudgy in these photos, but she’s actually slimmed up a bit with all the exercise she’s getting here. She’s just big-boned, you know!!!

  8. Beautiful photos of a beautiful places. Your Zoe sounds a lot like our Liam. He, too, seeks out patches of snow to roll in. Some dogs are just built for cold weather.

    • I loved your snowy photo of Liam. Zoe is a true cold weather girl. She lived in Alaska all of her life until recently and has the yellow lab layer of cold-protecting fat. She still hasn’t adjusted to the summer heat here and seems to appreciate the snow even more now.

      • Thanks! Your Zoe looks like a darling dog. Maine might not be Alaska, but it has plenty of cold weather. No doubt that layer of fat allows labs to swim in cold ocean water. One time, we watched in amazement as our friends’ lab swim in the frigid Maine ocean. Didn’t seem to bother him at all.

      • Yep, labs are bred for it. No water is too cold for Zoe. In fact, the colder the better. She swam all over Alaska–ocean, lakes, streams–at all times of year. She loves ocean swimming here and the beaches are more accessible to dogs this time of year. Now that she’s older, though, we have to limit her swim time or she gets too stiff in the evening. Her heart is eager, but her joints can’t keep up.

    • Thanks. We are thrilled to be here. As for the mouse, I’m sure it thought it found a quiet, warm little nest until it the engine cranked and the truck headed down the road.

  9. I can’t imagine not waking up and being to see the sunrise,it makes such a good start to the day. All your pictures are fantastic but seeing the colours of the rainbow took my breath away! We are trying to grow some salad crops in the greenhouse over winter. We have had a reasonable crop so far. Sarah x

    • We lived in Alaska for more than 20 years, where the transition between light and dark is crazily skewed and strewed. In summer, it never gets pitch dark and sun rise is very early and very subtle–a gradual lightening when you are still sound asleep. In the dark months, sunrises are late and lingering, kind of a twilight-y affair. And, we have almost always lived in wooded areas, where it was difficult to see the sun actually rise. So, this magnificent daily emergence of the sun has been new for us. I’m in its thrall now.
      We get weather systems moving along the coast, with battling fronts that birth the rainbows. This one was so close, the colors seemed to infuse the trees behind our house.
      I’d love to see your winter greenhouse crops. We’ve learned a lot from our little experiment and are already looking forward to doing more next winter.

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