No Weeping for the Cherry Tree

Shrubs and trees needed attention – heavy trimming or removal. The property was in very good shape when we moved here almost nine years ago, but the weeping cherry tree got away from us. John cut a few large limbs over the years, and David removed one last year. Every summer I hacked my way through the dangling branches so that people could walk along the gravel path. Despite several trimming sessions each year, I couldn’t keep the walkway clear. Before the tree got a nasty name like the Wicked Wisteria did, we decided it had to go. I watched Jeremy’s deft movements and heard the saw do its job. As the tree fell, I had not one regret. The rhododendron and lilac bushes had been bullied and overpowered by the cherry, and they certainly had reason to cheer.


With great pleasure, I saw Jeremy use his nifty machine to pick up the tree, parade it around the house, and put it gently on his truck. His wife was standing by me, and you may be able to see his two-year-old son in his lap. Young Hudson loves to “work” with his dad.

This photo shows the stump, the path, and the two plants that are now relaxing their limbs after years of crowding.

The Wicked Wisteria is in the center of the photo. Doesn’t it look like it is sticking out its tongue at me?

Neighborhood Snake

Neighbor Joyce came over to porch sit, since we hadn’t had a chance to chat for ages. As we sat there, she realized birds were making a fuss in the garden. The non-poisonous black snake was there, with three different kinds of birds on the ground near it. They were squawking and jumping. Evidently they were not afraid of the snake. I wondered if they had nests nearby and were ready to pounce if he began to climb. Snake climbed into a low bush at our feet, his body looking like one of the lateral limbs. I took a photo of Kacey and Joyce watching him, only a few inches away. Joyce thinks it might be the same snake that has hung about her house, catching rodents.

A bit later the snake slithered close to the house, and Joyce exclaimed that he was going into the generator. The day was a bit cool, so he might have enjoyed being in that enclosure that was warmed by the sun. Before Joyce left, Snake was back in the garden, perhaps heading to her house.

Neighbor Shawn has seen a snake like this, too, so perhaps he makes the rounds of all our homes. No one will bother him, because he is our free pest control agent.

Two-step Monday

I took two steps forward, and now two steps backward. The good news is, I’m back where I started about two years ago! When my retina leaked I went for an injection once a month. I advanced to six week intervals, then eight weeks, but I couldn’t hold it. I went back to six weeks and now four again.

Three days before my regular appointment, my vision was a bit blurred. I excused it as an allergy. The next day I blamed dirty glasses. A dirty windshield was the next excuse, only the glass wasn’t dirty. The retina scan showed my vision went from 20/30 to 20/40. If I had only that eye, I could still function, but I would be limited to reading poster-sized materials. Center vision is useless at the moment..

There is a funny story to the day, though. When I booked the bus ride, the scheduler said I should be ready for pickup at 11:45 for a 1:15 appointment. I wrote it down and still had that note on the kitchen table. I had also had two reminders from the office that I was due there at 1:15. Luckily, I showered right after walking and ate breakfast with David. He heard the bus honk and thought it was the lawn service truck leaving. It wasn’t. It was the bus waiting outside for me!

I ran out and told the nice driver that there was some mistake. He called the dispatcher, and she said I was down for a 9:45 pickup before an 11:15 appointment. It was her word against mine. Thinking quickly, I decided to go immediately. I could wait in the doctor’s office as easily as I could at home. My phone was charged, meaning I had hours of things I could do. Reading was possible if I closed the right eye.

We had gotten as far as the highway when the driver said he didn’t have another pickup until noon. I said, “If I’d known that, I would have offered to cook you breakfast.”

He said, “We could turn around, but I guess we’ve gone too far.”

It was gratifying that there was regret in his voice.

I Didn’t Wave

Every year I was caught off guard. Riding along with John at the wheel, I’d see a person waving at me, and I’d wave back. I did catch myself the last two years, and lifted my arm only half way when I realized it was neighbor Warren’s scarecrow. This year I saw the scarecrow on my way to the creek the day after he was put up. Since his clothes are quite faded, he doesn’t make the same impact he once did. Clothes do matter!

Isn’t the garden neat? Weeds don’t stand a chance. The main crops are yellow squash and tomatoes. The contraption in the middle is a sprinkler, getting water from the creek running alongside. I will enjoy watching the progress as the plants grow, the squash splashes out with yellow blooms, and the tomatoes turn from green to red. The garden will look good until Warren plows everything up in the fall and puts the plastic covers and sprinkler away. The bare plot will rest again until spring.

Snake (had been) in the Grass

Jeremy, the tree man, met Kacey and David as he went around the property with me to see what needed to be cut or trimmed. Near the old oak tree, Kacey almost stepped on a black snake (a good kind). We all saw the snake, commented on it, and walked away. When Jeremy looked back, he saw the snake climbing the tree! I took a photo of him as he made a video of the snake.

I didn’t think to make a video, but I have two shots that show the snake at the hole and slithering further in. I looked back after a minute or so, and the snake had totally disappeared into the hole. I hope it was empty, because in previous years we have watched birds entering there to feed their babies. We’ll be eating outside more often now that the weather is warmer, so I’ll see if birds take up residence there again.

Mother’s Day

David and I had no plans for celebrating Mother’s Day. We knew it wouldn’t be like other years, when John or son John $ would build a charcoal fire and I would prepare the rest of the meal. One John is now in heaven, and the other living on the West coast. David needed to go to church early and planned to stay late, and I stayed home with an ailing dog. David had a great idea, that he’d come home after shopping at Aldi’s, and we’d run to Walmart to get something for the dog and pick up a prepared meal. We chose subways, a foot-long sandwich for him and half that for me. For dessert we bought a small cheesecake with four flavors. No muss, no fuss, and we enjoyed eating on the porch with the dog for company.

The day began with greetings from my three children — a text from Kate in New Jersey and quick phone calls from $ and Lise in Denmark. Lise had a big afternoon/evening planned, and $ and Rose were heading out for a 10-mile hike with dog Sadie.

Hours later Rose sent photos of them from Idaho, as well as lovely landscapes with wildflowers and blue, blue water.

It had been a satisfying, pleasant day for all of us.

MEETing Neighbors

I went to the meeting for the upkeep of our road, and the next morning, while walking, I saw the other four who had attended. (Our road is not a state road; therefore, we have to repair it ourselves.) First, though, a man stopped his car, introduced himself. and asked how the meeting went. He knew me, but I didn’t immediately recognize him. He pulled out money for the road dues, handed it to me, and asked if I would deliver it. His mision accomplished, he asked if John no longer walked with me. You should have seen the shock on his face when I told him John had died almost a year ago. Do you suppose he wondered if I would spend the money on myself?? I promised to take the money to Bob, the current treasurer. He told me to contact him if I needed anything and called my phone so I’d have his number.

I walked on to the creek and didn’t spot the dead fish Logan had seen there the night before when he went to the meeting with his dad. I was in front of the fire station when there was a loud noise as several bins fell off a trailer. The driver was putting on a shirt as he walked back to the jumbled pile. I crossed the road and began picking up a hundred scattered pens and some craft items. He lifted the heavy bins back onto the trailer, thanking me a couple of times. He was still shifting things as I crossed the highway. I think he was taking the junk to the garbage center and wanted to make sure nothing else fell off. It was a pleasure to help someone who didn’t expect it.

Closer to home, Beth was walking her two-month-old puppy down her steep driveway. Dixie let me pet her as we chatted about the meeting. The next person I met was Pat, walking little Mickey. Normally his wife is the one with the dog. I waved at Jeff in his truck, grateful he took his car the night before, because I was riding to the meeting with him. I spotted Shawn and Bob on their porch, soaking up the warming sun. The money delivered, I asked Bob to text the man that he had received the road dues. That should have set the man’s mind at ease that his money was in the right place.

Step in Every Puddle

On the way to the creek, I intentionally stepped in every puddle on the left side of the road. My rule for this game was to make the pace look as normal as possible, so that people passing by would not notice. Only the left foot had to go in the water. Strange game? Yes, indeed! When I came in from walking two days before, Kacey greeted me at the front door. I didn’t smell anything and walked directly into the kitchen where David was eating breakfast. It wasn’t until he walked toward his bedroom that he saw the dog had pooped in the front hall. After cleaning it up, I found I had stepped in it with my left foot as I came in. The rest of the day, as the sunlight changed where it hit the floor, I cleaned the poop patches as I could see them.

Today was “clean the left shoe day”. I wiped the shoe in the grass with every step between the firehouse parking lot and the creek. Puddle water must have done its job. The deep treads were clean by the time I got home.

I saw an odd-looking stick on the road that seemed to have a small head. When I touched it with a stick, it moved on its own. I’m guessing it was a newt, a salamander-like creature that spends time on land. Brief newt-prodding was more fun than cleaning one shoe.

Face (or back) Recognition

Because I was waiting for an exterminator and a painter to come, David’s plans for his day off were affected. Instead of eating out and grocery shopping, he took me out to brunch at the Buttered Biscuit. Yummy! As we were leaving, I suggested we go two doors down to Dunkin Donuts to get breakfast for the next day. He wasn’t overly enthusiastic, but he held out his arm for me to twist. He said I used an Indian twist, meaning I used both hands.

We gazed at the two large display cases, making our decisions carefully. You’d be forgiven for thinking we were considering risky investments! A couple at a table next to the exit had plenty of time to see my back. As I opened the door, I thought the man asked if we had walked there. As I fumbled for an answer, the woman clarified it. She wanted to know if I regularly walked on a street in our area. Wow! They recognized me from my morning walks! What a thrill!! We introduced ourselves, but I didn’t hear the names well. David thought she was Erin (I heard Aerie), and he might have been Dan or Ned. I said I couldn’t see faces inside cars, so they pointed out their car sitting outside. I tried to memorize the tag, but I’ve forgotten it already. Tomorrow I shall give an extra big wave to all black SUVs.