This was a perfect south Georgia fall weekend. It was in the 60’s, with blue skies and just enough breeze to keep the air filled with leaves, drifting down like feathers from trees soon to be totally bare. We have both pine trees and hardwoods in
our yard, so we get pine straw and leaves in the fall. The pine straw gets swept into the flower beds, and pine cones are collected and bagged. When we get a really cold day (in the 30’s), Ted will use them to start a fire in our little wood-burning stove on the sun porch.
The birds and squirrels found the big bird feeder on Friday afternoon – only a day-and-a-half after Ted hung it from a crickedy branch on our old crabapple tree in the backyard. The little feeder we attach to a window in our sun room attracted birds at almost the exact same moment. For a whole day the feeders hung visitor-less, without the sighting or sound of a bird anywhere. Sitting on the sun porch with the windows open, we both commented on how quiet it was outside. Then, around 11:00 Friday morning, I spotted a solitary bird sitting in the tree – head cocked to one side, eying the feeder, then checking all around for predators. The scout flew to different parts of the tree, then to the swing, then back to the tree. When it flew off, I told Ted it was heading back to Tweet the news – “The Hortons are back, and we’ve got food for the winter. Ya’ll come!” Within an hour, both feeders held several birds, happily gorging themselves with gourmet birdseed (gotta give them the best to lure them in – then we switch to something more reasonably priced). Ted, the big softie, keeps some of the good stuff stashed away to mix in with the budget seed though. So far we’ve seen wrens, titmice,
chickadees, a female cardinal, and the cranky Brown Thrasher who makes his home in our yard every winter as soon as the food arrives. I wish he’d move somewhere else because he can “thrash” out our little feeder in just a few minutes – but he’s our Georgia State Bird so I guess he can live wherever he wants.
Our otter friend has practically trashed our boathouse over the summer. With no people around to scare him off, he used the shelter as his personal dining room, catching fish and bringing them into the boathouse to dine in private. The floor out there is a garbage dump of fish bones and otter poop (Ted was very annoyed).
It’s amazing how fast Maddie and Bear have reverted back to all their old Georgia habits. Maddie has this really aggravating thing she does when she barks at the back door to come into the house. When we go to let her in, she immediately runs off to make one more sweep of the deck (just in case she failed to spot something interesting, I guess). Only then will she come in. If we walk off after she begins her sweep, she’ll come right back, bark again, then sweep again when we arrive – so we might as well just stand there and let her “do her thing”.
Saturday was just plain windy and chilly, with temps never rising out of the high 50’s. Ted left home around noon to join “the boys” for an afternoon of football at various houses and the Bottom. That left me with a few hours home alone. It was too chilly to ride my bike, even though Ted had pumped up the tires, so instead I walked a fifteen-minute mile inside, aided by an online video suggested by Lana, my friend in Atlanta. I’m determined to not fall into last year’s routine of no exercise for 6 months. If you’d like to try it out, here’s the link: http://www.walkathome.com/try-walk-at-home. Click on “Beginner”, and there will be a 15-minute walk-at-home video you can follow right in front of your computer. I’ve done it a couple of times a day for two days now, and I really like it!
I’ve been thinking about something new we can all do this winter. I’d like to share books I’ve read (that I think are good) and ask you to share good ones you’re reading. I’m always on the lookout for a good read, and my tastes are pretty varied. I usually can’t abide whatever the critics call “outstanding” – I’m that way about movies too. Just a quirk of mine, and not always true – but usually. I finished The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass a few days ago, and it was excellent. So excellent, in fact, that now I want to read The Three Junes, which won Glass the National Book Award in 2002. Right now I’m reading The Shadow Wife by Diane Chamberlain. It’s “ok” enough to finish, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. The best book I’ve read this year – no doubt at all – is Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. By the way, I love nonfiction dog books (highly recommend A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron), and “good” romance novels – Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown are two of my favorite authors, What about you? What are you reading these days that you would recommend? I’ll be commenting over the winter as I read something new, and ya’ll feel free to comment any time at all with a book that’s impressed you.
What am I missing about Mackinac Island? First, our friends – but the majority of them are not on the island for the winter either, so it’s not like they’re there, and we’re here. And I’m in almost daily contact with all of them and the friends we have that do winter on the island – so that makes it easier.
Another thing I miss is the quiet – not necessarily outside (after all, we live in the country, and traffic noise isn’t a problem) – it’s the inside noise that I find disconcerting. At the Mac Island condo, our TV is upstairs in the loft – so it’s hardly ever on except for a couple of hours at night – max. Here, with the TV right in the den, it gets turned on (by Ted) as soon as he sits down in his big recliner, and it stays on the rest of the evening until bedtime. The longer we do this double-nesting (and the older I get), the more I can see that in the near future I will need to move my laptop out of the den (which means finding a new spot for my desk) and into a room where I can write – minus TV noise. When I was working, I could juggle several “mind” tasks at once. Now – well, when my brain is trying to focus on writing – or reading – I need silence to concentrate.
What am I loving most about being home at the lake in Georgia? First – friends! How great to see all the girls at the Bottom Wednesday night, and on Friday we all went out – as couples this time – to dinner in Cordele, at the same restaurant we went to just before we left for Michigan. We have such wonderful friends at both our homes – a true blessing. Other things I’m loving: our KING-size bed (there’s room for Ted, Maddie and I without any “cross-over”); being able to open a door and release Bear and Maddie out to do their business or play without having to go out with them on leashes; watching our birds; and being right on the water. With the lack of rain and storms to stir up the bottom, the river’s water is almost clear right now. And with the sun reflecting just right – as in the photo at right – it takes on a beautiful blue hue.
I know I’ve been rambling in this post, but there were a lot of subjects roaming around in my brain, and I was trying not to forget any of them. I hope all of you had a great weekend, and don’t forget to tune in on Wednesday to the Mac Island site (http://bree1972.wordpress.com) for the first Winter Update. Michigander friends have shared some wonderful photos you’re going to love.
See you again on Friday with news from the ri’vah!