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BS: Sunshine Thoughts

ranger1 22 Apr 14 - 01:54 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 14 - 01:26 PM
ranger1 22 Apr 14 - 01:17 PM
Megan L 22 Apr 14 - 12:41 PM
ranger1 22 Apr 14 - 12:25 PM
Megan L 22 Apr 14 - 01:58 AM
ranger1 21 Apr 14 - 06:13 PM
Megan L 21 Apr 14 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 21 Apr 14 - 12:40 PM
maeve 21 Apr 14 - 09:12 AM
Megan L 21 Apr 14 - 07:32 AM
Megan L 06 Apr 14 - 09:24 AM
maeve 06 Apr 14 - 08:04 AM
JennieG 25 Nov 13 - 04:24 AM
Megan L 25 Nov 13 - 04:11 AM
JennieG 24 Nov 13 - 04:46 PM
Megan L 24 Nov 13 - 03:08 PM
Megan L 29 Oct 13 - 02:11 PM
ranger1 29 Oct 13 - 08:38 AM
Megan L 11 Oct 13 - 03:55 AM
Megan L 19 Sep 13 - 08:28 AM
Ebbie 18 Sep 13 - 03:24 AM
Megan L 18 Sep 13 - 02:08 AM
Megan L 02 Sep 13 - 02:17 AM
JennieG 02 Sep 13 - 01:56 AM
ranger1 01 Sep 13 - 09:17 PM
Megan L 14 Aug 13 - 03:41 PM
Ebbie 13 Aug 13 - 02:33 AM
Ebbie 12 Aug 13 - 10:31 PM
ranger1 12 Aug 13 - 09:48 PM
Ebbie 12 Aug 13 - 12:05 PM
ranger1 12 Aug 13 - 10:18 AM
Megan L 12 Aug 13 - 09:55 AM
ranger1 12 Aug 13 - 09:46 AM
Megan L 12 Aug 13 - 05:15 AM
JennieG 03 Aug 13 - 06:45 PM
Ebbie 03 Aug 13 - 04:22 PM
Megan L 03 Aug 13 - 03:35 PM
ranger1 03 Aug 13 - 02:40 PM
Megan L 22 Jun 13 - 04:00 PM
LilyFestre 31 May 13 - 04:01 PM
Megan L 31 May 13 - 01:27 PM
Charmion 30 May 13 - 11:18 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 29 May 13 - 03:01 PM
gnu 29 May 13 - 02:24 PM
ranger1 29 May 13 - 10:48 AM
kendall 29 May 13 - 08:26 AM
Megan L 29 May 13 - 08:21 AM
ranger1 29 May 13 - 07:19 AM
Megan L 15 May 13 - 06:49 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:54 PM

Oops! I appear to have lost the cardinal!

Northern Cardinal


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:26 PM

A cheat version of the plain soup uses a stock cube to about a gallon of soup. Not much but it does boost the soup considerably. Equally, pearl barley and - gasp - dumplings on occasion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:17 PM

Megan, for you :)

I took the photo of the deer out my window one morning last year.
White-tail

The birds are links to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. You can hear the bird calls as well as see what they look like.


Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Phoebe
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Hairy Woodpecker
Red-winged blackbird

Frogs:

Spring Peeper
Wood Frog

The plants photos are all mine.

Plants:
Mayflower
Red maple

Red osier dogwood


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 12:41 PM

Oh how I wish that was a recording blind people could immerse themselves in your world seeing it through your eyes. I don't know some of your wildlife but your words created a world I could relax into and enjoy you have an amazing gift.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 12:25 PM

Winter has been loathe to give up its grip here, last week we had an inch and a half of snow followed by several days of below average temperature. At first, I was very upset about the cruel trick Mother Nature had played, but when I got to work and went down to say good morning to the ospreys, I discovered where a fox had made her rounds, and back tracked her for about a mile. I love tracking foxes, they are very no-nonsense, going from point A to point B in the straightest possible line, hind feet carefully placed in the tracks left by the front feet. Whenever she deviated from her straight line, it was to inspect a squirrel cache or sniff under a log. She also went down the bank and into the salt marsh, where I wouldn't follow - she may not sink into the muck, but I surely would. There is the carcass of a dead turkey down there and she may have paused for a snack.

Park visitors are often shocked at my attitude about dead things in the park. Many of them are visiting from Portland, Maine's largest city. Although it isn't very large in the general scheme of heavily populated areas, many of the people living there are out of touch with nature.They don't stop to think about the fact that death is a part of the cycle in nature. The turkey may be dead, and to humans unsightly and smelly, but it is a boon to many of the other creatures in our park. The gulls, the fox, the raccoon whose tracks were perfectly preserved in the mud until the tide came in, even the mice, all will benefit from that smelly, unsightly dead bird.

The woods were still brown, no wildflowers had dared poke their heads up when I left the park for my days off Saturday afternoon. But the sun has been shining, and the days have warmed considerably and there is the faintest hint of red to be seen in the tops of the red maples. They are the first to flower, rolling out the red carpet for the rest of the woodland wildflowers. The twigs of the red osier dogwood on the shore are brilliant red, a splash of color against a drab background. Soon, the fragrant, tiny blossoms of the mayflowers (or trailing arbutus, depends on who you talk to) will make their appearance. One has to get close to the ground to smell them, but it is oh-so-worth it.

Here at home, I am surrounded by lovely little ponds and marshes, most of which are home to frogs of all sorts. The wood frogs, frozen solid all winter, are awake and making their clacking calls that sound almost duck-like. The spring peepers have also started calling. They're not quite in full chorus yet, when they are, I can hear them in the house with the windows closed. The marsh is also home to a pair of redwing blackbirds, another sign of spring and their distinctive "konk-a-ree" is as welcome as the peepers' chorus.

Phoebes (a species of flycatcher) have been investigating the roof over my door as a possible nest site. They like nesting under eaves and other protected nooks and crannies on buildings. Although it could get messy if they do, I would welcome them. They are fun to watch, catching their prey on the wing, scolding poor Phoebe, whomever she might be, and sitting on branches and wires flicking their tails. And they eat insects, always a plus. Other birds provide spots of color in the trees about the property. A bright red male cardinal sitting in the top of the biggest pine tree singing "cheer, cheer, cheer". Bluebirds flitting about, sometimes landing on the wires attached to the cottage right outside my windows, to my great delight. American robins with their rusty red breasts pulling worms out of the ground in the field behind the house. Occasionally a hairy woodpecker will visit one of the ancient sugar maples, looking for insects under the bark, his spot of red on the top of his head a contrast to his black-and-white body. The wee chickadees, looking similar to your coal tits, hardy little year-round residents, males now making their two-note whistle in addition to their "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" call. I love all the birds, but I have a special fondness for the chickadees. Other favorites are the crow family, who come and visit the compost pile every morning, and the ravens, who call from the woods behind the field.

The deer in the park fell victim to the coyotes this past winter. It doesn't bother me, coyotes need to eat, too, and like the turkey, others have benefited from their death. However, there are still plenty near my cottage. I had to stop the car to allow five of them to cross the road only a few hundred feet from the cottage. They are graceful creatures, and beautiful to watch, with large ears, long legs, and their distinctive tails, as long as my arm from fingertips to elbow, white on the underside, used to signal the alarm. That white flag is unmistakable and is what gives them their name: white-tailed deer.

More later, when spring progresses a bit more.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:58 AM

Same here lass Aunt Netty makes great apple pie scones and pancakes the tinned food is awfly sweet for me. What is it like around your area at this time of year I love your descriptions of the things you see.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 06:13 PM

Thank you for yet another glimpse of Orkney, Meg. Feeding one's guests is important to New Englanders, too. And I understand bit about the desserts, as well. When I was little and we'd visit the great-aunties up in northern Maine, they'd serve the store-bought cookies when we came to visit. I always preferred my great-auntie Lucy's home-made molasses cookies and her filled cookies (usually dates, but sometimes raspberry jam) to the store-bought fare, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 01:10 PM

Indeed it is Pete healthier and cheaper. I was brought up on plain fare and there is little to beat it. the plain in plain soup was in no way derogatory it merely meant the everyday in my parents and grandparents time meat and chicken was saved for special occasions, apart from mince.

I remember one Sunday a minister was talking about heaven and how we would all be able to feast on the very best of foods only to be interrupted by a low but carrying voice from among the congregation. "Weel beuy we will be weel aff fur mince and tatties." the poor man stumble through the rest of his sermon totally lost that this country parish would prefer mince and potato to lobster and venison.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 12:40 PM

I suspect "plain" farm soup will be more healthy than shop bought....and probably more healthy!.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: maeve
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 09:12 AM

Hello, Megan. Thanks for sharing your visit with us. I'm glad for you.

Maeve, who just made (plain) farm soup on Good Friday.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 07:32 AM

What a day!

I am not very good at visiting I keep intending to but rarely have the courage even with friends. So two weeks ago my brother who I get the local paper sent to asked me if the picture was of Dauvit's uncle and aunt, I do not get the paper now so I had to go hunting for a neighbour with an old copy. Sure enough there was their picture showing them being presented with flowers for their diamond wedding.

I made a card and worked out if I had enough money to buy a small gift. Of course I had still not got round to an actual visit so when I spoke to my brother on Saturday morning I decided to take my courage in both hands and get on the phone. I might put it of till another day if I think about it but if I make a promise it will be done so by phoning and telling them I would come on Sunday I could not talk myself out of it.

The reason Roy had not initially recognised them was that they were all done up fancy and he had never seen Uncle George in anything but dungarees or old working denims, slack as you like and plenty of pockets for nails and small tools.

Any way yesterday was absolutely glorious weather so I set of for the hour long drive to the other end of Mainland (The local name for the main island of the Orkney archipelago. What a delight smiling daffodils along the roadside and lambs taking their first bold explorations of the world. The water of Scapa flow looked like it had been liberally sprinkled with glitter as it sparkled in the sunlight.

They were out the door to greet me even before I got pulled into their drive. They are what I would describe as Auld Orkney folks. Not in age (though they are in their eighties) Guests are important and must be given food and drink as soon as they are in the door so I had barely got lowered onto the couch before Netty called us through for "a bite o dinner" I had deliberately chosen 2pm to allow them to have dinner in peace (This being the main meal of the day for farm folk). I should have known better, they had deferred their meal till they could share it with me.

Plain fairin is the order of the day farm soup (I guess ye kin tak the fowk oot o the fairm but ye canny tak the fairm ooto the fowks.). There is plain soup, usually lots of whatever vegetables that grew in the farm garden, carrots, onions, swedes (Possibly rutabaga for our us cousins.)with the addition of stock and barley or dried peas and lentils. Special days soup is basically the same but has bits of the hen or beef left in. The farms animals were in the old days a valuable source of income especially hens so it had to be a fairly special occasion before one was killed. Well it must have been a special day for the hen was served up it is boiled with the vegetables to give the soup flavour then served with stuffing(Skirlie, a mix of oatmeal onions and suet cooked .) and tatties boiled in their skins. It may seem strange to modern ears but a family treat would have been something like a rhubarb pie and custard but for special guests it was ice-cream and tinned fruit. Why was that so special? Well if you think of it everything else could be provided by farm and garden but the ice-cream and tinned fruit had to be bought which would have entailed a journey probably of several miles usually on foot to the local shop.

The meal past we settled to watch a video they had been sent of their grandsons wedding. George had just undergone chemo before it and had not felt up to the long drive south so the family made sure they could share in the day. I am sure many of you will have heard the conversation from older relatives whether watching a video or looking at photographs.

G: "That's Nicholas the grooms brother."
Followed several moments later when the scene had changed by
N: "That's Nicholas the grooms brother."
G: "No it's not that's cousin (insert name)"
And so on rapidly descending into a comedy as memories are just not quite fast enough to keep up with the film.

Any way it was a lovely day with lots of memories and friendship with two very special people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 09:24 AM

ah it arrived then lass I passed it on once we were done with it yesterday.

It was a slow day I was taking some time to myself to sort out my thoughts the fog was the tick unpleasant kind that makes you want to stay indoors. About noon I had finished the bit of writing I had been doing and behold the sun shone.

I sent a text and half an hour later I was picking up Christine and the boys. I have been giving her some driving lessons so she took over the wheel and set of.

The run down through Holm with its long straight road allowed me to rejoice in views I had not had much chance to enjoy as a driver.

we stopped at the forth barrier which links Burray and South Ronaldsay. Though these days it bears little resemblance to the other barriers the sand having built up against one side.

There they settled down for a picnic while I slowly made my way down onto the beach. I had forgotten the great peace and joy to be found at the waters edge. The playful slap of the small waves on the wet sand then the low rumble as it ran away back down the beach like a little boy who had just pulled the pigtails of his favourite girl.

We had gone looking for Groatie Buckies (small Cowrie shells) but there were none to be found on that beach so after they had walked to the other end of the beach, a task beyond my abilities (I was just proud to have managed to walk down onto the soft sand) we set of back the way we came till I suggested they stop at the next barrier on the Glimps Holm side.

The beach there has steps down to it so I couldn't get down but I sat with the windows open listing to the gentle summery sounds till I noticed the gulls were starting to cry for rain. I closed the window and was thankful the others had spotted the cloud and made it back to the car before it decided to share its tears.

after they were all safely back home I decided I couldn't be bothered cooking and went down to the Peedie Chippie a small van that parks down by the shore. Once again the rain had stopped and I listened to the garden birds in the trees of the house next to the van singing like a great choir each with their own lines, melodies and harmonies.

As I watched across the bay three birds flew low in tight formation along the curve of the bay reminding me of our islands military history.

    Low they flew in tight formation
    Skimming the waters
    Below the crest of the hill
    Desperate to stay below the radar
    Sure now of their destination
    They broke cover and skimmed over the waves
    heading for the safety of home
    As the dusk shielded them from prying eyes


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: maeve
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 08:04 AM

Megan, we need you!

There is real sunshine here, all the more welcome for the encroaching clouds. I can see the brown grasses and dark trunks of the apple orchard with only a few clumps and raggedy sheets of snow. The air is cold with wind, but our pretty bantams and the rollicking robins know what season it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: JennieG
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 04:24 AM

Indeed, Megan! I am noticing that the floor needs attention and I am averting my eyes. In a few days I may suggest to Himself that a broom be wielded. Meanwhile, I am not walking round barefoot......


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 04:11 AM

Aww Jenny I hope the shoulder improves in a timely fashion. The trouble with housework is no matter how often you do it, it is still to be done.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: JennieG
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:46 PM

Megan, sounds like a fun day!

At present my little ray of sunshine is the fact that housework is out of the question due to a shoulder operation last Tuesday. Unfortunately so is sewing, knitting, crocheting, playing guitar and uke, but I am still here to enjoy the sunshine and the glorious rain which has blessed our parched earth lately. The hill behind us which recently was sere and brown has sprung into green life.....such a lovely sight.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 03:08 PM

What happens when you cross a four year old with a fourteen year old and a forty year old :) Christine.

She has a "How many sleeps till Santa" ap on her phone and Christmas ringtones I kid you not that lassie is Christmas daft.

Yesterday morning I picked he up and headed of to Skara Brae It is a historic Scotland property and they were having a members event. we had mincemeat pies and Christine had mulled wine :( I was driving so orange juice for me. we wandered round the shop while she oohed and ahed at the Christmassy things, I got her a small tree decoration and you would have thought I had given her the crown jewels.

once I got her eased away from the decorations we went for a drive through the crisp landscape. The cows have all been taken in now the fields seem strangely quiet and still like a forgotten memory of summer.

a meander through the countryside brought us to the Merkister hotel on the Harray Loch to sit over a lovely fresh seafood lunch watching the last swans trying to make up their minds whether or not to go on holiday.

then into town to examine the small trees that have been put outside every shop they are all about three foot high and have some of the weirdest decorations ever. The dress shop had cut out and coloured miniature dresses and the chemist hung theirs with empty pill packets :. I thought I had got her tired out till we neared home then she wanted to make Christmas cards. I am not sure which is the most exhausting her or the twins .


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 02:11 PM

sounds like a wonderful place lass


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 08:38 AM

Today, I am sitting at my table and reflecting on how lucky I am. I live in a beautiful place, work with wonderful people, and am surrounded by amazing friends.

The last month and a half has been a whirlwind of joy. Four of the last six weekends have focused on music. Two shanty sings at The Press Room, the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, the pre-Getaway gathering at Sinsull's, and the Getaway itself. The joy that singing with others brings heals my raveled nerves and soothes my soul. And introducing someone new to that joy has been satisfying, too. Besides the music, another circle of friends has gathered me into their fellowship. An autumn party with good food, good company, excellent conversation, and adorable puppies was another reminder of my wealth of friends.

This past week was the jewel in the crown, though. It says a lot about one's work environment when one chooses to spend time with one's co-workers when off-duty. One of my fellow rangers has access to a 125 year old family camp on a private island on an inland lake. We are privileged to be his guests in that little piece of paradise once a year. There are only two ways to get there, by boat or by hiking in five miles and fording a stream to get to the island. We hike, as Bandit comes with us, and a nervous dog in a canoe is never a good idea. The hike in goes through a cedar/pine/hemlock forest that has grown up around ancient, mossy boulders left by the glacier during the last ice age, skirts the lake, and arrives at a marshy area with the stream. Some years there is a lot of water, some years it's dry. The trail crosses the stream and one arrives on the island. There is a peacefulness that is immediately noticeable: at least seven generations' worth of happy memories and good times have made this a place out of time, a realm apart from the ordinary.

There is no electricity, no cell phone service, no radios. There are shelves and shelves of books, cupboards filled with games, and a huge trestle table in a large dining room. All beckon one to interact with one's companions directly. Without all the modern conveniences, one quickly falls back into older, more natural rhythms: firewood must be cut and split by hand, water hauled from the lake, the fire tended to lest it go out. Time has little meaning there, we woke when the sun rose, ate when we were hungry, sat in front of the fire in conversation, played games by the light of the gas lights, and went to bed when we were tired. Everyone fell naturally into chores: Andy splitting wood with maul and wedges, myself doing dish duty, Michael being the host and knowing where everything was and how things worked, Jenn mastering the use of the percolator. Cooking was a communal affair, whoever emptied the water filter for drinking water immediately refilled it, the water pitcher was kept full.

When our short time came to an end, we left things clean and tidy, the wood box next to the fireplace full, and everything they way we found it. I like to think we added to the aura of happy memories and good times that envelop the island and that the next person to arrive there gets as much peace and contentment as we did.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 11 Oct 13 - 03:55 AM

For three days the wind howled around the house I am never sure when it does that if it is a cry of pain or its attempt to strike terror into the hearts of those huddled inside. The rain came not like tears but like waves of miniature daggers hurling themselves against the old walls and anyone foolish enough to venture out. Darkness descends and winter strode into town with all the vulgar brashness it could muster.

Our small town however is not quite ready to give in to the cold look winter has cast us. For a moment it is beaten back now the weather sits stunned on the horizon unsure of what it is supposed to do.

The town holds its breath till not even a blade of grass moves afraid to draw winters attention. Birds hide untrusting of this quietness with the exception of one rather stunned house sparrow who sits on the fence across the road watching the thin band of brightness on the distant horizon gently turning the darkness over the town to a lighter grey. It bravely tries to expand its territory of light but the low cloud fights with steely determination to maintain its dominion over the town today however it will lose the battle as the light quietly nibbles away at the edges of darkness.

Gradually birds emerge from their shelters today they will feast on the rowan berries. The residents of the small town follow their example and life creeps out of heated buildings onto quite streets suffused with the last vestiges of autumn warmth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 19 Sep 13 - 08:28 AM

Little things mean a lot

It was on the thread for Charlie and his wife I spoke about the little things that keep you going when someone is in hospital, it reminded me of the song sung by Kitty Kallen.


Little Things Mean A Lot

Blow me a kiss from across the room
Say I look nice when I'm not
Touch my hair as you pass my chair
Little things mean a lot
Give me your arm as we cross the street
Call me at six on the dot
A line a day when you're far away
Little things mean a lot
Don't have to buy me diamonds or pearls
Champagne, sables, and such
I never cared much for diamonds and pearls
'cause honestly, honey, they just cost money
Give me a hand when I've lost the way
Give me your shoulder to cry on
Whether the day is bright or gray
Give me your heart to rely on
Send me the warmth of a secret smile
To show me you haven't forgot
For now and forever, that's always and ever
Honey, little things mean a lot


Sometimes it isn't words that matter it's the little touches and smiles even if they are sad ones all the little unspoken communications that tell us people care even when they don't know what to say.

Sadly when we are scattered all over the world sometimes words are all we have they are our cyber hand on the shoulder . There was one old lady I used to visit who always placed her frail hands very gently on top of mine as we spoke, her touch like a butterfly kiss yet the love and care it gave was stronger than any castle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Ebbie
Date: 18 Sep 13 - 03:24 AM

I love "dayspring".


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 18 Sep 13 - 02:08 AM

The past few days have been rough here on the island, gale force winds, driving rain and squally hail showers definitely not weather to go out unless you absolutely had to.

Today however something woke me even earlier than my usual 6am. It took me a few moments to figure out what it was, the world was quiet the wind had stopped trying to move my wee house to the bottom of the hill.

Although it was still dark out I decided to get up and watch the dayspring that peaceful moment before sunrise when the sky begins to rub the darkness from its eyes. The night tries valiantly to hold its power over the sky but the battle is already lost for like drops of water into ink at first seem to make no difference. Then comes the one drop where you eye sees a difference and from that point the march to sunrise is inevitable.

Each time I watch the dayspring it fills me with renewed hope reminding me that even in those times when things are bad and no relief can be seen if you keep on working towards it dawn will come one effort will make the change visible, you never know which small thing will make the difference you just have to keep trying and watching for the dayspring.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 02:17 AM

Tami that is wonderful I hope you both find happiness in meeting up again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: JennieG
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 01:56 AM

Tami, that's lovely to hear! You and your friend must have a lot of catching up to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 01 Sep 13 - 09:17 PM

Once there were a bunch of uni students who all lived on the same floor of a dormitory. Most of them were good friends, but one was a bit immature and annoying. Most of the students living on that floor avoided her, and she went through several roommates before one kind young woman volunteered to be her roommate. At the end of the year, may of the students moved into off-campus housing, and one of the students who hadn't had much patience with the young woman while living in the dorm took the time to get to know her better. They became good friends, with the off-campus friend inviting the on-campus friend over occasionally to watch movies or share a meal.

By the start of the following year, this had become a weekly ritual. The on-campus friend's roommate gathered a bunch of friends together and informed them that the on-campus friend had a birthday shortly after the semester started and that no one had ever noticed in the hub-bub accompanying the start of the term. The off-campus friend volunteered to host a party and the friends started making grand plans for a surprise party. A collection was taken up for party food, her favorite movie was acquired on video, someone finagled a ride to the closest town with a supermarket, 17 miles away, to get a cake. Several flavors of Ben and Jerry's ice cream were purchased, and pizza was ordered, one with all her favorite toppings on it. One friend was nominated to get her to the party. On the day of the party, all the friends were busy getting all the final details taken care of. When she walked in the door of the off-campus friend's apartment and everyone yelled "Surprise!", it took her a while to realize that 1) it was a party, and 2) that it was for her. When she realized what was going on, she exclaimed "This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me!" and burst into tears. When she had stopped crying, the friends learned that no one had ever thrown her a party before in her life. And the friends all realized that they had done not a nice thing, but a truly amazing thing.

I lost contact with Jess a long time ago, and have always felt bad about it. And I have always remembered how it felt when we discovered that she'd never had a party. I've tried numerous sites on the internet over the years and always came up empty - until tonight. She joined Facebook about a week ago and tonight has been spent messaging back and forth. I'm sitting here typing with a big smile on my face, I'm glad to have my friend back, and doubly glad I took the time to get to know her and to be the host for that party and all the movie nights we had.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 14 Aug 13 - 03:41 PM

The schools go back next Tuesday and I had promised the boys I would take them to the ice cream parlour. We had tried on our way home on Saturday after My brother and I had piled both of them and their mum into the car and went to watch the waves at the Broch of Birsay. Sadly we had forgotten it was the county show in Kirkwall that day and it was shut. The youngest lad has problems and does not cope well with plans being changed so we expected him to kick of but Roy must have been a calming influence for he merely sulked quietly.

Today we tried again this time everything went well we went into town to get some shopping then stopped at Jerry's on the way home. The shop is tiny with just four tables and half the menu filled with Orkney names for the original sundaes. What can be better than sitting looking out over the Stenness Loch towards the towering sentinels of the Ring of Brodgar while eating a toffee fudge sundae.

It is said the stones were some local giants who had offended the local witch with their noise on the way home from the New Year revels. She followed at a distance and watched as they danced in a drunken circle around the top of mound one stood apart from the others and feeling thirsty he went down to the loch to get some water. No sooner had he stood up from the waters edge than she cast her spell turning them all into stone. And there they stand to this day though it is said that on the stroke of midnight each New Year they are allowed to move down to the loch beside their brother to drink the fresh water.

It just shows how dangerous it is to annoy an Orkney lass, mind you perhaps some lads have learned something for both boys thanked me nicely when they were dropped at home


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 02:33 AM

I should clarify that: the three that I painted I took from photos, not from real life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 10:31 PM

Thanks, Tami! There are so many kinds and colors and sizes and configurations of them. Recently I have taken up a water class and I have painted three very different ones. One of them has a pink body, lacy orange wings and a shiny red head! My favorite of those three, though, is an all blue one, three different shades, from baby to cobalt to navy.

Oddly, my mother didn't like them- and from her we learned to call them 'snake doctors'. Suffice it to say, she didn't like snakes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 09:48 PM

For you, Ebbie: Guardian of my cottage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 12:05 PM

If there is such a thing as a totem for each person - as native folk around here say- mine is the dragonfly. My most recent encounter was the closest.

I was walking on the leafy path to *the* glacier- as we speak of our largest and closest one - with a new acquaintance and dragonflies were lifting off everywhere to the left and right of us as we passed. I said, These are all little ones. I like the big ones; they always make me think of helicopters with tiny people inside.

Just then a large one lifted up and we watched him fly away across the quiet highway and almost out of sight. We walked on a couple of steps and looked up at the whizzing sound approaching. Here came the dragonfly again straight toward us, passed us and flew down the pathway we had just traveled. We watched him go.

And then he turned and flew back. This time he flew straight at me and I offered him my shoulder.

Instead, he landed gently on my right cheek and held on. Did you know they have little hooks on their feet? I didn't know that, but it was distinctly so.

And his belly raised and fell with his breathing. I felt in touch with something magical. And my acquaintance clasped her hands together and squealed, Oh, I wish I had a camera!
                      ******************
A friend of mine was biking down a path when he doubled back because something had caught his eye: a huge dragonfly, whole and strong but quite dead. He brought it to me and it rests on a bed of white cotton on my dresser.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 10:18 AM

And your stories have the same effect on me, Meg. It's a beautiful, fascinating, magical world we live in, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 09:55 AM

Tami your evocative descriptions sparks my hunger to visit with you someday and see these wonders for myself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 09:46 AM

Thank you for that one, Meg!

I've no stories this lovely Maine morning, but the crows in the field are busy. I think they have found an owl or a hawk to annoy, or even a fox. I suspect it may be one of the family of hawks in the woods behind the cottage. And two mornings ago I had a dragonfly sitting watch on my porch for a few hours. The field is full of dragonflies of all colors. There are blue-bodied ones with black and white wings called Widow Skimmers, and reddish ones with golden-amber wings, and my guardian of of Saturday morning was a bluish-white fellow with black spots on his wings. And like birds, the males are much more colorful than the females. And in the little ponds and marshes nearby, there are bright blue ones and shiny red ones, and the occasional emerald green damselfly settling on a reed and folding his wings on his back.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 05:15 AM

Yesterday my brother and I went to a story telling event at Corrigall farm museum we heard some grand tales but as is always the way with me while my ears were on the story my mind was weaving the things I saw and heard into my own tale.


There was a nip in the air as they sat together in the old grain barn. The peat fire under the grain kiln reeked like the lums o' hell but gave of little heat having been to newly lit to be profitable.

One lass drew the auld knitted blanket across her knees silently thanking her grandmother who had spent the hours knitting it while waiting for her to be born. She looked at the squares for a moment lost in the colours, shades of purple and green for the moors, blues and greys for the sea.   There were the yellow of the lichens, the dark brown of the peat and stone and a stony red that granny had said was to reminder of the Red Heads of Eday where the family had come from.

She remembered as a child how her granny would point to one of the squares and tell her tales o trows and hogboons, selkies and the Finn folk. These would be woven with tales of the peoples, from the laird to the old Skatehorn a tramp weel kent around the mainland in days gone by. But the tales she liked the best were those of how the normally quiet island folk would outwit the press gang.

Now she snuggled in the weel loved blanket as Tam o Biggin rose like the great oak doors on the cathedral solid and strong.

"Weel fowks ah'll tell thee the tale oh how I came tae the storytellin."

The tale he told set well the scene for their gathering for it set folk to laughing at the misadventures oh a young man who had come to the hairst hame wie neither a tune a rhyme or a tale tae tell. As his stentorious voice eased to a halt like Raymie Manson's Clydesdales at the end o a furrow a softer voice moved the evening forward wie the tale oh grannies muckle bed or how the farmyard came in the hoose wie peedie Mary.

The supper wis a grand affair wie home brew, bannocks both floory and bere served wie cheese still squeaky frae the still room topped aff wie pancakes and scones served wie rhubarb jam.

Tales flew aboot the room like Whaps in the fog till een wur droopin and hieds sinkin ontae breests till at last meg o' Aglath spoke.

"Tis a fine night we have had and here is one last peedie tale see ye on yer road."

Ye aw ken the auld ruined kirk doon by the shore weel there wis a lad used tae attend that kirk cried Jimmo Bews. Jimmo wis a fine lad wie a fiddle and wis aft times cried oan tae play fur neighbour fowk. A nicht he wis headin home frae playin at the weddin o Jock Burgess he walked along briskly whistlin some oh the tunes that were runnin through his head. As he approached the kirk he saw lights in the building, "strange" thought he "I wonder who can be in the kirk at this hour fur theres nae need tae be in the kirk sae early in the morning."

So though it wid hae bin wiser tae hurry on hame the courage o ale hid him change course till he loupit ower the dyke and headed up tae the door fur a look. He fair goggled in surprise for where there should be an empty room (For in those days maist folk stood during the service) was a brightly lit hall filled wie fowk . now Jimmo hid heard o the fair fowk but hid believed them tae be awfy peedie but these lads and lassies were near his ain five fit but o far slighter build.

Someone spotted him and the hall quietened till a bonny lass approached him.

"Sir that is a fine fiddle I see you carrying and as you can see we could not find a fiddler willing to play for my sisters wedding would you be kind to us and play us a few tunes."

Weel although he had been brought up to be afraid o the fair fowk Jimmo wis a kind hearted lad and the thought of a wedding without a tune to dance to filled him with sadness so he stepped into the room and lifted his fiddle and began to play. My how they danced through reels and strathspeys they stepped lightly and always the lass who first spotted him stayed by his side and praised his fine playing.
They danced till the sun was peeping ower the breest o the brae and a distant cock crow was heard. The bonnie lass who had invited him in thanked him for his kindness to them she gave him a bag o siller for his pay and a blessing that his music would always gladden the heart of all who heard it. She asked if he would consent to come back each year to play for them and to tell the truth since he was half in love wie the lass already he quickly agreed.

And so my friends Jimmo did what we must now and wended he weary way home. But he never told anyone about the fair folks use o the kirk and each year on the longest night he would quietly leave the town to go play for his lady and her friends. He grew older but still he kept his tryst with the lady till one dance night he sighed to the still young girl who stood beside him that this might be his last dance for them. He was now an old man and not so able to walk the mile to the auld kirk a new one having been built in the town.

The lass smiled and asked him if he loved her Jimmo held her hand having laid his fiddle by to talk with his friends for a moment.
"Lass I have loved you so weel all these years that I never took to me a bride from the town."
She kissed him soundly to the cheers of her friends "Then my bonny lad come marry me this night and stay with me forever."
No sooner had he agreed than he felt the aches leave his old bones, his back straightened and he felt a bit light in the head so he closed his een.
Warm arms wrapped round him whispering to open his eyes and look at the man she had married. But when he did so he near swooned with shock for the reflection in the mirror she held showed him as he had been the first night he had ever played for the fair fowks dance.

Back in the town folks said that the old man must have wandered of in the night and fallen over the cliff for he was never seen again. Should you wander past the ruins of the auld kirk tonight on your way home listen you quietly and you might just hear the sweet sound of the fiddle and the dancers laughing.

I bid you all goodnight.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: JennieG
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 06:45 PM

On my morning walk I am accompanied by the sound of rainbow lorikeets chattering in the eucalypt trees above, while I dodge the falling blossoms - the lorikeets are nectar-feeding birds, so they chew on the blossoms which of course then fall to the ground leaving a snowy sticky carpet. The air is crisp, fairly cool but not quite cold (although my nose doesn't quite believe that) and I am pleased to get home and have breakfast, sitting in the sun coming in the window. Sometimes I am greeted by the little black and white puss down the street, but not today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 04:22 PM

Speaking of young crying to be fed- yesterday in the parking lot I stood and watched a crow parent trying to appease two young'uns. Nice to know they had successfully raised TWO babies but I suspect they had doubts as to the wisdom of it. S/he pecked diligently at the ground and offered morsels to first one and then the other but whichever one didn't have food at the moment kept its mouth busy blatting away.

As I watched, papa/mama landed. S/he didn't help but looked on, rather scornfully.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 03:35 PM

It must be wonderful to watch them lass.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 02:40 PM

The last several weeks have seen our young raptors discovering what their big wings are for. We have at least seven young osprey invading each others' air space and the adults birds spend a lot of time yelling at the neighbor kids. We also have a couple of red-shouldered hawks learning how to fly and their parents attempting to teach them that the squirrels and chipmunks are not entertainment but dinner. The young crows are nearly the same size as their parents, but still follow their parents and older siblings around begging to be fed. They are easily identified from the adults by their still slightly fuzzy brown heads. They look so silly, I can't help but laugh at them. Our little phoebes under the eaves of park HQ are also learning to fly, and will be on their own soon. And with the seeds forming in the thistles, the goldfinches are finally getting serious about nesting. But it's my osprey that love best :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 22 Jun 13 - 04:00 PM

The sun played peekaboo through the leaves of the large old oak as we sat in its shade to eat our picnic. It was hard to believe we were only a few hundred yards from the slip road to the motorway. Two young rabbits were busy playing tig around the stump of another tree nearby while an angry raven scolded them from the safety of the next tree down the avenue.

We stood and slowly continued our walk back to the car park talking of grandparents, parents and others now gone who had given us life and shared their life with us both good and bad, the wisdom and the foolishness of the past.

We walked together, the oldest and the youngest of a fast shrinking family relishing our brief time together now that we are usually separated by several hundred miles. The time was we could do this six times a year as Dauvit and I went down for conferences four times a year and Roy would come up for two of his holidays, now ill health and lower incomes has reduced our visits considerably, this was our first in over a year.

For the past week we have enjoyed each others company and revisited places he had taken me as a wee girl. Well now it is back to old clothes and porridge as my mum would have said . However I have returned to something I had given up hope of ever experiencing the shower room I have been saying was dangerous for ten years has been replaced with a new wet room by the housing association. Ah how I love my island I dropped of the key with the association before I headed of . I would have left the door unlocked like it usually is but they don't really approve of that, they had even hoovered the carpets before they left.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: LilyFestre
Date: 31 May 13 - 04:01 PM

I woke up to the sunshine sneaking around the edges of a quilted wall hanging that I purposefully hang on the window to keep the rising sun out of my bedroom...today that little trick didn't work.

It is about 90 degrees in northern Pennsylvania today...much to hot for me. ICK.

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 31 May 13 - 01:27 PM

Well folks I have to report that I woke to a foggy drizzly morning. I wandered over to the window and there I was faced with the most blatant and disturbing display of public sex right there on my front lawn.

There they were quite obviously at it and me a former Sunday school teacher as well. I mean what else could I do I phoned the housing association to complain giving them a very accurate description of those involved, only to be told they would do nothing, absolutely nothing.

Apparently the local bylaws do not cover amorous sparrows, how was I to know that. When he stopped laughing Brian informed they would begin work ripping out the bathroom I have had problems with and installing the new one.














OK I KNOW
which way is the cellar?


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Charmion
Date: 30 May 13 - 11:18 AM

This morning, we woke up at 4:30 a.m. to the whistling of a white-throated sparrow, the "O Canada bird", who sings the opening phrase of our national anthem to announce his presence to the world. He also has a wide range of piercing two-note calls and, now that it's getting hot and we have our windows open, he can jolt us out of a sound sleep.

At the first flutter of an eyelid, Rosie the cat is on the job to finish what the sparrow started. Whether we want it to or not, our day has begun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 29 May 13 - 03:01 PM

Beautiful, Tami!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: gnu
Date: 29 May 13 - 02:24 PM

What a wonderful thread. Megan, r1... absolutely beautiful posts! Thank youse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 29 May 13 - 10:48 AM

Kendall, winter is when the rarest beauty is to be found, because there are fewer of us to appreciate it. The deep blue of the predawn hours during a snowstorm contrasting with the white of the snow; the deep green of the pines against the blue sky; the bare branches of the hardwoods silhouetted against overcast skies; The silver reflection of the full moon on crusty snow; the thousands of bursts of color made by sun shining through ice on the trees after an ice storm. It's a starker beauty than the other seasons, but no less beautiful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: kendall
Date: 29 May 13 - 08:26 AM

Maine is truly Gods country; he/she/it doesn't spend the winter here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 29 May 13 - 08:21 AM

Lass that is a wonderful picture you painted in my mind. My Uncle Tom was blind and loved going for walks with people who could paint the scenery with their words, he would have loved listening to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 29 May 13 - 07:19 AM

I took a trip back "home" ten days ago. It's not the area where I spent the most time as a child, but after all the moving we did (seventeen moves in my 15 years of life at that point), it was the place that felt the most like home. I dropped in on our old landlords and had a lovely visit, and they let me wander though our old house. Standing in what was my old room, I remembered all the mornings that I awoke before the alarm clock went off and lying in bed listening. I could tell the weather from the sounds I heard. If it was foggy, I would hear the fog horn from the lighthouse and the bell buoy out in the bay, but everything else would be all muffled. If it was snowing without being a northeaster, it was all quiet. If there was a northeaster going on, I would hear the snow hissing on the windows and the wind sounding like it wanted to blow the roof off. Some mornings, I'd hear the lobstermen in Back Cove behind the house getting ready to go out for another day, gear clanking and NOAA on their radios giving the marine report. Summers, I'd be woken up earlier by the birds singing or the sound of Paul Yates' lawnmower at 5:00 AM.

I will always miss those winter mornings, though, when I would lie awake in the dark, snug and warm in my bed listening to the bell buoy or the foghorn.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 15 May 13 - 06:49 AM

You lucky lass.


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