Sharing With Sheffield

Just as everyone starts returning to Aberdeen for the cooler-weather season, Chris and I will be jetting off to South Africa and England to see family and friends. This has been our first full summer in Florida, and we’ve stayed here mainly because of the on-going house renovations which are almost complete. I now at long last have a kitchen, so no more paper plates and styrofoam cups. I remarked to Chris as I was retrieving masses of cutlery and cooking utensils from the packing cases and then trying to find a home for everything, that life was much simpler when we only had 2 knives, forks and spoons to use and then to wash up in the bathroom sink. Now we have to fill and empty the dishwasher and also find a place to put everything. Oh, the joys of being more civilized! I’ve been unpacking boxes from South Africa which had been in transit and storage for 2 years, so, as you can imagine, there were some happy reunions with favorite bits and pieces, as well as some “Why on earth did I think I would need this”! exclamations. It’s just not possible to condense everything from 2 houses into one, so at the same time as I was unpacking our ‘stuff’, I was busy rewrapping and putting so many duplicate items into the emptied boxes, for the ‘Breast Cancer Foundation’ pickup.

In between all of this activity, I always have one eye out of the window so as not to miss any wild life activity in the backyard, and one morning in August, I suddenly saw what looked like an owl fly across my field of vision and up into a palm tree. There was a lot of commotion from the smaller birds who were flying back and forth to the tree where Mr. Owl was precariously perched on a palm frond which was swaying madly in the wind. Anyway, the “un-welcome” visitor, who I recognized to be a juvenile Great Horned Owl, was not going to be intimidated by the squawking of the smaller birds, and clung on for dear life. I got a great shot of him staring straight at me through my bathroom window. A week later, he was back again on the same branch and stayed there for many hours. I was curious as to why he was out and about in daylight, as I thought owls were nocturnal creatures. The Ospreys, which circle and swoop around the lake here, have an endless supply of fresh sushi which they take up into the pine trees to consume. I’m so happy I’m not a fish, as the poor creatures do seem to be right at the bottom of the food chain. Amongst the smaller birds here, we have a beautiful pair of Bluejays, a Northern Cardinal, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Northern Mockingbird and assorted Doves.

I’m sure many of you have noticed that there seems to have been an invasion of Iguanas here this summer. Our backyard on most days, looks like a mini-Jurassic park, as the green, scaly creatures congregate to do absolutely nothing except lounge around nibbling on the grass blades and Hibiscus leaves. Chris had to cut down the bush outside my bathroom window, because it was harboring green “Peeping Toms” who would climb up the branches and press their scaly faces and long claws almost up against the window glass. Quite a startling sight to see from the bath tub, I’m sure you’ll agree. A few days ago I spied Ali-Baba, the resident “gator,” cruising past our patch. As long as he stays in the water, I’m always very happy to see him. The Great Blue Heron, who I call “The Boss”, is back presiding over his lake subjects, and who would argue with that beak of his? I read that the Great Blue Heron is the Native American symbol of strength, wisdom and patience, and looking at his elegant profile as he stands statue-like, waiting for a hapless fish to appear within striking distance, I’m not surprised that he was chosen as an example of these qualities.

Before we leave for overseas, we will have moved out of the master bedroom where we’ve been living since our February move from Ashford, and into our main living area. Hopefully there’ll be no more sweeping up of sawdust in the near future. Chris said to me the other day, “We have a great partnership. I make a mess and you clean up after me.” We will have been married for 50 years in December, and-with all his DIY projects over the years, I can vouch for the truth of that statement. It seems crazy that just as we’re about to get some normality back into our lives, we’ll be packing suitcases and leaving our home for 6 weeks. I think Chris is ready for a holiday though, after all the hard work he’s put in here every day. We are renting a beach apartment close to where we used to live, and are looking forward to a very relaxing few weeks.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving celebration. I’m sure we’ll have so much to be grateful for; I know that I do. Here’s a rather different quote about thankfulness, “If you haven’t all the things you want, just be grateful for all things you don’t have which you wouldn’t want.” The author is unknown, but I suspect he may be Irish.