Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dirty Fingernails and Sunday Confessions


Lantana isn’t in the ground yet. We need to get through frost warnings this week!

Let me use canned air on this keyboard before I begin. (Postponing some honesty now.) Think. Deep breath.


Maybe the mug of coffee super-charged me this morning. It was the second mug I’ve had in almost three years. Don’t miss it much but every darn thing looked so beautiful to my wide open eyes this morning. Cool, breezy, and clear, with sun on my back.


Crepe Myrtle buds already?

Postponing inside plans, I found gardening gloves, a few tools, and began working around the pond with an eye on invasive weeds. Doing this requires a good balancing act on rock, so I was relieved for opportunities to sit Indian style to grab weeds. Michael pruned and agreed to add to my brush pile beyond the fence. Yes!


Good-bye manicure.

There’s no better time for thinking than during weeding a garden. I realized that I had better start posting soon. My backlog of photos will get lost in the unorganized mess on this computer real soon if I don’t share them.

A blog friend from afar wrote recently, paraphrased, “I think part of the reason for your blogging burnout is your tiring efforts of constantly responding to your readership and worrying about your blogroll …” I nodded in agreement and thought about what she said since then. Ouch?
Her honesty and ability to read me blew me away. Thank you.
Through this blog, I've met fantastic and unique individuals with so much talent and knowledge. Researchers, writers, travelers who teach and share so well.


Before meeting them, I would have wondered about this strange looking bee, but I knew right away I was looking at a hummingbird moth and I won't guess the species here. (and if I’m dead wrong, go ahead and Chimp me, LOL!).


Many of my blog friends travel to exotic places, take frequent vacations, and share experiences away from their backyards.

What do I share?


What lives under my rocks. I'm laughing out loud.

Like this out-of-focus skink, which, by the way, I learned to identify from a reader.

Because my little discoveries are so trivial compared to others’, I have felt the only way I’d have readers is to exhaust myself reciprocating – commenting on blogs until I can’t see or think straight. Y'all know I've been struggling lately. What might save me and my blog is to embrace this concept on posting and commenting: “Post Whatever I Can, Comment Whenever I Can”. End of discussion. No more whimpering. Now, the pressure is off after hours of digging, thinking, watching and listening to Red-Winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Starlings, and


oodles of finches,



wind-blown Brown Thrashers, and


feeling the peace of a waterfall in a man-made pond, unnatural in a sense, but loaded with nature, by God!


Bella helped. Chloe didn't.


Spotted a male hummer four or five times this weekend. What will happen to them during an overnight freeze and mild winter temps? I wonder.


Ruth said...

You are right. Commenting on a large blog roll takes a lot of time and is impossible to do every day, especially when you are working. Better to spend your time outdoors enjoying nature and relaxing.

Galen B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Michel said...

Yes, gardening cures all! Through gardening all is revealed!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Anonymous said...

Gardening has always been the best therapy for me!! I have always waited until after April 15th to buy any flowers because if I ever do here comes the frost. I always learn something new from you Mary...if I see one of those large moths I will now know what the heck it is...LOL


Robin's Nesting Place said...

You know what Mary? I come here not because you come to my blog, but because I love your gorgeous pictures and your sense of humor.

I never come back here to see if you have responded back to my comment, and unless I ask you a question, I don't expect a response.

It's difficult to keep up with multiple comments. I'd much rather be visiting the blogs of those who left comments than having to respond to every comment on my own blog. I love the comments, but sometimes the "rules" of blogging can become a burden.

Keep blogging, Mary. Don't get bogged down with other people's expectations.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Three of the many inspirational quotes I keep and read again and again:

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but
in having new eyes."
- Marcel Proust

My good hoe, as it bites the ground, revenges my wrongs, and I have less lust to bite my enemies. In smoothing the rough hillocks, I smooth my temper. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Give, give, give -- what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don't give it away? Of having stories if I don't tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don't share it? I don't intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine.-- Isabel Allende (who lost her daughter at 28. This was one of the insights that loss brought to her.)

Mary, you're such a giving soul. Keep some for yourself, though; dig in the soil and look under those backyard rocks with new eyes. Take a nap. You have more than earned it. Your fans will wait for you.

Susan Gets Native said...

Okay, Mare. Enough of this shit.
I adore your blog, because:
1. You take fantastic pictures.
2. You are freakin' hilarious.
3. No matter what you post about, you are NOT TRIVIAL.
It's okay to take breaks. It's okay to leave off commenting if you don't feel like it.
It's OKAY.....Okay???

Julie told you to take a nap. So take one.
So there.

Love ya.

JeanMac said...

I am the last person to comment on birds but I have a feeling maybe the hummers will have a cozy nest to snuggle in when it's cold.Beautiful pictures. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I believe in the Blog Without Guilt concept. In fact, I kind of believe in the live without guilt concept. I have no problem with going to my blogroll and deleting everything if I'm too busy -- most of the time, I read blogs and don't publish. Given that I get 90 readers a day and maybe 7 comments a day, I have to think that most other people do this too. Life is too short! Let it go. Do what you can. Do what you must. Let the rest go. You rock. Your blog rocks. I wish I could see a skink in my backyard! xoxoxoxoxo

Susie said...

Hi Mary,
I also enjoy visiting here because you have such wonderful pictures and a great sense of humor.
Blogging should be fun. Post when you want, visit when you want and comment or not as you choose. I usually only reply to specific questions left in my comments and do that by email.
Just keep on posting in the same style!

Mary C said...

Mary, I'm surprised that your crepe myrtle is just budding now. I guess we are about a week ahead of you since our crepe myrtle leafed out last week, well, it's still in the process of leafing out. And we had a couple of very warm days this weekend, and now our roses are popping! I'll do a post on them soon. Sounds like you had a good weekend, too.

Jayne said...

I think they'll be OK Mary. They will find a way to stay warm enough. The cold snap is only supposed to be for two days here, and I am praying it stays above freezing at least.

I rarely, if ever, have the time or luxury to respond to everyone's comments. That's just reality. If I tried, I'd get burned out too and the blog would become a chore. I'd hope that those who post know I read and so appreciate the time they took to leave a comment. To me, there are no hard and fast "rules" and I refuse to believe that if I can't seem to find enough hours in a day that I am somehow offending people. Poppycock!

Or, if you'd like, the new way to say, "Hey, I'm here, I read this post, and am thinking of you" is to leave a blogstone only.

(o) = Blogstone

Point is... let it go. Do what you can. Keep taking photos, keep creating and sharing and know that we are here, we love reading your wonderfully funny posts and that will never change.

Love and hugs and apologies for being so long winded.

Peg Silloway said...

Whenever I get feeling overcommitted and incompetent (which usually includes some grumpiness!) my husband needs only say two words: oxygen mask. That's his shorthand for what they tell you on an airline - put on your own oxygen mask first and then assist others. You give so much, Mary - take time and take care of yourself.

Julie Zickefoose said...

The Science Chimp has climbed to the rooftop and is squealing, "Nessus Sphinx! Amphion floridanus! Page FORTY-SEVEN of the Sphingidae on!

(Yes, it is a hummingbird or hawk moth, so you were right. This isn't a real Science Chimp attack, just an advisory. In the event of a real Science Chimp attack, Peg's oxygen mask will drop down from the overhead compartment).

47 Bug Guide pages is a lot of scrolling, even for a chimp. But I had to know what your gorgeous ruby-red confection was.

They even show it on screaming purple verbena. Wooo!

Looks like you're getting your clock cleaned of cobwebs and lingering guilt by all the folks who love you. High time, if you ask me.


Eee! Eee! Eee!

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Wonderful post, Mary, as always! You are the fourth person in two days to mention the time it takes for the commenting. I enjoy commenting on blogs and I love reading the comments placed on mine, but they do take a lot of time if you respond to them all, which I have always tried to do, but now I'm rethinking it. The blog roll keeps growing as well. I do want to keep the comments going on my blog though because it adds to the sense of community, and allows people to discover new blogs when they click on the names. I think we just have to find a happy medium, so it doesn't become a chore. If the blogs take too much time, when will we find the time to get new material if we don't live our lives, too? :-)

Mary said...

Woo Hoo! I'm so relieved that it is not an exotic bee. I guess the category and Chimp finds the correct scientific name. That's how the game is played!

Thanks Science Chimp!

And thanks to everyone for sharing your blogging routines. It's good to hear I'm working too hard.

Susan Gets Native said...

BTW, Mary:
Hummingbirds can enter a state of mini-hibernation or stupor when it gets cold, saving energy by slowing down their metabolism. You can find them sometimes on cold mornings just sitting (or hanging upside down on a feeder!) waiting for the warmth of the sun to "wake" them up.

NCmountainwoman said...

Oh, Mary. NEVER minimize the interest we have in your "backyard." What you give us is wonderful. You give us things we know we can also find if we just stop long enough to look.

Your pictures are amazing and the dialog is terrific. You make us think; you make us realize what wonders we have all around us; you make us laugh, and you get us teary-eyed. And we love it all.

As I leave my comment, I am looking out the window at a hummingbird sipping nectar with SNOWFLAKES falling all around him.

Mary said...

Susan and NC Mountainwoman - hummingbirds in the snow? Lord. I read their internal temperature needs to be 86 degrees before they are able to fly. I'll keep an eye out for them during the next few days. Poor things.

Mary said...

NC Mountainwoman - are you going to start a blog? Hope so.

Anonymous said...

With as big a readership (and commenter-ship) as you have, Mary, I'm amazed you have time to reciprocate. Your plan is a good one - and I, for one, am definitely interested in the things you find under your rocks :-) Happy spring to you and a big hug!

Sherry at the Zoo said... are such a kind soul. You wouldn't hurt a fly. I come to your blog because of the pictures, the humor...face it - you're loved. And we all love you not because you come to our blogs, but because of your style. So, given the option of having you visit my blog, or spending your time posting on your own blog, I would much rather see you devote the time to your blog and your gardens and birds. I get so much enjoyment out of you, I would not want to see you get burned out.

Cheryl said...

Better to be with nature Mary, than indoors blogging. There is no comparison.
I, as you know, at one stage became obsessed with blogging. I have now sorted my head out, and prioritise. Blogging I find can be competitive and I never have been of that order.
I always visit the blogs I love regardless if that person visits or not. So don't feel obliged to pop to me, I know your out there, and I truly love the person you are. I will always visit you. You cheer me, make me think, and often move me.

Its a great post Mary. How did you give up coffee??? I am a healthy eater but I can't give up coffee, it just smells too good.

I think you are right about the moth, we have one here that is very similar.

Have fun, and please do your own thing.

Cheryl said...

What are you doing visiting my blog, you are supposed to be resting!!
Just popping to the coffee story.

Cheryl said...

I havn't laughed so much for ages Mary, what a great post. (Coffee)

If I have to go through all that to give it up, I think I will carry on drinking it.

To be serious though I respect anyone who can give up chocolate and coffee.

beckie said...

Mary, I have awarded you the "E" for excellent. See my post for instructions.(If you want!)

Rose said...

Such gorgeous photos as always, Mary. I had much the same feelings last week--my life was boring, everything I had to write about was trivial--and I've been blogging for only a month! But it takes someone special to see the extraordinary in something ordinary (did I just make up that profound statement? Probably not.), and you are a special and funny writer.
No need to respond or check out my blog--I understand, and I'll keep reading yours.

KGMom said...

Mary--here's my humble advice.
Blog for Mary--blog to share your joys. Blog to improve your observations. Blog to share your photos.
But never blog for the sake of readers--we will be here even when you need to take a break or a nap or change a camera lens or chase a dog or throw a hula hoop or clean a pond or plant a flower.

Mel said...

Dearest Mary,
Don't worry about us, we are faithful followers ;)
Relax and enjoy the beauty around you! I envy your pond and your garden, your birds and your feeders...
I read your fun posts and smile at your beautiful pictures, don't worry about blogrolls and enjoy the 'outside' world, we'll be here to read your lovely posts EVERYTIME!
Kisses from Peru!!
And more kisses, and more kisses, and more kisses!!

Rurality said...

Just play "Don't worry, be happy" over and over in your head. Soon you'll forget all about blogs, and wonder how you can ever get rid of that earworm of a tune! :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What is a blog roll? Just ignore it what ever it is if it is causing you stress. Now if I had a skink in my garden to play peek a boo with I wouldn't be writing so much either. Ha... What fun you have so much nature in your garden. Just enjoy it as we enjoy it when you can post.

Elaine Cougler Author said...

Mary, much would be lost to many people if you didn't blog. Your pictures are the best!
I, too, have struggled to keep blogging, especially with my other writing projects which need to take precedence, but I am now contenting myself with a few posts a month even though it means fewer people check my blog. I decided it is all about me and my schedule. Selfish maybe, but I have to look after me now.
Please keep blogging when you can. Yours is the first site I check when I do a roam through others' blogs.

Anonymous said...


Your digging in your beautiful garden reminded me of this quote:
"The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there." ~George Bernard Shaw, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, 1932
Blessings on your day, Sharon

Unknown said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and for your sympathetic words. I love your blog! Your photos are amazing and when i see what's in your garden, i wonder why people need to travel so far when there are so many wonders just in one's backyard.

today you made my heart dance:)

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, I too am trying to find balance in my blogging life, for I do love it so and all the new friends I have made, but it can be time consuming. Good for you to set some boundires for yourself. Here's to blogs,nature and birds. May we keep it all in balance! ( I love the bright colors in the lantana photo)

Chrissie said...

You make me laugh and you make me cry! I love that you write what you feel and would love to have you as a neighbour to chat over the fence with :-) Just be yourself and please yourself. No one can do it all, Mary. I wish I had you gifts :-)

Stacey Olson said...

Mary, I completely feel your words. I was hitting that place in my blog world also. I recently learned how to use the feeds on the blogs and cut my time down in the a.m by over an hour. Now I just stop in a few times a day and check my feeds for new posts. I know as the weather warms and work picks up I will have very little time to think, let alone comment. Nothing is fun when it becomes an obligation. Therefore I will post when I can, and comment when I can... ect as you said, I do this because it is fun and I too have met many fantastic people.And blogging has taught me alot. Thanks Mary

Anonymous said...

Great Skink, hummingbird, birds and wonderful work with the garden! It is wonderful seeing you enjoying the outsides!

TR Ryan said...

Dearest Mary,

Take it from a professional traveler, there is no greater journey than the one that brings you home. The journey of self-discovery you undertake in your own backyard, with your words and your stories and your images, is one of the greatest adventures in the world.

There is no greater gift then to be able to look at the place you call home and see it flushed full of the jewels and gifts of the natural world. In that type of travel Mary you are rich and when you share that wealth here on the blog its a warm and wonderful reminder that when we get back from Oz - everything we ever needed or wanted was right here at home, all along. Brava to you!

Sherry said...

Great photos, Mary.

I saw the first hummingbird of the season here today and immediately thought of you! :)

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Brown Thrasher is beautiful! WOW
As is Mr. Hummer!!!Delightful.
I am so excited for you...
You are blessed and bless us with your photos and your wit.
Thank you for your friendship.

Mary said...


Your photos are beautiful. I love the stink, the flowers, the Bostons...everything and am so glad I decided to drop by. You've given me a great deal of inspiration.

Thanks for sharing your view of the world. It's awesome.


LauraHinNJ said...


(Thanks to Jayne for that!)

Love ya Mary!

TR Ryan said...

Back again -- I forgot about this wonderful quote from naturalist John Burroughs I had on my blog for awhile. Mike from 10,000 Birds borrowed it once for a post. I think it applies so perfectly to what you share:

"The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is “look under foot.” You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is of the world." (John Burroughs)

Thanks for sharing your world.

Larry said...

Thanks for such honesty in your post.-I think we all know that commenting on others posts takes lots of time.-I really enjoy your blog and come to read it because of your wonderful sense of humor. I wish I could read it more often but there is more to life than the computer so I have to set limits.