Spam? What Spam? My Friday exhale–letting it go and admiring the simple things all around me.

English: Gordon MacRae and Doris Day in Starli...

Spam you say? Pish Posh! Now we won’t let that spoil our weekend, will we!

What a week! All things important in life have gone well. I have no real complaints, but that has never stopped me from doing just a little bit of grumbling. This Spam issue has me a bit turned on end. I am still being exiled to the place for naughty comments and it’s more than a little time consuming doing what I can to rectify the situation. So far WordPress hasn’t been helpful but I’ll just sing a few bars of “Que Sera, Sera” and truly whatever will be, will be.

I had my camera close to me as I enjoyed the backyard this week. I always acknowledge the summer solstice with a little more time in the garden. My favorite time of day is sunset, and I often find myself quieting after work and spending time just walking about noting how things are growing, which birds are feeding at the feeders and, of course, looking at the early evening sky. It’s difficult to see the actual sunset because we don’t have an unobstructed line of sight. But I enjoy the shadows and the changing light anyway.

The late afternoon sun illuminated the part of the backyard railroad we’ve designated as “the canyon.” I keep teasing with the train, but one of these days I’ll share the photos of the project from start to finish. It was quite a season of backyard transformation.

Here’s a strange little succulent! Those aren’t rocks you see in the picture. It’s a Pleiospilos bolusil…or if that’s too big a mouthful, try Living Stones.  It’s an odd little succulent from South Africa, with the common name split rock. Experts say that the plant is so drought tolerant it can go an entire year without water in our climate. We have some with pink flowers, too, but they aren’t blooming right now.

The backyard stream is part of a larger water feature. The sound of running water is our favored contribution to reducing the effects of daily stress. We do what we can to mask the noise and activity that comes with living in suburbia! I can forget that a major thoroughfare is only one block beyond our front door!

I had a few surprises in the vegetable garden, too! I get so excited with each and every bloom and spend time every evening checking for signs of insects or distress, and admiring signs of healthy growth. But apparently I wasn’t as eagle-eyed as I thought I was.

Just look at the size of this summer squash next to two beautiful courgettes! Courgettes? What’s that you say?

Look how big this guy is? He was hiding all week!

Pattypan squash and two freshly picked courgettes

I can almost hear the question. Why am I calling the zucchini courgettes? Very simple. It’s my new favorite word. Claire, at Promenade Plantings commented on my lovely courgettes, and I fell in love with the word! I hope to impress all my friends with my new terminology.

I also brewed some chocolate mint tea. The mint was an add-on to our weekly produce box and they were extremely generous. We’ve enjoyed the mint tea all week. I picked about 20 leaves, rolled them in my hand just a bit to bruise them, and simply steeped them in some boiling water. It was refreshing and the mint aroma and mild taste (chocolate mint is not as strong as peppermint) was very calming. No caffeine for me in the evening!

But I’ve saved the best for last. The evenings have been lovely and we’ve eaten outdoors. While eating at our little glass table I was still looking around, taking in all that I could see! Looking out, my glance shifted to the power poles in the far corner of my neighbor’s yard. I spied something I’ve never seen before!

Jay ran for the binoculars as I grabbed my camera! This is a hawk family! Two parents and two babies! We have lived in our home for almost 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. Not long after I snapped this picture the two adult hawks flew off in tandem. The babies sat patiently waiting for mom and dad to return, presumably with a little dinner.

I zoomed in as close as I could to admire one of the babies. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the opportunity to see the little family again, but it was a real treat! How glad I was that we had slowed down long enough to take a leisurely dinner outdoors!

Weekends are often a chance to do the same. Slow down long enough to take notice. Make a mindful exhale, and let’s enjoy the simple things we find this weekend.

Ahhh. Let it go!

Breathing lighter, Debra

58 thoughts on “Spam? What Spam? My Friday exhale–letting it go and admiring the simple things all around me.

  1. Enjoyed reading this Debra and looking at the photos. The first sunset photo looks like a painting. Now I want some mint tea too! Will get in the habit of checking my spam box so if I ever see you there, I will let you out! :)

  2. Sorry to hear you are still having problems with spam, the spam effect? We’ll have to start a campaign if it goes on any longer – release the non-spammer!
    the cacti and succulents fascinate me, and seeing them outdoors is a treat – they are largely, but not exclusively indoor plants here. It’s like looking at them in their natural environment. And I can now picture you in the garden on a summer’s evening, with the backdrop of runninng water, being looked on by the hawks.
    And thank you for the kind mention – is it time to move onto broad bean and rocket yet :)

    • Believe it or not, Claire, I am STILL having trouble with the Spam! I am submitting all my complaints to the WP powers-that-be, but so far I’m not getting very far! I think I’ll be spending even more time enjoying the garden, because that’s one of my best stress-busters! Ha! I love your posts and the way you lovingly speak of the process and the results…and courgettes is not a permanent part of my vocab! I will sound so European, won’t I? Tee-hee!

  3. I found one of your comments in my spam! I couldn’t believe it. I’ve got this new disqus commenting system and it didn’t tell me I have spam so I thought I didn’t. After your blog post I checked and I found 15 comments from bloggers that I’ve obviously totally ignored. I felt so terrible but not to mention angry that I can’t seem to work disqus. I’m spending tonight going to all those blogs and apologising. Love your images xx

    • I’m sorry, Charlie! It’s turned out to be a big problem for many of us apparently. And it’s hard to grab hold of what is really happening. I have been very frustrated with the WordPress response, too, so I’m not sure what to do except keep bringing it to the attention of fellow bloggers. We are probably going to have to police the issue ourselves! Good luck with your journey down this rabbit hole! I commiserate! Debra

    • Thank you for your kind remarks. I don’t think our landscape can hold a candle to where you live, but I am so glad I can share with you. Especially the hawk family! I haven’t seen them since the evening I took the photos, but I keep looking for them. I am just in awe!

  4. Good news on the spam front —- When I had my problem, it eventually corrected. Who knows why and the cause of the problem, but it went away. :)

    Wow … and I’ve never seen a hawk family before. Heck, seeing them in pairs isn’t very common, but with little one. Well done!

    Thanks for the walk in your backyard …. and for the zucchini word explanation.

    • I’m still caught in Spam-land, Frank, but I am wondering if the universe is telling me to slow down! I was starting to expand my reading and commenting, and maybe it was just too much! Maybe my lightening fast fingers caused a misfire somewhere! LOL! The hawk family was such serendipity! I felt so privileged to see them. We aren’t in a rural setting at all…not even close! So it does indicate there is a lot going on around us that we just don’t see! Hope your “herb-themed” dinner was a big success!! Debra

  5. That’s a beautiful evening ritual you have. I love your garden and the idea of a water feature is so tempting to me because I’ve always wanted to live in a little cottage by a stream. What a great idea to make your own stream! I’ve never seen a hawk family before, only individual hawks prowling for their next snack. Great photos! Have a serene weekend. :)

    • Adding the sound of water in our yard was probably the best outdoor feature ever! Even a smaller “stream” would accomplish the same thing. I’ll be posting soon more about it. I have so many pictures and it takes me so long sometimes to sit down to organize a photo blog…and really it’s the photos not the story in this case! I’m still stuck with problems in Spam-land, so I’m slowed down a bit. I would like to encourage everyone to do what they can in their own backyard space to make a retreat! I think we all need retreats as often as possible! Thanks for the kind comments! :-) Debra

  6. What a wonderful, wonderful post, Debra.

    We have hawks here, but, I’ve never, ever seen a family of them, with both parents no less. How fantastic that you saw them and had camera nearby. Isn’t early evening a perfect time for catching these little bits of nature. We eat out on the deck as much as we can and marvel at all the activity that goes on that we would otherwise miss.

    Pish Posh. There’s that word again. tee hee

    • You’re so right about the evening being a key time to observe the setting, Penny! There are so many wonderful things that occur if we just slow down–said to “self”–not preaching to others! Whew! I am continually running and then I stop and assess and wonder what all the activity is really about! I’m so glad I could share the hawk family. I just wish I could accurately show a picture of the hub of activity in which our home is placed! It would be an even more remarkable story, but it does show that there is a whole natural world showing its display all around us no matter where we live…we just have to slow down and look! :-) Hope the weekend has been good for you to do that, too, my friend.

    • It sure can be peaceful, Kate. We often bring in our own activity and don’t enjoy it at the level we could, but I’m attempting to rectify that! Slowing down is a good thing! I need to remind myself of that many times a week! :-)

  7. I don’t know if you heard me say this in the office the other day, but I am inspired to one day be like you : ) Somehow in the midst of your busy schedule with work and family, you still find time to bake, enjoy a good book, bird watch, blog, and simply enjoy the pleasures of life. Thanks for letting me experience a bit of it each week, as I’m reminded to “breathelighter!”

    • Thank you so much, Cindy. I didn’t hear your statement, but it pleases me. I think we can all encourage each other to slow down a bit…I get so “tightly bound” and harried if I don’t do the things that nourish my peace of mind. Sometimes we just have to jump off the treadmill! :-)

    • I was so surprised at the hawk family! I’m so glad I had pictures to share. I have been looking for them ever since, and haven’t seen even one. I assume by that they were just passing through! I’ve been laughing that I may want to by a hugely expensive camera lens so that I can be an even better “nature photographer” if this kind of thing is going to happen again!

  8. Blue bird of happiness? After the week you had, bigger guns were needed. The family of hawks is more like it. May you spend the rest of your weekend in that beautiful garden of yours, singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, your spam woes furthest from your mind.

    • I’m running very late on responses to anything, John, because I found myself frustrated every time I touched the blog this weekend, and felt I needed a break! I’m back to trying to figure out the problem and we’ll see where it goes. I’m also finding that I must practice what I preach…I’ve been extremely frustrated and not really letting it go as I might…I’m practicing patience! Ha! Practicing, but not achieving! :-) Debra

    • I do enjoy sitting outdoors after a busy day of indoor office time…and refrigerated air! I tried to exhale this weekend…but I’m not sure I accomplished it as much as I had hoped. I think I need more practice, Andra! :-)

  9. Loved your hawk family, Debra! I must show Maddie! And your garden touched me deeply. Here, gardens are soggy lush green things interspersed by wet brown earth. Your garden is so totally different yet still the garden of a plantswoman: it is extraordinary to me to see the flora which are normal there….

    • One of the things I most enjoy about reading blogs, Kate, is getting a glimpse of how we all live in such different environments. We share interests and common themes, but our landscapes of every day life are quite different. Whereas I get caught up in your forest and the lush greenery, you take interest in our very dry and by comparison, earth-toned garden spaces. And they really are spaces…we don’t have much open land where we live in Southern California. I really enjoy the peering in at others, and usually think I would just love to visit! :-)

  10. Dear Debra, thank you for this quiet, restful, serene walk through your lovely garden. One of the the things I like most about Missouri is the number of hawks I see flying everywhere. It wasn’t like that in Minnesota along the St. Croix river. Eagles nest there, but I seldom saw a hawk.

    One day here, I was sitting reading in the living room, which has three big windows facing south. I both heard and felt a loud thump and turned quickly to discover a hawk flying off with a mourning dove clasped in its talons. Its pursuit must have caused the frantic dove to fly right into the side of the house and then fall dead to the ground. The hawk swooped down, seized hold of the dove’s limp body, swerved skyward and flew off, over the rooftops and into the hazy distance. The mystery and beauty and terror also of nature. Peace.

    • I am glad I can share my little garden from time to time. It’s a challenge to maintain a serene environment, but we devote a lot of time and attention to providing a space away from daily chaos! We do see the hawks swoop in and occasionally carry away a bird, Dee, and I find it really hard to observe. And yet it’s fascinating, too! We usually hear the hawk swooping in before we see anything, and all the other birds scatter and will stay gone for a few hours. I have never seen an eagle…now that would be something!! I wonder if hawks and eagles simply are not going to share air space! :-) D

  11. Lovely Debra. I agree with Cindy… In many ways I would so love to emulate you…. Proactive, purposeful, finding time to live not just pass through life… In my hectic sphere, I don’t notice nature as much as drywall…. and there are no hawks or lovely running water in Home Depot… :-) Judy

    • Thank you, Judy! We all need to practice getting what we want in relaxation and peaceful environments. Maybe you get a degree of that in your projects. Not being that handy myself, it just wouldn’t work for me. But we are all wired differently! :-)

    • Thank you, Eva. I’m so glad you stopped by! I took a peek over at your blog and just loved the photography, as well as the recipes. Really lovely…and I attempted to tell you so, but of course, my comments didn’t post! LOL! You might want to check your Spam file…my remarks are either in there, or the cyber-gremlins have them! Anyway, consider me a new follower…because your site is very compatible with what makes me breathe lighter! :-)

  12. I love the idea of a Friday Exhale – just perfect. Exhale all the thoughts that are no longer serving you and inhale goodness and light. Beautiful…

    Your photos are lovely – I especially like the birds on the power lines. Birds always make me smile – even when they wake me at 5 am ;-). Very happy to discover your blog Debra!

    • Thank you, Kelly, and I appreciate your interest. There is something very relaxing to me about tuning into the habits and songs of birds, even the larger ones like the hawks! Nature provides us so many lessons and observing their behaviors slows me down. The slowing down is what we all need, I think! I’m so glad to meet you here! :-) Debra

  13. Very much enjoyed the sunset stroll through your beautiful garden – succulents, courgettes, AND hawks! Wow! Your photos capture the light perfectly.
    I’d love try the mint tea but when I was in Spain my dearly beloved “forgot to water the pots in our little garden” and the mint died…

    • Oh, too bad about the mint, but you can get it started again very easily and then it takes over! Ha! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. The hawks were an amazing thing for me to see, too. I do wonder if they will revisit, or were just passing through! I’m glad to have you visiting, Rosie!

  14. Pingback: Whatever you call me, just look out for the fangs! | breathelighter

  15. Lovely post, especially the hawk family. Sorry to hear about your spam issues – I found one of yours in my spam queue also; wordpress, listen up, just fix it goddamit! Anyway, love your garden (makes me miss mine back in the UK). As for courgettes well I miss those too… there aren’t any in Asia! Keep on exhaling Debra…

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