Last Sunday Michael and I had the following conversation. Mind you, I was asleep at the time…
M (tiptoing into bedroom and whispering very quietly): Would you like to share the last piece of cheesecake?
M (Indignant but still whispering): How did you hear that? You’re asleep!
J: Not if it means missing out on the last slice of cheesecake.
(Yes, Michael shared the slice with me… when I woke up!)
I was born horse-crazy. As we lived nowhere near a stable, and didn’t have the money to boot for such an expensive luxury as a horse or even riding lessons, I made do with reading every book I could find about horses, and collecting Breyer model horses, one at a time. Every year on my birthday and at Christmas I would eagerly look forward to getting a new model horse – such excitement!
As a graduate student, I began those riding lessons I had wanted as a child, and discovered over time that I enjoyed the companionship and personalities of the various horses I had as much as others enjoy the company of a cat or dog. Throughout the years, however, I continued to collect Breyer models, enjoying their beauty and craftsmanship and the friends I had made around the world who also enjoyed this hobby. Collectors like myself had great fun when we gathered together to hold and judge model horse shows, most of us scroungers who loved ice cream, chocolate, swapping stories about our families and careers and sharing tales about pouncing on an old model found in a flea market bin that was prized as a unique treasure.
I haven’t bought any model horses in almost two decades. All the models in what remains of my collection are at least 20 years old. The big gray Belgian shown above is over 40 years old… which means that I have friends who are younger than some of my model horses! I quit collecting when the hobby changed, become bigger, with a price tag on even the most basic of models higher than makes me comfortable. The manufacturer moved the factory that created my beauties to China, laying off hundreds of employees while doubling the prices for the horses, something I couldn’t stomach.
The memories I have about those years when I did collect model horses? Those are mostly about the wonderful people I met and the times we shared together.
Good memories, those.
One. Precisely one. That’s the number of blue morning glory blooms I had this year, thanks to a certain clan of long-eared varmints that finds morning glories incredibly toothsome.
As you can see, the vines were well caged. I suspect that the bunnies boosted each other up when we weren’t looking, balancing precariously atop one another’s shoulders so they could nibble the plants down.
I wouldn’t put it past them.
So, Oh Best Beloved, do you remember the post about the grasshopper eating my dahlias? My friend Kim read it and sent me this photo to show me what’s chomping on the ornamentals in her yard…
Oh. My. God. Yes, that really is a moose eating her tree! Having seen this, I’ve decided that a little bitty ol’ grasshopper nibbling away on a dahlia is quite manageable. You know. Putting it in perspective and all.
Although I’ve never done this before, I’m going to add a shameless plug here for Kim… She’s Kimberly Rousch, the wild bird artist. Kim paints incredible watercolors of wild birds that accomplish what few artists can: they capture the essence of the birds. Her work has been accepted into Birds in Art, and her painting “Killdeer” is in the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum collection.
Kim currently has this piece, called “Grebe On Purple,” available for sale – isn’t it gorgeous? Butter Side Down readers can contact Kim privately if they’re interested in buying “Grebe on Purple,” or to see more of her portfolio. Kim also does commissions, including portraits of pets, and every one of her paintings that I’ve seen I’ve loved.
Ok, end of shameless plug…
You know, even though I’d love to (safely) see a moose like Kim’s up close and personal, I’m sure glad I don’t have to deal with moose mowing down my flowers and trees!
* “Grebe On Purple” copyright Kim Rousch. All Rights Reserved. Image reproduced here by permission. *
All summer long I’ve caught tantalizing glimpses of brilliant metallic blue native bees zipping about our yard. I think they’re “sweat bees” (scientific name: Halictidae), but I’m not sure — they could also be Ceratina dupla, another native bee. I’ve never been able to catch an image of one, as they never stop long enough for me to get a good shot.
In July, however, right after a thunderstorm, I found this one. It hadn’t found a safe harbor, and perished in the storm.
Isn’t its color amazing?