Another Snake Story

On the last day of May a black snake ate the baby birds in a nest on our porch.

The snake was sprawled all over the box.

Unfortunately we had to kill that snake.

We usually store our gas grill near the back steps.

Then while Charlie was cleaning out the grill he came upon another snake that had made his home inside the grill.

Immediately Charlie texted me to find out what kind of snake this is.

This snake had a grey and white ladder pattern on its back.

The pattern and coloring are distinctive.

After some quick research I discovered it is a juvenile black rat snake.

The black rat snake has a very different look from its juvenile self.

This black rat snake is exactly the kind of snake which attacked the little birdies on our porch.  All of a sudden they’re coming close to the house. Ew.

How happy are you to come upon a serpent?


A Sad and Horrible End

One day this spring Charlie noticed that a bird was building a nest in a box on the porch that has paint brushes soaking in solvent.

The box has been on the porch for a long time — on the far left on top of the blue cabinet.

I think the bird is a wood thrush because we’ve had them before and they like to return to the same place to nest each year. I asked Charlie to get rid of the nest because I didn’t want the bird flying at me when I come and go.

Paint cans and bird’s nest

Within 2 days the bird had rebuilt the nest bigger and better so we just let her have her way.  Two days ago we noticed the mama bird was flying back and forth with worms in her beak.  When she was gone we looked in the nest and saw one egg and 3 tiny baby birdies.

The snake was sprawled all over the box.

Tonight when I arrived home a little after nine I saw a black snake on the box.  I felt sick knowing the little birds had been eaten.

It was important to me to get the snake away from our main entrance.

Charlie and Sug worked together to kill the snake and get it off the porch. Unfortunately this was a lose-lose situation all around.

Have you lost something recently that made you sad?

Next Wallpaper Project

I’m planning to totally change the decor of the the powder room.

Let’s update the bibliotheque.

For 20 years the powder room has been decorated as a bibliotheque.

Bye-bye, Bibliotheque.

Sug has offered to strip this wallpaper so I can lighten up the whole space.

I’m hoping to add this simple wainscoting to the powder room wall.

I plan to paint the bottom of the room white and add wainscoting.

Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space.

I’ll use wallpaper from Anthropologie which has details from European cities — a tour of Europe.

Removing the shelf around the top of the room would simplify wallpapering.

I plan to remove the shelf around the top of the room to hang the wallpaper then replace it because it’s the only storage option in this tiny room.  The large wood-framed mirror will stay.

I’d like to inset mirrors to the door panels on the inside.

And I might add mirrors on the door panels, a technique to make the room seem larger.

Do you enjoy planning future projects while embroiled in a complicated current one?

The Year of the Island

Charlie and I are traveling in 2018 to 3 different islands as enumerated in my 101 tasks in 1001 days.

Our accommodations in Bath are at The Ayrlington House.

#6 United Kingdom – We have plane tickets and accommodations for 10 days of travel and sightseeing.


I have also arranged for a special early morning visit to Stonehenge.  Next I’m going to get tickets to Buckingham Palace.  Everything else will have to fit into schedule that remains.

Even though Cuba is very close to the US, our credit and debit cards were not accepted there

#20 Cuba – We visited Cuba in the beginning of February for 5 days. Our adventures on this island just off the coast of Florida are in posts entitled “Trip to Cuba”.

Havana Harbor

#67 Smith Island, Maryland

The town of Ewell on the northern shore of Smith Island.

Finally in the middle of the summer we are heading to Smith Island, the last inhabited offshore island on the Maryland side of the Chesapeake. None of us has ever been there before.

Camp Meeting on Smith Island circa 1910.

Sug, Charlie and I going in part to attend a Methodist “camp meeting” that has been held on the island for the past 132 years.

I have rented a house found on AirBnB which will provide us with bicycles and a canoe and a perch to view beautiful sunsets over the Chesapeake Bay. There are few cars on the island which must be accessed by boat alone.

Great Britain

We’re excited to celebrate the Year of the Island by traveling in state, in hemisphere, and across the pond.

Where are you going?

List, 2018: April Progress

My plans and our progress in April are really two different lists.

The foundation planting is taking shape.

Instead of working on the wallpaper in the pink bathroom we concentrated on the front stone path and landscaping.


No progress was made on this project but I still have good intentions.

Still working on smoothing out the wall above the tile.


After the bathroom is underway I’m heading to the back bedroom where we’ve been storing all sorts of papers and projects. Instead of straightening this out I’ve actually added more clutter.

The treetops Bedroom is sunny in the morning.

That room is our main guest room.  Since I did not even get started in February March April I’m hoping to make a dent in March April May.


We did no entertaining except to have a couple of friends over to chat.


We saw Vegas Nights starring Frankie Moreno at the Baltimore Symphony. He sang a lot of standards in addition to his own compositions which sounded like music I had heard before but knew were original.

Frankie Moreno at the BSO.

We had a nice evening out while Sug took care of our puppy Dash.

Exterior Outsourcing 

Sug’s carpenter is planning to install a deck in front of the Cottage.

The cleared side yard.

No progress was made on this project but the yard next to the Cottage was totally weeded and prepared to become a meditation area.


Dash and I have been walking almost everyday.

Some days Dash is just exhausted.

He’s getting better on the leash.

Did you have a fruitful month?

Blooming at The Glade

Here we are at the end of April in Maryland on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States.

Lilacs and forget-me-nots are blooming but must be viewed close-up.

Spring trees, bushes, and flowers are blooming.

In a week the fragrance of lilacs will be quite strong.

We have two lilac bushes that bloom near the vegetable garden.  These bushes were moved from the front yard where they barely survived. In the back they flourish.

The heart-shaped, crinkly leaves are pleasant after the flowers fade.

Blooming all over the back garden are forget-me-nots — brunnera — which self-seeds and thrives in shade.  These tiny true blue flowers are precious.

The dogwood on the right of the photo is loaded with flowers for the first time.

The dogwood trees are just beginning to bud out.  This seems to be an abundant year for dogwood blossoms.

Gardening is a hopeful experience.

Charlie has been working on vegetable garden and will put in more plants now that we have passed the frost date in our region.

Pigeon-eye narcissus.

Our yard is loaded with daffodils but my favorite are the pigeon eye white narcissi.  They are very fresh in a group but draw me closer to view their little faces.

What’s growing in your neck of the woods?