Monday, May 28, 2018

Another Day, Another Chipmunk Tail

Who thinks chipmunks are cute? I do, I do!

I have lived in my home for 24 years and never saw a chipmunk until this spring. Lots of squirrels, rabbits, even skunks, but never a chipmunk.

At first I thought, oh how cute, and I enjoyed watching them bound along......
.....until they moved into my patio area and made a home behind my cement steps. That's a little too close for comfort.

You see...when I spent summers in PEI there were lots of chipmunks. And while they were as cute as they could be they also enjoyed living in my basement, chewing on electrical wiring and chewing up the insulation. I'm not good at killing rodents but it was them or me! I trapped them and let them loose in the forest but they ran back to the house faster than I could!!

I'm not able to reach the nest behind the steps because of a cement overhang from the doorsill. Lily has been doing her best to chase them out of our patio and will sit patiently for hours by the steps waiting for a chipmunk nose to appear.

This morning I was sitting outside, reading the paper, while Lily guarded the perimeter. Suddenly I heard the unmistakeable CHIRP of the chipmunk and next thing I saw was Lily playing with the fur off the chipmunk's tail!!

Ughh! She was having so much fun hiding the fur in a bed of myrtle and tossing it around like a cat does. I couldn't stand it (and I'll never kiss her again!!) so I put on a work glove and tossed the fur over the fence. Lily wasn't too pleased with that but I just couldn't watch her displaying her killer instincts!

Then I checked google, of course :) and found that when a chipmunk (or squirrel etc) is threatened with capture/death from behind they release their tail. In this case just the fur that covers the tail. Lily was just doing a good job keeping our patio (and home) free from rodents. I do understand that this is her instinct and she's not misbehaving.

I'm hoping that close call persuades the chipmunks to take up residence elsewhere! Otherwise my patio is going to be a battleground over the summer.
Should have named her "Killer"!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May's Money Challenge

My money challenge this month (and pretty much every month) is to get to the end of the month before I get to the end of my money :) As I am sure you would agree some months are harder than others! Sometimes things come along that you want to take advantage of (sales at your favourite store...I don't really fall into that category as I rarely go shopping), an appliance or car breaks down (so far so good), you eat out more often (nope), there are a lot of birthdays/anniversaries, (yes, to some extant), old furniture needs replacing (yes but I'm going to postpone those sorts of purchases for awhile longer), home repairs or redecorating etc etc etc...

 Budget BUSTERS can occur at at any time, some are small, some are large, some can be squeezed out of a monthly budget, some need an infusion of money drawn from savings. I HATE it when THAT happens!

I haven't had any large budget busters this month BUT I did decide to take an online course with Ekhart Tolle, author of "The Power of Now" and other helpful, inspirational books. When I first retired and my mind wasn't filled with schoolwork and students and clubs and curriculum anymore I found my mind became busy with less positive thoughts and I spent too much time in negative thinking, dwelling on the past and wondering about the future and what retirement was going to look like. If you are a long time reader you will remember (possibly) that in 2014, the year I retired, I made a LOT of changes in my life - some were my own decisions (taking an early retirement, selling my house in PEI and remaining in London), and others were thrust upon me (the breakdown of a relationship, the death of a pet and so on.)

Gradually I tried lots of different things to help myself through this period of transition - some have fallen by the wayside (crocheting, sewing, spool knitting, anxiety meds!!) and others have stuck (hiking, being out in nature, cycling, volleyball, reading, blogging, meeting friends for breakfast and movies, photography, travel and...Ekhart Tolle!)

His book, "The Power of Now", wasn't easy to read (I find non-fiction a tough read usually) so I borrowed the book on audiotape and listened to Ekhart as he read and explained the book. It was a real life saver. Living in the present moment is the only way to live - there is no past or future moment, there is only now. Due to many traumatic events happening over the past 60+ years I was STUCK and Ekhart's revelation of a book was very significant in helping me to become unstuck.

I hemmed and hawed about taking this course online but decided it was a very worthwhile expense for me. It is eight weeks long and the second week starts tomorrow. So far I would say I'm getting a lot of value for my dollar and it is money well spent. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do things that will be a benefit to your life even if it costs money. Sometimes you just have to loosen the pocketbook a little bit. Living frugally doesn't mean never spending! I'm saying that to myself, not to you, as it can become a bad habit tucking every bit of my money away into savings.

I am learning a lot and hope I can successfully apply it to my life.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

I've Got Gas!

See? I kid you not!

I was down to 3 bars on my fuel gauge and gas went below $1.20/litre on Friday so
I decided to grab some.
I added $30.00 worth of gas to the tank and now have about 3/4
of a tank. 
I wonder how long that will last.
I also wonder when was the last time I bought gas.
So I just checked my credit card online and the last time I
purchased gas was April 6th 
and I purchased $45.00 worth. 
That was 6 weeks ago!!
(Both purchases were on Fridays)
Not bad...not bad at all! 

Friday, May 18, 2018

May Weather Not Good for Blogging!

I am sooooooo grateful these days for the wonderful weather we're having after our long hard slog through winter and early spring. "Mid-SPRING" has been worth waiting for! Only a couple of weeks ago we had a major ice storm and now the fruit trees are flowering and yesterday I was attacked by mosquitoes and flies while hiking in Kilally Meadows!! The temperature yesterday was a HOT 27c (81F) so I took full advantage of it enjoying a good long ramble.

Mr. Heron is about the only bird that sits in one spot long enough for me to get a photo!

So I guess you know what kind of photos I'll be taking for the next few months :)

Fauna and flora :) in the photo below those 3 blurs are white-tailed deer running along a path.

 I zoomed in a little more and you can see a lovely little white tail just right of centre. They were loving the weather as much as I was. If you look at the header photo above that is the trail the deer were running on. Of course by the time I hiked across the field to get to the path the deer were long gone.

It's so amazing the difference a coat of green foliage makes!

I was getting VERY tired of grey/brown:

Now there is so much colour everywhere!  

So, if I don't post often just imagine me on my bike with a big smile on my face:

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Major Explosion!!

The earth has erupted in many shades of long last! 
Needless to say I've been hiking and biking along the trails so that
I can capture some of spring's glory. This
is my favourite time of year when the earth 
comes back to life.

Leaves are appearing...

...delicate flowers are blooming everywhere! carpets are so inviting...

...the trails are easier to see!

...the geese are framed by bridge pylons, softening the view...

...the goslings waiting patiently for the "all clear" from mom and dad...

JACK is back! I thought spring wildflowers were much later this year after the long, harsh
winter but when I checked my wildflower journal it was May 3rd last year when
I first saw the jack-in-the-pulpits, so only a difference of 4 days. 
Mother Nature has her ways of catching up!!

After several floods this year I didn't see as many jack-in-the-pulpits but when I had
a good look around I saw a few more here and there, like in the photo below.
No...that's not my beer bottle. I've cleaned up and filled two garbage bags with garbage while
hiking but it looks like I'm not done yet!

Ahhhhh, green glorious green - my favourite colour!!

As you can see I am spending most of my time outside. We've been having
perfect weather - sunny and 22c today. So it's time for lunch and
then I'll be getting back on my bike so I can explore the trails some more.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Merry Merry Month of May

The numbers for April are in and they're pretty good:

  • the budget line for gasoline was $60 but I only spent $45 😁 yippee yahoo! Still have about a half tank of gas left. 
  • the budget line for food was set at the usual $280 but I only spent $212 😁
  • Utilities came in under budget by $35 😁
  • Savings per month has risen to $1200 from $1000 which will shorten the amount of time needed to replenish money spent on new car😁 This means a smaller amount of misc spending money but so far so good. 
  • Misc $$ was spent on: two movies- "Game Night" (fairly funny) and "A Quiet Place" (EXCELLENT!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!); two albums purchased from iTunes; a Scotland guidebook downloaded to my Kindle App; $55 spent on fundraising dinner; a pair of gloves used in grooming Luna and Lily ($15 on Amazon - they work really well!); a six-pack of craft beer; a couple of pints after volleyball; $65 spent on a spring tuneup and new rear brakes for my bike; $25 spent at Dollarama (but I don't remember what I bought!); $26 for dinner with family at Morrissey House (it was 15% off for women to make up for gender equity issues!); $15 at Walmart for cat food; $25 to The Red Cross
  • Internet bill has risen from $79 to $88  😑
  • Paid income tax 😑
Looking ahead at expenses for May:
  • As it's my birthday month I get to pay the gov't $120 for a new license sticker for my car 😑
  • I will want to purchase flowers for my patio and for the front garden - I'm hoping I can keep my purchases to a reasonable amount - HAH!! That almost NEVER happens - I usually overspend on flowers! πŸ’š
  • I will need to keep misc spending to roughly $90 per week so that I can move $1200 to savings. Done  By the end of 2018 my savings accounts will be back to their pre-car purchase amounts!! 😁 I see several trips in 2019!!!
I have budgeted $45 for gas but I hope to spend ZERO now that I have my bike ready as my main source of transportation in the coming months 😁 Also hoping I can keep grocery spending to a minimum.  In aid of that I received and used a $25.00 gift card from Loblaw's to make up for their bread price fixing scandal. That should get me through to the weekend!! I also have $40 in points that I can use for groceries if need be.

Was April kind or nasty to your monthly budget??