Hummers and Hail

We’ve been having a great spring for the past many weeks and David and I have been saying we needed to put out our hummingbird feeder. (Even though the offical “last frost” date is not until mid-May, any sort of hard freeze has seemed unlikely for the past month or two, so we felt pretty safe.) But, being the busy procrastinators that we are, we hadn’t done it yet.

HummingbirdUntil yesterday, when we were sitting at the dining table, eating breakfast. A lone hummingbird came right up to the slider and hovered there, right where the feeder should have been, and stared in at us. There was zero question in our minds that he was inquiring — and was a bit put out to have to be asking! — where his food was. We promptly mixed up some nectar and put the feeder out. There are now two, the early scouts we presume. By summer there will be as many as seven or eight. They’ll eat a vast quantity of sugar over the next five months, but I can’t bring myself to cut it out of the budget. They’re just too special and — clearly! — they’ve come to count on the Brink Restaurant. We keep a dining bar right next to them on the deck where we usually eat breakfast and lunch all summer long and they’re not shy of us at all — in fact they’ll whiz so close to your face you can feel their wings. It’s pretty amazing, and all for the price of a little (well, a lot) of sugar!

After another very easy winter (okay, partially made easy by the generous and repeated loan from our neighbors of their snow blower), we’ve had a spectacular spring. There’s been a good bit more rain than usual, but living in the desert, we won’t complain. Especially since this year we haven’t opened up our sprinkler system, hoping for a new one this season. So every day of rain is several more days we can go without having to turn on the auxiliary water and break out the hoses and sprinklers.

We’ve also had a number of hail storms, including one just the other day that covered the deck with thumbnail-sized balls of hail. One storm came down so fast and furiously that it completely whitened the front yard, just as though it had snowed. Grateful that that’s about the worst of our bad weather here — very little to fear from tornado action, wildfires are a risk but we’ve been lucky (a fact we’re especially grateful for as we watch the devastation in Alberta, Canada going on right now), and only very mild earthquake action. We get some wind now and then which the locals complain about, but having experienced six “windy seasons” in Costa Rica, we hardly even notice.  ;-)


Our sleeping tent, complete with full height queen sized mattress inside. Luxurious!

Spring also brings our now “regular” (having done it two years in a row) spring camping trip with the kids, last year to Moab, this year to Goblin Valley area. We’ve developed quite the tent complex, with a large “instant” tent for sleeping, another off to the side for a potty, and still another large screen house for kitchen/dining. It was great fun to watch the kids all play together — delighted to be scrabbling around in the sand, climbing the nearby rocks, hiking, and just being outdoors. We old folks took it pretty easy, although we were able to take advantage of now having a 4-wheel-drive SUV and could participate in a great off-road drive in convoy with the others to see some wild and fascinating terrain.

PrancingPonyBWBackgroundSpring also brings Avila’s ballet recital. The ballet this year was “Americana” and she was a prancing pony. It was great fun, as always, and the show was impressive, as always. Avila’s other grandma (Nana) Kate is co-owner of the ballet studio and they do an amazing job with several hundred children each year. At only 5, this is Avila’s third year on-stage, and she clearly loves it. We saw a lot of improvement in her skill-level this year, too. Of course, the dances that always bring down the house are the youngest kids — the class she was in two years ago. They’re all fun to watch!

Henry was here!

Henry was here!

At seventeen months, Henry continues to grow and change. He’s gone from walking to running and it looks like he may follow in Avila’s footsteps and run everywhere. New words are starting to pop up regularly and he’s developing a rather definite mind of his own. He adores his Poppy (as does Avila) which is a great help on the days we take care of the kids — I often can get in some good work time while they play with Poppy. The biggest downside of this is the sheer havoc they wreak on the house. Avila is better (with some guidance) about picking up after herself, but Henry’s still in the destruction phase. Ah well, if that’s the worst life is throwing at us, then we’re pretty blessed!

We did have one bit of sadness this spring, as many of you know, when we finally lost GrisGris. He was a fiercely loyal dog and is deeply missed.  Avila helped Poppy mark his grave, and still offers up a toast to him every so often with her milk glass at lunch. For her first real introduction to death, she got a real dose of it since her Nana lost her beloved dog Riley as well, right around the same time. But Nana has a new puppy, Molly, just this past week, and we’ll be adding a couple of kittens to our household during this next month, so the circle of life goes on.

What’s going on in your world this spring?




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8 Responses to Hummers and Hail

  1. Sheryl McGlamery says:

    Don’t forget to post pictures of the kittens as soon as they arrive! Looking forward to it!

    • arden says:

      Will do!! It’s funny, we actually set out to get the kittens a week or two ago but discovered — something certainly *you* know but we never had! — that there is a “kitten season” and the kittens have been born, but weren’t yet ready to adopt. So in another couple of weeks I think we’ll try again. We’re open to whichever ones “speak” to us, but I did have a dream about Domino the other night that left me with the impression I might look for at least one kitty like her. ;-) We’d decided GrisGris was so old and crotchety that we wouldn’t get new kitties after we lost Domino, but now that he’s passed, the time has come! Hugs and hi to Mark, too.

  2. Deanna Allen says:

    Love reading your post even if I do not always respond. I had a rough Feb/Mar with being in the hospital 2x’s for A-Fib. Am on a bunch of medications now (again was on some of the same ones in CR for a while) :) Every time I feel like I am starting to get back on top I lose my get up and go……….but I am slowly getting my garden started. Waiting on a load of top soil to be delivered next week then it will be just water and wait :)
    Went to Las Vegas and met our youngest daughter there for the last USA Michael Flatley Lord of the Dance : Dangerous Games. We had a great time. Also got to a see Cirque du Soleil show that was awesome!
    Looking forward to the rest of spring and summer. Loving Northern Alabama, Fort Payne has drawbacks being a little town ( no major shopping other than Walmart :( ) but Chattanooga isn’t that far Rome GA is closer and has most everything I want. I do a bit of Amazon ordering. I get fabulous 100% linen fabric from

    ok enough rambling take care enjoy those darling little one Deanna

    • arden says:

      Hi, Deanna — Always great to see you here and glad you’re enjoying your new home and being back in the states. Bummer about the a-Fib — David had really wrestled with that, too, since we’ve been back. Second ablation last year seems to have done the trick, at least for now. Hopefully you’ll find some relief!


  3. Barbara Randall says:

    Thanks for all the exciting news in your life! Sounds like, “You have landed on your feet”, in Utah!

    I will complete my ninth year in Costa Rica in Sept. 2016! I didn’t know if I would be able to stay after losing Tom, but I am managing!

    Life if very different for me, now, as I struggle to reinvent myself as a single woman, here! Actually “Single Woman” has the wrong connotation! I am not currently interested in being married, again and I seriously doubt that will ever change.

    I am continuing to do my charity work at, “The Women’s/Family Center in Bajo Tejares. That dream has also taken a lot more time to complete than I planned on. I am continuing to accomplish my goals only much more slowly.

    It seems life is much slower for me now! More introspective and less about trying to please others than ever before in my life. That feels very unusual and strange to me, somehow! I have just had to accept that life is never like we plan it to be.

    I miss you guys and all the other ex-pats that have moved on to the next phase of their journeys! It is good to hear your news and I am pleased to know you are content and happy in Utah!

    Blessings to you, both!

    • arden says:

      Hi, Barbara — Lovely to “see” you here! I know that life has to have been full of challenges since Tom’s sudden passing, but we watch your work (via Facebook) in Bajo Tejares with interest — you’re doing great work there. ‘Tis so true that life is often completely *not* how we expected; good for you for forging ahead and finding a new life for yourself in spite of the obstacles.

      Wonderful to hear from you!

  4. Martha B. Higgins says:

    My how the children have grown! It’s great to have your wonderful stories about them and you. Thanks for the updates.

    • arden says:

      Hi, Martha — Always nice to have you comment and know you’re reading and enjoyng! Hope you have a great summer!

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