The White Skunk

Courtesy of Nightcafe and Kerry

In a moment of curiosity, I checked out an AI image creation app called Nightcafe. I typed in ‘white skunk in a dark forest’ and this beautiful little image appeared. Delighted, I spent several hours creating a series of images. It was great fun but I could feel myself disappearing down a rabbit hole. I already spend too much time on the internet… Then I wrote a little children’s story about Blanca the white skunk – who had really appeared on our garden.


When Blanca was born, she was the only white skunk kit in her litter.  Her brother and sister had regular black and white fur.  Her mother was curious about her coloring but thought it might change as she grew a little.

Weeks passed and Blanca was still a snowy little ball of fluff.  There was just a touch of black on the tip of her nose and tips of her toes.  Her mother loved to groom her soft white fur which made her siblings jealous.  They teased her for looking different.  Blanca was very upset but her mother reassured her that she was special – Mother’s little snowball.

Mother Skunk had some stern words for her brother and sister.  She told them that it was unkind to tease their sister just because her coloring was different.  They cried but apologized to Blanca who ran to cuddle them.  After that, they spent their childhood playing together.

One dark night, Blanca wandered a little further.  She could hear possums in one of the gardens and went under the fence to investigate.  There were fresh water bowls in the garden and she eagerly lapped at the water.  The mulch around the bushes were full of grubs and worms.  Blanca excitedly ate her fill.

She ran back to her family to tell them about the garden oasis.  The very next night they all visited together.  Blanca and her siblings played in the water.  They practiced stomping – all skunks give a warning  by stomping their feet before spraying a stinky liquid.  Skunks use their spray like people use pepper spray to defend ourselves. They will only spray as a last resort.

They stayed close to the garden for a week or so before moving onto a new street to find fresh grubs.  Skunks are a gardener’s friend.  They aerate the soil by digging and then they eat the harmful pests.  The people who owned the house were excited about her visit and hoped to see Blanca again.


We haven’t put the night camera out again because we know that skunks move on quickly. Our rainy season has arrived so the soil is perfect for digging. My new plants are still in place so I don’t think we have had a visit. Animals seems to love those little white balls in the compost. Our squirrels are plentiful. We watched two little siblings cuddle and groom each other on the garden fence – aww!

Fatal Attraction

My parents conspired to exasperate me when they were alive and dead.  I have written about their brief marriage before.  This story is about their last romance and my first contact with my Dad in adulthood.

To briefly preface – my parents met in San Francisco in 1959 and swiftly married.  They were infatuated with each other.  My Dad was a handsome Mexican American, a pilot and accomplished artist.  He was the direct descendent of ‘Californian Royalty’, Captain Jose Francisco Ortega who, on a scouting mission for the Spanish, discovered the bay of San Francisco in 1769.  He has his own Wikipedia page; Jose Francisco Ortega  My Dad was a charismatic black sheep of his family but my mum was smitten.  Equally, he was entranced by the Irish beauty who was as sharp as a whip and very funny.  She worked as a model in a department store in San Francisco but her regular job was with Bank of America in the Foreign Exchange.

After he abandoned us, my mum was careful to extol his virtues to me although I was aware that the rest of her family did not share that opinion.  As I got older, little bits of information were let slip.  He had been in San Quentin prison on forgery charges.  As my mum disappeared into mental illness and alcoholism, she shared more about his real personality.  He was emotionally cruel and seemed incapable of holding down a decent job.  Eventually my mum divorced him in 1976.

Life moved on and I came to an incomplete conclusion about my father.  In my late twenties, I had an overwhelming desire to know more about him and asked my mum if she would mind if I tried to contact him.  She was very open to that and I contacted a mutual friend of my parents who likely knew his location.  Shortly after, I received a long letter from my elusive father.  He seemed happy to resume contact with his only child.  His first letter was very welcome and I pored over his handwriting trying to connect with him through the paper.

A few letters passed and I felt comfortable enough to give him my house telephone number.  My mum also gave him her own telephone number.  When he called drunk in the middle of the night, I started to have reservations about contacting him.  He had not expressed his remorse for abandoning his family or even given a good excuse for his behavior.  I am slow to temper but if you wind me up enough, I will implode with cold fury.  By this stage, I had stopped answering the phone.  Poor Teddy had to deal with a maudlin, unstable father-in-law.  Finally, I wrote a cold letter to my dad telling him how disappointed I was in his lack of remorse and apology.  Further, I was ceasing communication forthwith.

The response to my letter was a deafening silence.  To be honest, I thought he might attempt to reconcile and I was disappointed.  My mum always said I was cruel with words – just like my father.  Then I attempted to just move on in life and pretend he hadn’t existed.  I deeply regretted my foolish need to know my father and thought my mum’s relatives were entirely right in their opinion of him.

Months passed.  My mum shared that my dad had continued to phone her but it was not a problem.  I was blissfully unaware that a spark had ignited between them.  Part of it was my age and theirs.  At age 30, I thought they were far too old to be attracted to each other.  Now that I am in my 60s that seems ludicrous.  They were each other’s great passion and I had enabled their affair to continue.  Then, my mum tentatively said that Dad was coming across to Scotland for a short vacation. “WHAT!”, I exclaimed, outraged and angry.  She said that he really wanted to meet me but I was utterly stubborn.  I had made my decision and that was final. 

What I didn’t know was that those two old loves had planned to live happily ever after.  My  mum was a very good-looking 55, slim and fit.  My Dad had put on weight from recent photos and was about 58 years old.   My father was almost destitute (unknown to either of us) and had embraced the idea of retiring in my mum’s council house with his pension.  My mum managed, barely, on Disability benefit. I was incensed by him coming to Scotland and told my mum that I wouldn’t call her until after he had gone back to the States.

My decision drove my mum to the height of anxiety because in her fairytale he was living with her forever… On the day that he arrived in Scotland, my mum went across to her friend’s house with terrible nausea.  It was a major heart attack and she ended up in Intensive Care.  That evening, I got a call from the ward my mum was in.  She spoke to me and told me that she had had a heart attack.  Although my mum smoked and drank, I was totally stunned by this news.  We arranged to drive down the next day and I had completely forgotten about my dad’s arrival.

When I walked into the ward, I was relieved that my mum looked well.  It was just the start of her heart problems and would later almost die after a triple bypass.  Then she told me that dad was truly worried by her not coming to meet him, that he had phoned all the hospitals in our area and turned up at the ward.  He was very drunk and upset, so much so that the hospital staff banned him from visiting.  I asked my mum if she wanted to see him but I think the reality had awoken her from the fairytale.  He was an old troubled alcoholic and frankly out of her league.  She told me that he was staying in a local hotel.

My mum recovered very quickly and came home where I looked after her for a little while.  Dad did not attempt to communicate with either of us and in the chaos of the situation, I just forgot about him.  After a couple of weeks, I assumed that he was safely back in the USA.  ‘Good riddance to bad rubbish’, thought I.  Some weeks after that, my mum received a call from the local police to say that my dad’s body had been discovered in a Glasgow apartment that he had been renting.  He had slipped into a diabetic coma and died.  A neighbor could see his dead body through the window.

Inevitably, my mum was overwhelmed by this sad news but I suspect a little relieved.  I was horrified.  This was the last thing I wanted even if I was so angry with him.  I phoned the police and explained our estranged situation.  They put me in touch with the American Consul in Scotland who were incredibly helpful and solicitous.  When I explained that this man was a stranger to me (despite the communication I had yet to meet him), they suggested that the Consul contact his ex-wife and see if she wanted the body repatriated.  What ex-wife???  It was just one lovely surprise after another.  This still unknown ex-wife did want his body so I asked the Consul to give her his remaining effects which amounted to $300.

Should I laugh or cry?  If I hadn’t already had been diagnosed with a mental illness, this situation might have triggered it.  This was something that I would have liked to have kept private but I had to tell my mum’s extended family.  One uncle, who particularly disliked my dad, felt that I should have paid for the funeral.  His response shocked me as I owed my father nothing.  He had paid not one cent of the alimony ordered at the divorce.

Now I only laugh when I think about this ludicrous situation.  Could parents be any more annoying?  I feel like Saffron in the British comedy, Absolutely Fabulous.  The sensible daughter always sighing about her parent’s behavior. After I moved to the USA, I found out much more about my paternal family and I have more sympathy for my father.  There is a history of mental illness and alcoholism in our family.  His father, my grandfather, was married four times, I believe, and ended up a pitiful old man.  With the wisdom of age and experience, I now hope that my parents are happily connected in the hereafter.  I will give them a hell of a row when I join them…

Tico Street Scenes

Costa Ricans are known as Ticos and these are some more street scenes in San Jose, the capital. I loved this stained glass and extended window in the Alhambra Building.

Teddy is a Taurus so I had to get a shot of him with the brightly colored steer.

Art should be enjoyed by all of us and not closeted in a rich person’s safe. Immortalizing a street sweeper in bronze exemplifies that notion.

I felt an overwhelming urge to hold this bronze lady’s hand – how many others have done just the same? For a moment I was transported back in time, holding my Nana’s hand. She was pleasantly plump like this lady and always smelled of baking or lavender soap.

I loved this clock in a fountain which is surrounded by the ever present pigeons in San Jose. When we walked around the cemetery, the groundskeepers where sharing their lunch with the birds. Does anyone else inspect the manhole covers in foreign parts? We call them ‘stanks’ in Glasgow.

‘The Wind’ is full of remarkable movement for a statuesque bronze.

The colonnaded building is a municipal building. It’s striking compared to the mishmash of modern architecture around it. The temperature in San Jose was perfect – 24 C in January with bright sunshine. San Jose is elevated so it can be chilly in the winter.

The lovely arches with intricate metalwork caught my eye on this eau-de-nil building. It is the Center for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage.

There is nothing nicer than some street music on a pretty day.

A colorful street mural on a busy road. The pedestrians and cyclist melt into the background.

I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to know that there is a stable democracy, a short distance from the state of Texas. There is public health care, too.

This statue of a cantering horse was in the lobby of our hotel.

Baby Blue

There is a new Spring baby in Katniss’s old house. It’s a baby blue jay with a fluffy gray tummy. Mom and Dad have been eating at our garden of earthly delights for a couple of weeks. Last night there was a really strong thunderstorm and we think the baby may have come out of the nest a little sooner than usual.

Look at that precious wee face… So sorry about the quality of the images but it I had to take them quickly through the dirty window. I was worried that the baby might not be able to fly but after I came back from grocery shopping, she and the parents were gone.

What a relief it was to see Mom or Dad land on the house to check on their wee baby. Both blue jay parents take an equal part in raising the chick. Since then, the parents have been eating in our garden so I am certain that they have relocated with baby to the deep tree foliage close to the nest.

I have no idea why birdsong is thought to be relaxing. It’s a constant cacophony around us. The cardinal family chirp loudly in a staccato. The mourning dove is booming (aka cooing) from her nest. A mockingbird is sitting on the chimney so his song echoes through the house. Then there are the frogs at 3 am…

Mercado Central

This is a city scene from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, right in front of the entrance to the Central Market. The crowd are a real mix of locals and tourists, as were the visitors inside the Market. San Jose feels like any other modern city in Latin America but as you enter the Mercado Central you are taken back in time.

Inside I was transported back to the souks of Cairo. There was a smell of spices and produce yet it was very clean. Grocers, clothes shops, spice stalls, florists fish sellers and butchers. What a sensory treat! Tourist shops sold handicrafts but most of the stalls were for locals getting their daily shopping. As a child, I went shopping with Nana to similar stores where the local produce was in crates with handwritten price tickets. I loved visiting the farmer’s stall just outside Rutherglen but was less keen on the chickens with all their feathers on. Nana plucked the feathers in the bath and re-stuffed our old pillows. That’s sustainability, old style.

Is there anything more joyful than a brightly painted mural? This one had a volcano, waterfall, parrots and toucans – perfectly illustrating the essence of Costa Rica.

This store is 10 years older than me…wow! The sign says that it has been selling bulk products since 1950. Notice that the customer and the assistant are both wearing masks.

A tourist shop to lure us in. We briefly looked around a couple of them but they were tight (for people with big cameras and rucksacks). In any case, I have already Swedish Death Cleaned the house and there is no room for any more trinkets. We brought back delicious creamy fudge stuffed with glace fruits.

This is my favorite scene in the market. A beautiful statue of Jesus right next to the butcher’s shop. I thoroughly approve of faith being part of one’s daily life. As much as I love beautifully decorated churches, they keep faith in a separate place. Costa Ricans have many public works of art which I will display in a future post (and a cathedral because I can’t resist).

The visit to the market made me giddy with happiness. It brought back memories, gave me new ones to reflect on and gave a genuine feel for San Jose’s inhabitants.

The English Patient


Last Thursday while loading the dishwasher after dinner, I felt faint and dropped onto the machine.  I stood up and hit my head on the faucet.  Then I went backwards, like a felled pine, and hit my head on the tiles.  Teddy said my eyes were rolling in my head and I could not communicate.  He called 911 and within 5 minutes, the fire engine had arrived quickly followed by the ambulance.  By then I was communicating and was aware of leaving the house on a stretcher with ALL the neighbors watching me.  My husband followed in his car to the local hospital.

I remember the trip in the ambulance to the hospital, about 20 minutes away.  Wryly, I recalled the last time I was in an ambulance, after a car accident, and the paramedic said that most people only travel in an ambulance once in their life.  They took me straight to a room in ER and over the next few hours, checked my heart and head (nothing obviously wrong).  My blood pressure had been very low and it’s normally lower than average.  It stabilized and they put me on IV fluids and took a urine sample by catheter.  ER was busy, noisy and I wondered why my husband wasn’t there.  Sometime later another nurse told me that my husband’s heart had started to race in the waiting room and they admitted him to a room a few doors down.  My tired response was, “Oh, for God’s Sake!”  It made the nurses laugh and I hope will set the tenor of this post.  There were many jokes about us having (a very expensive) date night in ER…

The nurses stopped his heart racing and reassured him that I was not dying or having a stroke.  Around midnight, he came into my room with his heartbeat stabilized.  We were laughing at my body shaking uncontrollably.  First it was one leg, then the other.  It reminded me of first dates when I was a teenager.  I would get so excited that my teeth chattered or my body shook which made me laugh.  It must have been rather alluring to those teenage boys who didn’t know how exciting they were.   I told Teddy to go home because they were just waiting for a room for me in the main hospital.  Then came the boredom and humor.  A urinary infection was diagnosed and they gave me IV antibiotics.  The poor, overworked, nurses had to dismantle my equipment and take me to the bathroom every hour since my bladder/brain refused to cooperate with a bedpan.

My head hurt and my scalp was bleeding.  I hurt my right knee quite badly as I went down and inevitably my back was sore.  They gave me a shot of morphine sometime after midnight.  It didn’t help me sleep.  There was an older man with memory issues in the room across from me.   He had some kind of device like a portable Alexa or Siri that was on full volume.  As I was dozing off, he said loudly, “What time is it?” “2.30 am” the machine boomed.  At 2.39 am he asked the same question along with “Where am I?”  The machine could not answer that question.  Part of me wanted to soothe the old man and shout out where he was but I was trapped in bed with IVs.  The other part of me wanted to scream – Shut the **** up!

Then there was the noisy extended family who thought it was okay to talk and laugh loudly at 4 am.  Every 20 minutes a little old lady coughed extensively in the tiniest voice – think Minnie Mouse with Covid.  After 4 am, I asked to go to the bathroom again.  While I was in there, I vomited rather spectacularly and copiously.  It was all over the bathroom and me, socks, nightdress, knickers and hair.  Three staff had to help.  I bet they wondered what I had eaten – it was a home-made organic sweet potato and cashew curry with carrots and cardamom pods.  Agent Orange as far as the eye could see…

I rarely throw up so it was either concussion, anxiety or an infection.  Now I had disposable panties and a hospital gown – the nurse noted that the panties were see through when I went to the bathroom endlessly.  She kept trying to hide my nakedness but I DID NOT CARE!!  I learned to walk with my back against the wall.  They kept promising me a room but one was not available until about 11 am the next day.  By this time, Teddy had turned up and brought some overnight stuff.  By this stage my shaking had transmogrified into Tics so I looked like I had Tourette’s syndrome.  Lord, it was so annoying and I now have so much sympathy for anyone who suffers from Tics.  I tried to be nice to the staff but I was really grumpy – probably because I had missed my regular medication.  Teddy thought it would have been even funnier if my Tics were accompanied by cursing…oh he is such a laugh.

Finally, the young man arrived with the wheelchair and took me to Tower 4 at breakneck speed.  I was already feeling nauseous and dizzy.  The staff greeted me in my room and told me all the rules!  They needed a urine sample and had to observe me because of the fall risk.  I tried to explain that I had an anxiety disorder and this would not work.  They tried a bed-pan, then they strapped a belt around my chest like a dog’s halter and tried to transfer me in a purple chair/torture device.  Teddy intervened and said, “this is not going to work”.  To emphasize that, I recreated the Exorcist scene, and threw up everywhere, all over again.  New gown, new panties, new socks.  All of this happened with hilarious Tics and involuntary movements.

It was unclear if the new antibiotic was now out of my system or had caused the explosion, so they went old school with a penicillin for my urinary infection.  In my new room, I was attached to even more equipment and most had to be disconnected for me to use my bathroom.  My bed also had an alarm in case I took off with IVs attached.  The next battle was getting them to give me my mental health medication.  It was pretty obvious that I was ANXIOUS but not confused.  I really needed a mental health advocate and suggested they phone my psychiatrist, to no avail.  The nurses gave me a little privacy and it helped with the bathroom issues.

One of the pleasures was meeting staff from all over the world.  There is a shortage of nurses after the Pandemic and the world was represented.  The sweetest doctor was from Iraq, and the best nurse assistant from Togo.    My modesty was being protected in my private room with only my husband to view me.  They would desperately cover up the back of my gown but as I pointed out, “He has seen it all before and then some”.  I haven’t got accustomed to the peculiar modesty that exists in the States.  Is it just me, or does no one care about being naked when you are sick?  They kept asking me if I was South African, Australian or English – thus the title.  I was kept in for three days which was three days more than I wanted to be there and there was no real conclusion.  The Iraqi doctor thought that it was an infection and perhaps not just my UTI.

The room service was amusing.  I had to phone and request each meal.  All I wanted was oatmeal and yogurt.  That wasn’t available but there were only two choices at each meal.  Perhaps not even as good as the NHS in the UK.  I couldn’t complain about most of the staff.  What a thankless and tiring job.  Teddy was communicating with most of our cul de sac about my progress.  In the last few weeks there have been 7 visits to ER in our cul de sac alone – we should be getting a street discount.  My mum was a terrible patient in ICU, pulling out IVs and telling everyone that the man across from her was brain dead.  He was not, but his family panicked.  I now understand that it is the lack of control that patients struggle with.

It has been a week since my discharge and I am much recovered.  I still feel dizzy at times and my knee gives way on occasion.  My mood is much better to Teddy’s relief.  He is good, too.  We had planned a little trip away but now it’s all about recovery and improving my stamina. At least it’s stopped me whining about retirement…

PS: 10 points to anyone who knows what the giant green prophylactic is on the table.

The Construction of Fulton Mansion

Texians are white immigrants to the state of Texas and Tejanos is the terminology used for Hispanic immigrants. Both were in the state in the early days and fought together in the Texas Revolution against Spain/Mexico. Many nations of indigenous people predated them. George Fulton the builder and owner of Fulton Mansion became a Texian when he arrived to fight in the Revolutionary War. He didn’t see much action but for his service he was given 1,280 acres of land in Texas and worked as a draughtsman for the General Land Office in Houston.

His next position was as a tutor to the children of Henry Smith and thus began their alliance. He married Smith’s daughter Harriett at age 17. They had 3 native born children and moved to Washington DC for a time. When he returned to Texas he started a Meat Packing company with the livestock from the land in Aransas that Harriet inherited. He invented a form of refrigeration when preparing the meat and then shipped it up and down the coast, all over the American mainland and even to England. This astonishes me because I live in the south east of Texas, it’s sub-tropical, about 100 degrees for three months solid. I can’t even get my popsicles home from the supermarket (literally 5 minutes away) in the summer without them starting to melt.

Fulton’s innovation in his meat packing business and in animal husbandry (he grew corn and sorghum to feed the animals better), allow his business to flourish. His wealth and ingenuity allowed him to build a house that was almost futuristic in design. Firstly, he had his own gas plant to fuel the house and lights. Then he used a 16,000 gallon double cistern water tank to supply the Mansion with endless hot and cold water, using rainwater that was trapped from the roof. Finally he created a central heating system.

I grew up in a metal house with no central heating (in the Scottish Arctic) so I was truly in awe when I read about the house. They didn’t even need central heating because they live in the south and every room had a magnificent fireplace! In Egypt our water tank was so small that I could only the fill the bath with 3 inches of water. There was no air-conditioning in Fulton Mansion but each room had plantation blinds to let the sea air cool down the house in summer.

The building construction of the Mansion was even more fascinating. It was insulated with discarded oyster shells (big business down here) between planks of pine. Sustainable and green, all back in the day. This was and still is a relatively remote place. When I was working, I did a Fisheries tour of Texas and was amazed by the giant mountain of oyster shells outside one the companies. I did wonder what they did with them – I know they use them in landscaping. Fulton Mansion has survived numerous hurricanes so it was built to last.

When we visited the home, we went in the basement first – knowing our place as Celtic peasants. When there, we chatted to another couple that looked our age. There was a hand whisk on the table, with a handle to turn it. I remarked to the lady that I got one as a wedding present. She looked at me in astonishment. Maybe America was much more advanced that the UK, back in the day, or she was younger than I thought. I daren’t mention Nana’s mangle…

The house really wasn’t that big despite all the innovations and that makes it more sustainable, too. They had a limited staff and couldn’t keep them for some unknown reason. I wonder if it was just too remote for the servants? But look at the view they had –

Interior of Fulton Mansion – part II

This is the interior of Fulton Mansion, Rockport, Texas. The house was built between 1874 and 1877 by George W Fulton for his family in the French Second Empire style. The family history is reminiscent of the HBO series, The Gilded Age. George Fulton was an engineer and entrepreneur, from the North East USA, who married Harriet Smith. She inherited ranching land in the Aransas Bay area of southern Texas. I will write more about their history and the unique building style of the manor in Part III.

Above is a delightful child’s bedroom – the bed is ornate without being overwhelming. The bed is positioned to take best advantage of the light across the bay and countryside. How wonderful to jump out of bed and see the dolphins in the bay.

The house was built with central heating and indoor plumbing. Imagine that in 1877! People were still using outside toilets in Scotland when I was young. This looked like it might be father’s sink, above, complete with shaving accoutrement.

The wood paneling surrounding a large copper bath, was quite charming. It must have been so cozy on a cold day. I imagine guests would be surprised at such luxury.

The mother’s sink, above, could be displayed in a modern lifestyle magazine with the marble countertop and matching sink. I hope they hid that antique toilet tissue during the Pandemic… When I was young I had a real sponge. When I realized they were dead sea animals, I switched back to a wash cloth. I call them flannels just like my Nana did. I guess they were made out of old flannels back in the day (but not in this luxurious abode).

George Fulton was a cattle baron so a steer’s head seems fitting for the hallway. The geometric detailing around the door caught my eye. All the wood was in warm tones without being too dark for a seaside house.

This is George’s study – it looks so comfortable and love those drapes! A sea breeze wafting in the window would be quite restful at work.

Each room had a different style of fireplace which seems like the height of luxury to me – I loved the aqua detail on this one. The glasses on the dining table were full of ‘beer’. The early settlers in Texas were master brewers from Czechoslovakia and Germany. It is only in relatively recent times that Texas vineyards have produced world class wines. On a really hot day, there is nothing nicer than a cold draught of beer.

There is even a precious little high chair for the baby that reinforced the feel of a family home. The tiled floor looked as though it was in perfect condition, with those colorful insets. Did you notice the rusks in the baby’s bowl?

This was my favorite fireplace in the living room – I love the shiny black with delicate gold filigree decoration. There is a piano to the right. The whole house was staged beautifully and enhanced the charm of the time period.

I love, love, love this light feature. It is detailed but modern and would look just great in my house in 2023. The house just entranced me – the decoration, the furniture and detail.

Fulton Mansion, Rockport

This is Fulton Mansion State Historic Site in the seaside town of Rockport, Texas, halfway between Louisiana and Mexico. It was wickedly hot the day we visited and it provided succor from the blazing sun. Inside was the most marvelous surprise – an incredibly interesting museum. When we approached it, I couldn’t help thinking it would make a fabulous Halloween House on a dark and stormy day. Wednesday Addams would feel so at home in my Photoscaped version below. I loved the Netflix series about Wednesday – I felt we bonded on a Greta Garbo level. We both had colonial ancestors named Addams/Adams. Mine was Nathanial Adams who was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1647. Next post will be about beautiful Fulton Mansion and eventually one on my Adams family.

Blanca and Friends

This is Blanca – an almost completely white skunk who visited our patio. It is the night camera so the image is blurry despite trying to sharpen it. Every part of her was white apart from her face and the tips of her feet. She’s the sort of special animal that inspires folklore. We have been worried that our night critters have stopped visiting since we dismantled our deck but they still come for the water bowls.

There was another skunk visiting the same night and it had the more familiar coloring. They are such lovely little animals – they delicately sip at the water. I haven’t heard their main predator of late – the Great Horned Owl but they can quickly disappear into the reserve.

How many babies is this poor Mama Possum carrying??? Her tummy is scraping the patio and I would imagine we now have at least 20 babies (18-25 babies per litter). The Mama only has 13 teats, so it is survival of the fittest. She will carry them on her back, for safety. My friend offered one (with babies on board) some dog treats on a late night walk. The possum gratefully accepted.

This is a juvenile possum that visited the same night – it may be an older baby of the Mama who visited. They weigh between 4 and 11 lbs. and are 2 – 3 feet in length (not including their magnificent tails). They live with their mother for about a year. I was so happy to see that all of the animals who visited drank from the water bowl.

Finally – a not blurry shot of one of our Floofs! This is a female Eastern Grey Squirrel. After our deck was dismantled, the “Tails” left and the “Floofs” moved in. This family group have beautiful fur and distinct white dots behind their ears. Their feet have a distinctive blueish tinge. Their tails seem to remain intact…

Another of our gentleman ‘floofs’ up our tree

One of these little rascals had me in stitches last week. Her family were on the patio eating peanuts but she decided to have a mad half hour under one of our bushes. She was on her back, ‘killing’ the lowest branches of the bush with her front and back paws. much like a kitty cat. She went around in dizzying circles until she scrambled her brains and went to eat a peanut.

Then I spotted two tiny sibling squirrels playing in Katniss’s house (our old stray cat). They were play-fighting, nibbling and cuddling. So much pleasure in one little garden. The Swallowtail butterflies have started to emerge, brightening the gardens with a splash of yellow and brown.

Swallowtail, courtesy of my husband. Please do not reproduce this image.