As gasoline prices soar, staycations are popular these days. I’ve been finding plenty to do without leaving my yard.
I know some people might call that agoraphobic, but I just call it being frugal and inventive when you can find so many ways to entertain yourself at home. I’m sure you can do better, but here’s what I like to do.
Wildlife Watching: In the neighborhood where I live, there’s as much variety as an African savannah — deer, squirrels, opossum, woodchucks, chipmunks, skinks, plenty of birds, an occasional snake. There are even coyotes prowling around.
If I get up in the middle of the night, I might see raccoons peering in the windows. They even leave little messy gifts for us on the deck, full of mulberry seeds. I find their paw prints on the dusty sills of the windows facing the deck. (Yes, I need to clean those some day.)
Two of my favorite creatures to watch are small and feisty — carpenter bees, which look like over-sized bumblebees, and ruby-throated hummingbirds. From my window or deck, I have a ringside seat as the bees hover and dive bomb each other. The hummingbirds do the same, fighting over sips at the feeder. (Better get two feeders, if you want to peace to reign.) It’s cheaper than going to a stadium.
It’s also fascinating to watch carpenter bees drill holes in the support beams of my deck. I’ve read that their holes are harmless, so my deck won’t fall down, I hope. They pollinate my plants, so they’re useful, too. (See, my post, “Welcome Bees”)
Gardening:There’s plenty of entertainment here. Digging, planting, weeding, watering, weeding, watering, weeding. Picking off ticks, slathering on sun block, swatting mosquitoes. Eventually, you might even harvest something and save some money. For example, I’ve planted a mixture of fancy lettuce that would cost about a zillion dollars at the grocery store. Unfortunately, the seedlings look like weeds when they sprout. And they don’t look much less weed-like when they are large enough to be picked. If you don’t hear from me for a while, well, what I picked might not have been lettuce after all.
And this brings me to Cooking. You don’t need to go to restaurants. With all of your home-grown produce, you can become Rachael Ray or Alice Waters in your own kitchen. That is, if all of the animals (See “wildlife watching” above) have left you anything.
If you’re not outdoorsy or are allergic to kitchens, you can still be entertained with home projects.
Wardrobe Maintenance: I’m sorting my clothes by color in my closet. Let’s see. There’s black, black and then more black. Done. That was easy. Now what?
Organizing my finances: It’s nine months until taxes are due. I’ll put that off.
Catch up on old magazines: In the stack waiting to be read, are photographs of Brad and Angelina toting only three kids. Twenty presidential candidates still thought they had a chance. How time flies.
Home upkeep: Looks like the outdoor trim needs a little paint. Oh, let’s put that off. It can last another year.
Exercise: Ok, let’s forget that suggestion.
Read: This is one of my favorites. You can order books and movies online from the library. I’ve been saving this suggestion for last, hoping you don’t read this one. This county has a great library system, but if more of you use it, I might have to wait longer for my favorite books and movies. You do have to leave your yard to pick up your requests, but you can get a big pile and keep yourself entertained for weeks.
I confess that I may come up with some gas money to leave town. A change of scenery is nice, too, I admit. But I’ll be glad to get back to hanging out at home. Who knows what I might miss while I’m gone?
I previously published a version of this in a Kansas City newspaper. So, yes, I’m double dipping.