Monday, July 8, 2013


I know this sounds like the start of a Patti rant but actually it is the opposite. 

"Empty headed numb skull" was my oldest brother Jack's favorite scathing term for someone low in his estimation of having any sort of good sense. Jack was very bright and known for being a bit critical so the term cropped up frequently.  Luckily, I   don't recall it ever being aimed at me. I was his perfect baby sister after all. 

However, while he meant it as the lowest condition a human could be in, today it is a state I eagerly seek.  Being empty headed is not all that bad and being a numb skull means you are feeling no pain in the brain.  I know people who take strong, often illegal medication just to reach that state.

I have found a non-toxic way.  It is called a hammock. 

My little place for contentment is strung up on my porch. It is shaded from the hot sun and on the corner that almost always has a nice breeze.  It is so nice that I have had to fight yearly to keep this particular corner to my self as the birds seem to feel it is prime nesting real estate.    They did not take kindly to my intrusion. 

This year I have finally found a simple solution to keep my porch bird nest free. With some aluminum screening, I cut sections to place up in the cavities that were prime nesting spots. Cutting the screen was simple once I discovered gloves. 

Climbing up and down a ladder about 60 times was a bit much as I decided to do the whole house but I am thrilled with the results.  The screens are not attached but just tucked in.  However, even with severe storms, they have stayed put. It isn't exactly pretty but unless you look up, no one notices but the birds.   The porch and hammock are now all mine.  Ahhhh.

At least twice a day, early morning and late evening, I empty my brain in that comfortable sling. My body is completely relaxed and at peace there. I feel as if I am floating, there are no pressure points and the view is soothing.  I enjoy the company of my old friend "mellow." 

I can look out on my yard, enjoy the results of my yard work, search the sky for shapes I recognize in the clouds, and listen to the chatter of the birds that rest in the tree by my head. Occasionally a little brown body scurries by as Mighty explores his acre making me smile. Not one intense thought rears its ugly head.  

This interlude smooths out the wrinkles in my brain caused by increasingly alarming world events, bizarre natural disasters, family concerns or friends who might be struggling health wise. In this state, my brain no longer shouts but barely whispers and then only gentle,soothing things. My senses, not my mind are at work. 

Ahh--yes, I am virtually an empty-headed-numb-skull. Now I wouldn't want to walk around like that as a natural condition,  but for brief periods, it is marvelous and restorative.

Is it a form of meditation? Perhaps. All I know if that if I don't get my fix daily, I am not nearly the happy camper I am as when I do get it.

Do you have such a place that gives you total peace?  I really hope you do but if you don't, think hammock in the shade. I can highly recommend it and it has no long list of negative side effects. A temporary lack of productivity might be the only one. 


This next picture I just had to add.  It was sent to me by my sister-in-law.  She took it at 11:00 AM on the 4th of July. She was just walking by the electric meter when she noticed something special.  I mean, how patriotic is this? Even their house  recognized the day.  

Click on picture for close up.


  1. I believe I need a bit of that "empty-head"...just have a to find a spot shady enough! Have a great week Patti!

  2. In Boulder where we were bothered by pigeons wanting to roost in the storm drains, bottle brushes were placed in there to keep them out and allow the rain to flow through. We hardly ever had rain in the summer, except for afternoon storms. I like your solution to keep the nests away, Patti. And your hammock, I'll try to remember that one when I get stressed. :-)

  3. I long to be an empty headed numb skull. Moving is for the birds.

    I like how you solved your bird problem. I have always wanted a hammock, but we have no shady place to put one.

  4. Love your hammock. They always put me to sleep immediately. You are a genius at coming up with little household inventions. Good one. Speaking of birds..... I had a first when I was working on the rock garden. Plop on my head from the sky. Yes, bird poop. So I see why you don't want them over your place of rest and peace.
    Your yard is beautiful and Mighty is one lucky dog to have that spot.

  5. Our sons gave my hub a hammock last year for Father's Day, but I sometimes enjoy its pleasures. Only problem is that it is outside under a tree - great shade - but when it rains we have to remember to take it down, or it takes a couple of days to dry out!

  6. oh your place is sooooo relaxing. I'm heading toward getting that special place...

    empty headed numbness is good stuff. I've accepted that I prefer that state of mind.

    I want to spend my final days ... doing nothing but whatever it is that makes me smile. well, hopefully it's final years rather than days but y'never know.

    Watching Andy instead of the news while having my coffee this morning is a good start... ;)

    Back up to the mid 90's today...

  7. Yeah for being an EHNS. I love your retreat especially now that you have your bird situation worked out.
    Yes, I too have an EHNS spot. My 100+ year old porch swing on the back porch where I swing and await the arrival of one turtle or another to watch do what turtles do..... I also feel like it is a meditation respite and my day goes by so much better if I've been to my "happy" spot.
    Hope your day is a super one, Oma Linda

  8. I need a hammock. Nearest to it would be my zero gravity recliner chair.

  9. Love the hammock! I have a rocker on my porch. When I sit and rock, I seem to go someplace far awaaaay....

  10. Love your hammock. It does look like a perfectly wonderful place to let your mind rest. And, it's a beauty!

  11. Sounds like meditation to me. I am glad that you found a solution to the invading nest builders.

  12. What a great idea to foil the birds nesting under the eaves. I have an old rocking chair on the porch that is my go to for calm.

  13. You are not a 'numb skull' at all, Patti. That is so smart what you did to keep the birds off of your porch... AWESOME... I love it--and I love your hammock.

    I guess my 'calm' place for meditation is my recliner --where I can see the lilies on one side and the birds on the other. Guess life can't get much better than that!!!


  14. I'm in awe of all that 'up and down' on the ladder and your very tidy space. I loose myself on the computer ...or on a bench at the sea, watching the water. xx

  15. This makes me want to get a hammock and join the ranks of empty headed numb skulls.

    I'm going to use your idea for keeping nesting birds away. I have the same problem with sparrows nesting under my patio.

  16. Definitely meditation. And very good for you.

  17. Oh, how I'd love to have a hammock on a cool, breezy porch. Yours looks so nice!

    I guess my EHNS moment is when I sit on my patio and just relax and watch the birds, the kittens and gaze at the pond. I like to look at those clouds, too! It's my favorite part of the day.

    Great job on the bird fix. Guess your brother is not the only smart one in the family!! :)

  18. A Hammock sounds Sublime to me. I can no longer get into such a wonder---Physical limitations abound, I'm afraid. BUT, the idea of it is so appealing, I think I might be able to recreate this in my mind---another meditation. Sometimes watching something mindless on TV gives me that Empty Headed Numb Skull feeling! And it is great!

  19. You have such a unique and effective way of framing significant issues of healthful and hopeful living in today's world.

    This post was priceless. My spot is by gurgling stream or cozy campfire in the Smoky Mountains. As that requires a 600-mile trip, my daily at-home, afternoon restorative strategy since my stroke is to climb into bed, propped up with my hips and legs feeling the ease of being comfortably supported and stretched out.

    A session with my Kindle tops it off, first with continuing my annual read-through of whichever Bible translation I have chosen for the year, followed by a dip into a nonfiction book. Dessert is a bit of fiction of the "empty-headed numbskull" variety.

    Afterwards a little get up and go has returned so I can get up and go for awhile again.

  20. Where there is a will, there is a way. How brilliant of you to come up with a way to keep those birds from nesting. Now, you can enjoy your very special place. I love that you have a hammock and enjoy it so much.

    I have my chair in my study. It is special. I love to unwind there. I may just move on over there in a few minutes.

  21. Patti - I have a hammmock I've never put between the trees - I'm afraid a bear would eat me or a moose would stomp me as I was relaxing! I tend to just take a walk - keeping alert as I do, of course! A neighbor saw a big bull moose near my house recently - so far I haven't spotted him, but I don't think screening will keep him away!

  22. Sounds like you've found a little piece of paradise!! Enjoy your empty headed, numb skull moments!!!

  23. Nice post, Patti. We purchased a new hammock for our last camping trip and never used it. I need to do some rigging and get the thing up here.

    Nice work on the bird blockades. Great idea.

  24. We have a hammock too - but I have to be honest - it is not used much.

  25. I understand the need to be empty headed. I have trouble shutting off my brain, but when I garden I can shut off other thoughts and just think about what I'm doing outside.
    Also, most days, I take an hour lunch, skim the newspaper, and then work some of the puzzles. This is my down time, and it's very relaxing.

  26. My sister had a hammock in her porch way up on the mountain side. It was lovely.

  27. Terri,
    Shade is the secret ingredient. Hope you find it.

    What a great idea--flow threw bottle brushes. Seems like a hazardous place for birds to nest though.

    Moving is enough to numb the brain and not in a good way. Just an awful human condition.
    Sadly, shade is imperative.

    Yikes, that was plum rude of that bird. You and my Grandmother are the only two persons I know who have been so christened by a bird.

    Meryl Baer
    I know that problem. Even under my porch, a good rain will get it and I am out of business for a while.
    However, under a tree sounds wonderful.

    Yep, our glory days of cool and dry are over I think. Sure was nice for a while. Hope you find that condition.

    Linda Wildenstein,
    Now that does sound like a happy spot. My porch swing is plan B and very effective though I don't have turtles to watch. Darn.

    I looked into those zero gravity chairs. They look amazing but I didn't have the room. Enjoy.

    I love that "far away" description. Isn't it wonderful??

    Thanks, I have really enjoyed it. It came from Walmart on line, is really cheap and so comfortable.

    It is such a relief to have that tiny problem solved. My nesting pairs found another spot but they do a fly by occasionally.

    I enjoy my rocker also. Come to think of it, I do a lot of relaxing.

    Your view does the trick and the recliner is so comfortable. Plus you get to enjoy climate control.

    Ah yes the sea. If that were near by, I wouldn't need a hammock.

    Keicha Christiansen,
    Hope it works for you. It is simple and quick to do and is easily removed if you ever want to sell.

    Think you are right and I agree about the benefits.

    You have three great diversions to empty the skull.
    Funny, but I think I channeled my brother with the screening. It was definitely something he would have done. He was an outside the box thinker.

    And here they say there is no purpose to watching TV. It really does give the mind a rest doesn't it? It is a great escape.

    When you mentioned campfire, my mind glazed over. There one can get completely lost.
    I like your getting comfortable then getting lost in a good read. It really does rejuvenate doesn't it?

    Retired English Teacher,
    I didn't realize how disruptive the birds were till they were gone. I love watching them, just not flying over my head. They seem to have found alternative locations for they stop by to curse at me periodically.

    Mercy, I can't imagine how scary that must be. A hammock in a cage would take a lot of the magic away. I do have a fear of bears but not here thank goodness.

    Thanks so much. It really is grand.

    It is a wonderful camping invention. Hope you take the plunge and string it up.
    The screen works great, no birds, and is temporary if I chose to sell.

    I guess they aren't for everyone but my they are comfortable and if in the shade, all the better.

    Linda Reeder,
    I know exactly what you mean. I have a t-shirt that says, "Gardening is my Therapy."

    It really does take one away doesn't it. I'll bet the view there is beautiful.

  28. Patti...I definitely need some "empty-headed" time but I'm already so empty headed as it is lol or at least that's what some of my friends would say. I have never laid in a hammock. Isn't that crazy?

  29. Great idea! I don't currently have such a grand spot myself. What a beautiful view you have.

  30. My hammock is my most favorite place to be. Wish I had a large enough porch to put it under.

  31. Oh, Patti! You have a perfect meditation method. That hammock and the view from it look absolutely wonderful. I quiet my mind quite often with memories: sitting on the beach in Maui watching and listening to the waves roll in or, from long ago, lying on a swing on my grandparents' front porch while visiting their Kansas farm, listening to the crickets, watching fireflies and enjoying the feel of a warm, velvet Midwestern evening with a train whistle somewhere in the distance. But for simply emptying the mind of distractions, your hammock has to be the best!

  32. I would love to have a hammock on which to be empty headed. It sounds heavenly!

  33. Patti honey I remember last year how you fought the birds for your little space of heaven so I am thrilled to hear that you have solved your problem. I have to say it was a great solution too.
    I would love to have a hammock on my porch like this but I don't think I have a space for it but I do think I should consider a few of these trees out here. lol
    You certainly have the prefect spot for meditation good for you.

    I have been AWOL in posting but Blogger will not let me do a post. Everytime I go into it to compose a post it opens up but won't let me type. Any suggestions? Have you heard of any one else having these issues too.
    I even tried copying and pasting but it won't let me do that either.
    My days of blogging may be over but I hate not to say goodbye to everyone. lol
    Enjoy your hammock

  34. Very creative with the screen sweet Patti and how nice it must be to finally have the bird issue solved. What a gorgeous sight you do have from your hammock. My favorite place to have that empty brain feeling is in my front yard swing. I love to sit there and swing slowly as I listen to the sounds of nature and like you check out the shapes in the clouds. I enjoyed this post very much. Hugs give Mighty nose kisses for us!

  35. I think what you did to solve the bird problem is perfect. It looks very neat and tidy. I bet that took a lot of work. You deserve to rest in your hummock after all that.

    If I had a hammock I'd be asleep in it, in less than 5 minutes! :D

  36. Keith,
    Then I think you are due. Give it a shot. It is addictive.

    I'm sure you have your own way with all the beautiful views you enjoy.

    Ah yes, isn't it wonderful. Actually I have a small hammock and it doesn't take up much room on the porch.

    Dr. Kathy,
    Wow, your memories are perfect places to get lost in. Good idea, think I will conjure up some of my own next time I do hammock time.

    Beats any pill I have ever taken.

    I thought you might be busy moving. Do you use Internet Explorer as a search engine? I was and had a variety of problems with blogger till I switched to Google Chrome. Since then, I haven't had any problems. Here is the web site if you want to switch.
    Don't know if this is your problem but hope it helps. Please don't quit us Maggie.

    Maggies corner,
    Sounds like you have the perfect spot also. Keep enjoying.

    Thanks, I was amazed how simple it was and it is easily reversible if I wish to someday sell.
    I have come very close to drifting off myself.

  37. Like Mazanita all I could see what the hammock!!!!!

  38. I need a little of that in my life and have a perfect spot for a hammock. Great idea! Going to get me one this weekend....

  39. I missed you, I must have missed your posts as I have been a bit under the weather lately. Anyhow, the heat always makes a numb skull out of me and I would like nothing better than a rest in that hammock of yours.

  40. Just read your reply. You know, I think I will do just that!!

  41. Wonderful Patti. I have a similar plan which involves following Simba and the sun around the house in winter dozing regularly....:)

  42. You bring back such a wonderful memory ... a backyard hammock when I was young !! Thanks, and I also like your kindly way to keep the birds off the porch...very clever.

  43. Thank you for saying you will add keith to your prayers. He is thankful for every day ....they gave him 3 weeks ish 4 weeks ago. He is only midn 40's ...and been married for only 3 years...he found out he had cancer two weeks before the wedding ...he is the nicest caring thoughtful chap you would want to meet ...they thought they had won the battle and then just as they let themselves hope for a future ...more was found ..far more fast growing ...nothing that could be done except slow it ...that was in January. Thanks for your prayers ...pray that he gets to ride on the bike he has just bought is to be delivered on August 2nd ...a vintage Triumph Boneville.xx

  44. Introverted Art.
    Glad you liked it. I have been very pleased with it and it is relatively cheap.

    Yes you do after all the problems Dick has caused you. You won't be sorry.

    Aww, I am so sorry you have not been feeling well and hope you are much better now.
    It really is great for refreshing you.

    Don't think you will be sorry.

    I remember that delightful post. They really know all the best spots don't they.

    I too enjoyed one as a youngster. Don't know why I let so many years get between me and the pleasure.

    How sad, he is such a young man and has so much to look forward to with a new wife and all. Bless her for marrying him knowing the uncertainty.
    I am a former biker and know he will really enjoy that ride. I will make that part of my prayer.