WeekendCoffeeShare, 2017-08-20

I thought to bring my #WeekendCoffeeShare post over here, this week, where I usually include photographs from my wildflower garden. If you and I were getting together for coffee, this weekend, I might be a bit distracted. My city is in the top five “Worst Cities” for pollen counts, this weekend, and I very much wish that I were taking a nap, right now.

The week has been long and filled with many conflicting emotions as the process of grieving the loss of my parents continues. Writing out my feelings has been helpful. And looking at the many photos of the two of them and our family is contributing to relaxation and celebration of our time together. I realize again how involved in each other our parents were from the time they planned to marry, throughout the war, and on through the many decades that produced nine children and a plenitude of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, until our parents’ deaths, less than four months apart.

Our family was involved in gardening in order to eat, and also to enjoy flowers from tulips to lilacs (which we children dug up as shoots in pastures and transplanted to the borders of our two-lot yard. I still have tulip bulbs (which I must dig up and replant, this fall) from the order my mother got from the Netherlands, twenty years ago. (See Tulips at Springtime.)  We rented a garden space for many years from the veterinarian/farmer down the hill from our house. I remember helping to gather eggs and candle them before they went to market.

So many things come to mind, and I wonder. I wonder if my father would have come awake briefly from his nap, the evening of his death, and said to himself, “Yes, it’s been good, but 100 years is long enough”, and decided just to go back to sleep. I would live…I would want to live with such contentment and quiet accomplishment that I also would be pleased to let go when the time arrives. It will be interesting to find out what the next decade or two or three bring.

Thank you for dropping by! I expect that I will be back at Stray Coffee Breaks for next weekend’s coffee share. I will be taking a nap, I think, before anything else happens.

Best wishes for your week!

Elizabeth

Diana, our host, has put a Linkz button on her WeekendCoffeeShare post where you will find links to the blog posts of other participants. Please visit!

 

The end of the week and gardening

The reports of the Nile Virus on the news broadcasts sounded daunting. Since I can’t use insect repellents or insecticides, I may be spending more time indoors than I had planned on, timing my gardening around pest-free conditions. I expect that may involve being out on a breezy, dry day in long skirts/long-sleeve shirt and work gloves. I still have to improve the soil along the front and sides of the house, where nothing grows, now, but for the tulips in the spring. I’ve the “aged” used coffee grounds and the peat moss. I have only to dig out half a foot of soil all the way around (in sections), mix the barren dirt with the additives, and smooth it out, again. Then I can water the soil and tamp down the seeds. I’ve only the annual flax seeds, and only two ounces of those, and so I may have to order more for summer and autumn blooming.

The new garden is in shade more than I’d planned on, by the backyard fence. It catches tree and house shadows before 9:00 a.m. and late in the afternoon until dark. So, I must pick wildflower mixtures next year that fit better with that.

In the new garden plot

At last wildflowers are opening in the new garden plot. Most of what’s emerged, actually, is clover. Several different kinds. When I was a small child, I used to eat the sweet clover flowers. They really do taste sweet. California poppies are among my favorites, although they’re not great to photograph.

Last Friday, the Scampers finally got their summer haircuts. They’re looking really cool. Here are “before” and “after” photographs. And Thadd having a wonderful time rolling in the grass when we brought them home and let them out in the back yard.

I think that I’ve finally gotten my eating patterns squared away as I want them. I do forget to eat, more than I’m comfortable with. Trying to do better while not raising my blood sugar levels. Weight loss has slowed. Isn’t it such nice timing, our having to replace the bathroom scale when we did? The new scale shows the tenths of a pound! We can be really obsessive, now!

For tonight, assuming the rain holds off, I am planning to mix the latest batch of spent coffee grounds into the sandy dirt that contains little to no organic material (other than the seeds that I sowed, which did not germinate) along the south side of the garage. Then I am going to plant clumps of wild flax seeds with bricks on the downward slope to keep all of the water from running off and taking the seeds with it.

One of my husband’s ham radio buddies has come back into the area for a short visit with relatives, and they’re getting together for an evening out, whoever can make it. That will give me time for the planting procedures, assuming nothing comes along to interfere. Must check the radar before I get everything readied for gardening.

Later in the week, some of my husband’s family are coming over to help wrap the workshop building in with whatever it is that blocks the wind, once the inner and outer walls are up. Windows are ordered and a couple more things. Not getting ahead of what’s being used almost immediately. I keep thinking that June is the “rain” month around here and worrying that everything is going to either drown or blow away.

A quiet Thursday (with wind)

There was far too much wind, today, for Al to continue the shingling, and so he put together the framing for the interior wall of the workshop. I helped raise it, and we figured out where we want the wall positioned (how large each room should be) and where the door should be situated. He’s off, now, looking at door frames.

This has been, I now realize, a tough week for me. Internal adjustments, the most profound of which is becoming aware that I really do not have to take my mobile phone with me as I move around the house and yard. There will be no more telephone calls from hospice, hospital, care or independent living centers concerning decisions to be made about my parents. My siblings all have spouses and in-laws to respond. Their children are grown and are themselves having children. Even when/if something happens to my husband, I have a whole raft of in-laws and siblings, nieces and nephews to call upon. Who have demonstrated their willingness and ability to handle things.

Does that leave me alone, here, to grieve about one more thing? Or do I accept being cherished by those who know and love me? There is not another, comparable burden to pick up.

What brought this on? I woke up, this morning, with no thoughts about what must be done, but instead set about a normal routine that included putting on coffee to brew, feeding and guiding the puppies, deciding not to eat breakfast, washing last night’s dishes, and wandering out into the back yard to catch up on what Al was doing. I had not put my phone by my bed, last night, and this morning I plugged it in to recharge and left it in my sitting room. Didn’t think about it. Sometime during the week I set my phone to “Do Not Disturb”, and it’s still there. And I can leave it like that.

I took the camera outside with me and took some photographs. The blue flowers in the upper right corner. I am wondering what they are. At first I thought perhaps a variety of oxalis, but the leaves don’t look right.

We’ve another bird nest above the motion detector light. Sparrows have moved in again, after the first nest disintegrated in the winds, wet and late snow of this dampish spring. I hope that this nest holds together.

Sparrows Nest

Another day of rain

In lieu of wildflowers, which are only now beginning to grow in the new wildflower garden, I’ve taken photos of the chives by the back step. I enjoy having them just outside the back door, handy for cutting. I like them in soups, salads and scrambled eggs. I do still need to find good recipes for low-calorie/low carbohydrate/gluten-free soup. I will make it through the summer, but nothing’s better than a tasty clear soup in the wintertime.

I have, while pulling what dandelion plants I can reach out of the wildflower garden, noticed three new plants that appear to be flax. I am looking forward to wild flax in order to take photographs, again, and I’ve been worried that they won’t “take” in the new spot. I am not sure what the sun exposure will be, since we didn’t pick the plot (50 sq. ft.) until late in the summer or early autumn. Too, the willow tree across the back fence has dropped some larger branches, and we had to remove one of the four stands of cotoneaster bushes, those closest to the back fence on the southwest end of the yard.

There was precipitation, this morning, but the afternoon winds have dried the grass enough for Al to mow the yard. He’s finished the front and sides, and is now working on the back. Before that, he cleared out the project-in-process enough that he can build the interior wall when it’s too wet for shingling. Looks like tomorrow will include shingling.

In the meanwhile, I also took pictures of the peony leaves. The new plants, erupting from the middle of the plot we staked out (to protect them, early and now emerging, from the lawnmower), had raindrops on their leaves. I love the colors of them when they are youngish.

I am going through stacks of books and papers that have accumulated beside my chair since my father died. Time to start putting things back into order, again. Since inheriting, after giving away my set to a nephew and his family, the family’s Great Books of the Western World, along with copies of all of the Great Ideas Today yearbooks (with duplicates for the years when both I and my parents were buying them), I am once again short of shelf space. I do not know what I would have done if I hadn’t given away/thrown out over five hundred hardcover/paperback books with last year’s Spring Clean-up Week discards.

Nonetheless, I will keep at this thing. Neither of us wants to go into older age with closets or cardboard boxes to go through when it actually will be too much work, rather than now, when it just feels like it is. I have new artwork to put on the walls, however, when I get to the framer’s. I look forward to that.

The Morning After

There were wind gusts, yesterday and last night. And for some days previous. And so we are behind on the workshop. The next step is putting down the tar paper, which will blow away, sure as anything. We are hoping for a better day for the work on Friday, since there is rain in the forecast after that. I did have the chance to get out with the camera, though.

On Wednesday, we took care of some chores: banking and grocery shopping. My meal planning is improving, and I was able to put together complete meals!

 
The wind was hard on the flowers, also. Lots of dandelion clocks around the yard. The White Campion has gotten out and about, thanks to the rainy days, but I’m not sure what is coming up in the wildflower garden. There has been enough wind to carry lots of unplanned for seed. Stuff’s coming up all over the place. The only things I am certain must be pulled out, besides the White Campion, are the dandelions and thistles. Those I recognize. The tulips are windblown and fading fast. I think there are a few left to mature and bloom, if we get some more good weather in here.

I think I am done being awake, again, and so am going to try for at least six more hours of sleep.

Out in the rain

 

 

Our promised rain arrived! I’d gone outside, yesterday, with the spent coffee grounds from making Toddy coffee (cold-brew concentrate) at the end of the week, and mixed those with the sandy loam and more wildflower seeds along the south side of the garage, where I’ve been unable to grow anything but tulips since the addition of dirt around the house. Was that only last summer? I’ve lost track!

The rain started before eight o’clock in the morning, and I had slept in. By the time Al’s alarm went off, it was too wet for him even to think of starting to work on the workshop roof. I did help him carry the table saw out to the workshop (and back inside, afterwards), so that he could make a sliding panel to keep the dogs out of the workshop. That’s gotten me to wondering if perhaps a double-hung door would be a good idea for the workshop. Surely it would help to keep the workshop cool, adding another source of fresh air while keeping the dogs out (or in). Also, to keep the rain from splashing into the workshop while the door is open. It’s not going to be a terribly big room. I’d think that an open door would make the room seem larger.

I have gotten behind, here, with writing. Several spontaneous poems, this week, but no Weekend Coffee Share post. Time did not organize itself during the weekend, and I did nothing to try to tame it. I looked at Ronovan Writes Haiku, just to find out what this week’s prompt words were, and went on with rereading a story arc of books from Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series.

There is total silence in the back yard. I do not see my puppies anywhere. I must investigate!

Best wishes for your week!

Lizl

 

Saturday Morning

When I got outside, this morning, I took both cameras with me. The new one, also an Olympus (Tough T-4, with micro and ‘microscope’ settings), has a learning curve, but I am having fun experimenting with it. Fortunately, the last camera I got is still working pretty well. When I drop it (in the garden mud, a water puddle, &c.), it’s hard to get the lens cleaned off and everything wiped and dried. The Tough is better in that regard, and I don’t suspect that I will quit dropping things as time goes on.

May 1-5 is Spring Clean-up Week, and I am hoping that the large rummage sale at the duplex, three lots away, is in advance of that, rather than a weekly event. I dislike having cars parking and then moving on, again, with great frequency, from in front of our house. The Scampers go wild with barking, and my face mask does not help that much with exhaust/hot oil fumes. It is, however, fun to watch people on our block’s pick-up day, which will be this Tuesday, as they spot something interesting in one of the stacks and start looking through for similar items in deeper layers.

Only two more days to go in the National Poetry Writing Month exercise. I have two more to write, today’s and tomorrow’s. Technically, I did not write a new poem for each day. On a couple of days, I had a previous poem of mine that I posted instead. Something that fit the topic particularly well. One prompt was fitting in is hard to do. My favorite, however, was on Day 28, with the prompt ‘silence of falling snow’: “the lake in winter”.

There has been rain…and flowers

Rain

Flowers after rain

The weather turned cooler, with rain, but progress has been made on building the workshop. I’ve found myself back in bed, however, after being up for three or four hours, because of cold feet.

Yes! Cold feet! I finally found an old heating pad, and I’ve warmed the tops of my feet. Now, I’m holding it between the soles. Should not have been walking around in wet moccasins, this morning.

Next on the agenda is to feed the Scampers their noon meal, find warm socks, and write my poem(s) for today’s National Poetry Writing Month ongoing event during April.

Accomplishments for today, so far? Fed the Scampers their breakfasts, cleaned up after them, took photos, and fitted in half-hour nap before lunchtime. (Have not yet made lunch.)

Some mental health days

lunch - beef sandwich with mustard, havarti cheese, mixed salad greens with French dressing
Late Lunch

Yesterday, I had my second meeting with the grief counselor from hospice, and today it has finally sunk in that I no longer need to be wedded to my telephone. I need not expect a call from hospital, retirement center or nursing home, demanding decisions from me. Unless by or about a sibling or my husband, which is quite different from decision-making on behalf of a parent. I can leave my telephone in the house, on its charger in the other room…even when I go shopping.

I discover that I have been sitting in this chair, subconsciously feeling that it has been an uncomfortable amount of time since the phone has rung, summoning me, and I’ve been waiting for the ball to drop…the sky to fall on me…the river to flood or a tornado to head in my direction.

I think that I should do things out of the routine for a few days: exercising, going for a walk, playing the piano. I could find something else to do with the chicken breasts that Al bought at the butcher shop.

This afternoon I have tallied the sequence of the most unsettling events and losses in my life, as well as unwelcome discoveries, and decided that I really do need to take some mental health days. (One can do that, even when one is no longer an employee, I assume. And much more easily!) My tally of “life changes” points just needs some time to time out.

I did also get out into the back yard to help Al raise the last section of the final wall of the workshop. I expect that it won’t be long before the windows are delivered and the walls will sport door, windows, plywood (inside) and pressboard (outside).

I have no commitments, now, until next month’s haircut, aside from any holiday doings over the weekend. For which I do not have to cook. I think that I will pull up the latest edition of Stress Management and find out what changes, if any, have been made to the stress-relieving exercises and imageries.

A bright note to the day. The keepsake that I had ordered from Café Press arrived with this afternoon’s mail delivery. I decided on a keepsake notions box, because if at some point, I have to move out of the house, it will be readily portable. SFF Net closed down at the end of last month, and it was pretty much my Internet home for nearly twenty years. I’m missing it a lot.

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