Outside the Garden

wildflowers growing among branches pruned from the backyard trees
Among Dead Branches

White flowers growing at the gate to the back yard, over bricks and between discarded branches from trimming the cotoneaster trees. I do not know what sort of vine produces these wildflowers.

Copyright © 2018-07-22/2018-07-23, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.

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Sunday morning’s excitement

Our backyard neighbors have installed chicken-wire fencing along the length of our permanent fence a foot within the property line behind the house, making it difficult for the rabbits to get in or out by that route. Thus, the doe has dug and lined a burrow in the midst of my wildflower garden which is five feet in from the fence line.

rabbit burrow in the midst of my wildflower garden
Rabbit’s New Home
cocker spaniels in foreground, wildflower garden behind sturdy metal fencing behind
New Fencing in Place

Once again, the Scampers chased the resident rabbit around the back yard and out through the space beside the gate. They go through this routine every morning. We only see the rabbit, however, when it lingers over its breakfast.

Open Passage, Short Folk Only

Some time after the rabbit escaped under the gate, and the Scampers had returned with me into the house, there was a commotion (and howling) in the front sitting room. Thaddeus spotted the rabbit, who was eating a grassy snack in the front yard.

We were at a high-school graduation open house on Saturday afternoon for one of the kids across the back fence. His mother mentioned that she sees rabbits playing together in the mornings in our yard, running around and jumping at each other. Play fighting? I wonder if I will get up early enough, some morning, without waking the dogs, to see if I can catch them at it. Sounds fun!

Time out

I will be taking some time off during December to focus on other matters than blogging. First, as I mentioned (elsewhere?), I bought a paper journal, last month, and I am working on writing more and more often by hand, rather than by keyboard. I am enjoying that, but want to get into the habit of writing on paper first, rather than “taking notes”.

That’s been reinforced, this week, by the hard drives on both of my laptops developing fatal errors that the recovery routine can’t repair. The newer laptop was injured on Wednesday in an encounter with the floor. I didn’t come into the room in time to discover which dog knocked it over. The second, the older one, had been developing problems years ago (which is why I quit using it so much), and it entered a death spiral earlier today.

I expect that I have all of the passwords, and I plan to get back into my email during the coming week. (I believe I have the essential accounts working.) The tablet (2-in-one) is awkward for writing and has no backlit keyboard, which lately has become a necessity. Using a USB keyboard in the interim. Not fun, but I can see these larger keys a lot better. 😀

Too, as you might recall, there were seven deaths in the family between October 2016 and September 2017. Both of my parents, two aunts, and three uncles. This week, we lost an uncle from Al’s family, and I lost a cousin with whom I had become reacquainted after 48 years, when we met again at her mother’s funeral in September. Which took place in old home town close to here; their family was established in the Seattle area, where I visited for some weeks, just out of college. I was so happy to see her (and her brother) again after all those years. I am so glad that she and I remembered each other—and fondly—and we enjoyed what time we had to be together, again.

I have not been sleeping well, recently, and I am quite tired. Looking forward to meeting with the bereavement counselor again between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We can talk about the continuation of deaths in the family and how I am coping. Not comfortably, but instead trying to be present to the pain and loss. Part of life…part of the richness in the tapestry of memories.

Best wishes for the holiday season!

Much love,
Elizabeth

Memories of Mother | In the Company of Women

Remembering my mother, who died a year ago this week. One of the poetry prompts for this week was “When I see my mother”; I am having difficulty writing a poem in response. Perhaps I could combine it with the prompt for the next day, “I am to blame”, and explore that in various aspects.

I still have the poster-sized photo montages (all 7, from Mother’s and Father’s memorial services) out in the front room, where I can see one or another. Oddly, that lessens feelings of loss. Provides a companionability and a lifting of the heart.

Lizl's Coffee Breaks

My mother, Rhoda Elleen Berry Wicker, died in the early evening, two days ago. It was two months after she went from home to emergency department by ambulance, after a fall, and then from hospital to nursing home, under the care of Hospice. I had the medical power of attorney, and Mother was not happy when my sister-in-law called me for the EMTs, to give them permission to transport her 25 miles to the nearest ER/hospital here in Fargo, where Al and I live. Not too much later, she no longer recognized me, but thought that I was her sister Alberta.

When she died, it had been some time since I had visited her room and found her awake, although I know she had interacted with staff throughout the past week. There was no marked decline noted by staff; she slipped away, just quit breathing. And nobody would have noticed…

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Garden Perspectives | Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

Poppy & Hoverfly

The weekly photo challenge on WordPress for the week is : Scale. “Experiment with placement and scale to show how big (or small) you can feel in a photo.” Not having any depths or heights, I have chosen photographs of hoverflies in relation to their flowers and to the garden as a whole.

The Art of Disorder

The seven photographs were taken from various distances in my backyard wildflower garden in July of 2017. I marvel at how beautiful the hoverfly is in detail in the close-up photos.

In these three photos, the flower is a blue wild flax (perennial), and it’s not the same hoverfly. (The other one flew away and didn’t return.)

In response to the 11 October 2017 WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale.

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Still missing her

Remembering my mother’s entering the Care Center a little more than a year ago. I think this is not a letting go, so much as it’s being okay to look at it, again. It was a painful loss. As was Samantha’s death early in 2016. Two close family members gone. And since, too many more.

The Moments Between

In the gazebo together, my cocker spanielSamantha – 2016-02-05
3 April 2008-18 February 2016

The milestones in life, birth, adoption, birthdays, illnesses and death. My mother’s move from hospital into a nursing home under hospice care on Tuesday, and I find myself returning to the sorrow and leavetaking from my puppy Samantha in February. I have photographs of her in my lap at the veterinary hospital when we brought her in and decided to have her euthanized.

Warm, here in my lap
I held her tight,
letting go forever . . .
so hard

Mother and I were quite close before I left for college, and then starting again perhaps ten years after my graduation. Restaurants, plays, lectures, faculty recitals, orchestra concerts, telephone visits once they were no longer metered. After I married, she and I spent much less time together, which was inevitable. Now, over the past five years or so, as her eyesight failed…

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Middle of the night

I woke up from a sound sleep, an hour or so ago, with a dream lingering in my mind. It was about my dying, alone, and breaking my promise to the dogs that I would not ever leave them. One wonders where the dreams originate. Which might be significant, and which are simply twitches from the subconscious as it rolls over in its sleep.

Charlie, cocker spaniel puppy, sleeping on the wood floor
Taking a Nap
Thaddeus, cocker spaniel puppy, asleep on the loveseat, under the lamp
Sound Asleep

Sunday’s Flower Art, 27 August 2017

At the middle of the afternoon, the sunlight and shade were such that I could manipulate the colors within some of the blue wild flax flowers.

The night felt too short, in spite of my getting right to sleep and staying asleep until eight o’clock or so. Before lunch, I lay down for a nap and slept for a few more hours. Nice lunch of cottage cheese, chicken breast with some garlic and herbs, baked with olive oil, steamed broccoli, and at midafternoon, I ate an apple. No idea what that will have done to my blood sugar levels by suppertime.

Al is applying wood filler to the siding and then sanding it. He seems quite happy with the progress. (See progress, two photos, through the twenty-fourth here.)

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