After the Storm

Cotoneaster fruit after yesterday’s winter storm, the bush to the east of the garden shed. We got quite a lot of snow, here. March typically has more snowfall than February. Because it’s warmer, I think.

old memories
surface when the silent snow falls

Copyright © 2018-03-05
Lizl Bennefeld
Fargo, N.D. USA


Yesterday’s Snow

Thursday night and Friday, we got a new coating of snow, which involved a lot of shoveling and snow-blowing time on my husband’s part. I got to spend some of that time visiting with my sister in New England by telephone. We have determined that we talk together more often. It was good to catch up on what’s happening with the family. Neither of us is an initiator when it comes to making telephone calls. After the snowfall ended, I got out into the back yard with my camera, and also took some shots from the front door.


Cotoneaster Fruit
Fruit and Branches
Snow on Top
Snow on Branches

Generally, things have been going well at our house in spite of stuffy heads and some coughing. The dogs are in need of a trip to the groomer’s shop. I had to trim the hair around Thadd’s eyes, so that he could see. Charlie’s hair is finer and straight, while Thadd’s is totally curling and bushy.

We went to a visitation, yesterday evening, and had planned also to attend the prayer service for a man who was pastor at the church we attended when we got married, +25 years ago. Unfortunately, the receiving area had a very low ceiling, and there were lit candles, and so we ended up leaving after ten minutes or so. There were too many people in line to talk with his widow. I slept okay, last night, but still coughing, this morning. Will send a note to the family, once I replenish my stationery supply.

Having no decent pens, I’ve mail-ordered a couple that should be the right size and weight for my hand. Larger ones, which I have not bought for many years, are better, because I don’t get cramps in my hand from writing, like I do with the skinny ones, which I seem to clench at to keep them from slipping from between my fingers.

Ah! The time has slipped away, and I must eat breakfast.

Best wishes for your day!

A beautiful fall day

A beautifully cloudy day, but naught to catch my eye but fallen leaves, and those are not covered by any snow at all. The weather has been dry and windy, and I despair at keeping the floors clean, since dust blows in each time the doors are opened.

During November (2017), I took part in a “poem a day” activity with the same group who got together for NaPoWriMo in April. I still am working on a few that need more attention; the remainder are on my Quiet Spaces journal, The Written Word at Home (the “posts” link).

Fallen leaves


The day was cold, dry and windy, although warmer and calmer than the day before. Most of the snow has melted away, and precipitation does not figure into the weather forecast before Wednesday.

I have bought a paper journal, after all these years. Now, to overcome the hesitation to fill the pages with less than brilliance, ending up with a book of pristine pages and my thoughts and poetry scattered in text files throughout six computers and blog posts on the Internet. Actually, I am finding that my skin sensitivities are lessening, and I think the archival-quality paper may not irritate my hands. I’ve also bought colored pens.

I enjoy writing. It’s okay to “ruin” good paper when playing with words and sketches. (And, no, I have no talent for drawing. Whatsoever!)

Blue wild flax, work day

In the midst of the day’s work on the workshop in the back yard, I took out some time to play with the dogs and take photographs in the (now fading) wildflower garden. The night temperatures are pretty low, and there’s been relatively little rain. Rain and thunderstorms figure in the forecast quite often, but actual storms and precipitation just aren’t making it to our town very often.

I spent a lot of the day at the top of a tall ladder. There was wind, and so I have ended up with a sinus headache. The hot tea will take effect, soon, and I’ll be able to get back to sleep. (That is, soon after I heat the water and steep the tea.)

The first week of my four-week poetry workshop approaches, and I have to decide which of the haiku I’ve written, I should send to the instructor. Between my aunt Marion’s funeral and burial on Monday and acting as carpenter’s assistant, the week has been quite scattered. This coming week, I have to go in for a blood panel, and then an appointment with my doctor. Nine-month check-up on the progress with the type 2 diabetes. One needs the lab results to know for certain, but I think it’s going great.

Also, I am supposed to make appointments with eye and foot doctors. I am not ready for any new adventures, right now, and so I am not making those appointments yet. The past twelve months have held quite enough events as it is.

Now that Mother is no longer acting as gate-keeper for contacts with the broader family on my father’s side, I have gotten a couple of email addresses. I’ve gotten a response to the one email I sent out, this week, and a new-to-me cousin on the west coast is favorable to the notion of making and maintaining contact. By token of which, we are now “Friends” on Facebook. I still don’t have emails for the cousins that I met at the funeral on Monday. Hopefully, information on those will be forthcoming. Two of them are people that I met in 1969, when I stayed with the family for a week, and I also met the widow of the third cousin and their offspring, Monday. Lovely people!

Summer’s Dryness

That part of summer has arrived when rain is irregular, the sun is strong, there are patches of brown grass in the yard, and the chewing insects are eating the leaves and petals in the wildflower garden. I do still have the section of silt-textured dirt along the south side of the house to turn over and mix with the spent coffee grounds and peat moss to add organic materials. Right now, there are none, and nothing grows there but in a few spots where I tried adding the coffee grounds some months ago. And then it was evident that I needed to do more with it.

So, I have reserved most of the 1/4 lb. package of annual blue wild flax seed, which I will try to get planted, assuming I prepare that stretch of dirt. In previous years the stuff reseeded and bloomed into November on its own in the old plot. I think it is not too late, getting it into the dirt at the beginning of August, here in North Dakota.

In the meanwhile, some photographs from the past two to four days of the California Poppies.


Gardening and such

Last week got a bit hectic, comings and goings, rain, errands to run, and stuff to do. I do now have more flowers in my garden. Most of them are yellow and orange (sweet clover, dandelions, wallflowers and California poppies). I can now see tiny wild flax stems emerging, and I’m looking forward to some flowers developing within the next month or so.

These last four photographs are from Sunday’s backyard outing with the Scampers.

With the warmer weather, my energy level has gone down. Fortunately, so have the pollen levels. The tree pollen that bothers me is now out of season. I think I’m good, now, until ragweed becomes prevalent. (No trips to the ER, this spring!)

I have purchased copies of the poster-size photo montages that were created for my parents’ memorial services and hope to get frames for them. Not all to be hung up around the house, but finding a place to hang one at a time and rotate through the seven of them. I have looked through the book Writing to Heal the Soul. I decided that writing an occasional poem is/has been adequate and happens spontaneously…I think I’m good.

a pair of blue wild flax flowers from last year's garden
Blue Wild Flax

Progress – New Garden

The new garden plot is now in place. It is four feet by twelve feet, which means that I should be able to weed it comfortably. I am considering ordering seed packets for fall planting of wildflowers. We have already had frost/freezing weather here along the Red River. I must find out if I have missed any deadlines and what planting conditions should be, given the early cold, this autumn.

Four Feet by Twelve

We got the concrete slab poured for Al’s workshop, and the skid-steer driver, seeing Al digging the plot with his shovel and fork, volunteered to remove the sod for him. The equipment is now out of our yard, and the fence is in place, so that the Scampers can have free run of the yard.

Next came days of rain and mud tracked into the house. Thaddeus (the buff and cream Scamper) had massive clumps of mud dried into the hair on his feet and legs and between his toes. He had his first half-bath experience, last night, to wet and wash out all the dirt. He was not impressed by the operation.

Myself, I am still processing my mother’s going into the nursing home under hospice care. The brother next to me in birth order is certain that she will not make it to the end of the year. Me? I would not venture a guess without hearing a doctor’s evaluation. My father is doing well at home; family live in the same town, and so there is someone to visit every day.

The other re-organizations are still up in the air, here at home. We have yet to put the waterbed back together in the basement bedroom, where the egress window was installed over a year ago. I still need to throw out or otherwise dispose of perhaps a thousand paper books and take down more shelving, so that there will be room to move. In the meanwhile, I am still sleeping in my recliner, which I have been doing since I retired. My office has turned into a bed-sitting room. I have box upon box of papers and miscellanea to go through and toss.

We have had quite a number of heavy rains, spread out over days and shorter, and there has been no seepage into the basement. It appears that banking around the house, replacement of the rain gutters, and adding a new downspout have handled the problem. We are talking about adding more dirt, next summer, just up around the house and in some low spots. The fourth (westernmost) cotoneaster shrubs did not survive, and so Al finally sawed off all of the remaining branches and dug up the roots, this past week. The other three clusters are doing well, and so we still have shade along the south side of the yard. When Al gets his workshop built, next year, we will have shelter along the north side of the back yard from the winter winds.

The currently former wildflower bed has been trampled down, run over and munched on by the Scampers. I will be surprised if much has survived of the wild flax flowers. I did save some seeds in an envelope for the new garden plot, once it’s raked smooth. I also will try to find some to purchase via mail order. I am considering re-adding vegetables to the list of seeds. I have enjoyed the cucumbers from the family across the back fence, but I do miss the zucchini and summer squashes.

I continue in my attempts to lengthen my time on the exercise bike. Some setbacks, but I continue in my efforts. Also, while I am not managing to play the piano every day, I am getting to it perhaps three or four times a week, and I can tell that the dexterity is coming back. I do need to re-learn the written notes, rather than just trusting that my fingers will find the correct keys.

Ah, well!