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.
Beyond the Fence
Rabbit Escape Route
Against the Wall
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).
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!)
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.
Only two more boards of siding to put up on Friday
Thaddeus, paying attention
Charlie, cricket hunting
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several days this week were damp and relatively cool. The first blooming of the blue wild flax plants of the year has ended, and their seed pods have spread. I wait to find out if there will be a second growth and blooming. Many seeds ended up growing in the yard outside the garden area, and were mowed down.
The Scampers come in soaked in rain and dew, more often than not, and lie on the love seat in the living room to dry out. Since Thaddeus has a predilection for chewing fabric, I have run out of blankets to spread over the cushions. I may next sacrifice my old bath sheets, the next time there is a good sale on towels, wash cloths, &c.
I will continue this on The Art of Disorder, once I get the puppies out, fed, out, coffee made, and so forth. The household is beginning to wake up, and my husband has places to be, this morning.
I went to sleep far too late, last night, and almost didn’t wake up in time to put on coffee before we lost our power (someone mixed up the days, them or us, but we were expecting them to be on our street on Tuesday or Thursday). With the air filtering system off and a cloudy morning contributing to the proliferation of blue wild flax flowers, Samantha and I completed several photography trips to the back yard, where we spotted a variety of subjects. We went out together yesterday, also, but Samantha and Flea were the only available models.
Today’s models included a couple of fellows at the top of a new telephone pole erected at the far end of the yard south of ours, where the house is now for sale. We took this picture on the second outing, and did not take any more pictures once a second technician joined him when two hours of planned work stretched to three.
The leaves on our cotoneaster bushes are changing to yellow, and I expect that they soon will be showing red. The applets on their branches are popular with the birds in general, but particularly by those who do not migrate south for the winter. This evening, a lot of the mid-sized birds gathered in the half-dead cottonwood tree across the back fence from us. There was a lot of fussing and flying about when Samantha and I came outside.
Pome of the Cotoneaster
Starting to Turn Color
Gathering: The Birds
There also were several hoverflies in the wild flax flowers. Two different sizes and markings. I love the colors of these pollinators. Hoverflies, also called flower flies or sweat bees, belong to the insect family Syrphidae. The larva of some species of Syrphidae eat aphids.
Now, having gotten the laundry done, I must wash the dishes. I didn’t get through all of them, yesterday. While the power was out, our refrigerator’s temperature didn’t get up to 40 °F.