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.
Starting to Turn Color
Pome of the Cotoneaster
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.
Samantha and I woke up a little after eight o’clock, this morning.
After breakfast, we went outside, where we met some grackles, who were enjoying a leisurely brunch. The morning was bright. Sun reflected off the willow tree in the next yard; its leaves aren’t quite grown out, yet. Both tulips and dandelions were open to the sunlight and warm breezes of morning.
Today’s allergy index is 11.5 on a scale of 1-12. Samantha and I now are back inside and ready for a nap. We’ve been promised thunderstorms for late this afternoon through sometime tomorrow, though. We had better go out once more to close the windows on the gazebo, so that the quilts don’t get wet.
The temperatures and wind were suitable for going outside, early yesterday afternoon. Tulips begin to open up, and I am trying to get photographs before we get more wind, later in the week. I especially like the brilliant greens of new leaves on the bushes. (Must get Al to help cut out the dead trunks from the westernmost stand.) The afternoon sun lights them up as it shines through the branches.
It has been nice, finally, not to run the furnace. I am hoping to avoid the use of air conditioning for another month.