Our butcher posted his weekly specials, this week, on his web page. We had been forgetting to stop at that store, somehow, without specials posted, even though we did not always take advantage of them. I had been wanting to bake chicken breasts, and that was one of the three specials, so we stopped by the shop before Al went off to his volunteer work, this afternoon.
With two pounds of meat, I washed and dried the chicken breasts, rubbed them lightly with olive oil, added seasoning to top and bottom (crushed peppercorns, sea salt, and cumin), and put the baking dish into the oven for forty minutes at 350°F. Twenty minutes to go!
The strong winds, combined with heavy rain, this morning, pretty much beat down and soaked the plants in the backyard wildflower garden. The ornamental clover is still doing well, and there are some Black-eyed Susan and Siberian Wallflower plants that still have blooms, but that’s about it. The blue wild flax … may dry out. If not, I will be taking photographs of fallen leaves until the snow flies.
In this morning’s rain, I saw two Northern Flickers hunting out bugs in the front yard. I’m glad that they are still around. I don’t imagine that the raptors do much hunting in the midst of thunderstorms or torrential downpours. (See Hunting Circles for background.)
A flight of fancy …
… and some favorite photographs from September 28, 29 and 30.
I am now in the last week of the four-week “Introduction to Japanese Poetry” workshop that I’d signed up for in at the beginning of August. This week I am to write tanka every day and read essays that I am finding quite helpful in understanding the underlying rationale (?). My understanding of haiku has changed a lot during the course of the workshop, also. Very happy that I signed up for it, and I will have a lot to carry forward after the workshop ends.
I find that my joy in writing poetry is expanding.
These weeks have been, as I had expected, quite difficult to get through. My youngest sister died on September 30 in 2014, and the anniversary of her memorial service is Tuesday. Last year, these two weeks included my mother’s transition from the family home to hospital and when a bed became available, transfer to a care facility under hospice care. The feeling of loss contests with my joy in their present joy. And yet it’s not the one against the other, but both emotions, each a legitimate recognition of reality, coexist. Life’s texture becomes deeper, more intricate. Things are settling inside me. I think that’s a good thing.
There was a strong wind throughout most of the day, but tonight the thunderstorms and tornado watches finally arrived. Very tired. Tiring day, even with this evening’s nap.
storm cells flood the valley
ahead of wild winds, bending trees—
mist, fine-sifted rain, welcome
Tomorrow, the weather should be calmer, but I will miss the rain on the grass, the fine mist on the spider’s web in the taller grass.
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!
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.)
Hoverfly with blue wild flax: The bright light of the morning sun did not lend itself to photographing the hoverfly, but it’s always fun to see them work their way through the wildflowers at the beginning of our day.
The California Poppies are scarcer, now, since the plants have started dying off with the changing season and cooler night temperatures. Plains coreopsis, wild flax, and poppies are pretty much what’s there, along with a couple stalwart wild sunflowers.
And these are a few of the photos I took of blue wild flax flowers, today.
We haven’t had the massive smoke in the air from wildfires to the north, which changes the way the sunlight interacts with the flax colors. Also, I suspect that the soil is different enough in this new garden bed that it will take a few years of building it up. Probably has something to do with the colors. I found that with the wild violets, white in the garden and blue throughout the lawn.
I am going to look through posts from previous years to find a couple of good flower art pieces, next time I get near the computer.
The week has been too warm and too humid, with attending off-and-on rain showers. I’ve turned the desktop computer on (but not the printer) and will not unplug everything again until/unless there is a thunderstorm in the immediate area.
In the meanwhile, the puppies and I have gotten outside occasionally for short time periods to walk around and remember that we are mobile creatures, all of us. I am happy for the Tough camera that I bought (Olympus), which is droppable and waterproof. Yes, the wet is that wet.
The Scampers and I leave tracks from the back step into the living room until the sun’s been out long enough to dry the grass in the back yard.
Things are … scattered at this point, disorganized and relatively low key, but comfortable.
Here are some of the photographs from the last time that the Scampers and I went outside. Not that long ago.