Saturday, December 29, 2012

Apologies to Emily

If Emily was Online

how sweet to wait-
in this special place--
mouse in hand-
keyhoard ready-
I stir the keys
no email yet--
the box lies empty
beneath my hope-
to know the words
lie just outside my reach
all of heaven
waits in a keystroke
all of that other place-
with you not here-

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thinking out loud all over the place

The terminally annoying are everywhere.   There was a time when the best they could do was soap your car windows or bash in a rural malibox,  cut off the heads of all  the flowers in your front yard or spray paint the cows.  Now they have expanded into the crevices of the internet,  appearing predictably in every corner, from forums, message boards,  email,  Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and private spaces. 
As always they force choices upon us who only want to travel our own paths quietly,  cheerfully dragging along anyone who wishes to travel the same way.  The choices are almost always unpleasant,  the shockwaves sometimes surprising in their intensity. 

I used to be on a message board a long way from here both in time and purpose, and the administrator traveled a fine narrow path between the very different points of view, often as not finding himself reprimanding hosts and posters alike for their behavior, while realizing the Goad Factor that exists in such a situation. 
And sometimes the decisions are painful. 

Know what I miss, in this politically correct world?  Halloween as it once was wrought, with soaped windows, burning doggy bags on the front stoop,  little kids in immense bands wandering about parentless for a few hours, large shopping bags at the ready.  That holiday belonged to them.   I miss Christmas when people were not afraid to say Merry Christmas to anyone, when you were allowed to display the symbols of your faith and joy on the lawn, in the window,  or in an ad, without reprisal from the now easily offended.
Christmas parties in the schools are now banned.  Too much religion.  Someone Might Be Offended.  Halloween, amazingly, is also banned from many places.  It appears to be the opposite extreme in the eyes of the rigid:  satan worship.  The devil.  Parents are afraid their little wonders will be traumatized by it,  but it's okay for those same little wonders to play computer games with blood dripping out of their online enemies.  Go figure.

We have given ourselves freedom of speech and too many people believe it means their speech, not yours.
We live in one of the most open societies  in the world and are becoming one of the most regimented, one segment at a time. 

Im 67.  I probably will not live to see what happens with the generation now teething, learning to walk,  to talk, to function as adults.  Part of me wishes I could:  they will either close a few more doors or blow those doors off the hinges, the way kids did in the 60s and 70s. 

Merry Christmas, dammit.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Heads up

Instituting a new mode of posting.  I would appreciate anyone posting to either register, sign in, or at the very least identify themselves in the body of the comment box. Somewhere. Anywhere.  It's a courtesy to me, and to anyone else, and I do like to know who is here.  Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 24, 2012

Pearl Jam "Better Man"

The words are there:  listen carefully--"she dreams in red"

Saturday, December 22, 2012

On The Other Hand...

It well may be that in the night the calendar was indeed turned over and those of us who slept were shifted into a new slice of universe where everything seems familiar but really isnt. The key,  here, is seems familiar.  How do you know it's different if it looks the same?

Apparently there are some well paid mattress inhaling physicists out there who seriously propose the idea that the entire universe is just one big computer simulation.  Our tax dollars at work, yessir.

Friday, December 21, 2012


And on the last day it snowed, or rained,  or didn't.  Rivers flowed to distant oceans where  fish, unaware of the shortness of life or its sweetness,  continued to swim, propagate, and become cat food.  Life went on as it always does;  no turning the page, no dire predictions of eternal nothing to disturb  the deer, the buffalo,  the eagle. 

There were moments unseen in the darkness when Something crept nearer,  touching this soul and that one gently,  lifting them like fine silk and away into a new darkness.  Babies were born.     In barns everywhere horses stirred in their sleep, or chewed a favorite stall door,  and cows moved against the walls restlessly, as they always do. Chickens laid sleepy eggs, searched their feathers for snacks, clucking softly to themselves in the cold.

In hundreds of dwellings all over the earth people gathered up their possessions and set fire to them, in a glorious ritual of penance,  despair, and  terror.  Some gave their belongings to neighbors, friends, family, the 'nonbelievers'  who would not be there anyway to appreciate the treasures they had been given.  The nonbelievers, no fools  they, said "why thank you"  politely and locked their doors.

Darkness came, the moon rose behind heavy clouds.  People bid each other tearful farewells and fell asleep knowing this would be the last day of their lives. 

The next morning there was the sound of rejoicing,  and then the  great hush of Mortified Silence as  all over the earth people went forth to reclaim their furniture, clothing, and livestock.  Outrage and lawsuits rang forth, and the lawyers rejoiced.

Monday, December 17, 2012


four days. 
be there. 
prepare to revel.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Something, but what

Something needs to be said,  and yet when I try, realize there is utterly nothing, but nothing, that can be said. No words harsh enough, or soft enough, to mitigate or condemn.   And after all,  words are often like skipping stones across a still lake:  no matter what you say, or how well or poorly, they only go so far and disappear.

Good people died. Babies died.  There it is.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Good Day

Wednesday around here is half price day at the Salvation Army (my seekrit indulgence);  some days there's little or nothing to appeal, and somedays all the cylinders hit perfectly.

This was the prize find.  They look to be from about the mid nineteen hundreds, maybe older (search says 'vintage" which these days includes me and thee too).  They are listed as salad tongs, but they are also for
getting small cans and boxes down from the top shelves, extending one's reach downward just a bit more, lifting hot jars out of the canning bath,  and annoying the cats...

Found two Lawrence Blocks that are new to me, two silk blouses for the cold days, and a marvelous dark brown floppy cardigan.  Not a bad one in the bin.   That and 50 deg. in the sun, not bad.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Twins of a prickly kind

Late last summer these two baby porcupines appeared,  no bigger than baseballs.  Apparently mother porcupines  release them into the wild at about two months, and then they are totally on their own.  These were twins, something Ive never seen before, and quite adorable. By now they are about 5-6 months old and have grown from baseballs to basketballs.  All fall we have seen them in the fields,  grubbing away at roots and grasses,  and only this past week have they come together again.  Now and then one will waddle over to the other and sit up, peering into the twin's face.  "Dat  you?  Who ARE you?"

And yesterday after the snow melted there they were on the lawn, only a few feet from the house, working on some especially interesting bits of weeds.  When I went out they gently turned their backs and moved away.  It's very hard to catch a porcupine full face,  they keep shifting so that the back is what you encounter.  If you make noise or get too close the back hair rises like a windowshade and there the quills are.  Bite me,  it says.  Go ahead.

But by and large these are gentle critters and we respect that.  We also keep shed doors closed.  Respect is all well and good but so is keeping them away from rubber tires and shovel handles...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's snowing


            First Snow

having smelled the coming snow
it seemed appropriate to go
and so the cows went home alone.
the farmer heard the eager tone

and ran to hold the barn door wide
just before they swung inside,
each to her appointed stall.
outside, the snow began to fall.

behind the snow the sun has set.
the cattle in their bays have yet
to settle in. they move against the walls.
outside, all night, the first snow falls

this all will quickly melt away
before the end of one more day.
but the first snow, whether thick or thin,
is the one that calls the cattle in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ho. Ho. Ho.

At this rate by the time Christmas rolls over me like a cartoon steam roller there won't be anything left to flatten.  'Tis a hard trip this year, not sure why.  The skies are no bluer or greyer than other years,  it's not much colder or warmer.  All my vital signs are, well, vital.  But this time around  that hole in the ground, the one I regularly fall into in December, seems a bit deeper. 

Soldier on, the good fairy says.  Shut yer trap, the bad fairy grumbles.
The good fairy strikes the bad fairy with her very pointed wand, and the battle is on. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Good food, good people, good convo.  After two years of enforced holiday visits (not meant in a nasty way, we're just not big crowd people.  Need nudges now and then.) we are beginning to remember who is married to whom, which baby belongs to which couple,  and relax enough to blend a bit more.  And most importantly remember which dog belongs to which family, since they come too.

It's about connections, about humor, about family. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Car Talk #937

My trip home every Tuesday from Concord involves a very strange  stretch of highway with 9 stoplights, which, if you plan it right,  will all be green at the same time you get there.  If you miss the sequence you're whipped.  Its a short stretch of road, with two lanes to a side and multiple exits.  Yesterday I was in the midst of the after-lunch bunch, all of us barrelling from red light to red light at a whopping fifteen mph.  I kept hearing this nasal little 'toot toot' at every light. I thought, what IS that. 
Then in the rear view mirror at the next red light I noticed the dude in the car behind me motioning me forward impatiently.  Excuse me?  There is no forward there, lol. 

So I shrugged and continued on, trying to  ignore his car almost nudging at my back bumper.  At one point the road then opens out into a miracle mile, and the pace picks up to maybe 25 mph.  He's still back there, toot toot.  I looked in the mirror;  he was now giving me the Double Finger.  Whoa, I thought.  I am so honored.

Next toot, I slowed down to 20.  Next toot, 15.  There is, by the way, a totally clear left hand lane at this point he could have swung into, Frankly, I didn't dare. 

For five miles I had this ass on my bumper,  and  wondering why he's not just going around me.  Then I noticed him turning into the Mall at the same time I did. oh joy.  And this is where he decided,  at the last minute, to swing around me and cut me off, nearly taking out the pickup truck just leaving.

And, of course, if he had collided with the truck or I had run into him it would have somehow been my fault for cutting him off--you gotta thank the gods there are only so many of these, and Darwin usually catches up with them before they can breed too heavily...

Monday, November 19, 2012


121 days until spring.  That's all I'm sayin'.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Question of the Day

Does the world really need anti-bacterial window cleaner?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Brought to you by...

the church that holds god's wallet

This week the marquee reads, 
"don't confuse God's patience with his final words"

If that isnt ominous I dont know what is

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Great Blizzard of Wednesday Night

Well, that was both a relief and a disappointment, at least here.  Got the yard picked up (again) and the rest of last year's wood flung in the shed.  What could go undercover went, the rest was turned loose and left to its own devices.
Weathermen tend at this time of year to get a mite hysterical over anything snow-based.  Yes, it came from the northeast,  yes we had a bit of wind and two inches of snow, but that aint no noreaster.

Just read the reports coming off one of the 'net weather places, and again they have lumped all of New England with New Jersey and NYC.  Neither of which is technically New England.  Nit picky, perhaps, but seeing a blizzard devastating 'New England' is, I'm sorry, selling snake oil to gain viewers.  And it scares your friends who see the map, see the entire area blocked in as Nor'easter territory, and they get worried.  Are you all right, they ask, in email.  Yes, we say.  We only got a bit. Well, I saw on the news that NYC was getting hit're not far from there.  No, no, four hundred miles, give or take.  We're fine. Well, I do worry, you know. It did say New England...

And my heart does go out to those people there who got smacked in the face with this.  It's like the "custard pie and then the pig bladder" routine in a ghastly one-two punch.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Election's over

In NH we now have a female governor


the President is still the President.

Nor'easter or no Nor'easter,

Life is good right now

Monday, November 5, 2012


not much,  just a few minutes of light snow bits,  but  enough.  We are not happy.  I'll be ready to accept snow as a real thing in, oh, maybe January.  But not now.

Friday, November 2, 2012

simple aint easy

Living simply sounds like a good deal, and sometimes it is.  You limit your use of chemicals,  machine driven this and that,  you learn to work with what invades your space (skunks, moles, voles, etc) and work around what you can't deal with any other way. 

However.  Over the years I have done a lot of things not necessarily because I wanted to, but because it was a compromise that had more value at the time than any other solution:  when we first moved into the house it was drafty, cold, and the cellar was unheated and not sealed off.  In the summer  we had the benefit of the water pump.  In the winter we drained it and hauled water from the old dug well.  The reality of the well and those two pails was far more appealing at that point than the reality of worrying about the water pump during periods when the outside temps went down to -20 and stayed there;  and the cellar itself would sometimes be 20 deg..  Not something I'd want to deal with on a regular basis.

So simplicity was two pails and a knotted rope.  The more back to basics you get, the harder the physical labor becomes.  The only moving part in that equation was me, and I moved a LOT.

We decided that living where we do,  being dependent on an oil burner meant there would be times when an oil burner would not be nearly enough to keep the house warm, there would be times when an oil truck would not be able to deliver up here, and other times when the power went out most inopportunely.  The only solution was to bypass the oil burner situation and just burn wood.   A lot of work, yes, but we've never regretted it.  It also meant we didn't have to destroy baseboards and old pine floors,  and rearrange the house to suit it.  Again, a compromise. 

Simplicity is an axe, a splitting wedge, and a really good chopping block. 

Rather than spray for bugs, or use weed killers, or weed at all unless it's necessary,  I mulch the hell out of everything and use my own compost.  Birds eat bugs. So do skunks, preying manitissseses,  and turkeys.

Simplicty is a strong back,  a spadingfork, and some really ratty looking compost bins.  My only compromise here is a shed where the garden is, and water piped in from the house, underground.

In a few years we will probably have to start scaling back a bit,  maybe a smaller garden, maybe serious consideration of an oil burner for the warmer cold months, a nip here, a tuck there.  Who knows.  But for now, this works. 

words of too many syllables dept.

and guarantee, someone will then complain because of the delays.

we are a very strange people.  This is like shooting the fireman who's trying to save your life because he's not moving fast enough.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Damage report

The wind died down early this morning,  its raining but only lightly, and the only damage was a tree limb half way down our driveway, which we cut up and moved out of the way. 
Most of NH is apparently powerless and there are crews coming this morning from Illinois to help out. I love these guys, they always seem to enjoy their work, and not much fazes them. 

Who I do feel sorry for are those people in NJ and NY who couldnt or wouldnt get out.  =(

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Woke up around 3:30, heard the wind, and decided I'd had enough sleep for awhile.  Yep, whatever the edges of the hurricane are, they're here.  I don't know how the folks in the middle of this thing will like it, but right now we are having fairly heavy wind and rain, and we're not even pictured on the landfall area yet..  Nothing like a hurricane to get the yard picked up.  Great incentive, there.  Last thing I want to see is my garden rake whipping past the windows, or, heaven forfend, through the window.

This is a huge storm, and one of the many times I am so glad we don't live on beach front property.  And with the full moon pending,  there's a good chance that any beach front property will, at least temporarily, extend inland for quite a ways. 

Anyone out there in hurricane land,  get that car out from under the trees, the power lines, whatever.  No heroics, please. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Double Dipping

Just got a notice from my bank that from this point on,  if I use my bank related(debit) card in a non-bank related ATM, I will be charged 2.50 per withdrawal.   Okay, I can live with that. However.  If I go to the ATM in the mall which is NOT my bank's related ATM they  tell me when I withdraw money from my account via their ATM I will be charged 2.50.  So a transaction using this card at that ATM could cost me $5 before I ever see any money at all.
You have got to love technology...

First Person Singular

When my mother-in-law died, she had prepared herself and everyone who knew her for the eventuality.  Part of what she did, as a sensible rock-solid good Christian woman, was make out a will, prepay her funeral expenses, (with strict instructions as to how and where and what) and write  her own obituary (leaving out the obvious 'to be filled in later" parts).

We have all seen obits that go on for columns, listing descendants to the ninth level of degree,  extolling the virtues of the deceased or ignoring them entirely to focus on what the writer wants to remember:  my favorite was obviously written by her granddaughter, about a woman who had had a long successful life in several fields, but all this girl could come up with was 'She loved her grandchildren and she loved to knit and crochet".

The other day I sat down and wrote my own.  Not sure what I'd say,  not sure where it would go.  As an exercise in summing up one's life in a few sentences, it was quite revealing, since it focuses you on what really matters to YOU, as it should be.  And it isnt grim at all.  Since it's written from the 3rd person POV, you're two removes from the thing, and somehow that makes it easier. 

(I wonder what would happen if someone's own obit was published,  in the First Person...??)

Thursday, October 25, 2012


this is the second round 'container' of leafmold i've put together this year, first mowing/collecting the leaves and putting them in a double walled structure:  reinforcing wire (the stuff that makes such great tomato cages) and then a  liner of chicken wire (which for some reason I have yards and  yards of) to keep the leaves from blowing out the 6x6" openings in the reinforcing wire.  The whole thing is about 5' high, and i've wet it down twice, which means it should by now be cooking inside.  When spring comes, with any luck, I can remove the cage pieces and spread it out, making an at least partially decomposed bed of leaf mold to plant my potatoes in.  Good stuff.
I got the idea from here:, a wonderful site full of all kinds of cool things to do to and for and about a garden and other things as well. She also has a cook stove almost identical to mine, which is a plus in my book.

Color Perception

this is the sort of thing where you go in thinking, aha, Ive got this one knocked, and it turns out that you really didnt.  sigh.  It's also kind of addictive, once you start playing with it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I first discovered the 'net in 1995;  purely by happenstance I clicked on something called "Excite" and found myself involved in a massive message board that I never did find the edges of;  there were sections for everything from politics to religion to literature to build-your-own,  and the day someone actually responded to a comment I made, I was hooked.   I don't think in the next year I watched TV for more than an hour a week.  And after that almost never. 
What appealed was the interactiveness of it, something that I think we all take for granted now;  and to watch TV after that was numbing.  Sit, stare, react, lather, rinse, repeat. 
And when I finally encountered a real debate I suddenly realized I had no idea how to react, how to respond, how to comment.  It had been probably 30 years since I had had a deep convo about anything, and suddenly here they were, all around me.

 I also encountered my first online sociopath, my first flame war (hello Harvey) my first friends (hello Harvey) and discovered the arts of diplomacy, debating, and role playing. 

I miss the structure they had then,  and the breadth.  Message boards became forums, and then splintered off into specialized arenas;  now we have a dozen or more kinds of ways to interact, from blogs to games to specialized forums to social networking.  I dont miss the flames, but I do miss the people.  Even the stinkers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Evening Bark

Just before sunset I was out doing a bit of garden work and noticed how quiet it was;  suddenly there was a chorus of coyotes in the small woods beyond the garden,  and another to the north of us.  It went on for quite a while, and then a third group joined in.  It reminded me of what I call the 'evening bark' that dogs practice, passing whatever messages they have along from one to the next.  This was, I expect, a territorial thing last night letting each of the other groups know where everyone was.

As long as I know where the cats are,  I can relax and enjoy the concert.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

yo, earthquake

Not a major deal, perhaps, but the first one we've felt in maybe thirty years;  in California they don't even look up from their dinner,  but here it's major,  a bit exciting (I said "wow" a few times), no one gets hurt, and you have something to put in the memory book.  And you get to put in a "did you feel it" notation on the USGS map--one by one, people in most of the surrounding towns responded, like hands being raised in class.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Leaving me Speechless dept.

Cuddledown, the pillow/bedding catalog, is putting their pillows on sale.  One, which they highly recommend as a "bridal gift"  is list priced at $3,999.  That's the small one, Heirloom Silk Eiderdown.  Now, this opens the door to the obvious question:  ONE?  Divorces have happened  over less.  Who gets possession?  If there's a divorce, who gets custody?  Can you grant visiting rights to a pillow?  I'll bet NO one has a pillow fight with these things, nope.
Then again, it's a great way to sell two of them, sort of like bonded cats;  you just can't go home with one, and frankly if you're that rich,  you can easily spring for two.  Perhaps with rights of survivorship tacked on...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Links to things

Nearly a year ago took the SSDI off the public airways in here and put it behind a paywall.  You can no longer look up when Aunt Susan died,  or any other relative, unless you belong to and for a fee will be allowed to look up your ancestors.
This has left me and a lot of other people scrambling to find something reasonably equivalent. I have found a few that work, although not as cleanly or as efficiently as the original SSDI:

And lord alone knows how long ago Babelfish became a place you had to belong to to use,  and now I see the future in 'upgrading' which always means pay more to get more. 

Soon enough I  suspect Google and/or Bing (which is what I use now)  will start putting out watered down versions of their search engines,  with the fancy high speed versions behind that paywall too. 

Friday, September 28, 2012


          all the squashy cushions in the sunlight in the window


and all the sheepskins in the world

and that huge "just for me" pillow in  the front hall, just doesn't cut it

when all a guy really wants is a bit of shade and a carton that's been properly seasoned in the rain

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Opinionations (2)

1. Distrubing:  that parents are now so invested in their children's lives and trust them so little that they justify (and are encouraged to do so) parental snooping into the private places of a kid's life.  Not just 8 year olds, but any 'child' of any age that lives under their roof.  Backpacks, books (shake the pages),  letters, email, twitter and facebook pages,  anything and everything that their teen aged kids might touch is examined and considered.   I read one woman's comments about how she snoops on Facebook and if she sees any kind of activity she doesn't approve of, she confronts her daughter with it.   If kids are anything like we were,  after a few turns around the dining room table over this,  they shut down, go underground, get clever.  Put up a dummy facebook page to satisfy mom, (and the 'mom" part gets me too.  What ever happened to 'mothers"?) and then go off and do what they were going to do anyway.  Having been through this kind of scrutiny (although mine was limited to letters being read,  friends' parents being grilled,  and diaries being examined) myself, I can well understand that feeling of violation.  

Parents,  by being that paranoid, most effectively shut down any communication between them and the kids. Sad.  I was traveling 'underground' by the time I was fifteen, and learned to stay there, emotionally, mentally, when it came to personal difficulties. To this day I don't know how many letters of mine (in AND out) my mother read, destroyed, or saved for future reference.  I burnt the diary.  To this day I have been unable to keep another one.

2. Had the car inspected yesterday,  and while I was waiting for the (yay) good news, I was grazing a woman's magazine.  In it was a chirpy article about how to 'motivate' your kids for going back to school and one of the things suggested was to make sure they kept up with their 'household chores" such as keeping their rooms clean, and 'taking out the trash" based on the premise that a child who regularly takes out the garbage (and this was actually stated) as part of his chores will be a better, more responsible adult.  ExCUSE me?

Any kid with a bit of brain knows he gets the icky jobs around the house because he's the only one who can be bullied into doing stuff no one else wants to do. Chores?  I never had chores,  but I had enough to do helping out, and taking out trash belonged to whomever was in  front of it at the time.  Asked my husband, and he said the same thing.  He never had "chores" that only he  did, and we both grew up to be reasonably responsible adults. 

Well, mostly.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's raining I can stop now

Garden Stuff

This time of year I begin to watch the sky for signs of impending rain,  since most of my energy at this point is going into Garden Repairs which were sadly neglected this summer.  I do not mow grass or weed or dig holes in 90+ heat.  The weeds, however, have no such constraints.  

One bonus from not-weeding and not-mulching and not-mowing is that all the weeds eventually set seed,  and the birds right now are having a field day with the bounty.  Our six resident wild turkeys visit the side lawn daily,  swurrrping up the seed heads and scavenging the ground for what got missed.  The small birds, busy on migration plans, are in the garden constantly, doing the same thing. So what I neglected to do this summer has had side benefits. 

And when you let weeds grow sometimes really interesting plants crop up; nothing I might want to save forever as a plant, but still interesting in itself.  And while it's probably advisable to get 'em when they're young in the spring,  if you do happen to miss out on the thrill of pulling nine bajillion tiny grass sprouts mingled with the lavender and woodruff plants,  eventually you will have saved yourself countless hours by letting the strongest kill off the weakest, develop a nice single root system, and then pull the entire plant in one sweep. 

I was also inundated with tomato seedlings that must have come from the  last year's compost, dozens of them, all over the potato patch.  I left a few, just to see what would happen, and it seems they got along with the potatoes extremely well (same family, well why not) even though purists insist there is a different soil need for each;  having started late, they developed fruit late, and while most of them had to be pulled after the potatoes were taken,  a few had put out an amazing amount of green fruit.  Hundreds of tomatoes.  The last plant I pulled up had been in direct contact with the dirt, instead of being trailed up a wire cage, and it had taken root all along the main stem.  At a guess Id say even though you lose a few tomatoes to nibblers,  the plant itself is compensated by the extra nourishment it gets from the extra roots;  and I wonder if a plant left to sprawl like that on good mulched dirt might not produce a much higher yield per plant. 

And now it's raining, I can stop for awhile, and think about what follows.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Leafy Green

Monday, September 17, 2012


It was the goal in the center
of everyone's summer;
you sat on a rock in the sun
thinking, I could do that now
and all at once there you were
with your toes in the water, wading out.
The air tingled in your nose
as you struck out past the dropoff,
further out than you had ever been;

the lake bottom disappeared beneath you
and where the water a moment ago was filled
with sunbacked shadows now it was
dark, cold, a glimpse of what infinity
must look like. You saw hints of drowned stumps
impossibly far down, tried to ignore
the voices calling you back--
the only thing that gave you
courage was one strong voice saying, "Let her try,
for Christ's sake!"
                                and when you clambered
onto that far piney bank winded, arms aching,
you suddenly understood
what halfway there really meant

Sunday, September 16, 2012


This is the only country in the world  that I can think of where anyone can be or become an American.  It's a way of life, not a nationality, and that may be it's greatest strength;  in any other country you can become a citizen, but never a nationality. 
I can get German or Greek or French citizenship, but I will never become German or Greek or French, just by having citizenship papers. When I identify myself as to origins, I never say "American' I say "half French Canadian, part Dutch, part Irish".   Even our first citizens, the Native Americans, define themselves by tribe, or nation. 

To my mind, that's pretty cool.


I wonder why people are so surprised when the bottom falls out of the ecomonic laundry basket.  It happens every thirty years or so,  in a boom-and-bust fashion, and has been doing so for a very long time.  You would think by now we'd know enough to be prepared for it,  or at least not be surprised when it happens again. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I feel like a chipmunk, scurry scurry...

Proof, if you will, that even though Japanese Knotweed is a viciously invasive species here (and just about everywhere, apparently), it is also beloved in the fall by bees, wasps, and now Monarchs. 

Watchin' you. 

Add to that 700 jonquil bulbs dug and sorted (they will be going to new homes in a few days),  and the almost 40 pounds of potatoes I dug last night, and Im gettin' tired.   Trouble with potatoes,  once you start
digging, it's so hard to stop. Oh, you think, just one more hill oh golly look at those arent they wonderful, let's see what's in here...and there's only six hills left, might as well finish them up...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Elephant Graveyards

Several years ago when we were having a great influx of Monarchs,  I found a collection of wings,  buried or left behind in the woodpile, all in one place.  It reminded me of elephants who, when they are about to die, head for a kind of dying ground, away from the others.
In this instance it seems that several butterflies had reached the end of their living, and all chose this one place to die.  I wondered then at the strength of those delicate wings, since the bodies had long disappeared but the wings were unfaded, in some cases almost perfect.

Today, digging up jonquil bulbs I found another batch of wings arranged in much the same fashion, under a butterfly bush.  at least five or six sets, all grouped in one small area.  What strength in those wings, to last even longer than a day...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


While facts can also be opinions that made it through the fire,  opinions are opinions and will never be anything else unless they can be proved.
Likes and dislikes are not facts (aside from the demonstrable fact that they do exist), so that your seething dislike of rutabaga is an opinion,  and my fierce loyalty to it is also an opinion.  And no mother in the world is going to convince her two year old that rutabagas aren't icky, no matter how they may be for her.

What is interesting in all of that is how stubbornly we cling to our Flat Earth beliefs, and call them facts, when the real facts can easily be convoluted and contorted and believed by a surprising number of people.   You see a man fall down the stairs (fact) but by the time the second edition of the local paper has done with the story the next morning,the way they beef up (with opinions) the article about a prominent man being clumsy on his cellar sttairs, you who actually saw the man trip and fall will now begin to doubt your own version and think, well, there may have been liquor involved, I know he drinks, I'll bet he was drunk, yessir. Probably beats his kids, too. I saw one crying last week...
And now your simple belief in a simple (if painful) accident has become an opinion of someone; and forever after in your mind he will be that drunken bum who shouldn't be allowed near kids or women.

Beliefs are harder to change than facts, simply because we all have 'em, and they are so personal.  Religion is a series of beliefs. Politics, for the most part, is too. So is advertising.  One ounce of fact in a yard of belief, most times.  So is predicting the weather beyond what's happening right outside one particular window. 

Facts are nice, and they do help, but it's awfully hard sometimes to separate the fact from the fiction, especially when the fiction is so much more interesting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Axes, turkeys, and voting, oh my

I am about to be the proud owner of a 32" Ames True Temper Axe handle.  What every  woman needs to go with her True Temper Axe head, suitable for firewood,  crowd control,  and fending off irate turkeys. 

The afternoon turkeys are still with us.  I had left a patch of lawn unmowed, partly because of inanition,  and it sprouted the most wonderful collection of weeds, all by now into the seed bearing stage.  And every afternoon six turkeys drop by for something to keep them from feelilng peckish on the way to the acorn and beechnut buffet up on the beech ridge.  I suspect this might be a single brood that has grown up and survived the summer--up until a week ago there was a seventh turkey that was a bit larger, and now she's gone.  That was mom, and she's off on her own adventures,  and hopefully experience the positive side of the empty nest syndrome.   

Weather's changed a bit, too.  Now it's hot during the day and barely fifty at night,  which seems the natural order of things. 

New state law;  when you vote, you need to show valid ID.  I know it's done elsewhere, but this is a new thing for us, and will probably slow things down considerably.  We do like to know the WHY of things, and then we have to argue over the HOW.  Especially when the supervisor of the checklist says, now, Mary, we need to see some ID so we can prove you are who you say you are--and how IS Frank these days, we haven't seen him around lately... 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Fourth...and 2nd...and 17th...

Fireworks in this state are now legal to buy, sell, import and export and use publicly publically  openly by anyone who has enough money (if not brains) to do so.  Was a time when if you wanted fireworks you had to wait until the Fourth of July, when you could either go to a neighbor's house (the one on the hill with the good view) or drive to town down by the lake and ooh and ahhh  safely while people who were paid to do so risked their fingers and hands instead of yours. 

Now you have the privilege of not only blowing your own face up, but that of anyone who wants to join the fun,  with the added advantage of possibly setting your own house afire, or the neighbor's field,  barn, or horses.  Live free or die just took on a whole 'nother dimension...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Report from the back forty

Not much doing right now that seems worth writing down, I guess.  Started putting the wood in this week, and the mister is mowing the fields.  A neighbor comes and rakes it into windrows, bales it, and takes it home for his horses.
It's been hot, and dry, and worrisome.  When you live where we do, surrounded by forest,  any scent of smoke on the air gets your attention.  We spent a good fifteen collective minutes last evening deciding that yep, that was wood smoke east of us, not real close, but Out There.  By bed time it was gone, either that or the wind had shifted. 

First of September. Wow.  And a blue moon last night.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Love After Love, by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own  mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sometimes a bit of attitude works...

Over the past few months the Republicans have been ramping up their phone calls to us registered Repubs;  for what it's worth, my own leanings are toward the center of everything with no specific party involved--but to do that would mean we'd be getting Dems AND Repubs calling, not a tolerable situation in any event.

It is, after all, Election Year.

Almost of the calls have been live, asking politely for either me OR my husband, and would we be interested in filling out a short survey?  No, we say, and hang up.  Or just hang up.  All of them have obviously been  college kids, earning maybe a penny a call;  I finally asked one of them why they keep calling here, we get two to three a day.  She seemed surprised, and I asked her to please take us off her list.  Two days of blessed silence.

Next time, it was a fella who was probably on the edges of terminal boredom, and drunk.  Seriously drunk. He asked for Wade.  Or Leland.  I said, no one here by that name.  Shock and disbelief. "You're kidding", he said.  Nope, no one by that name.  Take me off the list.  Peace, for a week. Aha, Im thinking, what just happened here.

Third time, they asked for me, by name. No one here by that name, sorry.  And, I added, in my best Stern but Nice Voice, the next time someone calls here we will be changing our party affiliation.  Period.  Not a call since. =)

Next time, we will be Democrats.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New potatoes

just had to see what was going on under there, and this is what I came up with. Three plants, a nice yield for this early in the season, and considering the drought we had in July, about 5 pounds, I'd guess. They got a bit of scab, but that's cosmetic, and comes off when the peel does, anyway.  These are Katahdins.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Albert

When you're seventeen and gettin' a bit slow, more than a bit deaf, and sometimes it's hard to decide which side of the door you want to be on,  it's nice to know the porch is there for sleeping on good summer days--and it's even nicer when someone remembers to put out the Kitty CopeSacks with enough catnip to
please even the fussy ones.  Makes a great pillow, too.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Butterfly and clover

It's been a very good year for the Monarchs, plenty of heat if not a lot of water, and they seem to be thriving on it.   I wish them well. 

Feel Good Stuff for a Rainy morning

Drum Machine

This is a very old video kinda thing, fun to watch.  Once it starts, turn up the speakers a bit.

Golden Sky

James Taylor/Iris Dement

(to get back here, click the 'back' button on your machine)

Monday, August 13, 2012


Just remembered these;  I guess last night was the peak, but they haven't disappeared yet.  Not that it would have done us much good here, even knowing,  since we had rain all night Saturday AND Sunday.  Maybe tonight.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Skunk visits

sometime this last week the grass around the garden decided to give in to the heat, and died. I went out this morning for something, and the ground in one particular section was ruffled up enough to suggest small rototillers had been at work.  Aha.  Skunk Season.  They are fussy eaters, and won't scrabble through tall grass to get at the yummy fat beetle grubs they so love--but mow the grass or have it die off, and there they are, digging up a storm. 
Bless their smelly little hearts.

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's too early to be this late

It's a kind of limbo out there.  Only the crickets seem to have anything to say about anything.  All the baby birds that are going to fly have,  the young turkeys are now gangly teen agers,  and territories that were so fiercely guarded all summer long are now crumbling, except for a few border disuptes over insects and seeds. 
Too soon to begin thinking about migration, which I suspect is more of a tug in the midsection than anything  intellectual,  and that tug can be a lot more powerful and harder to ignore.  The wind calls, and you go.

Last week, right on cue, we limped past the heat of July and into that late-summer lull with early morning ground fog and almost chilly nights.  If you close your eyes and inhale, and have been doing it regularly over a period of years,  you might think it was midAugust at dawn.   And in the greater sweep of things, it soon will be.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Brought to you by...

those folks who two years ago gave us a look into God's wallet

"Who needs flotation devices?  We've got the Water Walker!"

I'm thinking that once a year they have a contest at Church Camp, and the kid who comes up with the best logo for the marquee gets a prize.  I sincerely hope it's water wings.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

oh g'wan, you know you want to

its wildly addictive, but can be picked up for five minutes at a time
and the games save themselves without passwords or logins.

and this one, blast from the past time...

Monday, July 16, 2012

early morning moonrise

                                 early, early, with the birds just beginning to warm up, this:

Google strikes again

not sure how this is going to work;  if I suddenly disappear, blog and all, off the face of the earth,  it's because of some strange strange conflict with Google and TDS (one of which is my blog, one of which is my email, both of which are running under the gmail auspices).  frankly I have no idea what's going on and even though I read it all very slowly and even allowed my lips to move while I did,  I still don't understand it.

I have a new blog addy, apparently, but I think email will still go to the (other) account.  argh.

It's way too hot for this nonsense.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

deer in the daylilies

This doe is just leaving breakfast, standing belly deep among the daylilies, snacking on the brambles and rosebushes (nothing like a bit of fiber, nosiree) that seems to be her preference.  I am not complaining.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What goes bump in the night

Two nights ago I went outside near midnight to retrieve Albert, my little white cat, who has taken to sleeping in the middle of the lawn. In the moonlight he glows like a lump of phosphorous.  As I walked out onto the lawn to get him, I heard a thump and then a very large doe snorted at me and thundered by, not five feet away.  Albert, being old and deaf and a bit senile at this point was utterly clueless as to what had happened. I think too he's losing his night vision.

This morning I heard a doe again, snorting and 'barking' the way they do,  and when I went out, there was Albert, again sitting on the driveway while four large does took off for the woods.  He has been a thorn in the side for generations of deer, for 16 years.  Why, I do not know.  And Im just concerned that they may mistake him, as a friend said when I told her, for a pile of marshmallows left on the ground.  Or for a little white monster who is about to attack them.  Or for the one obstacle between them and the new hydrangea bush I planted last summer.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wood day

8 cords, delivered.  3 cords more or less, left from last year.  Nice view from the kitchen roof, though.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Last night, in a fit of laziness and familiarity,  I tried to go down the steep back stairs in the dark rather than use a flashlight or turn on the light at the top of the stairs.  At the bottom I missed the last step before the landing and narrowly missed creating a new door to the outside.  Nothing broken, but it annoyed the knee, the ankle, and put more stress on my hip than anyone with osteo likes to contemplate.  But still upright, as they say, and still breathing. 

In thinking about that, I am once again reminded how quickly a single incident or misplaced focus can change our lives, sometimes forever.  A fall on the ice, and you end up with a fractured hip.  Turning right at a busy intersection you are rear ended by someone who is more interested in texting than driving, thereby shortcircuiting whatever was going to happen next and altering a great chunk of your life in the process.  And his.  Taking the corner on your favorite walk and see, coming toward you, someone from your distant past. 

And, of course, there are those minor things we do that alter, at least on a temporary basis, the patterns we have sewn into our brain, like inner pockets on a winter coat.  Turn left instead of right, and you avoid that accident entirely, and never know it even might have happened;  take a new route to work, get hopelessly lost, and in the process lose a lucrative contract,  one which could have helped you pay off the last of your mortgage.

We can't know what might happen, and can't live our lives in dread or anticipation of every turn, every step, every encounter.  I don't hold with the "pre-planned ' life in which we have no control over anything (and which, after all, turns us into nothing more than stage actors reading scripts),  I guess all you can do is remember to turn the lights on at the top of the stairs and pay attention on the way down.  No matter where it leads.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Archives 2


Prune to keep the center open
to light and air,
cut away anything that does not bear fruit
remove every branch crossing another
and all water shoots
that might appear.

A fruiting branch is always doing
something besides what it’s doing
at the moment. Cut away
this year’s blossom and you’ve killed
next year’s fruit waiting just behind the bud.

At any point step back, consider
any cut you plan to make, reconsider
how the thing will look with one less branch.
Every cut redefines the tree,
the blossom, and the fruit
it will bear next fall.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Question of the Day

Why do people slow at a green light?  Do they think it might suddenly turn red?
I will admit to now and then stopping for one, to let it cross the street,  but generally I prefer to take my chances with it, and sail right on through. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Google strikes again

nine days ago I asked a simple question in the forums.  It's still sitting there waiting to be noticed.
So.  I contacted AskGoogle Answers.  oh boy, they said, we can answer this.  For $28.  I don't think so.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

from the archives


this is the way the world truly ends
not with a whimper or a cry
but a sound of regret of the kind you make
when you see the car slide over the cliff
and there's nothing you can do
but be glad you got the dog out
even though you lost all your luggage
this is the way the world ends
not with a bang but with the sound
of a door closing softly against the frame
and you only know it's shut by turning the knob
finding it locked from the other side

this is the way worlds end sometimes
with all the finality of breaking glass
in the next room and you don't know what broke
but you've got a pretty good idea
who'll have to clean it up later 

sometimes it's entropy that does us in
everything grinding to a halt
everyone glad when it's over
the books divided up, drapes taken down
the for sale sign removed at last
but sometimes it's sharper, like the cut
from a good knife and you don't even know
you're bleeding until you look down
and then it starts to hurt
and you know it will hurt until it stops
and there's not a damn thing
you or anyone else can do but wait it out
hold on tightly until the bleeding stops
and then not move until the throbbing stops
not look until the cut heals
and you're left with only a little scar on the outside
turning white and beginning to fade

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Washday scraps

My new washer came with a stern injunction to never ever never wash clothes that have been badly doused with cooking oil.  The reason given, "it could catch fire". 

Yes, indeed. Open the lid and there are all those clothes sloshing away, burning merrily...

Monday, June 11, 2012

This is what happens...

when you let what wants to grow, grow there.  This is truly a wildflower garden  right now,  with columbine, wild mustard, and clover and even a bit of vetch, as long as it behaves itself.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

Folks is strange

You gotta love tech forums.  We have been stravaging about the net trying to find a solution to a problem we had been having with the new graphics card, which performed very well except when I hit Worlds of Warcraft, and it would regularly boot me from the game.  It's called a minidump, and you get a nasty bit of blue screen commentary and various other things that turn out to be related to one small bit of the chip misfiring in some way.  I posted, first, the questions about it,  and finally the fact that we solved the problem by removing the card entirely.

On two different forums I have been met with outrage, sarcasm, and thinly veiled hostility and I have no idea why.  It's kinda funny, because only one person suggested just removing or changing the chip.  Both suggest (still) that I should uninstall everything and start over. Oh, I don't think so.    And what is interesting, no one has said, good job, Im glad you solved the problem.  *g*

Friday, June 1, 2012


Woke up somewhere in the middle of the night with the odor of arguing skunks wafting through the open windows (although skunkiness can waft through solid concrete, if it chooses), so I went down and closed the cat door both ways, shut all the windows, and came back to bed.  The smell is still out there this morning so either a skunk is lying dead somewhere within a hundred mile radius, or the skunk or skunks left their mark on the old fallen timbers of the barn.  Which means we will have it forever.  Better than under the porch, or out in the shed, for sure. 

I often wonder what one does if a skunk DOES get into the house.  Flee?  Hope he remembers how he got in so he can get out? 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

oy the pain, the pain

New computer is up and running, after two days of serious shouting (we seem to do that a lot) and blind alleys and dark mysterious adventures.  Right now it's downloading Worlds of Warcraft, so Im still wedded to this one.  The final step will be moving the email over, and then shut this down.  Sob.  It may be slow, it may be cranky and noisy (this new one isn't all that quiet, btw),  but like that old raggy blanket that sheds more than cats do,  it's familiar and known.  

We will live through this, yes we will. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Deep jungle pool

Yum. Tire water. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This seems to work

Ive found that ticks do not like baby powder.  I powder the daylights out of me, and rub it into any clothing Im going to wear outside in the garden, and not only do they not bite,  they dont even cling.  Yesterday was the acid test,  since I was digging in the garden, working with old leaves and last year's hay bales, and I only saw one all day. Nothing came in with me.  

either they don't care for the smell, or the taste, or the texture, but for whatever reason,  it works.  Its also cheaper and safer than chemical/commercial sprays, and it doesnt permanently stain your clothes the way aromatic oils and Skin-so-soft does.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Space and Time

Clothes expand to fit the available space.  The drawer that once held six sweatshirts and four pairs of jeans now will barely hold six tshirts, and only if they're 'store folded' and precisely stacked. 

Time shrinks to two thirds of what you need to get the job done, no matter how much extra time you allotted.  And if you're outside painting,  it will rain. 

Beware of anyone who says, "here, let me get that  for you" in  a parking lot.  They will be guaranteed to grab the bag with the bread in it,  and then throw the canned goods on top of that...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Good reads

I tend to shy away from popular fiction  by prolific writers, simply because it's not always that good, and for as much as 25 bucks a book, it had better be magnificent and rarely is.  However, someone gifted me with a John Grisham book this week, "The Street Lawyer" and once I started it, had to just plow right through.  Read it in one day, if not one sitting.   Not a huge amount of grue (some writers, like Patricia Cornwell, seem to be of the splattered brains genre, and it gets wayyy overdone),  and a good steady march to the end.

I have reached  the fifth book in the six-novel "Lucia" series,  always fun,  although by this time parts of it are becoming tedious--been there, done that about nine times--but it was and is still fun to read. 

And a stunning book, gently written, by Gail Tsukiyama, "The Samurai's Garden" about a 20 year old Chinese boy who is sent to Japan for his health in 1937 just after the begining of the Sino-Japanese war, and what happens to him there.  It's the kind of novel that stays with you afterwards, for quite some time.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Garden 2012

Potatoes are in,  the poppies are up and growing fiercely;  worked all day yesterday and today to start the process for next year's potato crop.  This time I'm experimenting with turning the spot into a one year intensive compost bin, and then next spring spreading it about with a nice layer of older compost and hay on top.  They seem to do extremely well growing in almost straight compost, which is just very rich dirt, without the packing factor.  It usually has the consistency of coarse sand, which makes it unsuitable as hilling up material for crops that need it,  but the yield so far has been very impressive.

Having neglected the garden for two years, for various reasons,   it will take most of this summer to get it back in shape.  And me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Time flies like a banana, or maybe an orange

It's been quite awhile since I got this computer,  and we are in the process of assembling the bits so my husband can put together a new one for me.  Curious,  I had him check the records for when I got this.  2003.  It's done well, outlived two printers and four monitors, two UPS systems and several CD drives.  In the winter it makes growly noises if the room is too cold when I turn it on, and there is a hum thats loud enough to be annoying (like whispering in the next room) and also leaves a ringing in my right ear by the end of the day.

'Tis time, I'd say.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012



I got up this morning to find three on the cushion I use on the computer chair, and three more in the bathtub.  Enough, already.

Monday, May 7, 2012


This morning I realized that it was 4:45 and the sky was light enough to see across the yard.   So I got up to celebrate.  There was a symphony out there; chickadees and titmice, a pileated woodpecker in the woods, hooting, and at the edge of the field one lone woodthrush, welcoming the dawn with the rest of us.

Two nights ago when the spring moon rose, my husband took a couple photos of it (my camera isnt quite powerful enough to make it look like anything) and then later on that night discovered that people were posting the 'same shot'.  I think he was a bit disappointed to realize that there is only one view we ever see of the moon, and it's always the same. *s*

Yesterday was my first real day in the garden, and about a half hour in I got a little scared, partly because there was so much to do, and partly because it was unpleasant, physically.  So I had a bit of a talk with me
about just doing the work in front of me, not the stuff Over There,  and instead of worrying about creaks and twinges, just keep going.  and sure enough,  I felt better at the end of it all than I thought I would,  and in the afternoon the time spent was more productive. 

My Now project is to spread about four inches of hay mulch evenly over the new potato bed.  Tomorrow I will stop on my way home from Concord and pick up about 1 1/2 pounds of seed potatoes.  It doesnt sound like much, but we get such a good yield from this raised bed/heavily mulched technique I expect maybe 30 pounds or more.  Fingers crossed, of course, as they always are with garden crops.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

And Where the Hell Have YOU Been

4:30 this morning I opened the door to let the cats out, heard a squeaky noise;  and there was Sammy.  Wet, a bit skinnier, and quite eager, after four days, to get in out of the rain and the cold.  He is now sleeping it off on the big pillow in the front room.
And that explains why Toby has been so forlorn, and restless.  Sammy was Away, but not Gone.  About all we can do is accept that this is probably going to be the norm for him, and keep our fingers crossed.   Cuffy did this the first day I let him out,  just took off for two days and finally came back wet and hungry and obviously upset.  I think they try to get "home" and realize that home is what they are running FROM, not to.  The miserable cold rain probably helps, too.

So, for now, he's with us again.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Two full days and nights, and he's not been back.  Usually when one cat disappears like this the others don't even blink.  They know the living cat, and apparently once a cat dies,  it's out of their memory banks.  This time Toby is looking lost, and subdued; then I realized that he and Sammy were, if not littermates,  at least bonded males, which is the next thing to it, and he is wondering, perhaps, what's missing in  his life right now.  Damn. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

gratitude and attitude

My uncle and  his wife were foster parents,  from the time their first child was born until they adopted the last foster child and saw him married,  a span of maybe 40 years,  providing an endless stream of short term and long term care for kids who had been put in foster care for varying lengths of time.   The kids were treated as their own,  disciplined and loved, fed and clothed.   When one of the boys decided he was going to 'escape' and took his sister with him, down over the second story porch roof and out,  my uncle said, "damn fool, we never lock the door from the inside, all he has to do is walk out."  He never expected gratitude, and Im not sure he knew he should.  Many people in that situation would have demanded it.

I think we tend to make that same mistake with the animals who live with us.  We somehow expect gratitude because it's our choice to house and feed them, keep them warm and safe and give them the affection they so obviously need.  It's asking a lot of an animal.  Not all animals respond, nor should they.  For whatever  reason, partly in their makeup and partly in their past,  they respond forever as slightly feral creatures,  unable to lay down that fear of the human.  

Sammy has taken to staying out all night.  The cat door is on what we call 'single trap' which means "one way--in only"  every night.  It's been cold this week, down near 30.  I worry about hypothermia, and critters.  But he  seems to be getting further and further from me, rather than closer.  This is the second night he's spent out there somewhere,  and Im afraid one night he won't be back.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Comfort is a full pint of Rocky Road icecream

There are some colds that arrive gently,  giving you time to lay in a supply of easy reads,  a pint of something sinfully good and  extra soft have about three days to prepare the special fluffy pillows, warn folks that you'll be unavailable  for a week,  and you can lie back at last to wait it out.  Not because you are dreadfully ill, but because we all need a bit of pampering now and then.

And then there is  the kind that hurtles across the landscape like an over enthusiastic labrador retriever,  and within a hour of that first sneeze you have gone back to bed, afflicted with chills and fever and skin that hurts to the touch.  Your brain stops working,  there aren't enough hours in the day to sleep in,  and at certain key moments death seems desirable.    On the plus side,  after the first 24 hours,  you suddenly realize that you are no longer in agony,  the sun is shining,  and by golly,  there may be hope yet.

Monday, April 9, 2012


the critter not the vehicle

The animal who is supposed to be nocturnal, shy of humans, and woods-bound.  This morning there he was, crossing the driveway,  heading on down the road. 

my apologies for the strange streaks, those are bush branches between the bobcat and I.  In all my years of living around here I have heard one once and never seen any.  Now in the space of a month I've seen it twice,  going on about his business as if he owned the joint.  I cannot tell you how exciting stuff like this is

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Change for the sake of change/rant

Adopted people have difficulty with changes; some of us can deal with Big Events, and yet the small ones lay us waste.   Some folks can handle personal changes (new hair style, different shopping mall) but go to pieces when they lose perceived control over something like a TV show they enjoy or a site online that they somehow feel and have been told is "theirs".  

Over the past year Google has been shifting the furniture around,  making it harder and harder to settle in.  Now they are taking all the draperies and rugs and revamping even the looks of the place.  Rumor has it the whole joint will have a new coat of paint soon.

Just about the time I get used to one way of working in here they change it again.  Mostly, I think,  because they can.  The options they give us are somewhere between few and none,  and anyone who has learned the hard way what "edit" means on a Google post or blog never touches that button again.  Google uses the term to mean "delete forEVER".  And they do.

And every change they make seems to slow the load time, the post time, even the typing time (I used to have an old Word Processing program on my 3.1 that I could outtype,  and this is now doing the same thing) has slowed to a crawl.

I got 3 years invested in this, and I would have no idea how to move it, if thats even possible.  I'm stuck. 

Sorry about the absence,  it's been a strange month, hard to settle into, I guess.  But the days get longer at each end,  the new guys are losing weight and looking more cat like and less beachball like, and its a joy to see them streaming across the yard, running  flat out just because They Can.  That somehow makes the breaking in time worth the patience.  It is, after all, about them.  Im just the doorholder.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sammy's big adventure

Yesterday I decided if he wants to go out, Ill just leave the door open and see what happens.  A half hour later I found him sitting on the porch wiith Albert our tour guide cat.   He came in after a few naps in the leaves, a thorough inspection of the main shed, and serious tree study.
This morning I let him out at dawn,  and a few hours later I found him here:

Looks like he owns the joint doesnt he.  Toby, who seems the most aggressive of the two, only this morning went out and came back in at full speed, apparently terrified of the bird song and the space, which to an indoor cat must be agoraphobia inducing, big time.
Took him three tries before he could handle it.  I seriously don't know if these cats have ever seen grass, or felt wind, or walked on anything but flooring.  But I think they'll be fine now.  Its been a long slow trip for both of them (and for us),  and while we still cannot pick up either one, maybe in time, now, they will trust us.   Who knows.

And at last, Toby.  He is trying to chase all his new play toys, one leaf at a time. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One Too Many Mornings and this is the first

"Down the street the dogs are barking and the day is getting dark" (Bob Dylan)

Tried to find a link to the original online but it's just not there.  The point was to be, that there are days like yesterday and Friday that always remind me of this song, (which tends to send me right into a catatonic stare);  a chilly day, but with more than a hint of spring in it, and a feel  to the air that winter lacks.  It's as if the air was more alive, primordial-soupier, preparing us for what comes next.

You can, indeed, hear dogs along the road,  car doors slamming shut, voices if the wind is right.  Sound travels over water to an embarrassing degree as anyone on a lake will tell you;  and on damp early spring air much the same thing happens, especially if the wind happens to be from the south.  Trees have yet to leaf out,  so there's nothing to slow the sounds down. 

Anyone who remembers this song knows exactly what I  mean, and anyone who doesn't, well, I can't explain it. Deliver me, always, from music in a minor key, even when it isn't.

I've begun walking after way too long away.  I think it's the only way to defeat the Fat Lady inside.  If nothing else, I will be a buff Fat Lady on the outside.  My husband said  he will loan me his GPS so I can keep track of the track I make in the woods, which almost always looks like the drunkard's path by the time I'm done. 

You forgot to change your clocks, didn't you.  *g*

Thursday, March 8, 2012

spring things

Daylight savings time is coming (or is it leaving, I can never be sure which), and on Sunday we will all dutifully srping ahead (and how appropriate for Leap Year) into almost Spring. The good news is,  that extra hour of daylight in the afternoon, which means a whale of a lot more to us northerners than it does to people for whom the daylight they are saving--or losing--barely moves the needle.  However, I have been enjoying waking to an already lightened sky, and will be plunged back into 5 AM darkness.  sigh. 

Went for a walk yesterday and found reasonably fresh tracks in the snow, running a very long way in a very straight line beside a stonewall.  The size of this cannot be accounted for snowmelt,  because these have been in the shade of the wall all day, in the woods, only just beginning to get some light in late afternoon.

that boot, btw, is mine and it's a good five inches across. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How quickly we forget

Our last (and only) major storm was October 31;  it was taken with calm resignation, and we all braced for a very long very trying winter.   (shrug) It happens.   However, it is now nearly the end of February and that resgnation has been replaced by a certain amount of glee that we may have been missed this year.

Easy to forget that not too many years back we had a foot of snow once a week for the entire month of March.  This, by the way, was nearly shoulder high.    Now we're seeing  a fine edge of panic on the weather forecasts, with storm warnings and travel advisories and such,  and people are no doubt scrambling to find the roof rakes and shovels they put away two weeks ago...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Report from early spring in the middle of winter

The chickadees have changed into their spring songs, and the bluebirds are back, as are the robins.  This afternoon there were four tom turkeys in the field, practicing fans and strutting.  One of them, poor fella, just could not get his fan to work.  He tried, oh didnt he try, but the best he could do was  a back ruffle.   It was embarrassing to watch.

And this morning we saw a bobcat in the back field,as calm and casual as any housecat, just sitting.  He was too far away to photograph quickly, and by the time I got him in view he decided it was time to move on.  Not running, just walking away.   In all the years I've lived here, this is my first sighting.  =)

We now  have mud, with about two inches of snow sinking into it. 

And I made 6 loaves of bread.

All in all,  a pretty good day--except, maybe for the mouse that died in one of my kitchen walls a few days ago...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The cold

Last week we were invited to a birthday party for my husband.  Unbeknownst to us, the hostess had a cold.  She only told us much later, and said, "but its okay, I took cold meds."

What she and so many people do NOT realize about such things is that they relieve your symptoms and "let you get back to work" is that while you're not coughing and sneezing, you are still contagious.  So in a  way the cold that would have kept you home and safely away from the rest of us is now out there in the workforce, or at the teacher's desk, or breathing on your 85 year old granny.

Her family is now covered with colds, and has no idea how they got them.  My husband came down with his yesterday.  Sigh.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


In writing, and in my case poetry, when the brain goes on hiatus for a period of time,  there is always the fear that when the writing comes back  you will have lost a step or two.  What I've discovered over the years that even after twelve years of basically no-writing,  unlike ballet or other physical skills that require constant practice,  the brain picks up where you left it, and that is always a relief.  And a joy. 

I want to post this, not because it's good, necessarily,  but because for the first time in a very long time I have written something that I actually wanted to revise.

(later, much much later)  Let's just say this has been a classic exercise in putting wings on a rock and maybe if I throw it enough times it will learn to fly...

at the darkest part of the night
when the moon has set and the stars
weep with weariness
he leans over the side of the boat
flirting with his center of gravity
looks down into the terrifying cold and dark
in the primal part of the ocean
where light
never reaches the bottom
not knowing why but knowing he must,
not knowing what he's looking for
only that it's there
calling him from a long way down
every night he goes out armed
with periscopes
until he finds what he was searching for
leans too far into it
and becomes part of the ocean,
part of the dark and the cold



after the moon has set and the stars
begin to shimmer with weariness
he leans over the side of the boat
flirting with his center of gravity
looks down into a place where light
never reaches the bottom

not knowing why but knowing he must,
not knowing what he's looking for
only that it's there
beckoning from a long way down

every night he goes out armed
with periscopes
until he finds what he was searching for
leans too far into it
becomes part of the ocean,
part of the dark and the cold


Siren (3)

he leans over the side of the boat
flirting with his center of gravity
looks down into a place where light
never reaches the bottom

not knowing why but knowing he must,
not knowing what he's looking for
only that it's there
beckoning from a long way down

every night after the moon has set
and the stars seem to shimmer with weariness
he goes out armed with periscopes
and sounding lines
until he finds what he was searching for
leans too far into it
becomes part of the ocean,
part of the reflection
of stars on dark water


Siren (4)

not knowing why but knowing he must,
not knowing what he's looking for
only that it's there
beckoning from a long way down

every night after the moon has set
and the stars seem to shimmer with weariness
he goes out armed with searchlights
and sounding lines
leans over the side of the boat
looking down into a place
where light never reaches the bottom

he finds what he was searching for
leans too far into it
becomes part of the ocean,
part of the reflection
of stars on dark water