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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
Fireworks in this state are now legal to buy, sell, import and export and use publiclypublically 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...
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.
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