ETA: Diarist should have high tolerance for typos.
ETA: Diarist should have high tolerance for typos.
Before giving up on the day, though, i went out to water at lunch time. I noticed that there are fewer of the "Rose of Sharon" Hibiscus syriacus blossoms. I'll see if it was the cool nights but i suspect that the summer show is shutting down. The crepe myrtles, butterfly bush, and pink magnolia all seem to continue as they have for weeks, though.
Roadsides have goldenrod and boneset as well as sunflowers. Queen Anne's lace seems curled up. I noticed some boneset just down the road from our drive: i will collect some seed for my septic field meadow. It's still most likely that if a yellow flutter catches my eye, it's one of the many tiger swallowtails that have had a population boom this year. Once though it's been a leaf from the tulip poplar. There goes another. I've noticed some American plane trees looking golden and some dogwoods with some bronzed leaves.
Leaf raking hadn't been an envisioned task, ever, but apparently it's pretty important for moss gardens.
The light seems to herald evening before i get off work.
Christine's grief from Mr M's death a year ago is refreshened: we will mark the day tomorrow.
Would you agree that our world is in utter chaos and turmoil? When we watch the news, there is hardly anything good shown any more. Crime rates are at an all-time high. There is little respect for law enforcement. Teachers have little control in their classrooms. Political representatives are having a hard time agreeing on what is best for their constituents. We ask what we can do to make a difference.
Would reading the news and not watching help? (And what are the odds the author watches Fox?)
Is the comment that "there is little respect for law enforcement" a comment on race?
This morning i also read the first two stories in an investigative series entitled Deadly Force. The second story describes the deputies breaking into a woman's home to admit her inebriated tenant. My mind swirls with thoughts of gun rights and defending one's own home.
I'm listening to the anger and pain that Trump's campaign makes manifest, but with some bewilderment and what seem to me to be counter justifications. I remember Lakoff's comments between the conventions this year: to frame the discussion in terms of freedoms and liberty.
Now to change focus, to the world i live in, so alive with joy. (I am so lucky, privileged). I think a hawk is arguing with the fish crows outside.
I had a couple of blues yesterday: insecurity with work (i'm missing an obvious "figure this out" target, yet there are high pressure issues coming from multiple directions), and a sense of overwhelm when looking at a tangle of dead and dying trees and honeysuckle vines. The slow clipping of the vines must come first, i guess.
I don't know if we have enough room to pile the small trees while we clear. They take up a great deal of room on their sides. This is why i was burning periodically. There's definitely more stuff that needs burning -- the vines, in particular. Looks like rain at the end of the month and i'll have fuel for a fire waiting for then.
This morning i awoke before dawn and stepped out into the moonlight. Stars were clear overhead and it was cool, cooler than inside. A quick check of the weather and the dew point was below 70°! Oh my heavens, fall may come! There have been breezes, too. It's made me appreciate just how incredibly oppressive July was.
I am so drawn out: the birds had quite the chorus this morning and now, with the blinds up, i see a humming bird and have watched cardinals. The cats were delighted with the open windows.
Indeed, i sit here and, instead of writing, look out, thinking of all the projects: planting an orchard of understory trees to replace the Autumn Olive and feed the critters (native crab apple, persimmon, paw paw, chinquapin - Castanea pumila), planting old Southern apples, and a fig, and a pomegranate. Sunflowers, native varieties and cultured ones.....
Saturday we spent driving around the northern piedmont visiting Christine's family. As i watched the roadsides rush by, i thought of how my eyes have been retrained by looking for wildflowers in California. Joe Pye weed and goldenrods and some white flowered plant create a haze of color that i have always just called weeds. But there's our native wildflowers on parade. I imagine a border of those tall purple blossoms, the cloud of white and the shots of gold and all the butterflies one can dream of -- i'm probably spoiled as this summer has been the summer of the tiger swallowtail butterfly. I see a half dozen at a time fluttering across the yard.
I'm not spending hours identifying flowers or plants, developing photos, or imagining trips. I can walk right outside the door into my own preserve and get my fingers grubby.
So, if i was going to see a therapist once a week, i'd be taking that time as sick time. If i were to set time aside for therapeutic journaling, does that also count as sick time? With this pondering, i find myself reflecting, what about sick time off for stretching exercises that are essentially physical therapy for my feet and ankles?
Nope, need to be paying someone.
Nope, need someone to be supervising
Yes to the stretches, 'cause a doctor told you to do them
Take all the mental health time you can justify
You could, but what will you do when you get really sick?
You get sick time off? Pfft. Do you know how rare that privilege is?
You earned it.
Are you avoiding visiting your pretend therapist by writing this poll?
Better do exactly what corporate HR policy says.
You are so busy the rest of your day you can't journal or stretch in your off time?
Yesterday i slept surprisingly late. I missed Meeting, and sat in waiting worship with Christine for a while in our living room. It was miserable outside. Still, i kept my appointment for a walk with my sister's family to hear someone in their neighborhood chat about lichens. Pleasant memory, but at the time i thought i was just going to dissolve. In the late afternoon i actually worked outside (since i was already in a state requiring a great deal of tidying up). I finally planted some plants i had "rescued" from the sale rack at Lowes. One has been lingering for weeks. I think it's still alive.
So, i now have a north to south area under various experimental treatments. ( Long description of a small area of the east yard. )
--== ∞ ==--
Meanwhile, it was a hard weekend on the elephant front. I need to think of sustainable practices for me.
Of course, buried in there is the bad new$. The prices are ten years old. Maybe they're about the same -- real cost going down because it's more common countered by inflation?
Might do fans this year, if it's ever dry again.
--== ∞ ==--
In other news, my California dentist & her assistant would check me in, take xrays, inspect, and clean my teeth in 30 minutes. The new dentist plus assistant plus hygienist plus receptionist plus bill person took an hour an a half. No x-rays, but my gums were probed.
The dentist was impressed with the state of my mouth, which was a pleasant confirmation that the California dentist was really doing a good job. (The California dentist never probed my gums, so i always had a back of mind worry that my gums were in trouble.) Whitener advice was proffered by the new dentist, but gracefully dropped when i indicated i was OK with my (yellow) teeth.
--== ∞ ==--
The number of law firms that watched the local traffic ticket docket and offered their services by mail has now reached 5. I guess getting a lawyer is the sensible thing to do, but it feels like i'm gaming against justice when the lawyer is just "getting me off" and not talking to me about the details.
Yesterday after work i went out, clumsily hacked into tree and shrub trunks, and applied high concentrations of glyphosate to the wounds. I'd done some tests with autumn olive a few weeks ago, and it seems promising. I was delighted to find that the goats had girdled the mimosa and that it was quite dead. They'd done some trunk damage to the trees of heaven, but not enough. I do worry that there will be mimosa suckers for ages -- although maybe if we get the copper phosphate in the septic field that will be addressed.
In repairing the HVAC, Ken (the HVAC guy) noticed some other issues. He gave his advice, but i'm going to run it by my dad before acting on it. I also posted my thoughts to the county BBS. The county BBS certainly seems to have plenty of folks ready to dismiss liberals as the evil that is ruining the country. Then there's the right wing rumor machine at work: yesterday some one was pushing the theory that H Clinton is having transient small strokes. Nonetheless, i'm finding it fairly easy to filter the political noise from the neighborly signal. And for local politics, such as the preemptive zoning of the whole county, it is useful to read everyone's concerns.
So, before we bought our place in April, we had the sellers install a new condensation barrier in the crawlspace. Yesterday morning we had our HVAC friend out (heat pump had stopped due to a poor design of its condensation drain - again), and he noted that there was now condensation pooling on top of the barrier. He said he'd seen a lot of this recently, and the answer was sealing up the crawlspace instead of venting.
It seems to me that sealing up would be an amplifying choice: as long as it's dry, great, but if any moisture did get in, it would be harder to dry out. I suppose one could run a dehumidifier in the crawl space, but i'm not thrilled with yet another system to keep going.
Finding a way for pooled water to drain down through the moisture barrier seems like it would solve the current issue and still not allow much moisture to rise. Or maybe more effective venting? Some fan system? (Although that's another active system to maintain.)
I do like the hickory flooring, and i really hate mold.
And then the air conditioning went out. Today was ok, though, as we kept shut up. I miss how it would cool off in the California evening. Tomorrow will be tough: hopefully the repair folks will be able to make it by 9:30.
One hen turkey and ten teen turkeys were in the east yard today. Looked like they were vacuuming up bugs. I wish i knew how i could keep them at it. Apparently, "High-quality turkey habitat will support one bird per 30 acres or a flock of 18 to 20 turkeys per square mile." They can have all the black walnuts & hickory nuts they want. (Although how on earth can a turkey get into a hickory nut?)
I am really going to have to plant LOTS if i want any of whatever it is: i have lots of neighbors to share with.
I've gotten to spend time with my sister's kids: they spent Friday morning here and then i took them to a mead festival to watch the knights, eat the crazy giant turkey legs (or, nibble at the outside of said legs), and visit the vendors. That was a pleasure, except for the damp enveloping heat. We came back to my home for desert and sodas before promptly returning them to my sister.
--== ∞ ==--
Monday morning: I actually stepped outside yesterday morning and it felt nice. We sat on the porch a bit and then i started some yard work and kept going for hours. There was digging, placing logs for the raised bed, weeding the edge of the logs on the "lawn" side of the logs so that only moss remained, and piling up of stuff to create a beginning of a hugelkultur bed. That's a raised bed that begins with a core of hardwood. We have hardwood! What we don't have is piles and piles of rotted compost or manure or any of the stuff layered on top of the logs. I have a start with sticks, branches, and a large chunk of a tree trunk that is part of the legacy from the previous owners. Some of their legacy manure went into that along with some stuff from the compost pile, then a thick pile of weeds -- it was pretty easy to get a great deal of green matter -- then the "turf," also known as chunks of red clay with grass. Later i went out and covered that with news paper. Eventually it will all silt into the gaps of the wood, but i think with out the paper one good downpour would wash it all away.
I can't remember what the house foundation is finished with: it must be a natural concrete plaster over the concrete block -- a blank canvas in my memory. The front porch is brick, i think. Oh, woe, skills of observation.
I also reflected on the apple catalog from Century Farm Orchards. Yesterday, as we drove into town to get the car title transferred to this state, i read descriptions of antique apple varieties to Christine. Christine has an Aunt Rachel from the town the orchard is in, and there is an Aunt Rachel variety that is from Chatham County where we now live. That apple is first on our list. I am quite excited about these apples, and i pondered rootstocks - dwarf tree or no? And next to find a source for pecans and American persimmons and paw paws and where will i plant the blueberry bushes....
And will i fall back to sleep, ever?
I gave up. So, the first thing i noticed was the HVAC vent cover at the entrance to the bedroom had been lifted up from the vent.
This gives me all sorts of pause. There's my sister's and father's story of how a possum got caught in their crawlspace (when the families were living together). The possum chewed into the HVAC vents and was rattling along under the floors as it tried to escape.
There is no possum in the house, at least, not one the cats will tell me about.
Then there's the black racer (snake) that Christine saw slither through the vent under our bedroom window. No way a snake pushed that heavy register cover out of the way, but if i tell Christine about the possum story, she's going to go live at her sister's. Or, i dunno, some hermetically sealed hotel room. (Definitely not *my* sister's: my nephew is a constant source of snake stories.)
If i might have found some way back to sleep before, that vent register is going to keep me up.
I'm out on the screened in porch (76°F, 84% humidity). The waning crescent moon rose a couple hours ago, and there's a splash of moonlight at my feet. The moon is still behind the pines to the east: not much of a source of illumination. The bathroom nightlight escapes the western window to illuminate the white fence, and a bit more escapes our southern facing bedroom window. The office has a cold flickering firelight from the modem. Stars blaze.
Mainly i've heard a variety of singing insects: crickets? katydids? Last night we sat on the front porch and picked out a variety of songs, some surely the little tree frogs we keep seeing when we mow. (So distressing: hopefully they all escape our machine of death.) I just heard an owl in the distance. I check my file of owl calls -- sounds like a barred owl. I can hear semis in the far distance, the occasional dog, our HVAC coming on. (Vent! Why was the vent cover off?!)
Yesterday, from our front window, i saw a pair of wild turkeys step carefully across the yard and into the woods. Later, a Carolina wren flitted on to the window screen, then about in the azalea with friends. In the mid afternoon i looked out and saw a doe stretching up to nibble on the mysterious and brutally pollarded fruit tree. A fawn danced by. The doe moved on to the Hibiscus syriacus (possibly var "Aphrodite") . Hey you, eat the Autumn Olive! They moved around the house as a second doe came in view. I changed windows and watched the fawn scamper to a third doe. They've eaten the buckwheat i planted as ground cover where the goats visited.
Definitely not the dwarf rootstock, i realize. We need something where some apples will eventually be out of the deer's reach -- although permaculture folks assert that you just plant a ring of daffodils around the tree and the deer will be repulsed. Ha! Look for a video of deer browsing on an apple tree with yellow daffodils among their hooves in coming years.
5:26 am bird song. One of the louder insects had stopped around ten minutes ago, and now i hear my first plane flying over.
We're still unpacking. We've arranged the bookshelves as a library in the area that, by the chandelier, was likely designed as a dining area. (The dining area in the kitchen fit us and my brother's family - that's good enough for us.) The office is getting more settled, and Christine seems to have managed sorting new bills, checks with the new address, and the car titles and such out: She's found a dentist and a doctor for us. I've attended Spring Meeting (North Carolina - FUM) twice and have found it quite comfortable. The programmed part of the worship isn't very programmed at all and they don't have a pastor. I should still visit the nearby meeting that is part of the North Carolina conservative yearly meeting, and i look forward to Spring Meeting's meeting for business in August. (They take July's Meeting for Business off.)
We're much more settled than we were a month ago, but we do feel the weariness of the dramatic shift over the past months. I found birthday cards from this March, and i touched them with a wave of very complicated feelings. When those cards arrived, i believed i had another spring to visit my beloved Panoche Hills, work and discernment to do in Palo Alto Friends Meeting, time to spend getting to know the new San Mateo office (and right, i was already worried about my feet and had sprained my ankle AGAIN). When i opened the cards, though, i was preoccupied with the decision at hand for Christine and I about the move.
Distant roosters crow and Mom's train is only 15 min late at this point, so i need to start my day. Thanks for sharing my stolen predawn hours with me.
It's also miserable outside. There was a lovely drop in temperature as a storm came through, but by the time work was over, the tempts had regained ten degrees. I've really grown to appreciate doing things outside after work. It's just that even though it's five degrees cooler by 7 pm, the heat index was still 107 °F.
I went outside just before bed. Either it's too hot for the fireflies or they have all settled down: the light show has drawn to a close. The concert, though -- i wondered if it was louder than earlier this summer.
I've just found several websites that may act as guides for me to sort through the katydids, crickets, and tree frogs that make up the massive chorus.
My other indulgence for the day was investigating apples for our yard. I am excited to have found <a href="http://www.centuryfarmorchards.com/'>Century Farm Orchards</a>. I'd asked Christine what fruit she'd like us to have and she chose apples and figs -- because there are links to her family names. The "apple" side of her family is from Reidsville -- the same place as these apple trees. I can't imagine a better source for us. Next is to find a good fig vendor. I also set up the "green house" -- a four shelf rack that has a plastic jacket. No need for the plastic right now! The set up was like tinker-toys: i am not impressed with the quality. It provided the impetus to begin using cardboard boxes to smother the "grass" in the "back yard" -- the fenced in area that wraps from the edge of the deck around the western exposure to the garage. Christine is quite distressed by snakes, and it's been in that area that she found the three foot long shed and then saw the snake. It's been ID'ed as a black racer -- a very good snake! -- but she witnessed it going under the house through a gap in the vent screen. That put nuking the back yard and planting a proper lawn high on my list. One monoculture, coming up.
My other niece, E, is at her wits end. At one point this morning, my brother tried to dismiss his loud child to go play with E, and i caught the look in E's eyes. Too sweet by half to cry out, "What fresh hell is this?" I suggested that perhaps E had other plans. A little relief crossed into E's eyes, but i suspect she won't be at ease until S is on her way to Tampa to visit with my 99 year old grandmother.
Regrettably for the beginning of a many hour drive, my father is quite stressed. His mother's third husband (younger than his mother) has some worsening health issues, and my father wants to ensure his mother is not in a care taker role. (They still live on their own.) I hope all goes well for my dad on this trip, and that perhaps he can encourage them to move into an assisted living situation. He'll be sending Mom home early, and i'll be picking her up from the train station. With my own experience last year, i know to prepare for the delay.
--== ∞ ==--
This week my brother's family is visiting. ( Read more... )After dinner, the boys went to play XBox and I took niece S to visit Edward, the one cat not in hiding.
( four year old vs cat! )
--== ∞ ==--
Christine managed her spoons very carefully in California. ( Read more... )
--== ∞ ==--
I had a headache yesterday ( Read more... )
I'm not sure i could drive when i graduated. Maybe just? I had taken the driving class at high school #1, with a student driver license from South Carolina. My folks never had time for practicing with me, so it took a long time for me to be delivered to the North Carolina DMV to get another student license. I did what they asked me to, and the NC DMV gave me a full blown license. I was horrified. My parents responded with delight and let me loose on the road in a Chevy Suburban.
It's a miracle no people were harmed. The Suburban took a bit of a beating.
I spent my teen years in books: probably would be more appropriate for me to reread all the Elric of Melniboné books than go to a reunion. We're definitely not going, as Christine and the organizers had a back and forth that ended with her being disgusted at their unwillingness to do anything to raise HB2 issues.
Well, instead, the local Independent weekly has an interview with Christine and her sister this week: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/a-tran
It was a short week, with a couple hours at my parents with my sister's family on the fourth and Thursday night in Chapel Hill celebrating my sister in law's birthday. The book reading we attended, from a novel about a woman who was raped and her journey for justice, was not really birthday celebration material. It was good to see a man, in this case an octogenarian retired family doctor, stand up and say this is something men need to work on.
A black friend who attends my California meeting sent a brief email about whiteness. Thinking about how i felt about the novelist -- i tell myself i will speak to my two black colleagues about the violence last week and how wrong it is. What were the things the Latinx LGBTQI communities wanted to hear after Orlando? Can i do that?
Today i went out to the farmer's market near the co-op, stopping to pick up cheese biscuits from Bojangle's for breakfast. After breakfast, i went outside and puttered in the yard, trying to keep to the shade. I discovered that one of the crepe myrtles had some sort of delicate white flower planted underneath it -- sort of like a miniature hyacinth? I weeded all the "grass" and the stilt grass from around the tree, leaving a large patch of moss, the mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica, sigh, nonnative) the lovely little flowers, and some clumps of a rush-like plant.