elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, September 15th, 2017 02:35 pm
Complaints follow.

So, the poison ivy that grows 70' up the trunks of a dozen plus yellow pines. Yeah, i should get rid of it, yeah i've had irritations from little starts where i weed whack and mow, but, you know, it's actually a good bird food. (Admittedly, that's part of the problem and why it spreads.)

And the ticks. Ticks are terrible vermin, vectors for awful illnesses. But they are manageable, and seasonal. Dress right, be vigilant, etc. Give the pets their flea and tick treatments. Keep the grass mown. And if we got Guinea hens or chickens, they'd hunt those ticks down.

The spiders. SHUDDER. I really don't like spiders. But something happens here as autumn hints at an arrival: blam, the big orb weavers really get going. And webs across the driveway and the doors... shudder. And there's one of these three inch long Carolina Writing Spiders in bold yellow and black with her gorgeous web out at the compost pile. Uuuuuggggghhhhhh. I give her very wide berth. She's been there DAYS. Then there are always the wolf spiders. I'm getting pretty ... calm in negotiating access with them. I swear one was observing me as i was planting in the garden, waiting to see if i was going to get too close. She scurried away another two foot with her egg sack. But the spiders are the enemy of my enemy. And birds eat them.

I don't mind the few black racers and other snakes i've seen. My understanding is black racers will take on copperheads, so they're on the list of allies. Christine is very distressed by snakes, but she's coming to terms with them just as i am coming to terms with spiders.

But now, now.... [much swearing] fire ants. At least they aren't the invasive South American fire ants, just native red stinging ants.
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Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 08:19 am
A year ago i went wine shopping in Safeway for wines to move with us to North Carolina. (I don't think we've consumed any of them yet.)
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Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 12:49 pm
So, very busy and intense week. Then a somewhat burnt out mindset as i flew home, requiring very little in the way of entertainment. I read a few stories in "Finnish Weird" (Tut, i don't have a note as to who introduced me to the online journal: http://www.finnishweird.net/ ), but mostly I looked out the window. I recognized Pittsboro from the air at night, which delighted me. It's home.

I saw deer as Christine drove me home near midnight, and then as we settled in, Carrie started barking. Christine went to check out what was up, and said she could see the shadow of a deer in the moonlight. They clearly wanted to harvest the peas before i got at them.

Lunch was delightful yesterday, with steamed-then-chilled peas (that were left), a tiny beet, and broccolini mixed in with the salad greens. I will try digging up some potatoes soon. The garden review revealed the deer have also finally decided to eat the corn plants. This was expected: i've plenty of extra plants. What wasn't expected was the number of bean plants that were stripped of leaves.

The septic dudes came out to install a port where we can add copper sulfate to the drain field and to mark out the drain field. The drain field is even larger than we expected. The fellow who was spending time talking to me pointed out that the cluster of Tree of Heaven is at the first turn of the drain field -- and likely is completely blocking the flow at that point. I feel my distrust of people selling me stuff as he explained how soon we should get this taken care of ASAP. Christine, however, simply saluted Major Maintenance, and said schedule ASAP.

Unfortunately, we have folks working under the house today through Thursday, at least. The work to clear the blockage requires heavy machinery to get the tree out. It's not sufficient to simply cut down the tree as we have been as we cleared most of the field. Thus, so that they have room to maneuver the big equipment, the guys will come back next week when i'm gone. There's a hand-wavy agreement that they'll clear some other trees while they're here. We might have the roots and trees cleared for the orchard by the time i return! I am disappointed though, envisioning the tractor treads smashing the places where i have already planted things, and tearing up the ground where i have been slowly observing the occasional emergence of native plants.

On the other hand, i have watched for months. I can go through and dig out the ferns and the plants i purchased weeks ago. I transplanted the native wildflower "Spring Beauty" i found to the front courtyard.
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Thursday, March 30th, 2017 07:22 am
Carrie carried many shoes into the living room overnight and chewed a strap off one of my sandals and one of Christine's shoes overnight. She also took socks out of the bedroom and left them in front of the library, and pulled jeans to the door of the bedroom. It would be adorable if it wasn't so expensive. Christine talks about nominative determinism: i should remind Carrie her name is not "Carry."

I've ordered "bitter apple" spray that should arrive in a week.

Also, i will be trying to not let her sleep all day.

--== ∞ ==--

A black snake slithered out of my way as i was mowing the east yard yesterday -- first snake of the season. The exterminators found mice under the house, so snakes follow. (Actually, we'd seen a snake going under the house when we first moved here.)

Also, when i went out before heading to sleep, fireflies. Fireflies! Already! I don't recall them before June, but i also didn't have the habit of going out every night when i was growing up.

The exterminators gave us a quote for replacing all the vents under the house, around $1500. It seemed wise to get an estimate for sealing off the crawl space as we had pretty serious humidity issues last summer. I was sure it would be over $10k, but it wasn't. So, we'll have the crawl space sealed up and included in the HVAC system. I think it will help reduce Christine's anxieties about snakes under the house, and it should be more efficient. All around a good investment.

--== ∞ ==--

I saw a therapist yesterday. She thinks i'm lonely, and that's affecting my capacity in dealing with Christine's elephants. She's echoed one of my goals for the week and helped chat me through some of the procrastination. It's hard for me to see myself as lonely, but i have been aware that my interactions with people have decreased. Even here with you all.

One insight i had was that i didn't have a clearly social relationship with many of my CA friends. That is, it was either a group gathering, stopping to see someone at work, or in conjunction with Meeting activities. I never had a pattern where they or i reached out directly to each other.

She also loaned me a book about living with someone with one diagnosis of what the elephants may be. Much of the details did not resonate. Christine said when i shared the book that it was a diagnosis that was one of the more unlikely. After reading some of the diagnostic points, i'm leaning towards discarding it as a possibility altogether.
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Sunday, January 8th, 2017 08:06 pm
I made a grits and greens casserole tonight. So. Many. Pots. Hmph. It's like the food is twice cooked: fix the greens, fix up the textured vegetable protein, fix up the grits. Then bake it all. The kitchen got quite warm, which was fine, all things considered. I fixed the vegetable protein with apple cider vinegar and sorghum molasses, ingredients in NC eastern BBQ sauce. I think that turned out pretty well, although maybe it was just a bit much vinegar and not enough red pepper.

We've been running the logs for a while, then turn them off when the thermostat reaches 70°F. When it gets to 65°F we turn them back on. I'm running the ceiling fan in when the logs are on. Note to self: clean the blades BEFORE reversing the rotation direction. Or, maybe, note that a real quick way to clean the blades is to reverse the rotation. But the rest of the room has mats of cat fluff spread everywhere.

I do feel thrifty in that i figured out that the HVAC system has a "circulate" function. By turning that on we could circulate the heated air throughout more of the home. I'm not sure what to do tonight. We let the temps drop down to 60°F at night, but the heater is going to need to run frequently to make up the 50°F to 60°F difference with outside.

I haven't had a heat pump as a heater since becoming an adult. The heat in Philly was unstoppable steam heat. It ran, and you managed the temperature by opening windows. In San Francisco we had gas heat. In Mountain View there were several electric base boards. I grew to distrust all of them, and we just used a space heater.
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Monday, December 19th, 2016 06:43 am
Yesterday's unseasonable and unsettled weather translated into unsettled moods.Unsettledness )

--== ∞ ==--

In wrestling with sending Yuletide greetings, i find myself shying away from sharing news of the move. Yesterday i said to myself, "The move was traumatic." I think i need to be honest with myself about that, and then perhaps i can move out of this odd relational isolation i am in.

I have disappeared from communities in which i was deeply integrated, and i have been ignoring that pain. It's not to say i don't love the relationship i am building with the land, but it asks for very different listening from me. And how i answer the land back? Sweat and some blood: no tears yet.

I suppose the tears part is nagging me: The herbivores are going to come for my garden and any fruit and nut trees i plant. It will be hard to communicate to them that if they just wait for the trees to mature, they will have even more food than the bark and twigs.

But... here i notice my tendency: go off and research some detail about planting, not deal with the emotional wound of my own transplantation.
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Thursday, November 24th, 2016 07:36 am
A weapon against gerrymandering has been found! Courts may use the 'efficiency gap" to measure just how biased a redistricting plan is. Hallelujah!

The very problematic Duke Power is actually experimenting with some solar energy solutions,
demonstrating both environmental sensitivity and cost effectiveness can work together.

And, from Harvard Divinity School, Casting out fear.

Finally, i pulled out the instruction manual for the oven, learned that the oven can actually be divided in two, and realized the divider had been incorrectly placed in the warming drawer (making the warming drawer far too shallow to be useful). (So glad i found the divider, because i suspect a replacement part would have been a bit pricy.) I pried the divider out successfully: now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL stove! And a warming drawer! No figuring out how to juggle broiling tomatoes AND cooking the casserole!
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Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 09:57 am
Wow, the journaling is really falling by the wayside, and i suspect i'll rant to read back on what this first year is like. Ah well.

Last week flew by with the distraction of a foggy mind and some sort of sinus unhappiness. Midweek my dad let me know our rescheduled trip to the mountains would need to be rescheduled again due to a doctors appointment he had forgotten. I think i was disappointed, but i decided to keep the day off as i was feeling run down.

One lunch Christine and i went to walk outside in the front woods we've cleared back from the future driveway. A dog came trotting up the driveway, and we walked him home. )

Friday furniture )

I woke at 3:30 am on Saturday, thinking about the yard. Happy thoughts: where to plant what, what to tackle next. But i couldn't manage to quiet the thoughts to go back to sleep, so i got up and did some tidying and unpacking, and some reading. The moonlight is wonderful.

Eventually Christine woke, and we had a pleasant breakfast before i prepared for a day of yard work and she prepared for a friend/client meeting. I worked on the path around the porch and deck, transplanting violets, Heuchera americana (Alumroot), and some other attractive ground-covering plant. I am guessing the alumroot is wild, but given the proximity to the house, it might have been an intentional planting.

mystery plant )

They were transplanted to a "shady" garden outside our bedroom window. I hope it will be shady next summer, but i have cut back a number of saplings and cleared out the honeysuckle and Japanese knotweed. I've only left a small redbud in the area i consider the flowerbed, and a dogwood does reach over the area a bit. It may be much more sunny though, than it has been. There are three moss covered rocks that act as focal points as well as the huge stump from a tulip poplar tree. (The rest of the tree still needs to be removed -- the previous owners cut down trees and left the logs and branches in the woods.) I planted the 15 yellow daffodil bulbs in this area too, did what i could to encourage moss growth, and hope that it becomes a verdant little area.

After all day outside, i cleaned up and dressed up. Christine and i were guests of a "table captain" at the Equality NC Gala. Conversation was impossible, but that was a plus for me as i was feeling shy. The program was very good - lots of NC House Bill 2 politics and politicians. Lovely to see such a large community of LGBTQ supporting NC politicians! The past mayor of Houston spoke and it was fairly inspiring. The program ran long though, so that was exhausting. I drank a bit more than i usually do, mainly as an analgesic. Oh, did i ache from the yard work. People watching was fun, although pretty sedate.

Sunday i couldn't bring myself to go to Meeting. We had a fairly quiet day, the highlight of which was going to the nearby mill town of Bynum to a native plant seed swap. I had nothing to swap, but the organizer was happy to send me home with seeds, and i was thrilled to get seeds of plants i've wanted for a while. (Pawpaw! Waxmyrtle! Buttonbush!) I'm trying to figure out how i am going to start the seeds. seed starting )

Yesterday i managed to finally get soil samples together. I have to get them to the state soon: In November there's a charge.

There was shooting in the large woodlot next door yesterday. I worry it's going to be hard on Christine hearing hunting going on: deer and turkey season start in a month. She's sensitive to sounds like that, sounds she has no control over. Being well isolated has reduced her stress compared to living in a dense suburban situation in California: i hate to think how she's going to be affected by the shooting.

Looks like lovely weather through the week.

[1] AKA Neighborhood public road. I think it means that the state doesn't maintain it. http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_136/Article_4.pdf
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Sunday, October 2nd, 2016 07:21 am
I now own an excellent SAD lamp, with many thinks to the Sweethome review. I hope it is a good boost now that day lengths are short. I probably did not need it today, but we'll see if i get outside before i need to head to Meeting.

Yesterday was tainted with the annoyance of our real estate agent. She had forgotten to submit the inspection costs as part of the settlement. After sending email that they weren't there, back in May, and not getting a response, i figured she was doing real estate as a hobby and couldn't be bothered - that she'd take it out of her fee. But no, she's just going to take the amount that she had gotten the seller to cover (septic pumping) out of her fee.

For Christine, who became terribly frustrated with the communications around the settlement, and who dealt with the next door plumber who created a small black water flood in the bathroom during the closing, this has triggered a reprise of the distress and frustration -- and grief -- of that time. (I think she wanted something beautifully ceremonious.) I was irritated, but that would have passed quickly except for Christine's lingering triggered state. Later in the day we went out to cut down trees and found the case of the chainsaw terribly difficult to loosen (in order to tighten the chain). I noted we needed the "scrinch" -- the screwdriver-wrench tool mentioned in the Stihl training video. Christine called the nearby hardware store and found that the service and parts desk was closed. I figured it wouldn't hurt to drive up there. It turns out the service and parts desk was open, and they rolled their eyes when Christine reported the communication. I went off to familiarize myself with a second hardware store, while Christine got a chain-tightening tutorial and the "scrinch." She also got an apology from the store manager.

We both agree: if the real estate agent just went, "Oops, this should have been handled differently but wasn't. My bad, nonetheless can you help get this paid," we'd be far less irritated and triggered. On the other hand, i suppose business is a game of chicken at times where you hold out to see if the other side is going to cave first.

Some of the best customer service i've received has been at hardware stores, back to the Edenton, NC hardware store that took a look at the futon piece i needed, machined me a match right there, and charged me a nickel.
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Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 06:58 am
A friend at the Meeting in California hosts a mailing list. He writes out to some list of BCC and you have no idea who else is on that list. He occasionally replies to someone, bringing their response forward to all. It's different, but it is the culture of his list. The power dynamic is so different, but i think it's wise. He is a rare black attender in the mostly white California meeting, and he's willing to prick the white conscience with regard to racial privilege.

I struggled a bit with the power structure of his list last night, as i replied to a reply someone else had made to the host's use of the word whiteness. In an amazing act of white privilege, this person had complained that the use of the word made him feel something was wrong with his skin. My response was a bit more developed response of "Sit with the discomfort and think about it." I eventually simply replied to the host and the other correspondent, not BCC'ing or CC'ing anyone. I thanked the host for providing the discussion space.

This morning i am more able to see what is going on: we must trust the host to curate ... fairly? justly? It is not transparent, a word that comes to mind as echoing the Charlotte Mayor as she tries to negotiate between the police and the people. My discomfort with this list is it isn't transparent, and i need to trust the host. The people of Charlotte ... they have a situation with trust and transparency, too. I've no idea how many responses the host receives, how often his BCC list is "all" or "some", how wide or diverse the community of discourse is. I think it's wise though, because it is a way the black voice will be heard in the white space. Our host's moderation reminds me of the moderation of nuclear reactions in a power plant: the clamor or white voices as we, in our many different places of facing our privilege, feedback upon each other and melt down. Our host absorbs and paces the discussion, keeping it from being overwhelming, keeping the silence between messages that is hard to do in an asynchronous medium.

I knew last night i recognized something "Quakerly" about the space our host had made. This morning i see the pacing he creates, keeping the space between the responses, choosing whom to recognize as clerking the discussion. And just as one holds the clerk in the Light, recognizing the difficulties they face in the challenge of moderating, i hold our host in the Light too.

--== ∞ ==--

In other news, i have avoided the debate and much (i suspect) of the rehashing of the debate. Each morning i read the analysis at http://www.electoral-vote.com/ trying to skim past most of the eye rolling at The Donald, but occasionally following the links to news articles, such as the one about the Trump campaign trying to find a mosque The Donald could publicly visit. I admired the responses i read about: no we will not create a photo op, but yes we will sit down and talk with you. The local Meeting's women's group is gathering tonight and the invitation includes "bring your favorite quotes from the debate." I will not go. I wasn't feeling inspired, as yesterday i was dragging with a cold (it's too soon to see today how that will go). But until debates are about policy and not performance, i'm opting out.

I spent the weekend lopping and have indeed created a huge pile of brush to eventually send through a chipper as well as tangles of grape and honeysuckle vines to be burned. I haven't quite figured out my metric for "worth the time to send through a chipper" vs "burn" but i have one, some instinct about the balance of effort and reward with a bias to chip. I got quite worn out on Saturday, working in the sun. Sunday i reserved energy and spent some time just appreciating the cleared space and the trees of the understory. I selected spindly oaks to keep and hope will grow up above the dogwood and redbud, lopped out sweetgum, found what might be spicebush -- a native plant that fills the same niche as the autumn olive and is host to spicebush swallowtail butterfly larvae -- along with ferns and pipsissewa. (I'll note i was taught to call Chimaphila maculata pipsissewa, not, as Wikipedia redirects, Chimaphila umbellata.)

Monday and yesterday i corresponded - and also had an insight: i can start drafting digital Yuletide greetings NOW. I was considering what to write to someone back in California and was feeling like i had no place to connect a conversation. I'd sent the person my month one and two missives, so i knew they had a picture of where we were, but no real response. So i've drafted a note to send come Thanksgiving or Yuletide with a how are [things] going. Actually, as i write today, i'm not sure why i feel the need to delay sending that.)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, September 11th, 2016 08:58 am
Christine was up very late last night and i ended up sleeping in to an hour that didn't easily allow going out to work in the yard. Instead, i started up the stew for tonight. As i waited for the pressure cooker to reach it's working temperature, Greycie Lou came and mewed at me. She's no Lassie, but i asked what was wrong and followed her, to the couch. Ah, so i came and sat and she delighted in scritches and pettings. How sweet to be invited!

Right now she seems to avoid the bedroom as it is Edward's kingdom (in which Luigi often intrudes). Greycie seems to rule the living room, and Luigi also hangs out in here. Poor Luigi, i wish he had a kingdom, but he's not much for territoriality. (I suppose being the third to join the family, and only just a year ago, he's still negotiating.) Luigi does visit me in the front room during the workday far more often than the others. The bed in there is covered with random linens as i sort out how to store them. You'd think a cat would be loving that, but no. None of the cats ever get on that bed of their own free will: Luigi is sleeping under it on a fold-up yoga mat.

--== ∞ ==--

Yesterday we followed through on our original plans to take my mother out to eat to celebrate her birthday, just my sister L and i. We went to a local farm-to-fork white table cloth restaurant. In keeping with the old mill stylings, the tables were actually reclaimed wood with no cloth. L & Mom had no idea that the place was there. We made gentle fun of my father's dining preference performance ("Oh, do you just have a bowl of rice and beans with onion on the side?") as we indulged in an very indulgent cheese plate, and then delighted through our entrees. Desert was an extra bergamot Earl Grey creme brulee shared amongst us, brought with a candle. Mom was overcome by the whole thing as we plied her with prosecco and pottery.

Mom has this slight edge of bewilderment about her that sorrows me, but she also delighted in seeing sister L and I together: her two adult daughters. We must do more of this.

I took Mom home (Dad had driven off in her car for some reason, and she hasn't gotten comfortable with the other car) and listened to her stream of consciousness worry. I wish i knew how to introduce her to some sort of inner peace.

--== ∞ ==--

It turns out the county may pay for 3/4 for a rain garden and water barrels, if the water barrels are over 250 gal. I made a rough estimate of how much water our roof collects in an average year: multiple 250 gal collectors wouldn't be silly. Given how much processing our well water requires, and a deep instilled instinct for self sufficiency, i am attracted to collecting the rain even sans drought conditions. We are planning a turf lawn for the "back yard" -- a fenced area behind the garage and to the west of the house. Hearing how frequently one should water to get turf established is an inspiration in finding alternative water sources.
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Sunday, September 4th, 2016 07:34 am
Today should be just about heaven. The rising sun is brightly illuminating the tops of the pines and there is a fair blue sky. I don't think there's a cloud until you get to Kansas. We're around 480' elevation here and a good bit up from the nearest creek.

Hunting season may have started, and i worry about how gun shots will play on Christine's nerves knowing the deer that visit us and that hunting lands are directly to our east. I should go buy purple paint to mark our boundary.

Last Sunday was moderately pleasant, too, and instead of yard work i took off into our woods. I crossed into the hunting lands and back a couple times -- there's a bag with three propane cans and something else i should go collect for the trash that i found. I assume they are empty, and i assume they were left by hunters and not the litterbug previous owners.

I started out near our eastern boundary and cut west, finding a massive sweetgum (liquidamber) and the large rock that had tickled my father. There's no loam in places - the clay shows through a bit. I saw a fairly common orchid and some wintergreen. The southwest corner is well marked with a pipe. Cutting back east i found thickets of autumn olive and the ground covered with stilt grass. I was waving my walking stick in the air ahead of me to clear the orb weaver webs and then whacking the grass, to alert any snakes. Despite looking at my location on my phone I got turned around more than once. It's Mirkwood, i tell you, Mirkwood back there. If there are Hobbit capturing spiders i will not be surprised.

Ugh.

It was a bit depressing, and i stalled on yard work this week. Today i will get back in the groove. In good news, there's no honeysuckle back there. I did see a place where one of the giant vines of poison ivy had apparently collapsed under it's own weight right at the edge of our clearing. I've no idea what to do with that: "nothing" sounds like the right plan.

--== ∞ ==--

Another thing that happened last Sunday: I attended my first Meeting for Business at the FUM meeting. Of two remarkable things, one was that they discerned about a slight change in wording in their minute to repeal HB2 (the "Bathroom" bill). An out transwoman in their community had concerns about how the wording made it sound as if the meeting did not reject the bathroom provision but all the others. No one was defensive (although there may have been a long email thread to which i was not party), there was compassionate discussion -- including for those who have been stirred up to fear -- and the minute was adjusted promptly.

The other remarkable thing was the informality. Over the week i've grown to realize that the formal practice of business meeting with which i am familiar is partly due to the large size of the meetings. I've not decided what i think, but i am becoming acquainted with the Quaker Police in my head, tut-tutting about the form.

The meta-Quaker police are going to tut-tut about THAT, as form is not the goal. And i think a spirit of Love and Justice moves unhindered in this community.
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Monday, August 22nd, 2016 06:46 am
I am surprised and delighted with how quickly i attuned to working outside. Yesterday i spent a good while after meeting puttering about the yard: weeding to expose mosses, exterminating some Autumn Olive and a few lanky trees damaged by honeysuckle. Honeysuckle: what a bully! Plans now focus on renting this chipper of 6" diameters sometime in September to chew up all the brush i expect to be cutting down between now and 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.
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Monday, August 15th, 2016 01:20 pm
I would like to be far more intentional about recording when i do what outside. Saturday i wanted to do some eradication of some high invasive grass, but my chosen location was in the sun. I ended up weeding the same invasive grass, but mown short, from a large expanse of moss. I'm realizing most of the green "lawn" is actually the invasive grass. We had afternoon plans, which included me actually touching the camera i am thinking about buying -- and i am now planning on buying. It's still not the "pro" level camera: while i hope some day to be pro, i am not yet. I think i can grow with this camera.

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.
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Thursday, August 11th, 2016 04:45 pm
Great answer about the sealed crawlspaces

http://www.bestofbuildingscience.com/pdf/Closed%20crawlspaces%20do%20double%20duty%20HEM_SP05_p32-36.pdf

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.
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Thursday, August 11th, 2016 07:29 am
The air conditioning was fixed yesterday morning, just in time. It was a cooler than usual night and we weren't so uncomfortable that we couldn't get through our usual evening and morning.

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, August 9th, 2016 10:22 pm
Christine has taken steps to manage the elephants, so wrangling after stampedes may be easing again.

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, July 29th, 2016 04:28 am
Something went "thunk" and woke me up. I checked my phone: 3:30 am and Mom's train is expected in Southern Pines miraculously on time. I did try to go back to sleep, and thought of painting the front porch ceiling the pale aqua blue of our new couch, and pondered what to paint the unfinished front steps and the faded concrete landing.

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, July 25th, 2016 07:14 am
Yesterday i stayed home from Meeting (not able to interact with any more people), and indulged in tidying up reading lists while sitting in the screened in porch. (Do i spend more time on reading lists than reading long form works? Probably not but it felt that way.) There are, apparently, two types of crow in the eastern US: the Fish Crow and American Crow. Their calls are somewhat different, and sitting on the porch i became aware we were surrounded, with Fish Crows calling from the tops of pines. I don't think i documented the first time we identified Fish Crows in the area. I'd like to make friends with the flock -- but i'm not sure future gardening efforts would thank me.

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, July 21st, 2016 12:47 pm
I did ponder how much this move was going to create less time in my life. time sinks )

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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! )

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Christine managed her spoons very carefully in California. Read more... )

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I had a headache yesterday Read more... )