Category Archives: Nature

Whew!

We were asked to go fishing on Lake Sakakawea on Saturday with a colleague and his sweetie.  He is in his 70’s, still works at my agency as a psychologist, and loves to fish. He has a rather nice boat, about 20 feet long,  with a live well, windshield, and comfortable seating.  It had been a couple of years since we had gone fishing with him, and he was excited to spend some time with us. He has been working from home since the virus struck, and has felt rather isolated.  It is a two hour drive up to the lake on oilfield highways, and we planned to leave about 6:00 am. We were in charge of the lunch, and I had prepared Baboon Joanne’s Southwest Salad, rhubarb muffins, banana bread, and ham and beef sandwiches.

At 5:00 AM, our friend phoned and said he was in too much pain from bone spurs in his neck, and he had to cancel the trip. I felt sorry for him,  but I was so happy we didn’t have to go. I don’t like boats, I especially don’t like boats on big lakes, and I find fishing unutterably boring. Husband likes to fish, and I didn’t want to disappoint him or our friend, so I was prepared to go along and do my best to have a good time.  I may not have had any siblings, but I don’t want to act like the stereotypical spoiled only child. (Only children aren’t any more spoiled and self centered than any other children, as a rule, but we have to combat these inaccurate stereotypes.)

We spent the day in the garden Saturday and got a lot of things done around the house. We had lots of good food already prepared.  It was a good day.

When have you been relieved lately?  What do you put up with out of love and affection?

Irises!

It’s been cold the last couple of mornings.  The sweatpants are back and for those morning walks with Guinevere, I’ve even reverted to adding a sweatshirt to my sweatpants/t-shirt ensemble.  And socks – quelle sacrilege!  It’s almost like we need a word for this transition season… not quite summer yet, although it should be.  Maybe “sprummer”?

Anyway, even if it’s cold, the walks are glorious because my favorite flower is starting to bloom, not just in my yard but all over the neighborhood – the irises have arrived!  I’m not sure why the iris is my favorite.  My mom wasn’t an iris fan, but I do remember going to the Missouri Botanical Garden growing up and seeing bed after bed of glorious blooms.  In my yard I have pretty much every color, including an orange variety called “orange crush”, although not all the colors have bloomed yet.

This morning looking at a garden full of pale yellow beauties in a yard around the corner, it made me think of a pretty haiku I found a few years ago by a Japanese woman who lived in the 17th century:

Waking from my dream:

what a color

were the iris flowers

Shushiki

Do you have a favorite flower?  Or a favorite haiku about a flower?

Grass Grass Everywhere

Guinevere is enjoying her walk every morning.  We range through Tangletown, along the Minnehaha Creek Parkway, up and down the streets near our house.  Now that we’ve had some rain and warm weather, we have walking by LOTS of greenery.  Hostas, wild grape vine, irises, ferns, trillium, lilies, peonies, even creeping charley.  But what does Guinevere like?  Tall grass.  Not short grass, not even a long lawn, but tall grass that occasionally shows up in an untended garden, or in a spot that no one seems to be claiming (like the corner of an alleyway).  Whenever we come across tall grass, she always wants to take a chomp.  And she never mistakes any of the other abundant greenery for her favorite snack.  How does she do this?  Is it just the visual cue or does tall grass smell differently?  I can’t figure it out.

What item on a buffet can’t YOU resist?

Dressed For The Occasion

Last summer, we had some torrential rains, and our downspouts were clogged with leaves. The water poured over the side of the rain gutter on the southeast corner of the house and made its way into an egress window and damaged the drywall and carpet in a basement bedroom. We made certain that the downspouts were clear after that, and I checked as recently as last month and they seemed clear.

On Saturday night, we had a thunderstorm and sure enough, the water was again pouring over the rain gutter on the southeast side of the house, so I alerted husband to come and get the ladder and the nifty, ratcheted downspout cleaner and help avert a disaster. Before he would go out, though, he insisted on finding and donning a certain 40 year old jean jacket. He says it is good for keeping the rain off.  So are his other coats, but no, it had to be this one.  I was frantic, and he wanted to be dressed for success! We cleared out the gutter in time. I suppose I should be grateful he risked life and limb on a metal ladder on the roof when it was raining and lightening, but honestly!

What article of  clothing has or had special significance for you? Averted any disasters lately?

Volunteering in Place

I figured that being furloughed would be like practicing for retirement.  So it’s been surprising to me that I’m struggling.  I’m not as happy as I thought I would be and some days it’s felt like time is stretching out endlessly in front of me.   Last weekend I sat myself down (well, figuratively) to try to grapple with my problem.

It didn’t take long to realize that furlough during shelter-in-place is NOT like practicing for retirement, so my expectations were out of whack.  Although I had never actually planned my retirement, I did have some things that I wanted to do when I had the time – volunteering was big on the list.  I want to volunteer at my neighborhood library, the Crisis Nursery, Feed My Starving Children, maybe the Arboretum or even one of the zoos (although I expect there is a pretty good waiting line for these spots).  I know I wouldn’t be a good Humane Society volunteer; not sure I could pass the training and even if I did, I’d probably end up with six cats and seven dogs by the end of my first week.  For now, volunteering in person is off my table.

After some thought, I decided that I COULD contribute by making and sending cards.  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen few card-making opportunities online in which organizations are soliciting card donations to send to sick kids, folks in essential services jobs and medical personnel and decided that this is right up my alley; I have a passion for it AND I don’t need to leave the house for supplies – I can easily make cards for months without having to get anything (yeah, I know, kinda sad)!

I’ve sent off two packets so far for essential services folks and also a stack of medical personnel cards as well (see photo).   When it rains next, I’ll spend a day doing cards for kids.  It’s not exactly a new lease on life but I find that I’m feeling a little better this week.  I also decided to make garden thank you cards – for letting people know that I appreciate their gardens on my daily walk.  And, of course, if anybody needs any cards – I’m your gal – just let me know!

Do you have any favorite volunteer gigs when we’re not sheltering in place? 

I Know What I Know

Yesterday I added my eggshells to my bales.  I use a high nitrogen fertilizer on the bales and somewhere in the past I must have seen something (probably on the internet) that suggested added calcium in the form of eggshells to counteract that.  While I was setting the crushed eggshells around each plant, some of them were blowing away in the stiff wind.  This made me think about my friend, LeAnne.  I’ve known LeAnne for over 30 years and from the beginning I’ve known that she believes that if you get wind in your ears, you’ll get sick. I’ve never even tried to talk her out of this belief, because you can tell that she’s not willing to believe anything else.  In fact, just last week, she mentioned how she had felt bad all day because the day before she had been gardening and it had been quite windy.

As I stood there in the wind, watching some of the eggshells blow away, I realized that I am the same as LeAnne.  I know what I know and it’s not just about adding eggshells to my bales.   Snakes.  I didn’t want YA to have an irrational fear so whenever we were around snakes (zoo, children’s museum, etc.) I made it a point to “pet the snake” in her presence.  So my brain KNOWS that snakes are dry, but my brain also knows that they are slimy.  Airplanes.  I travel for a living; I’ve been on plenty of planes.  I have even researched lift and airplane engineering.  But I still know in my heart of hearts that on every single take-off, when the plane tilts for lift off, the tail of the plane is going to scrap the runway.  The fact that this has never happened, not even once, makes no difference. I know what I know.

Do you “know” something, despite evidence to the contrary?

Adirondack Heaven

Caveat:  The following observations are only representative of my neighborhood and cannot be reliably applied to other areas.

On my daily walks with Guinevere, I’ve noticed that the Adirondack chair is the most popular chair in my area.  There are lots and lots of them, in all colors from natural wood to bright yellow and reds.  While there are plenty of Adirondacks in back yards, there is actually a pretty high percentage of them in front yards and on front stoops and porches.  Cushions can be found as well.  In the backyard of one house on our route there is a beautiful double Adirondack in a dark pine green.  There is even a house over on Penn with a whole row of Adirondacks across the front yard of a house – one in every primary color of the rainbow.

This is interesting to me.  YA and I have two Adirondacks in the back yard – bright aqua (YA’s choice) and I don’t find them to be all that comfortable.   You’re pretty much forced to lean back in the chair.  Except for closing my eyes and taking a snooze, I prefer to sit up.  For keeping up with conversation, for drinking a beverage, for reading, I need to be sitting up.  And, of course, when it’s time to exit of a chair, an Adirondacks is not the easiest chair to get out of.  Although for snoozing in while YA messes with a fire in the fire pit, they are quite nice!

Do you have a favorite chair or snoozing spot?