Archive for January, 2011


Long night last night, not much sleep.  The computer is an addiction that sucks me in.  And what is accomplished?

Seems like I have rediscovered the people of my childhood, who feel free to call me names; another place to be the odd man out.

I’m tired of it.

My garden does not call me names.

I’m going now.

You all take care, now.

Read Full Post »

I had a grand walk with Ruby and my camera on Sunday.  Of course, if you ask Ruby it would be better if I didn’t take the camera, because when I have it I tend to get up close and personal with things that aren’t all that interesting if you are a dog.  And I take way too long about it, too.

The snow was melting gently, revealing wood and moss in a nifty way.

There was a rock with moss and lichen and crystals reflecting the sun, which I tried and tried to “get” an image of.  (This was one point where Ruby got extremely bored.)  Successful depiction of crystal glitter requires video, I think.

Despite the cold, there are fungus growing.  The biggest one here is about 2 cm across.

The river oats were looking lovely.

The zoom feature of the camera allowed me to capture this pair of tufted titmice as they foraged on one of the big white oaks.

Out on the pond there are several places that look like this . . .

I suspect someone is buried in the mud below the surface here, slowly respiring and waiting for spring.   Every clear patch of ice has a similar collection of bubbles.

I saw a bright spot in the woods as I climbed out of the sink hole where I had been looking for subjects.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t a flower.  It turned out to be an errant wrapper for ramen noodle soup.

How does something like this get into the woods, anyway?   And after reading the list of ingredients I am wondering why anyone ever eats this stuff?   The “soup base ingredients” are what really give me pause.   First salt, then monosodium glutamate, then sugar.    I have grave doubts about things that require sugar, but when they require MORE MSG than sugar they really make me ponder.  I also find it interesting that “powdered cooked chicken” is almost last on the ingredient list, right before cabbage extract.   I suppose they couldn’t label the stuff “Salt and MSG flavored”, it most likely wouldn’t sell well.

Of course, the wrapper is now in my garbage.   An inspection of my trash would make a person think that I was a heavy smoker with no brand loyalty and a complete hypocrite, since it often contains things like the ramen wrapper, soda cans, and candy wrappers.

I just collect the trash, I don’t actually consume those things.

I had to go buy thistle seed for the finch feeder, and was moved to muse about the proprietors of our feed store.   They always label this black oil seed as “Nyjer,” which struck me as excessive in its political correctness, especially since we are now awaiting with bated breath the properly politically correct version of Huck Finn.

Imagine my surprise when I read this this morning (italics added by me):

To differentiate between the imported niger oilseed used to feed wild birds and thistle – as well as to eliminate any possibility of offensively mispronouncing the word “niger” – the Wild Bird Feeding Industry trademarked the name Nyjer in 1998. Unfortunately, Nyjer seed is still referred to by many people who feed wild birds as well as by some in the industry who package and sell wild bird food and as both niger and thistle.

So, our feed store is merely following the dictates of the Wild Bird Feeding Industry.  I should have known better than to think that they were worried about being PC, good rednecks that they are; just as I should have known better than to suppose that they had any such creativity in their heads just in case they were concerned about being PC.

I’m wondering why the WBFI  thinks changing the spelling of a perfectly good word is doing anything other than perpetuating ignorance of the proper pronunciation of words.   I’m also wondering why we haven’t changed the spelling of the Niger River and the nation of Nigeria.

Just a few thoughts for today.

Read Full Post »

Monday is washday

Dawn at the Havens:

Dusk the same day:

Yeah, maybe Monday is washday according to the old ditty, but in this household pretty much every day is washday.   I almost never have an “ironing day” which I believe is Tuesday according to the traditional list.  I dispensed with ironing long ago as pretty much unnecessary.

Anyway, yesterday, what ever other day it was, was “Clean-the-kitchen-floor Day.” For some mystical reason the definition “kitchen floor” includes the utility room floor for cleaning purposes, probably because it is covered with the same flooring.   I was moved to contemplate the necessity for establishing this Day by the fact that our new coffee pot has a disconcerting habit of dribbling from the basket when you are carrying it to the compost bucket to empty out the old grounds in a way the old one never did.   I had actually seen fit to verbally notice the phenomenon of coffee draped all over the utility room floor, which of course made my poor husband uncomfortable.  Then I went out to  fill the bird feeders and in the process found it necessary to clean the bird bath and fill it with fresh water.

After I had gone back and forth from the kitchen sink to the snowy/slushy/muddy yard about three times in my rubber boots, the coffee was the least of that floor’s troubles.  As I mused on the state of the floors, having said to myself “It wasn’t that long since I mopped this!” I realized upon further reflection that the last time the mop was applied to the linoleum was about three weeks ago, so no wonder the danged floor was just one big footprint.

I got busy.  As I swept the floors, I started thinking about what a ritual of cleansing and putting to order this activity was.   I remember Starhawk talking about kitchen witches and how our ordinary tools become powerful tools of ritual.   There’s a very good reason that witches are associated with brooms, and cleaning, and establishing order and boundaries.

So I started getting into the ritualistic aspect of cleaning my floor and the space in and around it.   The pile I was sweeping into the center of the room in a spiral dance with my broom was composed of all sorts of interesting bits including sesame seeds, little bits of fluff, crumbs of cheese and bread, onion pieces, carrot skins, bone shards (courtesy of Ruby), the occasional raisin, pieces of wood, and lots of dirt.   I found myself musing about the scientist who had studied common household dust and found it to be composed mostly of spider exoskeleton and cosmic dust particles.   He wasn’t studying this house, I can assure you, which has a liberal coating of ash and dog fur as well as the spider parts.   I don’t know about the cosmic dust.

I realized that my dirt pile had nothing bad in it and a lot that the little birds would find fabulous, so I threw the dustpan full of sweepings out onto the gravel patio.

Then I mopped the floor.   Again, my mopping became cause for much musing, beginning with the fact that I have the same mop I have had for years, literally.   I do not understand why people have been convinced that a disposable swiffer thing doused in chemicals does a superior job of cleaning.  I dunked my cotton string mop in the hot solution of vinegar in the sink, and vigorously wrung it out.   I rejoiced in the nice anti-osteoporosis exercise I was doing right then as I slung the now damp mop down onto the floor and began to scrub off the weeks of dog foot prints, slopped coffee, tea, and wine, the dusting of flour and corn meal which I discovered had been polished into the flooring under the flour canister.   Lots of corners to dig something out of — a cake consisting of flour, corn meal, nuts, dog hair, spattered grease, and salt; humidity gelling it into a solid even the mice weren’t interested in.

I know I did the same digging the last time I mopped.

I began to see myself as Ms Housekeeperwoman, Fighter Against the Forces of Entropy.  No cape though, it would only get in the way.   Her tools are a mop and a rag, her ammunition — vinegar and a step stool.

So lets see, after all that mopping and whatnot, I found I had to make a trip out to open the cold frames.  When I came back in, I took off my boots, and as I was doing so I looked at the freshly cleaned floor.  Jeez!  My boot prints, Jim’s footprints left as he brought the wood in to feed the fire and Ruby’s wet little mudpaws, all adorned the doorway from utility room to kitchen.  Already!   In less than five minutes!

I sort of lost it.   I turned around and went straight out to the pergola where my mop was hanging to dry and damp mopped up the newest footprints.

I did not put my shoes on, and so one might say I was certifiably insane to walk barefoot through the snow, but here is the photographic evidence to prove it.

I say in my defense that I was driven to it!

Anyway, the floor is still clean this morning although I did have to sweep.

Entropy never rests!   Ms Housekeeperwoman’s job is never done!   Eternal vigilance!

Read Full Post »

Today the photohunt theme is “Hands.”

I have a few photos that feature hands.   Probably one of my favorite is one that I have featured on this blog before, a tiny butterfly perched on my friend Jeri’s hand when we were floating one day.

Here are some artisan hands, the hands of my husband, pointing the mortar in the wall of our strawberry bed.

My hand, pointing to a tiny cricket frog on the river bank, to give scale.

Just married hands. . .

Musical hands. . .

My father’s hands, on his 80th birthday.   They are 6 years older now, and if possible, even more gnarled and worn.

I think about the thousands of miles those hands sat on a steering wheel, driving him to work so we could eat and have a home to live in, or to take us to miraculously beautiful places where we hiked and camped and backpacked.   I think of those hands clinging to mountain rock as he climbed, or holding a ski pole, or tools to fix the vehicles, or a hammer to put a new roof on the house, or an axe to split wood.   How many words came out from a pen those hands held, how many calculus equations were solved, how many antennas and other electronic things designed?   How many cats and dogs tenderly caressed?

I think of a video that was taken of him back in the 60s when he was on the Northwest Cape of Australia testing the VLF antennas there.    They climbed the central tower, over a thousand feet high, and at the top, with the NW Cape spread below him and the ocean in the distance, he stood at the top of the tower flapping his hands and dancing in the wind, as if he was a bird ready to fly.   (Yes there was a safety line. . .)

Other people are participating in Photohunter too.   Find them here.

Read Full Post »

Song of a day


Look out into the grey dawn

Notice how the snow is pink as it was glowing white last night in the reflected rays of the sun

The same sun that paints every eastern cloud with shades of mind and pauve —

no no —

shades of pink and mauve.

Sam the Piano man comes this morning to tweak and tune and admire my piano

so forlorn, abandoned

in the gelid still air of the master bedroom

which is warm only in the service of passion in the early afternoons as the sun

glows through the condensation and frost on the windows and

hot breaths of desire lade the air with humidity to fuel these frost fantasies that seem like primordial forests of fern etched on the window panes

The bird feeders are empty.

I contemplate going out to fill them in my slippers but a quick glance at the single digit on the indoor/outdoor thermometer

convinces me that

boots with felt linings scarf gloves jacket hat

are all a very good idea

So I don my armor and venture out into the snowy yard

not so fresh any more but written on the soft face of the drifts are

the tales of yesterday’s foraging, the panic flight the brush of huge feathers and a tuft of little downy grey ones

left behind

The feeder was not so empty yesterday

As I fill it I hear the first soft inquisitive gold finch morning talk

a rising inflection of whistle and chat

Is there food there is food I hear water running clear

Where is Mabel?

THERE’S A SHADOW!   Floating fast across the field

Suddenly the yard is empty

Every bird has instantaneously dis-encorporated  into atmosperic atoms

I finish pouring the primo black oil sunflower seed into the metal tubes

Raise them on a steel wire above the steel squirrel baffle

that stymies them utterly in the way it floats on the supports that are bolted to the pole

banging ringing gently in the merest breeze

I spill some seeds for the starving rodents liberally on the ground

Come inside stomping snow and breathing frozen fog

glad I left my glasses inside.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Syncopated Eyeball

Creepy Spooky Lovely Nice

Trailer Park Refugee

just three shots of tequila away from a bar fight....

Ærchies Archive - Digital Detritus

The Curmudgeon's Magazine


WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.