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“Whipsaw:  n 1. A narrow two person crosscut saw. v 1. To cut with a whipsaw, 2. To defeat in two ways at once” 

It was a lovely day today at The Havens.  Last week, after several days of pretty cold temperatures (sub zero at night), it snowed.  Then it warmed up enough to melt the thin layer of snow on the ground.  This was followed by some days around freezing accompanied by gusty winds.  Finally it warmed up and the wind blew like a wind tunnel testing a jet airplane.

This morning it dawned clear and cool and totally calm.  It would have been ideal to burn off the labyrinth right then, but we had a date at the kid’s house for home made waffles.   So we went over there (a matter of walking half a block) at the appointed time and thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast with the family.  It is really lovely to have our grandkids so close.  AND their parents…  I must not leave them out!

After our repast, we came home, got busy, and burned off the tall grass that had accumulated in the labyrinth over the last summer.  It was a perfect day for burning, and still hadn’t gotten so warm that tending the fire was onerous.  There have been times when it was sort of like an introduction to Hades, what with a warm day and a brisk breeze.  Today it was just damp enough that the grass burned well but not like an inferno.  No wind to speak of, so the flames crept their way through the paths and rocks desultorily.  We had to use the flame thrower a few times to encourage them to do a complete job.

There are lots of rags and tags of grass tops, as well as things like the stems of goldenrod, little white asters, and primroses spread in the paths.   They really need to be raked up but I decided to do something else instead.  If I leave them long enough they will blow away or compost in place, maybe.

After unhooking and draining the hoses we had deployed for fire safety reasons, we rolled them and coiled them back up on their supports.  Winter is not over yet and we have had enough of frozen pipes.

Speaking of frozen pipes, the contractor man has been here since Wednesday repairing the utility bathroom.  We picked out new floor tile for it, auditioning a style that we are considering using for the Great Bathroom Remodel, which is scheduled for a future date yet to be determined.   We LOVE the tile and lucky for us it was on sale so we bought the necessary quantity and have stashed it in the sauna dressing room.  The bathroom should become functional early next week.

Of course, there has been a daily (except for Thursday) pilgrimage to Springfield to visit the Ailing Mother.  She came through her popliteal bypass alive (barely).  There were a few rough days, and once the hospital figured out that she really needed a blood transfusion, she rallied enough to be moved to a rehabilitation hospital.  Since then she has walked as much as 70 feet during physical therapy and can get up out of her wheel chair and move to the bed “unassisted” (meaning two people stand nearby at the ready to make sure that she does not lose her balance and fall during the painstaking process).  But her appetite has returned, and her mind is once again active.  She has been working on her tatting project.  Aside from the open incision around the bypass site, she is looking fairly good.  There is still a lot of ground to cover, but we are no longer in fear of her life.

And my sister was released from the hospital today, after fighting infection from the cat bite she got while she was neutropenic from her latest chemotherapy for her leukemia.  Thank God for small favors.

With both people that were in so much danger moving towards safety, maybe I can actually get some sleep tonight.

Anyway, back to today.   Instead of raking the labyrinth, I cleared the old dry tops out of the asparagus bed.   While I was engaged in that chore, I noticed that the bees were out foraging.   Then I started wondering if they still had enough honey to keep them going through the rest of the winter.  (Despite the lovely day today, winter is FAR from over.) Presently my curiosity grew so much that I went into the house and prevailed on Jim to make a wellness check on the colony.  He suited up and opened the hive and we determined that they have LOTS of honey to eat, they seem very healthy and active.   Without disturbing them much more than that, he put the hive back together and we watched them continue about their bee business.

This activity made me wonder what on earth they could be finding to forage this time of year?  It didn’t take me long to remember that yesterday while I was walking Ruby I noticed that the witch hazel out at Bennet Spring was blooming.  I have a few witch hazel trees here at the Havens, so it wasn’t much of a leap to wonder if perhaps our bees had found them.

I went to look, and lo and behold!

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The bees have indeed discovered that there is a source of pollen out there for them.  While I was playing bee paparazzi, I saw a couple of tachnid wasps out there too. They declined to be photographed, so I can’t prove it.

Then I went out and weeded the strawberry, blueberry and raspberry cage.   It was very healing to dig out all that henbit and chickweed.  The whole cage looks great!  While I was working, I could hear the hum of the hive on the other side of the fence.

Maybe I will have some time to work on my art journal this evening.  That would be very good.

 

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“I Could Pee on This”  is a book of poems ostensibly written by cats.    The author, Francesco Marciuliano, is also known for being the author of the cartoon “Sally Forth”.

All I can say is, Marciuliano successfully channels cat-think in this charming little book.

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It is sized appropriately for a bedside table.   It would also reside neatly on the top of a toilet tank, where one could amuse oneself mightily by dipping into the offerings within the book.    Such as “Nectar of the Gods”, an ode to the superiority of faucet water to the water in a bowl on the floor.

Jim’s favorite is “The World Outside my House”

In the world outside my house

The mice jump in your mouth

And birds serve themselves in butter

Rather than fly south………

In the world outside my house

The sun is a laser light

Each cloud a snuggly blanket

And the doors are not shut tight

In the world outside my house

All the trees they dangle string

The flowers brush from head to tail

And the neutered cat is king

In the world outside my house

I can never go

But as an indoor cat I know these things

Because the dog does tell me so.

Impy knows this poem well.   He spends an inordinate amount of time staring out the window.   Surprisingly, I do not have a single image of him doing this.  But I now know that this poem trails through his little feline brain while he is engaged in that activity.

Just one more, this one is my favorite (today)

THIS IS MY CHAIR

This is my chair

This is my couch

That is my bed

That is my bench

There is my chaise

There is my settee

Those are my footstools

Those are my rugs

Everywhere is my place to sleep

Perhaps you should just get a hotel room

I do have an appropriate image for this poem.   Ruby is not a young dog any longer, and is starting to get arthritic.   In order for her to be more comfortable, I went out and purchased a dog bed for her.   Hah.   She doesn’t really like it, and only lies on it when bidden to, just in order to make me happy, it appears.

THIS IS MY BED

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“Maybe you should just go outside and sleep in your doghouse.”

It really is a very fun little book.   Anyone who has ever been owned by a cat will recognize every single attitude expressed within.

Thank you Peggy, for this positively entertaining little volume.

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Last time I talked about the quilt here on the blog, it wasn’t quite done.   Well, it is totally pieced now, and at the quilter.   This stage has been promised to be done in the first half of December, which would still give me time to put the binding on it.   Right now, while I am waiting for the quilting to be finished, I am working on matching pillow cases.

At any rate, this is the portrait of the finished quilt.

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Here is a small detail picture that gives you a better idea of the fabrics.   The star fabric is quite magical, and doesn’t photograph worth beans.  The stars are printed on the fabric in a holographic ink, so they are iridescent when the angle of view changes.   Really cool.

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I mentioned being visited by Twylla Alexander, the woman who walked my labyrinth.    She has posted about that on her own blog, the link to her post is highlighted.   There is a picture of me in the labyrinth and a couple of shots of it in her post.   She was so kind.  She brought me a quite beautiful rock collected near the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, plus a few shells from Auke Bay.

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The yesterday, one of my clients brought me a rock she picked up at the Crazy Horse memorial.   They have a pile of rubble from the blasting near the museum exit for people to help themselves.    This is truly an outstanding piece of granite.   I have included a close up so you can see how beautiful it really is.

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I truly have to be one of the most unique massage therapists in existence.   I absolutely love rocks, and all my clients know this.   This is not the first gift of a rock I have received from a client, nor will it be the last, I suspect.   They all know that I am happy to receive a rock as a Christmas present.   As a matter of fact, the following wonderful fossil is in a head sized rock that one of my dear clients gave me as a Christmas present last year, much to the amazement of her son.

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We are no stranger to granite around here.   On our recent trip to Washington and Alaska,  Jim and it had a road trip day to Whidbey Island (north of Seattle).  There we walked on the beach near Fort Casey and collected several pieces of beach polished rock there.   Lots of different kinds of granite around Puget Sound.

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This is not a new rock, I’ve had it several years.  But I always enjoy this little smiling caricature that lives in with my plants near the front door.

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I have to report that the three animals have consolidated themselves into a family.   Impy and Mallory have been discovered sleeping together on my leather arm chair.

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This is about the third shot, which is why neither of them is actually sleeping.  Incidentally, I believe that this arm chair is the epitome of “distressed” leather.   Its condition distresses me.   The patch behind Impy’s head is a spot where there was a small hole which was exceedingly exciting for a small kitten because it had white stuffing protruding from it.   Not only did she enlarge the hole, but she strewed stuffing all over the living room.   The patch is glued on, and almost matches…   Someday I will achieve new furniture.  Maybe.

Sometimes Mallory decides to “own” Ruby’s toys, much to Ruby’s dismay.    She almost seems to be saying, “Why did we have to get this cat, tell me again?”  in this photo.

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I’d say that fall is pretty much over here in the Ozarks, as we have had several below freezing mornings here.   Most of the leaves are on the ground, and most of the ones here at The Havens have been gathered up and put into the mulching container.   I spent a productive day a few days ago running the compost grinder, grinding up the years accumulation of bark and twigs and garden clippings.   I have a pile of ground plant material that is more than a cubic yard that I need to move into the mulch container along with the leaves.   But that will not happen before my back gets over the grinding operation….

Meanwhile, I had a couple of really nice seasonal shots that I haven’t posted yet.   This was how the maple by the pond looked a couple of weeks ago.

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When I walked down to the Big Piney River, I got a wonderful shot of the bluff with the trees turning.   I didn’t feel it was appropriate to include in the Trash Report, for some reason.

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I guess this is as good a place as any to close this post.

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I’m pretty sure that most of us are far too young to remember the Perils of Pauline, a movie serial circa 1933 that involved the adventures of an intrepid young lady named Pauline.  I don’t remember this, but my mother does, and she used to mention this series rather fondly.

Mother was not that old in 1933, but I imagine that the Perils of Pauline circulated around for several years after the first iteration.  It wasn’t like that had that many movies back then.  Anyway, apocryphal or not, my mother used to tell us that she would save the nickel that her mother gave her every day for the trolley fare to get to school by walking instead.   Then on Saturday she would have enough money to go to the movie theater and see the next episode of the Perils of Pauline.

Imagine.   There was a trolley that she could ride to school on, and it only cost a nickel.   There was no school bus to pick the kids up!  They were expected to walk, ride their bikes or take the public transit.    My, my, my!   How did they survive to adulthood and reproduce themselves?

We are planning on a vacation to California in the fairly near future; going to get our Pacific Ocean fix, finally.   One of my friends said she was willing to look after Ruby while we were gone, and in order for Ruby to have met this person’s dog and be familiar with her place before the actual babysitting, we thought we should get together a few times at her place.   So on Friday, after I had done my morning chores and practiced Qi Gong with my buddy, I loaded up Ruby and got on the Interstate to go see Rena.

We hadn’t gotten very far, only a few miles outside of town, when all of a sudden my truck began to act like a stubborn mule, jinking and pulling to the right, and thumping alarmingly, dragging its heels (so to speak).   “Oh hell,” I thought to myself.   “I have had a blowout.”   I applied my attention to getting the recalcitrant vehicle safely to the edge of the pavement and out of the way of traffic, and sat there for a moment, feeling the high winds of the passing semi trucks buffet my little pickup truck as I allowed my heart rate to slow a trifle.

I watched the traffic behind me through my rear view mirror, and when there was a break I descended from my steed and went back to assess the right rear tire.

I assessed the lug nuts, which were rusted in place, and looked at the spare tire, which was suspended under the truck by some arcane device whose operation I was not familiar with.  I realized that I was not going to be capable of just changing the tire myself, assuming that the spare tire had any air in it….  I kicked myself about a little, remembering my father’s dictum that one should be familiar with the boring details of the vehicle one is driving so one can deal with minor difficulties such as changing a tire.

After I beat myself up a bit, I assessed the rest of the situation.  No cell phone with me.  I had left it at home since it had no minutes left on it.   No water.   No hat.   No air conditioning in the vehicle.    I was about 4 miles from town, I judged, and from there it was another 3 miles of street to get home.   I figured I could walk 7 miles, no problem.

So I put the leash on Ruby, locked the truck, grabbed my purse and strode away from the freeway to the frontage road and proceeded to walk towards town.

Ruby thought this was the most stupid walk we had ever taken.    It wasn’t interesting at all, since she had to stay on the leash due to traffic considerations.    I wanted her to heel properly, but she insisted on walking almost directly behind me and to the right, basically walking the white line that delineates the shoulder.    It took me a while, but after observing her, I realized she was trying to walk in my shadow, to maximize the shade available.

This was pretty difficult to accomplish, since it was just after noon and my shadow was not very big.    It was hot, too, about 94º,  and the pavement was radiating at us.   After we had walked a couple of miles, there was a big farm pond down at the bottom of a hill to our left, so I took her down there and she had a nice cool off, swimming about in the clean water.   Afterwards, we continued our promenade.

I had already ascertained that no one was willing to pick up an older woman hitchhiking with a dog, and after the dog became wet they were even less inclined.    I have to admit I overestimated my stamina, and Ruby was certainly suffering from the heat.   We had covered about half the distance home, and  I knew it was going to be an ordeal to walk the whole way, so when we got to a local geothermal heating purveyor, I stopped in and asked to borrow their phone.   The lady looked askance, but charitably allowed my my one phone call.   I was able to get through to a friend, and she came and gave me a lift home.

When Jim got home, he immediately wanted to know where the truck was.    So I told him.   We unloaded the groceries, and were going to share a beer before going to deal with the situation, but I hadn’t even finished putting away the canned goods when he called around the corner,  “We had better get out there and get that tire changed right now.   There’s a line of storms coming.”

We hastened to the location where the truck was still patiently waiting.   At this point I realized my decision to not to try to change the tire was the correct one.  He had to use considerable force to free the lug nuts, and once they were off it took a lot of beating and hammering and prying, none of which I would have known where or how to do, to convince the wheel to release its death grip on the axle.   Apparently driving on the rim, even for a short distance, does some things to the trim of the wheel that are not necessarily good for it.

At any rate, we got the tire changed, there was air in the spare (not much, but enough to take us the four short miles to the nearest gas station).  We proceeded on our merry way home, and we were almost there when the storm hit.  It had a monsoon like intensity, with winds gusting to 70 mph (according to the weather service).  No hail where we were, thank goodness.    We got home, went in the house and started thinking about dinner.

The tornado sirens went off.   We corralled the cats and put them into containers for taking them to the tornado shelter.   Impy got the actual cat carrier, and Mallory was none too pleased to be unceremoniously bundled into one of our canvas duffle bags for the transfer.   Ruby was happy to be on her leash, we grabbed my purse, the jewelry box, the best dragons and headed out to the storm shelter to wait out the situation.

The tornado did some damage west of town but petered out before it got to the city.   We went back in the house and threw together some Leftover Soup from the contents of the refrigerator.

As we were sitting down to eat, Jim commented, “This has been pretty much a ‘Perils of Pauline’ afternoon for you, hasn’t it?”

I ruefully concurred, adding that I didn’t need another day like that for a while.

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In other news, I harvested my sweet potatoes.  Not a bad haul for 7 plants.

I went and spent a small amount of money and repopulated the whiskey barrels.

The fall hostas have recovered from their July sunburn, and are blooming furiously.

So are the sedums.

The local library finally obtained a copy of Hilary Mantel’s “Bring up the Bodies”, which I read with great enjoyment.   Then I went and acquired the first novel, “Wolf Hall”, and enjoyed that too.  I am awaiting with interest the final book  of the trilogy.   Meanwhile, I have become rather fascinated with the Virgin Queen, and am racing through a comprehensive biography of Elizabeth I.

Now, I really must get on with my day.   It is far from perilous today, a nice crisp end of summer sort of day without a cloud in the sky, and I have green manure to plant in the vegetable garden and the salad garden bed to prepare.  I also think I shall do something about mulching the front, which I have been giving short shrift to the last couple of years in favor of the Stroll Garden.

The day lilies out there are performing the plant version of being tied to the railroad track with the train coming around the curve, and I think I should rescue them.

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Last night I took Ruby for her walk after dinner, as the sun was going down.   As my feet wandered the paths we usually follow, my mind wandered its own paths.

What was uppermost in my mind at the beginning of our perambulation was the delightful repast I had just enjoyed.   Our patch of leeks is just now coming into its own, so Jim pulled a few and made a rather wonderful dish that involves braising the leeks in wine with herbs, adding chopped up prosciutto to that, and tossing it with pasta.   Since we have entered so deeply into the slow food movement, we not only grow a lot of what we eat (which is the epitome of slowness, really), but we no longer buy noodles and pasta.   Jim made some lovely fresh noodles for the pasta part of the dish.   It was positively delicious, and probably quite good for us too.

So my mind wandered over to the leek patch as I walked along.  I mused on the irony of leeks, so easy to grow really.   Leeks are a crop that is reputed to be a cool weather staple, capable of waiting for your attentions out in the garden during the cold of winter.   And yet, apparently, they are totally heat and drought hardy as well, for while our leeks do have a lot of burned leaf tips on the outside of the plants, the inner parts are as green and tender and succulent as anyone could desire from a leek.

Ah, I notice a spot of unnatural blue on the path ahead of me.   It turns out to be the label from a plastic water bottle and I note to myself in passing that no doubt I shall find the water bottle discarded up ahead sometime during my walk.   I pick it up, and a cigarette butt that rests nearby, and continue on my way.   I wonder about the people who so casually defile the home of the wild creatures I hear about me.  An armadillo rustles busily off to my right, just over the edge of the slope into the sinkhole.   When the leaves fall and there has been a frost, I will have to go down in there and pick up the trash that has blown into the depression during the summer.

A red tail hawk rasps out its high wailing call above me, and this brings to mind the visitor we had during our breakfast.   We were sitting at the table enjoying the applesauce pancakes I had made, when all the little birds in the yard disappeared into thin air as a large bird landed on the fence.   It was an immature red tailed hawk, still in its youthful plumage with barred tail and speckled breast.   It looked about, seeming almost confused.   But it wasn’t.  It was looking at the bird bath, and after a suitable period for checking the area for threats and planning its landing pattern, it swooped down to the basin full of water.

You know, my birdbath is not really a small bath, there is plenty of room for two or three grackles to bathe in a gang, several dozen bees can drink from the rim at once, half a dozen finches have plenty of room to share the rim.   Suddenly, the bird bath looked very small indeed.   The hawk contemplated the water surface for a while, then hopped down into the water.    The area was too constrained for the bath it clearly desired, and after it had been soaking its feet for a few moments, a cheeky cardinal landed in the elm tree above it and started scolding it from the safety of the stockade of branches.   The hawk gave up on the idea of ablutions and  flew off, back over the fence and into the field behind us.

As I continued walking, I wondered how big a basin a hawk like that would like for a good bath.   I thought perhaps a kiddie wading pool might be just the right size.  Would it want it raised above the ground the way the little birds like their baths?   Or would a pool built into the ground be okay?    I want a fountain associated with the pergola; a proper hawk sized bird bath could be incorporated into that plan.

I rounded the corner of the path towards the back of the conservation area, and sure enough, the empty water bottle that belongs to the label I found earlier was lying there.   I pick it up, and remove the lid.    The light plastic rolls neatly into a tiny bundle, I replace the lid and put it in my pocket along with the label, wondering why some people find a full water bottle so easy to carry but not one that is empty.

My mind churned on as I watched the sun sink slowly down to the horizon.  There were no clouds to interfere with the colors it was producing.   First the sky was a pure lemon color, then it faded to apricot.   Later on a peachy hue emerged, quickly brightening to tangerine and finally as the sun went down it turned the brilliant red of a blood orange.    Odd, I thought to myself, how all my colors seemed to be associated with fruit today.

I was watching the nearly full moon at the same time I was watching the sun set.    It is the second full moon of the month, so it will be a “blue moon”.   Far from looking blue, it almost seemed to be reflecting back the sunset colors, looking almost apricot to me.   I thought about the article I read about visual perception, rods and cones, and how at the peripheral vision you can really only perceive black and white but your brain fills in the colors it “knows” are supposed to be there.    I framed the moon away from all the other information with my hands, and suddenly I could see it again as it truly was, white/silver and serene in the sky, slowly brightening as the day light faded.

A movement high in the sky near the moon caught my eye.   A red tail hawk hovered in the thermal, fluttering its wings gently to hold position as it surveyed the field below, hoping for an unwary rabbit or a meadow vole to round out the day’s hunt.   I stopped and watched.   A bat flew past, early riser.   I hoped perhaps the great horned owl would join it, but she didn’t.  The night jars soared and dipped over the crown of the forest edge across the field from me, searching for their evening repast.  A flock of red winged blackbirds rose from the forest edge, their creaking voices silenced, exchanged for the thrum of their wings beating in unison as they headed purposefully for their night roost.

A helicopter suddenly roared to life over at the Armory.   Must be a training week for the National Guard, I thought to myself, as the black beast rose into the air.  The chopper sound threw me back into revery about all the times I have heard that sound.   What it must be like to live someplace like Iraq or Afghanistan and know that that sound presages gunfire or is a response to the bomb that exploded nearby.    “Apolcalypse Now”    The sounds of Viet Nam; for truly this helicopter that was disturbing the sylvan peace of my dog walk was an old surplus bird from that era.

That time in my life paraded through my mind.   Rick Jenkins, our star running back on our 8-man football team, come home to be buried in a black body bag, blown into little pieces by the land mine he stepped on.    John, the ex-Green Beret, who I met at a party I went to in Denver, who had the boa constrictor Horace and the bull snake Herman that I bought from him for $40 dollars (that included their cages), and brought home proudly to my mother.   He warned people when he met them that they should not come up behind him quietly and touch him; he was likely to take them to the floor.  At that party, I witnessed the effects of battle fatigue or PTSD when someone in the kitchen dropped a large pot, the clatter and bang was impressive.   I had been standing talking to John, I looked away towards the sound and when I turned back John was gone.   Confused, I looked around.    Someone called out,  “Oh, they just dropped some pots in the kitchen.  It’s okay, John.”  His head came up from behind the sofa where he had taken cover; sheepishly he emerged.   We all laughed at him, he laughed back.

I wonder where he is today?   Is he fine or is he dead of cancer caused by the Agent Orange he was liberally doused with during his tour?   Or is he one of the damaged homeless alcoholics littering the streets of our big cities, begging for sustenance?

And what about Tommie Smith, the Navajo indian who I wrote to faithfully during his tour?   How is he?   I wonder about him on a regular basis.   When he came home, we went out to a football game at the University of Colorado where he was exercising his veteran’s right to an education.   He rode his beautiful Harley up to our house to visit a couple of times.   Late at night, after I cleaned the floors and shake machines at the Red Barn where I worked, he would come by and we would sit on the curb outside the place after all the lights were out and talk and talk.   He finally came to me and told me he wasn’t going to come talk with me any more.  It wasn’t fair, I was too young and he knew too much, and besides he was afraid his family could never accept me the way my family accepted him.   I knew nothing about life on the reservation, which was where he was going when he finished school.   He would take his engineering degree and use it there.

I wonder where he is now?  Is he the engineer for one of their mining operations?   Or is he another of the dead too soon; or worse, a member of the walking dead substance addicted?   Or maybe a famous artist?    He had talent that way.   I sent him cookies, he sent me his soul committed to paper with ink.

And so my three and half miles pass, as Ruby becomes tired and hot and well walked.   We return to our home, I put the plastic bottle in my recycle bin, and do the dinner dishes that are waiting for me patiently.  Afterwards I look through my book of thoughts for the image Tommie sent me from Viet Nam, so I can share it with you, my dear friends.

And another day has passed into the past, possibly to be mused on in the future.

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The “To Do List” is a theme I have touched on previously in The Havens.   (I would provide a link here, but for some reason I can’t find any of the posts where I talk about my to do list.  Wordpress appears to be quite busy right now.)

It seems like a list of jobs one wants to accomplish in a day has much in common with a Star Wars novel:  it is pure fantasy.  Forthwith for your amusement I will provide you with a short fantasy to peruse:

If you pay attention while you look over my date book, you will see that there are short lists of things that I want to do that day optimistically posted.   The careful reader (with a magnifying glass) will  notice that there is a theme for the week:   Fleabane.    Fleabane appears every day, and every day fleabane does not get crossed off.

That is because the fleabane is still joyfully blooming in the daylily bed.

There should be another theme.   “Laundry” should appear every single day.  Every day that I do massage is a day I do laundry.

There are lots of things that I do every day that do not appear on my list.

Feeding the cats, for example.    That is something that I am not likely to forget to accomplish, given that both cats vociferously demand their breakfast beginning the second my feet hit the floor when I arise.   No matter that I need to visit the toilet before I do ANYTHING, my bladder has achieved “a certain age” and brooks no interference in the accomplishment of its duties!  The cats tell me all about how starving they are, how the situation vis-a-vis the food bowls is not satisfactory, blah de blah blah blah, and don’t shut up or stop trying to trip me until kibble hits the china.

Watering the potted plants is another daily chore.   While many of them do not need water every day, the African violets have to have their saucers refreshed daily and the outside potted plants require daily watering, especially on the hot dry days of summer.   No water, and they throw themselves in front of me crying out “Water, for the love of God, Water!” as I walk by them on my way to pick zucchini.

Yes, that is a daily task which one would do well not to neglect.   Otherwise, one finds that the squash have multiplied excessively and there will be one the size of a small crocodile lurking in the garden waiting to snap you up as you go by.

Anyway, I have lots of reasons why the fleabane has not been pulled out of the garden.   Mainly, that would be the kazillion mosquitoes that are residing back there. I’m waiting for them to starve to death.  Hopefully that will happen before the fleabane goes to seed.

Many of the jobs on my lists are not small jobs.  “Mow back yard” is a task that takes at least an hour, and that is getting only the area inside the privacy fence done.

Today, I got sucked into a job that I have been meaning to address for several months over a year quite some time now, and that would be reclaiming the path from the back door to the side gate.    I made a big mistake ten years ago, I allowed a small vinca plant that the birds planted in the area just to the east of my back door to grow.   I also allowed a goldenrod plant that blew in to grow as well.   I thought the flowers looked festive in the fall.

A couple of years ago, it seemed like the gravel path that serves the side gate was getting narrower and narrower.    When I was mowing the back yard the other day, I noticed that the gravel path had completely disappeared.   So I mowed the vegetation that was encroaching on it.    This morning as I exited the house on my way to deal with the fleabane, my attention was caught by the small garden by my back door.

Actually, those pictures were taken after I had been working for two hours beating back the vinca and the goldenrod.   The situation was much worse when I began.

Long ago, the area right next to the house was yielded to Ruby.   I call it “the foxholes.”  She digs pits which are nice and cool, lies in them during the hot part of the afternoon.   I didn’t have anything back there that she was going to spoil, so I figured “What the heck, let her have her spot.”   During the winter she has a sand pit to dig in, but during the summer her sand pit is covered up by the swimming pool.  Anyway, she thought the fact that I was digging back in her area was just peachy, and proceeded to “help” me.

Several hours later, I stopped for the day and went and cooled off in the pool.   I am not quite done with the job, but the area looks a LOT better now, and you can actually see that there is a path back there.

I guess the fleabane will be put on the list for tomorrow.   Maybe if that is the only thing I put on the list I’ll actually get it done.

Maybe.

The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglae  (or words to that effect).

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So a few days ago Jim was making chili colorado, and the first part of it was to bone the chuck roast he had thawed previously.   Ruby thought this was a terribly interesting activity.

She knows that eventually she will get the delectable bone, and is content to wait in the living room until delivery is imminent.   This is very convenient, because a large dog underfoot does not make kitchen work any easier.

Eventually, the bone was extracted, and the presentation was made.

Waiting for the photographer to get her shot was very difficult.   But eventually I managed to get a good image, and then — Nirvana.

She wasted no time in demolishing the tidbit.   Within fifteen minutes, all but the thickest portion was gone.   She chose to bury that part for further seasoning in her sand pile.

I’m not sure why sand makes a bone taste better unless it adds an interesting crunch.   Anyway, yesterday she excavated the last little nub and finished it off.

Yes, we spoil our dog.  She deserves it.

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