Saturday, July 10, 2010


We had another good soaking rain yesterday.  No complaints, the gardens needed it.  Pulling weeds after days of intense heat has been like plowing through concrete.  And it was a soft, easy rain.  No thunder or lightning, just a steady patter on the walkway and drive.  Milder temps today, too, (mid-80's) although July in Indiana is famous for it's humidity.  No disappointment there. 

Tobey and I went for a walk this morning and the air felt as if it had already wrapped around us.  We clung to the shady side of the road as much as we could, our shadows tucked tightly beneath us when we breached stretches of sun.

Funny thing about shadows, they change with the seasons.  I don't know if science bears this out, but I've noticed them changing since I was a kid.  They grow a bit longer around mid-September and in October, it almost seems as if they have a flavor-- sort of a spicy peppercorn taste.

By December, the shadows are long and thin and blue.  They resemble frostbit fingers and one gets a sense of numbness from them.  This is especially noticeable around the Solstice and very defined when there's snow on the ground. 

Another thing I started noticing as a kid is the number of days near or below zero degrees is in direct proportion to the number of days near or above 100 degrees.  As silly as it seems, I always thought it was the Universe's way of balancing things out. 

I found myself longing for those long September shadows this morning.  Not that I'm in a hurry to rush through summer-- just had a small wave of nostalgia tinged with the taste of peppercorn.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Spider Sat Down Besider Her

Hubby, upon leaving the bathroom:  "Is there a reason your loofah is outside the shower and on the floor?"
Me, in my low and logical voice"  "I used it to save a spider."
Hubby, in his married 30 years, no explanations needed voice: "Oh."

I don't kill bugs.  My husband knows it, our kids know it, most of our family and friends know it.  In fact, I actually go out of my way to save bugs.  

Three days ago, before cleaning the bathtub, I chased a spider around with a tissue for five minutes just so I wouldn't accidentally swoosh it down the drain.  Normally, I try to get the little buggers to climb onto a piece of paper or folded towel, but this fella was having none of that.  I carefully caught him in a cup of tissue and then set him free to wander outside.

A little extreme you think?  Perhaps.  But do we get crushed by a giant ogre whenever we get lost?

Painting the fence last week was horrible.  Not because of the 90 degree heat or 85% humidity, but because little critters kept hopping into the paint tray!!  Suicide by whitewash!  Devastating to watch!  And I was complicit..........

I accidentally squished a Daddy Longlegs recently, moving some wood in the garden.  The guilt still lingers.

When my daughter was in fourth grade, part of her science grade was contingent upon submitting a bug collection.  (OMG)  Yes, I'm the wacky mother who wrote a note asking she be excused from the assignment because of my beliefs.  Her teacher was very understanding.  She requested my daughter do a one page report on ten different bugs.  I guarantee Stac learned more about bugs by doing those reports than if she had hunted the poor creatures down and skewered their bodies to cardboard.

Three years later, when my son had the same teacher and the same assignment came home, a note was clipped to it.  "I remember.  Kevin can do the reports." 

I don't know if my kids kill bugs now.  They're all adults with homes of their own.  They follow their own consciences.  I do know they are lovely and caring people.  I hope, hope that still extends to bugs.

PS:   Okay, in full disclosure, I do kill mosquitoes and I put flea & tick medicine on the cat and dog. There's an assault rational at work in those instances.  

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Lightning

My mother believed summer lightning always helped her gardens grow.  It's the electricity in the air as much as the rain, she'd say.  My guess is, she was right.  We've had a 'passel' of summer storms this month-- over a foot of rain fell on Shelby County, all accompanied by incredible thunder and lightning displays. 

Windows rattled, downspouts gushed and more than a few small limbs hit the roof....  Tobey has established a permanent address under our bed....

and my sweetcorn stands a towering 7 feet, full of tassels.  The tomatoes and squash are doing much the same, not as tall, of course, but full of young fruit and blooms.

Unfortunately, my peas have drowned out.  The beans aren't fairing much better but may yet rally.  Both are planted in a low 'dip' and had to endure some standing water.  I've heard several farmers had to re-plant, a few planted three or more times, so I thought 'what the hay' and just re-planted myself. 

This has definitely been unusual  weather for June-- high temps during the day, thunder storms at night,
and once again, I've learned not to count my chickens.  All those garden-fresh peas and beans I had hoped to put up for winter may come from our farmer's market after all. 

This morning, Tobey crept from under the bed.  It's in the mid-70's, the sky is clear and blue and I've discovered weeds favor lightning as well.   


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Mead Moon

Summer Solstice has come and gone and Missy Moon has climbed high enough tonight to show us her lacy petticoat.  The "Mead Moon", or honey moon has turned full for lovers. Shakespeare wrote of this midsummer's night and I'd bet money Mab and her crew are dancing the light away.

I've always loved the Solstice-- summer or winter.  Just the word 'solstice' conjures antiquity, a time when we were so interconnected with nature, so intricately woven, rituals celebrated the effects.  However, the summer solstice is my favorite even though it's somewhat bittersweet.  It marks the tipping point for our longer days to toggle back toward winter, when the sun's arc swings low and away and we ride this big blue marble into woolly sweaters and the evening star arriving at 5:30pm.  Maybe it's just the kid in me, but there's just something magical about considering the 'longest day of the year', something mystical about the sun going down so close to bedtime. 

For now, though, that sweet, full moon drips its honeyed light into the woods and lightning bugs are playing 'slips' in the garden.  We have weeks and weeks of daylight and an equinox smack in the middle to soften the arctic blow. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Lovely, Albiet Unwelcomed Visitor

Well, it's late June and they have arrived, those iridescent copper-over-emerald cloisonne pests are visiting the gardens in droves!

It seems their culinary tastes have taken a more cosmopolitian turn over the past year.  They have developed a very keen liking to my Genovese Basil--  completely ignoring the Lemon, Cinnamon & Red Ruben varieties.  They've chewed through enough of one plant to make themselves a sizable amount of pesto....the buggers!!

Not only is my basil one of their culinary delights, but one of my crabapple trees seems to have been touted as the perfect light dessert on these hot summer days!  The poor thing is half skeletonized! 

Last week, CBS Sunday Morning profiled an artist whose medium of choice was insects, and most especially colorful beetles.  His creations were very exotic and absolutely gorgeous!  He made the comment he thought his studio might look like "God's Living Room" with elements from all creation skillfully arranged, mounted and displayed under glass.  It was facinating! 

I wish I had his studio's contact information.  I'd make him a really sweet deal on some drop dead gorgeous little


Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Language of Marriage

After 30 yrs of marital bliss, I think couples develop their own specific idioms. For example, when recent storms caused us to track more of the great outdoors in, my husband observed "oh, looks like we need to mop" which was immediately interpreted with a 2nd person POV.

And just so no impressions of chauvinism are left afoot, I responded, "Yes Dear, I see we do. We also need to clear away all those limbs that were knocked down and the cat left us a 'present' on the front porch. We need to clear that away, also."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Garden Earth

Yesterday evening, I was working in my garden-- pulled weeds, planted a bit more in hopes of a late-season greenbean harvest, and I noticed the soil was incredibly warm. I guess maybe it's never registered in my frontal lobe before just how warm the ground becomes under the sun all day. Of course, rationally, I know sun-warmed soil = growing plants but it has never been a conscious experience, never an 'in the now' moment. Have to tell ya, I just stood there for a bit with a pile of warm earth in my palm totally smitten. Yes, I'm sure there's a pill for what ails me regarding this, but I'm going to ignore it for a while...

Have a good one.....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Summer's Harbinger

Saw my first lightning bug last night, small yellow brightness blinking off and on in the dark pines. It looked like a small door opening and closing into a room filled with light.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Brave New World

One would think, the way I love to yammer on about all things interesting or not, that blogging would come as easily as breathing. Perhaps it will, however, for today this experience is a new world and this is my maiden post.

What a sorry little post it is, too. But it's a rainy Sunday afternoon and I'm fresh off the tilt-a-whirl of NaPoWriMo which means I've been writing a poem a day for the past 30 days.....uhhh.....let's call them 'first drafts', shall we? The things I've cranked out for the past 30 days barely resemble poems. Any-who, the toes are wet, they've now been properly dipped into the blogging pool and I'm off to change my socks.

Catch ya later!