Sunday, April 26, 2009

Old and Talented is In!

Old, talented women may be in. Wouldn't that be fine.

As an over-50 (appearing to be over 40, which is the same thing) I am experiencing younger people looking right through me. It isn't that I'm frumpy; I try to look good in public. It's my age. Being young they aren't real good at seeing beyond the surface. God made 'em that way. I was that way too. I recall living in the city in my 20s and seeing an old woman sizing me up. "She would give whatever she has to be young like me again," I thought. Well, maybe not.

That British lady Susan Boyle isn't a cutie pie, but she has talent and now she has fans. I hazard that we are seeing a cultural shift here. Probably the Obama administration and its different values has something to do with it. Young and pretty or handsome is nice, but if we believe someone HAS to be that, we are dismissing a lot of warmth and talent. I resolve make an effort to look squarely and fairly at people.

Friday, April 24, 2009

First Hummingbird of 2009

This morning at eight, sittin on the porch drinkin tea, I hear a loud luscious buzzing that makes me look up at my feeder (new, glass and copper, real classy, from Dickey Bub's) is the first hummer of 2009. Just on time, too. In 2007 they also appeared on April 24. I remembered that and hung my nectar feeders last week.

This year with a tripod I may get some nice photos to share with yall.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Snake in the Bathroom

I moved here to live with the strange and pure forces of nature. Last night turned on the bathroom light and there's a blacksnake, about 7" long, sidewinding across the linoleum. Golly. Unexpected. I chose not to pick it up and take it outside. Who knows, it is young and may have been exploring all its options. This morning it's gone.

Worms & things like millipedes, caterpillars, crickets, and ants crawl in beneath my kitchen door because it's old and off kilter, and the bathroom's right near there, but outdoors is so wonderful now I can't imagine what the snake wanted in the house. (During drought periods, lizards & things will come inside looking for water.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bluebird Box Mystery Solved

A bluebird pair flitted back and forth and checked out my bluebird box. But they didn't settle. By now they should have lived there a month. But no.

I'd cleaned the box in early March but decided to take it down off the pole to see if a snake might be coiled in there (as there once was) or if it might be filled with thorny sticks, courtesy of a jealous house wren. As I picked the box off the pole I heard a faint buzzing.

Strange. I listened. More buzzing, like a very faint dial tone. If I'd been carrying a cellphone I would have thought that might be it.

Opened the box top and teased out a partially completed yellow-teacup bluebird nest -- topped by wads of tangly moss, still green. This I poked all apart, finding nothing.

Went and planted some spinach. Returned to spot and saw a fat, fuzzy, good-sized bumblebee dazedly crawling out of the moss, getting its bearings and then finally feeling good enough to lift off into the universe.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Everybody Sing:

Poor thing. Luckily I see this sight here only about once a year, in spring. Last time I met a live skunk -- the animal kind -- was 20 years ago in upstate New York.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Full Moon in Libra

Life here is so fun. I come home in my suit after 12 hours' work and see the full moon rising over the woods to the northeast. Run to get camera and tripod. Go out into the field & shoot photos for half an hour. Then have seven marshmallows for dinner. That's the way to wind down. I wish you had been with me. Maybe you'll be here for next full moon in Scorpio, and I'll obsessively make us addictive s'mores?

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Rain Barrel Solution

Well water is so darn hard it grays my skin and hair. Recent rains also made the water stinky. I thought, get a softener, a purifier. After spending the evening with Culligan et al., turns out that water gets softened by pumping it through salt, or, the "salt-free" alternative, potassium.

Laundry and dishwater here drain off the limestone cliff twenty foot down into The Secret Pond, right now chock-full of Spring Peepers, and I'll be dad-blamed if I'll salt and shrivel them and everything around them. Besides, there's no room for two tanks and 40-lb. bags of salt, and needless to say there ain't several thousand dollars.

I could get a counter-top water distiller if I had a countertop and lots of wattage to keep the thing steaming -- and if I wanted an all-year, 24-hour Turkish bathhouse in place of a kitchen.

Bottled water is a choice, but not for showers or laundry. Reverse osmosis is slow, and 4 or 5 gallons of water are wasted for every osmosis gallon you get.

Then I remembered my granddad in Park Falls, WI, in the early 1960s, had a rain barrel. I lined two 5-gallon paint buckets with trash bags and now after it's rained I have soft water, the old-fashioned way, to sponge off with or to stick my head into post-shampoo. Yeah, it's cold. But it's natural, cheap, and I aint no sissy.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Somethin Better Than That...

Beautiful day Saturday, took the camera out, and what did I see down by the creek but a wildflower I wait all year to see. This year's first bluebell (Mertensia virginica):

But then God said to me, I got something to show you that's better 'n' that.

Better 'n' that? I said.

So I walked through the woods for a few hours scouting for fungi. Didn't see none. Took a steep way back down, leading me to an unfamiliar backwater of LaBarque Creek. And what did I see there but a whole carpet of hundreds of bluebells. I couldn't believe my eyes:
But then God said to me, I got something better 'n' that.

I said, No way.

But I kept going; now I was headin t'home, when God put in front of me a bluebell that was blue and pink at the same time:

Top that! he said.