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Seasons change [Aug. 26th, 2016|09:56 am]
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The cool dry evenings have faded and the dew point is back above 70℉. Back to being smothered with a wet pillow. On the last night with open window, i think i forgot to take my antihistamine. Yesterday, my head ached and i generally felt miserable. I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon.

Before giving up on the day, though, i went out to water at lunch time. I noticed that there are fewer of the "Rose of Sharon" Hibiscus syriacus blossoms. I'll see if it was the cool nights but i suspect that the summer show is shutting down. The crepe myrtles, butterfly bush, and pink magnolia all seem to continue as they have for weeks, though.

Roadsides have goldenrod and boneset as well as sunflowers. Queen Anne's lace seems curled up. I noticed some boneset just down the road from our drive: i will collect some seed for my septic field meadow. It's still most likely that if a yellow flutter catches my eye, it's one of the many tiger swallowtails that have had a population boom this year. Once though it's been a leaf from the tulip poplar. There goes another. I've noticed some American plane trees looking golden and some dogwoods with some bronzed leaves.

Leaf raking hadn't been an envisioned task, ever, but apparently it's pretty important for moss gardens.

The light seems to herald evening before i get off work.

Christine's grief from Mr M's death a year ago is refreshened: we will mark the day tomorrow.

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(no subject) [Aug. 24th, 2016|07:13 am]

When i read this i wonder a few things:

Would you agree that our world is in utter chaos and turmoil? When we watch the news, there is hardly anything good shown any more. Crime rates are at an all-time high. There is little respect for law enforcement. Teachers have little control in their classrooms. Political representatives are having a hard time agreeing on what is best for their constituents. We ask what we can do to make a difference.

Would reading the news and not watching help? (And what are the odds the author watches Fox?)

Is the comment that "there is little respect for law enforcement" a comment on race?

This morning i also read the first two stories in an investigative series entitled Deadly Force. The second story describes the deputies breaking into a woman's home to admit her inebriated tenant. My mind swirls with thoughts of gun rights and defending one's own home.

I'm listening to the anger and pain that Trump's campaign makes manifest, but with some bewilderment and what seem to me to be counter justifications. I remember  Lakoff's comments between the conventions this year: to frame the discussion in terms of freedoms and liberty.

Now to change focus, to the world i live in, so alive with joy. (I am so lucky, privileged). I think a hawk is arguing with the fish crows outside.

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(no subject) [Aug. 23rd, 2016|07:06 am]

Dry, dry dry! Dew point is 60 °F this morning! And it was cool enough last night that we opened the windows.

I had a couple of blues yesterday: insecurity with work (i'm missing an obvious "figure this out" target, yet there are high pressure issues coming from multiple directions), and a sense of overwhelm when looking at a tangle of dead and dying trees and honeysuckle vines. The slow clipping of the vines must come first, i guess.

I don't know if we have enough room to pile the small trees while we clear. They take up a great deal of room on their sides. This is why i was burning periodically. There's definitely more stuff that needs burning -- the vines, in particular. Looks like rain at the end of the month and i'll have fuel for a fire waiting for then.

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(no subject) [Aug. 22nd, 2016|06:46 am]

I am surprised and delighted with how quickly i attuned to working outside. Yesterday i spent a good while after meeting puttering about the yard: weeding to expose mosses, exterminating some Autumn Olive and a few lanky trees damaged by honeysuckle. Honeysuckle: what a bully! Plans now focus on renting this chipper of 6" diameters sometime in September to chew up all the brush i expect to be cutting down between now and then.

This morning i awoke before dawn and stepped out into the moonlight. Stars were clear overhead and it was cool, cooler than inside. A quick check of the weather and the dew point was below 70°! Oh my heavens, fall may come! There have been breezes, too. It's made me appreciate just how incredibly oppressive July was.

I am so drawn out: the birds had quite the chorus this morning and now, with the blinds up, i see a humming bird and have watched cardinals. The cats were delighted with the open windows.

Indeed, i sit here and, instead of writing, look out, thinking of all the projects: planting an orchard of understory trees to replace the Autumn Olive and feed the critters (native crab apple, persimmon, paw paw, chinquapin - Castanea pumila), planting old Southern apples, and a fig, and a pomegranate. Sunflowers, native varieties and cultured ones.....

Saturday we spent driving around the northern piedmont visiting Christine's family. As i watched the roadsides rush by, i thought of how my eyes have been retrained by looking for wildflowers in California. Joe Pye weed and goldenrods and some white flowered plant create a haze of color that i have always just called weeds. But there's our native wildflowers on parade. I imagine a border of those tall purple blossoms, the cloud of white and the shots of gold and all the butterflies one can dream of -- i'm probably spoiled as this summer has been the summer of the tiger swallowtail butterfly. I see a half dozen at a time fluttering across the yard.

I'm not spending hours identifying flowers or plants, developing photos, or imagining trips. I can walk right outside the door into my own preserve and get my fingers grubby.

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Procrastination [Aug. 16th, 2016|02:52 pm]

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(no subject) [Aug. 15th, 2016|01:20 pm]

I would like to be far more intentional about recording when i do what outside. Saturday i wanted to do some eradication of some high invasive grass, but my chosen location was in the sun. I ended up weeding the same invasive grass, but mown short, from a large expanse of moss. I'm realizing most of the green "lawn" is actually the invasive grass. We had afternoon plans, which included me actually touching the camera i am thinking about buying -- and i am now planning on buying. It's still not the "pro" level camera: while i hope some day to be pro, i am not yet. I think i can grow with this camera.

Yesterday i slept surprisingly late. I missed Meeting, and sat in waiting worship with Christine for a while in our living room. It was miserable outside. Still, i kept my appointment for a walk with my sister's family to hear someone in their neighborhood chat about lichens. Pleasant memory, but at the time i thought i was just going to dissolve. In the late afternoon i actually worked outside (since i was already in a state requiring a great deal of tidying up). I finally planted some plants i had "rescued" from the sale rack at Lowes. One has been lingering for weeks. I think it's still alive.

So, i now have a north to south area under various experimental treatments. Long description of a small area of the east yard.Collapse )
--== ∞ ==--

Meanwhile, it was a hard weekend on the elephant front. I need to think of sustainable practices for me.

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(no subject) [Aug. 11th, 2016|04:45 pm]

Great answer about the sealed crawlspaces


Of course, buried in there is the bad new$. The prices are ten years old. Maybe they're about the same -- real cost going down because it's more common countered by inflation?

Might do fans this year, if it's ever dry again.

--== ∞ ==--

In other news, my California dentist & her assistant would check me in, take xrays, inspect, and clean my teeth in 30 minutes. The new dentist plus assistant plus hygienist plus receptionist plus bill person took an hour an a half. No x-rays, but my gums were probed.

The dentist was impressed with the state of my mouth, which was a pleasant confirmation that the California dentist was really doing a good job. (The California dentist never probed my gums, so i always had a back of mind worry that my gums were in trouble.) Whitener advice was proffered by the new dentist, but gracefully dropped when i indicated i was OK with my (yellow) teeth.

--== ∞ ==--

The number of law firms that watched the local traffic ticket docket and offered their services by mail has now reached 5. I guess getting a lawyer is the sensible thing to do, but it feels like i'm gaming against justice when the lawyer is just "getting me off" and not talking to me about the details.

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(no subject) [Aug. 11th, 2016|07:29 am]
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The air conditioning was fixed yesterday morning, just in time. It was a cooler than usual night and we weren't so uncomfortable that we couldn't get through our usual evening and morning.

Yesterday after work i went out, clumsily hacked into tree and shrub trunks, and applied high concentrations of glyphosate to the wounds. I'd done some tests with autumn olive a few weeks ago, and it seems promising. I was delighted to find that the goats had girdled the mimosa and that it was quite dead. They'd done some trunk damage to the trees of heaven, but not enough. I do worry that there will be mimosa suckers for ages -- although maybe if we get the copper phosphate in the septic field that will be addressed.

In repairing the HVAC, Ken (the HVAC guy) noticed some other issues. He gave his advice, but i'm going to run it by my dad before acting on it. I also posted my thoughts to the county BBS. The county BBS certainly seems to have plenty of folks ready to dismiss liberals as the evil that is ruining the country. Then there's the right wing rumor machine at work: yesterday some one was pushing the theory that H Clinton is having transient small strokes. Nonetheless, i'm finding it fairly easy to filter the political noise from the neighborly signal. And for local politics, such as the preemptive zoning of the whole county, it is useful to read everyone's concerns.

So, before we bought our place in April, we had the sellers install a new condensation barrier in the crawlspace. Yesterday morning we had our HVAC friend out (heat pump had stopped due to a poor design of its condensation drain - again), and he noted that there was now condensation pooling on top of the barrier. He said he'd seen a lot of this recently, and the answer was sealing up the crawlspace instead of venting.

It seems to me that sealing up would be an amplifying choice: as long as it's dry, great, but if any moisture did get in, it would be harder to dry out. I suppose one could run a dehumidifier in the crawl space, but i'm not thrilled with yet another system to keep going.

Finding a way for pooled water to drain down through the moisture barrier seems like it would solve the current issue and still not allow much moisture to rise. Or maybe more effective venting? Some fan system? (Although that's another active system to maintain.)

I do like the hickory flooring, and i really hate mold.

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If it's not one thing, it's another [Aug. 9th, 2016|10:22 pm]
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Christine has taken steps to manage the elephants, so wrangling after stampedes may be easing again.

And then the air conditioning went out. Today was ok, though, as we kept shut up. I miss how it would cool off in the California evening. Tomorrow will be tough: hopefully the repair folks will be able to make it by 9:30.

One hen turkey and  ten teen turkeys were in the east yard today. Looked like they were vacuuming up bugs. I wish i knew how i could keep them at it. Apparently, "High-quality turkey habitat will support one bird per 30 acres or a flock of 18 to 20 turkeys per square mile." They can have all the black walnuts & hickory nuts they want. (Although how on earth can a turkey get into a hickory nut?)

I am really going to have to plant LOTS if i want any of whatever it is: i have lots of neighbors to share with.

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(no subject) [Aug. 8th, 2016|06:57 am]

Sunday morning: I keep wanting to go out in the cool of the morning to do yard work. This morning i note that it is 98% humidity, and the windows are frosted with condensation on the outside. It did dry up enough yesterday that i was able to apply Roundup to the "back yard." This is an area between the garage and the west side of the hose, wrapping around to the deck that is fenced in with a 4' high white (plastic) fence. It will be lovely for a dog some day -- and maybe even the cats. Currently the green weeds that grow in the area grow high and thick: hopefully i have put a stop to that. We'll put in a path this winter and plant grass for the spring. I might toss out winter rye or buckwheat if it looks too sad.

I've gotten to spend time with my sister's kids: they spent Friday morning here and then i took them to a mead festival to watch the knights, eat the crazy giant turkey legs (or, nibble at the outside of said legs), and visit the vendors. That was a pleasure, except for the damp enveloping heat. We came back to my home for desert and sodas before promptly returning them to my sister.

--== ∞ ==--

Monday morning: I actually stepped outside yesterday morning and it felt nice. We sat on the porch a bit and then i started some yard work and kept going for hours. There was digging, placing logs for the raised bed, weeding the edge of the logs on the "lawn" side of the logs so that only moss remained, and piling up of stuff to create a beginning of a hugelkultur bed. That's a raised bed that begins with a core of hardwood. We have hardwood! What we don't have is piles and piles of rotted compost or manure or any of the stuff layered on top of the logs. I have a start with sticks, branches, and a large chunk of a tree trunk that is part of the legacy from the previous owners. Some of their legacy manure went into that along with some stuff from the compost pile, then a thick pile of weeds -- it was pretty easy to get a great deal of green matter -- then the "turf," also known as chunks of red clay with grass. Later i went out and covered that with news paper. Eventually it will all silt into the gaps of the wood, but i think with out the paper one good downpour would wash it all away.

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Good grief. [Aug. 3rd, 2016|09:37 pm]
Left my laptop at my parents house.Didn't realize thatthe speed changed on the divided Hwy In the middle of nowhere: got a speeding ticket.

Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note5.

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(no subject) [Jul. 30th, 2016|10:03 pm]

Church sign somewhere between Sanford & Southern Pines: "Whom God Loves He Disciplines. Do you want God's Love?"

The first sentence is clearly Biblical: http://biblehub.com/hebrews/12-6.htm

However, the question right after....

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Morning, beginning out third month [Jul. 29th, 2016|04:28 am]

Something went "thunk" and woke me up. I checked my phone: 3:30 am and Mom's train is expected in Southern Pines miraculously on time. I did try to go back to sleep, and thought of painting the front porch ceiling the pale aqua blue of our new couch, and pondered what to paint the unfinished front steps and the faded concrete landing.

I can't remember what the house foundation is finished with: it must be a natural concrete plaster over the concrete block -- a blank canvas in my memory. The front porch is brick, i think. Oh, woe, skills of observation.

I also reflected on the apple catalog from  Century Farm Orchards. Yesterday, as we drove into town to get the car title transferred to this state, i read descriptions of antique apple varieties to Christine. Christine has an Aunt Rachel from the town the orchard is in, and there is an Aunt Rachel variety that is from Chatham County where we now live. That apple is first on our list. I am quite excited about these apples, and i pondered rootstocks - dwarf tree or no? And next to find a source for pecans and American persimmons and paw paws and where will i plant the blueberry bushes....

And will i fall back to sleep, ever?

I gave up. So, the first thing i noticed was the HVAC vent cover at the entrance to the bedroom had been lifted up from the vent.

This gives me all sorts of pause. There's my sister's and father's story of how a possum got caught in their crawlspace (when the families were living together). The possum chewed into the HVAC vents and was rattling along under the floors as it tried to escape.

There is no possum in the house, at least, not one the cats will tell me about.

Then there's the black racer (snake) that Christine saw slither through the vent under our bedroom window. No way a snake pushed that heavy register cover out of the way, but if i tell Christine about the possum story, she's going to go live at her sister's. Or, i dunno, some hermetically sealed hotel room. (Definitely not *my* sister's: my nephew is a constant source of snake stories.)

If i might have found some way back to sleep before, that vent register is going to keep me up.

I'm out on the screened in porch (76°F, 84% humidity). The waning crescent moon rose a couple hours ago, and there's a splash of moonlight at my feet. The moon is still behind the pines to the east: not much of a source of illumination. The bathroom nightlight escapes the western window to illuminate the white fence, and a bit more escapes our southern facing bedroom window. The office has a cold flickering firelight from the modem. Stars blaze.

Mainly i've heard a variety of singing insects: crickets? katydids? Last night we sat on the front porch and picked out a variety of songs, some surely the little tree frogs we keep seeing when we mow. (So distressing: hopefully they all escape our machine of death.) I just heard an owl in the distance. I check my file of owl calls -- sounds like a barred owl.  I can hear semis in the far distance, the occasional dog, our HVAC coming on. (Vent! Why was the vent cover off?!)

Yesterday, from our front window, i saw a pair of wild turkeys step carefully across the yard and into the woods. Later, a Carolina wren flitted on to the window screen, then about in the azalea with friends. In the mid afternoon i looked out and saw a doe stretching up to nibble on the mysterious and brutally pollarded fruit tree. A fawn danced by. The doe moved on to the Hibiscus syriacus (possibly var "Aphrodite") . Hey you, eat the Autumn Olive! They moved around the house as a second doe came in view. I changed windows and watched the fawn scamper to a third doe. They've eaten the buckwheat i planted as ground cover where the goats visited.

Definitely not the dwarf rootstock, i realize. We need something where some apples will eventually be out of the deer's reach -- although permaculture folks assert that you just plant a ring of daffodils around the tree and the deer will be repulsed. Ha! Look for a video of deer browsing on an apple tree with yellow daffodils among their hooves in coming years.

5:26 am bird song. One of the louder insects had stopped around ten minutes ago, and now i hear my first plane flying over.

We're still unpacking. We've arranged the bookshelves as a library in the area that, by the chandelier, was likely designed as a dining area. (The dining area in the kitchen fit us and my brother's family - that's good enough for us.) The office is getting more settled, and Christine seems to have managed sorting new bills, checks with the new address, and the car titles and such out: She's found a dentist and a doctor for us. I've attended Spring Meeting (North Carolina - FUM) twice and have found it quite comfortable. The programmed part of the worship isn't very programmed at all and they don't have a pastor. I should still visit the nearby meeting that is part of the North Carolina conservative yearly meeting, and i look forward to Spring Meeting's meeting for business in August. (They take July's Meeting for Business off.)

We're much more settled than we were a month ago, but we do feel the weariness of the dramatic shift over the past months. I found birthday cards from this March, and i touched them with a wave of very complicated feelings. When those cards arrived, i believed i had another spring to visit my beloved Panoche Hills, work and discernment to do in Palo Alto Friends Meeting, time to spend getting to know the new San Mateo office (and right, i was already worried about my feet and had sprained my ankle AGAIN). When i opened the cards, though, i was preoccupied with the decision at hand for Christine and I about the move.

Distant roosters crow and Mom's train is only 15 min late at this point, so i need to start my day. Thanks for sharing my stolen predawn hours with me.

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(no subject) [Jul. 27th, 2016|07:19 pm]
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Monday the elephants in the room were spooked into a stampede; yesterday was much unrest. I hope that there will be a lessening of distress today.

It's also miserable outside. There was a lovely drop in temperature as a storm came through, but by the time work was over, the tempts had regained ten degrees. I've really grown to appreciate doing things outside after work. It's just that even though it's five degrees cooler by 7 pm, the heat index was still 107 °F.

I went outside just before bed. Either it's too hot for the fireflies or they have all settled down: the light show has drawn to a close. The concert, though -- i wondered if it was louder than earlier this summer.  
I've just found several websites that may act as guides for me to sort through the katydids, crickets, and tree frogs that make up the massive chorus.

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(no subject) [Jul. 25th, 2016|07:14 am]

Yesterday i stayed home from Meeting (not able to interact with any more people), and indulged in tidying up reading lists while sitting in the screened in porch. (Do i spend more time on reading lists than reading long form works? Probably not but it felt that way.) There are, apparently, two types of crow in the eastern US: the Fish Crow and American Crow. Their calls are somewhat different, and sitting on the porch i became aware we were surrounded, with Fish Crows calling from the tops of pines. I don't think i documented the first time we identified Fish Crows in the area. I'd like to make friends with the flock -- but i'm not sure future gardening efforts would thank me.

My other indulgence for the day was investigating apples for our yard. I am excited to have found
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Yesterday i stayed home from Meeting (not able to interact with any more people), and indulged in tidying up reading lists while sitting in the screened in porch. (Do i spend more time on reading lists than reading long form works? Probably not but it felt that way.) There are, apparently, two types of crow in the eastern US: the Fish Crow and American Crow. Their calls are somewhat different, and sitting on the porch i became aware we were surrounded, with Fish Crows calling from the tops of pines. I don't think i documented the first time we identified Fish Crows in the area. I'd like to make friends with the flock -- but i'm not sure future gardening efforts would thank me.

My other indulgence for the day was investigating apples for our yard. I am excited to have found <a href="http://www.centuryfarmorchards.com/'>Century Farm Orchards</a>. I'd asked Christine what fruit she'd like us to have and she chose apples and figs -- because there are links to her family names. The "apple" side of her family is from Reidsville -- the same place as these apple trees. I can't imagine a better source for us.

Next is to find a good fig vendor.

I also set up the "green house" -- a four shelf rack that has a plastic jacket. No need for the plastic right now! The set up was like tinker-toys: i am not impressed with the quality. It provided the impetus to begin using cardboard boxes to smother the "grass" in the "back yard" -- the fenced in area that wraps from the edge of the deck around the western exposure to the garage. Christine is quite distressed by snakes, and it's been in that area that she found the three foot long shed and then saw the snake. It's been ID'ed as a black racer -- a very good snake! -- but she witnessed it going under the house through a gap in the vent screen. That put nuking the back yard and planting a proper lawn high on my list. One monoculture, coming up.

<div align="right"><span style="font-size: smaller;">This is also posted at http://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/615356.html .</span></div>
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(no subject) [Jul. 23rd, 2016|11:15 am]
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One last family event with the four year old who talks at the top of her lungs is ahead. It's at a loud Mexican restaurant, so i suppose i won't notice.

My other niece, E, is at her wits end. At one point this morning, my brother tried to dismiss his loud child to go play with E, and i caught the look in E's eyes. Too sweet by half to cry out, "What fresh hell is this?" I suggested that perhaps E had other plans. A little relief crossed into E's eyes, but i suspect she won't be at ease until S is on her way to Tampa to visit with my 99 year old grandmother.

Regrettably for the beginning of a many hour drive, my father is quite stressed. His mother's third husband (younger than his mother) has some worsening health issues, and my father wants to ensure his mother is not in a care taker role. (They still live on their own.) I hope all goes well for my dad on this trip, and that perhaps he can encourage them to move into an assisted living situation. He'll be sending Mom home early, and i'll be picking her up from the train station. With my own experience last year, i know to prepare for the delay.

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(no subject) [Jul. 21st, 2016|12:47 pm]
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I did ponder how much this move was going to create less time in my life. time sinksCollapse )

--== ∞ ==--

This week my brother's family is visiting. Read more...Collapse )After dinner, the boys went to play XBox and I took niece S to visit Edward, the one cat not in hiding.

four year old vs cat!Collapse )

--== ∞ ==--

Christine managed her spoons very carefully in California. Read more...Collapse )

--== ∞ ==--

I had a headache yesterday Read more...Collapse )

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High school meme [Jul. 14th, 2016|12:33 pm]
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Um, no, i'm not doing the high school meme Q & A, but others' participation leads me to note that this weekend is the 30th reunion of my high school class. It's Christine's high school class, too. In fact, it is hers so than mine as i only attended the school i graduated from for three semesters. We actually attended the senior prom together. I remember when filling out a "How to stay in touch" card my senior year, i gave Christine's family as a back up address. The person right ahead of me in the alphabet rolled their eyes and indicated how unlikely it would be that it would still be useful. Of course, neither of us foresaw that we would be organizing reunions by email, so, there's that.

I'm not sure i could drive when i graduated. Maybe just? I had taken the driving class at high school #1, with a student driver license from South Carolina. My folks never had time for practicing with me, so it took a long time for me to be delivered to the North Carolina DMV to get another student license. I did what they asked me to, and the NC DMV gave me a full blown license. I was horrified. My parents responded with delight and let me loose on the road in a Chevy Suburban.

It's a miracle no people were harmed. The Suburban took a bit of a beating.

I spent my teen years in books: probably would be more appropriate for me to reread all the Elric of Melniboné books than go to a reunion. We're definitely not going, as Christine and the organizers had a back and forth that ended with her being disgusted at their unwillingness to do anything to raise HB2 issues.

Well, instead, the local Independent weekly has an interview with Christine and her sister this week: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/a-transgender-woman-comes-out-and-reshapes-her-north-carolina-family/Content?oid=5050646 So there's THAT.

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(no subject) [Jul. 9th, 2016|02:10 pm]

I'm not sure just why everything seems so full -- i suppose having family near does create more events than while we were in California. It just seems i didn't get out to the yard this past week, yet my time disappeared. Christine notes that she thinks we are still tired: and we probably are. During the work days, i find myself drinking more coffee than i used to.

It was a short week, with a couple hours at my parents with my sister's family on the fourth and Thursday night in Chapel Hill celebrating my sister in law's birthday. The book reading we attended, from a novel about a woman who was raped and her journey for justice, was not really birthday celebration material. It was good to see a man, in this case an octogenarian retired family doctor, stand up and say this is something men need to work on.

A black friend who attends my California meeting sent a brief email about whiteness. Thinking about how i felt about the novelist -- i tell myself i will speak to my two black colleagues about the violence last week and how wrong it is. What were the things the Latinx LGBTQI communities wanted to hear after Orlando? Can i do that?

Today i went out to the farmer's market near the co-op, stopping to pick up cheese biscuits from Bojangle's for breakfast. After breakfast, i went outside and puttered in the yard, trying to keep to the shade. I discovered that one of the crepe myrtles had some sort of delicate white flower planted underneath it -- sort of like a miniature hyacinth? I weeded all the "grass" and the stilt grass from around the tree, leaving a large patch of moss, the mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica, sigh, nonnative) the lovely little flowers, and some clumps of a rush-like plant.

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Partial post written this weekend. [Jul. 6th, 2016|08:57 am]

Goats have gone: we had them here through mid-morning on Friday. Christine fell a little in love with them, niece and nephew adored them, sister plans to enroll her kids in 4H so they can raise kids. I have five pounds of buckwheat seed to broadcast as ground cover, weed suppressant, green "manure."

In Tree-of-heaven news the goats ate the bark off half one of the trees, but didn't girdle it as well as they went after one of the tulip poplars. A chainsaw purchase is tempting, although we have various family members offering to loan theirs. Christine's sister's husband says we can keep his for him: would that make us Chainsaw Godmothers? (We think that would be a great name for a band.)

Also, in tree-of-heaven news, several of the trees of heaven ARE NOT. They are hickory or, as one of the streets on the way to my sister's reminds me, mockernut. The green nuts under the tree were a giveaway.

I think i've been fighting off some summer cold, although "Did i inhale bits of poison ivy?" and "Hmm, i haven't been taking my iron and asthma inhaler" have presented as potential counters. We've had power outages: Wednesday evening we lost power and didn't get it back until midday on Thursday.

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Filling the form exercise [Jul. 5th, 2016|07:40 am]
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Take the list or similar, and quickly dash off three small things in each area that can be done to improve your quality of being. Then set aside. Repeat the process some time later (a quarter? "ten week" period?) and then review the previous one. Tag taw@w & ftf

I initially used the old list, but it didn't seem to answer. I could fill it out, but the focus -- a whole set on wardrobe? -- didn't seem quite right. So, instead of tweaking, i created one from scratch. I suppose there is a value in going through every room and asking what three small things can be done to make it better, but physically doing that and not scribbling a list seems like the habit to try.

1. health and appearance (eg: wardrobe)
* doctor appointment - the bite/rash that has been there a month, refills
* dental cleaning time
* ankle exercises

2. creativity, reading, entertainments
* find time to listen to audio book other than when picking up pine cones
* get yarn work in living room and do while watching (may need lamp solution)

3. spiritual growth
* back to meeting
* Worship on the occasion of weeding?
* altar space?

4. relationships with friends & family
5. working environment, growth (front room & office)
* Sit stand for front room
* claim the cable tubes for the office desk
* surge protectors...

6. the solution
* inat habits
* morning time in the yard -- how that and work?

7. cooking & eating
* any not-yuppie farmers markets? https://growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu/growingsmallfarms-chathammarkets/ Hmm.

8. living spaces (inc vehicles)
* why has the battery light turned on in the Scion?
* move bookshelves
* unpacking

9. errands, paperwork, chores
* make use of lunch break more

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Month One in North Carolina [Jun. 27th, 2016|11:25 am]
It wasn't a plan to celebrate our first month with goats, nor was it a
plan to not keep in touch (I'm BCCing this to family and friends, some
who only know of our move through others).

We had truck trouble in Missouri, and once the truck trouble was
repaired i just wanted to get HOME. So we drove all day and trough the
night to arrive just after 5 in the morning. Moon above, dawn claiming
the sky, the murmur of night insects giving way to bird song: it was a
magical moment to arrive. The first creature to greet us was a toad in
the driveway.

Settling in has taken time: our household effects took ten days to catch
up with us, the bedroom suite didn't fully arrive until the 20th, and
the new love seat just made it last Friday. Mostly though, we've been
doing yard work. It's a lush time here in North Carolina, and the
previous owners had not been much for keeping the landscape checked.
With in the first day I'd confronted four invasive species doing what
they do best in the area of most significant concern: the drain field
for the septic system.

We have spent much time at Lowes (only five minutes away, thank
heavens!). Loppers, weed whackers, mower, machete: tools to fight stilt
grass, honeysuckle, autumn olive, and tree of heaven. I've gotten more
exercise in the past month than the past two years it seems: mowing the
eastern yard puts five miles on the pedometer. In looking for land
clearing in Chatham county, i'd run across the web page for The Goat
Squad (http://goatsquad.com/). We called the first week -- heard
nothing, and we had essentially given up when we heard from the Squad on
Wednesday. Yes! we wanted their help, and they arrived on Sunday.

100 goat hours of Goats as a Service (GaaS, clearing the entanglements
from your enterprise.... Apparently, we've brought Silicon Valley humor
with us) created the in-progress image above the before. (That's just
the first 5 hours of the three full days they'll stay with us.)

Christine and I went out last night under the last gloamings of
twilight. The goats eating in the woods sound like the crackling of a
camp fire, snapping of branches and the crackling as they eat branches
and vines. Fireflies twinkled around us, and the first stars appeared.
As we stood arm in arm watching and listening, a toad hopped out of the
fenced area. The same toad? It made its way to a large rock and tried to
free climb the big flat face that the fencing guys had turned up earlier
in the day. It tried a couple of times before we left it to make its way
in peace (and after we considered Christine as sherpa to free climbing

We love it here, love the peace and the bird song, the deer visits. The
humidity isn't so great, but the lush green is delightful. If you don't
hear from us, imagine us mowing and trimming and cutting branches and
burning the tree that fell in the storm and the invasive trees and brush
and finding little native plants like the Pipsissewa and celebrating the
tulip poplars and elms and oaks and maples and the tall yellow pines.
There's a hickory out there for me to find....

Take care,

[elaine] and christine of C----wood

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(no subject) [Jun. 26th, 2016|07:50 am]
I dunno about the UK, but the block of voters in the US that i think most resemble the Leave voters would be all, "You can't make us leave, hell no we won't go," in response to news such as

FRANCE has told Britain to appoint a new prime minister within “a few days” and to immediately quit the EU by soon triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

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(no subject) [Jun. 22nd, 2016|09:33 pm]
Theoretically, i slept better last night. The alarm application on my phone has added some sleep monitoring functionality. I have doubts as to how accurate these tools can be.

I probably have a good deal of rest to catch up on.

--== ∞ ==--

The Goat Squad called. We will have an estimate tomorrow. Huzzah!

Meanwhile, mowing the eastern yard took 5 miles of walking.

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(no subject) [Jun. 21st, 2016|06:43 am]

The year turns: Christine and i were married on a full moon winter solstice. The full moon summer solstice seems to mark the new chapter of our life together, with our 25th anniversary this winter and our return to NC (which i had left before i was married).

I'd hoped to feel ready for a ritual of some sort, but the ritual was a gathering for father's day.

We did make more progress clearing the way around the perimeter of the house. The perimeter is a bit hard to define: while the walls of the house are all mostly clear of plants, the way the back area is set up is a bit odd to me. When you come around the garage, you encounter a white (plastic) fence. If you enter into the fenced area you proceed around the garage, the west side of the house, begin going around the south side, climb the steps to the deck (maybe 2-3 foot off ground-level) ... and then you can go into the house, but not any further around -- the deck doesn't have an exit to the south.

Beyond the white fence, though, is jungle. Christine weed whacked on Saturday, giving me access to two crepe myrtles that needed pruning and dead wood removal and then to a corner which was overgrown with grape and honeysuckle. I took out two small trees that were significantly smothered. I am sad that one was an oak: I've only seen a few rather young white oaks. The other was a sweetgum (liquidamber) which grow like weeds. I've only started on the jungle there.

There were some elephant issues to deal with on Sunday; yesterday i was out of sorts -- probably lack of sleep. I'm hoping i begin to sleep better (ie: the cats are more settled).

Last evening though, oh -- i itch. Flea bites or chiggers/red bugs? I might have gotten the fleas at my sister's, and i might have walked around outside in sandals and a dress this weekend. I just ordered something with lidocaine in it in hopes of easing the discomfort, but i'll take another antihistamine today and tomorrow to cope. (Due to all my other skin conditions -- psoriasis and eczema -- an itch response triggers a cascade of discomforts.)

I found a way to pay the deer back for nibbling behind the house: i bought them a salt block. Unfortunately, the deer decided that the gladioli were a delicious evening desert. Lesson: pick them for inside as soon as they are blooming.

We now have a fully assembled bed and bedroom furniture AND a fully assembled guest room bed. We also have figured out an initial furniture arrangement for the office: i think this might help me begin to feel a little settled. We also have a tentative plan for the library, and we ordered a love seat (a muted and pale sea green-blue) on Sunday. Our next step is to pick out fabric samples from Cabinfield to compliment the love seat, and we will order a test mission-style recliner. Hopefully they are as comfortable as the price point indicates, and we will get a second. (Risking the investment on two is something we aren't comfortable with. I'd rather risk not having dye lots on upholstery and the woodstain match.)

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Signs of a sort of settling in [Jun. 17th, 2016|11:56 am]

Monday we will have a real bed, not a full sized mattress sitting on king sized boxsprings on the floor.

In mid morning, the cats have fairly predictable sleeping locations. (Greycie Loo seems unwilling to give up sleeping under the covers. It seemed just a fear response to the move, but now that she knows how to burrow, she seems happy to do so for the midday snooze.)

I can make basic use of the appliances. (Still need to read up on how to use the programmable thermostat, the digital fridge, the multi-button oven and microwave.)

We have a plan for the office and the bookshelves.

We have mostly comfy seating, if eclectic.

We have a grocery store picked out and have learned our way around town for basics.

I'm avoiding the internet less.

I'm just beginning to have photography inspirations -- fireflies!

I might actually begin correspondence.

For my future reference, here"s the state of affairs.Collapse )

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(no subject) [Jun. 15th, 2016|07:44 pm]

What a glorious thunderstorm!

It was a little after seven when i stepped out on to the front porch to get a feel for the evening. Clouds were thick overhead and some of the LED lanterns had come on. I glanced over towards the woods and a doe stood there, staring at me. We gazed at each other a bit, fireflies drifting up from the grass, wind in the pines sounding like waves. I sat down in the rocking chair, hoping the doe would go back to grazing. Soon she stepped into the woods, looked out one time from the gloom, and then disappeared in the thickets.

i don't think i've mentioned all the wind chimes: the previous owners left MANY windchimes, to the point where one must make up stories about them. My story is that M--- bought them as gifts for wife G---. She worked in Durham, he was a cabinet maker and apparently worked at home. I imagine him seeing a new windchime at Lowes (because so much of what was left is from Lowes), bringing it home and installing it to surprise. She expressing pleasure -- but her pleasure is that she appreciates being thought of. She really doesn't like them at all. That's my explanation of why we have a dozen windchimes about the place.

I was worried they would make a racket day in and day out, but it was this evening, with the winds before the storm, that i first heard a faint ringing from the chimes. The roar of the wind in the pines -- most of the lot is yellow pines, probably long leaf or loblolly, easily 80 ft tall -- was like listening to the Pacific, and the winds set the trees into quite a sway.

I watch, ponder how far they can bend before breaking, recognize this isn't even a tropical storm. (The weather report, though, notes the front was moving at 25 mph.).

I came in from the front and went to the back covered porch. There was a terrific downpour for a while, a thick spray creating a white haze above the roof, the visibility across the yard reduced. Rolls of thunder, lightning.

And as i've written, the sunset must be hitting a high thunderhead: we are in a golden gloom with a heavy, constant rain falling.

This is something i've so missed on the west coast.

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Pills [Jun. 13th, 2016|04:23 pm]
Whoops, didn't post...

Yesterday [Sunday], i forgot to take my antidepressants. Since it was a day of rest, though, it seemed to have no down side as i wasn't put in much of a situation that might trigger the blues. By the end of the day though, my hands and wrists ached so. (I am finding it harder to disbelieve i have arthritis.) I wonder how much the antidepressants affect pain perception.

Today i feel weary, and realize i haven't taken my antihistamine in some days. Could the weary brain fog be from low level allergies?

Christine asks if the low is a reaction to the horrific news from Florida. I don't think so. Just as with other shootings i find myself with a much more intellectual than emotional reaction.

I think tonight will be a herbicide application evening to the horrible autumn olive. Rain is coming later in the week. I am not excited about better living through chemistry, but a first attack on this invader that grows at almost every boundary between wood and clearing will need to be forceful. Over time i hope just continued lopping can slowly starve the root systems that are not killed.

And then there's the oxeye daisy, judged invasive by a number of states. And by me: i don't remember seeing them on roadsides growing up and now i see a good number in the roadsides of the area. My sister saved two stands for us when she mowed. They're going to seed now. I dare not compost those flower heads!

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(no subject) [Jun. 12th, 2016|07:16 am]
This morning my attention is taken by

"There is the service of listening. The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. We desperately need the help that can come through listening to one another. We do not need to be trained psychoanalysts to be trained listeners. The most important requirements are compassion and patience."

Richard J. Foster from Celebration of Discipline 1978

Christine went off, i did some unpacking, went out to lunch with my folks, went to a book reading with Christine, and expect my sister and her family for the evening.


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(no subject) [Jun. 11th, 2016|07:49 pm]
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Today was spent driving back and forth.

First was to the dump and a stop at the thrift store (successfully finding a small bin for some of the recycling), and then a stop at the co-op for microbrews (to offer to my sister and her husband) and PBR for my dad. Christine purchased a card for her brother and the bagger forgot to bag it.

So there was the return to get the card.

Then, given various challenges in trying to flush sediment from my water heater there were several trips to the local big box hardware store (only five minutes away, thank heavens). My current conclusion is that the spigot on the heater is stripped. I've found a partial solution at Amazon, and will need to return to the big box store for a hose clamp (unless an appropriate one is lurking in the tool box).

Christine's elephants traveled with us and today was fraught with some elephant tending.

More youtube watching plans involve how tos on finding the distribution box of the septic tank and pouring copper sulfate in to kill roots that have invaded any septic lines.

I am resisting both an interview about HB2 with Christine & her filmmaker sister tomorrow morning and going to Meeting. I probably *ought* to go to Meeting, but i will go to worship outside, waiting and listening.

We've been here for two weeks and a few days -- and our stuff hasn't been here for a week yet. There's still no good rhythms yet. We're quite tired.

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