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E.G.

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(no subject) [Feb. 21st, 2017|06:47 am]
E.G.
I survived the day of the chipper with only more scratches on my arms and legs. And a thorn went through my glove and lodged in my thumb. And another thorn ripped my pants. Fie, autumn olive is quite the nemesis. And i felt a particular delight wrestling the fans of the large shrubs into the maw and watching it spray out the chips. I am delighted with the amount of chips we have to use. I put tarps, sheets, and the wagon in the way of the spray, and so had a full wagon to distribute yesterday evening. Getting more loads into the wagon will be less fun, but i am glad about the foresight of laying out the tarps.

They're not light.

Last night when i took Carrie out i could hear deer browsing about in the underbrush: three, i'm fairly sure. Carrie eventually barked in indignation, and the deer seemed not to care. Later i came back out, turned on the light, and called for Carrie -- this did cause a bit of crashing around. Deer are loud.

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Weekend Fire Starter [Feb. 18th, 2017|03:55 pm]
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I lingered a bit longer inside than i meant to Saturday morning. We're trying to let Carrie out of the front room at night, but in the wee hours of Saturday she slipped under the baby gate to make a raid on the kitty litter cabinet. Fortunately the cabinet doors made a sound to wake us as she tried to get in, so i was able to scoop her up and deposit her in the front room. Last night she seemed to stay on the couch all night.

I thought lingering might be a good idea, as it had gotten down to almost freezing last night. My suspicion was confirmed in the garage, as it was 40°F when i went out. But no, i had lingered too long because outside of the garage it was 60°F.

My great pile of brush went up in flames very quickly, no struggle getting it started. While it burnt i cut down a bunch of autumn olive and pulled down honeysuckle. There's now a tidy patch of woods beyond the screened in back porch. The honeysuckle is definitely greening up. I've found the young yet very long shoots of autumn olive flexible and have made a loose "fence" from the "whips" for the peas to climb. I am not making a super-tidy construct: i hope its irregularity is more charming than sloppy, in a wabi-sabi sort of way.

In the front, the pink saucer magnolia (Magnolia × soulangeana) is suddenly exposing lipstick pink buds. I'm sure they weren't there yesterday. I've forced some branches -- not as attractive as other forced branches, but they're what i have. The next ten days look terribly pleasant and mild. I don't suppose i can go shouting around "another month and a half till average last frost" to the plants. Instead, i have created a form to use to log the status of all the plants, in an attempt to capture first and last bloom dates, etc.

Today i ponder another fire on the other side of the house. There's also the annual meeting of the county history association, which is tempting. Monday is the chipper.

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(no subject) [Feb. 17th, 2017|09:02 am]
E.G.
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Yesterday we came back from a disappointing errand and i wandered the yard before returning in. While i was out, Christine let Carrie into the back yard. She was so excited, so i went to play with her and accidentally lobbed her toy out of the fenced area. I bet she'll stick with me to go get the toy, i thought.

Ha, so wrong.

That dog raced around the house multiple times, looping around in the cleared areas, sprinting like a horse. She lunges as she runs, both front legs extended out in front of her. She paused to look down the driveway, which Christine and i have been carefully treating as "not-yard". I was relieved when she just raced around some more, eventually racing into the back yard again.

--== ∞ ==--

Other animal drama includes Slugger and Louise, a pair of cardinals. Slugger perches on the rear view mirrors of both car and truck, frequently enough that plenty of sign is present, and attacks his reflection. I'm a little worried that they may be planning to nest in one of the brush piles, so i have finally arranged for the chipper on Monday.

--== ∞ ==--

In the yard, i am saddened to see Autumn Olive leafing out. I'm not ready. North Carolina in winter is still more green than the bay area in summer. I've enjoyed being able to see through the woods, get a sense of the shape of the clearing. I need to remind myself we've made much progress and it will never be the wall of jungle it was last May. When we are out driving, it seems spring is even more on the way. Forsythia, quince, foaming cotton candy pink trees (cherries, i think, not red buds), some white flowers on trees - not dogwoods yet, i think. Daffodils are blooming elsewhere, too. Our yard seems slow, perhaps because our slope faces north. I think i am thankful for the reprieve, especially if it means future fruit trees won't rush to bloom and get caught by freezes. Average last frost date is April 4th.

--== ∞ ==--

I am greatly enjoying the NY Times mini-crosswords. Their application makes crosswords more enjoyable for me - some element of immediate gratification, i suppose, along with easing the clue to box visual logistics. The full crosswords require another subscription, so i have refrained -- and i am not sure how much self control i would have to not do crosswords all day. I've never liked crosswords in the past, so it seems the mini was just the right size to get me hooked.

So tempted to buy a novel and blow off the rest of the day.

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(no subject) [Feb. 14th, 2017|01:40 pm]
E.G.
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An extended family member, on Christine's side, had a crisis yesterday. Christine's been carrying the concern that this person was headed for such a crisis since before we moved. I'd been spared the details. I knew there was some reason to be concerned, but i didn't want to be nosy or gossipy. Now i know how bad it was... is... and i find myself with a sort of free floating distress today.

It's not helped by less focused distress, captured like the NY Times headline from today, "‘Unbelievable Turmoil’: Trump’s First Month Leaves Washington Reeling."

An opening for discernment is whether i should volunteer to serve on the county Climate Change Advisory committee.

Meanwhile, in dog news, the mailman thumps a package on our steps before Carrie or i notice. And by notice, i mean, lifts head up. But bicyclist ride by some distance away while Christine starts the truck? Ba-roo! More barking than i've heard from her.

Last night she made a short bark outside. I went out to hear baying of hounds somewhere to our south east and dogs barking in other areas. Also, rustling in the woods consistent with deer browsing. Perhaps we'll still have visitors if they've all learned that dogs are penned up critters.

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Anderson-Glass [Feb. 10th, 2017|04:40 pm]
E.G.
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Tonight, a concert with Laurie Anderson & Philip Glass. My 49th birthday is some ways off, but Christine considers this an early salvo of the celebration. I've not been much for celebration in recent years, and this year it will be the first anniversary of the rent increase that triggered the move. I'm beginning to find space to hold both the delight in our new home & being close to family and the loss of established connections. I share my birthday with my father & i would love to have a cake decorated with the fine skills my mother developed in handling gum paste and making flowers. I regret, though, that the rest of my family had too much of the very good thing and have dissuaded Mom from making such elaborate cakes. And now i wonder if she can manage any more. Still, being with my Dad on our birthday for the first time in years: that will be a delight.

Another joy+loss is probably one parents find: the dawg consumes attention and time. I've lost some quiet moments and i'm aware of the attention i need to keep on her. It's been almost a month. We still need a bit of supervision around the cats because Christine does not like the cats acting spooked. It's not entirely overprotective, i guess. And Carrie is getting a bit more boisterous and seems likely to chew on random things and pull things out of boxes, etc. No harm yet, but there is the care in attending to where things are left. I expect most of the hyper vigilance will fade away as we have better voice control. She is delightful to watch when she frolics and plays!

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(no subject) [Feb. 7th, 2017|10:39 am]
E.G.
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I am back from my trip to Florida to celebrate my grandmother's 100th birthday. I now have over 8 hours of music from the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. I used some lists of best American songs of the twentieth century to make sure i had appropriate classics. I'm not sure it registered for my grandmother, but my parents were delighted. Watching my youngest niece be inspired to dance by Rag Mop was a hoot.

I managed to spend much of the driving around in more rural routes than interstates, which was a pleasure: pines, palmettos, and cypress knees. I had brunch with a friend B in the market town of Webster FL. Only the buffet place was open. A few cows lingered in the cattle auction barns, and friend B, Carrie and I wandered the empty open market stalls. Family visits were pleasant, watching the kids fish wonderful. The place i had found for my parents and sib's families worked out wonderfully: i was gratified by a number of acknowledgements as to how pleasant it was. Tampa area weather was balmy. There were some significant emotional demands. I've returned home with one of my facial inflammations: a tiny ulcer in my mouth and an ache that consumes half my face. (Not the burning pain, at least.) Not particularly rested -- i'm glad i didn't over do it earlier in the week.

Carrie was a great road trip companion, and we visited four different dog parks. All were pleasant, and Carrie was a good participant. Winter Park's dog park has lake access and MANY squirrels. That was the best. Also, the first, and i became happy to see how willing Carrie was to stay close while off leash. I would like to have her off leash while i am working in the yard, but a road is moderately close. I was coached on dog park etiquette and dog psychology by my aunt and her husband, which eased me past my anxieties about how Carrie would take it. Then i was able to ease Christine's anxieties.

I do wonder how i could entice squirrels to play with Carrie.

Now struggling to get caught up after my absence.

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(no subject) [Feb. 1st, 2017|01:45 pm]
E.G.
Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note5.


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Dreams [Jan. 30th, 2017|08:33 am]
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My dreams tend to have surreal landscapes. Last night's involved river-like waters and odd fishing. The night before i dreamed of a new home that had a second cottage attached. I was finally checking out the cottage and it was a maze of additions and ad hoc construction, including a school bus. It was furnished in a weird sort of dollar store luxury, odd dog kennels built in (and then i would see how plastic laundry baskets and towels were involved. And then we discovered that an older women (or women?) still lived in the maze.

I'm not sure why i would want to remember my dreams. I have a strong sense that the visual symbolism is not tightly coupled to the process that is occurring: the seeking and exploring experience seems more significant.

However, sleeping in the past two mornings i actually have snippets to remember, so there's that.

Friday night Carrie and i went over to my sisters, ostensibly to go for a walk. Instead i plopped down and had a few glasses of wine with my sister. Yesterday morning i spent with my sister at my parents, ostensibly to go through a pile of my mother's craft stuff. I cam home with block printing tools and stuff to preserve flowers. My sister: much more stuff.

We also had a long chat with my Dad who remains distressed about his mother's husband, C. C was scheduled to come home from rehab this week, but had yet another stroke. Meanwhile, Dad's mother has been paying all C's bills (including his broker bills), running her into an overdraft state. I think Dad's resolved the urgent part, but he's anxious about getting C's sister to pay his mother back. All in all he's anxious about C and his people exploiting his mother's generosity. (And C is not in need of financial generosity to survive.) (Although Grandmámá's gifts of gold to C ... eyeroll.) The long story of how C has only partially managed his affairs, such as appointing those responsible for financial & health decisions, but not telling them and not being willing to tell my father who they are, just leads to more indignation.
Because now i'm indignant that this man's selfishness and paranoia puts my dad in the uncomfortable situation of being the competent person on the scene with no authority. I know C has accused my dad of being after my grandmother's money, and dealing with such accusations weighs heavily on my father.

And, this is very comfortable middle class money: my grandmother worked for the phone company when it was an monopoly. We're not talking fiscal empires here.

The rest of the afternoon and evening i just relaxed. We did take Carrie for a walk at the walking track at the near by community college.

At home for me, elephants have been a concern. The rest of the clowder have had their own small dramas: Greycie Loo is coming out of the traumatized reaction to her teeth cleaning. Carrie was going to be spayed, but after being left at the vet, it turned out the vet & back up vets were unwell.

I've finally settled up for my road trip with Carrie, reserving places for us to stay. I remain closed up, not reaching out to family other than those here and not reaching out to friends. Hard for me to parse what is going on with that. The governance issues of this country can't be blamed for everything -- yet ....

[and then i had to go about my day]

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Some light [Jan. 22nd, 2017|08:54 am]
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Due to a combination of triggers, elephants had a rough handful of days. Greycie Loo, too, had a tooth cleaning. Between her vet visit and the cleaning it looks like she smashed her face into something breaking a tooth and chipping a few others. Dog scare seems the most likely cause, so i'm feeling a little guilty about that.

A major trigger looms on the horizon for the elephants (and my mother & father, depressingly enough): we'll be clear in two weeks, i expect.

Carrie Dog has a bit of surgery ahead. We did ask about laparoscopic spaying, but, wow, a bit much. I hope Carrie can do some dog park activity before then so we can get an idea of whether she's OK with dog parks. On Tuesday Carrie goes to play with Christine's sister's new puppy: that should be a good outing for them.

I will be talking some time off and have a road trip, just me and the Carrie Dog, so there's that for me to look forward to. It will be just a handful of days after her surgery: i hope we're able to relax and not be stressed about stitches management, etc.

I need to become more attentive to the garden. Seeds have all arrived, it's time to start collards and plant peas. I spent time on the raised bed yesterday: not enough time, due to rain. Today, rain or not, i need to make progress. I've 50 lbs of fescue seed for the orchard, 100 lbs of lime for the garden and, well, everywhere, and some clover seed. It's not natives, but my goal is to defeat the stilt grass. I'd been worried about the chickweed and the hairy bittercress before i ID'ed them: it was clear these were weeds on a mission. They are low growing winter annuals, neither introduced plant is yet considered invasive here. Still, i'll see how much of the chickweed rakes up before putting down the grass seed.

I'm tempted to skip Meeting, but there are donations i need to take for a collection.

I'm doing bits of civic minded work. A small group has organized in my workplace, and i'm setting up the google group etc for them. (I did offer a mailing list that wasn't google, but everyone preferred the tech giant to not.) I'm not sure what i was expecting: maybe with time we can talk about bias in our own workplace. It's more an Indivisible group than a Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) group. Ladt night i listened to a phone call sponsored by the AFSC: https://www.afsc.org/sanctuaryeverywhere I think the concept behind #SanctuaryEverywhere is what i was thinking about with safety pins.

Ugh: just thinking about #SanctuaryEverywhere makes me think about the ComingEvent and the myriad of unpleasant side distractions that are involved. The seed of the ComingEvent is my Grandmámá's 100th birthday: her husband's illness, her husband's family, miscellaneous Florida family, and awareness of less than progressive qualities in Florida all lead to a dampening of enthusiasm around what ought to be a delightful celebration.

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(no subject) [Jan. 20th, 2017|08:30 am]
E.G.
A dog and the vet and rain. Oh the indignity.

Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note5.


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(no subject) [Jan. 20th, 2017|07:15 am]
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Wednesday collapsed under the weight of too many concerns. I read  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children sitting on the deck in the sun: it helped. Mental reset. Christine & elephants yesterday and the wee hours this morning. I think once Greycie Loo is back from her teeth cleaning (off to take her in shortly) things may settle here.

Measuring the weight i felt i was carrying, i decided to not attend the Raleigh march and stay home. I suspect i'll end up working outside in the rain, moving dirt.

Carrie Dog is settling in -- which actually means she's less settled. She's getting a bounce in her step and i really wish we could let her off leash in the front yard. She just isn't quite under voice control yet, and she seems attracted to going down the driveway. She's got energy we don't know how to dispel. She's not interested in fetch. Long walks seem like a good plan, and Christine's sister has suggested a local dog park. I'm thinking of trying to tie her out while i work in the yard Saturday.

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Lord of Misrule [Jan. 17th, 2017|07:19 am]
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Similar to my reflections on Trump and Loki some weeks back is David Brooks' reflection The Lord of Misrule.

While i admire Brooks resolution, it's not clear it follows.

Also, this documentation of Trump's network - thank you :
https://www.buzzfeed.com/johntemplon/help-us-map-trumpworld

I have apparently misfiled Buzzfeed in my mind as silly listicles, but seeing this article about Dylan Roof it's clear i need to file it as also a good resource.

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(no subject) [Jan. 16th, 2017|07:17 am]
E.G.
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Saturday was all about the DAWG. Carrie is her name now, with a nod to the fact that her rescuer's last name is Fisher. She's a hound, somewhere with English or American foxhound in her history. Wouldn't be surprised if someone told be she was a Treeing Walker Coonhound. She's tricolor, with mostly black cap and mantle.

I think she's still recovering: she spent some time isolated while undergoing worming treatments, and then joined a household with three boisterous dogs. She seems weak and tired to me, struggling to get her back legs up on the couch. I'm choosing not to take her currently sedate nature as her native nature. But, oh, sedate right now means the cats are getting used to her.

Yesterday i read John Lewis' March, a graphic novel trilogy depicting Lewis' history with the SNCC. My sister had given it to us for Christmas, and given the weekend and the president-elect's ignorance, it seemed a good day to address my own.

One: reading about and seeing images of all the violence of those years in one sitting was a bit overwhelming. I was aware of the pieces: putting the pieces together was... stunning. I've thought of nonviolent resistance as a type of "soldiering" before, recognizing the parallels between armed, violent combatants and nonviolent resistance. Reading of the training and the strategy, i am certain nonviolent resistance is just as if not more demanding of any characteristics you might glorify in a "good soldier."

I am left with the spectacle of comparison of an intelligent, compassionate, principled, educated, disciplined, courageous man who has given thought to issues from the global scale down to the family scale with the president-elect. And nausea.

Representative John Lewis' example is just stunning. May his story stir my mind and heart into action.

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Dawg [Jan. 14th, 2017|12:36 pm]
E.G.
So far, so good.



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(no subject) [Jan. 10th, 2017|07:07 am]
E.G.
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One of my reactions to the election of Donald Trump was subscribing to the New York Times (digital version). What has surprised me most is the cooking section, a constant trumpet of "what to cook tonight." Clicking through reveals a huge cooking section with tons of how-tos, such as this encyclopedic soup how to: http://cooking.nytimes.com/guides/40-how-to-make-soup.

Day ... 4 of waking up to beautiful snow on the ground. We're going to leave freezing temperatures today, so tomorrow may not be so lovely. Last night, with the bright moonlight, the landscape was amazing. I think i would have liked to go walking, but Christine reminded me of the slipperiness. It's not really snow.

Indeed, when we did our daily perambulation for Monday, we finally saw deer tracks -- and these included a few long, skating skids. I prefer to imagine a bit of a frolic and delight, while Christine -- already worried for the poor creatures in the cold -- added yet another worry. We also saw a track of some critter cutting across the wide open of our yard. I think a canid, and i surmise a fox, as the distance between the paces seems small for a coyote. I suppose it could have been a cat, but the running prints seemed more canid like in the open space and direct choice. It went by the compost area without checking it out, and followed a path beyond which aligned with the kitty litter bags -- so there's that.

On Sunday we'd seen a rabbit track, and there's a fan of tiny tracks going in and out of holes beneath my raised beds. No critters seem to have found the seeds and peanuts out the back. Maybe today.

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(no subject) [Jan. 9th, 2017|05:52 pm]
E.G.
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Grumble. My senator is a FAN of Jeff Sessions.

At least he writes back. The other senator is a black hole.

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Cabinet Hearings: Atty General [Jan. 9th, 2017|07:49 am]
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I have a senator on the Judiciary Committee, which is getting ready to review Sen Jeff Sessons for atty general. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/

Maybe you do: https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members (Both TX and MN senators are on this committee).

Here's some information about Sen Sessions, with the first article the source for my complaint that "I am concerned about Senator Sessions' identification of cases in which he had a key role including cases he only handled in a pro forma way. Willingness to make such misleading representations seems disqualifying enough."


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jeff-sessions-says-he-handled-these-civil-rights-cases-he-barely-touched-them/2017/01/03/4ddfffa6-d0fa-11e6-a783-cd3fa950f2fd_story.html?utm_term=.15d8229a5174

See also
http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/08/us/politics/jeff-sessions-attorney-general.html

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/18/jeff-sessions-champion-anti-muslim-and-anti-immigrant-extremists

https://www.splcenter.org/news/2016/11/18/statement-splc-president-richard-cohen-nomination-senator-jeff-sessions-attorney-general

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(no subject) [Jan. 8th, 2017|08:06 pm]
E.G.
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I made a grits and greens casserole tonight. So. Many. Pots. Hmph. It's like the food is twice cooked: fix the greens, fix up the textured vegetable protein, fix up the grits. Then bake it all. The kitchen got quite warm, which was fine, all things considered. I fixed the vegetable protein with apple cider vinegar and sorghum molasses, ingredients in NC eastern BBQ sauce. I think that turned out pretty well, although maybe it was just a bit much vinegar and not enough red pepper.

We've been running the logs for a while, then turn them off when the thermostat reaches 70°F. When it gets to 65°F we turn them back on. I'm running the ceiling fan in when the logs are on. Note to self: clean the blades BEFORE reversing the rotation direction. Or, maybe, note that a real quick way to clean the blades is to reverse the rotation. But the rest of the room has mats of cat fluff spread everywhere.

I do feel thrifty in that i figured out that the HVAC system has a "circulate" function. By turning that on we could circulate the heated air throughout more of the home. I'm not sure what to do tonight. We let the temps drop down to 60°F at night, but the heater is going to need to run frequently to make up the 50°F to 60°F difference with outside.

I haven't had a heat pump as a heater since becoming an adult. The heat in Philly was unstoppable steam heat. It ran, and you managed the temperature by opening windows. In San Francisco we had gas heat. In Mountain View there were several electric base boards. I grew to distrust all of them, and we just used a space heater.

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Really really winter [Jan. 8th, 2017|07:53 am]
E.G.
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I remember cold snaps growing up and i remember accumulation of winter precipitation growing up, but i sure don't recall both here in NC.

The two together, "snow" first, is a good thing! I know the little green plants out there are all encased in the inch plus of sleet and ice pellets with a decorative coating of snow on top. It's 8° F this morning, but the ground is, i'm sure, still above freezing. We didn't get much in the way of the ice glaze that weighs down trees and snaps them, so continuous power has made this all the more pleasant.

My memory growing up was that one woke the day after the snow to a drippy mess. This morning it is spectacular outside. Tomorrow morning should be the same.

We are "stuck" here, though. Road plowing is a good ways off, i suspect: it's not snow plowing, either. It's the inch of sleet pellets that those who have been out in their vehicles have packed to ice. We have decent tires on our Ranger pickup Liandra, but as we don't need to leave, i see no reason to test just how good the tires are.

The HVAC is running on electric heat, so i've just cranked the gas logs. Should have thought of that earlier.

Hot cocoa to come.

I haven't been feeding the birds. In California i realized just how much we were paying for bird seed, and when we quit (due to the apparent ease of predation), i resolved not to feed birds unless i could grow the food. That's one nice thing to say about the Autumn Olive: it's bird food. I'm looking at oil-seed sunflowers and millet for next year, as well as popcorn and peanuts. For now, i threw out the bug riddled rye grass seed, some old peanuts i roasted in the shell, and buckwheat seed. No one has descended to inspect the seed, but i've seen birds come around foraging in the woods. Maybe today.

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Wrestling with goal setting of a sort [Jan. 6th, 2017|07:05 am]
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Last week, I reflected on managing the demands and stress of being in a caregiving role. I think i am beginning to hear Christine's message to me that we have moved into chronic illness care. While she has gotten better since the acute episodes some years ago, the "getting better" trajectory may not continue.

There's a balance i need to find between hope for continued improvement and sustainability. After writing last week and corresponding with bobby1933, i asked myself, "What am I attached to?" My plan, was my answer to myself. The "ah-ha" for me (that won't be obvious to anyone else) is for me to recall the bad habits i developed in grad school. In the morning i would say, "I am going to make progress on my dissertation today by doing X!" Get to the lab and there's a crisis with the computer system to address. That crisis might be over by noon, but my inner message was, "Well there goes today! I've been interrupted and can't make progress. I will go read all of Usenet."

In hope, i plan for a morning (my most productive time) that includes Christine at her best. When elephants intrude, i am taken by surprise, and my intention is thwarted. If i don't set intentions, i loose that productive time. The obvious (to everyone else?) and challenging (to me) thing to do is to set the intention with the awareness that interruptions may happen.

Ugh.

Great, universe, thanks for handing me ANOTHER chance to learn this skill.

Wrestling with my issue.Collapse )
OK, a vague area for queries for me to carry into the next week.

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(no subject) [Jan. 3rd, 2017|06:31 am]
E.G.
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I've rung in the new year by planning out the gardening through the summer and ordering seeds. The vendor i'm using, Southern Exchange, was out of some of the seeds i'd picked out. In one case, i didn't mind because it gave me an excuse to choose the Seminole pumpkin as my winter squash: so much of what i will grow in the big plot is from the Americas. Apparently peanuts originated in the area now known as Argentina, before being adopted in some areas of Africa, and then ending up in the southeast.

They were also out of Roselle, the hibiscus that leads to the bright red infusion. This gave me an excuse to place a tree seed order with Sheffields, which includes both Roselle and a local native mallow, the native Yaupon holly (i've mentioned it's the one North American caffeinated plant?), native crabapple and pawpaw fruit trees, and the bitter orange.

We'll see if gantt chart level planning for gardening is less of a waste of time than it is for software engineering. Since it's all the same steps, i think it wasn't a waste: being able to link the schedule to N days before or after various climate dates seemed pretty efficient. I just wish i could extract it all from my iPad app with a bit more clarity. I think the best i can do is a screen grab of the calendar view.

--== ∞ ==--

Late yesterday afternoon we saw Arrival, which i recommend whole heartedly. I wonder if linguists cringe watching it. It is stunningly beautiful, and i'm glad to have seen it in the theater where the visuals could overwhelm me. I think of one science fiction novel where a language didn't have subject and object, but the verbs were bidirectional. I can't untangle how that language would express "I watched the movie" and "I read the book" given just how invested i am in being the actor on some consumed material. Well, no, the media infuse my mind.... anyhow. No spoilers for the movie, except to say the meditation of the movie is on yet another topic.

--== ∞ ==--

I am anxious about being back to work today. I feel all sorts of "behind" and ineffective, but there isn't a strongly concrete example. It's guilt and, i suspect, the deep ruts of procrastinatory habits developed during grad school.

I've not communicated with others over the end of the year. My parents are back from being with my grandmother, and each parent offers up behavior to cause worry. My mother has developed a pressure to get things out of their house that she can't pace. And so she drove over on New Years Eve to drop off two baskets and a variety of stuff when we planned to visit the next day. Written out it seems reasonable, but it's missing the context of her terrible lingering cough and the weariness from the travel to see my grandmother. Mom's drive, her need to get things done due to some internal expectation, was a lesson i learned that lead to some of my own imbalances. It's not a sustainable or healthy drive, as her lingering coughs and frantic arguments with my dad underscore, and in my learning it got tangled up terribly with depression. I think i am learning how to relax and rest: i hope she can do the same.

Dad forgot to take his heart medicine on Sunday morning, and so he was in his hyper goofy mood at lunch. My Dad worries Christine more than I, as i know his erratic behavior is "mostly harmless" but for Christine it is one great minefield of potential triggers. For me it is mostly wearisome as there's no way to connect. I do wonder how much of his clowning is some dysfunctional effort to deal with Mom: an image of a rodeo clown in the bull ring comes to mind. He had confided his concerns about Mom's level of being frantic and confused on the phone the day before. But then there is the odd reality of how these beta blockers affect his behavior. He's much calmer and grounded when he's taken the med.

--== ∞ ==--

I managed not to ring in the new year with a terrible case of poison ivy. My last work in the yard in 2016 was to hack into a vine running up one of the older pines. I might just get my arms around these pines, but i'm sure there are some with a girth i could not reach around. B came out with his drone this fall and measured the height of the trees for us -- they're 90' tall, which is an average height for a mature yellow pine. The poison ivy grows up the pines as one massive main vine until past the understory, and then the poison ivy radiates it's branches out at about 60' above the ground. It seems to be no harm to the tree, and i'm sure the fruit and branches of the poison ivy make for lovely bird habitat. I have mixed feelings about eradicating it, since the only negative is the seedling poison ivy and the occasional fall of leaves during a thunderstorm. Even then, any poison ivy i had this past summer was quite mild.

And what am i going to do with the dead vines? There's a tangle around one pine where the vine detached from the tree and fell, dead i suppose. But the oil that is the irritant persists.

http://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2012/10/how-to-get-rid-of-poison-ivy/ shows the type vine i'm talking about.

Anyhow, i've been urged to plan to eradicate the poison ivy and, since i had my machete and had been killing honeysuckle, i thought i might give the poison ivy on this one pine a go. The vine was as thick as my wrist, at least, and with the first hack a cloud of dust shook free from all the rootlets. I was up wind, and i figured that most of the dust was just plain dust. I've not developed any good technique with the machete - not much is needed for honeysuckle - so i took a while to cut through. Wood chips went everywhere, and i had no face protection. I soon was thinking how stupid it was to be doing this on a whim, but i figured i should finish what i started and then just wash everything. I seem to have come through unscathed.

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Goodbye 2016 [Dec. 31st, 2016|08:18 am]
E.G.
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I surely didn't expect to be waking in my own home in North Carolina a year ago.

The last two mornings i've awakened before dawn and have been able to stand underneath the starry night sky, listening. Yesterday some creature was walking in the woods: i assume a deer. This morning there was a call, somewhere between canid and owl. Definitely not the owl or owls i am used to hearing call from the eastern woods. A bright satellite passed overhead this morning.

Yesterday i transplanted some wildflowers and native clumping grass. The wildflowers include one or two native geranium species. Earlier in the week i identified G maculatum from one area, what i transplanted last evening seemed more like G carolinianum. This morning i wonder if i have two different plants or if my memory is clouded. Another plant's identification stands between Rosaceae: Waldsteinia fragarioides subsp. doniana and Ranunculaceae: Ranunculus sardous. It's hard without flowers. Don't get me started about the grass.

These are all planted in the sward area, my pilot for the "tapestry lawn." I hadn't thought to have any grass, but the clumps of this native grass, Dichanthelium sp (witchgrass or rosette grass), seem quite agreeable. It's coarse and seems quite tough, and very low growing. Mixed in are the very persistent violets, and i'll be adding moss phlox and "green and gold" - both native flowering ground covers. The challenge will be the annual grasses that acted as lawn all last summer - i suspect that much was actually the invasive stilt grass.

I will likely buy some fescue seed and scatter in the early spring. It's not the right tine to plant it, but it might compete with the stilt grass.

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(no subject) [Dec. 28th, 2016|02:11 pm]
E.G.
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I've been thinking a bit about the Elephant In The Room, and what my needs are.noodlingCollapse )

So current action plan:

* Stay aware of my sense of balance, and when things tip to where i feel i have to carry more than i should, discuss with Christine;
* feel free to describe how things are going with L (my sister);
* review my self-care activities here.

These include
* continuing to delight in the landscape,
* getting out of the habit of video entertainment every night (I know i'm tired... we're tired... but evening numbing leads to "is this all" feelings),
* having a list of "work outside at twilight" exercise things to do & doing them, and
* interacting with other human beings (camera club, Meeting).

Things i feel i "oughta" but seem fraught with procrastination:
* exercise my ankle and get to a point where i can make some decisions about the need for medical attention or what,
* correspond with western friends and with family, and
* work with Christine as manager in getting photos in local venue.

--== ∞ ==--

On Tuesday i cleaned up a section of our road frontage. There is a small berm of soil right at the edge of the woods. I think it is associated with the power line easement. I like this berm as i suspect it provides a modicum of relief from the road noise. We want to have a visual barrier in that direction (as well as along our eastern perimeter), so my goal is to transplant holly and cedar seedlings to the top of the berm. The road is along the northern boundary of the property, so the shading will be along the road side. There are already some ferns (as yet unidentified) and some fan clubmoss (Diphasiastrum digitatum) growing on the north side of the bank, exposed to the road: they should continue to thrive in the shade of hollies and cedars.

I dug up two cedars (Juniperus virginiana) from the edge of the driveway and installed them on the berm -- much closer than the 10' spacing http://www.windbreaktrees.com/redcedar.html recommends. Well, i can always thin them. And it's much further apart than where they sprouted.

I was delighted to find many holly (Ilex opaca) and more cedar seedlings in the woods behind the berm. I'd like to get some Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria): it's a native of the coastal plain, a traditional tea plant that has caffeine. Somewhere i read it is the only caffeine bearing plant native to North America. Yerba mate is in the same genus.

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Snippets [Dec. 26th, 2016|09:40 am]
E.G.
Saturday Morning: Sunrise isn't perceptible this Christmas Eve. I went outside to see the results of yesterday afternoon and evening's work. I'd worked from when we were let go early into the dark, feeding a large fire of honeysuckle vines and brush until i couldn't see anything but the fire, and then letting it burn down. The large bed of glimmering coals was mesmerizing to watch.

I am procrastinating on Yule greetings, but i did call one friend last night.

--== ∞ ==--

Monday Morning: The holiday weekend has passed. On the 24th, with relaxed celebrations with Christine's closest sister and her Jewish husband: B and his daughter L celebrated the first night of Hanukkah with prayers and menorah.   Christmas morning we went to my sister's and exchanged gifts, and had a lovely breakfast. Christine's anxieties attacked, something that has been surging up and down since our anniversary. Yesterday afternoon she was incapacitated, and i let her sleep as i spent the afternoon in the yard. I did some decorative work, taking rocks dug from the garden -- most smaller than my fist -- and embedding them like mosaic tile in the ground near the raised bed. This morning Christine has had a panic attack as we face going to her elder sister's house and seeing all her siblings.

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(no subject) [Dec. 21st, 2016|06:44 am]
E.G.
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The thermostat says it's 22°F outside, but when i stepped out, the dry air just registered as crisp. The stars were sharp in the sky. I looked up at the last quarter moon and thought how every dawn view of it over our home will remind me of arriving here in late May. I also reflected that 25 years ago, the moon was full, rising in the eastern window of the church, opposite the nave, when Christine and I were married. This home is our 25th anniversary celebration.

I had expected silence except for traffic sounds, but the owl seemed rather vocal this morning. And i heard the cat flap. After making tea i went out on the back porch to join Edward who seems to love the brisk weather. Poor thing, i think he must have spent all summer in dismay at the heat. The vet says that at 22 lbs he's about 3 lbs over weight, and i suppose that he, like i, can take the cold with the extra insulation we carry.

Yesterday evening Christine went out to see Rogue One with her sister. I didn't mean to, but i watched the three episode story arc that end season 9 of Doctor Who. The story arc was compelling, but i was procrastinating about communicating with people directly.

Still am.

News from yesterday is that my grandmother's husband had another TIA, mini-stroke. I'm angry, not sad, because i don't think he treats my grandmother right.Collapse )

So there's that venting off my chest.

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Assassination of Russian Ambassador [Dec. 19th, 2016|02:52 pm]
E.G.
I feel unsettled by this.

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(no subject) [Dec. 19th, 2016|06:43 am]
E.G.
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Yesterday's unseasonable and unsettled weather translated into unsettled moods.UnsettlednessCollapse )

--== ∞ ==--

In wrestling with sending Yuletide greetings, i find myself shying away from sharing news of the move. Yesterday i said to myself, "The move was traumatic." I think i need to be honest with myself about that, and then perhaps i can move out of this odd relational isolation i am in.

I have disappeared from communities in which i was deeply integrated, and i have been ignoring that pain. It's not to say i don't love the relationship i am building with the land, but it asks for very different listening from me. And how i answer the land back? Sweat and some blood: no tears yet.

I suppose the tears part is nagging me: The herbivores are going to come for my garden and any fruit and nut trees i plant. It will be hard to communicate to them that if they just wait for the trees to mature, they will have even more food than the bark and twigs.

But... here i notice my tendency: go off and research some detail about planting, not deal with the emotional wound of my own transplantation.

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Thief [Dec. 17th, 2016|09:05 am]
E.G.
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Some critter is stealing bags of litterbox scoopings. Mystery detailsCollapse )

What sort of critter carries off bags of used kitty litter? And why? I'm mystified. A raccoon building a bunker? It doesn't seem like the right type of stinky for a canid to roll in to hide its scent.

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Stories from Red Clay [Dec. 17th, 2016|07:15 am]
E.G.
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Mystery: Microsoft is certain my browser is in Sweden. I remain perplexed. Looking up my IP address on a number of the sites returns a scattering of locations in eastern North Carolina. Hmph.

I've been reading two memoirs of late:

Kaufman, Wallace. Coming Out Of The Woods: The Solitary Life Of A Maverick Naturalist. 2000.

Lanham, J. D. The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature. 2016.

Both share stories of intimacies with a landscape very similar to where i live now. Lanham writes of a piedmont landscape in South Carolina, while Kaufman writes about, literally, across the street and down ... a quarter of a mile? I picked up Lanham because of an essay he wrote about birding while black, Kaufman because i wanted to learn about the history of where i live. Last night i read much of Kaufman's book and realized how the two narratives offered intriguing points of comparison.

First, over my evening's readings i've grown to find little respect for Kaufman. He strikes me as a narcissist. I wonder how much of the affinity i feel for Lanham is that he's another southerner and Kaufman is a Yankee, despite living in North Carolina since his graduate student days. Lanham also grew up on the land, a more intimate farming background than i did, but one i recognize and my father would recognize. Kaufman is -- well, was -- a back to the woods romantic.

Lanham's story is the arc of his growing up and his family, and his deep roots on a patch of red clay in South Carolina. In some ways, i can read much of his story with great familiarity. My parents moved around a good bit as i was growing up, and they built homes (at one point, they had their own home building company). Lanham's story is of a single place and the work of efficient and sustainable use of their land. The forces of work and family shape Lanham, and he shares that. The force of race is there, too, not hidden, and yet ... i still feel more akin to Lanham than to Kaufman. Kaufman did not come from wealth, did not have class privilege from birth, yet the privilege that seeps out of Kaufman's narrative is revealed by its absence in Lanham's story. I don't know if i would have felt it if i hadn't been reading Lanham at the same time. Kaufman has a little awareness, i think...

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The Wattle Compost Fence [Dec. 15th, 2016|07:55 am]
E.G.
I tried posting these photos at the end of Saturday. Fortunately, since
i had not selected the resized images, they were rejected.

As you can see in the background of the images, we have plenty of
underbrush for me to complete the fence up to the planned four foot
screen. I've left leader branches on the stakes in hopes that some might
root: i used a hibiscus species locally called Rose of Sharon. We have
three very mature plants that need to be cut down for our driveway to
be, and as they are non-natives i've no heart ache about their removal.
If i could propagate them and their butterfly-loved flowers to surround
the compost though, it would be delightful! I have woven a live wild
grapevine in part of the fence: i have dreamed of making living fences
and was delighted to see a grape vine rooted at one end of the area
Christine had cleared

Need. More. Daylight. (But not heat, please, i still think of July with
a shudder.)



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