July 29th, 2016


Morning, beginning out third month

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.