April 9th, 2019


(no subject)

Monday Morning:

I'm disappointed that i may have done a bad thing to my baby apple trees in my selection of the fungicide i sprayed to fight the cedar-apple and quince-apple rusts that are bright orange on the cedar trees at the moment. Ho hum.

Last week was a blur of intense work days followed by busy evenings. Saturday was all yard. Yesterday was a mix of Meeting and a visit with my parents and then mowing.

I took Carrie over to my parents and as i was leaving, she looked longingly at the pasture. I let her run -- and she was so delighted and did not want to leave. Christine's had this issue leaving the dog park. I got in the car, started the car, turned the car. She kept her eye on me but continued to frolic. Finally i went inside to get a treat of some sort. When i came out she was at the fence where she could see the door. She went back to her frolic but FINALLY came when i offered the cheese. In good news, she seems to respect the fence as a boundary!

At home i mowed. I ran down the battery on the electric mower, but had finished the fescue grass by the time that happened.

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The high humidity is mixing with the pine pollen to make -- polog? Plog? Nastiness. We should have thundershowers tonight, which may help a little.

Tuesday Morning:

Boy, did we have a DOOZY of a thunder storm. First power loss of the summer season, from 5 pm to 6. We lost power with the winds that blew in first, and my, was the pollen billowing around, being blown off the deck and billowing out of the pines. Then came the rain: it was lovely to sit with Christine on the front porch.

My Amazon order of these light up lids for regular mouth jars arrived and i assembled a few while sitting on the porch. I'm delighted with them, and i look forward to the arrival of the hooks for hanging them in the yard. We've a variety of old LED yard lights on plastic stakes in various states of disrepair. I feel this solution will allow for easier repair of broken components and minimize the plastic impact. I'm going to see about liberating a few more jelly jars from my mother's collection. She has sent me home with boxes of jars in the past, but i mainly took the large mouth jars.

We had a half inch of rain in the hour, creating standing water in places and a stream, almost, on the east side of the house. Christine had made progress on ditching around the back porch, a step we need to complete before i install the rain cistern. Once we have the porch downspouts draining to the east of the house, the pooling behind the house will be mostly resolved, i hope. There may be just a little more ditching to do to divert the run off from up hill.

I do hope that the seeds i scattered on Saturday had found some purchase in the soil before this event.


My message to Mom's friends

I hadn't written a news update since right around the time Mom came home:

[Mom] and [Dad] seem to be settling into their new patterns well.

[I am] currently getting the visit plans from the therapists, some who make arrangements to come the same day. The visits are generally a couple times a day from some combination of the three therapists and the aide. We seem to have a regular visit sometime between 1o to 11 am, although sometimes the arrival is a little later. The second visit varies, although i try to schedule just after lunch 1 or 1:30 pm. [Dad] has J--- coming in to be with [Mom] on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday late afternoons into the evenings so he can run errands.

If you'd like to bring over dinner and visit with [Dad] and [Mom], [Dad] would appreciate you making plans in advance so he doesn't plan a meal for that day. He's developed a spreadsheet with the different meals he likes to cook that then populates his grocery list for the week.

[Mom] seems to be recovering from the lack of interest in much that took over her while she was at The Oaks, and she's no longer watching CNN all the time. A speech therapist brought over Our State magazine one visit, and that inspired Mom to an outing with Dad where she rode with him to the grocery store and waited while he ran in to pick up a copy. She seemed less pleased with the magazine when i saw her on Sunday: too many ads. Early on the speech therapists mentioned to us how reading materials need to be clear without distracting fonts and images. The visual clutter of all the advertisements probably makes it too hard for her to negotiate the magazine on her own. When i tried to engage her with a book of North Carolina photography from their bookshelves, she sent me home with the book (because i recognized the plants). Even before her stroke, [Mom] was trying to find homes for their many books.

What i have been doing when visiting is showing [Mom] photos of my daily life (pets and gardening). She will be delighted to hear your stories of what you are up to and to see photos on your phone or tablet. Meanwhile, [Dad] gets a chance to either do paperwork or a little yard work.

It's not clear how much of her disinterest in her history and biography books ais due to vision issues: she has a neurological ophthalmologist visit in early May to see if there are stroke related vision issues or if simply she needs a different prescription for reading glasses.

[Sister L--] and [Dad] finally found [Mom]'s phone, so she will soon be available at her mobile number. (It is a flip phone, and doesn't support texting easily, and no media images.) Her iPad is charging up so she can use the stroke recovery software on it. I've tried to set them up with Apple's iCloud Photo sharing system. If you want to share an album with them, use [Mom]@gmail.com. That should display a message on the iPad for them to see the photos. NOTE: no one is checking email at [Mom]@gmail.com. [Dad] is just beginning to have time to glance at email and facebook, but I don't believe you can rely on him reading email at his email address yet.

Thanks for your care, calls, letters and prayers,



Slithery friends

Surprise free evening, as Dad called and waved me off of coming over. I can use the rest because i woke in the wee hours of the morning and never fell back asleep. I am not able to do much with this time because i am exhausted. Maybe some laundry? (Didn't happen.)

I wandered outside for an hour, and encountered two small snakes, smaller than garter snakes. A worm snake (Carphophis amoenus) twisted around in the garden plot. I choose to take my worm snake sightings as evidence of super healthy soil that has such large herds of earthworms that these predators can thrive. Then a DeKay's brownsnake was next to a floppy daffodil as i reached down to adjust it. The DeKay's was much more still, testing its camouflage i suppose.

I may have seen a third tiny snake, or perhaps a thrashing about newt or other amphibian near the drainage ditch by the road. It seemed like snake locomotion as it got itself down into the shelter of the culvert.

On Monday, another DeKay's camouflage failed in the presence of Edward, who went after the small snake just as he does with birds, mice, voles, lizards, and baby bunnies. Luigi, though, got nose to nose with Mr Morrison the supposed single rat snake that lives in the back yard. Mr Morrison was coming out from under the deck, and promptly returned, hopefully to go to the east yard for a peaceful afternoon of sunning.

Not a tick yet, which means... less deer? we've managed the landscape to deny them access? Some opossums heard our plea and vacuum them up every night? Probably just that the evenings have been crisp up until last weekend. In the past few days the classic daffodils have melted away after a delightfully long display, and the saucer magnolia became drab and dull overnight. Plants are growing at break neck speed (except in my garden). Spring growth is shooting up everywhere. While i look at the orchard and only see sprigs of the moss phlox i transplanted taking hold, the meadow (the septic field that was a thicket of tree of heaven, honey suckle, autumn olive) has mounds of what i expect are wildflowers - Echinaceas? Joe Pye weeds? Blackeyed susans? I'm not sure what these mounding rosettes of leaves are for.... They aren't the non-native ox-eye daisy or Queen Anne's lace: i celebrate THAT.

Elsewhere i see shoots of what are asters or goldenrod. Yarrows are distinctively present.

Violets are even more abundant now: the native grass lawn area is now well decorated with their purple glow.

Today the not quite native Stoksia arrive via mail order. They will be planted at the edge of the rain garden where half price marigolds reigned last summer. I hope for a more blue than purple stoksia, a flower native to wet areas in South Carolina and Georgia. Since i was buying, my impatience flared and i also bought a cardinal flower (a red lobelia) and the great blue lobelia, also to reside in the rain garden. Maybe the seeds i scattered will take hold, but i've got two plants to be sure of.

I've been surprised how slow the breadseed poppies have been to get past the first two true leaves. Perhaps they've been biding their time too.

The next months will rush by, and i will go to Europe, and i will return to a magnificent jungle of flowers. The stilt grass seedlings wave at me and are not calling truce, though.