WIRES – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Electric

I can hide in the woods and live without wi-fi. I wouldn’t like it, but I could do it. I could shudder with fear and use an outhouse. I would hate it, but I can (and have) done it. I can easily live without a cell phone, half-heartedly without a computer … but without electricity?

It is over.

Recently, I read (again, but in Audible with Garry), George R. Stewart’s immortal “Earth Abides.” I have heard some people say “Oh, the technology is so old.” Clearly, they missed the point of the story.

It simply doesn’t matter what your technology is, was, or might have become. When the power goes out, it’s finished.

The book was written in the late 1940s, but technology is barely mentioned except to point out how it is decaying, rusting, breaking. It doesn’t make any difference because when the electric failed, everything else went down the tubes.

Whether it’s wi-fi, television, boiler, or the pump which pushes the water from well to faucets, the bottom line is electricity.

Without it? It doesn’t matter how advanced you were. How many of us could fix a generator? Not the one in your house but a big one, like Hoover Dam? Or fix a fallen wire? Or even reconnect the power lines to our own houses?

In “Earth Abides,” in a single generation, all technology is gone from the earth. A very few cars drive, in the rare case where they can find one that has gas in it and hasn’t rusted to nothing. Weapons don’t work and no one remembers how to read. No one is even interested in reading. The author, a university academic, wants desperately to have readers so they can rediscover what has been lost, but in the end, only “Earth Abides.”

The last time our power went out, we were in the dark for little more than an hour and a half, but it felt like a lifetime. It reminded me — again — that no matter what we invent, no matter how clever we get with technology, in the end, it runs on power.

Until such time as Earth has a viable alternative to massive power generation, electricity is the end of the line for our technological structure.

It is something to think about.

FROM BUD TO BLOSSOM: TWO SQUARES FOR BECKY B AND A FLOWER FOR THE DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

From Bud to Blossom and Flower of the Day

The interval between the fullness of a bud and the opening of the blossom is a time for the season. The Christmas cactus continues to bloom and our time is cactus time!

As I watch the changing cactus, I realize that before there were clocks, there was the growth of the soil, the height of the corn, the flowing, and drying of waters. The movement of sun and moon as the seasons change.

This is all around us. Every breath we take is a tiny piece of our life.

The bud
The flower
Flower of the Day – FOTD – 12/14/2018

ROCKS, BOULDERS AND STONES IN BLACK & WHITE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Rocks, Boulders, Stones

We live on rocks. Rocks, roots, and shale — that’s what the area is made of. The reason our house is all the way over on the northeast edge of the property is there’s a rock the size of New Jersey in the middle of the property.

The rocky shores of Cape Ann were (are) famous for shipwrecks
Stones under the dam

The guy who built this house (and a lot of others along this road) was not a great planner. Rather than moving the construction further forward on the lot (it’s 2.5 acres so land isn’t the problem) or further back — both of which areas are flatter and has fewer boulders — he pushed the house all the way to the northeast edge of the property line.

Superstition mountains are nothing but rocks
The rocky edge of the Blackstone River. With Great Blue Heron.

Over the property line.

On the neighbor’s property.

With faded green by the stone bridge over the Blackstone River
Stone steps into the river

Which later required a property exchange, a dozen years after the original building was erected.

My personal favorite rocks
Our garden wall composed of giant, lichen-covered stones from deep in our woods

The funny part was because our buildings are so far apart, it took a decade for anyone to notice this house was actually half on the neighbor’s land. Ah, life in the country!

 

BONNIE IS HOME FROM THE SALON – Marilyn Armstrong

I know the dogs are a total mess when I stop taking pictures of them. The Duke tends to look good most of the time, but both Scottish terriers get seriously grubby. They love dirt. They long for filth.

Garry and Bonnie

Terriers — dogs of the earth — love to dig. They love to roll in the dirt they dug and the hole they made. Our front yard — any part of it that isn’t entirely rocky — looks like a missile testing site.

Classic beard!

They race outside and bury their faces in the mud. We brought Bonnie home from “The Bark Ark” where they trimmed her down to something dog-shaped (she needs to lose a few pounds), put a Christmas style bandanna on her and home we came.

I said: “We should take her picture right away — before she’s dirty again.”

Bonnie with Garry

Garry agreed and went directly to the back deck — from which every last bird departed as we arrived. You’d think they’d figure out by now we aren’t planning to eat them for dinner. Never mind.

I had to go inside and get The Good Camera. By the time  (a minute later) I was back on the deck, Bonnie was rolling her face around on the deck and had managed to add a few sticks, twigs, and dead leaves to her beautiful trim.

Sketch portrait of a beautifully groomed Bonnie

I dusted her off, told Garry to please hold her so I could take pictures. She’s short even by my standards. When she’s on the deck, the only way to get her picture would be for me to lie flat and hope she cooperates. That didn’t seem likely. Anyway, getting up from lying flat on the deck didn’t seem like my best idea of the day.

More handsome Bonnie. They actually groomed her like a Scottish Terrier. No puffs on her tail!

Now I have pictures. For Bonnie, this is as good as it gets. And I think we’ve found a new groomer. The price is the same, but they are miles closer to us and don’t have quite the same attitude that they are doing us a favor by grooming the dogs. They are groomers. They are supposed to groom dogs.

Of course, they haven’t met Gibbs or The Duke yet.


A note on local groomers:

Most of them don’t seem to have any idea what a pure-bred dog should look like when groomed. Let’s assume that half the dogs they groom are pure-bred, but aren’t going to be shown (because people who are showing dogs do their own grooming).

It’s hard to show how dark she really is. This is pretty close.

You would think that the groomers would buy a book about dogs and look at the pictures, thereby getting an idea of what this particular dog should look like, wouldn’t you? Even if they aren’t going into a show ring, every breed has some kind of standard.

I’ve gotten my dogs back with puffy tails. With eyebrows and beards shaved off. With tufted ears.

Good grief! A Scottish Terrier with tufted ears and a puffy tail is a travesty.

Two!

These people actually knew what I meant when I said: “Face Scotty, shave everything else down because all that long  hair does is collect more dirt.” They knew exactly what to do … AND because I explained that Bonnie’s eyes are bad and need constant treatment, they trimmed her eyebrows so that they look “Scotty,” but are leaving enough of her face clear so it will be easy to treat her. I appreciate that.

This is the “show ring” version. Most of us skip all the skirts because it’s just more dirt.

Sometimes, when she’s really in her final grubby stage, I have trouble finding her eyes. I know they are there. But where?

SUNRISE ON A COLD WINTER’S MORNING – Marilyn Armstrong

We seem to get our best sunrises on the quarter of the year. Sometimes glorious during the Vernal Equinox in March and just around Christmas, if the sky is clear, the eastern horizon lights up. Sometimes, it looks as if the house is on fire when the sky is that deep scarlet.

This morning, I woke up and realized I had nothing to drink. The dogs were barking anyway and Garry was sleeping like the veritable log, so I got up and made my way into the kitchen.

I poured myself something wet and cold … and looked out the window. The sun was just coming up and it was beautiful.

I can’t see the sky in the summer or fall. When the trees are full of leaves, all I see are leaves. But when the trees are bare, I can’t see the sky unbroken, but I can see it. Since I now have cameras ready and waiting for the shots, I just grabbed one and took half a dozen shots. I gave each dog a couple of little biscuits and headed to bed for a few more hours.

It’s almost the winter solstice and the sunrises are bright with the glory of the turning of the earth. And I have cameras!