It finally rained! Not just a little drizzle, but the real deal. It rained pretty heavily for several hours and more lightly the rest of the day. I was thrilled to see it. We are supposed to get more rain on the weekend. Maybe our trees won’t die!
The birds seemed to enjoy the rain too. There certainly were a lot of them although not as many as we had a month ago. The Goldfinch have gone north to breed. Gone north to breed? Do birds do that? Well, the Goldfinches do. They go to Canada to breed and come back here in December or January. They breed in the winter. I’m sure someone understands this, but i don’t. So today, we had “the regulars.”
A lot of orange Cardinals. We don’t seem to have red ones anymore. Only orange and they all look terribly angry. Lots — bunches and bunches — of Nuthatches, Tufted Titmouses, Chickadees and Mourning Doves.
I took pictures and they didn’t all fly away the minute I took my camera out of the bag. Yay!
Does this mean that our drought might really be ending? We will need a lot of rain to make up for the 10 inches of non-rainfall over the past couple of months.
Rain is lucky. It is seminal. It makes things grow. Dormant seeds and new seeds take power from falling rain. We have been without rain for nearly two months, the longest drought I can remember in the 37 years I have lived in New England. The year Kaity graduated high school, we had no rain for the entire month of May, but after that, the skies opened and, as the song says, “The wind blew and the rain fell.”
Yesterday, with no rain expected at all — the weather forecasts being essentially “best guesses” by even our best and most accurate meteorologists — it began raining lightly in the afternoon. That little rain came and went quickly, but as I was putting myself to bed last night, suddenly, I heard that rushing in the leaves. I jostled Garry. “It’s raining,” I told him. I’m not sure he was able to track from whatever Western he was watching to a rainfall during a drought, but when I woke this morning, the woods were gleaming with wet leaves. The frenzied attack of the birds on the feeders had slowed to something resembling normal.
My mother used to sing this song which I am sure she learned in grade school. I think the original concept might have come from the verse Matthew 7:25, but it was a popular song for school children. Written in 1899, I managed to find a used copy of the book (presumably including music) and with luck, someday it will be delivered. This is the section which has always stuck in my memory:
Maybe this song is why my mother so treasured oak trees. She adored the trees and would never let one die. She would take each of the babies born from acorns and carefully move it to a safe part of our woods. Or maybe it was growing up in lower Manhattan and never seeing trees or grass, but one way or the other, she loved them dearly.
Isn’t it strange how little pieces of songs remain in our memory forever it seems? The last time I heard this sung was probably more than 60 years ago. I ordered the only hardcover copy of it I could find — at any price — from ABE, the major seller of almost forgotten books from way back when. I have no idea what condition it is in. It’s listed as “good” which can mean anything from tattered to nearly new.
There is also a reproduced version available from Amazon done with photographs reproducing each page. Unlike the actual book, it is listed as “anonymous,” but it wasn’t anonymous and the book I’m getting has both an author/songwriter and illustrator’s title on it. Certainly if I could uncover this information in a 15-minute Google search, Amazon should have been able to do the same. However, they are to be applauded for salvaging the book at all. It is considered a book with historic meaning. I’m just happy to be able to get a copy of it. Of course no one but me will be the least bit interested in it.
Owen and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what will happen to our collections when we pass. Our kids have zero interest in them. They might develop some interest as they get older, but I don’t know when or if that will happen … so I hope someone will take charge of our “stuff” and make sure it doesn’t get tossed in a dumpster somewhere.
I wanted to take some time off and I am doing exactly that. I spent all yesterday pondering the possibilities of dog adoptions, wrote a few letters, didn’t read anything and didn’t really want to read much of anything. I didn’t prepare a bunch of posts for today and since hardly anyone read any of my posts from yesterday, if you want, they await.
I think there comes a moment in blogging when you’ve been pushing yourself for a long time and your realize you just don’t want to do it. At least not today. Maybe not for a few days. It’s not that I’m not interested in blogging, it’s just that life has been hectic, worrisome and I’ve been feeling more and more pressure to somehow produce material, whether I want to or not. Today, I decided I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to write something new, rewrite something from earlier, process pictures or anything. I just wanted to not do anything. So I didn’t except for this.
What am I doing? Reading. Fixing up the kitchen. I put in a new drain-rack for the dishes. There are new racks for the bottom of the sink, and a few other odds and ends. We did some cleaning. Garry did most of it. I’ve got three new books to read by three favorite authors and I’m going to read them. What a delightful thought!
I’ll get back to you all, probably sooner rather than later. But right now? I need a break!
And remarkably enough, it’s raining. Not heavily. Not pouring, but water is coming from the sky and more is expected tomorrow and the next day. This is a good thing. A very good thing.
NOTE: I also have a really bad toothache and it’s hard to think about anything but the pain in my face. I have an appointment tomorrow, but that seems a million years away right now. It would be ironic to manage to miss COVID and be taken out by a tooth infection!
It hasn’t rained in weeks and it has been very hot. The trees are dropping green leaves which is a very unhealthy sign for the trees. It means that the roots are dying and many of these trees will die and not come back in the spring. The forsythia are turning brown. The rivers are so low the fish are dying. The herons have flown to deeper rivers. I try not to worry about water and our well. It’s a deep well and anyway, worrying about it isn’t going to make it rain. Maybe we need to organize a special dance?
The entire state of Massachusetts currently holds a status of extreme or severe drought. We’ve had less than 5 inches of rain here in central Massachusetts. Areas around Boston and northward into New Hampshire have had an inch less … around 3.75 inches. That’s very little water. Dangerously little water.
If you’d like to see an interactive “drought map,” here is a LINK. Other states in New England are also dry, but as far as I can tell, Massachusetts is overall, the most dry, although there are areas of New Hampshire, Maine, and New York which are also very hard hit.
For inexplicable reasons, the river has more water in it than it did last year at this time. Maybe whoever controls the water locally decided to give our fish, fowl, and other wildlife a chance to survive. Last year, they had nowhere to nest, and pretty much no food in the dry ponds and rivers.
I love the river and I miss the birds. I haven’t seen a goose, a heron, a swan, or even a duck this entire summer. Of course, we haven’t been out much, but we do hear about it on the news and they’ve been taking a lot of pictures of dried out rivers all over the state.
We’re burning up. As I see the first tenth tropical storm of the year heading for Florida, I can’t help but hope it stays a mere storm and brings its precipitation up our way. We really need water.
There is, I might add, nothing more futile and frustrating than worrying about the lack of rain. You can’t do anything about it. Nothing. We have zero control over weather. Fretting about that over which we have no control is mind-destroying and considering the rest of our worries, adding one more doesn’t seem sensible … but it’s hard to not worry.
Nonetheless, I worry about the well. And the aquifer. I have nightmares about drought. Because if our well goes dry, we have no other water source. Neither do our neighbors.
It finally rained today. It was the thunder that woke me from an impossibly deep sleep and it was a lot later than I thought. In fact, I never sleep that late, but we were up very early the day before so I was tired.
I realized I had awoken not only to the thunder, but to Duke barking. It’s his special “delivery” bark, and I wanted to get stuff inside before the heavy rain began. Then, I saw this post and realized i have a garden full of daylilies, all covered with drops of ain.
I would have taken more pictures, but the rain was coming down heavier and my camera’s lens in not waterproof. The camera is, but the lens isn’t. So, it got to looking remarkably wet and I went inside to dry the lens.
I’m sorry I didn’t take more pictures. They looked lovely in the rain, but it also made my hair frizzy.
Not only do I not feel well, but it has been pouring all week. Well, technically, it’s only “raining lightly” right now, but when I look out the window, it doesn’t look like “light” anything. It’s not only raining heavily, but it has been so dark it looks like the hour after sunset from morning until night.
A snow guy along the Mumford dam in downtown Uxbridge
I realized it’s after four so it really is getting dark, but it wasn’t much lighter two hours ago. And I just realized Thanksgiving is next week and no one has any plans … and with Christmas right behind it …
I’m not lacking in holiday sentiment. Just physically not feeling good and I don’t have money to spend, which always takes the “buzz” off the holidays. It’s going to be joyful, but mostly gift-free this year. I’m pretty sure that ALL of us are out of money and anyone who doesn’t have this virus, seems to have bronchitis.
It was so dark in my dining room, I really couldn’t take pictures. Too dark, even with a 1.8 mm lens. Supposedly it’s going to brighten up tomorrow, but it wasn’t supposed to rain today, either. Forecasts are becoming more like educated guesses.
Snow for the holidays is romantic. Pouring rain doesn’t capture the right spirit. Maybe the sun will shine next week!
The forecasts have been promising weather in the low 80s tomorrow, so I’m refusing to turn on my boiler today … especially since I haven’t gotten a tank fill since I think May, but it might have been April. We aren’t out of fuel, but we don’t have much and until Wednesday, I don’t dare buy anything. We are in the hole we have every month during the week when I have to pay the mortgage.
If we are careful, we’ll be fine until the next social security check arrives. Meanwhile, our anniversary is tomorrow. We wanted to go out to dinner. Feeling as we do, that’s not a good idea anyway. I think we’ll wait until it will feel better. Right now, everything I eat makes me feel a little bit sick.
In fact, my granddaughter is having a birthday party today and we were invited, but with the way we feel, a pig roast does not sound alluring. To be fair a pig roast never sounds alluring. I like pigs. They are smarter than most animals including a lot of politicians.
I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian. I sort of tried vegetarian. Then I had to go on a heavy round of iron pills and they really don’t agree with me. I don’t seem to absorb iron well. As my body craves it, red meat is where to find it.
I feel guilty eating meat and ironically, it’s not to save the planet (though that would be a great sidebar) but because I like animals. I hate raising them so we can slice them up for lunch meat. For completely illogical reasons, I don’t have the same warm and cuddly feeling about fish. I also don’t worry about whether or not vegetables are unhappy when we cook them. We do have to eat something. If we exclude everything, I don’t think we’ll fare well.
We were created as omnivores and while I have had many a Vegan pal give me a heartfelt lecture on the benefits of the diet, all the Vegans I know are too thin and pale. They don’t look healthy to me.
So I stay on a basically well-rounded diet and it seems to work out okay, guilt and all. Besides, guilt is my primary emotion.
Meanwhile, it’s cold. Garry says it’s a little warmer outside, but it’s gray and dark and it looks like rain is on the way. What a shock. That never happens around here.
From Melanie:“Wow. September. Where did the summer go? I’m not at all sure…anyway. This week finds us with some more questions, but this week they’re all ‘deep’ ones requiring a little thought. Enjoy!”
I know where MY summer went and I hope I can forget it ASAP.
Spring was long, nasty, cold, and full of hard-driving rainstorms with lots of wind. We didn’t get a real winter. No real snow at all, so we got our first blizzard (the only blizzard, actually) around my birthday in early March.
Finally, it started to warm up, but mostly, it rained. And rained. The wind howled and sometimes it was raining so hard and for so long the house sounded like a loud faucet was running somewhere. Now that Garry can hear, he was amazed at how loud rain can be. It reminded me why I didn’t spend the extra money on a steel roof … and why I wish I had — at the same time.
A steel roof is forever, or at least as close to forever as any roof can get. It’s also noisy. Rain, sleet, hale … it’s like a million little beasties racing madly around your roof. Not to mention that they cost at least four times what a standard asphalt roof costs. But they never leak and they don’t grow lichens or other greenery, either. Win some, lose some. You take your best guess and hope it works out.
As soon as it warmed up, we grew a million daylilies and that was great, but we’d get one day of sun or at least gray skies followed by three days of howling winds and torrential rain. It was mud city. You couldn’t even mow your lawn because it was sodden.
That was followed — finally — in August, with lovely, cool dry weather. And Eastern Equine Encephalitis mosquitoes and all the nice autumn fairs got canceled because the killer mosquitoes were out.
Aw, c’mon! Really?
This was approximately when I realized something was wrong on the south-west side of the house. All that rain, you know? The climate change that hasn’t arrived seems to indeed have arrived. At least here it has.
Now, we need to strip off the vinyl, remove the mush that’s underneath it, and replace the wall, or at least most of the lower level with a new wall. Get rid of the rotting door and replace it with a window (we never use the door anyway) and get a carpenter to repair the wooden doors to the shop.
I’m wishing we’d had time to powerwash the house because it’s green with mold. Did you know vinyl can grow green mold? It’s not lethal or poisonous. It actually looks like green pollen that got stuck. It just isn’t attractive.
It made me realize for all the years we’ve been paying insurance on our houses — since 1965 — they have yet to actually pay for any damage to any house in any state. Talk about being taken over by corporations. You know all those advertisements about how insurance companies are protecting you? They aren’t.
It’s a lie. The only thing they are protecting is the value of the property owned by the mortgage company. I can’t even calculate how many years we’ve paid home insurance and it never crossed my mind that they don’t cover anything except a tree falling on the house (unless they decide you should have taken down the tree in which case it’s your fault anyway), and fire. They might cover home invasion, but I’m not sure.
I’m still thinking about the post I will write about this, how we are forced — absolutely required — to pay for home insurance or we can’t get a mortgage. Why don’t we read all the little tiny print on the policy? Because we have to have insurance, so no matter what it says, we will sign it.
It’s just like accepting the terms of your operating system for your PC or Mac. Sign or don’t use your computer. There is no option to argue about the terms, so you sign. Nobody reads them.
The most common lie everyone everywhere tells is that they read and understand the terms of that contract. NO ONE reads it and if we did understand it, what difference would it make? We can’t NOT sign it.
And now, on to the questions.
When you’re 90 years old, what do you suppose will matter most to you?
What’s the best way to spend a rainy afternoon?
Brooding on how we used to sometimes have sunshine and playing bridge on the computer.
What is one thing you don’t understand about yourself?
How I lived long enough to see the world change into this bizarre, hate-filled mess.
When was the last time you tried something to look ‘cool’ (hip), but it ended in utter embarrassment? Details?
About a year ago, my granddaughter dyed my hair to get the yellow out of it. It wasn’t utter embarrassment. It actually looked pretty good.
We have a lot of iron in our well water and it turns everything pink or yellow — Including my white hair. I bought some more of the same dye. I hope I don’t make a total mess of the project.
What is normal? It there such a thing? Does anyone lead a “normal life”?
This has been a week when it feels like I should not have gotten out of bed. Or, for that matter, gained consciousness. Every time a hint of consciousness appeared, I should have taken something that would put me back in a chemical coma.
Between the news about Bonnie and discovering one wall of my house is about to fall off (and there is no money with which to fix it) and the critical invasion of lethal Eastern Equine Encephalitis Mosquitoes — it has not been a good week. It hasn’t even been a bad week. It has been an atrocious, abnormal, messed up, disgusting, horror of a week.
A coma seems my best possible choice. Or a long leap off a very tall bridge. My primary problem with long leaps off tall bridges is that I might not die. I might just get broken into many pieces and have to live with that, which probably would make things worse — although I figure at that point the powers-that-be might consider that we need to have a place to live. Or, who knows? Maybe they will just drop me by the side of the road and drive away.
Who needs all these “old people” cluttering up our world?
It’s all about climate change. The climate change we don’t have has been battering this house with endlessly pouring rain and raging wind storms. Apparently on at least one side of the house (the short side) has had the vinyl siding so ripped apart that not only is the wood beneath it soaked, but the actual vinyl is soaked. The door which the vinyl surrounds is black with mold from the endless wetness and for reasons that I cannot fathom, hordes of yellow jackets seem to be trying to make a nest on our deck.
There is nothing ON our deck. We removed everything when we repainted it. The only remaining things there are broken pieces of branches from the trees and one of the most enormous wolf spiders I’ve ever seen.
Mind you, I knew they lived in the woods, but this one wanted to climb in through our screen and I finally pulled out the really poisonous spider stuff and sprayed him to death. The first couple of time he sat on the screen and leered at me, I just knocked him off to (I assume) the deck below. The fourth time, I decided it was war.
I killed him. Through the screen. With spider poison spray. So his carcass — his rather enormous carcass — is stuck between the boards on the deck and between the huge dead spider and the hundreds of yellow jackets, I’m staying home.
And still trying to figure out how we can repair the house — it really looks like we should completely redo the vinyl siding and the gutters which have been battered by falling tree limbs so they don’t do anything useful.
But we have no more money. Any money we had has gone to fixing the well, replacing doors, replacing half the front of the house and putting in a new window. The deck is falling off the house.
I’ve been running through my possible ways “out” of this life, not because I expect to see heaven, but because this life just isn’t working out for me. People say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but these don’t seem particularly temporary. The house really needs work and we can’t do it. I’ve been trying every way I know and just winding up in enough debt to wonder if either Garry OR I will live to see the end of it.
He’s trying to find some work. I just want to leave all the details to anyone who wants them and slide into oblivion. NOT because I think oblivion would be nicer, but because I’m not going to try to live on the street. As a simple start, I’d last about three minutes and they wouldn’t be nice minutes and the other because frankly, I’ve had enough.
Every time I think I’ve found some solution that MIGHT work, I discover that there’s oh so much more that needs to be done.
I’ve looked for solutions, but there don’t seem to be any solutions. It may look like a solution but it’s really just another trap. A tar pit. Maybe we should go back to the caves, but I’m pretty sure it would be full of big spiders too.
It didn’t happen if you don’t take any pictures. Well, that’s not exactly true, but as a photographer, that’s how I feel about many events. Which doesn’t mean I always take pictures. Much of the time, I don’t feel like taking pictures. I just want to enjoy the event and not be the photographer.
This wasn’t one of those days. We had hoped to go out yesterday, but it rained all day. This morning, we woke up to a bright blue sky and we said “Okay, this is it. Let’s do it. So while I packed up my camera, made sure Garry had a live battery, figured out which lenses I was taking and off we went to the canal.
And halfway there, it started to rain. Plop. Plop. Plop.
“Maybe it’ll stop,” I said. There were still patches of blue in the sky so it could clear.
By the time we got to the canal, it was pouring. It briefly slowed down, so we started to get out of the car. The pause changed instantly into a downpour. The rain gods were still with us. We turned around and started to head to dinner, but made a brief stop at the Crown & Eagle, which is a restored cotton mill which has been repurposed into a senior living facility. It’s a particularly beautiful location with the river behind the building and its own canal full of water lilies in front.
The sun came out.
We turned around and went back to the canal. By then, it had started to drizzle, but it wasn’t pouring. Rich and I decided to take a chance and get out. I was wearing open-toed sandals — not the best footwear for a muddy rainy day by the river. And while my camera is water-resistant, none of the lenses I had brought were water resistant. I picked the 50mm prime because at least it didn’t have any electronics in it.
We took some pictures … and finally, Garry decided to come and shoot some too. He was worried about getting his hearing gear wet … a not unreasonable concern. That’s really expensive equipment that we absolutely can’t afford to replace. But he couldn’t resist the opportunity.
We had about 10 minutes before it started to rain again and if you look, you can see the rain falling in the river. We headed back to the car as quickly as we could with all the gear on the muddy, gritty path which apparently had been really messed up by the constant heavy rains we’ve been having for months.
Then, we really did go to dinner, which was great and I had tempura. Yum!
Of course, as we finished dinner, the sun was shining, the sky was bright blue. These are the longest days of the year and I wished we could go back and take just a few more pictures.
But it was getting late. The dogs needed feeding. Moreover, if I was going to post these pictures, I had to download and process at least a few of them. So here they are. All that rain has made everything bloom like mad. It really does look like a rain forest!
For the last six years … maybe a bit longer … Rich Paschall has been working with us on Serendipity. We never met but we lived in hope. This weekend, he is here.
It only took six years … and his flight out of Chicago was 131 minutes delayed. I know because that’s what it said on the Spirit Airlines arrivals information. A long delay and made even longer by airport delays. I have to assume it was weather-related. There are storms everywhere across North America and it was raining here, too.
Aren’t we glad that climate change is a Chinese piece of fake news? Who knows what it would be like were it true!
I don’t have any pictures because he is still sleeping … wearing off Chicago time. Garry has a luncheon and is doing his long prep time in the shower and I’m trying to drink this coffee and I think I’m going to go make a new pot. This stuff is not great. I think it got stale.
I can’t believe it’s another gray, damp day. Will the rain gods ever leave town? Maybe it will brighten up later? We can surely hope!
Rich has filled in for me when I was sick … which has been far too often. He has always been here, even though he has been there. A welcome guest and a good friend. Who says online friends aren’t the “real deal”?
So Rich is finally here and remarkably, he is exactly like the person I expected. Sometimes, things are indeed what you expect. In a good way.
The squirrels and I are quarreling. I am a believer that the hungry should be allowed to eat and I quite like our squirrels. I can actually recognize them, usually by the size and coloration of their tails.
The problem is, there seem to be a great many of them and we seem to be the only open buffet in the region … or maybe we just serve a better quality of seeds.
Every morning, when I first get up I open the shades and look at the feeders. There are always two squirrels wrapped around the hanging feeder and nestled happily inside the flat feeder. I leave them be. They are free to chow down until I get up for the day … about 4 or 5 hours later.
But that’s it. After 11 in the morning, when I’m having my coffee, I open my back door and tell them it’s time to get off the feeder and find food in the forest. They don’t even move. Apparently, I am no longer a threatening presence. Finally, after I talk to them for a while and they refuse to move, I open the door and walk towards the feeders and then they slowly detach and climb down the railing to the deck.
I can see them lurking just below the fence, so I go out again, look them in the eye and say: “I SEE you. You’ve had your time in the feeders. Now you have to let the birds eat too.”
I go back to the house and they are back on the feeders. I repeat the performance, only this time, I stand on the deck. Each time they peak over the edge of the deck I tell them: “I said it was time to go. Now, beat it buster.”
Each time one of them leaves, a dozen birds hit the feeder because they’ve been waiting in the trees. They aren’t afraid of me anymore. They seem to know I’m talking to the squirrels.
How they know this, I have no idea, but they don’t skedaddle. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to go and physically remove the squirrels one of these mornings. I really don’t mind them eating, but they can’t eat all the food I put out and that’s what they are doing. I can’t afford twenty pounds of seeds a week.
It’s like when you go for breakfast with a friend and you get to chatting. No one minds because it’s early, but as lunchtime rolls around, the waiters start giving you the eye. There are no more refills for your coffee.
I don’t think my squirrels have been eating out recently. They don’t have good restaurant manners.
Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.