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Chirp [Apr. 28th, 2016|10:47 pm]
This evening I heard, for the first time this year, a cricket chirping. The sun wasn't quite down yet, but the yard had fallen into shadow. The cricket was somewhere beyond the jasmine hedge, among the luxuriant weeds that have sprouted after all the rain. It's probably a fascinating world the cricket lives in. I hope he (only male crickets chirp) can continue to live there and not get munched by a bird or a feral cat.

The cricket in my back yard is silent now, but I hear one chirping faintly next door. I can't hear the frogs, though. I don't know if they are gone, or just too few no for their voices to reach tis far over the constant hum of the night breeze passing through the pine trees. Usually we get at least a few days of overlap, when the crickets beginning to chirp and the frogs are still croaking. Maybe if we get enough rain next week the frogs will become more active again. Hopefully the crickets won't drown.

I'm late getting my dinner on to cook again tonight. Time has abandoned me to my own devices, and my devices are random as hell. My brain needs a Siri implant, but one that talks to me instead of waiting for me to ask questions. But then I'd probably just think I was going crazy and hearing voices. I think I'm stuck with my own random devices. Ah, well, I guess they'll take care of me when I go into the home. Mmmm, Jell-o.
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Chilly and Forgetful [Apr. 27th, 2016|10:24 pm]
The partly cloudy sky brought a surprise today in the form of a brief shower lasting about ten minutes. Had it happened while the sun was out it would have made a dandy sun shower, but we were in cloud shadow the entire time. It remained quite cool all day. It is to be considerably warmer tomorrow. The next chance of rain in the long-range forecast is a week from today, with another chance a week from Friday. As today's shower didn't amount to much, we could still use the water from another rain. I'll be watching to see what develops over the next few days before I decide whether or not to water the yard on Monday.

They took out another pine tree in the yard at the end of the block this morning. It was the tree that, from my back porch, the trunk of which was always mostly hidden behind a slimmer tree several feet this side of it. The slimmer tree has an odd crook some way up its bole, leaning just a bit to the west for several feet and then going straight up again. It must be from some old injury it got in a storm long ago. The crook was not really noticeable while the bigger tree behind it was there, but now it's very obvious. I suspect that the bent tree will have to come out eventually, too. The two spots where it bends are probably weak.

This computer was being troublesome today, so I haven't gotten much done with it. Frustration with the machine's behavior led me to waste considerable time watching television instead. I'm about to go waste more time watching television, though I'll have to eat something first. I keep forgetting dinner until I suddenly feel sick because my blood sugar has crashed. I really bite at taking care of myself anymore. Too bad I can't train Portia to look after me, but she's about as unscheduled as I am. But at least I never pee on the carpet. Yet.
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Busy [Apr. 26th, 2016|08:30 pm]
This afternoon the lawns got mowed, and because the day was mildish I was able to leave some windows open and let the scent of fresh cut grass drift into the house. A bit of the scent still lingers, event hough nightfall has brought a chill to the air and I've had to close the house up again.

There was also a scent of pine this afternoon, but from an unfortunate source. One of the big ponderosas in the last yard down the block was cut down. It was the tree they got started on several months ago but never finished off. Its lower branches had already been lopped off, and today the took the top. The top was about twenty feet high, and looked like a big Christmas tree as they lowered it to the ground. Then they took down the remainder of the bare trunk. The view in that direction is now slightly more open, but I don't think that was a good trade for such a nice old tree.

The pine pollen has stopped falling, so I washed the residue off by back porch today. I had to beat the two small rugs that were out there as door and cat mats, and that sent a lot of pollen flying, but it is the last I'll have to breathe this year. I'm glad that's over. There will be other plants pollinating as the season goes along, but most of them are not as bad as the pine trees.

The day was overcast, but the overcast was of the thin sort that allows enough sunlight through that there are still distinct shadows. On the whole it was a very pleasant afternoon, and the fact that I got some things done in the yard made it better. I'll probably be a bit sore tomorrow from the unaccustomed amount of activity, but I don't think I'll be so sore I can't sleep tonight. Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler than today was, even though it is to be partly cloudy instead of overcast. After that it is supposed to get warmer again, and stay clear most of the week.

There is no rain in the ten day forecast, but spring can bring surprises so I'll keep hoping for some. If none comes than I'll probably have to start watering parts of the yard by next Monday. Even with the minimal amount of watering I've done in the last month, the latest water bill was about 20% higher than the one that came in March. I'm going to have to do some serious plant triage if I don't want to go broke buying water this summer. Rain! Rain! Come back, Rain!
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Fuzzhead [Apr. 25th, 2016|09:52 pm]
My brain was uncommonly fuzzy when I woke up today. My first thought was Hey, I have to get up and get ready to go shopping, and it took a few minutes before I remembered that I went shopping yesterday. It's a good thing I don't drive myself, or the day would soon come that I'd hop into the car and end up miles from home because I had no idea what I was doing. About the worst thing I do stuck in the house is fall asleep with the television on.

The continuing coolness of the days is very pleasant. We're supposed to get four more fairly cool days before it starts getting hot, and the nights should remain cool even after that, so I won't be needing the air conditioner this month. The furnace is still cycling on at night, though, so my power bill probably won't bottom out until May or June. Saving enough money for the insurance is going to be close this year, even if the premium doesn't go up again this year. I don't even want to think about the property tax that comes due in November. But then maybe DJ T-Rump will be elected president and I'll die of shame from living in a country that would do such a thing before I have to pay it. It's an ill wind that blows no good....

I'd be fixing one of this week's supermarket bargains for dinner about now, except I started eating some bread (another bargain) and butter this afternoon and got hung up. Having unwisely stuffed myself on cheap bread I feel almost like I'm running my own restaurant. Well, I'm sure I'll get hungry again eventually. I hope it's before midnight. When I cook after midnight I always feel like I should be making breakfast, and I didn't buy any breakfast bargains this week. So if I eat after midnight tonight it will probably be popcorn. Then I could use up the half cube of butter I didn't slather on that half loaf of bread. A cube a day seems about right for someone my age, doesn't it?
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Emerging [Apr. 24th, 2016|11:51 pm]
The cloud-shrouded moon, rising, imbues the aerial dust and vapor with the faint red hues of faded roses. Elsewhere the stars are bright, but the diffuse glow of the horizon holds my attention. Such colors fill dreams and illustrations in old books, or autumnal gardens exhaling their last shades of glory. It is a scene of quietude, enhanced by the cool freshness of the air. So strange that a spring night barely begun should evoke such a valedictory feeling. The deep sigh of the pines stirred by a steady breeze sounds like water flowing away.

Earth turns and the crown of the moon clears the clouds. As it does, the fainter stars begin to fade. No longer a full orb, the rising moon emerges, orange at first, then yellow, and the clouds lose its light and blend into the dark edge of night. By midnight the moon will be white, and high enough that the trees will cast lacy shadows across the land.

The wind will continue for hours, the river of its sound flowing away as the pale light flows here and there, pushing the darkness from one corner to another. Shadows of change creep relentlessly, marking this thin surface as the great bulk of Earth turns beneath it. Hello to each moment arriving, goodbye to each moment joining all those of the past, which never ceases gathering.

Sunday VerseCollapse )
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Mostly a Placemarker [Apr. 24th, 2016|12:19 am]
The dry day stayed cool even though it was mostly sunny. I overslept, then got hung up on a bunch of stuff and never got around to writing an entry. There was Ramen with vegetables for dinner, as I'm coming to the end of last week's shopping and I'm tired of opening cans of stuff or microwaving frozen things. The food should be slightly more interesting next week. That's not saying much. This week set the bar very low.

Right now I have to make out the bills I'll be mailing tomorrow when I go shopping. I've learned to do that the night before rather than remember at the last minute and end up delaying my trip.

I'm actually feeling a bit queasy now. The ramen was a bit stale. I'll go lay down on the couch as soon as I'm done writing checks for the bills. It's close to the bathroom in case I must chunder.

R.I.P., Saturday. We hardly knew ye.
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After the Boom [Apr. 22nd, 2016|09:51 pm]
Three electrical episodes punctuated the storm today. I turned the computer off when the first one began, and hadn't turned it back on when the second one took place, but had to turn it off again when the third one came by. The third one was the nearest, with loud claps of thunder quickly following several of the flashes of lightning. It only stayed nearby for about fifteen minutes, and then rolled off into the mountains, but was quite invigorating (if inconvenient) while it lasted.

Each of the three thunderstorms brought heavy downpours, and one of them brought hail, but the storm is now much diminished. There might be a few more sprinkles tonight, but the rain should all be over before morning. It's going to get warmer tomorrow, but highs above 70 are not predicted until next Thursday, so it looks like a pleasant week coming up. After that it's anybody's guess. Spring might continue being intermittently rainy, or it could turn hot and dry.

I don't yet know how much rain we got, but it was surely enough to keep the plants happy for several days. Well,the plants other than the rose bushes are probably happy, but the roses, as I expected, took quite a beating. The red ones were all destroyed, and though the yellow ones did better most of them are a bit bedraggled now. As the lilacs have already withered away, the back yard's color is much diminished— unless I count the ground under the rose bushes, which is now littered with red and pink and yellow petals. But dead petals lose their color soon.

I'm hoping that the last of the storm clouds will settle earthward and turn to fog before departing, but the chances of that are slim with spring storms. Fog is more apt to appear with rain in winter. But fog or no, it smells nice outside now, the air full of the scents of grass and wet pine trees. I'm going to go out and inhale some of it now.
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Rats! [Apr. 22nd, 2016|01:32 pm]
Well, rats! No sooner do I get the computer fired up than a thunderstorm comes along, and now I have to shut it down. And there is stuff I want to do with it. I guess I'll go watch the lawn get soaked and read a magazine until it's over.
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The Approach [Apr. 21st, 2016|11:38 pm]
The precursor to the storm that's moving in was a mostly cloudy sky that nevertheless admitted a great deal of sunlight all afternoon. There was also some strong wind, and the rumpled clouds were swift, the light playing constantly with their texture. I took a last look at the roses that are about to be beaten to death by the raindrops.

Currently I have what is probably the largest number of roses blooming at once that I'll see this year. I pruned off a few that were past their prime, but didn't cut any of the full ones to take indoors. Portia can't resist knocking over vases, for some reason. She rarely takes out a lamp, and even more rarely a water glass, but no vase is safe from her swats, especially when it's full of flowers. Goofy cat.

The rain is expected to start after midnight. One never knows with spring storms, though, and it might not begin until much later. But I'm definitely hoping to see everything wet by the time I wake up tomorrow. The grass will drinking it up to fuel its next growth spurt. It is already getting pretty long, so the next mowing isn't far off. It's good that it will be getting more water, because you definitely don't want it drying out when it's long. The last thing I need is a fire hazard in my own yard.

I woke up fairly late today, but I hope I can get to sleep earlier tonight anyway. I have to start thinking about going shopping Sunday. There are a couple of decent bargains this week, and I want a clear head when I'm in the store so I don't forget any of them. When I shop while groggy I sometimes forget stuff even when it's on my list. One of the perils of age. Another peril of age is forgetting to eat, which I did tonight. As it's gotten pretty chilly maybe I'll just heat a can of soup. I need to make room in that cupboard anyway.
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Spring Stuff [Apr. 20th, 2016|09:29 pm]
This evening I made the mistake of sweeping the golden layer of pine pollen off of my back porch. Had I been thinking clearly I'd have waited until it had stopped accumulating and then washed it off with the hose. That's a pretty big task, as the porch is over two hundred square feet and has a lot of stuff on it (furniture, lawn mower, flower pots, etcetera.) But I have been tracking the stuff into the house on my feet and thought I could just get the worst of it off with the broom if I covered my nose with a bandanna, but it didn't work and I've been sneezing more ever since. Stupid trees.

The missing tabby cat didn't come back today, so she wasn't at the pound (it's only open Wednesday through Saturday) so I think she's unlikely to ever return. I'll miss that kitty. She was always happy to see me when I went outside, and would rub against my leg and purr. A couple of the others will do that, but most of them keep their distance.

Rain is still predicted for Friday. Better yet, the high temperature is predicted to be only 53, down from 80 today and 72 predicted for tomorrow. After that, highs are expected to remain in the 60s for several days, and there could be more rain on Wednesday. About the only negative in the forecast is that the Friday storm could bring lightning, and lightning could start fires that could last for a longtime if the rain the storm brings isn't heavy enough to put them out right away. There could also be a power outage, of course, but this time of year I worry less about that then I do about fires that might last all summer.

The moon is almost full tonight (it will be full the night of the storm) and the walnut tree will soon be entirely clothed in spring leaves, so tonight and tomorrow are my last chances until fall to watch the complex shadows of the branches and twigs to cross the ground. It getting chilly again, but it's not yet so cold as to make sitting outside unpleasant. Sadly, the pollen is what makes it unpleasant. I guess I'll stay in and watch television again tonight.
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