Archive for June, 2010

Sidetracked

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

That’s one of my favorite paths. This morning I began by getting down an old paint cloth to put around the shrub so the trimmings would be easy to pick up. I keep my paint cloths on the top shelf in the back porch, excuse me, my sun room. But the top package was Dan’s yearbooks which I had to look over because I was curious about the representation of seniors of 1997 compared to mine of 1945 because I was editor of my high school yearbook. I found Tim’s fiction from his high school writing class. An original had a hand written critique in red ink that emphasized failings and accomplishments. There was another story that he eventually did in serial form on his website in the 1980’s. He got sidetracked too, because he now paints.

Enough

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

That’s it. I quit. I couldn’t get all the weeds if I worked all night but I made some headway behind my car. I did accomplish one thing I set out to do and that was trim the arborvitae out front. They were getting shaggy and while I won’t have a lush green lawn I can have trim and shapely shrubs to look out upon my neighbors. My hedge trimmers are not heavy but the drag from the cuttings felt like a hundred pounds and stressed my right wrist soon enough. Trimming was the least of it. I had to get my eight food ladder from the shop to the front. It doesn’t weigh the 200 lbs it brags to support but it is not light either. I trim the tops of the shrubs even with my eaves. I don’t want them higher than my ladder will take me where they lay on the roof and become insect birthing grounds. Then back goes the ladder and a different fun. Rake the trimmings and get them into the yard waste bin. That wasn’t back breaking but took time and the cuttings filled my wheel barrow twice. The effort made me sweat. So I retreated to LazyBoy and reclined. My right hand and wrist to weak to take me into the exciting world wide web? May all the stars in the galaxy prevent such a catastrophe.

Tight Belly

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

The muscle across my lower belly tightens when I suck in my breath. It hurts. I take a deep breathe and the discomfort spreads, even more when inhale deeply and exhale. It has been going on for 24 hours. I almost called off this morning’s flight for fear of nausea. But the flight takeoff or bumpy air did not excerbate the feeling. For hours I lay back in my Lazy Boy and tried to relax. My neck is stiff so that isn’t successful. I have a large glossy pharmacuetical publication entitled Systems and Structures with illustrations of the human body parts where every muscle is gruesomely realistic which I study to figure out just what is going on in my belly. No enlightenment. At noon I dared to eat several spoonfuls of cottage cheese and peas. Although not painful there was enough discomfort to make me wish I hadn’t. Still an hour or more until bedtime, I may not wait. My stomach stole much of last night’s sleep so I don’t know if that will be the case tonight. A pain pill may help. At least it is worth a try.

Flyin’ Time

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Frank came in his pickup at 0925 and we headed for the Richland airport. He spoke to me on Sunday Freethought and suggested we go flying. Morning’s were cooler, how about 1100? Fine but he called later to change that to 0930. He apologized for not getting out earlier to do the pre-flight checkup. Watching him go over every inch of the plane’s exterior was a lesson in planning for success. Don’t want wings falling off, he joked, as he tugged on the flaps, checked the gas level. Can’t fly on water, he stated seriously, as he squinted at the bottom of a tubular sample from the gas tank. And that was on the outside, after he kicked the chocks back and pulled the aircraft away from its buddies anchored like soldiers along the hangar wall. He handed me a couple of couch pillows. I’m too short to see much scenery without them, my bumper seat. The cockpit has little round circles with needles and numbers all across from the right side to the left and he carefully checked each gauge, sometimes changing the needle, sometimes adjusting numbers. When he reached across me to clamp my door shut his watch showed 10:10. Our headphones were operative and he started the engine. We rose to view the Hanford site from the air. We flew north along the Columbia River nearly to Vernita Bridge, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams in view. Informing the Pasco airport, he turned back to Richland and I marveled at the neatly marked fields of alfalfa where a side delivery rake was rolling the cuttings into rows for the baler. When we landed he filled his gas tank and took the Piper Cub back toward the hangar. I walked to his truck and in no time I was in my driveway, home again. He admits he loves to fly but not alone so I get to ride along for company. Lucky me.

Remote Control

Monday, June 28th, 2010

My schedule is fixed, sort of preordained in my date book. From the time I wake up I go on remote control. I exercise, shower and make breakfast. On Monday I open the McNary NWR Education Center and by 0800 I was out the door with a mind full of everything. I back out of my driveway and turn left noting neighbors’ neat lawns and colorful flowers. Always watchful for moving vehicles and pedestrians I progress toward I-82 then the fifteen miles to the Refuge. My car needs no instruction, it just goes as it always has according to my schedule. Until this morning I had not thought of the mechanical way in which I go through my routine. All very fixed. I shrug and proceed while my mind scampers through endless ideas and plans for today and tomorrow or recall pleasant yesterdays. I steer and adjust my speed. My tires sing to the pavement. I see raked alfalfa packed into big rectangular blocks to be trucked to fatten cattle soon transferred to plastic wrap in the supermarket. Crows walk the tarmac pecking at remains of rodents that didn’t get across. A kestrel hovers ready to kill. Juicy insects sacrifice themselves on my windshield. That is tough stuff to remove. All part of the routine of summer. I want the heat to last for months. With climate change those months become longer and warmer. That’s OK I do not sweat, I glisten.

Out West

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

The view out my kitchen window is one I look to while I prepare and eat breakfast and all other meals as well as cleaning the counter and washing dishes – even while I frequently drink my day’s ration of water. Hazel nut tree leaves dance with the slightest breeze and I notice hornets kissing their edges then fly to the window. Are they building their egg cartons on the siding? Buena Wade is digging out an ugly cement block. She filled the small area with blooming plants. Colorful. She moves confidently and gets things done. She did not leave with her stumpy chauffeur before I did this morning. The car wasn’t moved the day before. I wonder if he is sick. Closer to me I watched a very small tan spider on the screen carry a smaller beetle up to the top of the window. I grabbed a magnifier and reached over to get a larger view but accidentally hit the window and the spider went bye bye. I want to find more constructive things to do after the far reaching discussion about astronomy with Al earlier as we shared French fries at Berger King. Light years, galaxies, and space – woooeee. The sun challenges me with brilliant gleaming as it slides behind the edge of the earth. Pull down the blinds and cut off my view of the west.

Weeds Begone

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Barely sunup and I was pulling weeds as I promised myself last night. My companion was a cricket displaced when I pulled a particularly well rooted weed from the dusty soil. After working long enough to sweat but mostly to succumb to a tired back from bending over and sore knees from resting on the gravel, I scrubbed my hands and trimmed my nails. Then had a good sized bowl of sugar frosted mini wheats. With a liberal administration of clear nail polish I carefully opened INCA GOLD and read long enough to dry the polish. The odor of a cantaloupe I brought home yesterday lured me into cutting into it, carving and peeling - I now have chunks ready to eat. Alas, I can see no loss of weeds out front. It was as if I had done nothing. Well I knew I had, so there! Much more to be done, maybe after Freethought. Still the forecast is for temperatures in the high eighties so maybe not. I know the weeds will not only be there when I am ready to pull, they will also have grown, maybe become easier to pull. A yard called Hope.

Collectamania

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

With the temperature at only 83 F I know I could have waited for a better day to clean up the shop. That wasn’t my intention when I opened the door but when I stepped in and found the mess I left before driving to Bellingham a month ago I took a deep breath and went to work. Spider webs in every nook and cranny were the first to go. Empty boxes off the floor. And the floor swept. And the hunt for an elusive dustpan which I still haven’t found. All I intended to do was see just what I had accumulated in the way of collections. A 3-ring binder of pressed leaves, another of flowers, four large albums of cancelled stamps. And real coins. Dollars, half dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. I found old cans, you know, Prince Albert tobacco tins, really collectibles like that. Telephone insulators must be in the tin shed cuz they weren’t on the shop shelf. And who knows what else I’ll unearth? Only one length of barbed wire – I didn’t get out on the range to increase that collection. Just wait. But the mess was the papers strewn on the floor. Last winter I brought in the carcass of a Great Blue Heron that I was cleaning up with Boraxo and the powder was all over. Old Blue is going to have to go. There is no place for him at the Ed Center. But I picked up all the paper and swept. I just had to get out of Dodge so off I went to the library to return a bag of books, except Cussler, he is not due for two more weeks. I bought a barbecued chicken for supper and some orange sherbet instead of the beer I drooled over. Six bottles would have lasted longer than the quart but I’ve made bad decisions before. When it gets hotter I will work outside again.

Well Feathered

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

When Debbie acquired feathers in Farmland I noted that I had feathers from birds I viewed in various placed I traveled. In the notebook in which I displayed my collection I even surprised myself about when and where they came from. The earliest date was 1993 of a Mute swan collected by Alex from Einan’s Memorial Gardens when he spent a couple of weeks at Camp Gramma. It is white and put in kitty-corner the thick quill goes beyond the page that’s how big it is. The black feather from a Minah Bird is less than eight inches, marked Culebra 1994, where Nancy Young invited me to Awesome Finca, an earthquake proof pole house perched above a cove in the brilliant turquoise water off the main Island of Puerto Rico. There again in 1995, I took a flight feather from a carcass of a Frigate Bird which also goes beyond its page. Within the Arctic Circle on June 21, 1999, under the 24-hour sun, I found a raven feather and miles into Sweden, at Summoru, I picked up Juvenal gull feathers. Being newly volunteered at McNary NWR in 1997, I acquired feathers from a Brewer’s blackbird, Canada goose, robin, and another Juvenal gull. In Bellingham, Morgan gifted me with the pretty blue one from a Stellar Jay and black one from a crow. I took my book, SAGESONG, to a Farmer’s Market stall in Uptown Richland and found a feather left behind by a Rock Dove. Sulfur Crested Cockatoo feathers are from Millomolong, Australia, and Red Galah from Reynella Sheep Station in the Snowy Mountains. I picked up pretty pink and white Flamingo feathers on several trips to Kenya. Mark Smith, a guide with whom I travel in Jamaica sent me a Great Horned Owl and hawk feathers from Africa with his update notes, the last was a chukar in 2005. The most striking in my collection is a glossy yellow flight feather from a Yellow Shafted Woodpecker found when I was with Tom in Connecticut.

Through A Crack Darkly

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

When I put up the cedar fence on the west line the spacer used was a 10-penny nail, just enough to keep the boards evenly spaced. Years of wetting sprinklers and blazing sun dried the boards and width of the spaces doubled. At a distance of twenty feet from my sun porch the cracks reveal neighbors at work. I see Buena adding planters filled with pots of riotous colors beside the steps. Her husband changes the head on the water hose to run the through a bottle of herbicide or insecticide, whatever. I can’t read the label on the bottle but he sprays along the cement walk and around the red car in their drive. Buena pulls the hose along so he can reach every corner. She throws out her arm to indicate the coverage. He grudgingly clamps his gums together and shrugs in response. They are probably less than four feet from the fence so I see them clearly. To the south walkers in the shelter belt are farther away and their features are less distinct but I distinguish women from men and both from the dogs that pull them along on their leashes. To the east there is only an occasional trespasser crossing from the shelter belt to Abbot street. Nothing risqué or ominous. Just everyday life passing the cracks.