Indian Mound in Flood Mode

The river and falls were a raging, thundering torrent, deeper than we’ve ever seen after the rain.  Some areas were actually under water and cut off.  The next wave of spring wildflowers was in bloom, including waterleaf, phlox, dame’s rocket, mayapple, false and true solomon’s seal, wild columbine, wild hydrangea (?), masses of buttercup/celandine poppy (?), and many others.  We checked out the restored cabin again.


T-Storms at The Almanac

Remember when it used to rain and storm throughout April (at least in the east)?  We finally got much-needed thunderstorms all night and into today.  It’s flashing and crashing as I write, with flash flood warnings.  We don’t have storm drains here, like normal towns, so it could turn into a river out there!

Have I mentioned I love rain?  I’m drawn especially to wetlands wildlife and marginal aquatic natives.  I feel like I am the thirsty plants and animals, reveling in the relief. Even from my upstairs nature desert, I can feel it.  (I’m not so into raw sewage, though.)

At my old hort job in MD, working outside for the most part, I confess there were times I didn’t appreciate being soaked to the bone, but I was always happy for all the plants and tadpoles depending on it.  There were those inevitable diehard customers who stood there with their umbrellas while we scurried around in the pouring rain, but I could relate.  When you’re a rain-loving plant person, you’re pretty waterproof.  (During my job with the MD state parks, I used to swim with families of beavers.)

Forced to retire to caregive full-time back in NJ, their garden wasn’t really mine to manage, but I used to sneak out there whenever I could and tend my discrete little parcels of perennials and bird areas.  When I could, I volunteered with the town garden committee, who installed and maintained many green spaces, including a small arboretum we planned and created.  We also managed the modest farmer’s market in town.

Still retired in OH, and discouraged from venturing into our own yard by the unfortunate new tenants, I’m living for the day we can finally be free to garden and grow our own food, set aside wildlife areas, even create a small pond.  You’ll know where to find me then.  In our own Secret Garden.



Live from the Foyer

A foyer is the passage where you hang your proverbial hat until it’s time to leave, which is the mode we’re in.  I couldn’t even write yesterday, it’s so tense.  So I’ll try to make up for it today.

Ironically, E watches the news for us nowadays.  I used to be the news maven, but if I subject myself to one minute of that psycho-case we have for president, I literally get nauseated.  E keeps me apprised of the latest freakshow.

We’re on the verge of setting our house hunt in motion.  We had to wait until the financial damage and discredit done by the ex was finally behind us.  This delay has actually worked out for the best, not just in loan qualification terms.  We’ve had time to process a lot of baggage, not just the literal kind.  It’s a work in progress, for two people from extreme opposite backgrounds, but if we can do it, anyone can!  Better to have divested of most of the crap in the waiting room, then move on with our lives.  Time’s too short to waste it on psychodrama.  Ohioans can keep it!

We watched a very good but disturbing documentary on Amazon about the horrific state of Cincinnati as it relates to its schools . The degree of poverty, addiction, and inadequate education is astounding.  The thing is, the Dayton area and its schools are not much better, as E can attest to.  She was totally failed by the system as a child, then again when she worked for them.  When you drive through this area, it’s like a bleak abandoned industrial wasteland, and the people who are left are like lower lifeforms.

It’s incomprehensible to me, or to anyone who came from a decent economic and educational background, that such primitive conditions still exist in this country.  It’s a crime that graduating from high school–high school–is the rare exception to the rule all over Ohio.  Never mind even dreaming of college.  This one exceptional Cincy principal made it his passion to successfully turn this pattern around, but sadly, the system as it existed ended up terminating him.  Now we have an administration that wants to sabotage education even further, to make America stupider again.

But not to rant on, erev preps are in progress, and so are we.



A strange characteristic of people in this area is, they have absolutely no sense of, or respect for,  boundaries, whether physical or social, and they pass this trait on to their kids.  You’ll see whole herds of kids and adults wandering through your yard and landscape, disturbing, trampling, and vandalizing.  The so-called grownups just stand there spitting, ignoring and enabling this behavior.  It’s incomprehensible to me.  Nobody acted like this anywhere else I’ve lived before.

These are the same people who vote for Trump, or not at all.  There’s a parallel.  Nothing exists outside of their narcissistic little world.  If you have any self-respect, and try to improve or repair your surroundings, including the damage they’ve done which affects everyone’s health and safety,  they scream irrationally at you.  These are the role models their kids will be following.  Nothing outside of themselves matters.

I just finished mowing the whole lawn, and once again cleaned up the damage they did to my front flower bed.  They know I’ve been maintaining the yard for years before they got here, but it’s irrelevant.  The unsupervised herds just plow right through it, while they watch.  But it’s just a matter of time before we’re out of here.  Then they can destroy the place altogether.

It’s hard to let go, and not “own” any of this.  It just baffles me that humans can still be so ignorant and uncivilized.  It will be a luxury to just be able to go outside in our own yard and garden, without getting confronted or shot at, and to not share a home with deranged barbarians.  I’d much rather share it with animals, who know better.

Sorry about the rant.  I try to be philosophical, but sometimes this place just confounds me.  But not for long!



Sweet Arrow Reserve

As alluded to, we hiked for our second time in Sweet Arrow Reserve, which features vast prairie fields, rolling woodland along a stream, and a very dramatic ancient hollow sycamore.  We took turns climbing in and out of it.  Ten people could easily fit inside.  The park is newish, so wildflowers haven’t gotten well established yet, though there were masses of white trillium.  The park is making an effort to grow stands of native saplings.


All the News I Need

“I can gather all the news I need on the weather report”, sang Paul Simon, back in the day.  Here we are in the next century, full circle.  I notice many people I know have stopped following the news, it’s so insane and surreal.  I literally can only take it in small doses, or my head explodes.  We don’t even recognize our own country anymore.

So I follow the weather, gaze longingly out the window toward our future home, and go hiking in local reserves and preserves.  In fact, we’re off to another one today.  You can be sure there will be photos!  The guy we met at the fen yesterday kept saying, “Are you sure you don’t want to stay in Ohio?”  Yes, absolutely positively sure.

All the news I need will be when we locate our new little house on our new acreage.  Until then, weather and wildflowers it is.

Seizing the Day

Our day began by visiting the grave of E’s son, who would have been 36 today.  He died at age four.  It never gets any easier.

On a lighter note, we checked out a park we haven’t seen in a long time, Sara Lee Arnovitz Nature Preserve.  The mood was dampened a bit when we rounded a bend and found a huge tree had fallen on the bridge and totally crushed it, so there was no way through.  I did get a few shots of wildflowers and cool ‘shrooms, though.

After an interlude at a favorite Chinese restaurant (and two Tsing Taos later), we revisited the wetlands at Siebenthaler Fen.  We didn’t see any beaver action, but we did see one painted turtle, many frogs, some bright blue tree swallows, hawks, and lots of interesting wildflowers (including Jerusalem artichoke, marsh marigolds, celandine poppy, wild cucumber, white rock cress, etc.)  We met a very nice fellow nature lover named Rick, and shared plant and animal anecdotes and park lore.

See if you can make out two frogs.



Wildflower Bonanza at the Narrows

As promised or threatened, we hiked through the Narrows along the river today.  The place was a wildflower fairyland.  There were: pale blue wild hyacinth, deep purple larkspur, masses of pink, lavender, and purple phlox and dame’s rocket, bouquets of bright golden ragwort and delicate white spring cress (?), deep red trillium scattered everywhere, and violets of every color–white, yellow, pink, lavender, and deep purple.  Less desirable but still pretty were the masses of invasive yellow lesser celandine covering the forest floor.  I think I have most of those IDs right; I’m still learning them.