Sun Saunatized

Excuse the pun, but that’s how it feels outside, like virus germs are being burned away by the extreme heat.  I like to think so, anyway.  The way things are going, it may be one of our only hopes in these devolving times.  At any rate, I’m thankful for AC down here in this increasingly muggy climate.

I’m constantly growing and planting more flowers, veggies, and herbs.  I have to get out early in the morning to avoid the broiler.  The flowers don’t seem to be minding it, though, which attracts more goldfinches, hummers, and many other birds and bees.  I’m watching goldfinches hop onto each zinnia and eat the petals(?).  Hummers buzz them, as well.  Even a couple of butterflies have been sighted.  The bunnies, chipmunks, and large groundhog have been making themselves at home as usual.  Colorful blue-tailed skinks are basking in the sun.

Here is E’s new handmade open cabinet, installed over the stove, and yesterday evening’s cool blue drink.  Here are two of Misu’s favorite hangouts, her office box and her office lookout perch (watching the finches).  And of course your daily flower dosage.  The purple spike is my new Liatris, and the fluffy orange one is tropical hibiscus.



The Dumbest Mammal (H. sapiens)

Today we took a chance on Lowes early in the morning, to get a few needed supplies.  Supposedly all businesses are under new, stricter mandates for masking and distancing, since the virus is taking a serious surge.  Of course it depends on how seriously enforcement is actually carried out, in many places not at all.  Maybe half or fewer patrons were wearing masks, though most employees appeared to be at least trying.  It varies by location and demographic, I’ve heard.  It’s hard to believe these people refuse to see the facts right in front of them.  All we can do is take careful precautions, and try to stay alive.

The “prairie” now has drifts of various flower species, many (but not all) natives.  I’m especially happy about the mountain mint (Pycnanthemum, first photo), lacy white tinged with lavender, which is starting to do its pollinator-attracting thing.  The next few photos are also from out there, where pink coneflowers (Echinacea) have joined the blanketflower (Gaillardia).  Black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia) will open out there next.  I suspect some rabbits and birds are also proliferating somewhere in there.

I’m really happy that hummingbirds have finally showed up, after a long delay.  They seem to love the colorful zinnias right outside my office window, as do the bright goldfinches.  It will take some effort trying to capture them in the act, so don’t hold your breath.  I’ve only seen a few tiny butterflies so far this year; everyone has been remarking upon their mysterious absence.  No doubt yet another effect of human-caused climate change.  I haven’t even found any of their caterpillars, but I won’t give up on them.



When things seem bleak and hopeless all around, I try to remind myself of the essentials I do have, such as…

I haven’t died of coronavirus or other disasters yet;

My son (and grandkids when visiting him) are alive and well nearby, though inaccessible right now;

My brother and bro-in-law are same, though much farther away;

I have a roof over my head, a car, this laptop, and the basic amenities of life;

I can still function and take care of myself;

My teeth haven’t fallen out (again) yet;

I can grow things in the garden and observe wildlife eating it firsthand;

I have a fine feline therapy friend (supervising as I type);

The world hasn’t ended yet, though it surely is trying to;

When all else fails, booze.

It’s a lot, all things considered.  I may have taken some of these for granted in the past, but when you’re old on a shared low income, surrounded by death and idiocy, every little thing counts.

And now back to the usual cheery stuff.  There’s a bee on almost every flower.



Bombs Bursting and Birthday Bouquet

A very happy official 40th birthday to my son Avdi!  I’m very sad I can’t be there with him, though I know he’s not alone.  If it weren’t for this damn deadly coronavirus… but I can’t take the risk of exposing anyone.  It feels strange to not be with him for such a next “coming of age”, but the main thing is for him and his loved ones to stay healthy and safe to enjoy future birthdays together.  I know he understands this.  Cheers from not far!

More isolating still was last night’s record fireworks bombardment.  It started early in the day and continued until late last night by the light of the full moon.  Since we’ve been here we’ve never witnessed such an onslaught from every direction.  It felt like we were alone on our quarantine island surrounded by armies of careless partiers who must have blown all their money on the works.  Extreme surround sound!  It’s how I imagine it must sound on a battlefield; I can’t imagine how anyone with PTSD would get through it.  Pretty, of course, but very intense.  We could only stand outside (revolving to catch it all) for so long, it was so loud and intense.  But hey, it was a free show (for us at least).

Anyway, here is a much quieter but heartfelt fireworks display of flowers in honor of my son’t birthday.  Yesterday’s drink actually started out red, white, and blue for the 4th of July, but fused into this lovely turquoise color.  It’s my “independence from trump tyranny” drink.  The rest is self-explanatory.  Avdi, your virtual birthday bouquet, with love…



Birthday FlowerWorks

My son’s big 40th birthday is tomorrow, and sadly this year I won’t be spending it with him and my grandkids due to the pandemic.  This year he’s really got his hands full, with four feisty kids to keep busy at home, while working full-time from home to keep up with mounting bills, and dealing with major home repairs.  He rarely gets a break under normal circumstances, let alone under quarantine.  I’m prouder of him than ever.

I realize many people are heedlessly gathering in crowds for July 4th weekend, even as coronavirus cases are dangerously spiking all over the country.  Even with mandatory rules for masking and distancing finally in effect here, people are willfully disregarding them, as they aren’t being enforced by businesses or authorities.

It’s mind-boggling how people can let themselves be so brainwashed into denial and indifference.  All we can do is watch helplessly, and do our small part staying at home and protecting others and ourselves if we do have to venture out.

In lieu of celebrating my son’s birthday in person, I’ve gathered this virtual bouquet of flowers I would bring him if I could (including some nice bonus bees).  I’ve even thrown in this fine and worthwhile zucchini throw pillow [family in-joke]!   Happy early birthday to Avdi!  To next year alive and well together!



After more rain, it feels like a sweat lodge out, but we took advantage of the precip break to mow.  As usual, it takes E hours on the rider mower and me on the cordless electric mower and weed wacker to get the job done.  We’re fortunate to have such a problem, I suppose, and the strength to keep up with it for now.  But the sooner we can replace lawn with trees and native plantings, the more sustainable and beneficial this land will be.

I’m still getting piles of green and purple pole beans each day, and there are signs the squashes and tomatoes may eventually get their act together.  Mostly it’s the flowers that are proliferating so far this year.  It’s become apparent that this poor toxic soil needs several years’ worth of intensive improvement to yield anything successfully.  But I’ll keep working at it as long as I’m able.

One thing I’ve learned about gardening–after years of trials and errors, I’m still a novice learning new tricks all the time.  But the patience pays off in results.  For example, I’m constantly amazed and pleased by the increasing diversity and numbers of birds that are finding this place more and more inviting and sheltering.  As I wrote this, possibly a dozen different species, many in pairs, were lined up perched on the fence or foraging in the garden outside my window.  I must be doing something right!



E’s Country Bakery

We did the dreaded restock today.  This time we chanced Target, and it was empty.  An employee said it gets full of non-masked customers later in the day, which is frustrating. But they had–gasp–baking yeast!  I never thought such a common item would be so precious.  And we needed it, as you’ll see from the photos.

Then we hit Kroger, which was more crowded.  Fewer than half the customers were wearing masks, including whole families, and a pregnant woman.  It’s unnerving and discouraging to see a population that just doesn’t care about facts or each other.  No wonder the rest of the world won’t even let us in anymore!

It’s been raining up a storm, so much so it kept even me from taking outdoor photos.  Instead, we have a veritable bakery.  Here is some excellent part whole wheat bread, and a blueberry pie, by E.


Coronazombies and Escape Artists

I’m not a big zombie apocalypse fan, so this dream I had must be indicative of the stressful times we’re going through.  I was in a city full of people, most of whom were in very early zombie stages.  They still appeared mostly human and normally dressed, so it was hard to tell who was infected and dangerous, except by their confused or aggressive behavior.  Some of them could be distracted by objects like ropes, but the more advanced cases would grab the rope and try to tie you up and attack you.  You could still travel by car or public transportation, but it was very risky just to exit the vehicle, because the zombies were swarming and stalking anyone.  Sound familiar?

On that cheery note, I woke up and noticed the bunnies cavorting and chasing each other around my veg garden, so I went out to run them off.  Only, Misu was lurking, and managed to escape out the door this time.  It was a scary few moments, trying to catch her before she ran off and got eaten, or contacted infected neighbors.  Somehow I managed to grab her and get her back inside.  I’m particularly concerned, because her cousin Zak, my granddaughter’s cat of many years, just ran off and probably got eaten by coyotes.  And then Misu tried same.  She almost gave me a heart attack!  She’s such a big part of our life.

Here are some therapy flowers with bees, interspersed with therapy cat portraits.






Stuck on Sauna

The weather seems to be stuck at the t-storms and sauna position, which is not a bad thing for the plants and wildlife.  It’s an explosion of color, pollinators, new veggies, and herds of chipmunks running around.  Misu always has plenty of critter action to watch from her perches.  They’ve gotten so blasé about her presence, they just keep eating.

I made this pasta e fagioli with cranberry beans, and fresh pole beans, greens, and herbs from the garden, etc.  It turned out pretty nicely.

Check out all these flowers and bees!  I’m still waiting for butterflies and hummers to show up.  Apparently I’m not alone; many observers in various states have noticed a scarcity of them so far this year.  Hopefully they’ll find their way here soon.