Safe Space in Real Time

It’s a breathtaking moment in history, when we simultaneously witness a deadly global pandemic, angry rioting across the country over violent racism, and above the earth in real time, the historic successful docking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon with the International Space Station.  It’s a mind-boggling juncture.  I’m sure it’s not lost on the crew that earth’s atmosphere is about the only safe place to be right now.

Meanwhile down here on the ground, less earth-shattering life continues to unfold, literally in the case of these flowers.  The palette of bird colors almost rivals that of the new flowers that keep showing up.  Watching the fascinating procession of wildlife just outside my window, I can almost (not quite) forget the outrageous horrors parading across our screens.  Plus live-streaming nature (a.k.a. IMAX for cats) is free.



Six Million Flowers

There are now as many COVID-19 cases in the world as Jews murdered by Hitler, and rising.  Six million is an unbelievable number, but not as inconceivable as the heinous, vile behavior of our thug-in-chief and his brain-dead followers.  The fact that he stays in power and isn’t in prison or worse is too surreal for my little brain to contain.  Instead, here are more pretty flowers (including the first nasturtium) and one decadent cat.  She has the right idea–sleep through it all.




The Cute Animals and Flowers Channel

It’s a bittersweet feeling, knowing my son will be returning to TN in a week, but I still won’t be able to see him (or by extension, my grandkids if/when they come to town) for the indefinite future.  It’s necessary to keep all of us safe and healthy, but the timing sucks.  I suppose there’s never a good time for a pandemic!  History assures me there’s an afterward, but at this rate will I live to see it?  The probability is not encouraging.

It’s weird and surreal, knowing much of the country is in denial, heedless of the danger of socializing/recreation as usual.  Or they’re forced by circumstances to go back to work in unprotected conditions.  Meanwhile, tensions are high and being elevated by violent racism, fanned by trump’s shameless, selfish vitriol.  Just when you think it can’t get more insane, it does.  I have to limit my news intake just to keep the anxiety level manageable.

That’s why I just post whimsical animals and flowers, for the most part.   Mundane life must go on, and you can’t just shut down.  Plus it’s therapeutic to watch the natural world forging on around us or without us.  Even a deadly plague must peter out some time.  Likewise an oppressive despot, one hopes.  Sooner, if we act responsibly.

With that, I now return you to cute animals and flowers.  Aren’t these adorable?



G-Day All Over Again

How ’bout that groundhog yesterday, just relaxing on our front porch.  Talk about “Groundhog Day” during the pandemic.  Each day is slightly different, because each time we look out there, there’s a new critter just making itself at home, such as this adorable little chipmunk, who was just sitting there, oblivious to us.  Like they own the place, and we’re just incidental.  Which is as it should be.

This is erev Shavuot, one of those Jewish holidays that if you blink, you miss it.  It’s the second of three major festivals.  It doesn’t feature colorful customs and ceremonies, or drunken carousing in funny outfits, or challenging menus.  If you make any dairy or fish recipes, you can’t go wrong.  If nothing else, here’s a festive (and patriotic) Shavuot bouquet.

In this Groundhog Day version, apparently it rains every day.  Which is far superior to snow, in my opinion.  Also no annoying, ignorant people to run into, just groundhogs and other cute, furry/feathered creatures.  And of course, happy plants.  If you ignore all the disturbing news, you can pretend it’s just another day, take 2.

I’m particularly happy about the native butterflyweed (first photo) coming back in force.  It’s in the milkweed family, good for butterflies and pollinators, and will be bright orange.  The second one is an immature hydrangea starting to bud out.  Third is the ubiquitous cheery marigold, and lastly, a new redbud leaf before it turns green.  It looks like a heart.

Return of the Natives, or Groundhog Day

And by torrential downpour, I mean literally a river of whitewater rapids rushing down the garden along the fence.  It was jaw-dropping.  Some empty pond liners were almost filled in just those few minutes.  No damage done, though.  The greens actually doubled in size overnight.

This wascally wabbit was caught in the act of exploring the veg garden, and making its getaway.

Happily, it doesn’t seem to have discovered my snow peas, which are finally pea-ing!

But I saved the best for last.  This young groundhog sauntered across the field, under the fence, and actually strolled onto the front porch, where it casually took a look around, then finally ambled off across the field again.  Isn’t s/he photogenic?  I got so many good photos, I had to eliminate most of them.  The natives are really taking over, which is my evil plan!








Going Artisanal

As mentioned, E made a third bread, a part whole wheat dutch oven bread from dough that had rested overnight and the following day.  This one was also excellent, crusty on the outside, soft and hearty on the inside.  Between those and her challah, we’re all stocked up on old-country-style artisanal breads.  E is the Bread Bomb.

Just before it started to pour again, I took these flowers out in the field and around the house.  It just gets more colorful each day.  Note the happy bee on the comfrey bells.  And by pour, I mean torrential downpour.  We have waterfalls.

Suicidal Wrens

Just after I posted about the fallen wrenling and the frantic parents, baby wren bodies started flopping out at me from the nest and jumping off the porch to an uncertain fate!  No wonder wren parents go crazy.  As fast as I could retrieve and replace them in the nest, they would jump out and lie there stunned on their backs.

Meanwhile the wren pair are flitting around all distraught and wing-wringing, trying to locate all their babies.  It’s harrowing.  But I guess that’s what they’re supposed to do.  Once the fledglings leave the nest, the parents feed them bugs for a little while longer, then just set up shop all over again and have a new batch.  Isn’t nature grand?

I managed to get some fairly clear closeups of some of the little dive-bombers, and an overwrought parent.  There must have been a whole flock in that tiny space!


It turns out Compulsive Bread Baking Syndrome is a Thing during quarantine.  (Not to mention “victory gardens”.)  Everyone is re-enacting WWII.

Why, just yesterday E churned out three (3!) different breads.  One was pizza dough she had previously made and chilled for later use (also good for “dogs-in-a-blanket” and flatbread hamburger rolls); one was this honey white bread which was absolutely a 10 (a rating I rarely award); and she set aside another dough to rise overnight and today for a semi-sourdough dutch oven bread.  You can tell who wears the proverbial apron in the family.


The wren nest is packed with clamoring mouths.  (It’s hard to get a closeup shot.)  This morning I was cleaning the back porch, and almost swept away a wrenling that had fallen from the nest!  I put on gloves and carefully replaced it.  Now the wren parents are fluttering around it, agitated.  I hope they’ll be able to deal with it.

Yesterday after all the mowing and maintenance, I took some photos around the house.  It’s a work in progress, but it’s starting to look more park-like, I think.  I have little tree saplings coming up everywhere, for later transplanting elsewhere, so it’s turning into a mini-arboretum.

After another t-storm burst yesterday evening, I took this sky picture.  All this rain is really reviving the veggies and flowers.  I don’t even have to water.


Illusion of Normality

It’s about 88º, feels like 90-something.  We got out early and mowed the acreage.  E expanded the “prairie” area farther up the hill, another step toward reducing lawn.  I did some garden maintenance.  Lizards were scampering around in the hot sun.

Then I took the obligatory photos, including a wren parent on the porch!  Also what I think is a red paper wasp.  And the first of many marigold flowers.  By the way, once you have marigolds, you never have to buy seeds again!  They reseed everywhere.  Same with multi-colored sweet williams (a Dianthus), bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea), and  poppies, once they’re established.

Now E is making breads, apparently a common new pastime during the pandemic, since we want to avoid stores.  More on that later.


Here on the stupid planet, where people loudly demand their right to spread and die of COVID-19 (invisible, therefore nonexistent, unlike their “god”), many of them will get their wish, and Memorial Day weekend will take on a whole new meaning.  R.I.P., y’all.

The right to be like a selfish child, modeled by our infant-in chief, is not the “freedom” our military died for.  You can make it through one Memorial Day without the luxury of jamming into a crowded pool or venue full of deadly contagion.  But that’s just my silly take; you have the “right” to be reckless with lives.

On the brighter side, wildflowers and wildlife continue to run riot.  The rental wren (“wrental?”) nest up in the back porch has its latest batch of newborn hatchlings.  I’m working on a photo without disturbing them.

Instead, here is an ubiquitous raven quothing “braak nevermore” [“feed me!”].

And a decadent cat in her usual upside-down position on her windowsill, demonstrating how it’s done.

And of course what’s a blahgpost from me without more flowers?  (No, you’re not seeing double, but maybe I am!)