Surfing the Heat Wave

It’s 90º and feels like 103º with all the humidity between t-storms.  Still, compared to trump’s vile bluster, it’s a refreshing summer day.  He’s a vicious plague, just not invisible.  He leaves a trail of disease and damage wherever he goes, and there’s no vaccine or cure.  All the heroes are dying, but he shambles on.

How can any sentient being support this blight?  He needs to be ejected, one way or the other, so we can begin the long course of recovery.  I hope we live to see it.  There, out of my system for the moment.

On a more palatable note, here are some yummy lemon poppy cookies by E.  And some more cookies!  I almost got baked myself taking these photos in the heat, including both a bee and a hummingbird moth on marigolds.



Mowing in the Hay

Old business first–here is E’s homemade pizza from yesterday, a white pizza with a fluffy crust, fresh homegrown tomatoes, and anchovies.  We really do like anchovies.  And pizza.

It was mowing day today, in between rains.  It helps to distinguish the “prairie” from the rest of the tall weeds!  By the way, I have one of my infamous “12-step-programs” planned for the prairie this fall, involving a major cleanup.  More on that later.  Here are some E-mowing shots, plus the requisite post-mow beer.

This morning what was left of my poor corn and lone sunflower looked like a vegetable murder scene.  I did manage to salvage these small squashes and what’s left of the pole beans.  The “three sisters” are not thriving this year.  Next year (if there is one) I’ll redesign the veg beds to reflect a more native American approach.  They had the right idea.

On a brighter note, you can never have too many flowers, whether native, tropical, perennial, or annual.


In the Heat of the Day

This hummer was actually buzzing me over by the zinnias, and later let me get pretty close as it drank at the new feeder.  I almost got a video; next time.

Here is the finished after-shot of E’s cabinets.  We now have legit bathroom storage.

Here are some random flowers, assorted bees, fresh tomatoes, and even this gorgeous little butterfly or moth on a zinnia.  I almost got a pair of goldfinches on some black-eyed susans, but they were too camouflaged.  My next challenge.  At least some critters are getting work done; it’s way too hot for me.

Reality Nature Drama

It seems we’re having a thundery monsoon now, which is fine!  I haven’t had to water the garden for days.  I took some watery shots from porches.  I have a whole crop of veg/herb/flower seedlings on the back porch, waiting for me to find them concealed locations where they won’t be instantly devoured.  Good luck with that.

This morning I watched this squirrel hang down over the fence and chomp off lengths of sunflower stem and sit on the fence munching them like candy.  It had already eaten the flower off; now it was just working its way down the plant.  Welp, that explains it.  Probably also all the corn carnage strewn about.  That, and the finches biting off all the zinnia petals, and those !@#$ wabbits.  It’s challenging, but it makes a great nature show for Misu and us.  It’s not like we have anywhere else to be.

The other day, we watched a big hawk perched right out front in the crape myrtle tree, being dive-bombed by a pair of songbirds, possibly defending a nest.  The hawk wasn’t fazed, just sat there.  I love having predators nearby.  Hopefully it keeps the varmints down, as it should be.

Just an aside…I was thinking about how we antisocial loner introverts are the most adaptable to isolation during a pandemic.  An odd advantage to have!

I understand how difficult it must be for many people not to be able to socialize or go to a workplace as usual, or to be stuck home with restless kids or away from family.  It’s not a natural human state, to be forced into solitary confinement indefinitely, though for us it’s just more of same, only more so.  Not ideal, but manageable.

I get why people are impatient to get back to work and life, but not the utter denial of science and the very real threat of spreading this killer virus and delaying the very return they crave.  They make it harder on all of us.

And now back to happier matters.  Here are some drippy marigolds and snapdragons.

Out in the wet “prairie”, I was happy to find more native wildflowers blooming, like goldenrod, asters, coneflowers, and finally the orange butterflyweed, a milkweed attractive to butterflies and pollinators.  Now all we need is the butterflies!


Quarantine Diversions

Yesterday we had a fun Zoom meeting with The Bobs a.k.a. R&B, including their new dog Inigo (as in Inigo Montoya).  He’s a rescue whippet (whip it good!)/chihuahua mix.

We compared notes about COVID life and measures in CA vs. TN.  Needless to say, people in general are more rational and cooperative there.  The Bobs are fortunate to both be able to work from home, but they’re experiencing some burnout, with few available diversionary options, like many in their position.

Inevitably we got around to comparing (what else?) bread recipes!  Auspiciously, it started to thunderstorm here as we chatted, a welcome relief.  It even knocked down crape myrtle limbs.

Speaking of bread dough, here is yesterday evening’s latest greatest homemade pizza by E.  It’s like a quarantine pizzeria around here.

It’s tricky sitting at my desk to write, as my office chair is now Misu’s latest throne.  She reluctantly let me squeeze in to type this.  After all the bread and pizza, this is no simple task!

Here are the latest flowers and bees.  If you look closely at the lacy yellow dill flowers, some tiny bees are hovering over them midair.  And there was a gorgeous sunset sky after the storm.



I’m Back–I Think

For some reason my photos wouldn’t upload to my WP site for days, something about my server being anemic, but I seem to be back…for now.  To catch up, here is an eclectic assortment of: an ethereal sunset from two days ago, some before and during shots of E’s ongoing bathroom cabinet installation, and her latest greatest homemade pizza, with homegrown fresh tomatoes.  You are now caught up.

Outside, the varmints have been busy decimating my corn crop, chomping up any sunflowers that bloom, and wreaking other havoc.  I don’t believe we’ll ever get to try our own corn!  I guess it’s only for supporting morning glory and bean vines.  Something took bites out of one of the few cucs I managed to grow.  I try.  The price of encouraging wildlife–can’t have it both ways!  Every time I go out there, armies of rabbits and ravens are lined up, heckling and cackling at me.  It’s all good.

The flip side is, lots of bees, pollinators, hummers, and finches are enjoying all the flowers and herbs.  The tall dill (with lacy yellow flowers) is covered with tiny bees, as are the B-E susans.  As I write, hummers are sipping zinnia nectar outside my window.  No sign of butterfly cats yet, but hopefully they’ll get here eventually.  That’s it for now.




Has everyone gone insane?  People I thought were intelligent and educated are actually promoting this wishful thinking that everyone should go maskless to enable the virus to kill more people (except those who supposedly develop immunity or antibodies to resist it) so we can “get this over with faster”?!?  WTF?

This bogus conspiracy goes against all the science and evidence of this deadly pandemic.  The only advantage (?) I can see to this POV is that more dumb people will remove themselves from the gene pool, but unfortunately take many of us with them.  So selfish and idiotic.

If you want wishful thinking, I wish we were living in Star Trek’s fictional future, which we obviously won’t be attaining any time soon or ever.

Closer down to earth, I was going to attach some photos, but for some reason my server is otherwise occupied or anemic or something, so you’ll have to imagine flowers and stuff for now.  🙁

Reno and Rehab During a Pandemic

On Monday or Wednesday, supposedly, stricter COVID restrictions went into effect at major chains like Lowes, Kroger, etc.  The Mask Up Knoxville group I follow has been reporting mixed results, depending on the location.

We waited a safe period to let the mask requirements be implemented, then ventured into Lowes early this morning to get some supplies.  There weren’t many noticeable differences or improvements or any mask requirements at the door.  From reports I’ve seen, what corporate HQ dictates doesn’t necessarily translate to enforcement at the local management level.  Everyone seems to be afraid of confrontation or losing business.

Fortunately, there weren’t many customers at that hour, and we acquired our list of items and got out.  E then called their main corporate number and had a quite civil conversation with someone who was genuinely concerned with the situation, and took the time to take a detailed statement, in order to take action at the local level.  Hopefully as more people report their concerns, more enforcement will take effect, and the deaths will start to level off.

Back in our little quarantine, E is building cabinets for storage in the bathroom.  Little by little, she’s repairing major and minor structural issues and adding value to the property, while I’m the outdoor landscape rehab dept., as you know.  The pandemic has merely forced us to stay home and do more of same, only more resourcefully.

On that note, here are yet more piles of pole beans.  I guess I’m an official bean-sorter!  I’ve been saving lots of seeds for next year.  I like how the bean vines (and morning glories) wind their way up the corn as a support.  (Lots of corn ears are forming, but naturally the varmints are finding them first.)  Nothing else seems to grow as successfully here, although the tomatoes are finally starting to ripen.

In the “salad bar” I noticed these pretty little flowers, probably a type of endive or chicory.  Who knew common greens could be so ornamental?  So is this tall dill with its delicate lacy leaves and flowers, in front of a bunch of black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia).  I know, pretty boring, but when you’re stuck home quarantined, it’s amazing how commonplace plants, and the critters they attract, take on a whole new significance, at least for me.  That they grow and flourish, despite me, is amazing.  They keep me distracted, if nothing else.

Heat and Hydration

First things first–here is yesterday’s drink, a blue G&T.

The heat wave continues, though broken up by t-storms every so often, which just raises the sauna level.  I’m continuing to do garden maintenance and soil improvement with frequent breaks.  Eventually my work will pay off and the soil will actually grow things.  Git’er done, lockdown-style.

The crape myrtles are in bloom, in addition to the tropical hibiscus, and zinnias, with a moth friend.

Last but not least, this raven let me move in closer while it got a much needed drink.  Gotta stay hydrated.  I envy the birds and animals who can carry on without COVID worries.