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.


Under Pressure

It’s been windy and raining off and on for days, which is a welcome relief for the garden.  Maybe my struggling veggies will get ahead of the varmints chomping on them.  One cornstalk actually has a tassel.  I had to prune a big bouquet of flowers out of the overgrown perennials; not a bad problem to have.  Although the poor lone sunflower couldn’t take the pressure and got bent over backwards.

Yesterday I got to have a video visit with the grandkids who are staying with my son for the summer.  Not quite the same as being there, but still fun.  They keep getting older and taller!  I’m so glad their father is diligent about protecting them all during the pandemic.  Maybe we’ll all live to reunite one day.  Unfortunately his only car just died, so on top of tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of major home repairs and ensuing debt, he has no transportation in case of emergency.  These are difficult times for sure.


Coronaveggies: the new victory veggies.  I may or may not have coined it.  Anyway, overnight, things decided to start popping out, like both kinds of zucchini, yellow summer squash, tiny green tomatoes (not pictured), and yet more purple and green pole beans.  There are also volunteers from last year’s seed, like the white/red okra flower.  And the usual array of flower colors.  We also have a kitty in a bag of paper recycle, and watching “cat TV” from her window seat.

Deserted Island in a Viral Sea

Sometimes it feels like we’re stranded on a deserted island in a sea of COVID seekers.  Some of the photos of wall-to-wall bodies on beaches and in venues are unbelievable.  Total denial.  If innocent people weren’t affected, I’d say y’all go for it, pursue your right to die of virus exposure, reduce the moron population, starting with your idiot-in-chief.  But we all suffer from your stupidity.  It won’t kill you to wear a mask, but it will kill you or others if you don’t.  ’nuff said.

At least we have the basic necessities we need on our island, as well as the luxury of swarms of flowers and pollinators.  Half of our erev meal today consisted of greens and veggies from the garden.  It sucks that we have to risk dying just to restock on staples occasionally, but so far so good.  I’m sad I won’t be able to spend my son’s 40th birthday with him, or see my visiting grandkids, but everyone’s survival is at stake, so I make the best of a difficult situation.

Just look at these mobs of flowers!  It’s the kind of mob I can live with (not die of).