Category Archives: Home & Garden

Yea and Nay

Yea to : hoses that spit out water, neighbors that laugh on their back patios, dogs that look but don’t bark, goat cheese/feta cheese/mozzarella cheese for summer entrees and salads, Tylenol, catching snippets of K’s calls with coworkers when the client is not on the line, writing, dianaphotoapp, color, and fall-cooled air. Vaccines. Coffee. A new fence and the money to pay for it!

Nay to : clothes in general but chafing bras in particular, yard crews that violate the city’s leaf blower summertime ban, trucks backing up (especially before 8 am), the thought of school being in session again and all those people with Cape houses coming back, lumbar pain, hip pain, shoes that don’t slide on, plastic packages that won’t open, the death cult ruining a flawed but promising country, ours.

Will my Virginia Bluebells come back? Will Dems really let an arcane senate rule take down democracy? Does Obama have to shuffle and wear rags to avoid the scorn of some white people? *

Sitting on the deck right now, I hear crickets or tree frogs, I can’t tell which. A jay calls out. And again. The schoolyard is empty but for one mother and toddler. A “knee baby” is what an enslaved woman in the 1730’s might have called the little one.

The temperature is perfect. My bra chafes anyway. The tall yellow flowers came back this year after two years of no shows!

Today I will make a tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad.

I gargled with hydrogen peroxide this morning after reading yet another description of how much more aggressive the delta variant is.

Hope you have a good day, which I mistakenly typed as “food day” and yes, I hope you have a food day as well!

What are people reading? Watching on TV?

My last input: in a British murder mystery, if a man is out clipping his roses, he is either the next victim or the murderer.

* Notes: https://www.nytimes.com/

PS Laurence Tribe was not invited.

Collage elements include: my photo of a building at the McLeod Plantation, SC, the Paris Collage Collective prompt (man in bathing suit), clouds shot from plane during recent trip to LA, grid from an installation at Denver Art Museum two years ago, two of my quilts, another collage (that includes a photo of Italy)

Sumac stealth

“Ugh, it’s hot. My app says it’s 97.”

“My app says it’s 94. Rain at 2:00.”

“Mine’s showing it holding off ‘til 4:00”

This conversation, nearly verbatim, happens to an embarrassing degree in our house. I’m not sure whether it speaks more to being married for more than thirty years or to being over-reliant on our devices.

It was really too hot to be poking around scrub land behind retail space in search of sumac, but there we were. Finn’s tags fell off somewhere along the way this week necessitating a trip to Pet Co. We left the dog home and brought along gloves, spade, and two empty containers.

My mother was famous for plant-grabbing. She’d drive up into the woods behind our house in Pittsfield as far as the road would go, and fill the trunk with small trees which eventually, of course, became big trees. My brother claims she got permission from the landowner. I’m not so sure.

I’d seen her pull over on Route 43 or Dalton Road and dig up what to any other eye might appear to be a weed, perhaps with a spoon that she happened to have in the glove box. A little savage. Let’s just say she was a resourceful opportunist with a very good eye. This being her birth week, I figured why not honor her with my own sly acquisitions?

Last weekend, we more legitimately came by a clethra and a yew. These are all for the fence line along the back edge of the property. I also had to buy and plant two flats of pachysandra which the workers stomped to extinction on my neighbor’s property. Part of the price of our new fence.

And speaking of that neighbor. The son has come home with his girlfriend to live and turns out, the girlfriend is interested in learning how to quilt. Would I want a student? I almost said no, but I’m already thinking what I’d bring to a casual show and tell for a first lesson. And if the main reason I don’t want to proceed is because I can’t think what to charge a recent college grad with no job, then is that really a reason?

I sent my neighbor away with a few books and gave her Jude’s blog’s name. Ruth McDowell’s too. The young woman is an engineer so it occurred to me that McDowell’s precise piecing method may appeal to her. That’s a place to start, answering the question: What are you drawn to?

Meanwhile, I finished this with a little help from my friends (speaking of Jude, also Maggie and Jenn) (mostly re: a disappearing head. I think I fixed it!)

Bad boy still gets the love

Isn’t he lovely?

AND DASTARDLY!

Last night K and I went to town center for ice cream and what a good idea it was! Festive atmosphere (tho many masks in evidence and people eating on benches and widely-spaced picnic tables outdoors), a beautiful sky with the last light of day glowing along treetops, and delicious sweet fatty goodness.

Look what we found upon our return! The treat tin, mangled and empty. The minute I picked it up off the floor, Finn slunk up the stairs, guilty. I still yelled, “GODDAMMIT FINN!” after his low-slung retreat to drive home my disapproval.

And yet this morning (and you have to love this about dogs), hope springs eternal. He thinks I’m gonna play FIND IT with him anyway — you know, the game where I fling treats around the backyard and tell him to, “Find it”? The game that is announced by a distinctive shake of a treat-filled tin can?

Need I add that he got his game? His treats flung? I take this less as a sign of pathetic will power on my part and more of a recognition that continued punishment after a night’s sleep was not likely to be meaningful.

Rain, dream, and caution

Fell asleep to the sound of rain: lovely! Better yet, I slept til morning!

Dream fragment: I am reading a book called The Narrows. I woke with the words on my tongue. The Narrows. Rocked my spine a little before rising, as I do. The Narrows.

Right now I’m in a CVS parking lot, waiting. Out of an abundance of caution, I decided to get a post-trip Covid test. Travel went well enough but why worry?

Walking out to a world drenched by the night’s rain was a real treat! Ours is a June garden. After two weeks away, the lush tangle of it well and truly pleased. Pix later.

Waiting for results and lo! Found out that the American writer Ann Petry wrote a book called, The Narrows. I have only recently heard of her — maybe five months ago — when her novel The Street was recommended to me. I don’t remember hearing about The Narrows. Perhaps I should read it! Another exclamation point!

* test results: NEGATIVE

Off the page

First my page, then Helen Macdonald’s.

This paragraph came at the end of a much longer piece about illness and caregiving:

The copper beech branches outside claw at the sky, barren but for a few tattered leaves. But even a tattered leaf speaks to season — one jiggling a little message in the bitter breeze this morning. All I have to do to find redemption — serious, nervous-system, Holy Spirit kind of redemption — is lift my head and look out the window. Blue jays my best teachers. Squirrels and puddles and scarlet holly berries, too.

* Bird sculpture by Maggie Rose.