Category Archives: Home & Garden

Drought in New England

Old map of my neighborhood

When I tried to type “drought” in the title just now, it auto-corrected to “fright.” Exactly!

We are finally getting some rain, but it’s been bad, really bad — super hot and dry. Even that hardiest of perennials, the hosta, has struggled. I’ve dug up four shrubs and will likely have to dig up two more. Ferns have crisped and collapsed. Astilbe try valiantly, but barely make it despite daily watering. I’ve even been watering well-established trees for fear of losing them (NB: our reservoir, the Quabbin, has high levels right now).

It’s been a close-to-home wake up call for an area relatively immune to the drastic effects of climate change. Hurricanes are rare here. Tornados happen now again, but usually out by Worcester or Springfield. We don’t get flooding or wildfires and until now, drought was something that happened out West.

A dogwood that I planted at the elementary school years back doesn’t look like it’s gonna make it

A “flash drought” is nothing like the nearly decade-long drought in California, say, but it brings immediate consequences.

I read that a temperature change of 1.5 degrees would be catastrophic for forests in the Northeast.

This is not autumnal turning

No wonder some nights I feel the acid bloom of fear just as I’m dropping off to sleep.

Raining flowers

It’s that time of year again. The catalpa drops its flowers, sometimes with such frequency it becomes like weather — a genteel snowfall, say.

The miracle clematis sent forth another flower. I think I can die now. The vigorous spider plants have been dug, divided, and resituated. Check.

So much of daily writing is valorizing getting small things done.

To do: finish This is Happiness. Spend time with happiness. Open the cover of happiness.

Sorry. I’m easily distracted. Finishing an unbelievably well-written novel only gets a slot on the To Do List during heavy news weeks, when most of my reading bandwidth goes to keeping up. Lately (or is it always anymore?): holy shit.

I’m almost (but not quite) ready to get back on the query saddle. Ugh. It helps that I’ve added writing contacts on twitter so that even when I’m avoiding publishing, news about it slides across my screen and gets my attention. Sometimes, the info crosses over into race and misogyny. See: James Patterson.*

It’s cool today and K works from the kitchen table. I have a mole check later but otherwise the day is mine.

Adding smoke to this quilt – 2 silk, 2 polyester

All of a sudden it looks like rain, real rain! Will that send the excited elementary school kids inside? This month’s year-end celebrations include a bull horn with a siren feature. Nice.

* * *

This tweet was part of a Looong thread listing current white male bestsellers.

Once you wade through the outrage, one statement emerged that seemed true: it’s harder for everyone to get published now than it was say two years ago — but the institutional advantages for white men hold.

Erect comfrey and collage

Before it flops

I had not intended to post my “Eeyore mood” to gather praise or encouragement but it sure was nice. I have the best cyber-friends! Thank you one and all.

Paris Collage Club response

As far as I can tell, we are all of us tipsy with the tug-of-war between hope and despair.

I’ll leave it there for today.

And look at this! Again with the acknowledgement!

Glorious sun and pansies

Life goal met — there are pansies on the property! Last year we waited too long and there were none to be had. My mother loved pansies too.

For Easter, we used to hide treasure-filled plastic eggs in the yard, pack baskets with glorious chocolates and jelly beans, and serve up a special dinner for extended family. One year I made a batch of chow-chow to dress the asparagus. Another year I made carrots out of marzipan for the top of the carrot cake.

This year, I am making a carrot cake. That’s it. No marzipan. No company.

The space created by a less-populated social calendar continues to feel more blessing than not. I like my friends, I like my relatives, and still this is true.

On a related note, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about K’s absence as he trudged back to the office and I’m still not sure, but this morning the quiet is glorious.

Have I really used the word glorious twice in one post? What besides chocolate and silence can be glorious?

Soft scarves, dry socks, insight, a welcome email, a piece of writing, a hot bath.

Also: Indictments. Perp walks. Lost law licenses. Exclusion from holding public office. Tarnished reputations. Huge fines. Ankle bracelets. Media bans and gag orders. Jail time.

Kushner is in the news again. If the beltway press wasn’t so hopelessly tied to GOP talking points, the Kushner news would be loud and pervasive. And of course, had a Democrat’s son-in-law done anything remotely this corrupt or dangerous to national security, the coverage on Fox would be nonstop with belligerent threats of hearings should leadership in the House change.

The building could have a 666 on it but I suppose that would be overkill.

So as not to end on such a vile note, the photo from Assisi (below) showcases an Easter bread, blessed by a priest two days earlier and served in an olive grove.

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)