The Finish Line!

(Rainbow over the Bogs.)

Well, we made it. The last day of NaBloPoMo. Blogging can go back to normal now, whatever normal may be.

For me, that means my last post for a while. The Big Move takes place tomorrow. I arranged for high speed internet at the new place, but the soonest they could give me an installation date was December 8th. It’ll do me good to get away from the computer for a while.

I’m going to miss the old homestead, but I’m looking forward to our new adventure. It’s going to be fun exploring a new place and getting to know new people.

The future is called “perhaps,” which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you. ~Tennessee Williams, Orpheus Descending, 1957

Foto Pherrets

(My nephew’s funky monkey. April 2006.)

This is a lame post, although I do enjoy the funky monkey. I had to fall back on one of those daily meme websites for a quick idea for a post. Today’s savior: Foto Pherrets. The theme: Toy. While the funky monkey is probably more of a companion than a toy, it was the first thing I came across while doing a quick search of my photos.

If I could’ve taken a photo of my camera, I would have. It’s a toy I get a lot of pleasure from lately.

The MRI results are in. The long and short of it: I have arthritis, not usually seen in someone my age (gee, that makes me feel better, doc) and a disc protrusion at the L4-L5 level that is leaning hard on that sciatic nerve.

The doc recommends surgery. I disagree (and so do most of the recent studies). I’ll find a back specialist or someone of the sort once we move. I’m thinking I’d like to find someone who has a holistic approach (because, you know, I’m such a hippy). In the meantime, I have a handful of prescriptions to fill and keep me going.

Back to work. Moving Day is coming up fast.

My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes. ~Douglas Adams

Busy, busy, busy

(Emma. November 2006.)

Here we are at the last few days of NaBloPoMo and I’m not sure I’m going to make it. I think I should get credit for the days I posted more than once, but that’s probably cheating. A little.

In the meantime, I’m going to let my granddaughter stand in for me while I pack boxes, cancel phone service, look into internet service at the new place, see the doc, get my hair cut, and a million and one other things.

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown

November Sunset

(Sunset. November 26, 2006).


Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you,
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth,

leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs –

leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Robert Bly

I have a full day ahead of me so this will be a short post. I just wanted to share yesterday’s sunset and quickly answer a couple of questions.

Alto2 asked: “Where to?” in reference to the big move. We’re leaving the midwest and heading east to Pennsylvania. My husband is taking a 6-month sabbatical so this is a temporary move. Our youngest son, a college student, will be guarding the homestead while we’re gone. This saves us from having to pay his dorm fees and gives us a housesitter all in one go.

Norm asked: “Long drive?” It depends on who’s driving and who’s in the car. Apparently the M&M’s (my husband, M the Elder, and youngest son, M the Younger) managed the trip in 5½ hours. It takes about 7 hours when I’m in the car. I think that means there’s more law-abiding (i.e., driving somewhere near the speed limit) when I’m in the car. It also means we stop a little more frequently so I don’t end up nearly crippled from sitting in the same position for hours on end.

Best Walk Ever (The Third & Final Installment)

Sunlight sparkling on the pond. It really was a gorgeous day.

A bird’s nest. Seems like the branches of the tree are almost as twirly as the nest.

Someone lost their fishing line.

The heron and the mallards. One of the great advantages to moving so slowly was that I was also moving quietly. This allowed me to get unbelieveably close to the heron and the ducks. I might have gotten even closer if the gunshots hadn’t scared them off. It’s hunting season here in the Bogs and being out in the country means being surprised out of one’s wits by the occasional gunshot.

More berries. I’ve never seen these before and have no idea what they are.

My Rocky Moment. I had made it around the perimeter of the property and the pond. All I had left to tackle was the hill.

The future pine forest.

The hill. The Sledding Hill, to be exact. It doesn’t look like much in this photo. You have to be at the bottom to truly appreciate it. Or half-way up, which about when I started to feel this hill.

Sworls of dried grasses.

At the top of the hill and the end of my Saturday morning adventures.

It was one of the best walks I’ve ever taken. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, including myself, but I’m glad to have had the opportunity to really slow down and enjoy a good walk. I appreciate it all the more because there have been so few walks outdoors lately.

I was going to go for another walk today, but I really should use this newly acquired energy to pack. The big move is on Friday. Yes, that’s this up and coming Friday.

I don’t think I’m quite ready for it.

A word about Sunday Scribblings: This week’s prompt is nemesis. I wrote a very lengthy post about the pain I’ve been in and its role as nemesis in my life. However, I think it might be entirely too personal to post as it is. Perhaps I can tone it down a bit and post it later.

Man takes root at his feet, and at best he is no more than a potted plant in his house or carriage till he has established communication with the soil by the loving and magnetic touch of his soles to it. Then the tie of association is born; then spring those invisible fibres and rootlets through which character comes to smack of the soil, and which make a man kindred to the spot of earth he inhabits. –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

Best Walk Ever (Part 2)

A blade of grass, plump with seeds. You need to scroll down at least 2 entries to get caught up (if you haven’t been there already). Not to worry. I think it’s mostly photos and not much reading. I don’t know why I was worried about NaBloPoMo. I’m already past the 30 required entries.

One of the things I like most about the property is the abundance of food for the wildlife. When we bought the land, the former owners had obviously done a great deal of mowing. Year by year, M the Elder and I have made the decision not to mow certain areas (well, ok, it’s an age thing….who wants to spend all their time mowing??). It started the first spring we were here. We planted a wildflower patch over the area that was dug up for the new septic system. Then we watched the timothy grass grow in the meadow. I love the way the wind waves through the grass. As time went on we realized there was an abundance of wildflowers growing in the lawn. Mowing time comes late for us because we enjoy watching the flowers pop up. Our neighbors, with their well clipped lawns, probably hate us for it. We allow the beauty of what they think of as weeds to flourish.

But a weed is simply a plant that wants to grow where people want something else. In blaming nature, people mistake the culprit. Weeds are people’s idea, not nature’s. ~Author Unknown

Looking at the pond through the cattails. I didn’t realize when we bought the property how much upkeep and caretaking it would entail. Keeping back the cattails is one of those projects. They’re lovely to look at (and as a child I remember them being picked dry, then soaked in kerosene, and lit for torches). But they’ll take over the pond, turning it into a meadow, just as the other plants will. We use a combination of eco-friendly herbicides (sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?) and manually pulling the overgrowth.

In the woods. This is one of my favorite parts of the property, but it’s inaccessible during the warm months. There’s a creek back in the woods and a vernal pool. A very large vernal pool. One that gives birth to millions of mosquitoes, but also gives birth to other creatures that don’t go around sucking out the blood of humans. We’ve learned to enjoy the back part of the property during the cold and dry months. We occasionally run through it during deer fly and mosquito season, but otherwise leave it alone and stay away unless we’re fully dressed for it and thoroughly sprayed with bug repellant. Mosquitoes aren’t so bad, to me, but the deer flies are awful.

Tree and clouds, a visual echo. Maybe you had to be there to really see it.

A rest stop. One of those stumps I mentioned earlier.

View from the rest stop. It’s a good place to stop for now.

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir, 1913, in L.M. Wolfe, ed., John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938

Best Walk Ever (Part 1)

(A view from the hayfield. November 25, 2006.)

I did it! I walked the entire 1/2 mile around the property. I’m very pleased with myself. Very pleased.

It took me a little over an hour. It’s usually a 15-20 minute walk if I’m out there for the exercise of it. Shorter if I’m running part of it, and longer, of course, if I slow down to enjoy the walk itself for the sake of the walk itself. I walked very, very slowly, using my hiking stick to keep my balance. I stopped to rest. A lot. I took my camera with me because bringing the camera along on any walk or hike always slows me down. It doesn’t slow me down as much as the pain does, though, and I was amazed at the little things I noticed while being forced to walk at a snail’s pace.

When we first bought the property we were cited (ticketed) by the county for two very large, very dead trees that were out near the road and considered (by the county) as possible hazards. Because we’re good citizens, we hired someone to chop down the trees. The guy that did it isn’t the brightest bulb in the pack and he failed to follow our directions to chop the trees into small enough pieces for us to use as firewood. This turned out to be a serendipitous event. We took several of those large, round stumps of wood and rolled them to various spots around the pond so that if one was out for a leisurely stroll and one wanted to rest for a while or just stop and admire the view, one would have a place to plant one’s bottom. They make nice little seats. I’ve never been as glad to have those out there as I was today.

And now, since I’m somewhat bored and need the rest, here is part one of the photo version of my walk around the pond today. As always, you can click on the photo for a larger view.

On the eastern part of our property is what will come to be known as the former hayfield. When we first bought the place a few years ago, there was a farmer down the road who asked if we’d let the hayfield grow. In exchange, he would come down twice a year to mow it and bale the hay. In further exchange, since he was doing all the work, the hay was his to do with as he likes. We agreed, thinking this was a great way to get out of mowing part of the property. And it was.

However, in the grand scheme of things, M the Elder and I both want more trees. Our little piece of property (about 8.5 acres, 1.5 acres of which is pond) was once part of a larger farm. The properties on either side of us were also part of that larger farm. Part of what made our piece of property so sweet to us were the woods at the back of the pond. M the Elder and I are very fond of trees. Native trees. Our neighbors, evidentally, are not fond of trees for they have these grand houses with great expanses of lawn. I gather they inherited that trend of nicely done lawns from the British. (There are numerous articles out there about how we in the U.S. got the whole lawn thing from the Brits, but I liked this quote best: “A lawn seems as British as warm beer and curly sandwiches, evoking a raft of pleasant images. Size doesn’t matter. It could be a neat patch of green in a suburban front garden, or a wide sweep of grassy carpet in a grand country house.” You can find the article I stole that from here.)

Last spring we planted over 100 trees, most of them in the hayfield. We “fired” the farmer, so to speak, although I’m not sure that’s accurate as he cut the above bale of hay about 2 years ago and has forgotten to come back and get it. I think he gave up before we “fired” him. He has a reputation in the community for being a lazy farmer.

View of the pond from the hayfield. Isn’t it a glorious day?

The horse next door. I have a really good shot of the horse’s ass, but didn’t think anyone would want to see that. Why is it that animals always seem to turn around just as the camera is zoomed in and focused for the close-up?

Spots of color amongst the browns of late fall. Oddly enough, I enjoy the browns, grays, and maroons of this time of year. Although somewhat muted, I think they’re as beautiful as the bursts of color that occur in the spring, summer, and early fall months. The muted colors of the earth brighten up the sky.

To be continued….