Thursday, April 9, 2020

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three things from my walks. It's becoming more difficult to come up with semi-interesting blog fodder as I do very few semi-interesting things. Things to Do, Part 2: Whacking Carpenter Bees With an Old Badminton Racquet will have to wait until it warms up. The bees are not active unless it's warm and sunny, but we've got chilly, rainy, and windy weather predicted for several days. Never fear; when the bees are out and John is swinging his badminton racquet I will capture all the action. In the meantime, I have been taking long walks every day, and I try to take lots of pictures of what I see along the way. Here are three recent ones.

 A beautiful big azalea, growing on nearby church grounds. Azaleas are often spindly with skimpy blooms, but this one is definitely not. It was almost like a hedge, and more than four feet long.

This interesting bark. The tree is some sort of pine with multiple large stems growing from a central base. I'm not sure what it's called, but the bark is fascinating to me.

And lastly, these oddities. They are used paintbrushes strung on lines between trees. I was both appalled and interested at the same time. John's father did a lot of painting, and he was adamant about cleaning his brushes. We still have some of his brushes and have used them to paint because he cleaned and maintained them so meticulously. Sorry, Chuck! I know this would pain you to see.

What interesting things have you seen on your walks?

Be sure to visit Carole for more Three on Thursday thoughts.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and the rest of the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday. 

You've seen some of these projects and photos before, but beginning yesterday, they're part of something new - The 100 Day Project. I've never participated before, but have enjoyed seeing Vicki's results, and something finally dawned on me. I've certainly got time this year, and I want to have something to show for it when all of this is over. So 100 Days of Hitchhikers it is. 

I've also gathered a few bits of focus, enough to finish several books: The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Calling on Dragons, and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. I've got two books in the works, but my attention is a fleeting thing, so I'm not sure what I'll actually settle into reading next. We'll see!

What are you making, reading, and/or doing to get through this week?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Things to Do, Part 1

I know some of you are working, some of you are working from home, and others are staying home. If you're at home and want something to do, I've got an idea for you. 

You can remove sweetgum balls from your lawn and driveway! My neighbor has a sweetgum tree and every year it drops seed balls, thousands of the spiky things. I have sprained my ankle after stepping on them and having them roll unexpectedly.  It's also not a good idea to run your lawnmower over them because they can be dangerous when the lawnmower spits them out and they become airborne at high speeds. 

I considered several tools for the job, but after trying two different rakes and bending over and picking them up with my hands, I hit upon the winner.

John's Shop-Vac. It has the benefit of a long tube so I don't have to bend over and hurt my back, and there is the added advantage of entertaining people that walk by, wondering why I was vacuuming my lawn.

There were thousands of these seed pods littering our lawn and driveway, but with the Shop-Vac, it only took me a few hours to get them all cleaned up. 

I filled up one and a half trash cans and feel like I've earned my beer this evening. I think I mentioned something previously about spray painting some of these gold and making a wreath, but I was just glad to get them cleaned up. I am not going to be the one making wreaths, but if anyone is interested, I have several thousand of these that you are more than welcome to. 

One last ball. (And soon it will be time for dandelions!)

Be sure to stay tuned for Things to Do, Part 2: whacking carpenter bees with an old badminton racquet. :-)

Monday, April 6, 2020

Light and Shadow

Sunny days have been rare around here recently, but even when the sky is gray, I'm still struck by the light and shadows that are produced. Since I'm spending so much time at home, I'm developing a new appreciation for what I can see (but rarely take the time to notice) in my sheltering home. 

I hope you are getting some opportunities to enjoy the light and shadow in your home. Stay home and stay well. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Instructions on Not Giving Up

I need these instructions; maybe you do, too.

Instructions on Not Giving Up
Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Copyright © 2017 by Ada Limón. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 15, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Skunk Cabbage

There's not much to show in knitting, and my reading is almost nonexistent, but it is the beginning of National Poetry Month. Last weekend when we went fishing I explored the surrounding woods, and found a whole grove of skunk cabbage, beginning to unfurl. And who else but Mary Oliver would have written a poem entitled Skunk Cabbage?

Skunk Cabbage by Mary Oliver
And now as the iron rinds over
the ponds start dissolving,
you come, dreaming of ferns and flowers
and new leaves unfolding,
upon the brash
turnip-hearted skunk cabbage
slinging its bunches leaves up
through the chilling mud.
You kneel beside it. The smell
is lurid and flows out in the most
unabashed way, attracting
into itself a continual spattering
of protein. Appalling its rough
green caves, and the thought
of the thick root nested below, stubborn
and powerful as instinct!
But these are the woods you love,
where the secret name
of every death is life again - a miracle
wrought surely not of mere turning
but of dense and scalding reenactment. Not
tenderness, not longing, but daring and brawn
pull down the frozen waterfall, the past.
Ferns, leaves, flowers, the last subtle
refinements, elegant and easeful, wait
to rise and flourish.
What blazes the trail is not necessarily pretty.
Like Kym says, "... we really need poetry. Now more than ever."

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Looking for Focus

I wasn't going to write a One Little Word post today, mainly because I have been such a failure at Focus. I have left my poor little word sitting by the wayside. I have no focus. Sometimes not even enough to know what day it is, since each day is just like the others preceding it, and all I can see is more misery and climbing numbers in the days ahead. 

This is how I have treated poor Focus. I think I have been waiting for it to magically return instead of making a concerted effort to focus even a little bit, on Focus. After reading your One Little Word posts this morning I've been inspired by your efforts, struggles, and honesty in dealing with your own words. 

So thank you. Starting right now, I'm going to make a return to Focus. It may be just a little, but I am making the effort. Today is Tuesday. I am going to focus on meditation, mopping the kitchen floor, holding those dear to me along with some good friends close to my heart and in my thoughts, taking a walk even though the weather is poor, and maybe even some knitting tonight. That is enough for now. It will have to be because it's all I've got. 

Now, please go visit Honoré and see how others are doing.