Thursday, December 30, 2021

A Second View

 When I began this blog, it was fun to expound on the world around me, near and far (mostly near), and I posted several times a week for a while.  I commented on everything from our garden to travel to food and drink.  And sometimes, rarely, politics.  2021 has passed with one commentary on finishing my wood pile, which has since once again become a mess, even though as winter has set in, my wood pile has begun to shrink once again, its summer preparation being fed into the maw of our hardy wood stove.  

I'm sure our new year will have many challenges and joys, but for now the year is ending quietly, with days growing slightly longer with each sunrise.  I look forward to what the new year will bring.  Some say that a good ritual is burning something from the old year to mark a new beginning.  I've got a pile of logs that will serve.  

Saturday, June 05, 2021

One small completion

 Many things in life to unfinished, from old needlepoint projects to old car restorations.  Search on Craigslist for "project" and you'll find a wide variety of items for sale that have been revealed to the owner to never be complete--cars, motorcycles, furniture, houses.  

I've had one such project in the back yard--one of many, but I'll tell about this one--waiting for completion and today, now finished.  It's not much, really, but after several early mornings of hard work and persistence, I'm able to call it complete.  

It's my wood pile.  I'll use much of it this winter, but for now, it's all cut, split, and stacked, drying this summer for when the cold comes on and I decide it's time to fire up the wood stove as a bulwark against the frigid wind and snow.  

Some of the wood was fairly new, even some only a few days since being gathered and dropped in the yard, but some of it--and this is the key--has been back there for years.  Many years.  I had been gathering and piling up logs in preparation for the cutting, splitting, stacking, but much time had passed for some of them.  As I was tipping up some of the stumps to be split, you could see that earthworms were beginning to get comfortable beneath the logs, and in some, colonies of ants had taken up homes and burrowed tunnels for themselves, scurrying from the newly split logs in frantic haste, many of them carrying precious eggs, hunting for a new place to nurture them into being. 

In the past, rabbits, squirrels, and even a woodchuck had taken up residence or shelter in my wood piles, and mice were frequently evident in the wood I brought in to the house, so that Penny, the dog, sniffed carefully at the fragrant firewood.  

But for now, there is a vast space in the back yard, where the tree limbs and trunks awaited my effort, and now, after hours beginning at 7am at over 70 degrees, and this afternoon, now at 98 degrees, I can call it finished, an impressive woodpile, nearly six feet high, six feet wide, and over 20 feet long.  Add that to the smaller woodpile left from last year, and I think I'm good to go for next winter.    

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Purge

 I have to say it.  It's not easy for me to get rid of crap that I've accumulated.  Once it gets into my brain-activated database, it's got anchors, and shucking it can require all the horsepower of a riverboat dredge.  

But it can happen, especially when you have more books than you have shelves for, so I've been giving away some serious books, some of which were specifically obtained to enhance my ability to teach my classes.  That's no longer an issue, so if it's a teaching book, it should go to a teacher.  And I've made progress, and shelf space is opening up.  

Still, I know people who are publishing books, and I want to be in on the ride.  Ted Kooser, for example, newly engaged in the Facebook world, has a new book out, A Suite of Moons, from Gibralter Press.  At $40, I probably won't spring for a copy right away (though that's for a signed copy).  Meanwhile, in a recent Facebook post and poem, Ted tells about his love for yard sales and his love for children's books.  Of which, apparently, he has a plenty.  

I've often thought of Mr. Kooser's poetry as a model for the kind of poem that I want to write, but I've got to NOT follow his example in terms of accumulating illustrated children's books.  

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Dreaming of More than a Walk with Wildlife

 The little to report is evident.  You know what's happening around the world if you're paying attention, and if you're reading this, you're paying attention to a lot more than most folks, so it's worthwhile mentioning the state of the daffodils in our yard and the dwarf irises.  They're blooming, the bright yellow daffodils and the purple dwarfs.  

Tomorrow is my first grand-child's birthday, and she's turning nine.  She's a bright child, devoted to her mother and father, learning still to love her little brother and her cousin.  We'll pay her a visit and offer a gift for her birthday.  

In other news, we took a good walk in the sunshine with a friend before the wind came up and brought another couple of cool nights and days this week.  

And I got the plumbing on the Roadtrek camper fixed, I think, so the grey water tank won't leak like it was.  I hope--not at all.  And I helped my Georgia brother-in-law in his search for a camper equivalent to mine.  

The wife and I keep considering a place to go this summer.  Apparently, Iceland is so popular that plane tickets to REK are sold out until June, even with the lava flowing and the volcanoes erupting.  And the Canadian border is still closed.  But Colorado is open, and other states will take us if we jump in the van and hit the road.  

My brother JP is back from his Mexican land voyage.  I was tempted to board a plan and join him there for a day or two and ride back with him.  But not this time.  

Still, the time will come for traveling again.  And I'll take it.  Meanwhile, here's a reminder of a drive we took when we spent some time in Ireland.  (Not our video.)  

Friday, April 09, 2021

A Measure of Calm

Rain has come to South Dakota, leaving the ground wet and lush while bushes and grass and flowers and trees are pushing forth their buds and new shoots and blooms.  It's an explosion of green in Madison, with the snow only so recently gone.  

I've transplanted some lilac shoots from along the driveway back into the area behind the row of ancient lilacs that stand tall and bloom with gusto once the spring is fully under way.  I hope the new rains will keep the lilacs and other plants newly transplanted alive until they can sink their roots and fend for themselves.  

I'm watching too the trees I planted last fall when the Arbor Day trees came in and I managed to plant them before the snow came.  Whether those tiny sprigs will survive is anyone's guess, but they got more care than ones I usually got, including some chicken wire to protect them from deer and squirrels and other sapling-eating beasts.  

Speaking of beasts, it's been fun to see some relatively rare animals recently.  We've tracked down several eagle nests and seen some bald eagles, and a fox crossed our trail on the drive to Brookings.  And in the back yard, we saw a mink the other day, and a groundhog.  And deer and squirrels are regular visitors.  So we've got some company in our little patch of earth.  

I'm hoping to get some writing done today, and this little exercise has limbered up the keyboard.