It was three fingers ‘til sundown (about 45 minutes) when I sat down in the porch swing a few days ago, our little dog at my feet. It was a fairly warm evening and she and I both were glad for a chance to be outside. She’d already watered the grass and fertilized a white pine, so she was ready to just lay there and sniff the breeze for interesting odors. Across the road, behind the empty vacation home of a North Carolina couple, a gobbler was sounding off. I usually hear them more of a morning, as they announce their presence to the world, instead of an evening. Maybe he had some company that he was trying to impress.
A backing breeze was blowing, adding a touch of coolness to the otherwise warm evening, and giving observant folks a warning of foul weather to come. It’s funny how a breeze from the east (in my area) often warns of bad weather coming from the west. We rarely realize all the levels of wind above us. I remember lying on my back many years ago, gazing at the light clouds in a fairly bright sky. I was amused at the number of clouds passing one another in different directions and started keeping track of the different levels. After a few minutes, I’d counted seven different directions of wind, moving wispy clouds along, one layer above another.
Judging from her vibrating sides, the dog appears at first to be panting, but her mouth is closed, so I know that she’s sniffing instead. Not having her keen nose, I can only use my ears and eyes. A mockingbird sings one song after another in the white pines out by the road. A lone crow stalks bugs in the front yard. For a moment, I wonder where its mate is, finally deciding that it’s probably on a nest nearby. They’ve been traveling by two’s lately, rather than the usual three’s and four’s. I took that as a sign that they were getting ready to nest. I haven’t heard any young crows yet, though.
Earlier, I’d noticed dandelion, day lily, violet, plantain, winter-cress and dock plants still usable for greens. Sitting here in the swing, I spot a little patch of violets with large, but tender-looking leaves, that haven’t bloomed yet. I haven’t picked any wild greens for ages, but I got a little cooking pot the other day, so I’m thinking of picking a mess.
The following evening, it was only two fingers ‘til sundown when I sat down with the dog again. It wasn’t as warm that evening and the backing breeze still threatened bad weather coming. It had a distinct chill to it that evening. The weather men were predicting storms after midnight. A group of five blue-jays flew from the nearest white oak on the south side of the house to the white pines along the road that borders the east side of our lawn. I wonder if it’s possible for a jay to travel quietly; I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. They remind me of some families that I see in public, fussing and bickering every inch of their travels. From where I sit, I can see a handful of quaking aspen lying on the forest floor straight ahead and over the brink of the hill to the north. I should use them if I ever get started building my hugelkultur mound for a milkweed patch. Until then, I should check to see if any morels are growing near them. You rarely see morels around here anymore, though, due to the out-of-control deer herd in the state. I’ll resist the urge to start DNR bashing.
The storms never materialized, thankfully, but we did get a little rain from the system, though not what we needed. I notice that since the rain, the leaves are out enough that you can’t really see into the woods. Turkey season started here today, so things are about the same as every other year, despite any weather differences.
A couple days ago, I finally went against my wife’s wishes and put a hasp and padlock on the basement door, so I could get into it from the outside. Previously, there were bolt latches on the inside, but nothing on the outside, to make it harder for burglars to get in. Unfortunately, we have a storage area shortage in our house, aggravated by having entirely too much “stuff.” As a result, the door to the basement usually is blocked by my wife’s exercise machine and her DVD collection. Naturally, whenever I wanted to get to my tools, she had to move her stuff and we fussed. I assured her that I installed the hasp in such a way that it would still take a very determined man with an eight pound sledge to get through the basement door. I’ll probably go ahead and put a keyed dead-bolt lock on it as well. That should ease her mind even more. It’s certainly nice to be able to get to my tools again!
I had the dog outside just before typing this up, and it looks like if I don’t pick the winter-cress soon, there won’t be any left that isn’t too far along. My wife will probably think that I picked it from amongst the dog pucky and won’t eat it. I’ll just let her believe what she wants; the more for me! Now, where’s the bread bag I saved for the task? © 2013