Welcoming the city-withered...
Notes on the natural.
| Today, I concluded quite firmly that Dodge is the truck for me. My fiancee has a fleet of shitbox Dodges. Due in part to his driving (the sort of doddering erratic driver your father warns you about and driving schools dread), combined with the general...unkempt condition of the vehicles, I am tempted to paint bumper stickers and slogans on their tailgates. "Dodge-Sound Advice" or "Dodge:Not Just a Name, a Piece of Advice". I have witnessed terrible acts perpetrated on these vehicles, wanton disregard for common auto sense, fiendish abuse visited upon them. In one of my drunken fits, I wreaked unholy havoc on the front end of the Ram Charger LE we were in today that so solidly convinced me of the basic soundness of this make, and I have been known to drub soundly on the dashboard if the mute beast doesn't shift to my liking. Until today, the Charger was known as the "4 X 4", but I have christened that sturdy, trustworthy beast "Dolly", a current (personal) events joke that pleasantly coincided with the abbreviation "DOdge Ram LE". Oh, she's a trusty, that car, she has lovely gremlins. She's full of that old fashioned character of the true working man, who limps gamely into a day's haul despite the hanging trim and the dangling light. She still shifts smooth as butter, rides high and mighty like a sleek dinosaur, roaring down the highway. So, her rocker panels are rusted through, so the passenger seat has a broken back one needs to prop up, a trick seat liable to cast you out round a stiff curve. So the ignition has been raped out of the column, so you use a strong thumb to turn it on, and a chunk of steel bar to turn it off. So the front end looks like the beginning of the demise of the sacrificial shitbox in a b-grade horror movie. Dolly sat, tires slowly deflating, getting overladen with sundry assorted books and stuff for months, suffering further assault by a drunken sailor navigating a front end loader, then started right on up after a short charge. So?
So today my beloved and I climbed aboard the noble steed and set off down the road. "What's that noise?" I queried, head acock. My heart dutifully pulled over and walked about inspecting things, climbed in and reported nary amiss. So off we rattle and roll down the highway. 50, 60 miles an hour we're scootin' when we hear a small metallic "ting!". What's that, we wonder, as we begin to take an exit, when *BOOM!* the driver's front quarter develops an unhealthy list. The tire spins merrily on down the highway. We grind and spark our way about 1/4 mile down the road, finally stopping at a conveniently located dirt lot. My passion fetches our errant tire from the highway, we remount it, and drive mighty Dolly, that American Amazon, back home.
All Hail the Mighty Dodge!
|Not all the bugs are friends to me. Though the dragonflies alight everywhere while I'm outside, keeping colorful company, and the butterflies and moths are beautiful, there are those that make me exclaim "Get AWAY from me! I don't want to be your friend!" or, as yesterday, when spying a large, brown, freaky spider on the dank basement steps, "Oh, it's large and scary, definitely large and scary...". Or the evil black hornets or cranky yellowjackets,which, winging my way, make me shriek "Ai!" and run like a two year old. No, as in everything, not every denizen of the insect world charms me. Although I do have a tense truce with the hornets who drink water from the saucers on the plant table.
|Today I found an insect; about a quarter of my pinkie nail, he was fluffy white like a bit of cotton, and looked like a tiny dog's or dragon's head, with a blunt snout at his head, two tiny black dots for "eyes", and two miniscule tufts for ears.
Later I found what I think was a moth of the richest chocolate and umber hues, stippled and waved, with light blue or grey dots on the undersides of his wings. I coaxed him from the driveway to my hand, where he paused for a few minutes while I walked him to the front yard to show someone (as always with these small charming miracles, no one heard me to see). He had a damaged wing, and when he left my hand he flew about the front door for a minute or so before landing on one of the entryway lights. I wonder if he's still there.
| As I brush through thigh-high, buzzing, hopping grass, and pad barefoot over sunwarmed granite, I feel like Minnehaha. Then a car goes by.
ELYSIAN SUMMER COLD BEAN SALAD
1/2 cup fresh parsley (cut a moderate handful of stalks)
Twig fresh herb (your choice, whatever comes to hand in the herb garden...but only a twig, now.)
large can (1 lb 13 oz) Goya kidney beans, drained
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/2 large Vidalia onion, diced
Rinse parsley and twig o herb in cold water. Grasp firmly, and use your kitchen herb scissors (what, you don't have any?!? Get you some now-a brandy new pair of scissors strictly for kitchen use...Go on now! We'll wait for you.)...to cut your herbs into a bowl. Cut the herbs up some more in your bowl; attain a nice fine mince. Add diced Vidalia onion. Add oil and vinegar. Mix and allow to sit for a bit. Add drained kidney beans. Mix; ideally, chill overnight before serving and enjoying!
|I swear I hear a powwow deep in the undeveloped tract of land behind the house. I have to strain to hear it. It could be my ears deceiving me, morphing a distant radio into the steady beat of native drums and "yah-way yahway, yah-way yahway" vocals, my ears conspiring with my heart to make me believe that somewhere beneath the mighty white oaks, firelight leaps in ancient dance with the true people of this land...but I do believe that I hear a powwow, be it spectral or actual.
|The fireflies have arrived, specks of sparks flashing their codes in the night, bobbing through the high grass, twinkling in the trees. Fireflies are a lovely cool color, like starshine.
There are red tailed hawks, perching on dead tree limbs, wheeling through the sky, complaining.
Dragonflies come in a myriad of colors; neon green, black and white, electric blue.
Despite the empty nests scattered everywhere that filled me with foreboding during the winter, we are relatively free of hornets. I wonder if they are suffering from the sudden death syndrome that has been decimating the domestic beehives. I do not miss them.
We have three daddy longlegs spiders living in the corners of the shower, two in one, one in another. The other night while I showered, the lone spider trundled across to the other corner for a visit, or perhaps a snack? We leave them in peace; no Better Homes and Gardens house, ours, but a lenient home for all. Spiders munch less welcome insects.
My patio tomatoes, cucumbers, and herb garden are thriving. Unfortunately my basil didn't survive, but we have parsley, thyme, oregano, lemon grass, and rosemary. The morning glory seeds I planted are also doing well. I stole them from a client who has them creeping up her deck banisters year after year; I hope our guys come back as well. I'm still not sure whether the poppy seeds germinated; I don't know what baby poppies look like! We had lovely cream colored irises bloom, their stems so heavy that I had to stake them. I have found that sumac makes a great inexpensive stake; cut to appropriate lengths in the fall for the next season's use. I placed the cucumber pots next to the chain link dog pen, so the vines can climb. The zucchini, which I planted late and in rather poor soil, is an ominous yellow shade that bodes ill. We also have a citronella scented geranium, a pot of horehound (I plan to experiment with making horehound candy), and a patchouli plant.
Most of the lawn is one vast meadow; we still haven't mowed. Oh well!
| The lawn must be mowed. It's a fact, like gravity or God. I felt like God, tearing great wrathful swaths through the little creatures' grass-treed world. A snake, a frog, dozens of large spiders with little white balls clutched to their behinds... Quick, grab your 800,000 children and run! Take to all eight! I felt like the Incredible Hulk looking at my green toes. I felt like performing a minor miracle of physics on the front lawn, say a spontaneous nuclear explosion, or eating the sun... Just out of spite. I felt like I was the momentary focus of a hot new reality tv series; Lawnwatch, maybe. I'm the Mow Ho. I'm the best self-propelled mower on the market.
Saw two woodpeckers with bright red heads today, and a crane-like bird with a missing pinion. I wonder if he's hunting in the quarry. Also saw an oriole harassing a crow (little bird picking on big bird). Snake in grass was small, black, white collar (what little he let me see of him during the rescue attempt from the Mower of God.) Saw some god AWFUL spiders, one big tannish guy who looked jumpy and bitey, and a mess of those busy mothers rescuing their egg sacs. Also, lots of giant dragonflys