Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A picture

This Monday has been a day of clouds. Every now and then the sun would find an opening and blaze down for a few seconds before darting behind clouds as thick as wood smoke.

As Jilda prepared lunch, I ran to the grocery store to pick up a few things. As I pulled out of our driveway a spit of ran speckled my windshield and I flipped on the wipers. After a few swishes, the dry windshield made them squawk like a hoarse duck. 

A few miles from our house, I passed a pasture with a pond and yellow flowers blooming. The clouds in the distance looked threatening but experience has taught me that these particular clouds are more for show.

No one was behind me, so I pulled to the side of the road. A quick check in the rearview confirmed that it was still all clear behind, so I stepped over to the fence and snapped a few frames. I waited a few minutes to see if the sun made an appearance, but it didn't want to cooperate so I shot the cloudy picture. 

It looked better than I thought it would and I didn't get any today that was better so there.

My blog tonight is about a picture.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Admiring the beauty ~ my column from Sunday's paper

There are those who scoff at the predictions from the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Weather scientists with new-fangled equipment can be very vocal about this. I’ve found that the Almanac’s predictions are usually as good as any other weather forecaster. The publication predicted a colder winter and spring. They got it right this time.

I’ve heard people complain about the cold weather we’ve had in the South during the winter and spring months. Some of our friends planted gardens on Good Friday. We told them that the Almanac called for late frosts. They ignored our advice. Now they have to replant. Every day’s a school day.

The thing is, it’s OK with me if I have to put on a sweater to run to Walmart instead of wearing shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops. We need cold weather. I can promise you if the fruit trees and other vegetation could talk, I’d get a hallelujah from them. Beautiful springs often follow cold winters. Walk outside and take a look around. I rest my case.

Our fruit trees are full of blossoms. A few days ago, while standing on the back deck, I could smell apple blossoms in the air. It was “Heaven’ish.” Is that a word?

Today while driving to Birmingham to pick up some contact lenses from the eye doc, I drove in the slow lane. It gave me time to look at what Mother Nature had to offer.

Before turning onto the entrance ramp of I-22, I noticed red clover and white daisies on a knoll. No
one was tailgating, so I pulled off the edge of the road and clicked the gearshift into park. Grabbing my phone, I stepped around and headed up the slope to the flowers. The wind out of the west was cool, but the sun warmed my face.

A crew of state troopers were across the highway weighing and doing safety checks of 18-wheelers. One of the officers noticed me across the highway and stepped a little closer. Holding his hand up to guard his eyes against the sun, he watched me for a long while. He was probably curious about what I was doing. I pointed to the flowers as if that would explain. I wasn’t breaking any laws that I knew of, so I turned and navigated further up the hill to get a better angle on the flowers. My knees squeaked when I squatted to shoot the picture. The flowers and red clover in the foreground with a spring-blue sky in the background made a frame-worthy photograph.

Once back in the truck, I rolled my window down. At one point, the smell of freshly mowed grass made me smile. This scent is one that was etched into my psyche at a very young age.

South of Birmingham, the vegetation was lush. At one point, I thought I could smell wisteria though I never saw any purple blossoms.

This coming week when the weather warms a little more, we’ll start preparing our garden. I think we’re going to do raised beds this year. We’ve read that the raised-bed approach is less vulnerable to rainy spells in the summer. We’ve dabbled with raised beds in the past with good results. We’ll keep you posted.

Happy Earth Day.

The photo I took that day

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Happy Earth Day

We didn't do much for Earth Day today. It's rained. Jilda and I try to be environmentally friendly though we still buy too many products that come in plastic. We recycle newspapers, magazines, old clothes, batteries, and plastic bags. We'd like to do glass, plastic, and old paint but that's not easy to do around here.

These last few years as our appliances fail, we replace them with energy efficient ones. I'd love to convert our house to solar and only use commercial power to back up the solar panels when the sun stays away too long but this conversion is expensive. Had it been an option when I was still working full time with MaBell, I think we would have converted but solar had not matured enough at that point.

Having said that, I do a website that promotes the ecology and gives ideas on how people here can recycle, become more energy efficient, and Earth-friendly.

There's a lot of work left, but I didn't want today to go unacknowledged.

Happy Earth Day.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Free Saturday

Rarely do we have an "unscheduled" Saturday. For two people who only work part-time, we seem to be busy. Having a Saturday not filled with stuff does not happen that often.

But today was a "free" Saturday. We slept until 7 a.m., drank coffee and read the morning paper. We walked the dogs and poked fun at all our busy friends.

I put on my grass-cutting hat, fired up the John Deere, and leisurely cut grass. I know most people think cutting grass is a chore, but to me it's therapeutic. After I mowed a while, I pulled under a shade, sipped on a Gatorade. Off in the distance, I could hear crows fussing about something. 

Parking the mower in the barn, I walked back to the house. Inside the fence, I noticed the Honey Crisp Apple tree we planted a few years ago had its first bloom on it today. I didn't want that to go unacknowledged so I snapped a photo.

After a long nap, we went to the store an bought a bottle of wine and two ribeye steaks. 
You can probably guess what we had for supper tonight.

Right now, I'm blissing out and there's a very good chance I'll turn in early tonight.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Sing louder

We saw old friends tonight and made new ones. The sun was still hot when we started, but when it dipped behind the adjoining building, it cooled off quickly. 

We had a great crowd at our gig tonight. The sound system died about three songs in. Our sound man is the best but sometimes things break. Tonight it broke. 

We did what John Denver always advised his players - when the sound system falls apart, gather in close and sing louder. That's what we did.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fence Iris

I've felt a little off-center today. I'm not sure why. The oak pollen is brutal right now and I think my body is fighting off the dreaded GUNK.

The sun was warm today but it was much cooler than the last few days. We're playing outside tomorrow evening and we're hoping it isn't too cold to keep the folks from turning out.

During our walk today, I shot a picture of Jilda's pride and joy. It's an iris that came from her mom and dad's iris garden. She planted it years ago. the first time it bloomed was the year her mom died and it hasn't bloomed since.

I love this flower and we can smell its aroma when walking into the house.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Some things are worth it

When we bought the adjoining property a few years ago, I walked it the first time with Jilda. We took our time paying attention to as many details as we could absorb. There's a monster fig bush on the hill. Down toward the middle is a beautiful dogwood.  There are honeysuckle vines, huckleberry bushes, and old growth timber with oak and hickory trees.

We noticed the stump of an oak tree. I'm guessing it blew down years ago during Hurricane Opal when it made landfall in September of 1995. Even though the gulf is over four hours to the south, it was still classified a hurricane (winds 75 MPH) when it moved over Empire.

But I digress. When we saw the stump, I made a mental note to burn the stump off so that it wouldn't slow down my lawnmower when I cut grass.  Jilda said, "Ohhhhhhha." That usually means I've missed something. She said the stump had character.  When I stepped back and took another look, I had to agree. So, I've been cutting around the stump since. I've taken pictures of it before, but this was the first time with the tiny blue and yellow flower blooming. 

What if it does take me another three minutes to cut the grass. Some things are worth it.

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