Archive for July, 2009

The Long Days of Summer Are All Too Short

July 24, 2009

I heart morning glories blog

(Morning glory leaf on my porch, illuminated)

Well, hi there!  Sorry to be absent from the blogosphere for so long, but things have been pretty busy at the Doublewide Ranch, what with houseguests and yardwork and garden tending and searching for unsuspecting souls to unload our squash and zucchini on.   That was one of the nice things about having guests—–the squash disappeared a lot faster.  Maybe that’s the way you could get rid of houseguests that overstay their welcome—feed them squash at every meal!  *Laughs maniacally* 🙂

Many thanks to those of you who wrote asking about my finger and for your kind comments on my post.   The finger’s okay, I guess, though the fingernail part of the injury seems to be healing rather slowly, necessitating that I still wear a slightly bulky bandage to protect it.  It didn’t help that I had a little run-in with yellow jackets while mowing last week, and they, of course, nailed me on the same hand that had the run-in with the hedgetrimmer.  Thank goodness I’m right-handed.

Anyway, my typing is still a little slower and more tedious than usual, so I hope you won’t mind if I let my photos speak for me.  One of the places we took our guests was to the wonderful North Carolina Arboretum.  I was absolutely enchanted by these blackberry lilies we saw there.  And what most enchanted me was not the flower (though it was lovely),  but the delightful spiral of the spent bloom:

blackberry lily spent bloom blog

blackberry lily and spent blooms blog

And the wonderful buds of the swamp hibiscus:swamp hibiscus bud blog

And the exuberant song sparrow who serenaded us when we stopped to rest:

song sparrow arboretum blog

Back at home,  our chipping sparrow was looking chipper, as always:

chipper Mr. Chipper blog

Our goldfinch amused us by trying to take a little string for her nest:

pulling strings blog

And we were delighted by more spiral flowers in these morning glory buds:

morning glory buds blog

We relished regarding this rabbit in repose:

rabbit in repose blog

And it was in a rare moment of repose that I was able to get this shot of a hummingbird moth on my petunias.  I really like it a lot.  I hope you do, too.

hummingbird moth on petunias blog


Of Fireworks, Fireflies, Fingers, and the Fourth of July

July 6, 2009

bird in the clouds blog

I wonder if the things you see in the shape of a cloud indicate (like Rorschach ink blots) something about your personality and your sub-conscious mind.  Just for the record, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man often sees cars and other motorized conveyances in the clouds. And I often see…well…food.   I’ll leave you to speculate on what that might mean. 🙂

Anyway, like most people, we also frequently see animals, especially fanciful ones. Like the big bird we saw in this cloud from our porch.  Can you see it?

We spent a good bit of time over the holiday weekend on our porch. At least when we weren’t busy mowing grass or tending the vegetable/herb garden or trying to stay one step ahead of the weeds that spring up in my flowers when I turn my back for even just a second.  Regrettably, there was an unfortunate incident involving the ring finger on my left hand and our little electric hedge trimmer. Don’t worry, I’m not posting pictures here of the aftermath, but there are a few observations I’d like to make:

1. I was under the impression that a hedge trimmer would do minimal damage if it made contact with one’s skin. I was wrong.

2. It’s not a good idea to let your mind wander (as in daydreaming, bird-watching, or watching the clouds float by) while you’re using a hedge trimmer.

3. Electric hedge trimmers do have a safety mechanism that’s supposed to cut them off  (I mean the hedge trimmer, not fingers!) if they make contact with non-vegetative material (such as fingers).  However, apparently it takes a second or two for the safety feature to kick in.  It apparently doesn’t recognize fingernails and skin as non-vegetative material.

4. Slicing a third of the way through one’s finger makes it bleed…and bleed…and bleed. A lot.

5. Fingernail beds have many very sensitive nerve endings.

6. Black pepper (as I wrote in this post  about a year ago) truly works in an immediate and almost miraculous way to stop bleeding. It is astonishing to see it in action, if a bit stomach churning.

7. It is really, really hard to floss your teeth when you have a bandage the size of a Polish sausage on your finger.

In an interesting side note, the very first thing I thought after it happened and I was cradling my left hand in my right and watching my cupped right hand immediately fill up with blood was not Oh no, my finger! It was Oh no…what is the emergency room going to cost and how will we pay for it?  Coincidentally, we watched Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko for the first time last night (soon after my accident), and in the opening scene, there was a fellow who cut the ends of two fingers off in a table saw accident and he, too, said his very first thought was I don’t have insurance—how will I pay for this? (A ridiculous state of affairs, I’d say, that that would be our first worry in such a situation, but I guess that’s for another post).

Anyway, garden tool mishaps were only a small part of our weekend. Besides clouds, we watched fireflies and fireworks from our porch after dark. We are fortunate that we can see almost every fireworks display in the valley between here and Asheville eleven miles away. (The picture below taken from our porch is actually of fireworks IN Asheville. There was a lag of about thirty seconds before we’d hear the boom!) We sit on our porch, oohing and aahing, our heads swiveling, as fireworks bloom like flowers everywhere the eye can see to the east and south and west. Often, we can also hear the cheers of onlookers rise up from the valley and we cheer, too, just in case they can hear us.   And a lovely counterpoint to the din and drama of the dazzling fireworks is the quiet and steady semaphore of fireflies—-hundreds of them sending their light messages to each other and to the stars above.

fireworks in Asheville blog

(A not-very-clear picture of fireworks eleven miles away in Asheville, as seen from our porch)

And last night, I was thinking, as I watched and cheered, about how fortunate I am to live in a country founded on such noble principles and ideals as ours, but I also pondered the ways in which we have strayed from those ideals. For example, the fact that my first thought after cutting through a third of my finger was how I was going to pay to sew it back in place. That’s just not right. Our founding fathers would be appalled, and so they should be. So should we all. We could do so much better.

I just wish I had more faith that we ever will. Our former president Bill Clinton once said that “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”  I do believe that. But I’m trying hard to trust that the people I voted for really believe in the ideals our country was founded on. I’m trying hard to believe that there is going to be real and radical change, a change that doesn’t pander so much to special interests.  (I have just read that our country’s largest insurers, along with hospitals and doctors have hired over 350 retired members of Congress and former Washington government staff members in an effort to influence their old cronies  colleagues.)

Because change will only be real if it is the result of elected officials responding to the needs of the people rather than the influence of special interests.  And that’s the only kind of change that I can believe in.