Category Archives: Garden

Plans and Things

I have finally gotten all the Kinky Prom photo edited and all but five of the 250-ish I took have been sent out.  Three of those I am just waiting on an email address so I can send them out, and two are of a person neither I nor any of the six or eight people I have had look at the picture knew her.

Today and tomorrow, I am *off,” in that I don’t specifically have plans to do anything in the evening.

Of course, it’s also Derby week, and we have two parties planned for this weekend, so it’s not like I’m really slacking off, of course.  I do have some paperwork to do, and some emails I need to answer, but I don’t necessarily have to be anywhere or do anything.

After this weekend, too, it will get a bit quieter.  The Center will take a lot of time, but much of it will be time that I am already spending on kink-related stuff, and we will have most of the bugs worked out, too.

I need to get out in my garden and do some weeding, clear out some of the growth that didn’t get cleared out before from winter, see what came back and where I might have an open spot or two.

I need to clean my house, which is not so much terribly dirty as it is wildly disorganized at the moment.  I haven’t unpacked the things from Saturday’s party yet, so the chairs in my den have bags in them.

My desk is piled high with magazines and notebooks, computer gizmos and random odd things.  An ancient fortune cookie in the wrapper.  A pair of beaters from a mixer.

A bag of tiny, mint-flavored, bone-shaped treats for the dogs.

I need to put the couple boxes of Bluegrass Leather Pride stuff on shelves in the garage, and deal with the contents of a garden basket I won at the dog show this spring, and move the 10 pairs of my shoes that have accumulated in the living room back upstairs.

And I will do all of that, honest I will.

But it won’t be tonight.  Tonight drew and I went out on the scooter for the first time this year and it was lovely.

And I was, in the 20 minutes I was away between that line and this, I trimmed a small shrub that was beginning to block a walkway, took the beaters to the kitchen, the dog treats in their cannister.

I can see the top of my desk again, one chair is mostly empty, and my blog is done.  How cool is that?



Pesto Production

I spent my day making pesto.

Every summer I make pesto.  I grow 12 or 15 basil plans of different variety.  Mostly plain sweet basil, but I also always add lemon and lime basil, Thai basil, purple basil and lettuce leaf basil.  Sometimes I use spicy globe basil, but the leaves are so small it’s hardly worth it.

I try several times over the summer to make pesto.  It’s a luxury to have a great store of it.  It makes a nice last minute gift, I supply slave drew at his house with pesto, and there is absolutely always pesto in the fridge and the freezer both.  I add it to lasagne, mix it in with red sauce, add it to garlic bread, etc.

So, I chronicled my basil day, because I felt like it.  I clipped an enormous armload of basil about 1pm.  It all needed to be clipped back, anyway, so it will bush out and not get leggy or bolt.  It took a while to clip it all, and I had so much it was hard to carry it all in easily.

I spent the next three hours clipping the leaves off the basil into bowls.  I usually do it by hand, pinching them off with my thumbnail, but that invariably leaves a semi-permanent stain on my finger and thumbnail, so this year I actually clipped them off, one by one.  I made a couple of phone calls while I worked, then watched something on Netflix.

Finally, I had a container of the stems I had denuded, and two large bowls of basil leaves.  Large bowls, packed full, pushed down and flattened as much as possible.

After the leaves are plucked, the rest is not so time-consuming.  I grated Romano cheese, the grated a lot of different nuts, which I really prefer.  Walnuts, blanched almonds, a few pecans, macadamias and the traditional pine nuts.  I pulverize the garlic, too, with some olive oil.  I use a LOT of garlic.

By a LOT of garlic, I mean about 20+ cloves.  I like garlic.  Keeps the vampires away.

I have so much basil that it’s not possible to process it in one batch, so it took three.  Basil leaves in the food processor, add olive oil, keep processing until it’s a finely chopped.  I mix about a third of the garlic, which is also processed until it’s nearly smooth, with each batch.

I add nuts and the cheese as I go, but I worry less about that not being precisely blended.  A ribbon of garlic, however, would not be good.

Then it all gets mixed together in a big bowl, all of the batches together.

I had a bit of cheese left over, and some olive oil, but all the rest went into the pesto.

Then I packaged it for the freezer.  I had a fair amount.

That might not, in retrospect, seem like a lot, but bear in mind, a serving of pesto is perhaps a tablespoon or so.  Bear in mind, too, that I’ll do this two or three times more this summer.

Now, I’m not sure why I felt compelled to provide nearly a cooking lesson.  I am a good cook, for the record.  I’m a decent baker, though I can’t make pie crust to save my life.  I can’t make fudge, either, if it’s not done in a microwave.

I like making pesto, or, rather, I like having made it.  I don’t love the process, though I do find it meditative in some ways.  You clip and clip and clip and clip the leaves off.  You cut up the cheese and grate it, you grind the nuts.

At first, the entire house smells of basil.  You have great armfuls of it, after all.

Then it smells of garlic.  I pureed, you’ll recall, 20 plus cloves.  That’s a fair amount of garlic.

Then it begins to smell like pesto, the combination of the basil and the garlic and the cheese and the nuts and the oil.

Ms Tammy came by after work to drop something off to me, and we talked for a while, which we haven’t done in a bit, at least not the two of us alone.  When she left I gave her a jar of pesto.  I got a text a little bit later that one of her slaves was, and I quote, “freaking out,” over the pesto.

This was, I was assured, a good freakout.  So, apparently, it was, indeed, a productive day.

A Busy Saturday

He had a very pleasant day, in which we accomplished a lot, two of my very favorite things.

I did my usual yard sale thing this morning, and found some nifty stuff.  drew got clothes, some naturalist books and his favorite, three aluminum outlines of birds, clearly made by a person and not a mold or company, that I thought he would like hung on his workshop doors down at his house in Western Kentucky.

I found some shoes, a book or two, and several plants.  I recently cleaned out the small bed on the kitchen side of the house and it needed some plants.  The spot gets baking sun most of the day during the summer, so it isn’t a spot for sissy plants.

I bought four sedums, a succulent that will do well there, and four small pots of Siberian iris, on which I spent exactly $1.85.

I met drew for a salad lunch, then we ran to Home Depot to get some top soil and mulch for the new bed.  It’s the only real area of the whole property with poor soil because it’s never really been supplemented.  That total was $10.05.

drew then dropped me off at the nail salon, where I had my nails painted a bright metallic blue.  I usually do reds, but I decided to try the blue and am liking it enough to do it again.

Then drew picked me up on the scooter and we went out for about three hours, scooting all over the city.  We went downtown, then to the Harley Davidson store, because my birthday present is apparently a much nicer – and safer – helmet.  We laughed about not letting them know we were driving a scooter, for fear there really was some rule about beating us up.

We also looked around at all the motorcycles, which have never really interested me at all before, but I do admit that they’re looking a lot more interesting than they used to.  We’re not going to be doing anything about it any time soon, and maybe not ever, but I can see the appeal more.

We drove through Calvary Cemetary, and found a fallen 150 old tree that he’s going to see if he can use for tabletops.  This is the week for the quarterly debris pickup, too, and the city always – I imagine intentionally – is at least a week later in actually picking it up than they tell you is the date.

What this does is gives everyone time to drive around, notice things they need or want, and take them home themselves.  Rather things go to a good home/someone who needs or uses them than end up in a landfill somewhere.

Our finds in the past have included a lot of flower pots, some very large, some very expensive, all of them very nice.  We found a long old-fashioned wooden ladder once that later became the access to drew’s brother’s children’s tree house.  I have a small bench I use for plants that had the same origins.

We found, on our first foray, a small shelf unit that replaced something impractical in the garage.  drew found under it three small pieces of thin plywood that he needed for a small house project.

We stopped at an old ice cream stand on the ride, one that Beth and I used to go to, years ago, and were ordering when we heard a voice saying, “That looks like Constance and drew,” and turned to find, behind the counter, one of my old playmates, Damian.

Damian is genuinely strikingly handsome, Italian parents, dark eyes, dark skin, white teeth, and this great salt and pepper hair.  When he and I were seeing each other – never regularly, once every month or two – he was also teaching swimming and giving spin classes at a gym for extra money.  He was not only gorgeous, but had an ass one could bounce a Buick off of.

He has always acted as if he were totally unaware that he is the type to get second and third glances in restaurants and at parties.  I used to take him with me to public play parties and I have had women come up to me and apologize to me for having stared at him.

I was playing with him once a long time ago, the first time we had ever played and he was wearing a steel cock ring.  I had a knife and each time I tapped the steel tip on the steel ring, his fairly impressive dick would twitch in response.

One of the leaders of the group who was putting on the party, a black gentleman who was VERY straight – not narrow, but he was very heterosexual – came over to me and tapped my arm to get my attention.  I looked and he was turning his hand as if screwing in a light bulb and saying, “Turn him around…”

Anyway, Damian saw his kinkiness as not really that pervasive in his life.  He was relatively kinky, had a pretty serious tolerance for pain, begged fetchingly, and in restaurants, when I would wave away a menu for him, or take it from in front of him at the table, he would get an erection.

drew had always liked Damian, too, he was smart and funny and they had some similar interests.  I can remember one party where I had both of them with me, and at one point I needed something – a drink, likely – and looked around because suddenly neither of them was around.  I noticed them in a corner, the two of them, deep in conversation.

Regardless, some time after he and I had stopped seeing each other except for the occasional chance meeting somewhere, he started seeing a vanilla woman.  He sent me a note once, after they’d been seeing each other for a couple of years, and asked me if I’d be interested in maybe he and I playing again at a party coming up, and if I’d object to the girl friend watching.

I responded that I would always be open to the prospect of playing with him.  He was always a really appealing playmate on many levels.  He liked intensity, we had very complementary tastes in terms of things we really both liked, and his being extraordinarily good-looking was hardly a bad thing, either.

I warned him, though, that I was unlikely to change my style of play because she was there, and reminded him that I had always played with him in pretty sexual ways – he was fond of tease and denial, and I am fond of begging, which is often a result of tease and denial – and that while it would not make me uncomfortable, it might make her uncomfortable, and he should take that into account.

I believe I ended with something like, “You were mine before you were hers, in a manor of speaking, and I’m really unlikely not to claim those privileges.”  I don’t remember if he responded or not, but the date never went further.

We actually had dinner once, the four of us, and it wasn’t swimmingly successful.  I thought she was mousy and had little personality, drew pointed out that I might possibly be a touch intimidating to her.  *shrug*

Anyway, he and she married a while back, which I think we knew, and just recently bought the ice cream place.  He had apparently heard our voices from the back and came out.  It was a pleasant conversation, no tension on any side, and I suspect it might become an occasional destination on the scooter because they also have vegan chili dogs, which drew pronounced quite good.

We came home after a long ride, and without discussing it, started doing a lot of yard work.  Plants needed watering, and our hoses needed swapping out, which ended up involving trying to get a frozen brass coupling off, drew finally having to cut it off and replace it, etc.  But we now have all our hoses attached and soaker hoses laid out.  I spent time pulling weeds – the story of my life – and putting some trellis supports around the blooming crocosmia and the soon-to-bloom tall white daisies.

I watered my basil bed, which I will cut back severely soon and make the first batch of pesto of the summer.  Every year I plant a dozen or so basil plants of various kinds – sweet Italian, spicy, thai, lime, etc. – and make vats of pesto, which I freeze and we eat all year.  We watered the flowers and plants around the house, the pots with flowers, all of that.

drew mowed the front lawn.

The puppies played in the water, jumping and biting at the hose spray.

We worked until nearly dark, then decided on another scooter ride because it’s so pleasant at night.  Dogs were fed, and off we went, and on this outing we really scored, finding a dozen or so bundles of fencing that drew needed for his house and was hoping to avoid buying.  We scooted home, he scooted back in his bag van and scooted them into the trailer, then scooted on back home.

I took a shower, then futzed around with the helmet I use now, which I had never before actually taken the time to fix so it sat properly.  Then drew showered while I made some potatoes, with veggie burgers for him and a couple eggs for me.

Then a bit of TV and time with dogs, and now I’m heading to bed.  Tomorrow’s agenda includes digging in the top soil and putting in the plants.  I dug up a few more plants around the yard to go back there, too, some succulent ground covers and some lambsear, so our cost is pretty slight for the bed.

drew wants to replace a cabinet that had to be pulled out in the kitchen when the stove had to be repaired.  I need to do some more weeding, and some correspondence, do a few things for some projects and plans.

And then the Sunday munch.  If you’re local, perhaps I’ll see you there. If not, you’ll probably still hear about it tomorrow.  Have a good night.

Night Rides

slave drew and I acquired a motor scooter late last summer.

It is, to be clear, a scooter.

It is NOT a motorcycle.

I wouldn’t know the difference because I don’t know a thing about them, but trust me, I might be the only one.

We have put something like 350 miles on the scooter.  That might not sound like a lot until you realize that our top speed is something ike 35, meaning that we don’t go on the highway.

We drive around neighborhoods.  We go through a lot of alleys because we like seeing into people’s back yards, seeing what their gardens look like.

We drive through the parks.  Louisville has a beautiful park system, much of it designed by Frederic Law Olmstead, who designed Central Park in New York City.

One of the things we both like is riding around at night, after the sun has set.  It’s cool, and the air is fresh.  We notice the fireflies, and the gardens, and the trees, and the houses.  We both notice gardens when we’re out and about and go visit them together.

We like being able to see into backyards, too, because the front garden is for show, often, it’s not where you live.  You live in the backyard.

Today was warm, not miserable to me, anyway, but it was hotter than it has been, and humid.  By tonight, though, it had cooled down considerably.  The neighborhoods we drove through were upper-class, very nice houses, big wide streets, and were generally pretty deserted.  People were home, but they were inside.  It was warm today, recall, and most people wanted to be inside, the air conditioning blasting.

We saw so many houses with great porches, or upstairs balconies, and no one was on them.  We kept saying, “We’d live out there in weather like that…”

It was fully dark by the time we got home, street lights on.  We drove by a softball game in progress, the dust from the infield visible from a distance.  The dog walkers were finishing up, the evening drawing to a close.

To quote Longfellow:

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I Fought the Weeds…

…and the weeds won.

Well, not really. I’d call it a standoff.

(This is, btw, another repost, originally written 05/07/2009.)

I spent a couple hours this afternoon in the garden again, attested to by a stiff back. The aspirin should kick in soon, and I feel certain I’ll be able to straighten up again before dinner.

I don’t really mind the aching back, though, not really. Most things that are worthwhile require work and work often means a bit of pain. I don’t relish it, but it’s nothing I spend time worrying about, either. Part of how you know you’re alive, I think.

I also think it does a soul good to need a bath, to be dirty, not just sweaty or need my hair washed, but to have the water run brown off of my feet an arms as the smeared mud washes away.  Dirt under your fingernails, even long red fingernails, is something that does a body good.

Anyway, now is the time to be pulling weeds, if you live in the Bluegrass State. We’ve had rain and more rain and then a bit more rain after that, so the ground is soft. It’s still cool enough to be outside without the heat being impossible.

In another month, the ground will be dry and the weeds will be a foot taller, and far more settled into their stolen corners of my garden. It’s a very satisfying feeling to tug hard on a weed, something that is confidently spreading its unwelcome little leaves, and have it pop out of the ground with a sudden release.

You know it won’t come back, you’ve routed it out permanently. There are others that aren’t so accommodating, you wrestle with them for a while, then give up, cutting them off at the soil line, hoping they’ll die on their own. They rarely seem to.

I prefer pulling weeds, too, to using chemicals. The problem with that is you never know exactly what you’re killing, herbicides can kill everything they touch and usually contaminate the soil for a while, too. Working in the soil is, I think, good for the spirit and spraying things from a bottle isn’t working.

It’s satisfying, too, to take stock of your garden as you poke around in it.

My white phlox is happy and will bloom soon. Iris are blooming now, along with columbine. The lilacs and azaleas have come and mostly gone, with a few straggling blossoms left to prove they were here.

Next will come the peonies, the blue star, my false indigo. Purple clematis and pink fairy roses are twining around their arbors, and the hosta has grown at tropical speed.

The garden is full of cool greens and pale yellows, the darker ones coming later in the season. The perennial geraniums and ever-blooming begonia are happy, filling out their designated spots, the Asiatic lilies and day lilies getting bigger all the time. I read somewhere that for lilies, water is the best fertilizer. In that case, they should be happy indeed.

Weeds are a nice survey of how healthy the garden is. A garden that grows good weeds is also likely to grow the plants you mean to grow, too. I am lucky to have lovely soil, thick and dark, crumbly and rich. I have worms that would make an angler envious, fat and long, revealed with every shovel of dirt that I turn over, in every hole I dig with a trowel.

I moved a caterpillar from one of the areas I was weeding to some host plants we have for them, somewhere happier for him to spin his chrysalis and return to the garden as a butterfly.

I unearthed a centipede as well, and spiders and grubs, but my general rule is, I don’t kill bugs outside, unless they’re mosquitoes and land on me, or ants that have gone too atomic in their growth. Inside, I widen my scope to flies who won’t just go back outside, ants in my kitchen, and roaches.

Once in a while a spider has to go, too, if he can’t be captured and sent outside.  By and large, I point out bugs to slave drew and he carries them outside.  Last night it was a lightning bug.

This winter I had a brown leaf cutter who lived in my bathroom.  He wasn’t an annoying kind of bug, but he was very industrious.  One day I’d see him on the vanity counter, the next somewhere in the shower.  Then he’d be on the hamper in the hallway.  Then on the hanging leaves of the spider plant in the hallway.

Periodically I’d scoop him up and dump him into one of the other plants in my hallway, but he had his traveling shoes on, clearly, and he never stayed anywhere long.

I haven’t seen him for a month or six weeks, so I suspect his short life ended somewhere among the leaves, but he was a pleasant enough tenant for the short term.  Quiet, didn’t take up much space, never made a mess.

So, anyway, today I finished the bed I had been working on, and moved to the bed behind the pool. It’s best to do that one before the pool is open, and before the ground covers get too grown. Much harder to rake around than rake over. I got about half of it done, maybe a bit more, but it’s amazing how much difference it makes.

Now I’m sitting at my desk and writing, watching a robin in the birdbath in the back giving himself an absolutely exuberant bath.

If you garden, you tend to love robins, because they’re your companions. They hover around as you garden, silently chiding you to go in so they can descend on that newly excavated ground, dig for those fat worms, the grubs, all the other insects that hide under the ground and under the weeds.

I imagine the bathing one had his fill of bugs and worms and then decided to take a happy bath as dessert. It’s hard not to smile watching him, splashing madly, wings flapping, water flying.

I came home a year or so ago and looked out the sliding door and into the pool.  The pool cover was still on, as it is now, and since it’s a mesh cover, the water will rise above it when the pool is very full, creating a very shallow pond for the birds.

There was a hawk, a sharp-shinned hawk, in fact, which is a smaller hawk, maybe half or two-thirds the size of a red tail hawk, taking a bath in the pool, the first and only time I’ve ever seen a hawk on the pool.

I stood and watched him for about two or three minutes.  He was still a majestic bird, and he held himself very still, very regal.  He would look around, as if checking to make sure no one was looking, then abandon himself to the bath for ten or 15 seconds, then go back to looking like the predator he is.

He did it probably six or eight times, then took off, no doubt to spread his wings on some branch and dry off.

We have nests in the yard, too. Robins seem to prefer the dogwood and crabapple in the front yard, the sparrows love the thick white pine and holly trees, and this year we have a blue jay nest in the cherry tree in the back.

The gold finches have been frequenting the thistle feeder by my window, in their best Sunday courting best, brilliant yellow males, the females a more subtle color.

The cardinals, too, love the yard, and one of the things I like is watching the cardinal pairs at the end of the day. The male perches nearby, watching, while the female pecks around on the ground, eating her dinner. He keeps out a watchful eye for anything that might pose a threat to his mate, and his call is so distinctive even I recognize it.

So, I’ve done all I’m going to do today, there’s another couple or three hours that I’ll need to do to finish the bed behind the pool. There are a few other small beds that I need to work on, too, but none of them are as pressing.

I’ll get the rest of my plants put into the ground in the next couple of weeks, and then I can spend more time enjoying my garden than I spend sweating in it. The sweating, however, will continue throughout the summer.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


Waiting by John Burroughs

Serene I fold my arms and wait,
Nor care for wind, or tide, or sea:
I rave no more ‘gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it has sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own, and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flow the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The floweret nodding in the wind
Is ready plighted to the bee;
And, maiden, why that look unkind?
For lo! thy lover seeketh thee.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high
Can keep my own away from me.

I looked this up today while I was, you guessed it, waiting.

I had to have Insight come in and move a cable line, add a phone line, and check on two remotes, which is going to involve taking the two guys up to my bedroom, wherein the closet door on which I hang my toys and the bondage table I keep leaning against a wall for effect are. That should be fun.

I don’t wait well. I dislike wasting time, and waiting seems like so much wasted time. I’d have been less annoyed had they showed up when they were supposed to, between 8am and 10am, rather than not until 10:40 or so.

I’d also have been less annoyed had one of them not said, in his opening to me, “How you doing, sweetie?”

I pointed out that sweetie was really not appropriate and Ma’am would be far more acceptable. I suspect the upstairs bedroom will only confirm what they already think, and correctly so. I am a bitch, or at least I can be a very good one when the situation seems to call for it.

In the meantime, I am sitting at my desk, where I no longer have internet for the moment, watching the birds taking gleeful baths on the pool cover, while the dragonflies tirelessly defend their little corner of the pool from all the other dragonflies, who are doing the same thing.

The puppies are outside because they’re the worst at barking at strangers, and Belle is sleeping happily in one of their pens. It’s a bit warmer outside than she needs to deal with, but the puppies are fine and will, if they get too warm, simply wade out on the pool cover and cool down.

Scottish terriers are not supposed to be water dogs, let me make that clear. They are terriers, the word coming from the Latin, “terra,” meaning earth. Earth dogs. This means they dig.

Mine, though, also appear to believe they are part otter. They wade out onto the pool cover if they’re hot and it’s an option. It’s completely safe for them, by the way, they can’t fall through, the cover is mesh and designed to support the weight of a small child.

I will occasionally look out and see one or both of them wandering over the surface of the pool, water up to their shoulders, sometimes high enough they have to tilt their head a bit to keep it out of the water.

Then they climb out and shake madly, usually followed by running around the yard with an odd little hitch in their gait, to shake out more of the water.

There’s a white sulpher butterfly, one of the small ones that’s a solid color, is flitting around the edges of the pool, too.

We’ll open the pool in the next week or two, and that will end the dragonfly dominion, alas. We didn’t open it for a couple years and the bonus was we had tons of dragonflies all summer and very very few mosquitoes.  Dragonflies, it seems, are the ninja warriors of the insect world.  They eat many times their weight in mosquitoes every day, as well as a lot of other small insects.

For anyone who knows slave drew, you know he is a wealth of information on most things natural. Birds, trees, some insects and animals in particular, national parks, etc.

If you haven’t met him yet, and do, you can prove this to yourself. Pick a national park in the USA, any one, and ask him, out of the blue, how large it is, and what he knows about it.

Without hesitation he will tell you that it is 250,000 acres, and remind you that, by comparison, this national park is x times larger than that, while this one is x times smaller than aforesaid park.

Ask him what bird has the longest migration, or the difference between a heron and an egret, or the best place to hang a bluebird house, and he’ll answer all those questions, too, without hesitation.

He also knows an astonishing amount about:

The Civil War
Both World Wars
Ammunition and armature in general
Art history
Specific schools of artists, including the Vienna Actionists
Rock bands of the 1960’s and 1970’s
Iggy Pop
Philosophy, particularly the depressing kind
Movie directors
New York City (He lived there for ten years)

You get the idea. I always was a sucker for a smart man, and he is absolutely that.

So, now both of the Insight guys have disappeared, I do not see them at their truck or in the house. Did I mention I’m bad at waiting?

As a post-script, three hours later, the Insight people left with all things that were supposed to be working apparently working. If I never post again, blame it on them.

After the Deluge

We had a lot of rain early this morning, enough that yards were flooded, even mine, which is uncommon.  Lights were down all over the city, most of them working but on a blinking red light.

Tonight the frogs are just singing their little amphibious hearts out.  I can hear them where I sit, with no window open, the tv on, and a window unit A/C running not six feet from me.  It’s amazing that something so small I haven’t even seen them yet this year can be that loud.

A few years ago we had cicadas.  They were one of the 17-year varieties, and it was a BIG crop of them.  They were everywhere in the entire region.

The zoo keepers in Cincinnati couldn’t get the animals to do tricks for their shows because they animals didn’t care about the treats anymore, there were little cicada treats everywhere.

Belle would come in with cicada carcasses in her muzzle, smacking her lips.  To avoid stepping on them was rather a challenge.

Our area of the city was particularly infested.  They don’t really do any harm other than being everywhere for a couple weeks, it’s not scary or potentially dangerous to your person or property, but my God, we had a LOT of them.

You could go out in the driveway and stand under the big white ash tree in the front yard, and the noise was nearly deafening.  It was a low, steady, whirring hum.  When you came inside, your ears almost vibrated from the sound.

For the next few years, I’d find occasional carcasses when I was planting in the garden.  It always reminded me of a news story from an area of upstate New York, near where I lived.  Two men had robbed a diner by threatening to throw a cicada in the hair of the waitress.  She turned the money over to them.

They’re ugly and rather unworldly looking creatures, but totally harmless and less than an inch long, to be clear.

Last year, we had a rainy evening not long after we had opened the pool.  We had dozens of frogs in the yard, probably hundreds, and there were a half dozen around the perimeter of the pool, hopping in the pool, hanging out on the side of the pool, generally cavorting at their own little froggie pool party.

I wanted to let the dogs out, but didn’t want them to bother the frogs, so I went out first to “chase” the frogs away.  Mostly I just wanted them not to be hanging right on the apron around the pool.  One frog, about the size of a walnut, was sitting on the edge, so I stepped towards it, thinking it would hop off.

It did not.

I took another step.

He didn’t move.

Finally I had to nudge him gently with my toe so he’d jump INTO to pool.  I took about four steps and looked back and he had crawled back on the edge of the pool, in his former location.

At some point one says, all right, you all just sort this out yourself.

I let the dogs out.  The puppies, being younger and generally more bent on getting to the farthest edge of the yard as quickly as possible, ran out past the frog, paying it and any other frogs no attention whatsoever.

Belle was behind them, and tends to poke her way out more than the pups, and she noticed the frog, but clearly didn’t know what it was.

She approached the frog, who didn’t move.

Imagine, if you will, a particularly charming illustration in a children’s book.  There is the cute little Scottie with her eyebrows and beard, the upright tail and ears tilted in an angle of curiosity, approaching the little frog, on the edge of the water.

Belle got closer and closer, and the frog stayed stone still.

Until Belle actually touched it with her nose, gently, at which point the frog jumped in the pool.

Belle’s expression was one of surprise and a little bit of playfulness.  The frog, thankfully, stayed in the water until the coast was clear, then went back to his prior post.

Belle had the same expression when, years ago, she was given a large balloon.  She’d never seen a balloon before and I wasn’t thrilled that it had happened, I expected that the explosion when it burst would scare her.

I was quite wrong.  She chased it around the room, thinking it was a ball, until it got caught somewhere and she went to bite it.

The look of surprise and delight was very similar, and she immediately went after the other balloons she was given, popping each one as quickly as she could.

Thank God she didn’t pop the frog.


I have had one of those days where I feel as though I’ve been rather unproductive.  I did go to a munch this evening and to a friend’s house after.  I had planned to get up early and do some weeding before it got too hot, and then I slept in a bit and when I went out and did a little, the heat drove me in, so I didn’t do that.

I could have gone down to the basement and worked a bit more on the shelves, but as I might have mentioned, I am sick of books.  I will put in an hour or so tomorrow, but I can’t do a lot more until the old bookcases are repaired and I can’t do that, so it has to wait.

I was going to make some phone calls, although I know from experience holiday weekends aren’t great for that, so it was easy to blow off.

I could have tidied the kitchen and emptied the dishwasher, which needs to be done, but I did not do that, either.

I could have gone to K-Mart and returned the lawn chair cushions that didn’t fit, but I didn’t leave early enough before the munch to do that.

I didn’t leave early enough because I took a nap this afternoon.  I couldn’t seem to hold my eyes open, so I stopped trying.  I don’t often nap, I don’t sleep well in general, but I slept for nearly two hours this afternoon, and that did feel lovely.

I could have done something this evening and sort of had planned to, but I went to the friend’s house, so I didn’t do that.

I believe the only two things I accomplished today were to get rid of that porn collection – a friend took it for a horny 20-year old they knew – and I went through a few magazines.

I found a stack of them in the basement, old women’s magazines, the kind with the tempting-looking cake on the front, which promises organized closets and well-behaved children if only you follow the directions included in that very magazine.  I find it more rational to pull out the four pages I actually want from the magazine and recycle the other 120 pages.

I did water outside plants and pots a bit.  I watched some programs I had recorded on my DVR and got it back down under 70%.

And I wrote this blog.