Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Strange animals

On my bike ride the other day that started with me riding through rainbows with the purple pink sky. You can
see it had cleared up 2 hours later. This farm has many unusual animals including a huge herd of buffalo. This was
a new one to me. Did a donkey cross with one of the buffalo? Turns out it is an ancient French breed of donkey, a
Poitou. It is stronger and bigger than the usual donkey and  has the traits of a good tempered mule. Note strange
sculpture to right. This was a model for a possible leaning tower of pizza. Some in my previous neighborhood fought
against the real building being built as it would cast a shadow over our neighborhood. It would have to be a few miles
tall to do that. They fought against cell towers for the same reason. One thing I didn't stop for was the biggest flock of turkeys I've seen in Michigan; hundreds of them
how my solar spotlights are working. Need ones to the right
on the last day of school for my handsome grandsons who are almost the same height. Daniel the younger lost his teeth before Oliver
some of Naomi's New Orleans photos. New foods for her: gator and oysters: both raw and cooked
Naomi and a boa constrictor

Maya and her Mardi Gras souvenir
the b&b where they stayed. After a rocky start, the guy became quite nice to them

After a few days in a row in which I wouldn't go to bed until almost midnight then get up before dawn to exercise, I rested yesterday. I actually slept a bit in the middle of the day.

The travelers are all back safely. Typhoon Cindy hit landfall way west of New Orleans and by that time was downgraded to a tropical depression so maybe they had one day of torrential rains in which the streets were flooded. Water has no place to go as they do not have storm sewers. After Katrina, more levees were built and more powerful pumps were put into place. Most of the city is below sea level though the French Quarter is somewhat above and thus was spared during Katrina.

I had the Chosen Sisters over the other night. It was calm and cool so we were able to stay out on my patio well into the night. No bugs either. As we live out in the sticks, there is little light to compete with the stars, which were out in full force.

Josh and Allie came over the next day as did my friend to deal with a bike rack I bought. Hers broke. Will my $7 find work? I think it will.

I was removing unwanted vegetation under one of the wrens' nests. The wrens were furious and can make a sound like a rattle snake. They are so tiny. I think only the hummingbirds are smaller. I have 3 gourds and all are full. They are insect eaters and keep my garden pest free. Also when not perturbed, they sing early in the morning and late at night.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

I stop for double rainbows at sunrise

Looking NE back at my house
heading SW for the first mile of my ride

Cameras don't begin to capture the beauty. I rode in the middle of two complete rainbows very early this morning through a pinkish purple haze. Yes it was drizzling for a while. I couldn't get the whole rainbow in my photo though I tried. A beautiful ride.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

My first bird watch walk

Naomi walking in Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans. As the water table is quite high (even higher today) all graves are above ground
moth mullein all over on our walk
from wiki as no way I could get a shot of these though I saw several through binoculars: yellow warbler. Maybe I've seen these before but probably just thought they were goldfinches (of which there were plenty)
from wiki again: yellow throat which is another warbler seen around here
creepy cemetery. They were lucky the first 2 days that the rain held back. However today, they are sloshing through shin deep floods
I got lots of Swiss chard this year. I am going to sauté it for the Moms later today

A busy day today. I was on the road before 6 to get a 18 mile bike ride in before I was to meet up with my friend by 8 at one of the many nature preserves near me. This one I hadn't gone to before though it is connected to one I run by 2 miles south of my house. The county conducts some sort of nature walk each week at various locations. Just a mile away in yet another preserve, the Nature Conservancy had a bird walk too.

The other birders were dressed for the part with binoculars (the group leader lent me some) big hats some with mosquito netting covering their entire head, long pants, jackets. I did wear long pants (hot, hot, hot) but I clearly looked like a newbie. I do know the birds in my yard but I am unfamiliar with many of the meadow birds. The leader knew quite a bit and was very enthusiastic. She knew the bird calls. I have a bad memory for sounds. There was about 15 of us, maybe too many as we scare birds but more eyes for spotting. This is the end of the nesting season so birds are more quiet than when they are actively searching for mates. The time to go birding is early spring. She said they saw 40 species in the same time then versus our 27. New birds for me: flycatchers (there are several very similar species that could only be told apart from their song), yellow warbler, yellow throat, field sparrow, song sparrow, towhee. We did see the promised indigo buntings though as I had one in my yard last year, not new to me. She got very excited by the catbirds though as I think I have one parked in my tree outside my window, it was hard to get excited by that. And cranes are not rare any more around here.

Then back home to run.

It is my turn to host the Chosen Sisters. So far, it looks like the weather will let us sit outside. Trader Joe's was advertising a pizza crust made from cauliflower. I thought it would be cool to make a totally veggie pizza but alas, they are very popular and are sold out at both TJ stores here. So I am making an enormous frittata as for some reason, Steve keeps buying eggs and eggs. Wilted greens and some sort of Israeli couscous dish will be my offerings along with drinks. Two Moms bring appetizers, one brings a salad (I have a back up salad if the wilted chard doesn't agree with people) and dessert, which is usually my job when I am not hosting.

Yesterday, I took my friend battling side effects from her leukemia treatment to lunch and to go shopping. More solar lights for me. It was good to see her making plans for the future and having a bit more energy.

Maya is back from Florida; Naomi and her friend made a full day of sight seeing yesterday. I get updates quite frequently.

Hope I can stay awake.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Flying into Typhoon Cindy

Water hyacinth was pretty for 2 days then sagged
Maya and her step-sister in Florida
lots of delphinium
hydrangea
coreopsis. Have several kinds
maltese cross

We have been watching the weather down south closely. Yesterday, Naomi's airline offered to rebook her tickets for a time that wasn't during the typhoon. However she can't cancel her prepaid b&b room and rearrange her vacation time. Plus she left while Maya was gone.

She flew to New Orleans anyway. Plane was on time; Uber quickly delivered them to the b&b but then no one answered the door or responded to texts. What to do? She told him when they were coming. Finally after calling me 3 times, he answered the door, let them drop off their stuff and told them to come back in 3 hours. Not friendly.

And it is sunny there for now though hot and humid. They are thrilled to be in NOLA and are out exploring.

After a few days of reasonable weather, it is hot and humid here too. Not much going on...just exercising and gardening.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fireflies

Allie and Hannah on Father's Day
She is finally tolerating others picking her up. Here she looks so much like baby Josh
squirrel doing gymnastics to get at the berries. At one point he was held up by just one foot
Graduate Tessa
The night I didn't fall asleep before sunset
Steve on Father's Day. He saw all the kids and grandkids except Maya who was being driven down to Florida
my water hyacinth is blooming! The water lilies are fake but maybe it's light enough for real ones
lettuce in my rabbit and deer proof enclosure

I have been getting up early to exercise before the heat gets too intense so I have been falling asleep before the sun sets (which is after 9:30 now). I hadn't even seen if the spotlights I bought are lighting up the house correctly until Sunday when a friend came over and stayed after sunset helping me adjust the lights. Well they look good now. Also I have been missing the fireflies but sitting on the porch that night, they came out and put on a beautiful display. No mosquitoes yet so maybe the drought has some advantages. Deerflies unfortunately are out in the heavily wooded section of my runs.

I did get up early that morning before dawn to bike despite the false prediction yet again of rain. However I did fight against some stiff winds so no personal best that day though the apple watch gave me more calories per mile as battling the wind caused my heartrate to rise.

I bought the water hyacinth a week ago. The nursery owner ( motto: We are so excited we wet our plants!) said I'd need sun for it to bloom but blooming it is. They come from the Amazon and in the South, is an obnoxious but pretty weed that clogs up waterways. It does not survive Northern winters (will keep it inside).

Maya is being driven through Trumpland to go to Disney World. So far they seem to have escaped the assholes that have been recently emboldened to attack interracial couples. I have been worrying for their safety.

And while she is gone, Naomi and a friend will fly to New Orleans soon. Unfortunately they will hit a typhoon.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

This is me

Years ago I bought this bathing suit in California. Thirteen old Shanna told me I was much too old to wear a two piece (I was 39, just a year older than she is now). I was in good shape then. I had lost all the weight and then some from having Naomi but it doesn't take much to embarrass a teenager. I don't think I wore it much, sticking to speedos which actually are more revealing but were good for swimming laps. The elastic has given out around the legs but it clearly fits. Now if I could do something about those arms....

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Finally meeting a goal

This is our route next month. Instead of staying in 6 towns, we will stay in only 3: Frankfort, Leland and Traverse City, all on Lake Michigan so we plan to be on the beach. During the early days of the ride, we'd go from one coast of the state to the other. Now we are confined to the little finger of the mitten.
Things can happen in a second. I had just gone the other way 5 minutes previous to come back and find this in my way. No one seemed to be injured
someone was still walking around in this van. I assume he could get out through the window. No police had showed up yet
Navajo sand painting. It is signed. Maybe worth something

I had promised myself if by some rare chance I would weigh this little again, I would take a photo of me in a bathing suit or at least wearing my big pants all stretched out with little me in the middle, sort of a before and after photo in one. Maybe I still will but not today. I am now a quarter pound below my original goal though that still puts me above my unchubby hubby. It's been 8.5 months since I started this: 68 pounds lost which is embarrassing that I could have been so big. Embarrassing that I was fat in all my kids' weddings (4 of them) so fat Sue is front and center looking her worst in the photos. In the last one, I am wearing some kind of clingy top which shows my lopsidedness to full advantage: One tiny rock hard boob way up there and big, massive jug way down there. Sigh. Those at least are fixed though criss-crossed with scars. From a distance they look OK.

Today is the most hot and humid it has been all week. Again, we seem to be in some sort of rain shadow. Rain all around except here. I spend much time watering and filling bird baths.

Despite the oppressive heat, Shanna ran her first 5K today. She has been training all winter in the few hours that she is kid free. Running is especially hard for her as she seemed to have some sort of lung damage from one of the many antibiotics she took as a child. Before that happened, she could ran just fine as I put the kids in 1 mile races when they were young. On the first day of high school, the cross country coach looked at her tiny body and assumed she'd be a great runner. Not with asthma.

I was out there this morning too. A doe and twin fawns jumped out in front of me. Then I bicycled as thunderstorms are threatening my big ride tomorrow.

A pair of orioles went searching for my feeder today. I hadn't seen the male in a few weeks so I had put the oranges away. If desperate, there are hummingbird feeders and tons of service berries for them. I hadn't seen the female all season. And yesterday, two female rose breasted grosbeaks on my suet cake at once. The males are so pretty but not the girls. In my garden, lettuce, swiss chard and kale are ready to harvest. I have 3 inch long yellow squash. I had planted asparagus roots a few weeks ago though it will be 2 years before I can harvest them more than once. A chipmunk bit off the sprout which would have meant the death of the plant. But more sprouts have formed and have opened up to the feathery leaves so they will survive.

My poison ivy lesions have healed to the point that there are no more open sores and they do not itch so I thought I could finally get a mani/pedi. The woman made a face when she saw a healed sore on one of my fingers. What's that? she asked accusingly. I said it was not contagious. Still she sighed and then put on gloves. But now I have beautiful sparkly orange nails.

Tomorrow is Father's Day. We will have 2/3 of the kids over for early dinner.

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