Sunday, January 31, 2016

John and Friends

In spite of temperatures almost to the sixties (F) yesterday, our road between the barn and house remains icy, requiring chains on any vehicle wanting to make it to the top. 

John walked down early to feed the chickens and Layla and Bobs were delighted, running in big circles through the sleeping garden and having a great game of tag.

Then, as John got to the top of the road, they had to run to catch up and beat him to the porch -- a point of honor evidently.

Dogs and their games -- they know how to have fun.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Rime Ice -- A Magical Morning

At first I thought it had snowed . . .

A closer look told me it was rime ice -- frozen fog -- turning the world beyond the window into a fairyland . . .

Everything had been transformed and I dashed about in my nightshirt and bedroom slippers to get pictures before the sun broke through the clouds and undid the magic spell . . .

 It's one of the loveliest of weather phenomena -- one we don't see very often here -- and my pictures don't capture what I saw . . .

I was charmed by the tiny hairs that formed on the rose leaves in a sheltered corner . . .

Frosting on the evergreens . . .

And the crabapple . . .

 And the Dwarf Alberta Spruce . . .

The azalea leaves look furry . . .

As it turned out, I could have taken the time to dress and not run around bare-legged in the chilly morning air . . .

The fog hid the sun and the rime ice persisted till a little after noon.

Wikipedia has more than you might have imagined possible on the subject of rime ice HERE and hoar frost (a different thing altogether) THERE

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Return of Old Friends

I am a long time fan of Tony Hillerman's Leaphorn and Chee novels. I love the wise Joe Leaphorn as well as the younger, often conflicted Jim Chee. The last few novels of the series, written when Hillerman was in failing health were a bit disappointing but still worth the read, just to be back with old friends, enjoying the wonder of Navajo Country with its stark beauty and towering thunderheads sweeping over the Chuskas. 

When Hillerman died, I was sad to think there would be no more of Leaphorn and Chee. And when his daughter took up the series, I was wary, fearing a disappointment.

But recently Anne Hillerman's Spider Woman's Daughter, the first in her continuation of the series, was a blue light special on Kindle and I succumbed, curious to see how she would treat my old friends.

I was very pleasantly surprised. She astutely shifts the focus to a secondary character from the previous books -- Officer Bernadette Manuelito, now Jim Chee's wife. Bernie was already well established but Anne Hillerman adds depth to this likable young woman. Chee is well handled, and Joe Leaphorn, my favorite, is off stage, incapacitated.

This seems to me a clever move -- rather than trying to channel her father's chops, Ms. Hellerman eases her way into the Leaphorn/Chee world with some new moves and deft plotting of her own. 

I quickly finished Spider Woman's Daughter, thought about seeing if our public library had a copy of Rock with Wings, Anne Hillerman's next in the series, and gave in to instant gratification and downloaded it so I could stay in my old friends' world a little longer.

It's even better. And Joe Leaphorn is making his way back nto the story. Brava, Ms. Hillerman! I look forward to many more Leaphorn/Chee books from you.

The picture below is from the site HERE.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Drip, Drip, Drip of Time

Icicles are a fleeting beauty here. They form, they grow, and then they melt. Unless they break loose unexpectedly to shatter on the ground. 

Yesterday on Facebook I read and shared THIS excellent article  -- How We Used to Die; How We Die Now -- and was a little surprised at the enthusiastic response -- from people with aging parents and from those, like me, who are looking at end of life choices for themselves. (Note: I'm fine, really. But reading obituary after obituary of people younger than myself makes me thoughtful, After all, I'm not Keith Richards who, like cockroaches, will probably outlast everyone.)
I'm not at all afraid of death -- it's the dying that worries me. And I don't want to do that hooked to machines. Evidently this is a fairly common attitude, but anxious families may demand that the physician exert every effort and, in the absence of a living will, the physician is helpless.  

Several people recommended books on the subject: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and The Conversation by Angelo Volandes.

Home death, like home birth, has its pros and cons. Both can be painful and messy, both put a toll on the attendants. But, I suspect, properly prepared for, the experience could be rewarding for all. (Did you know there is such a thing as a death doula, a person prepared to help the family usher the loved one out of the world?)

I was present at my mother's death in the hospital. The hospital was her and my father's choice, as was the nursing home my father died in -- again his choice. 

My mother-in-law died at her home here on the farm, attended by her daughter, and my husband, I was out of town but I was  told it was a quiet and peaceful passing.

May we all have the same -- whatever the setting.