Monday, July 31, 2023

Moments of Grace in a World Gone Mad

Water in Key West at hot tub temps. . . .indications that the Gulf Stream may collapse . . .Russia destroying grain shipments . . . Colorado River in peril . . .

Some school libraries in Texas to be re-purposed as Discipline Centers (how Orwellian is that?) . . . Florida's governor citing the advantages of slavery to the enslaved . . .

The continuing hold the former guy has on the GOP . . . talk about madness.


Sunday, July 30, 2023

Sunday, Sunday

Shades on the east-facing windows help minimize the heat, while still allowing a bit of a view.

The sun looks sullen, as though it didn't want to be here.


Saturday, July 29, 2023

Friday, July 28, 2023

Well, That Was a Bit of a Bust . . .

After the success of the Queen Anne's Lace experiment, I thought I'd involve Josie in making a candle using ice cubes. I did this a lifetime ago when I was the Arts and Crats teacher (as well as English) at Independent Day School in Tampa. Of course, those kids were older than six . . .

I rounded up my supplies--some milk cartons I'd saved, paraffin wax, old crayons, and some recycled cans to melt the wax in.


Josie wanted the cartons and the cans to make houses for her Castle People. So, I showed her a video of a grandmotherly soul making ice cube candles and told her how pretty they would look when the interior candle melted down and the whole thing lit up like a lantern.

Somewhat reluctantly she agreed to relinquish her Castle People's housing and choose colors for the candles. Rainbow was her first choice but as we had only three cans, she could have only three colors. So, green for Mama, blue for Daddy, and pink for Herself--everybody's favorite colors.

Obviously, she had to stay away from the melting wax. And by the time I was packing ice cubes around the candles, she had pretty much lost interest in the whole endeavor and was making a house for the CP--a cylinder of paper taped together.

She observed the pouring of the melted colored wax and agreed to my topping off the pink and the blue candles with green. . . 

When the wax had hardened, I poured off the water and tried to get her to help tear the milk carton away.

"No! I don't want sticky wax on my hands."


She was pleased with the outcome. "The pink one is like watermelon!"

Last, I cut off the excess inner candle and lit it.

"That doesn't look like a lantern," she said. I explained through clenched teeth that it would take some time--days even--for the candle to burn down that far. 

"I'm sorry this wasn't more interesting to you," I said.

"Meema, sometimes things you think are fun aren't fun for me," she explained kindly. "And Mama and Daddy will like the candles.

Okay, fair enough. Coulda been worse, I guess.


Thursday, July 27, 2023


It got almost to 90 today and I know that's nothing compared to elsewhere, but the air is breathless and I found myself thinking of snow...

With our climate in such perilous condition, I wonder what winter will bring?


Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Josie's Experiment in Transpiration

We are dyeing Queen Anne's Lace! (This is an experiment Meema and my grownup cousins Amelia and Genie used to do a long time ago when they were little girls and came and stayed for a while in the summer. It was called Camp NoFun and this is one of the things they did.)

We put food coloring in water. I thought we were going to dip the flowers in the color, but Meema said we would let the flowers do all the work.

The flowers will suck up the colored water through their stems, like a straw. It is called TRANSPIRATION.

It does not happen right away. 

You have to be patient.

While I was being patient, the Castle People had a concert. Carmen is on the stage singing. The backup singers behind her are Elsa and Sunflower.

I also practiced with my hula hoop. It is not easy to keep it going.

                                  The blue is working!!!

This was supposed to be red but that's okay because pink is my favorite color.

When Daddy came to get me, he was amazed. He asked me if I used a tiny brush to paint all the tiny flowers. (A Queen Anne's Lace flower is really a whole bunch of very little flowers.)

That would have been very hard. I am glad we let the flowers do the work, even if we had to be patient.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Last of the Daylilies

The daylilies have been glorious all month, but they are winding down...

Oakleaf Hydrangea is putting on a show...

Lavender Bee Balm and Rose of Sharon ...


Monday, July 24, 2023

Under This Forgetful Sky


First of all, do not be misled by the YA label and the teenage protagonists. This is an important book with an important message for all ages. But it may just be that it is most needful that the young take the message to heart and act on it. Because this is the messed-up world they are inheriting.

The story is set in the not-so-distant future, after the Hot Wars, which left much of the world in wreckage, poisoned by radiation and industrial pollution, and subject to violent terrorist attacks. The ruling classes have retreated to walled cities--Upper Cities-- where life is privileged and safe, where, by mandate, citizens wear 'specs' that monitor their every move as well as showing an alternate, colorful view, an overlay, of their grim surroundings. (Shades of the Emerald City!)

 Sixteen-year-old Rumi Sabzwari lives in St. Iago, an Upper City of post-Apocalypse Chile. His world is upended when his father falls ill with a deadly virus, evidently the work of a rebel group called Las Oscuras. Rumi finds a mysterious map that promises to guide him to the source of a cure. But to find it, he must leave the safety of the city, face the unknown, and cross the poisoned Wastes.

Fifteen-year-old Paz is a child of the world beyond the walls, a world that has been poisoned and drained of resources by the Upper Cities. From her home in ruined Paraiso, she ventures into the Wastes on a scavenging expedition.

When both Paz and Rumi are captured by Las Oscuras and then escape, they form an uneasy alliance that is tested by danger and by doubt at every turn. Who is the real enemy is the question that occurs again and again. In a world of misinformation, who can you trust?

Yero weaves a beautiful web--part road trip, part quest, part romance and coming of age, part edge of your seat adventure. Her prose is stunning-- a girl who "slung daggers when she walked" and "held a room captive with her collarbones." The people and communities encountered on the quest are vivid and sympathetic. And the picture of the divided world, the divided peoples, rings all too true.

In her afterword, Yero talks about her travels in Chile and her awakening to the 'slow violence' done by multinational corporations to lands not their own.  How, she asks, do we tell these complex stories that happened over long periods of time, doing damage so slowly that it was virtually imperceptible? "How do we make visible the web of the world?"

Like all good fiction, that is exactly what this fine book does.

Very highly recommended.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Last Year's Butterflies

Alas, the butterfly bushes were hit by a late freeze and killed back to the roots. They have put forth shoots but there are no blooms. These are pictures from last year.

Not too many butterflies this year either, in spite of lots of blooms on other plants.

The canary in the coal mine is already dead and mankind is paying the price for its blind greed.


Friday, July 21, 2023

Rainy Day and Cool

We have been blessed with a day so cool it called for flannel shirts. Happy to be in the mountains of NC!


Thursday, July 20, 2023

Summer Scenes

Hay in the field . . .

A neighbor's late-blooming wisteria . . .

Fog-bejeweled spiderwebs adorn a gate . . .

A sentinel mullein . . .

Like money in the bank, a barn bulging with hay . . .

BLT--a quintessential summer delight.