I awoke to a frosty dawn and skated across the icy lawn but the sky is clear and promises a sunny day. I left my wet laundry on the line all night but today it will dry. I pulled up a lot of deceased garden vines and stalks and filled the compost bins. Always so much to do and the work is never quite done. But it is a lovely day to be out in the yard and under the heaven blue sky. Butch and David arrived to measure the window space from inside and outside. They say I will have a 3-pane affair. The middle pane will be stationery and the outside panes will slide to open and close. It sounds splendid.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
When Justice came to see if I had an after-school snack for him he saw the ladder in the house and shuddered. He said, "If you have something for me to do let me know. You shouldn't be climbing that ladder. What if you fell?" I saw his point and appreciated his concern but replied, "I was making my house ready for a joyful winter journey by hanging pictures of family and friends. This is so personal that I must do it for myself." He saw my point, too. I heated up a bowl of soup and made us each a cup of hot tea. He exclaimed, "This is a new brand... and very good!" He was right. I had purchased an obscure/cheap brand of English breakfast tea and found it quite delicious. We each enjoyed a second cup of the fine penurious brew. Soon Annie arrived with Wallis and we all went to look at the Deer River duplex Wallis will be renting in November. It will be a challenge for her to get to the support services in Grand Rapids but housing in that town seems to be reserved for pipeline workers. When Annie returned Wallis to GR Geezis decided to ride home with me. We stopped at the post office to pick up my mail. We have an agreement that she opens my first-class mail and reads the messages to me as I drive us home. The letter was from Jim Vickery but she didn't read it because he had returned my magic glasses. She put them on and was amazed to find the world transformed. They cast such a splendid spell upon her that she could not read the letter. Today has been very cold and the garden has perished.
Monday, September 28, 2009
It's been cold, wet and dreary. I am not looking forward to winter in a house without a window. I have a couple of options to explore. I could purchase a sheet of plexiglas and put that up or simply stuff the hole with rigid foam left over from insulation project. That would put me in the dark and require more energy to light the place. Or I could go back to candlepower. Weather has prevented me from yard work so I decided to watch an instant play netflix movie. I selected "A Room With a View" and enjoyed it greatly now I must read the book, Forester.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Charles came to hunt ducks and camp with Tom and his family. So we all met out at Pidgeon River Dam on Sat and Sun. It was a joy to see all the kids having so much fun. The hunters got a few ducks and we got plenty of camp fire smoke, too. Lila and I talked about going to Europe in March. It might be a lot of talk or it could turn into a real plan. As we sat in a camp circle eating our burgers and beans a great gaggle of geese flew over. They were quite high but their voices carried to us below. Of course, I thought of that old verse: "Something told the wild geese it was time to go. Although the fields lay golden, something whispered 'Snow'."
Saturday, September 26, 2009
On thursday I had seen a bug that looked exactly like a walking leaf. It was on the raspberry bushes in front of the house. When Cedar got home we picked some cherry tomatoes. Then we went to the Foss to sit down and have a mini-picnic. Then as we were watering the potted plants I found another walking leaf. So she got to see it, too. After a short time Annie arrived and we showed it to her. She was amazed at the beauty of the bug. Friday is the day I spend with Cedar as she has no school that day. We worked on my list of things to do. Then we went to GR to the bank, library and Arby's for lunch. We had a terrific time. When I got back to DR Justice said that I'd had a call from Wallis. She needed help to cash a check so I returned to GR. I would take her to my bank. She gave me $20 for helping her out. There are new phone lines coming down our road and I think I can get one to the house so I could have a phone and get back on line. Then I can write to anyone anytime!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I left for Bagley yesterday and returned minutes ago. It was a beautiful day to leave and it's beautiful today as well. I was a guest at the Farm by the Lake family retreat center. The farm is a gift from Richard C Davids, naturalist, author, editor and teacher. My lodge for the night was a log cabin with room for 8 so I kept bumping into myself. When I got to the cabin I saw a note on the door, "NELL". But the caretaker had given me specific directions so I knew I had arrived but I thought Nell would be pretty surprised to find me in her cabin. Nevertheless, I made myself at home. The next day I would discover that Nell is the Northern Exposure Life-long Learners. I selected the single bed under the large upstairs window so I could see the stars. There is a 1 mile+ hiking trail but I was too tired to walk it. In the morning the lake was crowded with fog dancers, the birds were swimming through the sky and a fine looking deer was waiting at the entrance/exit. We exchanged greetings and he walked calmly into the trees. I went to the Grace Lutheran Church where I would be speaking to NELL. What a delightful group of learners! I felt we'd been friends for years.
Monday, September 21, 2009
In the dream I had arrived at my home which had been hopelessly damaged by fire. The house was located on a street corner, there was a fair amount of traffic and passers-by. A police man said I could go inside to look for anything I wanted to keep but not to go to the second floor as it was not safe. I asked him how this had happened and he said there would be an arson investigation as two witnesses had seen Buck driving off in his pickup just before the fire. (I don't know anyone named Buck and the neighborhood did not look familiar. Nor did I know the cop.) I entered the charred ruins and saw there was nothing left but piles of ashes. I said, "I had so little and now I have less." My heart was crushing in my chest but I rejected the grief. I told myself, "I will not be held in emotional bondage by a pile of ashes." Through the walls I saw a man hurrying toward the house. He was a small man with a short salt/pepper beard and spectacles. He wore a black Scottish cap, beige jacket, white shirt, navy blue pants and carried a loaf of bread under his left arm. He came into the house, embraced me and put the bread in my hands. Then he quickly left. I thought, "He must be one of Jesus' friends." (I think he was doubtful Thomas.) As I stood surveying the ruins of my life Annie entered with Cedar and Geezis. They gathered close around me. Then Annie climbed the stairs. "Look!" she called. So we all climbed up behind her. Although I could see through the great holes in the floor it did not collapse under us. I could see through the roof, too. The house was no longer on a busy street corner but out in the forest surrounded by beautiful trees. I looked above me and saw about 30 baskets hanging from the rafters. They were a bit charred but still intact. When I opened my eyes I was at Ann's. "This is not my house," I told myself. I wondered about those baskets. Did they contain all that I need for the rest of my journey or would I find them empty. Empty... but ready to be filled with what was vital to complete my life. It was too early to get up so I went back to sleep. Immediately I was in another dream. I could feel something in my left hand so I opened my clenched fist and found an assortment of tools. They were very small but I thought they would be quite useful so I wanted to keep them. I saw a very shiny article among them and examined it closely. It was the eye of a needle. No needle just the eye. It fell fom my fingers to the board floor and rolled into a deep crack. I tried to get it out but none of my tools fit into the crack so I began looking around the room. I discovered I was in the back porch of Mom's old house on Tract 33, Cass Lake. The house is torn down and no more than landfill now. But in the dream it was as it had been when I was in high school. I knew it was a dream and I tried to stay asleep so I could go inside and talk with Mom. But suddenly I was wide awake and feeling quite alone. But I heard someone moving about in the kitchen and got up to find Ann and Kitty ready for breakfast. Soon Dar arrived and the quartet was complete. I said, "The delegates are all here so we will begin the conference to resolve troubles all around the globe."
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I spent friday with Cedar who has come to realize that stones have names. So we went in search of schist. We also found feldspar, quarts and chert. When Justice got home I left him in charge and drove to Crystal Lake. No one was at the cabin so I sat on the pontoon reading. When it got too dark to see I drove to Dar's. We watched two deer come down to the lake for an evening drink as the sun set behind the dark island. The water shimmered with gold and rose. Soon Ann and Kitty arrived and we all enjoyed a fantastic supper. There was much chatter and laughter. Back at the cabin I tucked myself into the lower bunk and was soon asleep. In the morning we had some terrific coffee, eggo waffles and cranberry jam. Then Dar drove us to Nelson Lake for the mushroom hike. There were at least 20 people there. Some that I'd joined on other hikes. It was only 1.4 miles around the lake but it took 2 hours as we made slow progress. We nibbled on wild blackberries and chokecherries which we found along the way. Dar and I were blessed with the find of the day, chicken of the forest. I told Maureen Whalen we would meet again at the hike for hope event in October. When we got back to Ann's I cleaned and diced the mushroom, sauteed it in olive oil and we all enjoyed it very much. We had about 3 T left to add to supper.
Friday, September 18, 2009
After a week or more of tracked in sand and gravel due to excavation around the house I decided to get the dirt out. Since the concrete floor is covered with scatter rugs it's a chore just carrying them outside. After that I employed the broom and swept out debris. Then I swept the stone pathway, stood the broom against the house, went to the garden and picked a handful of cherry tomatoes. I sat on the garden bench to enjoy the tomatoes, the flowers and a nice breeze. When I got back to my door I found Bella the mini-mare had carried the broom away and was eating the straw! She snorted and stamped her foot when I took it from her. She thought it belonged to her. "Finders keepers," she whinnied. It was pretty hot so I covered the window with a piece of fabric. I'd been bothered with flies for several days. Now I discovered that the plastic window was loose so I fixed it up with gorilla tape and the flies no longer have entry. The humming bird feeders have been removed until 2010. I spent a lot of time planning gardens for next year and thinking of ideas for the blog when I begin my seventh decade. If I write daily blogs that will mean 365 themes! One day I saw a pileated woodpecker swimming across the sky and pointed it out to Cedar. She recalled how we had heard one on our way to the cemetary and she'd flung her arms around me because it had frightened her. Now I said, "That piliated woodpecker sure can fly!" She replied, "He sure can peck." I said, "He sure can sing." Then she made an imitation of the bird and called it the song of the pillypecker. I received an incredible gift from an unknown person who has my correct address. It was 2 cd's of four collections by Floyd Red Crow Westerman and Buddy Red Bow. These two talented Lakota singers are gone to the other side. I had the albums on cassette but didn't play them much because they are so old and fragile. Now I can play Red Crow and Red Bow as often as I like. I want to thank the person who sent them but...
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I took Cedar for a dental visit in CL. I thought she would scream and kick but she was Angelic! Afterward we delivered some bags for Chey and had a brief visit with Terry. We left before Cedar forgot that she still had to get to school. On the way to DR she told me she was hungry so we stopped in Bena and she picked out some unhealthy snacks. We got to school, found her classroom and thattah was thattah. I made a solo trip to GR, dropped off library movies and selected my weekend reading. Then to U-Save for food and PO for news. At home I decided to back fill around the front of the house because it was such a mess. After a long break and a much deserved tall glass of home squeezed limeade I arranged a wonderful sitting area. I was enjoying the yellow glider when Justice got home. He'd carried a sleeping Cedar all the way from the bus stop! Then he glued insulation to north side of building. I fixed us both a glass of limeade but he couldn't finish it because of the cayenne pepper. Then we made a humane trap for the 2 dogs that have been digging up a certain area. After building a fire in the ceramic patio pot I grilled brats for Just, Cedar and myself. Cedar declared they were too black but she ate one. Justice ate two and there were no further complaints until Geezis came home from track practice and found the brats were gone.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
After swinging the tiger around for a few days we were all too tired for the fun night out that we'd been planning. We cancelled a trip to the Terrapin Station in Nevis. Annie had turned us on to a couple of musical brothers from Wisconsin that's she'd met at Walker during the Ethnic Fest. With several very busy days behind me I just couldn't get enough rest. Annie confessed she was unable to catch up with barn chores and didn't see how the Nevis plan could fit into our schedule. So we stayed home and had a simple pancake supper. The kids raved about the cranberry jam and wanted the recipe. I gave them the full page version and said there will be a pop quiz when they least expect it. Geesiz said, "I'm ready!" The bees are very busy in our Russian sunflowers. They work constantly, singing softly and without fanfare. I thanked them for their efforts but they were too busy to acknowledge my appreciation. After supper I visited the garden under a twilight sky. As the sun dropped behind the dark trees the translucent petals of the tall gold flowers cast a heavenly light over the languishing garden. It was their last smile on the close of another blissful bee day. Soon the soft blanket of night covered their shining faces and I turned my tired steps toward home.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday was a girls' day out with Wallis. We had a terrific time. Sunday we had a crew for our family rice camp. We had the gas thrasher going and also we had dancers in the pit. I hand cleaned the rice and enjoyed a parade of memories. Some of which I shared with whoever was sitting closest to me at the moment. The hard workers were Tom, Missy, Annie, Wallis and me. Justice stayed in his sickbed. Geezis stayed in the house, too. Cedar, CeeCee and Maddie played outside and had a wonderful time. Missy and Wallis took turns drumming. At first there was much laughter and many stories were told. I said they used to sing rice songs for this, too. Wallis took a bag of crab apples and a shovel. She was gone for a long time digging holes and burying the apples. I'm sure she imagined a lovely orchard growing up around her. As the heat and the weariness from such labor intensive activities got to everyone the drum went slower and the voices lost their eager edge. We finished a good amount of rice and Missy took some home for their thanksgiving feast. I am cleaning some for our feast today. This morning I took some of the cranberries and gave them back to the forest. I imagined that one day the family would walk along a boulevard of great white cranberry blooms and remember me.
Friday, September 11, 2009
We had a good long rain last night and that's how I discovered that Butch and David had created a rain piano. It was an incredible performance. The keyboard is the new flashing over the window and the rain provides the fingers. It has fantastic range and the rythmn is incredible. What a wonderful gift these two friends have presented. But they might also take it away when they put up a rain gutter. I remembered how Brandon and I created rain drums beneath the drip line of the old house on Oak Point Rd. We would hurry out into the storm to tune them. How carefully he arranged the old pans and buckets to catch the drops. Sometimes we would put sticks under them to change the tone. Or place a stone on the edge of a pot to give it a different ring. I can see his face glowing with joy and excitement as he scurried about refining our drums. Someone has written that "the dead rise up to walk the timeless fields of memory". I think we can all relate to that. Memories are the priceless gifts our dear ones leave with us. After a couple of days canning high bush cranberries I can see the end. The jars are filled and ready for friends and family.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Deer River is overcrowded with K-kids so Cedar does not go to school until next week. Yesterday we visited the GR Pub Lib to select movies and books. She also needed a bit of lunch. Then we stopped at the animal shelter/second hand store to drop off my old pc and printer. They were glad to see it as it was better than the one they had. Before we left they had it up and running. However, they kept their tower. We ran into Wallis there and she gave us $3 for the clearance sale. But Cedar was eager to get back home so we got a $1 bag and left. Afterwards she followed me down the woodland trail to the Catholic cemetary. She was disappointed because we didn't see any deer, leopard frogs or snakes. When we got to the tombstones I began telling her how old the people were when they died. We came to the stone for Baby Jake. I said, "There are baby bones here. Jake died the same day he was born." She found this hard to accept. We went along the paved pathway then decided to walk the periphery of the cemetary. Soon we discovered a grave well under the trees. It was marked with a homemade poured concrete cross. It appeared to be excluded from the other burials. I said, "I wonder why this person was buried here all alone." We had noticed several areas where old artifical flowers and plastic crosses had been discarded. Now Cedar began gathering the best of them to put on the neglected grave. Soon the concrete cross was surrounded by bright floral arrangements. Satisfied, we went on, crossed the cemetary and located the forest path. Along the way she kicked something and identified it as "baby bones". I looked at it. "It's a mushroom," I told her. She took the lead as we returned home. Later she helped me clean the cranberries and then asked to see the Dian Fossey videos on Youtube. I think she wanted to see the gorilla cemetary where DF was buried with her silverback friends. She asked who had murdered Dian. I said no one knew. After she went to sleep I resumed cleaning berries alone. When Geezis got home she helped me clean the rest of the berries and Justice went out to begin digging around the machine shop so the insulation could be installed. But he got tired and took a long nap. Annie stopped in CL to see her dad who has had another stroke. But he is doing well enough to be out ricing today. Annie agreed to go with him so she could keep an eye on him. Butch and Dave are here to insulate around the window.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Annie was trying to change the flat tire on the van yesterday when Butch showed up like an angel on a mission to save us from disaster. First, she was not doing it correctly! Second we didn't have the right tool for the job. So while Butch properly raised the huge vehicle I drove to the next house to ask if they had the specific size tool we needed. When the tool was secured I hurried home and the work went on without incident. Soon the old van was rolling on four round wheels again. Then Butch left with many thanks for his timely arrival and expertise. A bit later Annie and I went out to gather high bush cranberries. As we were busily engaged in this process along came Mike and David who recognized us and quickly joined our adventure. We came home with a lot of berries and I will cook them today!
Monday, September 7, 2009
The clean fiend has taken control and I have been working to create a better writing space. I think I have got things just about where I want them for now. I'm going to retire the old sony and set up the compaq laptop pc. I'll need a different printer soon. I hope I can pass the sony and all it's attachments along. I'm picking nasturtium seeds and drying them for next year. I'm also going to pull some marigold heads. They'll bring us summer gold in 2010. The birds planted a sunflower on the hill behind my house and it is thriving. Maybe I'll accept the wisdom of the bird's and plant next year's sunflowers there. The nasturtiums will move to the end of the driveway where they'll be welcomed by wildflowers and admired by passing deer and fox.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I picked the green beans yesterday and washed them at the old sink I found in the woods and set up at the garden. I secured it over the compost bins so the water goes right back to work. I wanted them well-drained so I left them in the home made colander (a plastic dishpan full of holes) and went to do something else. I forgot them! This morning I retrieved them and am getting them ready to dehydrate. Recognizing that they spent their last night together in a cozy situation under the nearly full moon I have decided to call them our moon beans. I pulled up the plants for compost. We have 3 bags of apples. If I have time I'll can them up for winter sauce, muffins and cakes. The insulation situation is improved and the hole in the wall where the window will be reinstalled is still covered with plastic. The glass is salvaged and will remain part of the rebuilt window. When it returns I will miss the soft rustling of plastic that nudges me to sleep each night. I took a walk into the woods and found the old road to the cemetary. It is quite grown in and there are young trees in the old ruts. I spooked a couple of deer, a few frogs and a small garter snake. UPDATE FOR MOON BEANS. I didn't have the dehydrator turned on, after all, and the moon beans were spoiled! I thought the dehydrator was ruined so I turned it over to disassemble and try to repair it. Then I discovered that the contraption has two switches and both must be on for the thing to function. Well, we have no manual. I apologized to the moon beans as they were withering in the compost and explained everything to Annie so she wouldn't repeat my mistake.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Eleven stood in the circle under another full moon. Two young women joined the circle for the first time. One got her woman blanket, the other was less well-prepared. It was a beautiful ceremony followed by a lavish feast. Many feathers found new homes. Earlier Cedar and I had girls' day out complete with stopping at Target, the bank, the library, having lunch, and shopping the second hand store. When we got home Butch, Justice and Dave were working on the insulation situation. Donna sent over some wonderful homemade cinnamon rolls. What a lovely day!
Friday, September 4, 2009
Yesterday I helped Geezis prepare her first moon necklace and assembled a new one for myself. It was a moon and sky key chain that Wallis made for me long ago. She'll laugh when she sees it. I also gave Geezis a skirt for ceremony. I have both a sweat dress and a moon dress for these separate events. So I encouraged her to consider the same. I pinned tiny red and white quilled pipes to the sleeves of my moon dress. Geezis and Cedar gave it their whole hearted approval. The roundup is in the mail! Last night was a good night for a short walk as there was no need for a torch and it was cool enough to keep the bugs away. Afterward I sat in the little patio, enjoyed a visit from the fearless one and wrote a celebratory poem.
SAME TIME? SAME PLACE?
Awake beneath the velvet sky, the satin moon and I
Watch Jupitar slow dance to night music from the earth.
Lonely for companionship the fearless one arrives.
Her jeweled caplet pulled snug around her soft plump body.
The cowl collar lifts her pale round cheeks.
Moonlight fills her calm brown shining eyes.
Impatient to discover my intentions,
She taps her long thin fingers.
I sing a harmless little love song, putting her at ease.
In gentle tones I bid her, "Keep the watch with me."
The fluffy dandelions and pale petunias glow.
My shadow creeps crisp and dark behind me.
At last I say with a stifled yawn, "It's been a long day.
The moon will be complete tomorrow.
Shall we meet again? Same time? Same place?"
She considers my proposal at length,
Then tips her head discretely.
I fold my blanket and leave her
Dazzled in the night.
Later, I take my pen
And enter in my calendar,
"Star watch tomorrow, 9PM.
The moon, the toad and me."
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Frost has paid us a visit and damaged our garden somewhat. I was surprised at such an early dip. Friday is the full moon so we are getting ready for the women's circle. Geezis will join us for the first time. The moon is bright and Jupiter is standing close. The roundup is ready go!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
After a 577 mile round trip I arrived home to find the window gone. The house was wide open to bugs and bats. In the process of insulating the structure I call home, the window was removed due to rot and the studs below were also removed. Justice installed a sheet of plastic with a minute R-factor. I'd been to White Earth for rice camp, to visit old friends and find new ones. It was wonderful. I completed a small quilled project. A full report is going into the next roundup. Today Justice and I went to Deer River to wash clothes.