Wednesday, June 9, 2021

From Desert to Rainforest

  Where have I been?  Nowhere! which seems to be my blogging problem.

   I like writing about new places as we explore them and there has been none of that lately. Instead I am back to physical therapy, my tenth week. Three days a week — an hour appointment, an hour of driving, an errand or two “because we’re up there” — the day is gone. 

  Our long hikes in the woods came to an end when the deer flies came out in May.

 Horrible things! They descend on the car, then you as soon as you leave the car. They are relentless, getting in your face, your hair.

 And they bite! 

  Right through your clothes. 

  We had been in a drought for weeks with no rain whatsoever and then last week the rains began and continue day after day. If it’s not storming or pouring buckets, humidity is rising from the ground. 
  These cheery Flower Pot Parasols popped up overnight in our hibiscus planter.

 Anyway, it’s unbearable for humans to be outside, and it’s only the beginning of summer. 

Our hibiscus don’t seem to mind. The blossoms are over eight inches across!

 And in spite of the monsoons, our tomato plants are producing delicious fruit. As have our neighbor Malcolm’s blueberry bushes, which he so generously shares with us.

  This is the first year our blackberry bushes have ripened berries. We’re not too fond of the berries but — oh well.

  Lots of birds are nesting in our yard and bringing their comical babies to the backyard bird feeder buffet. We offer suet, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter for our summer guests.

  We have baby Carolina wrens, cardinals, red-bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees, and house finches all entertaining us with their antics. 

  The babies are partial to the peanut butter log, both for the tasty treat and the handy perches for their clumsy flights.    I can spend hours drawing them! 

  We hope for adventures ahead but my Bucket List is in “recalculating mode”. The pandemic was sobering, life-changing in ways I haven’t expected. Which has led to mulling over the one I made when I retired and making revisions. It’s definitely looking to be a bit more “modest” and shorter than the original! 

  Theoretically we can now travel some places again, at least in our own country, but there is the reality of facing up to it that my body is no longer as eager to undertake certain activities and countries. We will be visiting family mostly for the near future and then maybe in the winter some travel adventures can be planned. 

  I will leave you with this. I read this morning that, “A new study shows that vegans are the happiest people,” rating themselves 7% happier than meat eaters do. Then I saw an ad for one of those subscription food services that deliver ingredients for a vegan meal, along with a recipe for making it.

  See the orange thing in the bun? 

85% of our meals are vegetarian, but I think we will pass on this one!



  1. My need to travel has settled into a good documentary on the tube or a book which really describes local life in an area or country I am not familiar with. It is sad to think

  2. I like my meat - I tried years ago the Vegan way - lasted 5 days.
    Thank God I had retired - I think my work colleagues would have strung me up
    as my temper got worse by the hour, then minute and finally second.

    What is that orange thing - looks like a carrot!

    Hope you enjoy your summer, winter here, only day 10, and I am totally sick of the cold
    and rain already.
    We still have travel restrictions which I TOTALLY APPROVE OF.
    An incident has just occurred here with a couple leaving Melbourne which at that time was in LOCK DOWN
    and travelling to the Sunshine Coast
    in QLD, just north of Brisbane. People are furious and rightly so. The woman has Covid symptoms
    and now is in a hospital undergoing tests. When she and her husband are released I hope they end up for
    a period of time in jail. They BROKE the law..........this: "I have MY RIGHTS" is bullshit.
    Towns all along their route are now having extra checks etc
    They certainly won't, if they can, be travelling back on the route they took north.
    The stupidity of the few, denies the freedom and well being of the majority.

  3. I didn't know you were an artist too! That is a perfect little Carolina Wren. You should frame it. We have those hateful deer flies and dog flies too. For some unknown reason the pesky things are after Dan this summer and leave me alone. But, the biting gnats are driving me crazy! Your hibiscus is beautiful and so are the tomatoes. We are't even close to getting a ripe tomato yet.

  4. It's a bummer when some health issues slow you down. I hope you recover rapidly and get out to se things again.

  5. Rather have meat but we each have a chose to eat what it available.
    Those flies are not the best of friends with humans then, they would keep me inside for sure.
    What a magnificent hibiscus, never seen one that colour but it's a beauty.
    Take care.

  6. Super drawing of the Carolina Wren. It's a nasty trick that we spend all our working lives looking forward to what we might do when we retire and then can't do all we wanted - either through Covid restrictions or our physical health, or even our responsibilities to the environment. I don't eat any red meat and try to eat healthily, but fall far short of being vegan.

  7. Yes the same problem here, going nowhere is so boring and for more than a year it feels even worser. I feel like an old ritered woman now...

  8. We have given up on beef totally, and red meat largely, but I doubt at this stage in our lives we will ever become vegetarians and certainly never vegans. But we do have vegetarian days a couple of times a week. As for deer flies, i share your dislike. They hurt! So far, I have retained robust good health and continue to enjoy life every day. Long may it continue!

  9. Здравствуйте, Синтия! А я похвалю гибискус - красивый цветок, у меня такого нет в моём саду. Ежевика - вкусная ягода, немного похожа на малину. Я мало ем мяса, люблю салаты с овощами.
    Желаю скорейшего выздоровления! Всего доброго!

    1. Translation for my non-fluent -in -Russian readers:
      Hello Cynthia! And I will praise the hibiscus - a beautiful flower, I don't have that in my garden. Blackberries are a delicious berry that looks a bit like raspberries. I eat little meat, I like salads with vegetables.
      I wish a speedy recovery! All the best!

  10. Sounds like your knee replacement has really set you back. I didn't realize PT lasted so long for that. No deer flies here, but I spray my feet and legs to keep ticks off me. The biters here are no seeums. True to their name you don't know they've been there until a bite starts to itch the next day.

    As to travel we too reevaluated - no travel to states with low vaccine rates for sure. No out of country travel though we are doing a driving trip in Maine in September and hope the Canadian border is open then.

    Your harvest looks yummy.

  11. You certainly have a talent for drawing. Like you our plans have had to be changed with all the travel restrictions. This pandemic has made us re evaluate our lives.

  12. Nice drawing! Oh I love blackberries wish we could grow them. I think we all aged during the pandemic and figured out what was important and what was just fluff. deer flies yuck and the bites hurt...Hi to Bob:)

  13. Somehow, carrot "hot dogs" never appealed to me (though I don't eat meat ones either)! You are having a long PT experience, but I hope your knee is feeling better. It sounds hot there, so I think I'll stay where I am in the coolness. However, your garden bounty and lush flowers are wonderful.

  14. My comment just disappeared. Will try again later.

  15. Age has changed our travel priorities, too. No more hiking mountain trails or the streets of San Francisco!

  16. Dear Cynthia, you remain full of surprises. I never knew what a fine artist you are. For myself, I have always favored water colors and drawings that hint at depth and completion. And that's how you draw. In your drawing you captured the possibilities within wings. Is that a baby Carolina wren? I am ignorant of names for birds and do not know which come to the feeders next to my screened-in porch. I have to admit that the feeders are there for two reasons: first, as a form of television for the cats who stare mesmerized as the birds flutter to the perches and second--as a way of feeding the birds. Note which is first! The cats of course!

    As to becoming more realistic about your plans, I truly think that is a big part of aging. I've always been immoderate--always thinking I can do much more than is humanly possible in any given day or span of days. Now, my body is telling me daily that I must shepherd my strength, do only two or three things at home a day, and rejoice in what I can do. A humbling lesson, but perhaps one that the Universe has been trying to teach me for night onto nine decades! May you find the center point of your contentment. Peace.

  17. Hmmm... carrot hot dogs... I don't know.
    You're so lucky to have a neighbor with blueberry bushes. I tried to grow them in Illinois and it just didn't do well. Raspberries did only a tiny bit better. What fun that you have hibiscus too. And I'm so sorry about all the physical therapy you need to have. I've been through quite a few sessions and know they can be painful but helpful. Love your Carolina wren artwork.

  18. Well strangely enough I had exactly the same experience with the bad day I ignored for a yearS and a good knee and gate which compensated for the bad one. It all got ugly when I got the bad one finally replaced