Seasonal Activities

 

So today is the last official day of summer.  Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox but here in Dunwich fall is well advanced.  The crickets are hiding under stones and digging down to avoid the chill well before sundown.  Their chirping is becoming slower and weaker each day.  The frogs are still enthusiastically croaking and piping in the swamp but even they haven’t got too much longer to go.

We’ve gotten tons of rain in the last couple of weeks so the grass is green again and growing.  But the vegetable garden is on its last legs.  There are some peppers and eggplants almost ready to pick and a couple of butternut squash in a race to ripen before the death of the vines they’re on.  And the flower gardens are down to a few new cone flowers and some black eyed susans that haven’t given up the ghost yet.

Even the dragonflies are so lethargic that I think I could catch them with my hands if I tried.  Camera Girl saw a hummingbird a couple of days ago but they must be ready to head south already.  I haven’t seen any butterflies in the last couple of days so maybe they’re all gone.

So, it’s officially time to shut everything down and winterize the grounds.  All the lawn and pool furniture has to be stored away.  My fence repairs will have to be completed before the ground freezes.  And there are some incidentals.  I have to install a tree swing for Princess Sack of Potatoes.  I’ll use my weight as a test for the branch we’ve selected.  It’s in an odd spot because of a slope but it’s the only convenient branch.  I’ve also got to replace the transmission on my snowblower.  The parts are in but I’m hemming and hawing because I don’t want to do it.  It’s supposed to be straight forward but you know how that is.

Then there’s the rotten wood that needs to be replaced.  I’ve been stalling on that too.  Realistically I can skip this year but I promised myself I’d get the ball rolling and tackle one or two problems before winter.  At the least I should cover the problem areas with some tarps to avoid additional damage.  Maybe I’ll flip a coin.

The shorter days are already noticeable.  After dinner the sun is behind the hill in the west.  The light is gone by seven o’clock.  But the good news is that I mourned the end of summer on the last day of July.  After that I’ve already skipped ahead to thoughts of winter and any incidental good weather is all gravy as far as I’m concerned.  So here I am concentrating on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas to get me through the end of the year and into the new one.

This year I have the elections to distract me from the shortening days and cooling temperatures.  The horror of Biden, Pelosi and Schumer along with their henchmen in the Deep State and the Media should provide stimulation that can’t be overlooked.  After all we could be looking at the official end of the republic as a legitimate political institution.  That’s got to be a noteworthy event to live through.  And even if we are saved by a shocking Republican victory I don’t think that will be something to sleep through.  And who knows, World War III might be in the wings if Biden keeps poking the Russian bear.

And I have a long list of tasks that I can perform indoors.  I’ve got a ton of pictures that need adjusting and all kinds of writing that has to be done so I’ll be anything but bored.

But it’s funny.  Once it gets chilly at night, say in the forties, we close the windows after dark.  And then there’s no outdoor sounds to hear.  No frogs, no owls, no coyotes even.  And that’s a big change.  You become detached from the natural world and plugged into the artificial one.  Electric light takes over and you tend to go to bed later and get up later.  Well, not Camera Girl.  She’s plugged into the dogs’ schedule and they’ll get her up at 6 am even if the apocalypse descends on us.  But I start to stay up later and read too much and watch too much television.

But that’s normal.  We compensate for the change of season as we do.  And there are family activities coming up.  Kids’ soccer games and birthday parties are in the offing.  And it’s almost time to drag out the Universal Classic Monster movies and introduce the youngsters to the hokey joys of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman.  I think I’ll indulge in some popcorn for that film festival.

Okay, Autumn 2022, let’s see what you’ve got.

17SEP2022 – OCF Update – This’N’That

Busy day.  Had lots of yard work to get ready for the end of warm weather.  I even cut the grass today.  I didn’t notice how long the grass had grown on account of all that rain.  Man, what a mess the clippings made.  But soon enough all that will be done with.   It was nice to get out and look around the fields.  There were tons of honey bees on the goldenrod.  Now that I’ve renewed my interest in keeping bees, I was looking at the varieties of bees that were on the flowers.  And I noticed they were almost exclusively Italian bees.  These are a southern bee and they don’t fare well in cold winter areas.  But they’re the kind of bees that people get when they buy a package of bees from one of the big breeders down south.  So most likely these bees aren’t feral bees but some beekeeper’s hive.

Funny, I got a little annoyed that someone was encroaching on my goldenrod.  What the what!  The only advantage of the Italian bees is their mild tempers.  They’re the least likely race of bees to sting you even if you’re in their nest messing around with the frames full of honey and brood.  So, knowing there are a lot of apiary hives around me was a little bit of a downer.  I’m hoping to catch a swarm next spring.  But if there are a lot of apiary hives in the area chances are that the swarm will come from one of them.  That means the bees will be southern bees and most probably also bees that have been living under a regimen of chemicals to ward off varroa mites and other plagues.  I won’t be using those chemicals so the bees will have to depend on their natural robustness to survive.  But since they’ve been dosed with various chemicals, they may be quite weak.

That makes me think that I may as well purchase a bee package from a breeder who keeps northern bees under a natural beekeeping regimen.  I know there are several breeders in Vermont who have this type of bee.  I’ve read about these northern bees.  They’re known either as Russian bees or dark bees.  They are extremely cold hardy and are specialized to collecting a large amount of nectar in order to survive the long cold northern winter.  Of course, that might mean a very long drive back and forth to Northern Vermont.  That’s a hike.  It’s possible they’ll mail the bees but maybe not.  Anyway, interesting things to think about today.

While I was working on the garden, I saw both grasshoppers and katydids that were so worn out that I was able to go up to them and pick them up by the wing covers.

Even the few butterflies I saw, some fritillaries and painted ladies, were flying very slowly.  And they were much less skittish than normally when I approached them while they fed.  Of vertebrates, there were some turkeys in the yard, a few small frogs and a vole that shot out of the garden and headed into the blueberry bushes when I approached.  I managed to get some shots of the turkeys as they noticed me and retreated into the forest.

Then I walked over by the swamp.  It was looking very beat up.

But this time of the year has its charms.  A good day out in the air.

CFPM in Action

Here at the Compound, in the soggy land of endless wet, our water comes from a well.  And in between that well and my alimentary canal is a large capacity sediment filter with a nominal 25-micron rating.  And when they say nominal, they mean that’s a make-believe number your supposed to take with a grain of salt (which would also pass right through it).

This filter comes with a filter life rating of six months.  Now in as much as I’m an engineer who has a very intimate relationship with filters from reverse osmosis pore size that can restrict the passage of atom sized particles up to bag filters that stop more or less nothing, I feel qualified and even privileged to insert my own factor onto this rating.  And the factor I used turns out to be twelve.  It was about six years ago that I installed the last edition of this handy household protective device.

I know, I know, I’m a monster.  I’m endangering my plumbing, my heating system, the well pump and the very fabric of space-time in the general vicinity of the Compound.  Fine, guilty as charged.  But look at it from my point of view.  I’m terminally lazy and keeping track of all the stuff I’m supposed to care about is just too much.  My system of maintenance is called the catastrophic failure panic method or CFPM for short.  Under this nifty protocol I more or less let things run on their own until catastrophic failure or the fear thereof concentrates my attention on some terrifying effect, like flood, fire or downed power lines crackling and buzzing like a giant nest of angry hornets.

I won’t claim that this lifestyle choice doesn’t have some difficulties.  It’s definitely expensive in the long run.  But it goes hand in hand with my belief that I live a charmed existence.  Somehow, I’ve managed to sidestep the consequences of my negligence and laziness pretty much entirely.  Sure, I have to pay a lot of money to fix the things I neglect but not worrying about all the things I should be taking care of and concentrating on the things that interest me has meant that life is a wonderful adventure with just enough excitement (or fear) to keep it interesting.

Take this filter thing as an example.  I remember about three years ago Camera Girl said to me that the clear plastic filter housing looked really gross.  Now gross is her layman’s term for filled with silt and rust.  And she may have thought that I ignored her warning.  But she couldn’t have been more wrong.  Her words were recorded and analyzed by my subconscious and became a part of the enormous algorithm that is my brain’s response to the great big wide wonderful world that I imagine surrounds me.

And at precisely the right time I remembered that filter and so about a week ago I looked at that filter and was repulsed at how gross it looked and some other part of my brain measured the pressure drop that the water system was experiencing coming from the well to my faucet (well indirectly, actually I was noting the lower flow rates I’ve been seeing lately).  And my fear of catastrophically destroying the well pump triggered CFPM action and I bought the new filter and installed it today.

The system works!

You might think, “What the hell is wrong with this guy?”  Many laymen confuse the CFPM with complete imbecility.  But there’s nothing complete about it all.  After all I brush my teeth every day and that’s annoying so I definitely have my limits.  But this whole thing has made me think I should change my factor from twelve to two.  After all, an annual event would tie it into the celestial cycle and trigger my interest in all things occult.  Just as the Druids sacrificed captives at the Autumnal Equinox (okay maybe I made that up) so I could celebrate the changing of the filter as a sacrifice to the great gods of pressure drop; Moody, Fanning, Darcy and Reynolds.

Well, it’s been a taxing day.  I ‘m going to go relax before tackling the last episode of “The Terminal List.”  Camera Girl’s initial reservations about the show have evaporated due to her love of cinematic blood-thirsty violence.  But this brush with disaster has made me more thoughtful.  Maybe I should take a look at that gage on the propane tanks.  I’d hate to run out of fuel for the generator this winter.  Ahhh, there’s plenty of time.  I’ll just make a mental note.

Waiting for Significance

You may have noticed I haven’t had many political posts in the last few days.  I scan the headlines every day.  After all, railing against the outrage of the day is sort of my schtick.  But for the last few days all I see is “same old, same old.”  The FBI raids Trump associates.  Political polls from Left and Right claim advantage for their side in the mid-terms.  Economic indicators and business events reinforce that we’re in a recession and statements from politicians on both sides confirm that we hate each other’s guts.  You, see?  Same old, same old.

There have been some stories about CNN firing some frothing at the mouth Trump-haters.  That I consider newsworthy.  That’s something different going on.  So that’s an example of the kind of thing I’m looking for.  New developments.  News!  When I see a story about someone on the Left waking up to the anti-freedom excesses of the current regime, I think that is newsworthy.  Anytime I see some establishment type waking up to the reality of what our government has become that’s sort of newsworthy.

But outrage for the sake of having something to say is becoming boring and even painful to write.  We all know it’s bad.  Only the brain dead could miss the fact that things are awful.  Only the hopelessly clueless don’t see where the awfulness emanates from.  Only a Democrat flak can listen to a Joe Biden speech and pretend that what he is saying resembles reality.

But what I write has to have some freshness, some life to it.  Even for me it can’t just reiterate the same old thing.  So, you may see some days when my post will be a review of a movie or a book.  Or it may be about something else I’m interested in like photography or beekeeping or some aspect of science and technology.

And this is all to the good.  Just banging the same old drum doesn’t really accomplish anything except wear out the reader’s patience.  There are always plenty of things going on in the world and there are even the beginnings of alternative cultural and social organizations doing things in the world.  These will give us things to talk about.

So don’t be alarmed if I haven’t ranted in a week or so.  It’s simply that there’s nothing new worth saying about life in Oceania.  I can’t record every last word and deed of Big Brother.  I may have to say I love him but I can’t claim he isn’t boring as all hell.

08SEP2022 – OCF Update – This’N’That

So, I finally bit the bullet and began post-processing my Yellowstone Trip photos.  I’m surprised at how many nice wildflower shots I got.  I know, I know.  Wapiti and bison and bears, oh my.

But the landscape and flora stuff are good too.  Many of the flowers are very different from the vegetation in the northeast.

And some of the wildflowers are the cousins of perennials that we plant like lupines and monkshood.  It adds another dimension to the trip.  I’ll probably spend the winter looking up the flowers to identify them and then do a post on my favorites.

With the grandkids already back in school Camera Girl is not as insanely busy as usual so I told her we needed to find a new tv series to watch.  I had heard that the “Terminal List” with Chris Pratt was pretty good so we watched the first episode last night.  Well, Camera Girl told me there’s too much killing.    Since Jack Reacher is one of her favorite fictional characters, I found this very surprising.  It turns out that when civilians are the victims, she processes the killings differently.  So, we’re going to watch the second episode tonight.  I suspect she’ll be more comfortable with the violence when it’s just bad guys getting offed.

And at last, it stopped raining.  So, we got out for a walk in the forest.  And the lake has almost reached back up to the spillway height.  The sun was warm but we could feel that the summer heat is waning.  The afternoon shadows are already hiding half the fields from the sun and the butterflies and dragonflies are on their last legs.  But just as a last gasp of summer Camera Girl found a Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar.

I set it up in a net cage with some sassafras leaves and it almost immediately metamorphosed into a chrysalis.

Well, that’s another natural history project for Princess Sack of Potatoes.  I’ve got to hand it to Camera Girl she has sharp eyes.

I was thinking today, it’s almost beyond belief to think that Joe Biden could actually be President of the United States.  I mean he’s a congenital liar, a dimwit and a sexual deviant.  The only answer that makes sense is that we’ve gotten way stupider as a country.  Or possibly we really have reached that tipping point where more than half the country is being bribed by a something for nothing program.  Then again maybe it’s a combination.  Maybe if you add up all the dimwits and all the loafers it’s 51%.

Well, whatever it is, it’s damn discouraging.  I mean he’s such a sleazy crook, that it’s embarrassing to be associated with a constituency that would have him.  I wonder if a good campaign against him in 2022 and 2024 could appeal to people’s sense of shame at allowing such a pathetic loser to be their leader.  What could be the slogan?  How about, “Joe’s a moron.  If you vote for him, you’re a moron too.”  Or maybe, “What grown man showers with his twelve-year-old daughter?  What kind of man raises a son who has sex with his dead brother’s widow?  What kind of man sniffs the hair of women and girls during a White House ceremony?  Is Joe Biden President of the United States or Caligula?  Anyway, it’s a thought.

Well, now that the rain has stopped, I can get some more of the outside projects finished.  Soon we’ll be putting all the yard equipment indoors for the winter.  And Camera Girl has started putting up the Halloween decorations.  I thought it was a little early but she says Princess Sack of Potatoes really likes scary stuff.  I can’t argue with that.  I guess it’s time to bust out the Universal Monster Movies.  Well, there are some consolations to the end of summer.

Summer Vacation Ends

So yesterday we came home from the party and the water in the clogged kitchen sink had drained away.  With hope in my eyes, I ran the water taps but unfortunately the sink filled up again.  Still clogged!

But like President Whitmore in Independence Day after his first missile is stopped by the alien shield I said, “Hold on, I want another shot at this.”  So, I plunged it once more.  And miracle of miracles, there was a loud sucking sound and the water rushed down the drain with a satisfying gasp.  I ran the taps for a couple of minutes and nothing happened, completely clear.  A miracle had occurred and the spirits that guard over the septic system had smiled upon us. Camera Girl danced a sprightly caper around me as I stood triumphant holding plunger and monkey wrench like the symbols of my hallowed manly office, Lord of the Drain Pipe.  Last night I enjoyed a well-deserved snack of peanut butter on pumpernickel bagel to celebrate our liberation from piled up dirty dishes and Styrofoam plates.  I watched a terrible movie (Anna Karenina (1948)) and listened with half an ear to the pounding rain on the metal roofs.  Very evocative.

And like a switch being thrown, the hot dry weather ended.  It’s been raining, sometimes torrentially for two straight days.  The daytime temperatures have gone from the eighties to low seventies and sixties.  And this will mark the transition from the no-news summer silly season to the non-stop political drama of election year infomercials.  Joe Biden’s Stalin at the Haunted Castle, Labor Day Weekend Speech, kicked off the season.  But we can expect any number of manufactured crises and emergency speeches to reassure us that the Wizard will protect the Emerald City from flying monkeys with marines in dress uniform, endless student loan forgiveness and even more stimulus checks.

Well, no one in his right mind is surprised by any of this kabuki theater.  It’s all become sort of routine and even boring.  But the regime hasn’t got anything else to use.  I guess if they get really desperate, they can drag the COVID monster back out again for another round.  But I think most of the make believe has been knocked out of that game.  And I think a lot of people have heard that the vaccines are quite dangerous for some people.  And so there might not be much play in it this time around.

Folks on the Dissident Right are saying that the Republicans are actively trying to lose the races where a non-machine Republican candidate is running.  It should be interesting to see how the races in the swing states go.  Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan are going to tell us a lot about whether there’s any hope of fixing things.  Election night will be interesting.  One interesting spot is Nevada.  There the Republicans look to swing a Senate seat and a Governor’s mansion.  And supposedly this reflects the swing in the Hispanic vote to the right.  That will be an interesting race to see.

And then there’s the Roe v. Wade narrative.  Will millions of women vote for the right to kill their unborn children rather than to protest against a crumbling economy?  That will be another data point to record.

But really in my mind the whole election is a single binary switch, a fork in the road, a point of no return.  Either we pull back from the cliff or we just tumble over.  Simple as that.

Well, I intend to enjoy to the fullest the 62 days left until that decision.  Why not?  I’ve never been one to rush a bad thing.  If we’re going off the cliff I’ll even try to relax during the freefall.  No need to borrow trouble.

There are all kinds of interesting things going on.  People are trying to cope with terrible economic conditions and the downturn has barely begun.  We can expect the propaganda coming from the mainstream media to be turned up to eleven about how wonderful conditions are in Joe Biden’s America.  And the cognitive dissonance between those two things will further anger the voters.  I think we are in the perfect storm for the Democrats to get dumped.  So, if it doesn’t happen that will be all we’ll need to see that the game is now permanently rigged.  And as I’ve said I won’t be crushed by that news.  I’ll use that as the sign that it’s time to stop beating a dead horse and move on from trying to resurrect our republic and move on to figuring out how best to thrive in the empire.  Bring it on.

05SEP2022 – OCF Update – Laboring Laboriously on Labor Day

Apologies for my tardiness.

Here on Labor Day I toil at clearing the stubborn and laborious kitchen sink drain line clog.  So far I’ve expended capital for a new auger, two gallons of drain cleaner and almost all of my patience.  The only progress is that clog has gone from impenetrable to semi-permeable.  The muck must be breaking up but it is a dismal slog.

And we are due at my daughter’s house in an hour for a holiday brunch.  So I have been unable to produce my daily post.  Most annoying.  But I will have everything well in  hand by the end of today.  The news roundup I’ve seen is just same old, same old.  So I’ll have to think of some interesting things to divert my thoughts from Joe Biden and the decay of the Republic.

Enjoy your morning and we’ll meet back later.

Facing Reality

Today was a busy day.  Lots of chores around the house and yard.  And then in the afternoon Camera Girl broke the news that the kitchen sink drain was completely clogged.  So, out come the monkey wrenches and plungers and the fun begins.  The trap was clear so I went looking for the snake to send down the drain line.  But it was gone.  There is no more annoying experience for a man than to have one of his tools turn up missing when he needs it.  But who could I blame?  I wanted to blame Camera Girl.  After all she is my go-to.  But unfortunately, I knew in my heart it must have been me.  I was trying to remember when I had thrown out any boxes without looking at them during the move ten years ago.  I vaguely remember thinking that whatever was in a certain beat-up box was useless old hardware that I no longer needed.  I think I told myself it was some scrap from a project.  Some conduit that I didn’t want to part with at the time but had never found a use for.  Looking back, it was just part of the dumpster mania that happens when you’ve been in a house for twenty-five years and then you have to empty it.  At a certain point you’re tempted to throw anything out, even the dogs, just to end the packing.

So, I took a piece of coaxial cable that was lying around and tried to snake the line with that.  No luck.  Then I reassembled the drain line and dutifully plunged it for almost half an hour with no result.  Tomorrow I’ll go out and buy an auger and clear the line.  I’d do it today but the roads are clogged with people going to the various Labor Day fairs and carnivals that break out at this time of year.  We’ll go early and pick it up and then head out to an orchard for some photography.  Then we’ll return by a roundabout route and I’ll spend an hour or so removing glop from that sink drain line.

I think I’ll blame Joe Biden for the clogged line.  The crud in that pipe is somewhat reminiscent of the gunk that must exist between his ears.  There must be a sympathetic magic that exists between the crap he was spewing the other day and all the noisome disgusting bilge that infects the waste lines of the world.  Joe himself is like a waste clog that has fouled up this country.  All the normal processes that need to happen to keep our country functioning have been obstructed by the presence of this human hairball.  He’s gummed up the works and America is stuck with a mess and no easy way to clean it up.  Well, I’ve stretched that metaphor way past its limit.  And it’s a mixed metaphor.  Joe is more akin to a backed-up toilet than sink because he’s really a lying sack of crap.  But I’ll move on.

It’s sixty some-odd days until the election.  I think we’ll learn very important things afterward.  And at this point I’m not even nervous.  I’m prepared to accept either eventuality.  If we win, great.  If we lose, I’ll move on.  If we lose that means I am responsible for steering my life in a permanently hostile political environment.  No more pretending we can vote our way out of this.  I can assume that the US federal government will always be trying to deprive me of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  And I will be avidly weighing my options in finding the optimal way to avoid its efforts.

Even though the dish washer is unusable Camera Girl decided to use some real china and silverware to have a nice dinner.  It was ribeye steaks with big baked potatoes smothered in butter.  It adds to the mess in the kitchen but her instincts were correct.  That dinner, followed by a showing of John Huston’s “African Queen,” was a good remedy to a frustrating afternoon of plumbing failures.  And tomorrow I’ll gather my supplies and set things straight in Camera Girl’s kitchen and all will be right with the world again.  If only Joe Biden could be as easily flushed down the drain.  But he’s a much bigger hairball.

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Puppies of War

So, what to write about today?  Creepy Uncle Joe buying votes in the mid-terms by canceling student loans?  Meh.  Handicapping the mid-terms?  Boring.  Now there were a few headlines that caught my attention.  Donald Trump implores the senate Republicans to dump Mitch McConnell as leader when they take back the Senate.  Now that’s a great headline.  And it’s good advice.  But what’s there to say about it other than it’s a good idea.

And my current personal projects aren’t really that universal in their appeal.  Right now I’m trying to learn enough PHP and MySQL coding to automate some very time-consuming changes to my website.  The book I’m working from is about a thousand pages long and I’ve just gotten past the introduction so it’ll be a tough slog.

I haven’t read or watched any interesting stories in the last few days.  And I’m way behind on my photo work and the fiction writing.  The whole system is falling apart.

So, what’s causing all this havoc?  Well, we’ve been overrun for the last week (and will be into next week) with grandkids.  The little devils have successfully invaded the Compound and are monopolizing Camera Girl’s time.  Worse still they’ve subjugated me too.  When I’m not overseeing their infestation of the swimming pool, I’m forced to play chess with one of them or read stories to another.  And they even have me ferrying them around to the neighboring towns for tennis practice or school open house or whatever.

Actually, it’s kind of great.  My third oldest grandson is becoming a pretty decent pool player and a very good chess player to boot.  And tonight, my little granddaughter asked for three extra bedtime stories from her old grandfather instead of from Camera Girl.  It seems that she likes the same stories I read to her mother more than thirty years ago.

Really the only downside to all this babysitting is the lack of time.  It turns out I really do need time to write the stuff I post here.  There’s no way to multi-task while you’re refereeing young children at play.  They’re just too dynamic and need to be monitored pretty closely to prevent bickering from exploding into fisticuffs.  I have to rule with an iron fist.  Well, it’s probably more like a lot of haranguing by me but you get the idea.

But honestly, the political scene is just status quo.  After the FBI’s gestapo tactics against Trump there’s not much to say.  We know where things stand and we’re just waiting to see whether the electorate repudiates the Democrats or acquiesces in our new status as a banana republic.  So that just leaves me cultural and general interest topics to write about until the feds do something even more outrageously unconstitutional.

And of course, that’s bound to happen in the next week or so.  Biden is desperate to change the story away from runaway inflation.  He’ll attempt to bribe some other constituency with another illegal executive order.  The only question is whether it’ll be transgender polo players or normalizing monkey pox at America’s gay bath houses.  So, bear with me.  Things will return to normal soon and I’ll be back to decrying civilizational collapse again before you know it.

The Final Summer Spree

Yesterday we had the end of summer family party.  The weather has been remarkably nice with temperatures in the eighties, beautiful blue skies and kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews filling the swimming pool and old folks smiling at memories of summers long past.

There was some politics thrown in here and there.  After all, it’s in our blood.  I joked about my impending campaign and how I’ll need at least ten million dollars to assure my victory.  But no checks were forthcoming.  But most of the day and evening was taken up with grilling meat, containing grease fires, eating fattening foods and sitting around talking about the best parts of the recent vacations, kids going off to college and whose arthritic joints hurt worse.

One of my sisters-in-law was marveling at all the various butterflies that were flitting around the aptly named butterfly bush that Camera Girl employs me to keep well-watered.  And it was interesting that they had selected the party day to come out in full force to get the last nectar from this plant resource.  It was one last reminder that nature rejoices in the summer almost as much as I do.

By the time the last guest had left and I had assisted Camera Girl in wrapping up the leftovers it was 11pm and it was time to walk the dogs and lock the doors.

Today we had the kids and grandkids back over to finish up the food and go swimming again in the pool.  I grilled up the last of the burgers and we stuffed the kids with pie, lemonade, ice cream and cake.  Remarkably, they never seem to get too full or groggy from all that sugar.  They just head back to the pool or play some badminton or soccer.

I was talking to their parents about school.  They start school a week from tomorrow and the grandkids were not happy at all by this talk about it.  I could see their faces fall at the mention.  So, I quickly added that the pool won’t be closing up until the day after they go back to school and they could come over every day they were allowed to if they liked.

But it struck me that I remember feeling exactly the same way when school was looming over us like that.  It was an awful feeling and at that moment I remembered what nine-year-old me felt like.  Ah, the persistence of memory.

We haven’t had any real rain in over a month and the state is declaring a drought.  My water comes from a well and since I live next to a swamp, I figure there’s probably a trillion gallons of water still in there.  Maybe a trillion and a half.  That’s what we call an engineering estimate.

But the fields are as dry as a bone.  I’ve been watering the vegetable garden and the flower gardens pretty religiously but a lot of the flowers have given up the ghost.  But that’s what late August is; the beginning of the dying time.  I guess I should be unhappy about the drought and the straw-like grass.  But I’m not.  I always hope that summer will stretch into September.  Sure, an inch or two of rain would be fine.  But eighty-degree days and blue skies are as close to heaven as I can imagine.  And soon enough the days will shorten and cool.  It’s inevitable.  So, another week or two of summer looks good to me.

I notice the Democrats are laying it on pretty thick about how the arc of history is bending toward their mid-term success.  Blah, blah, blah.  And the predictable Republicans are panicking about all this.  “Oh no!  The Trump selected candidates will go down in flames.  Quick, make friends with the progressives!”  Feckless losers.  People are telling me we must move to the middle.  And I tell them there is no middle.  There’s getting what you want and there’s folding like a cheap suit.  Pick one.

But the result will be upon us soon and I can deal with either eventuality.  A true binary is upon us.  We either win or lose.  And I can deal with either result.  But no more uncertainty.  Either the American people throw off the Democrats or they don’t.

What a beautiful sunset tonight.  It’s a joy to see a day this beautiful.