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.

The Last Day of July 2022

“August up ahead. Sure. But the way things are going, there’ll be no machines, no friends, and darn few dandelions for the last harvest.” – Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Today is the last day of July.  So, tomorrow is the first official day of winter in Dunwich.  I know that seems odd but it’s true.  July is the only truly bulletproof month of the year.  By the end of August weird freaky cold spells can happen and June is certainly no proof against frost.  Also, it’s only in July that heat can blast all the cold out of old bones and a soul and convince you that there is still some kernel of boy left in an old man.

Of course, I’m ignoring the multitude of annoying problems of summer.  Mosquitoes, poison ivy, wearing hats and sunscreen, stifling houses, watering plants, cutting grass, etc. etc. etc.  But all of that pales into insignificance when you sit on a porch and listen to the crickets chirp and watch the fireflies flash.

And if you’re gathering with friends and family, it’s especially nice.  The long, long days of July have enough time for all the fun (and the chores) that go along with summer.  By definition the Fourth of July cookout is the cornerstone of the month but there is room for a bunch of barbecues and parties.  This year we lured the grandkids over a bunch of times to swim in the pool.  And that of course means taking care of the pool which is a royal pain but the reward ratio is still plenty high to make up for it.

Well today is the end.  August is a summing up.  It’s rushing in whatever is left to do and making sure to start getting ready for what comes next.  For the kids that’s school and fall.  For adults it’s beginning to put away all the summer stuff and prepare the winter equipment.  So, I’m going to enjoy today for sure.

Yesterday was a family get together.  A younger nephew had a birthday party and my kids and grandkids showed up with other of my siblings and their kids.  Over pizza for the kids and some very good Italian appetizers we talked about this and that.

I had an interesting discussion about a report I read about how faked biomedical research on Alzheimer’s disease has set back the course of finding a cure at least fifteen years.  The feedback was that fake research and shoddy peer review is now endemic and that science is thoroughly infected with quackery.  This jibes with the growing pseudoscience of climate change and all the nonsense that gets reported as research in the social sciences and psychology.

And maybe we’re kidding ourselves and it’s always been like this.  But it does seem to me that the public has reached a point where gullibility is dangerously high.  The COVID madness proved that supposed adults will do anything they’re told if it’s wrapped in a government program.

But for me it’s just one more reminder that we’re not “all in this together.”  Critical thinking and maintaining options may save your life and definitely will save you a lot of grief and money.  The Left has clearly shown us what they intend to do.  They’re looking to make us serfs.  It behooves us to work with whatever resources and allies we have to make that as hard as possible.

Well, anyway, enjoy July Thirty First.

 

 

And then, quite suddenly, summer was over.

He knew it first when walking downtown.  Tom grabbed his arm and pointed gasping, at the dime-store window.  They stood there unable to move because of the things from another world displayed so neatly, so innocently, so frighteningly, there.

“Pencils, Doug, ten thousand pencils!”

“Oh, my gosh! ” – Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Summer All in a Day

Someone here in Dunwich flipped the Winter/Summer switch and now instead of shivering under a mountain of blankets at night I’m throwing off the sheet and turning on the ceiling fan.  Well, that’s as it should be.  Summer is brief and anything in the eighties is okay by me.

Camera Girl and I have been planting vegetables and a few flowers.  But today I finally ordered some thornless red raspberry plants for her.  She is a thrifty woman which I guess I should be grateful for but sometimes it paralyzes her if prices outrage her internal value measuring mechanism.  Somehow, she thinks people shouldn’t charge money for plants.  When this hesitancy goes on for too long, I step in and buy whichever choice I think she’d like to have the most.  Otherwise, she’d end up missing the season and be unhappy which would go against my internal value measuring mechanism.

Currently I’m studying the vagaries of lag bolt, pilot hole diameter as it relates to the designation of hard vs. soft wood.  I have been collecting the hardware I need for the latest battle in the war on decay.  Current my side is losing.  If the rain holds off tomorrow, I will venture out with sledge hammer, drill, hex driver and steely determination to set the world straight again.  Or at least several fence posts.

I consider this foray a proof of concept.  If successful, this will pave the way for a permanent solution to my fence problems.  If it fails, I must contemplate drastic measures involving steel posts and concrete which would be expensive and extremely time consuming.  But, ever the optimist, I refuse to even consider the possibility of defeat.

Camera Girl has been spotting critters around the yard.  She and the hounds have cornered some frogs and toads.  And yesterday she spotted a snake in her garden.  Her description was puzzling.  It was about a foot long and relatively thin but she said it was solid yellow.

We had a complete lack of garter snakes in the yard last year which was highly unusual.  I theorized that a warming event in the middle of the winter might have awakened the garter snakes and caused them to fail to survive the subsequent cold snap that followed.  Anyway, Camera Girl’s description sounded like an extremely unusual color and pattern for a garter.  I speculated that it was some kind of aberrantly light phase of the brown snake of which we have a generous number here.  I claimed skepticism of her description but she reminded me that I’m color blind so I deferred to her chromatic superiority.  I will search out this strange creature at some point.

So, I’m mostly enjoying the Summer of Dopey Joe.  Despite suffering through the annoyance of dealing with unreliable appliances from China and shortages of spare parts due to the “supply chain breakdown” I am still mostly cheerful.  Of course, if rolling blackouts become the outrage of the month in August that would tick me off.  But it would also give us a shot at winning some of the New England states in November.  And that would be an especially sweet cherry on top of the schadenfreude parfait.  There are hints of congressional and senate seats that might flip.  These would be transitory gains.  New England is permanently blue.  The people live at the center of the Cathedral.  But if just for a moment, as some sort of involuntary reflex, they vote for a Republican it would be a barometer of the depths of incompetence of the Biden Administration and a harbinger of disaster for the Democrats in 2024.

And that’s something I always want to celebrate.  Now where is that sunscreen?

A Hint of Summer

As I mentioned earlier Camera Girl and I went out this morning on a photographic journey to capture the flowers and other manifestations of spring.  There’s a very large elm tree, the only healthy mature elm in the whole area of the state, that was just about to bud.  And I wanted to get a shot of the skunk cabbage that are impressively large this year.  So, we went here and there and that took up the early morning.  Then we did some more prosaic things.  I needed to buy about four hundred feet of hose for the gardens.  And Camera Girl needed some cherry tomato plants for her garden.  Then we came home and I had to do some repairs to a fence.

And about halfway through my work I realized it was way too warm to wear a sweatshirt.  So, I looked up in the sky and around the yard and thought, “Summer’s coming.”

And that’s funny because last night the weather girl said there was a frost warning for the area.  New England is a strange place.  I read that there has been measurable snow in Massachusetts in every month but July.  It’s a mighty silly way to run a climate.  That much is certain.

But we’re definitely now in the warm weather and people will start trying to enjoy life.  They’ll want to have cookouts and go to sports events and head for the lakes and beaches.  And even though they’ll have their little pleasures, each time they’ll notice that things cost too much and they can’t afford to do what they did a few years ago.  And it will rankle them.

As I said recently, Joe Biden’s regime is a tawdry and third-rate effort.  Everyone in it is incompetent, nasty and pathetic.  Between now and November this is going to be reinforced by every increase in gas and food price and every crime spree and incident at the Mexican border.  By November it’ll feel like that constant dull ache you have when you have a bad tooth that needs to be pulled.

But how do you extract Joe Biden?  He’s going to be there for the next few years and we’re stuck with him.  My plan is to strike a balance.  I won’t ignore Biden because he deserves to be mocked and ridiculed for his incompetence and malfeasance.  But at the same time, we need to spend the majority of our time planning and performing the positive things that make up living.  For me that’s spending time with family and friends, working, playing and of course, annoying Camera Girl.  And those things will keep me more than busy.  But importantly, even the part where I’m blogging won’t be completely taken up reviling Biden.  He’s just not worth it.  From time to time I will wax poetic describing his many failings.  But even then, it will be to make the point that Biden is more of a symptom of our larger problems than a cause.  Any great country that allows itself to be led by anyone as stupid and dishonest as Joe Biden has already reached a crisis and must do much more than replace him to correct the dire straits it’s already in.

This week Camera Girl and I will be getting together with friends we haven’t seen in way too long because of the COVID nonsense.  We’ll go to soccer games and tennis matches that the grandsons are playing in.  We’ll work in the yard and do our spring chores.  And we’ll be hosting the first barbecues of the season.  It’s still mid-spring but it feels like summer is opening up in front of us.

So, the winter of Biden discontent is turning glorious summer and we’ll work around him.  He’s a hindrance to enjoying life but he isn’t terminal.  What we need to spend time doing is thinking of how we escape from the Leftist death trap we’re in.  Elon Musk gave us a taste of what it means to win a victory against the Left.  Other leaders need to do their parts.  DeSantis is doing his part.  It’s time for other governors and legislatures to emulate these tactics and push back against the Left.

Summer’s coming.  I’m going to get out there and live.

31JUL2021 – OCF Update – Last Day of July

Tomorrow is the official first day of winter here in New England.  I’ll start up the snow blower and dig out my shovel, close up the storm windows and turn on the heating system.  I’ll put away the shorts and shortsleeve shirts and dig out the thermal underwear and mukluks.  It was a good summer although there was a lot of rain.  But now we have to get down to the serious part of life, surviving the horrors of winter.  We’ll be cheered by some of the winter holidays like Labor Day and Halloween but we’ll be ever conscious of the threat we face from frostbite and cannibalism.  Camera Girl made some veiled hints about there not being enough meat on my bones.  I sleep with one eye open and my right hand trailing onto the floor where the axe handle is there if needed.  Trust but verify.

Actually it’s been very pleasant the last couple of days.  Low eighties, high seventies and sunny except it rains at night, which is fine by me.  I’ve never seen the grass this green at the end of July.  All in all, pretty remarkable.  Camera Girl had a special plant of hers come up and bloom for the first time this year.  She says it’s called a moon flower.  It’s shaped like a giant white trumpet.  Something like an enormous morning glory flower.  Interestingly it blooms at night.  I’ll put up some photos of it soon under a separate post.  She was very excited about it and it was nice to see her so happy about it.

In related news some of the Elecampane seeds I planted may finally be sprouting.  Not sure yet because the sprouts are too small to tell.  I have more seeds and may put some more in dirt just in case but it’s encouraging to see something starting.

All kidding aside, today is the last day of July and that is a milestone around here.  The kids start getting anxious about school and with this nonsense about masking again I can’t blame them.  Maybe people will come to their senses and spare their own flesh and blood this nonsense.

Well, lots going on, more to come here.  Stay tuned.

 

Normalcy Restored

That lying sack of crap, Anthony Fauci M.D., stole a year from us.  And more than a year.  He smashed millions of small businesses that took lifetimes to build up.  He drained away the life savings of a generation of hard-working people.  He interrupted and marred the education of tens of millions of children.  He imprisoned a nation of 330 million and delayed marriages, births and every hope and dream of a nation.  And the most horrible thing is that it was for no benefit whatsoever.  The same people who would have died from COVID did die and are dying despite all of the useless torture that was inflicted on the healthy population of our country.  He is a tin-pot Pol Pot.  May he roast in Hell.

But yesterday was a renewal.  Almost all the descendants of my parents were gathered together in one place and time and enjoyed a party that included all the familiar and life-affirming rituals of a summer get together.  And even the weather blessed us with perfection.  Eighty-two degrees, bright sun with just a few wispy clouds, bone dry air and a refreshing breeze.  Just warm enough for some people to go in the pool and just cool enough to let the young at heart toss around a baseball or play a few lawn games with their kids and grandkids and even let one person watch her great-grand-children play.

Camera Girl in her culinary wisdom decided that instead of a barbecue she would cook the traditional Southern Italian peasant feast.  Ziti baked with cheese, eggplant parmigiana, meatballs, sausage and to start with, our version of an antipasto.  Huge portions were devoured with zeal and fueled loud and animated shouting about amusing and nonsensical things.  And in my earshot, there was not a moment of political discussion or anger.  Spirits were higher than high.  The highlight of the day for me was a four-way catch with two of my grandsons and a nephew.  I haven’t really had a good long baseball catch since forever.  Even the afternoon sun that was directly in my eyes I found enjoyable.  I actually felt young again.  Maybe today my shoulder is a little sore but it felt fine while we were out in that golden sun.

When my younger daughter showed up with her little 2 ½ year old girl the baby was terrified by all of the old fat strange-looking men shouting to be heard over each other in the meal hall I set up with folding tables and chairs.  After all, she has spent her entire conscious life in lockdown and hardly saw anyone but her parents and grandparents.  A cacophony of sound and strange faces truly frightened her.  But her mother was smart.  She took the baby outside on the deck and then into the swimming pool that she loves and there she was able to meet and play with the other children and slowly by degrees bring her back to the crowded areas where even the loudest old men were, at this point, too gorged with food to make much noise or even move.  So even that residue of the Fauci curse was lifted.  From two to ninety-two everyone was partaking in an old-fashioned family get together.

And I will be honest when I say that the relief to finally all get together made this the most enjoyable, least stressful gathering I can ever remember.  By the time the pie and ice cream and coffee were finished and sun was long below the horizon everyone was satisfied and ready to gather their children and say their goodbyes and head back on the road to home.  But promises were made to get together at the other homes for other occasions and other holidays.  Labor Day and Thanksgiving and Christmas lie ahead.  And we have broken the ice and hopefully we won’t allow that creepy little man to steal anymore of our lives away again.  It’s over and normal life has returned.

14JUL2021 – OCF Update Mid-July Report

This will be an outrage free day.  Even though Bastille Day is not my idea of a holiday worth celebrating today is a joyous occasion in my house.  I will therefore accentuate the positive.

I think I will initiate a series of posts devoted to various facets of Western Civilization.  I’ll range over history, culture, ethnography and geography.  I’m tempted to start from ancient historical and geographical facts about the region and then move forward through time introducing the various actors as  they appear on the scene.  Now do I start with the Neanderthals?  Finding out they were red-heads means the Irish may want to claim then for their own.

I will include information on the Yamnaya who appear to have been the mythical proto-Indo-European tribe that expanded East and West and spawned the languages that now dominate half the planet.  Not bad for a bunch of bronze age horsemen from the steppes.  I’d like to touch on especially some of the lesser known nations of Europe, the Georgians, the Lithuanians, the Letts, the Finns and others.  this will serve the dual purpose of allowing me to produce interesting and upbeat content and at the same time satisfy my curiosity about things I’ve always wanted to know.

But just to show I’m not an Indo-European chauvinist, (well actually I am), I’ll include information on the Basques.  These seem to be the descendants of the oldest inhabitants of Europe from a time before the Indo-European ancestors came on the scene.  Or at least before their languages began to dominate.  And I won’t neglect our neighbors to the east.  The river valley civilizations of the Near East were the source of agriculture that was the basis for organized human life on the planet.  So I’ll throw the Sumerians in just to show I’m a sport.  Do I have to include the Egyptians?  I guess I might.  Without them we wouldn’t have had those mummy movies.  Well, we’ll see.

And I mean to trudge on through the third season of Star Trek.  I’ve been dragging my feet because it is a terrible season.  But I’ve promised myself I’ll finish it.  As I’ve mentioned I intend to review Jackie Gleason’s classic 39 episodes of “The Honeymooners” series.  But I probably need to at least start into the Star Trek work to allow myself the reward of watching something fun like the Honeymooners.

The endless rain here in New England continues.  I’ve adapted to the annoying reality of it but I do hope that the second half of July returns to the normal hot dry summer I prefer.  Well, we’ll see.

So this may be a slow day.  I’ll write what the mood provides and enjoy a dinner out for once.  I’m bringing Camera Girl to our favorite Chinese restaurant and we’ll embrace the Orient for a change.

09JUL2021 – OCF Update – photog’s Ark

Forty days and forty nights of rain has pounded my brain into mush.  Seriously, we’ve had a phenomenal amount of water falling out of the sky on us for the last week or so.  Based on the amount of water I’ve measured in the water bucket I have out in my yard we’ve had almost thirteen inches of rain so far and it’s not letting up at all.

Right now, the rain is torrential and I see no indication that it intends to stop until this whole corner of New England slides off the mainland and deposits itself into the Atlantic Ocean.  What I’m waiting for is the idiot on tv to tell me about the drought condition that we’re currently suffering through.  It’s inevitable.  Apparently, the morons who run the water supply are incapable of understanding that doubling the population of the state means that it will be necessary to increase the water supply to compensate.  Granted that is a monumental task but it has been done in the past and a supposedly progressive state won’t shy away from stealing people’s lands for a state boondoggle.  But in our current Gaia worshipping mood the solution is to ration water until people decide to voluntarily die of dehydration to “save the planet.”

Well, I’ve snapped out of my Stasi induced funk and I once again feel that I’ll outlast these buggers.  I’m an inherently optimistic man and I still believe that knuckling under to these cretins is a mistake and one way or another I’ll escape them and live to see their nightmare system come crashing down.

So, unless I drown in the biblical deluge that we’re currently experiencing I intend to send out a few more rants and other words of scorn at our sad pathetic elites.  Long may they whine and cajole and to no effect.

End of Summer 2020 – A Rambling Maudlin Dithering Dissertation

It’s customary to declare summer in the United States over after Labor Day.  Other people look at the Autumnal Equinox as the end of summer as well they may since it really is the beginning of astronomical fall and the point at which the nights become longer than the days.  Some more practical folks just call it over when the kids go back to school.  Of course, during the COVID panic there is no school so that’s sort of irrelevant.

Here at the compound we have a more poignant measure.  Summer is over when the hummingbirds leave.  They left yesterday.  Camera Girl is sad.  She told me I should memorialize this event with a post about the end of summer.  As the ever-solicitous husband, her wish was my command so, here I am prattling on.

It is funny though how exactly these birds seem to define the end of summer in this exact locale.  Already, even on a day that reaches eighty degrees, the air is different.  Drier and lighter.  And the late afternoon is cooler and breezier.  And now by seven p.m. the sun is gone and only twilight remains.  The leaves are coming down at a decent clip.  These leaves are yellow and must be coming from some of the species that lose them early, the cherry and the birch.  But it’s the start.  Next the maples will start turning.  The oaks will hold out the longest, well into October.  But it’s the start.  And because the leaves were starting to fall Camera Girl, who is, like most women, a practical creature had the pool company close the pool down and put on the cover this week.  Maybe that’s what tipped off the hummingbirds.

And Camera Girl informs me that the birds that haven’t left yet go to bed earlier now.  By dinner time they’re gone.  So, all in all, the whole natural world around me has conceded the end of summer 2020.  But not me.  I rail against it.  Oh, soon enough I’ll shift my attention to fall foliage photography and then onto reviews of horror movies for Halloween.  But not yet.  I still haven’t seen a preying mantis this year.  I haven’t gotten a picture of a heron on the pond or a painted turtle in the pond.  I still want to try the 600mm lens with a hawk in flight.  So, though I promised Camera Girl to declare and mourn the end of summer I will use this last full week of official summer to hunt my last summer targets.

11JUL2020 – OCF Update

Sorry for the posting drought but it couldn’t be helped.  I have off for the next week and had to pay the piper for it.  In other words the day job.  In addition, nothing grabbed my attention enough that I had to write.  The waking world has taken on a strange dream-like or nightmarish quality that disorients the chronicler.  What formerly would have been astounding events has now become mundane.  More riots?  Sure.  Statues toppled?  Check.  Cities burned?  Are there still any un-burned?  Supreme Court outrages?  Whatever.

I just finished Spellbound, the second volume in Larry Correia’s Grimnoir series.  I’ll write up the review but right upfront I’ll say it’s very good.  I’ve always liked his Monster Hunter books but this historical urban fantasy is even better.  I’ll rave about it soon in a post but now I’ve got to get the third volume on order to see how it turns out.

Believe it or not, I haven’t done my taxes yet.  Actually this is my signature move.  I always wait until the deadline. It’s a family tradition.  But this year my laziness has actually driven me to take advantage of one of the tax services to prepare my forms.  I can only imagine how painful this will be.  But they say suffering is good for the soul.

A week off in July is the high point of my New England year.  It is the least likely place in the calendar for snow and full of the things that are most likely to make me smile.  There are lightning bugs (or fireflies if you like), fireworks, watermelon, barbecue, ninety degree days, dragonflies, butterflies even a swimming pool if I want.  I might even find a preying mantis in my garden.  I can spend hours trying to get a good shot of a hummingbird or a fox or a tiny golden bee.  I can watch favorite old movies way into the night and make believe I’m a kid again.

So forgive me if I’m a little delinquent here at the site.  I’m sure to have some good stuff this week.

“If I had my way, I’d remove January from the calendar altogether and have an extra July instead.”

Roald Dahl

 

Me and My Shadow