13APR2023 – OCF Update – Out and About

I had to leave the outskirts of Dunwich today early and only got back in the early afternoon.  Things were going well when I got a call from Camera Girl stating that her old Toyota Corolla refused to bring her home and she needed a lift home and AAA to send a tow truck (or as the locals call it a “wrecker”).

Well, what can you do?  When it rains it pours and so instead of getting down to writing I had to get Camera Girl home and supervise the overhauling of her stalled chariot.  So here it is after 4pm and I haven’t got a sentence of creative writing to call my own.  Just this sad story about a sad story.

But there was a bit of human interest even in this prosaic event.  When the tow truck showed up the driver was a little laconic for Camera Girl’s liking.  Apparently, she belongs to the “customer’s always right” school of automotive services.  And during our ride home she railed against the young fellow and demanded that he shouldn’t get a tip.

I reminded her that today it was 83 degrees out there and a tow truck guy by the end of the day is pretty tired and on a hot day probably a little irritable.  And not everyone is super chatty and chirpy at their work.  And sure enough, after the fellow performed all his work and delivered the car expertly and without incident, I handed him the tip and he thanked me profusely and shook my hand vigorously.  And he said getting a tip was a big deal for him.  What do these women know of the real world that men live in?  Nothing!

So even though the day is consumed and I have no output of any kind, save for this slender reed of a story.  I am unperturbed.  My morning’s expedition was a rousing success.  The outcome of this mission was the best possible one and now Camera Girl and I will celebrate with forbidden foods.  Pasta and sausage and meatballs and garlic bread will be consumed and afterward there will be Italian cheesecake and ice cream.  So, there will be great rejoicing at the Compound and the peasants will rejoice.  Huzzah!

Later on, I will catch up on my photos and quotes and songs for the day and read some of the news of the day.  Apparently artificial intelligence is on everybody’s mind right now.  Honestly, I’m hoping that at some point natural intelligence will resurface on this planet.  We’re being led to Armageddon by morons.  It’s morons leading morons as far as the eye can see.  Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsome and on and on and on.

At what point will any of these people be held accountable for the horrendous train wreck they’ve made of this country?  Does this go on until we’re starving and freezing in the streets?

The only solace I can take is that for a huge number of people all of this is common knowledge.  None of them hold Joe Biden in high esteem.  If the next time he falls down the steps of Air Force One he manages to kill himself no one will shed a single tear.  In fact, there will be hilarity and mockery for months.  Of course, the joke will be on us because then Cackling Harris would be the Commander in Chief and that would definitely end in a nuclear holocaust.

Well, I’m digressing away from the point.  Tonight, is a night of celebration.  No more talk of Biden or auto repair bills or anything depressing.  So, I’ll try to catch up on things tonight and tomorrow but this is just how things sometimes go.

01APR2023 – April Fool’s Day

Having now lived the majority of my life in New England, I’ve come to associate April Fool’s Day with twenty plus inches of heavy wet snow.  Not because that is the inevitable result on April First but because it is the ironic result that would best capture the spirit of this odd “holiday.”

Well this year’s edition is a less dramatic but more typical version with cold rain and cool refreshing air that I find suits my mood today.  I wandered out of the living room onto the lower balcony and breathed in that freshness and approved of the weather and the day and surveyed the soggy battered appearance of the “estate.”  The forest is full of dead leaves and sodden moss.  The fields are covered in brown grass and sodden moss.  Here and there a few daffodils have blossomed.  The pond is swollen with the rain and the mallards are nowhere in sight.  Maybe ducks are just as sensible as I am and don’t like to get wet.  Maybe they’re holed up in an old coyote den waiting out the rain.  Naturalists would deny such a thing but I like to think that the animals that inhabit my habitat share in my virtues and vices.  Why shouldn’t the ducks crave warmth and eschew getting wet?  Very possibly the drake is often scolded by the duchess for forgetting to take out the trash on time and neglecting to repair the flushometer in the spare upstairs bathroom in a timely manner.  To me all these things seem possible and in some way fitting.  Although I somewhat doubt that the ducks have a spare upstairs bathroom.  Probably just the one.

April First is a pivot point.  For me it is the essential beginning of spring.  Even the rare April First blizzard is a rearguard sally during winter’s final retreat into history.  From now on it will be yard work to repair the ravages of winter and take advantage of the short growing season to grow the vegetables and flowers that we hope to produce.  And it’s the signal for outdoor activities of all sorts; more walks in the forest and the search for photographic opportunities.  It’s a very hopeful time of the year and even impossible hopes seem less impossible after the First of April.

The week ended well.  Today should be a good day to work on the book.  Well, let’s see where that goes.  I look at the headlines and it’s Trump, Trump, Trump as far as the eye can see.  Well, I haven’t got anything interesting or useful to add to that circus.  The only thing worth noting is that the term banana republic is now completely ubiquitous and rightly so.  Later on, something may occur to me and I’ll put virtual pen to virtual paper but for now I think I’ll put on a raincoat and boots and be at play in the fields of the Lord.  But maybe I should take my cue from the ducks and cozy up next to the duchess where it’s warm.  “What?  I said I’ll fix that flushometer next week!  Sheesh.”

Cutting a Swath Through Life – Part 1

I’m stalling.  There’s about three inches of dripping wet snow on my driveway and probably another couple of inches of the same that will be falling until tonight.  I should be out there right now shoveling it.  Not snow blowing.  It won’t work on it.  The machine is leaving the bottom inch and that will turn into an ice layer if I try it.  So, shoveling it must be.  But doing it twice is just too much for my lazy nature.  So, I’m stalling.

I was gonna exercise but I convinced myself shoveling was more than enough of that.  I read all the news.  Oh, my aching head.  Blather and more blather.  I’m so tired of it all.  I’m even more tired of the talkers on our side.  And I’m most tired of listening to me!

So, I listened to some music.  Some country, some opera, some old folk music.  All kinds of stuff.  That cheered me up.  That was good stuff.  It got me out of my funk.

There’s just been too much bad news lately.  Local stuff.  Like that girl beaten up on the school bus and those elementary school kids in Ohio who were brutalized by the black kids forcing them to pledge allegiance to BLM.  Nightmarish stuff.  And that synched up with Scott Adams’ statements about anti-white hate.

So, I was going to write a cautionary piece about schools and homeschooling and Florida’s new laws protecting school kids from CRT and LGBTQ grooming and all that crap but I’m too tired of listening to myself drone on.  By now parents should be figuring out their options and doing something about it.

Today I want to talk about living.  We get one life.  These buggers are trying to take that away from us.  Well, instead live it to the hilt.  Cut a swath through this world.  Leave your mark.  Leave a trail of people who remember you and when they think of you, they smile.  Think back on the people you’ve come in contact with in your life.  Which ones are vivid and alive in your memory?  They were the people who put something of themselves into their day-to-day interactions.  Even if you were something as stultifyingly boring as a telemarketer selling children’s books if you put some of your personality into the pitch and some honesty about what you were doing you could turn this dehumanizing rote sales chore into a human interaction that both parties might look back on fondly.

I know this to be the case.  Back in the good old days when I was between careers and schools I once had three different jobs going.  On the day shift I was sorting stock certificates at a Wall Street brokerage house.  On the night shift I was a telemarketer selling anything we were asked to sell; kids’ books, tv commercial gadgets, whatever.  And on the third shift I was a proofreader at a law firm in the World Trade Center.  To say that I was in a twilight existence would be putting it mildly.  Depending on which day of the week it was I might be having my main meal at 6pm or 1am or 9 am.  It was pretty insane.  Luckily, I eventually got a full-time gig at a brokerage house.

But when I was doing the telemarketing, I was in a big boiler room operation and you could hear the salesmen all around you saying the same lines you had on your own script.  And it was fascinating to hear the differences between the pitchmen.  And what you could tell was that the people who approached it as a human interaction in which their actual personality was present had better success.  And they seemed happier when we had our break time in the cafeteria.  Now there were exceptions.  There was this one guy who was a veritable machine.  He never took no for an answer.  His hard sell was frightening.  I had it from one of the quality guys that “the machine” had been involved in a complaint where the script said, “We think (fill in the blank) is eight years old.  Is that right?” and the mother answered, “Bobby died last year.”  And the script handled such an eventuality with the answer, “I’m very sorry for your loss.  I’m sorry to have disturbed you.”  “The machine’s” answer was, “Tell me ma’am, do you have any other children that might be interested in these books?”

Now “the machine” was a great salesman but I think the auto dialer that he was connected to probably had more soul than he did.  But on the other side of my cube was a middle-aged woman who didn’t use the hard sell and probably only got through 40% of the numbers “the machine” got through but her sell rate was much higher and she smiled and talked like a human being during the meal break.  Now which of those two people can I remember as having an actual face and voice.  “The machine” is just a droning noise and all I can remember of his appearance is that he shuffled along staring at the floor.

The sales lady was an old woman (to the kid I was) but with a pleasant voice and smiling face and someone willing to help the newbies with advice on doing their jobs and navigating the system at that office.  She was a human being with a personality and took the time to make her surroundings better for the people around her.  And so almost forty years later she still lives in my memory as a living being.  “The machine” is just a cartoon character and a cautionary tale.

So that’s the point.  A human being is an enormously powerful creature.  But in order to bring that power to bear you have to find a way to leverage your talents and use them for good.  That’s the trick.  You have to find a way to bring your humanity to bear.  And it seems like the world is making that harder and harder.  But that’s what you have to do.  Look at your environment and figure out how you can make the biggest impact for good.  You don’t have to be a politician or a super genius or even an authority figure.  Just find something useful and do it right.  And treat people like they deserved to be treated.  Some of them will turn out to be awful.  But give everyone the benefit of the doubt to start with.  Later on, you can bring out the brass knuckles.  That’s my thought.

Well, that’s enough stalling.  Out with the shovel.  Oh, my aching back.

05JAN2023 – Just a Regular Old Thursday.  The Calendar’s full of Them

As the tragicomedy of Kevin McCarthy continues to unfold in the Emerald City of Oz, I was tasked with filling out and presenting my documents to Cthulhu’s minions inside the precincts of the nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh.  Well maybe it was the Dunwich town hall.  But there was definitely a lot of eldritch horror somewhere close by I can assure you.

My hand was a virtual claw from having to sign my illegible signature hundreds of times to the various documents.  I was made aware of the 11 billion separate types of discrimination that Dunwich recognizes and prosecutes along with the blessings of diversity, equity and inclusion that seem to seep out of every document that I was forced to read.  It was inspiring.

It was a particularly dreary day weatherwise, drizzling and forty degrees, but I was kind of happy to foray out into the world just to convince myself it was actually still out there.  Apparently not having a Speaker of the House hasn’t managed to disrupt the space-time continuum.  And the zombies wandering around town looked neither more nor less mindless and homicidal than usual.  So, all’s right with the world.

Maybe I’m becoming acclimated to the present levels of dysfunction and unreality in the world around me.  I noticed it didn’t rankle me as much as it used to.  Of course, that could mean I’m becoming zombified myself.  But whatever the cause it eased the pain while moving around town.

I read a post by Curtis Yarvin on his Substack that referenced Heinlein’s story Waldo.  Now Yarvin is a neo-monarchist who is mostly interested in the political situation we find ourselves in.  But he’s also a technologist and here he hypothesizes that one of the more promising areas of technological progress could be in providing human/machine interfaces that allow humans to utilize their manual dexterity at different scales and remotely.  So, he sees a sort of virtual reality setup where a surgeon could utilize microscopic equipment as if he were the size of the miniaturized characters in “Fantastic Voyage.”  Or a gigantic machine hundreds of feet long could be controlled by a human with the point of view of a giant.  His premise is that human intelligence and dexterity after proper training is much more responsible and skilled than an AI.  After reading about some of the failures of self-driving cars he may be correct.  I never thought Robert Heinlein and Curtis Yarvin would intersect in this version of the multiverse.  But there it is.

Will Cain did an interview of Tucker Carlson.  What I found interesting was Carlson’s answer to what had red-pilled him.  He described his mindset as we went through the Iraq War (from 1:36 to 3:19 in the video) and I found myself remembering a very similar evolution.  I went from believing that we were there to make America safer to eventual disillusionment and a sense of absolute betrayal by the Republican establishment.  And Carlson echoed that.  I didn’t watch the whole thing yet because it’s too long but that little snippet stuck in my mind.  Millions of people in this country feel totally betrayed by the Republican party and will never forget that.  And that is the reality that gives me hope.  If people as different from each other as Tucker Carlson is from me can both come to essentially the same point of view about our political system then it must be the truth.  And if it is the truth then I’m finally working from correct assumptions.  And that is what I’ve been trying to achieve all these years.  It’s not that the truth guarantees that things will work out.  It’s that basing your actions on false assumptions guarantees failure.

As this was finishing up I se that McCarthy is still furiously negotiating to buy off his enemies with committee seats and promises of accountability.  Ah, what a circus.  We really should require all of Congress to wear the red nose, baggy pants and size 20 shoes.  And the Speaker should always arrive at the podium in a tiny car.  As I said in a comment on the last post, we must be terrible people to be sentenced to leaders this atrocious.  Robespierre and Caligula were paragons of sanity compared to the bozos we’ve got working for us today.

Well, that’s enough.

Dunwich Complainer – Avalanche 2022 (In Rumble-Rama)

Yesterday as I lolled around in my lazy recuperative stupor, I was suddenly aware of a booming sound and the sensation of shaking.  At first, I assumed I was still goofy from the COVID and had imagined it but then I saw that the dogs had picked up on something too.  I thought, “Maybe a truck came down the driveway and banged into the house.  So, I got up and went to look outside.

And what I saw was a boulder sitting on the lower driveway.  I could see where it broke off from the wall.  What I had heard was it falling, bouncing and rolling to a stop.

I was still kind of lethargic yesterday so I left it as, “to be continued.”  Today I felt more myself.  So, I investigated.  It’s roughly 4’X2’X1.5’ and I estimate it weighs about 1,500 lbs.

Looking at the exposed surfaces it looks like over time the rock has been fracturing and finally the weight was too much for the remaining stone to support.  It’s these lousy New England winters.  Freezing and thawing incessantly wreaks havoc with structural integrity.  It’s why I’m the broken-down husk of a man that I am.

So, this boulder is a metaphor for how the world wears down even the best of us and then sends us crashing to earth abandoned and out of sorts like a modern day Humpty Dumpty.  Very sad.  Very abstract, so deep.

But now I have to move the darn thing and then figure out how to prevent the dirt that was being held in place by it from eroding away.  Camera Girl will see me like a modern-day Sisyphus toiling to roll this huge stone up the hill.  What’s next?  The extinction level asteroid strike?  Yeah, why not?

20NOV2022 – OCF Update – This’N’That – Of Mice and Math

Sunday, the day of rest.  A good day to regroup and sets things in order for the upcoming week.  Especially this week.  Had a blast with the old grandsons yesterday.  Fun outing, good food.  Got home and skipped dinner.  Skipped all food and drink and maybe that was a mistake.  I was still recovering from that virus that was in the house the last couple of weeks.  But I figured I could skip the cold meds.  Big mistake!  Woke up at 4:30 am with a splitting sinus headache.  So, I beat a hasty retreat to the cold medicine and then sat up for a half hour to let it knock down my sinus inflammation.

But today I’m definitely on the mend.  So, I spent time working on minutia.  I’ve been using the Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball Mouse as my pointing device for the last six or so years.  It’s a great device in most ways.  But unfortunately, the switches for the left and right click buttons give out after a couple of years.  So now I have three of these things that double click when they shouldn’t.  I finally looked into the problem and found a YouTube video that shows how to replace the microswitches and eliminate the problem.  Now I’ll have to buy a soldering iron and some other bits of gear and become a technician.  Well, that’s kind of fun.  Plus, I’ll fix the other two mice and become mouse anti-fragile for the foreseeable future.  Yeah me.

The other thing today was about was to delve into vector analysis.  I never had the time back in the day to play around with the more advanced theorems to get a solid handle on the tensor notation.  In the past I’ve been exposed (as if to a disease) to Del Notation, Dyadics, the Laplacian and equally complex concepts.  The Kronecker delta and how to expand the determinant was something I had to memorize in order to solve some problems in physics.  But if I’m being honest there was very little comprehension on my part at the time as to how these manipulations made sense.  Now I’ve got some time I think I’ll take another whack at it.  The question as to whether I still have sufficient brain cells to thread my way around it and whether those brain cells can retain it remains to be seen.  But it might be fun.

So, amid my other occupations I’ve added electronic technician and math student.  That should make Thanksgiving week an interesting time.  Maybe I’ll buy the microswitches and soldering iron on Black Friday and get some huge discount.  I’ll probably also have to buy some kind of giant magnifying glass on a flexible arm just to see the attachment points for the switches.  It’s a pity I can’t purchase new eyes too.  But once again, the future we were promised all those years ago before Blade Runner hasn’t quite materialized yet.  Well, no need to get all whiny about it.  Magnifying glass works too.

So here we go into Thanksgiving Week.  Turkey, gravy, stuffing, pumpkin pie, old movies and family.  What’s better than that?

A Day in the Life – photog Interrupted

I’m back, I’m back!  I was in election jail.  I was being trained.  Oh, the horror, the horror.  Please pity me.  I will live to regret getting involved in this flying circus.  No power in the ‘Verse will be able to make this turn out right.  But I’m committed and the wheels are in motion.

That was last night.  Today I was out of state and helping out a friend.  It involved travelling through rush hour traffic on an alternate route with too many lights and not enough lanes.  Just my luck the main highway had a major accident and copious amounts of traffic spilled onto the road I was on.  I watched in horror as my remaining time and gasoline trickled away into history as I sat in crawling traffic.  The magical E mark on the gas gage and the digital clock on my dashboard competed for my attention.  Finally, the gas gage won and I exited into a station.  Imagine my horror when the gas pump refused to work!  It would deliver about eleven cents worth of gas and then the valve would bang shut.  Like some pre-technological savage, I mumbled some kind of incantation to the gods of petroleum and performed mysterious wrist turns to put the gas nozzle at some undefined angle to align the earth and the flow mechanism to ensure a sacred resonance that would grant me more gas.  After ninety-nine cents of gas had been delivered (or more likely, had been falsely charged) I gave up.  As a beaten man I returned to the road and its molasses-like flow.

My anger was increased when I observed that there had been no increase in the remaining milage in my tank according to the gage’s wisdom, none at all.  Those eleven cents-es were completely false.  If any of the people on the road were watching me at that point, they would have seen someone screaming to himself and gesticulating like a demented idiot at his dashboard and this witness might have been tempted to call the police for my own good.

When I finally reached my destination, I was a half hour late and below E on the gage.  Luckily, the time limit turned out to be either incorrect or a ruse to get me there sooner.  This caused very mixed feelings in my soul.  But eventually I saw the humor (somewhat).  And once the race was over the rest of the errand became suddenly stress free and enjoyable.  It was another one of those beautiful fall days that inexplicably appear out of the teeth of typical drab New England clammy cold.  It was sunny and in the mid-sixties.  I had a nice snack and very good cup of coffee before heading home and at the next Mobil station I filled the tank with no other pain than the usual financial outrage that is now the standard reaction to life in Creepy Uncle Joe’s America.  Now with the needle on the right side of the F, I drove with a smile in my heart and a country song on my car’s music system.  It was Tobey Keith’s “Red Solo Cup.”  And in my new-found joy I sang along with Tobey and suddenly I hadn’t a care in the world.

When I got home Camera Girl saw what a good mood I was in so she told me to empty the mouse bucket traps in the sheds.  Well, that brought me back to reality.  Nothing like bloated soggy rodents to put things in perspective.  But still.  It was a bright warm day and the crows looked happy to see my dead mice down by the swamp.  The circle of life, and all that.  And I saw some good comments on the site and I was reminded that Senator Murkowski is about to be fired in favor of someone on our side of the fence.  And that cheered me up quite a bit.  And tonight, is split pea and sausage soup which is a very hearty and savory delight.  So even though the day was interrupted, I feel that life provided the right ingredients for a successful foray into the world.  Life is good.

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.