The Top of the Swing

Tomorrow is the unofficial end of summer.  My family will gather for one last barbecue and the kids will swim in the pool one last time.  Hot dogs and burgers will be cooked on the grill and everyone will talk about what’s coming up in the fall.  We’ll throw around a baseball and swat mosquitoes.  Good stuff.

But the forecast is recording an oddity.  At least it’s odd for this year.  We have a seven-day forecast where the chance of rain is zero.  So now that it’s September and the kids have to retreat to the schoolroom it’s going to be real summer weather with highs in the nineties, something we rarely saw at all in July and August.  Ah, the weather gods!

Well, it’s very ungracious for the kids but a late blast of heat will be welcomed by me.  It won’t revive my vegetable garden or provide new life to the flowering plants but it will provide a backdrop to enjoy the transition to autumn.  And it will give me a chance to do some of the repairs and the preparation for winter.  I can collect up all the yard and lawn equipment and store it away more carefully than I usually do and fix that gate that’s been hanging crooked for a couple of years.  And this year I’ll bed down some of the more sensitive shrubs so they don’t get frost-burned if the snow cover fails again.

So, the late heat wills serve a purpose.  But more than that it will give me a chance to reflect on 2023.  Most people do their thinking in the winter.  The long evenings and the retreat from the outside are conducive to reflection.  But I like late summer.  I like to walk around after the kids are back in school and think about how the world is shifting.  I like to feel the shift in the cycle.  The days are already shorter but the heat of summer is still there and the growth is about to stall.  It’s like we’re at the top of some kind of pendulum swing.  The forward momentum has died and for just a second, we’re suspended in free fall, just hanging there.  In the next moment gravity will pull us down, but just for that moment we can imagine the whole of creation at perfect equilibrium and with no future or past to consider.  The Garden of Eden before the Fall.

And that’s the payoff of the year for me.  If I can have those few golden days at the end, I’m reconciled to the reality of a New England winter.  After all we’ll have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas to break up the dreariness and I’ll be busy with work and snow removal and chores and I should be busy with writing so the time will pass.  And Camera Girl will have her new puppy to keep her busy.  So, the world will take care of itself.

But for just a short time every year I try to shake loose from the day-to-day thoughts and just try to feel the Earth turning under my feet, try to hear the cicadas running out of sap and watch the mechanical dragonflies winding down to a stop.  At play in the fields of the Lord for at least one more year.


A Cool Drink of Water

And just like that fall happens.  It’s been raining all day and the thermometer has barely cracked seventy degrees.  And people put away their shorts and pull out a sweatshirt and air conditioners go into storage and soup returns to the menu.  Once the kids are back in school adults start talking about how expensive food and gas and everything is.

For the last few weeks, Democrats have been hailing the “Inflation Reduction” law and finding polls that claim that Joe Biden isn’t the most unpopular politician since Caligula and making believe gasoline has always been $4 a gallon.  But now that the silly season is coming to a close people start looking at the bills they piled up during the vacation and remembering who’s responsible for their poverty.

We’ve gotten a couple of inches of rain so far today and the ground is soaking it up like a dry sponge and you can almost hear the earthworms and the mushrooms and the grass roots sighing with relief and drinking in the water from every pore.  There are these parasitic plants called Indian Pipe that live underground in the roots of trees and wait for the heat to end and the rain to activate them.  Then they sprout up and flower.  Since they’re parasites they don’t need chlorophyll and so they’re white instead of green.  Very strange looking things.  I try to photograph them each year and so far, they haven’t appeared.  But now I bet I’ll see them sprout.  It’s funny how these little natural events become a part of your life.

Monotropa uniflora, Indian pipe, ghost plant, corpse plant, Sony A7 III with Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro lens

The fallout from Liz Cheney Ejection Day continues apace with even the Democrats agreeing that no one can actually think of a reason to keep her around after she’s unemployed.  I feel like it’s up to the Democrats to give her a goodbye party and a gold watch or something and then shove her onto a slow train going nowhere.  I can see her standing on the back of the train looking sad and morose and waving slowly as the train pulls out of the station in DC headed for Loserville.  It’s quite touching.

Now that the rule of law has ended and the kids don’t have to go back to school anymore in the cities I wonder if there is any change in the type and amount of crime that goes on after the summer.  I wonder if they stop playing the knockout game and go straight to knifing and shooting their victims in September.  It’s obviously an important question to know the answer to when you’re purchasing your fall wardrobe.  I guess it could be as simple as helmet/no helmet.  I suppose body armor should be a constant but it’s so darn heavy that you might want to skip it in the hot summer months when blows to the head are more or less standard operating procedure for your young urban thug.  I mean, no one likes to be overdressed.

And speaking of urban crime Lori Lightfoot is up for re-election in a little over six months and I’m wondering how does that work?  With all the people who were able to flee already gone maybe at this point the street gangs can control the vote in Chicago.  And since Lightfoot has made them all-powerful maybe it’s in their interest to make sure she wins re-election in perpetuity.  If you think about it, it’s a pretty sweet deal for both sides of that arrangement.  Of course, it’s pretty close to hell on earth for any law-abiding residents but how many of those can there be left?  Half a million, maybe a million?  That’s practically a rounding error in a country as big as this.  And they say adversity builds character, so there you go.

The voters have the next few months to contemplate what life in these United States will be like under the Democrats and decide if maybe they want to change it up.  It seems like it should be a slam dunk to me.  But I guess I’m not a woke millennial or a career woman still wearing a COVID mask and looking for the government to protect her from Donald Trump and viruses.  Perhaps there just aren’t enough people left who think like me out there anymore.

Well anyway, listening to the rain on the metal roof outside my kitchen is soothing.  And knowing I don’t have to water any plants is great.  We picked about twenty pounds of butternut squash yesterday and I bet Camera Girl will makes some chicken soup with it soon so life is good.

Goodbye summer heat.  I think I’ll celebrate fall by watching a summer movie.  I think I’ll put on Rear Window.

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.

Summertime and the Living is Easy

Day after day of bright sunny weather has spoiled me.  I’m now hopelessly cheerful which is disastrous for a conservative blogger in Creepy Uncle Joe’s America.  Whereas I should be railing against runaway inflation and fascistic FBI activities, I’m too happy.  Whenever I get bored in the house I go outside into the blinding light and I feel my batteries recharging.  This Saturday is the last big summer party of the season and I’m anticipating the fun of seeing all the kids one more time before they have to start school again.  Burgers and dogs, sausage and peppers, potato salad and watermelon, lemonade and ice cream, and ricotta cheese cake.  Just a great way to end a nice hot summer.

I’ve been watching good movies and eating good food for the last couple of days.  Brando in Julius Caesar, Mutiny on the Bounty, A Streetcar Named Desire.  Chicken chop suey and homemade chicken pot pie.  Even watching that goofy Wolf Man movie the other day was a summer indulgence.  The end of summer edges us closer to the next milestone of the calendar, Halloween.  And that means classic monster movies and not so classic horror movies.  And that spells shorter days and the first nip of frost in the air.

Last night it was fifty degrees.  The cooling trend is there.  Backsliding into the mid-eighties is predicted for next Thursday and onward but the writing is on the wall.  Soon the air conditioners will be put away for another year.  Lemonade will be off the menu and hot coffee back on.  Watermelon will give way to apples and hot soup will reassert itself in the weekly menus that Camera Girl will present me with.  And all of this should make me SAD (seasonal affective disorder) but somehow, it’s just too bright and sunny to work the trick.  Maybe September will work its melancholy magic on me.  But until Labor Day rings the bell on summer I can’t seem to believe in winter just yet.

Looking a little ahead we have “Liz Cheney Appreciation Day” coming up on Tuesday.  That’s gonna be a humdinger.  I have to see what special celebration I’ll select for that.  I’ll try to capture my joy in a special schadenfreudian post that sings the praises of representative democracy when it actually works.  Also, Camera Girl has promised to bake me a huckleberry pie from real Montana huckleberries.  Wednesday, I meet with the Dunwich Committee to Re-elect Cthulhu.  Thursday and Friday I’ll have my chores in support of Saturday’s party and Sunday will be the cleanup.  By next Monday I’ll try to develop some post-summer let-down.  That will stand me in good stead when trying to summon the gloom and doom needed to opine about the current state of this fallen republic.  I’m sure by then Biden or one of the other odious carbuncles that supposedly run this country will have offended the public decency with various high crimes and misdemeanors.  By then I’ll have built up a level of bile sufficient to vent my spleen at these toads.

But until then I’m just too darn merry to groan.  I’ve got thousands of Yellowstone photos to review and process.  I’ve got a load of bug photos from around the grounds and I’ve got repair projects to address.  So, pardon me if I whistle a happy tune and luxuriate in the season.  Misery is sure to have its day soon.  La dolce vita.

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

Avoiding the Horror

I turned on the tv last night to watch a show and immediately was confronted by Liz Cheney’s ugly mug.  I had run smack into the Jan 6th show trial.  I let out a yelp and switched inputs on my remote to reach the stream I was looking for on the screen.  Yikes that was close!  Honestly, I am trying to enjoy the summer and wasting even a single moment of it on the Jan 6th Committee is anathema.

Having avoided that death trap, I congratulated myself for my quick work and indulged in a frivolous hour of detective show fun about Harry Bosch.  Of course, even this supposedly neutral entertainment has been infected with social justice of various stripes.  Harry is fighting against injustice where marginalized people like blacks, Latinas and “the Homeless” are being put upon by the evil white man but at least there’s no sign of Liz Cheney or Adam Schiff.  So, I relaxed and spent an hour with Camera Girl with only a minimum of it involving me yelling at some propaganda subplot of the show.

Seriously, kudos to Fox News for refusing to join the other networks in giving wall to wall coverage to this Stalinist struggle session.  It’s the summer and the living is easy for a reason.  Good weather, long days and the sights and sounds of summer make this the time of year that people live for.  Only a dimwit would force himself to endure hours of Cheney and Schiff banging the insurrection drum.

I checked in with the Real Clear Politics Biden Approval Rating and it was at a new low.  So that improved my mood.

The average has now edged below 40%.  Which means that several of the polls have him in the mid-thirties.  That must be freaking out the likes of Nancy Pelosi pretty strong.  Schadenfreude is an addictive drug and I must admit I’m enjoying the experience of reading those headlines of Democrat political panic over the mid-terms.  Dems and RINOs losing their cozy jobs in the Congress does quite a bit to salve my feelings over $5/gal gas and $6/gal milk.

I was comforted by reading that at least there were Federal Marshals on duty at Brett Kavanaugh’s house when that psychopath showed up at 1 am to kill him.  Apparently even Merrick Garland isn’t blood thirsty enough to allow the assassination of a Supreme Court Justice to occur on his watch.  And I’m enheartened that some of the press has linked up Chuck Schumer’s “released the whirlwind” threat against Brett Kavanaugh to this latest assassination attempt.  It seems as if the Democrats and the Biden Administration just keep stepping on rakes as we continue on our way to societal ruin.

I saw an article that claimed that Biden would pivot after the mid-terms and move his policies to the middle to try and work with the new Republican controlled Congress.  The lefty author of the piece was decrying this move as unnecessary.  Apparently, some on the Left think things are bound to get better and they don’t want to lose out on the advantages that bankrupting the middle class will give their side.  I’m not sure I think Joe Biden knows enough about what he is doing to strategize any post mid-term pivot.  I think half of his administration will be bailing out after the mid-terms and we’re going to endure a really awful two years of economic chaos.

But today I’ll have some fun.  I’ll take some photos and get some air.  I hope you have a good day too.

The Dog Day

It’s a hot one, a scorcher.  I was out there trying to get some shots of hummingbirds and I think they were watching me from the shade of the trees saying to each other, “Is he crazy?  We’re not going out in that sun for a little sugar water!”

But this is real summer.  You can see all the moisture the ground has soaked up over the last month or so rippling into the air as currents of chromatic diffractions of the solar photons pummeling the ground.  I put on my floppy hat and brave the noonday sun in quest of photographic knowledge.  And there’s scant little of that.  Even the usually reliable bees and butterflies and even the dragonflies have taken refuge out of the sun, the cowards.

Camera Girl and Princess Sack-of-Potatoes took to the pool after lunch and of course as soon as I went in for lunch, supposedly, the hummingbirds were everywhere, on the flowers, at the feeders, even hovering between the girls at the side of the pool.  I shouted out, “Fake News!”  But her haughty sneer let me know I wasn’t fooling Camera Girl.  I knew she spoke the truth.

I will go back out after four.  At that point the sun’s blast will be merely Saharan and therefore survivable.  I will say that this tracking autofocus function still requires a fair amount of skill, of technique that I am sadly lacking.  But persevere I will.  I must know the answers.  Are my old lenses useful or ballast?  I will find out.

After conferring with my grandsons I recognized their seasonal anxiety.  They sense the end of summer vacation.  They reminded me not to waste the days that we have left.  Labor Day is right up the road and after that there’s nothing on the horizon until Halloween.  So I must get out there and see what I can see.

I think tomorrow I’ll head for the local lake.  I want to see if any water birds are around.  That would be a nice tame autofocus-tracking target.  I’m tired of trying to capture Larold running at full tilt.  The camera doesn’t stand a chance.  Last year there was a bald eagle at that lake.  I don’t suppose I’ll luck out and it’ll be there but you never know.  In an unrelated photographic idea there is an old colonial graveyard nearby and I thought I’d go over there and do some closeup photography of the old stones.  Nothing that will show the whole stones but more the texture of the erosion on the carving.

Haven’t seen much wildlife this summer.  There was a bear on the property recently but he didn’t do any damage surprisingly enough.  Last year he flattened one of our bird feeder polls.  And speaking of birds Camera girl has been reading about some mysterious bird ailment that is killing the birds.  So of course the first thing they tell her is “Stop feeding the birds!”  Blah, blah, blah.  I told her do as she pleases.  If feeding the birds is going to cause the apocalypse then let her rip.  I figure it’s bird COVID.  So why shouldn’t they get a taste of it too?

Well, the silly season is ending in three weeks or so.  Then we’ll have the atrocities in Washington to bemoan, only I’m all out of outrage for the inevitable.  I figure codified election fraud is in our immediate future so bring it on.  But it will wake up a mess of normies.  Maybe that will do some good.  So enjoy the rest of the summer and I’ll be here when you get back.

And here is the dog himself Larold the Wonder Dog.

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.

24JUL2021 – OCF Update – Summer Event

Ah, the great day has arrived.  The cleaning (by me!) and the cooking is all done.  An armada of tables and chairs have been arrayed with plates and silverware.  Glaciers of ice have been procured and cold beverages are resting on them.  The grass is manicured (sort of) and the hounds have been sent away for the day.  All that is needed are the guests and their appetites.  Frivolity and bom homme will abound and never will be heard a discouraging word.  But that means this will be a very slow day on the site until much later.  So my faithful readers I leave you to your own devices.  Enjoy what is touted to be an ideal summer day.