Drought and heat have contined for weeks. An unpleasant complication left over from the years of home building and selling has had to be dealt with, demanding hours of my time for compiling records, typing notes, sending memos to our attorney.
J. flew to Wyoming and by all reports managed the court appearance with considerable poise, but the judge will not present a ruling until the end of the month--a kind of 'waiting for the other shoe to fall'---.
J. bought a small used car and then headed 'over the Pass' to stay with our son and his lady for several weeks. He is delighted to be working with H. on a building job there.
Meanwhile I had prepared a list of projects to tackle during this time when my schedule is my own, but I have been restless and disorganzied [more so than usual!] wearied by the unflagging heat and unable to settle to the things I want to do.
Grandson Devin has come most evenings to help me drag hoses about and give the garden a taste of water just before dark.
Beets, lettuce and carrots planted weeks ago have not emerged, though a planting of beans and a hill of cucmbers have bravely met the adverse condition. Matt has diligently watered the garden plot at their house and perhaps we will yet have some fall crops.
The shrub roses are the only perennials holding up in the heat and the drought.
Daytime temperatures during the past week have hovered around 100 degrees F--give or take a few notches for time of day.
Last evening I slid the switch on the A/C thermostat to "Off", listened as the unit rumbled to a stop, then walked through the small house opening windows and shutters to night air which at 10 pm had cooled only slightly from the oppresive heat of the day.
Cicadas chirred lethargically. The gleam of the porch light showed overturned cat dishes strewn about the carport, indicating that a possum had already made a routine evening forage.
Daughter Gina and grandson Devin had trudged from their house in the dusty heat as the sun crawled westward. Now they had been collected by son-in-law Matt and the hum of conversation was stilled, the CD of bluegrass music finished.
I settled at my desk to read near the open window. Wilbur, the skittish rescue kitten plopped on the sill, one white paw splayed against the screen. His sociable little sister, Willow, teetered along the edge of the desk gazing at the shifting images on the computer screen, turning to demand my attention
with the pat of a tiny imperious paw.
At midnight the quiet was ripped by a cacophany of chorused howls, yips, yelps: coyotes. The kittens bristled, the back of my neck prickled, as the feral voices rose, ebbed, rose again--
always one lonesome solo cry drawn out beyond the fading of the canine choir.
With an instinct conjured from the archives of human response, I moved swiftly to the porch, strode to the edge of reassuring yellow electric light and bellowed, "GIT! Go away! Get out of here!"
Silence shivered into the dooryard, then a cicada rasped.
It wasn't a good night for sleeping.
Dawn, after a few hours of twitchy sleep, brought no relief from the heavy still air.
I turned off the fan, drank a glass of water, then curled on the edge of the bed, mentally cataloguing the usual morning aches, evaluating a slightly stuffy nose and raspy throat.
The cats, distressed by my return to bed, reassembled , staring at me with a barely maintained politeness.
"Right," I croaked, "I suppose you want your TEA!"
[All food and treats are 'tea' to my house darlings who learned that word years ago!]
I blundered down the hall in a retinue of felines, pulled the curtains back on a sullen sky, dished out 'tea,' cleaned litter boxes, measured coffee and water.
Cat dishes and coffee mug rinsed, I crunched over the expanse of browned grass to the barn, Willis and Co at my heels, greeted by Pebbles' hearty announcement of impending starvation.
In the side room of the barn where Jim stores Pebbles' grain and bales of hay, the tall sturdy container of cat kibble had been smacked onto its side. Here too, the cat dishes were strewn.
With all the animals fed and tended, camera in hand, I made a tour of the gardens, checking on the webs of the garden spiders by the front door, recording the last hurrah of the dwarf sunflowers by the garage.
Continuing my walk-about I headed down the front field, faithful Willis in tow.
Seed cones forming on the magnolia at the edge of the front lawn.
J. has used a bulldozer to continue the clearing of the lower field which J.M. Shelley began when he purchased the farm at auction in autumn, 2009.
Clumps of wildflowers glow yellow-gold, undaunted by disturbed soil or drought. I searched through my wildflower books and online last autumn and again today without finding an absolute identification. I think it is one of the tickseed/coreopsis family--there are 28 identified varieties in North America.
Crows squawked, a small hawk circled, keening. Hoofbeats drummed along the north road, a measured clop-clop as the first of four Amish buggies rumbled past, followed moments later by the echoing clip of a faster-paced horse.
We stopped by the ancient Old Timey Pear tree. Last year the crowded weight of ripening fruit burdened the branches. This spring the gallant old tree was just coming into blossom when a spell of cold and rainy weather put paid to this years crop
Only a few pears on the old tree this season.
Last fall we cleared away broken branches. J. used the chainsaw to tidy up dead stubs.
Old scars on the trunk give evidence of prunings over the decades.
Willis swatted at the insects which whirred up from the weeds as he passed.
Golden flowers are a becoming foil for a cat wearing a dark tweed 'fur-about.'
Willis peered with solemn interest at the patterns of deer tracks in the dry ground
and sniffed at small heaps of deer scat.
Willis rests in the grass behind the old tobacco barn.
He pants, mouth slightly opened and inscrutable amber eyes narrowed to slits.
Back along the track that leads from the barns to the house.
This fallen feather has clung lightly to the grass beneath the clothesline for several days.
The tall clump of Michaelmas daisies [New England asters in the wild]
have endured the heat. The blooms are smaller than last year, but their sturdy color is welcomed.