Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reviewing the Week Thus Far

Lemon balm, coming up fresh at the base of a plant in the small herb garden.

The weather is still so mild for December that on Sunday I found myself wondering if it would be timely to do a bit of weeding and moving things about in my perennial beds.
I decided against this as the ground is too damp and chilly.
Poking about in the herb garden near the carport I noticed these new leaves on the lemon balm.
As I brushed twigs and faded maple leaves away I pondered why this has been for so many years
a favorite plant.
The delicate lemon scent is a big part of the appeal. The leaves have a delightful crinkled texture and the green is a fresh and appealing color.
More than that, I can only explain my attachment as something my rather whimsical imagination conjures.
Going down on my knees to weed and tend a clump of lemon balm, immediately gives me a sense of connectedness to something very old, as though I had been whisked off to a medieval herb garden or to Brother Cadfael's workshop.
When we moved to this small Kentucky farm, the first springtime was a time of happy discoveries, for the former owners had been gardeners.
I found a clump or two of lemon balm emerging in the section where iris roots jostled each other for space.
I soon picked out the familiar rumpled leaves of several more plants nestled in the thick grass near the overgrown bulb bed. I removed them tenderly, placing several in a partially shaded strip near the garage.
Lemon balm is a companionable plant, well worth the moment it takes to stop and ruffle the stems to release the fragrance or to snip off a leaf or two to sniff.

Rain held off on Sunday, but the wind blew steadily.
A load of laundry flapped itself dry on the clothesline.
The cats were terribly inspired. They collided with each other rushing in and out of the sliding door to their yard, whirled in to skitter across the hardwood floors, tails puffed, nails clicking as they 
careened around corners.
Generations of my cats have done this, where-ever we have lived--ushering in changes of weather, possessed by wildness.

Rain began sometime before daylight Monday morning. The air was warm and heavy with mist.
We spotted these turkeys striding across the upper pastture toward the woods.
I used the zoom on the camera to capture their leggy progress.

Wilbur remains very leary of humans.  His sister, Willow, has settled into domesticity and has accepted humans as a welcome part of her life. While Willow knows how to charm, Wilbur seems to regard us as a threat to his very existence.  It it rare to surprise him into being picked up. I caught him on Sunday and asked J. to take this photo.
When we can corner him we talk to him cajolingly, stroke his tabby coat, hold him on our laps.
Thus far he refuses to be won over.  He eyes us warily, poised to run. He doesn't purr. He holds his ears in a horizontal mode of displeasure.

When I spied Wilbur and Willow on the sofa this everning they were cuddled close and Willow was washing her brother's ears.  I managed to stroke Wilbur before he realized that a detested human
had invaded his space. Seconds after I snapped this photo he disappeared behind the sofa.

We have been away for most of two days.
Too many miles for me!
J. is still in his 'wheeling and dealing' mode.
I have the option of course of not going along for the ride on these forays of his to buy and sell tractors and such.  Its not as though I do any of the driving.
I think of a day on my own--housework quickly done and then time [and quiet!] to sew, read, write.
When grandson D. is not in school I figure that he is the one to go--an adventure and a chance for him to see more of the countryside--and besides--he can intelligently talk tractors and motors!
In the end, both yesterday and today, I hastily packed a tote with the items I consider necessary for such trips: books, magazines, a notebook, camera, bottled water.
Yesterday's run took us to the northern part of the state and briefly into Ohio.
We drove through bluegrass horse country, then out on winding country roads with impossible 'hairpin' bends.  J. was given vague directions and wasted over an hour locating a tractor that was so battered he said it looked like a tree had fallen on it.
Miles later we reconnected with a main highway and decided it was time for a hot meal.
It was after 2 by the time we were back on our way and the grey drizzly day was already sinking toward early darkness. We rumbled past beautiful old houses surrounded by miles of white-painted fence, passed other venerable houses which had fallen into sad neglect.
J. found the next stop on his list and made a 'deal.'
On across the Ohio river in pitch dark to a meeting point with a man who had a wood splitter for sale.
Coming back J. missed a turn onto the route he wanted and we found ourselves on a road that followed the contortions of a winding creek. Great patches of fog billowed in the headlights, the windshield wipers clacked.  J. sputtered. We roared on through small hamlets where little houses festooned in holiday lights crouched close to the road.
It was a few minutes before 10 when we came out on the desired route. We located a Subway and ordered sandwiches, even as the shop was closing for the night. Back in the truck, under the street lights, we enjoyed our food before pulling out again onto the rain-slicked highway.
It was not quite midnight when we lumbered into our own dooryard., a round trip of over 600 miles.
As I clambered stiffly from the truck Pebbles whickered from her pasture, the barn cats wound around our feet.  The old thermometer in the carport stood at 51 degrees [F] and I could hear the rushing of the
rain-swollen creek across the road.
Stepping inside the kitchen door, we were mobbed by the cats!
When we have been away for hours there is a definite routine to our return.
The cats first rush at us and there are complaints that they have starved in our absence;  they have been bored. They get underfoot, meow plaintively or demandingly according to their natures.
Then, there is a studied indifference, a "see if we care!" demonstration which involves stomping about the items we have brought in, pushing things off the table, general huffing. By the time we are ready for bed they decide we can all be friends again.
Being a glutton for this particular punishment, I went along today also, for tractor delivery and pick-up. Only 400 miles today! 
The tractor which J. 'swapped' is the one he acquired last week.  I have made noises indicating that perhaps this is enough trading for now.
I know that I've ridden enough miles to last for some time!
The cats have been clingy since we arrived home.
I was too tired to light the fire downstairs and work on the quilt in progress.
I am too witless to make intelligent comments on my favorite blogs.
My beloved Teasel is keeping me company as I rather blearily type this rambling post.
She is curled on the bed behind me, her striped tail wrapped over her nose.
Tomorrow will be a day to cherish my little house and its feline occupants, to make soup, and enjoy the smell of loaves baking in the oven.


  1. It's promising to turn a little more "seasonal" over here in the next few days. Just love your descriptions of cat behaviour.

  2. Fabby heartwarming post MM. My instincts seem much the same as yours and here I enjoyed travelling with you both to places only read about. I loved the descriptiveness you brought to this and the sense of quiet and peace on your return. I enjoy being aout and about but coming home is a welcome pleasure anytime.

    Thanks for that - you started me off witha smile.

  3. How precious are those uninterrupted days at home, especially after all the hours on the road! But you are seeing a lot of lovely countryside while on the road. It's good to have some of both, and what a nice life you have there. It will be a Happy Kitty Day for sure today, with you amongst them again!

  4. I love reading about your idyllic rambles MM! Isn't lemon balm miraculous? It shows up in the most unexpected places. Your tale of the cats acting wild reminds me that my little dog, George, always returns to his primeval roots each season for a day or two, howling and being disobedient. Makes me wonder if given free reign, how quickly he would return to his wolf ancestry?

  5. I love to travel too, but gosh, is it good to get home and get back into a normal routine again. Then you can take a few quiet moments in the day to look back and savour what you saw.

    I have Lemon Balm here in my garden too - introduced by me - and split several times so it is all over the place now. I love the scent of it and used to cut big bunches to hang in the house from the beams.

    As for cat behaviour - I imagine you are quite an expert! I know when I have been away at all and left Keith in charge, mine give me the cold shoulder for a couple of hours or so to let me know their displeasure.

    Fahly-horse used to do the same. Quite sniffy he got!

  6. I too have lemon balm not far from the front door. Close enough to run your hands through and release that wonderful scent in summer.

    You travel a long way ( compared to our English distances) on J`s buying expeditions. A great way to explore but it is always good to get home.

  7. It was not a rambling post, it was delightful! But 600 miles in one day?? That was an absolute maximum for us in our student days of exploring America. Even 400 is a pretty good number of miles in one day. When we traveled with the kids (when they were barely school age), 300 - 350 was our goal. So nice to see Willow and her brother. Scruffy was so pleased to see us he even slept half the night on our bed. He doesn't usually sleep on the bed. I think I move around too much.
    Incidentally, when my grandmother's cats acted like that she would say they've "got the wind in their tail."

  8. Totally enjoyed your journey and the wonderful word pictures! 600 miles in one day is definitely a lot. I would enjoy seeing the Kentucky countryside once again...