It seems superfluous to wonder how we have once again turned a calendar page to the last month of the year. It was a year ago this week that I began to move boxes of my belongings into this house, a year ago [with Jim away] that I brought Willis and his retinue of outdoor cats to the farm, housing them for several days in the washroom/entry to acclimate.
This week marks the traumatic passing a year ago of Pebbles, the old horse, and in just such dismal and drenching weather.
The little some-time brook that borders our lane is in spate following a 4th day and night in which it has persistently rained.
Part way along the lane the brook-bed widens, swirling around a stand of willows, washing over a decaying log.
There is still green grass in the pasture, encouraged by the mild wet spell--not the fresh vibrant green of springtime, but giving some color to the subdued landscape.
Buttercups bloom against the fence--invasive--not healthy for grazing herbivores--I am told by our nearest neighbor--but so cheerfully vivid on a dark morning!
Various weeds, ground-covers, flourish along the verge of the lane.
We are never rid of honeysuckle which threatens to engulf and smother the fence, posts and all.
The uncommon cold of February was too much for the leathery leaves which are usually evergreen, but the vines revived and have thwarted Jim's efforts to subdue them.
Sycamore leaves offer a splash of rusty hue against December weeds.
Rainwater pours down the pasture slope and gurgles under the culvert below our house.
The salvaged bricks remain where I neatly stacked them in the spring.
I haven't decided how best to make use of them.
On the steep side hill above the retaining wall wild rose hips, be-sparkled with raindrops, gleam among dank twigs and fallen leaf rubble.
I need to do a considerable cleaning and tidying this week before company arrives--but I didn't do it today. I found a long coat--meant to be rain-resistant--and trudged down with the mail, stopped to drop off a can of paint and inspect progress at the lower house.
Our renter, Pastor Fred, was putting in metal shelves in the upstairs room designated as his library; the book-laden shelves will nearly obscure the calm grey-green paint which I so recently applied to the walls.
Jim was contemplating how best to install an electric heating plant to back up the wood burner.
He made a list of supplies needed, invited me to go with him to Lowes.
[This was my opportunity to insist that I stay home to clean!]
Our neighbor, Jay, also had an errand and is a congenial addition to any outing.
I pottered about in Lowes while the men gathered what they needed.
I noted a display of packaged amaryllis bulbs--2 dollars less than I paid for mine yesterday, but seemingly smaller bulbs and perhaps without pot and planting medium included.
Farther along the aisle were amaryllis planted in clear plastic cylinders, some in bud, others nearly past their peak bloom. These were offered at twice the price I paid.
I was intrigued to see that the bulbs had been waxed--mostly in a red candle wax, some with overlying dribbles of green, some bejeweled with sparkling 'snow' crystals.
I felt it was rather a shame to take something as natural and earthy as a plump bulb and encase it in wax. The tags wired to the plastic 'vases' declared that the bulbs would flourish and bloom without watering. Perhaps they had been soaked before being dipped in wax [?]
An odd concept.
The outing concluded with a stop at a donut shop which Jim favors--I sat and ate one with a jelly center--they are raised donuts, light, but with a sticky sugary glaze.
Some came home with us.
Cats clamoring for their 'tea' when we returned--nearly dark at 3:30.
We made sandwiches for supper.
I found interesting reading online, but was stupidly bleary for awhile.
I revived to roll out pastry for two pie shells and a berry pie for the freezer.
Now, at 11 PM, to bed, but will probably lie awake for an hour considering all that still wants done!