Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday--Another Grey and Chilly Day

The red needle of the thermometer outside the kitchen window has scarcely wavered since 6:15 this morning, fixated on 36 F.  Jim stuffed a few hearty chunks of wood into the black range last night at 10 PM and there were still lively coals to be prodded into welcome warmth when I came downstairs trailed by the usual retinue of cats.
I was awake at midnight, still pondering the frustrating behavior of my computer, resentfully resolved that it would need to be taken to the repair shop in town, where past experience suggests it might languish for several weeks on a waiting list.

Having dealt with the woodstove and the cats, resigned to yet another unseasonably cold day, I switched on the desktop PC and rather gingerly navigated to my blogger dashboard.
My 'Reading List' came up, thumbnail photos intact; firmly squelching hopeful expectations I clicked from one favorite to another--all normal-- ventured onto my own blog.
Photos on the sidebar unscrambled, all seemingly in order.
Panda antivirus reports it has captured and impounded a 'Trojan'--my suspicious mind questions whether this has been the real issue--and, if so, why did the panda not pounce when the problem first manifested?
[I like to know there is a concrete WHY--even if the details are too technical for me to grasp!]

With blogger issues behind me for this round, it is important to note that there were two [!!] days at the end of last week when the sky was deeply blue and temperatures neared 80 F. 
I was happily contemplating outdoor chores after breakfast on Thursday morning when Jim announced that he needed some plumbing bits and pieces, and had decided to visit the Lowes in Danville--a destination he declared as handy as our usual run to Campbellsville.  He offered the opportunity to shop for groceries in the Kroger supermarket--sufficient inducement for me to haul on more presentable jeans and shoes and declare myself ready to go.

Invasive strands of wild rose swarming up the trunk of a willow near the brook.

I made a tour of Lowe's garden center while Jim poked about in the plumbing department. Wind barreled through the open sides of the garden annex, setting astir the slender branches of potted shrubs.  Near the checkout counter  Stargazer lilies  diffused their heady scent, dominating the atmosphere with overwhelming sticky sweetness. 
Walking along the aisles between laden wooden benches I was disappointed that I felt no compelling need to bring home anything that was on offer.
We were driving away when I noticed that shrub roses were ranged on display outside the garden center--might those have tempted me?

Honeysuckle vine has smothered a weathered fence post down the lane.

Jim declared that he needed to shop for shoes--and turned into a strip mall with a shoe store at one end.  Inwardly I quailed; a shopping expedition for Jim inevitably involves a lengthy perusal of the goods on offer, most of which do not meet his requirements, at which point his mood deteriorates to testy impatience.  Amazingly, after nearly half an hour, he discovered a pair of shoes in his somewhat problematic size, which pleased him.  Placards along the display shelves announced a 'buy one get the second pair at half price.'  This being reckoned a good thing, I began scanning the shelves for another identical pair. [This was a self-service shoe store--no one popping up with offers of help.]
No identical pair turned up and the alternatives I pulled out were rejected.
At the check out desk Jim voiced his disappointment that he couldn't take advantage of the half price offer.  There followed a lengthy exchange with the cashier who assured him that she could take his address details and have another pair shipped to our address--shipping charges waived.

Bobby Mac enjoys the sun-warmed concrete of the landing while I prune straggling lavender.

Exiting the shoe store we were battered by wind, pushed across the parking lot toward the car.  Traffic lights bounced wildly on the wires strung above each intersection, sunlight glittering on the colored lenses.  Headed into the supermarket I felt my shirt flattened against my back, hair whipped forward around my face.
We anticipated a weekend visit from Jim's younger sister [inclement weather changed her plans] and enjoyed selecting fresh fruits [bananas, two varieties of apples, kiwis]  veg for salads, broccoli for steaming.  At the fresh fish counter Jim chose fillets of salmon.
He was unable to bypass a bakery case with frosted donuts temptingly on display.

Ranks of mayapple stand at attention in the woods beyond the stable.

The donut purchase reminded Jim that it had been awhile since breakfast--and that donuts are best washed down with freshly brewed coffee.
A one-way access loop took us past a fast food place that Jim rated as unacceptable, but another was situated on the highway that would take us home.

Making the loop I noticed across the verge a middle-aged man, nondescript dog on a lead beside him, holding out a placard which proclaimed in wobbly letters, "Hungry!  God Bless!"
'Pan-handling' [the more archaic term 'begging'] is an old sideline.  I am distressed by this--wondering if we drive on ignoring a genuine need, thereby adding to the discouragement of another human, or if by stopping to donate one is merely 'feeding' an addiction for alcohol or drugs.  I fretted aloud, noting that the presence of the dog fueled my unease.  Something in me wanted to buy a sack of dog kibble and take it back--compassion at least for the animal.

I remembered when as a child I was walking hand in hand with my father on a street in the nearest small city---a place where we ventured only a few times per year.
A man of about my father's age approached, and asked for money, stating that he 'hadn't eaten since yesterday.'  Somewhat flustered, I think, my Dad rummaged in his wallet, pulled out a bill and handed it over.  He drew me a few steps along the sidewalk, then turned to observe the man, remarking wryly, "I think I've just been taken.  If he was really hungry he would have turned in right there at the diner. Probably wanted money for cigarettes or drink."

Wild blue phlox in bud.

We ordered sandwiches at a fast food stop--mine eaten with twinges of guilt regarding the man and his canine companion. 
Gusts buffeted the car as we drove home through the bright and windy afternoon. 
The cats converged on us demanding their tea.
My message box bristled with communications: a note from Jim's sister explaining that the forecast of bad weather beginning there on Friday and stretching through the weekend would postpone her anticipated visit.  She had phoned daughter Gina wondering why she couldn't contact us by phone--which elicited a stream of indignant messages from G. to the effect that we had caused concern by 'wandering off without telling anyone!'
[The implication being that in our doddering state we might forget the way home!']

On Friday we opened windows to the sun and the wind. I laundered sheets and quilts, securing them to the clothesline with extra pegs. 
A gust of wind slammed shut the shop door, pulling loose the door jamb, leaving Jim to sputter about other people's lack of good carpentry skills as he realigned splintered wood and set new screws.

Willis and I walked along the flower-strewn track into the woods, Willis keeping me company as I gathered slender fallen branches to use as fire starters. 
Gina and Matt volunteered to come for supper to help us consume our abundance of fresh food.
After their departure, quilts rescued from the wind and folded away, I walked down the lane to visit the baby goats--there are now three!
Josephine the blue tortie barn cat rolled on her back at my feet by way of greeting, Renny the marmalade boy inquired plaintively if I had brought table scraps.

 As I meandered back up the lane, the air at dusk had a fragrant softness, a scent of awakened soil, of cool water splashing along the gravel run of the seasonal brook. 

Willis met me at the bend in the lane, laid back his ears when Sally-the Troll-Cat made a skittering dash in his direction. 

Small pellets of snow have fallen today in five minute bursts--clinging briefly to dry seed heads before melting away.

The promised stormy weather reached us during the grey hours before daylight on Saturday, some hours later than reported by our family in Alabama and Tennessee. Thunder rattled briefly, sending Bobby Mac hurtling  down the stairs toward his storm shelter--the windowless bathroom where he can wedge himself behind a laundry basket.
Throughout the weekend rain has pelted down, blown against the windows in icy bursts. Perennials stretching optimistically in last week's warmth, now huddle against the cold ground.
The boy cats demand to go out, return disgruntled and damp-furred.

Now, at 4 PM, the thermometer has fallen to 32 F. Fat damp flakes of snow are swirling thickly outside the kitchen windows.  I must pull on boots, a hooded jacket, gloves,  and once more pin coverings over my blighted clematis vines.
Our spring is 'far behind!'


  1. Hi Sharon, I am now caught up on your posts. This one was especially lovely. I admire your style very much. Alas, we are still mired in ice and odd snowfalls- under freezing rain warnings for 2 days now. It will be a while before I garden though I know when it changes, it will happen fast. Or at least I hope so.

    1. Jocelyn; I've caught up with your posts as well--I thought I had 'followed' them, but maybe not. I find I'm not doing much stitchery this past year---thus my enjoyment is vicarious in viewing your many projects. Winter in the North does go on forever--after years in New England, then in Wyoming, I really shouldn't complain about Kentucky seasons!

  2. We had snow and cold temps (very cold) here in KY today. Not ready for planting yet, but hopefully that will change in May.

    1. Michelle; I think you are closer to the mountains than we are, so maybe a colder day than ours. I wonder if we'll be tipped from an unusually cold April into a steamy May--we can always have a grumble about the weather!

  3. I would have been worried about the dog and the man also. Kibbles for the dog may have been good, but then I would have felt bad about not giving the man anything.

    Years ago on a parking lot a youngish woman asked me if I could spare a couple of dollars for her to buy some cough medicine for her child. She was a non-threatening distance away from me, and approached from in front of me. I never carry much cash with me, but I remembered I had $3 in my purse, I gave them to her, and on one hand was embarrassed that I didn't have even a $5 bill with me to give her, but also suspicious and wondering if she was buying "medicine" for her child or herself. $3 wasn't going to do much good, or bad. She probably would have been able to buy some kind of cough medicine for her child. I hoped that her life would get better. She seemed like she had truly come into bad times.

    Now, there is so much pan handling in our area, and also occasional car jackings, that I stopped shopping at one nearby grocery store because I was so often approached by panhandlers that just appeared out of nowhere, up close to me, at my back as I was putting groceries into the car. I found their proximity to me threatening, and the way they crept up on me. Why would they possibly think I would open my purse, with them standing close to me, to hand them cash. I was polite and told them, "Sorry, I can't help you." I do not know why I hadn't seen them on the parking lot as I was walking to my car. I think they must have been waiting in another car on the parking lot.

    After the third time of this happening, two with me and once with my husband when he had shopped there, and hearing on the news that someone had been carjacked on that lot, we stopped shopping there. It was starting to feel like we were working our guardian angels overtime with shopping there.

    I enjoy seeing all of your kitties. They are sweet.
    Spring is having a hard time breaking through here this year. We had a couple of warm days, and then back to cold and even snow. Tomorrow it is going to be 65 degrees. Hooray! Spring at last,maybe.

    1. Susie; Being approached in a parking lot with a request for cash would be daunting--as you say, how did someone appear, seemingly from nowhere, to be at your shoulder with a request/demand for money? Sadly, although we live in a rural KY county, we've been made aware of drug activity, quarrels that lead to injury and even death in the vicinity. Outings on my own are infrequent--the short drive to the Mennonite community shops, the garden center--or Wal Mart--but in daylight. "Panhandlers" are a frequent sight--those in genuine need of help are probably by-passed as much through wariness as from lack of generosity.

  4. Glad your blogger problems are sorted. People who beg always get a mixed response but homelessness in our cities is spiralling. Must admit beggars are very rare in supermarket car parks, what you do get is someone trying to sell watches that probably don't work ;)

    1. Thelma; Salesmen with dodgy goods would be a new approach here, at least in our rural setting. However, phone scammers and schemers are a daily nuisance.
      I suspect some people are homeless through no real fault of their own--maybe poor financial choices--with others the reasons may have been quite unsavory. Driving by a man with a begging placard one can hardly know the difference.