A view of lowering, slate-colored skies has become a new 'normal.'
Storms have raged about bringing sudden deluges of rain, sharp pitchforks of lightning, bellows of thunder that send the cats scurrying to hide under furniture or behind the laundry basket.
Continuing errands have taken us out in the weather, driving along winding roads that are awash with puddles, bordered by ditches that stream with brown swirling water.
The rain has brought with it no cooler temperatures; brief moments of sunshine cause the air to turn to sticky steam.
Clambering out of a vehicle, having struggled into a slicker, I feel rain sluice down my neck. Opening the car door results in spatters of rain on the door interior and on the seats of the car.
A few moments outside, encased in my red slicker, leave me feeling clammy--disheveled.
It has been impossible to sit on the porch--even when the rain stops briefly, the chair cushions feel slightly soggy although they've not actually been wet.
The boy cats who usually spend daylight hours prowling outdoors, ask to go out, then quickly decide that they would rather be inside, safe from the threat of another cloud burst.
Late last week and through the weekend we watched the young phoebes in their now crowded nest on the shed downspout. They jostled, flexing legs, flapping wings, teetering dangerously on the edge of their nest. We expected to see one or more plummet to the ground. The parents continued to feed them with tasty tidbits, swooping in through wind and wet.
When we returned late on Monday afternoon, only one baby bird remained in the nest. I fretted that the others had been snatched on their first halting flight--Willow and Charlie have several times been seen crouched with patient interest below the nest.
Leaves fluttered on the tulip poplar tree near the shed, and Jim spied three baby birds balancing on a slender branch. The parents hovered between them and the smaller sibling still in the nest.
Dusk came early, the three-quarter moon was obscured by inky clouds. Baby bird bobbed up and down in the nest which with the departure of his siblings must have seemed suddenly roomy.
In the morning the nest was empty.
The phoebe family is still nearby, the fledglings growing so rapidly that they are nearly indistinguishable from their parents.
My eyes, accustomed to watching the activities of the birds, still go by habit to the empty nest.
Beyond the wooden fence at the foot of the weedy garden, the sometime brook has surged over its bounds, sweeping gravel into the pasture. Bits of trash--and an old tire--have been carried along and deposited untidily.
Weeding is impossible, the soil squelchy. Weeds and perennial plants alike have grown over-tall with too much moisture and too little sun. Phlox has bloomed ahead of time.
The earliest blooming asclepias has formed green pods like tiny lanterns.
The silky petal cups of Rose of Sharon have been pummeled with rain.
Stalks of clary sage near the side porch walk have been beaten down by the excess of rain pouring from the roof. Lavender planted along the walk is turning to sodden browning clumps--not a plant that loves wet feet. Drastic pruning may save some of it--if the rain ceases for a few days.
One of the dwarf lilies has bloomed. Those planted in tubs on the porch have a healthier environment than those trying to anchor themselves in the sodden garden.
Begonias on the porch are a bright spot. The red-flowered one is a survivor of five or six seasons--I bought the yellow this spring to replace one that languished and died in winter quarters.
Willis--faithful friend--accompanies me on my brief slogs around the dooryard, stepping with dainty distaste, coming back to the porch to shake his paws dry and sprawl on the rug-covered settee.
Even Crumple, the half wild visitor, has taken to sheltering on the porch. I've learned that he is dividing his time between our dooryard and the goat barn down the lane.
We fret--uselessly--over the state of the garden; we have an ongoing harvest of cucumbers and green peppers, a few tomatoes brought in half ripe. We fear for the Yukon Gold potatoes--so much wet and the tubers will rot before they can mature.
At the Beachy's produce farm up the road, corn has formed ears on strangely dwarfed stalks.
We bought several rounds of fresh blueberries from the local berry farm; lack of rain earlier meant smaller berries--too much rain has shortened the time of harvest.
This is our 9th summer in Kentucky. Each season has been different: several brought us near drought in mid-summer; this is perhaps the 3rd one when June has been a disheartening month of constant rain. Last summer was so temperately lovely that we marveled.
Our two houses here have sound roofs, water-tight basements. We grumble about the unpleasant weather but we are 'high and dry.'
Many homes in the area--built too near the network of creeks--have taken on water in the basements--a sorry plight.
The vagaries of weather reduce humankind to a humble status--unable to do anything but endure, hoping for favorable change.
I note the 5-day forecast; Jim tracks storms on doplar; we mutter complaints, fret over the garden, worry a bit about friends and family who may be in the path of an on-coming storm.
We slog about tending to rather more errands than usual, returning home to seek out dry shoes.
With outdoor work at a standstill, we distract ourselves by planning future projects.
I read--familiar well-loved books; Jim watches TV--nature programs, wild noisy westerns.
When the rain lets up Jim roars to the lower garden on the 4-wheeler--comes back to deposit muddy cucumbers on the counter by the sink.
Someday the rainy season will abate--and we will go out, with resignation, to see what we can salvage.