Wednesday, July 15, 2015

High Summer

It's high summer in southern Louisiana - high humidity and temperatures in the 9os.   I envy my British penpals who occasionally comment in a letter that they're having a "chilly summer."  We hardly have chilly winters.  We've had a lot of rain this year, so everything is lush and green.  It means frequent mowing for Jerry, but I can't help but appreciate the beautiful green when we've had recent years of draught when everything was parched and brown.

I'm sitting on the backporch.  It's an enclosed, air-conditioned porch with windows to observe nature - the best of both worlds.  The porch looks out on the deck and the bayou beyond.  A maple tree hangs over the deck, and it's a gathering place for the birds as they go to and from the bird bath and feeders on the deck - doves, sparrows, wrens, chickadees, cardinals, blue jays, and mockingbirds.  

Recently Jerry installed and squirrel feeder and some squirrel corn on the deck since we had noticed a fiesty young squirrel coming to eat the birds' seed.  We named the rascal "Watters," after Jesse Watters of FOX News fame.  Watters, the squirrel, seemed to be pretty confident that our deck was "his world." One morning, just as Watters was discovering the corn, two mockingbirds attacked him and ran him off.  We didn't see him for a long time.  I thought maybe a whole gang of mockingbirds had committed squirrelicide.

Earlier this week I cleaned out the flower pots on the deck.  The pansies and dianthus that I planted last fall were beautiful through the winter and spring, but they finally succumbed to the heat and humidity of summer.  The only plants left that tolerate the heat are a young bay tree, a spearmint plant, moss rose volunteers from last year, and a pretty little plant called wooly thyme.  

I filled a box with dead plants and went to discard them along the fenceline.  And there was Watters, sitting on his hind legs, eating an acorn.  I said "hello" and told him we had missed seeing him on the deck, and that I didn't think any self-respecting squirrel would let two mockingbirds run him off.  His chewing paused as if he was listening.  He was just a few feet from me and didn't run up a tree until I started tossing dead plants.  This morning he was back on the deck, eating the birds' sunflower seeds.  Just call me Dr. Doolittle.

I was sick for almost a month with what the doctor called walking pneumonia.  I hope I never have it again.  I had a cough that made my rib cage sore.  I seem to be over it now and groomed horses this morning for the first time in quite a while.  Jerry always sees to their feed, hay, and water, but grooming has been neglected.  I was glad to see that there are no skin problems - no pesky funguses - and no hoof problems.  I groomed Fay and Tesoro this morning.  By the time I finished with them, it was too hot to move.  Giving a horse a good, brisk brushing will work up a sweat even in cooler weather.  I'll get to Rocky tomorrow.  His long, luxurious mane is so knotted, a trim might be the only remedy.

We had an Irish meal for lunch yesterday - corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes.  There's enough left over for lunch today so I can skip cooking.  I'm glad we like leftovers.  The local spring tomatoes have played out and it's too early for fall tomatoes, so we'll be eating store-bought tomatoes for a while.  Sometimes they hardly taste like tomatoes at all.

The only good thing about being sick was that I had lots of guilt-free time to work in my watercolor journal.  I've had some experience in oil and acrylic painting, but didn't venture into watercolor until last summer.  Watercolor is the hardest to control, and I found it very frustrating at first.  Now that I've given up the idea of total control and just let it do its thing, I think I like it best.  It has a fresh, spontaneous quality about it.  So now I'm off to do a little watercoloring while the leftovers heat up.

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