Dark & Stormy

No doubt, you’ve heard that cliché story opener, “It was a dark and stormy night.”  That overused line actually applied here last night.  It was a little after two AM when I awoke.  I hadn’t been asleep very long, so why was I awake?

Then a light came on.  Went back out.  What?  Out of bed.  On my feet.  A bit more alert.  It happened again.

Lightning!  A muted rolling thunder followed sometime later.  It was far away.

I looked out the bedroom window.  The action is to the south.

In the office, I lifted the blinds.  There was a light show going on over Kalamazoo.

Thirty second exposure

Caught in the act

You can see lightning bolts in this image.  They are not as bright as you might like.  This is the result of average brightness over the 30-sec exposure time.  Still, they are clearly visible if not as dramatic as they appeared to my eye.

The colored lights in the lower center frame are not part of an alien navigation beacon system.  It’s just a reflection on the window I was shooting through.  The light on the right is in my neighbor’s house.

Come four AM, I was finally asleep.  Heavy rain had started to fall on the roof a couple of minutes earlier.

It is Finished!

The title comes from Sylvia’s words when she came in from weeding the veggie garden.  It had started in the flower gardens.

Granny's Garden has some begonias now.

Granny’s Garden has some begonias now.

Upper walk-out flower garden

Upper walk-out flower garden

Lower walk-out flower garden

Lower walk-out flower garden

The veggie garden -- here unfinished

The veggie garden — here unfinished

After pulling the last of the weeds in the veggie garden, Sylvia planted a row of green beans.  The first planting usually comes to maturity while she is with her family at the lake.  I pick some and recruit some help with the rest.  #arthritis-stinks

Joy and Beauty

Joy and beauty are where you find them.  One person’s joy is terror to another.  In bragging about his wife, the old German farmer is said to have said, “She ain’t much to look at but she’s hell for stout.”

It rained last night and this morning’s sky is cloudy.  I’ve been saving two pics for a day like this.

Love that rich color

Love that rich color

I remember teaching my sister how to make a doll from two hollyhock blossoms.  Did you ever do that?

Beauty like this should be shared

Beauty like this should be shared

We’ll be meeting with our son for lunch today.  Lot’s of joy in that.

I’m having mixed feelings today.  This is the second day that I can’t get to Facebook.  I don’t know whether to be joyful or sad . . .  Perhaps it’s a thing of beauty?

Don’t try this — Ever

Will someone tell him this is not an air race

Will someone tell him this is not an air race?

Austin didn’t win
At the end he spun up high
Don’t try this at home

At the end of a rain delayed Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, a freak accident sent 25-year-old Austin Dillon flying inverted over two rows of cars.  That phase of his terrifying ride came to an end at the catch fence.  His car went from 180 MPH to full stop in about two car lengths.  The car fell back on the track and slid to the side.  The ride wasn’t over.  An out of control car came spinning his way.   Another hit sent the demolished vehicle into another spin.

Shock and near panic followed.  Crew members ran to Austin’s aid.  He climbed out and waved at the crowd.  Austin suffered a bruised tail bone and arm.  Some spectators were also injured.

Can you believe he finished seventh?  He did.

This is not why I watch NASCAR races.  I like to see the ballet of a well executed pit stop.  Or a clean, smart pass.  It’s good to see a different strategy develop and bring the driver and car to victory lane.

I suppose it’s like water polo or hockey, if you don’t understand the rules and strategies, it can be very confusing.

Life is like that too.

Independence Day

Today, we observe a federal holiday, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.  All over this land people will be celebration our nation’s 239th birthday party.  How great is that?

Do take time to review the reasons for this day and why our forefathers approved the Declaration of Independence 239 years ago today.  You can review the document here.

Yesterday, something seemed different.  I was walking down the driveway toward the mailbox, but my usual escort, the killdeer, was nowhere to be seen.  What’s going on?

They've hatched!

They’ve hatched!

The day before, four eggs filled the leaf-lined depression (center frame).  They must have hatched.  Hooray!

The chicks have come out of their shells and are now learning about independence.  I see young people who are going through a process of learning about it too.  It’s a beautiful thing, but it’s neither easy nor cheap.

Paul, in his letter to the Galatians (5:1) wrote: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  He goes on to warn them not to abuse their freedom.  Those are words to live by.  Consider reading that fifth chapter of Galatians.

Finally, I hope you are celebrating Independence Day and not In Dependence Day.

A Flair For Flowers

While I was mowing yesterday, Sylvia was weeding in the flower beds.  She worked until dark.  She had been out there the day before and is back at it again today.

Sylvia has been working hard

Sylvia has been working hard

Note to self:  Don’t get between Sylvia and her goal.

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful?

While she was doing that, I spent a few minutes pulling weeds in the garden.  There were a lot of baby maple trees.  I hope I got them all.  Also, I discovered some purslane.  I harvested some for our evening meal.  We steamed it this time and drizzled a little bit of salad dressing on it.  Yum!  Next time, I’ll use raw leaves and tender stems in a salad. :food:


What’s For Lunch?

It’s damp and chilly today.  Let’s check the garden.

Swiss chard

Swiss chard

My parents always grew this in their garden–Sylvia’s too.  We continue the tradition.  My mom liked hers lightly boiled with vinegar and a touch of salt.  That’s okay, but the tender leaves also add nice color and flavor to a garden salad.  Gotta love this versatile vegetable.

I looked to see if the zucchini would be fruiting in the near future.  It’s mostly male blossoms, and they don’t produce that delightful summer staple.

Dreaming of zucchini

Dreaming of zucchini

I did see one female blossom.  The first harvest can’t be far away.  Shortly after that, the great give-away begins.  You know how it is with zucchini.

Good News Day

Neighbor Bob makes hay

Neighbor Bob makes hay

Yesterday was a very good day for us.  It was one of those days that you check mark on the wall calendar.  (Or do you do that?)

I always look forward to neighbor Bob cutting our lower [used to be] lawn for hay.  It saves me a couple hours and a gallon of diesel each week of the mowing season.  It will feed his beef cattle.  It’s a very good deal for both of us.

On the way out the drive, I stopped at the mailbox.  I handed the contents to Sylvia.  She opened one envelope.  It was from our mortgage company.  Inside was a small check for “overages on mortgage payoff.”  That was terrific news!

Then we drove to the orthopedist’s office.  There, they took X-rays of Sylvia’s wrist.  The images showed good progress.  We won’t have to go back unless she has problems.  Also, she does not have to continue with the therapy sessions, something to which she has been looking forward.

It think we’ll sleep well again tonight.  #feeling good



Has anyone seen my office mate?  She hasn’t been around for several day, and I miss her.  She’s always quiet as she goes about her work.

Why are 98% of the items that arrive in my e-mail inbox nothing but spam?

Why do people care which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Is it true that the only unanswerable question is the one that is not asked?