Friday, September 6, 2013

Changing Times

Joe went back to work on Tuesday and I didn't; up till then it had just felt like our usual summer break rather than the R word. And I still don't feel retired, since my vision of that was days alone to pursue my creative and domestic projects. I'm not complaining, just acknowledging that, as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans," like when the wind blows down a tree and the only practical, reasonable thing to do is to cut and stack it for firewood (and a playground for cactus wrens).

A week ago yesterday my mother had what fortunately turned out to be a small stroke-type event, a TIA or transient ischemic attack, but unlike that tree, she got back up and is recovering well. She spent two days in the hospital and has been with us since then, though she'll be going home on Sunday. I'm so glad to be able to be here for her, and she's a wonderful, undemanding "guest." My problem is in my own head: I feel guilty about taking time for myself to write or paint or whatever, though she's perfectly able to entertain herself. In fact, she'll probably be relieved to be free of my anxious hovering.
       One thing we enjoy together is wildlife in the backyard. While I'm watering, she circles the patio with her walker, and we observe things like the Texas ranger blooming in response to recent rains (this picture is from yesterday and already the blossoms are fading and dropping),
the goldfinches at their new feeder full of nyjer seed,
and the doves vacuuming up whatever falls to the ground.
Nyjer seed is pretty expensive, but I finally broke down and bought a sock feeder to see if it would attract the goldfinches that have been absent since our sunflower crop failed this year - usually we have lots of sunflowers and thus lots of these beautiful birds. You can see that the sock feeder worked: here are two female lesser goldfinches and a house finch (top right) on it,
 and here are a female and a male, in his lovely black tuxedo.
 But put the sock feeder up against a good monsoon and the monsoon wins, especially when they come three days in a row. The birds kept coming, but the seed in the middle would have been sprouting or fermenting or something, so we visited Wild Birds Unlimited, and bought the pretty yellow feeder for about $20 - we talked about making one but I don't think we could have done it for any less - and now not only does less seed fall to the ground but what's in the feeder has some protection from the rain, not necessarily from real hard-pounding rain with tree-whipping wind, but all in all better than the sock. In fact, it just began to rain again as I wrote that last sentence!
     Another change the last couple of days is that finally - finally! - my pepper plants are actually producing something! Here's a jalapeño (can you see the face on it?),
and here's a Cubanelle, a variety I've never planted before but when I saw them at Home Depot I liked the name, so here we are -
this one (and more, I hope!) will get bigger and turn red. Heat- and spice-wise, it's apparently fairly mild; I've read they're sometimes used in place of poblanos.
    I received the seeds I ordered for the fall/winter garden but it's still too hot to plant them, so I must be patient. Any number of garden chores await some cooling weather, which we'll have a taste of next week, according to the most recent forecast, and I look forward to digging and planting and transplanting, mostly various herbs and cacti. Of course when it cools the tomatoes will start setting fruit again - this one must have had its hormones triggered in some recent brief cool interval.
Bigger than a dime and smaller than a nickel, I see it as a sign of hope and faith that summer will soon be giving way to what passes for fall here in the desert southwest. I even changed my hair color in anticipation of the changing season; it's very, very red and I haven't decided whether to call it merlot or chianti, but I know autumn leaves come in this color.

No comments:

Post a Comment