Long before the present owners bought the place, this was the driveway to Hope’s cottage. It was white inside and out, with a long south-facing porch, and there was a closet in the back that had many puzzles we were allowed to select from on rainy days. The living room had a shelf with all the Wizard of Oz books in hardback, each with a different color cover; I was quite surprised later to find out that most people didn’t know there was more than one Oz book—the one I liked best was pale lilac…yes, I liked it for the special color rather than the contents. Anyway, much of the interior had beadboard for paneling, and it was the first building I remember noticing it. Hope taught me to make potato salad in the kitchen. One potato and one hard boiled egg per person, and one of each “for the pot.” Still a good ratio. Hope’s husband was in a wheelchair from mid-life (polio? dunno), and she needed to support the family, so she began a diaper cleaning service called what sounded to me like Di-Dee Wash that catered to households in the wealthier suburbs of Detroit. She did very well. Hope was a friend of my grandmother’s from college days, and that’s why she had the cottage on the hill and across the road from my grandparents’ property. I recall hearing that part of the original building had been a chicken house, thoroughly cleaned and moved and painted to become part of the meandering layout of the cottage.

Beyond arduous

I never heard of “the twisties,” a term commonly used by gymnasts and in the news after Simone Biles used it. She meant that despite all her practice and experience, her brain no longer knew where she was in space as she did a vault or other maneuver. The potential penalty for a gymnast can be serious injury; SB managed to land safely, thankfully. The twisties are difficult to banish, to overcome, and to conquer. As Emily Giambalvo put it in a WaPo story, “Simone Biles said she got the ‘twisties.’ Gymnasts immediately understood” (28 July)

And after experiencing the twisties once, it’s very difficult to forget. Instinct gets replaced by thought. Thought quickly leads to worry. Worry is difficult to escape.

I’m wondering if it has a faint relationship to when I mistype a (common) word, and my fingers/brain repeat this error until I super concentrate and somehow return once again to the correct letter order.

Or perhaps more likely, this finger-blip is nothing like the twisties.

Bucolic observations

The guy cutting the neighbor’s hay (not the neighbor, he’s in his 90s and now delegates this chore) must have a day job, as I only hear him in the field in the evenings. Like now.

The hay quality is pretty poor, but he must find it worth it, as it takes a pass to cut and windrow the hay, and another pass to bale it, plus driving about the field wrangling the bales—big, round ones, and taking them to…market?…to his cattle? That’s a fair amount of fuel.

Retro strategies

Retro chevy PU

Laundry day means laundry and gro-shopping, all in one speedy 35 minute window (plus drive time). These days all we do at the ’dro is wash ($5 per triple load; we did two), then bring the damp fabric piles home to hang out. [Yay for MaNachur’s dry cycle.] We don’t have much line, so we used convoluted algorithms for carefully doubling up the sheets (old country technique).

Or both


Bright this morning, but hazier as the day went on. I couldn’t tell if it was a “normal” weather pattern or the smoke.

Road sign, plus

Road sign, heh. A bird’s dust bath. Must have been darned energetic to clear away that much gravel.

I’ll throw this in. A double-wedge of illumination on the swamp ditch, plus artsy tree branches.

I can tell the sun’s moving away from full summer mode. The low angle light in the morning continues much later. Which I appreciate in my attempt to walk in shadow.

Evening activity

In the interest of doing things differently once in a while, I took my walk this evening and enjoyed the protection of long shadows from the westing sun. I also scared up three groups of deer. This group—two does, two large fawns—crossed the road at a fast pace, digging into the moist sandy deposits along this stretch of road. The deer weren’t that large, and the depth is an indication of their speed.

Splish splash

Rain rain rain…overnight and into the morning. Not a deluge, but enough that the ditches filled in the swamp, and water backed up onto the road in this low spot.

I think this is a trapper bridge, but maybe it’s a fisherperson bridge. In either case, it crosses the opposite ditch at another spot and it’s now almost submerged.

No rain predicted overnight; it’s a good thing. And to think, just the other day I was planning to save the dish water for outdoor plants unless it rained.

Air quality

Overnight rain. This honeysuckle (probably non-native) is already fruiting.

Another view of the odd skies the smoke is producing. More rain expected after midnight.

Tree tales

The story here: I spotted many “black”birds congregated in the top branches of this dead elm. But. I took so long fumbling with the phone to get the camera on and pointed, that many flew off to the left. Another time.

Here I attempted to capture the visual contrast of the darkness under the trees, and the light in the distance in an open meadow(?). I like that dark under zone, which really isn’t well illustrated here.

Update: The haze I reported on Monday is Rocky Mountain fire smoke, even though I couldn’t smell smoke (too high? too dissipated?). It was even hazier today. Still no smoke smell.