Sunday, May 23, 2010

Whatever happened to March and April?

If to be is to blog, I stopped being for three months. How did that happen? I went on a world conference-art-travel blitz, burning aviation fuel as if flying was about to go dodo. I went to Baton Rouge, Richmond, San Francisco, Bangladesh, England, Tasmania, Richmond (again), and Chicago - all in three months, while teaching too. YB became the home base I took for granted, and ignored. Waldo settled in with a new family, Miss Jean Brodie and Steely Dan Thoreau stopped being feral cats, and settled into a life of rodent control in the barn, ducks Daphne and Bellerophon survived with some unknown anti-coyote strategy (perhaps the coyotes know Bs reputation - "slayer of monsters"), the goats continued to ebb and flow reproductively, and in the Great Rain that flooded Nashville, the lake and pond here filled up like never before. Snapping turtles now sunbathe on the upturned blue duck-motel that floats on the pond - my unappreciated safe-haven for the ducks.

Not only did I stop blogging for three months, I also missed the start of the gardening season. No early tomatoes in pots etc. - and this in the first season of my new raised beds (courtesy of Daniel and Audrey) and the other beds dressed with leaves and horse manure. I bought half a doz each of Lemon Boy and Bradley tom plants (mistaking the latter for Brandywine, an heirloom beefsteak variety, but they seem also to be an oldtime favorite), and buried them deep in the first raised bed. [It was a mistake, but I welcome the unintended, as Derrida said we could welcome Lefebure, a surname resulting from a mistranscription of Lefebvre, which actually means something (smith/metal worker)]. Now I have bought cheap packets of most of the usual suspects: eggplant, zucchini, cantaloupe, water melon, squash, yellow and green beans, arugula (yeah!)[= rocket, in England], green pepper, carrots, beets, other veggies, basil, and various flowers. I will try to get them in tonight, in the cool of the evening. For my sake and their's.

I ran over a 4'+ long snake yesterday that had already been run over, just down the drive. It has dark red saddle splotches on an off-white background. Google identified it for me as a corn snake. I have always assumed that it was so named because it lived in corn fields. But the more usual explanation is that 'corn' refers to the checkerboard pattern of black and white squares on its underbelly, resembling the alternation of corn kernels. This snake is essential a small rodent constrictor. I was told that dead snakes can still bite, just as headless chickens can run (but can their heads squark?). This one, having been run over twice, was too dead for that. And they are apparently gentle souls when alive, unless you are a mouse, on the receiving end of a 'big hug'.

After lunch, I chanced upon a largish low flat light-brown animal scooting towards my house. Google research suggests it was a groundhog (Marmota monax) aka a woodchuck or whistle-pig, and in some areas a land-beaver.

The major event today was the return of Heliotrope from Richmond, my 36' diameter sunflower-shaped floating sculpture. Jay and Steve retrieved it - 600 miles each way. They started out with my black truck and trailer, but had to turn round and trade trucks after 50 miles with spewing transmission fluid and black smoke giving a big thumbs down. I will float it in the lake here - putting it out to pasture, so to speak.

Yellow Bird is a grand project with many dimensions. I need to bring in more energy (people) to make it all happen. Apply within.