Shortly before a recent stretch of rain drove the focus on projects and diversions inside the house, I managed to get out with a friend for a bit of meandering through the woods and fields. There was a portion of the trail that took one along a fence and out into an open space that evoked a tremendous feeling of déjà vu. It wasn’t the exact spot in particular, but a general vibe overall.
One lone buzzard was cruising low in the sky. When we stopped at the top of a hill to rest, it circled closely a number of times in order to check us out. I joked that we should probably keep moving so it would know we were alive.
This brought on yet another “working on a highway road crew memory” that actually made me laugh. There was a particular laborer – I will call him Floyd – that I used to occasionally flag with, who was probably one of the least animated people you would ever see. Somewhat hunched, he would stand with his flag and two-way radio, basically motionless the entire day, except to periodically raise a cigarette to his lips. He had a grayish pallor to his weathered face and wasn’t much for conversation, although his overall demeanor was not unfriendly. While stopping traffic with his flag, he would remain immobile, barely moving his arm. When he halted the cars on his end, he would drawl into the radio with a voice like gravel, “Bring ’em on”.
We often worked out in rural areas, where every so often the turkey buzzards would circle around in search of road kill. When they orbited around Floyd and his extremely lifeless demeanor – which happened often enough to warrant comment – everybody would break up into hysterics. In reference to his funereal appearance, one of the guys quipped “If you dressed him up in a suit they would probably start shoveling dirt over him”. When the buzzards are wheeling through the sky, I often can’t help but think of Floyd and I still smile over it.
On the subject of wildlife, as usual, spring brings along birth and abundance. There is a fox den behind my daughter’s house. The mother hunts day and night, back and forth, bringing morsels for her cubs.
A few weeks ago the litter finally emerged – there are six very active little ones. As they have become bolder, their antics have provided some entertainment through their exploration. Their mother provides constant oversight – she must be exhausted! They enjoy pulling down and batting the lower branches of the hydrangea bushes, jumping and rolling all over each other, playing tug of war with the strap on the trail cam. They bound up to the front door to check out what is on the front step and then bounce away. They like to walk along the wooden edge of the play area, single file, in a game of “follow the leader”. The kits have also discovered and are enjoying my granddaughter’s playhouse and water table in the back yard, actually stealing some of her small toys and taking their prizes back to their den.
It’s a lot of work to feed all those hungry mouths. I’m glad to see both parents working to provide for them. I have a special affinity for the fox and have felt joy while watching their antics.
In a more domestic vein, my neighbor’s ducks have been laying up a storm, resulting in a large number of both chicken and duck eggs being bestowed upon me.
The most recent spate of rainy days provided the incentive to stay in and get down to some kitchen domestics. It seemed a prudent idea to incorporate as many of those eggs as possible into meals. So far, the duck eggs have found their way into a “use up everything leftover in the refrigerator” quiche, a breakfast Dutch Baby, some French toast and an extremely decadent, rich chocolate mousse. It was the first time I ever made mousse with duck eggs – it definitely made the consistency more “poofy”. Maybe I’ll use some for brownies next. I’m contemplating making carbonara too. I love spaghetti alla carbonara.
While on the topic of food, being indoors for the long, wet hours was an incentive to make another batch of yogurt, put up the next jar of Moroccan preserved lemons, and bake another tray of granola. Since being on this mad kitchen roll, I made a Thai red curry butternut squash and leek soup that turned out really, really well. I know this is most likely a temporary burst of energy. The alternative is that this place needs vacuuming, a chore I sure dislike…..any diversion to doing it is welcome.
Out in the woods, it’s ramp and nettle season. In some places the mushrooms are starting to appear again. The rain has made the area especially fecund.
On the flora front, there have been many lovelies; trees in full blossom with pops of cream, snowy white, carnation, magenta, and ruby red Japanese maples, like jewels amidst the vibrating green. And the lilacs are in bloom! A gardener neighbor shared some of their extra bee balm and a very tiny offshoot from their lilac tree, which I planted in front of the house. I imagine it will take many years until it ever gets large enough to produce flowers or make any kind of show. In the meantime, while walking down the street with the dog, whenever I pass a lilac bush I have to stop and inhale the scent like a drug. The neighbors are probably saying, “Here comes that flower-sniffing old lady and her dog again”.
All day the sky has been moody, filled with shifting, pregnant clouds, constantly alternating between light and dark – shots of bright sunshine, a small rain shower which quickly dries up, a fleeting patch of blue that vanishes ten minutes later, then another sprinkling. I have welcomed the indoor downtime that the excuse of rain has provided. My shoulder has been hurting, most likely from last week’s weeding, making the unintended, guilt-free rest welcome. The upcoming week looks like it should be nice, perhaps providing the opportunity for a little more yard cleanup, some visiting, and getting outdoors in general. New growth will be emerging, no doubt providing more views to observe and report from The Urban Porch ™ too.
Trying again to post.
Lilacs. A drug I have been without for 18 years. Apparently one can grow lilacs here. Husband-Person knows I adore them – even weep for them, but keeps turning down my requests saying “we have nowhere for them to grow”.
In the first spring in our new houses in NY he planted a lilac bush on Mothers Day.
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Hopefully a corner can be found to accommodate that dream