Thursday, January 12, 2023

Being Swampwise




 The small gray dog in the large dog bed is my mother's former dog. She now is mine and has joined my two primary dogs. The large black pit bull is content with the small bed. And yes, the small dog bosses her. I'm down to six dogs and both of these females are the boss dogs. The large dog is the real boss. It is funny how they meet up outside and do the dog version of a high five. 

It certainly is a new year and direction in my life. I told my siblings which live with me that none of us are making big decisions for awhile and that includes me. I've been organising some of the closets. We are fully stocked with alcohol gel, rubbing alcohol, peroxide and Gold Bond lotion.  Most of that clutter in the photo has gone to Happy Hour Service Center to use in their group homes. Now why does that part of the room still look so messy?

I've been packing up my mother's clothes. She has a lot of nice stuff. We were huge bargain hounds and stocked. When I retired, I felt ashamed at how many clothes I had bought. Of course all of it was at terrific prices, black slacks and the like. I did give away a great deal. I will be donating many more. We have more than we need. I'm just not ready. Plus my mother wore a smaller size and I have been losing weight. 

I made some boiled cookies over the holidays and it has put a craving on me for more. So I am resisting the urge to make more and hopefully this will lessen my desire to eat them. In a nutshell, this is why I have sworn off sugar before. One thing I know about having Diabetes 2 is that a sign of it being out of whack is craving sweets. In the past I have just eaten what I craved in that I would usually lose my taste for it. But I have a doctor's appointment soon and I have no idea what my A1c number is. 

During November, I had a hectic schedule with my mom in the hospital. I spent the night at the hospital to manage my mother's fears and sometimes the workers waking her up at 3 am to do labs. There was one who suggested I hold my mother down while she drew blood. I declined her offer. 

The young nurse who was in charge asked me why not since my mother had dementia. I said nothing to her. But when I gathered my thoughts, my ideas for the perfect answer would have been "how about gently waking my mother up and gently telling her what you need and instead of  flipping on the lights and grabbing my mother's arm within seconds of entering the room". Like my mother, I am reluctant to give life to harsh thoughts. The next night the same nurse met me in the hallway and told me I could stop any treatment of my mother during the night. I did not tell her my thoughts which were "You are damn right about that." Some thoughts don't take a lot of time.

By December, my mom was in hospice. I told her she never had to go to the hospital again. I was lucky in being able to hire a woman that my mother liked to sit with her during the day so I could tend to the others and have a little break. I have no idea what I ate. I did take most of my meds. Time had a life of it's own. 

From what I have read, carrying the gene for Diabetes 2 has to do with an adaptation for tolerating cold. After being diagnosed, I realised my dad had three siblings who had diabetes. I don't know that I could have totally prevented the disease. My two older brothers have had diabetes and they maintained a normal weight their entire life. I could write a book on what I shoulda, coulda. But not making boiled cookies is a good restart.

The irony is I can easily skip breakfast, pick at the serious food I prepare and love vegetables. Depending on the time of day, I can resist cake and the like. But late at night, bring on the chips or more likely saltine crackers. I feel fortunate that I can afford vegetables to eat. I may get my ducks in a row and start a reasonably sized garden. 

In the beginning I could control my diabetes with not eating and moving more. Now, I go out and work hard, get hot and my blood sugar is high. That is aggravating. I have always liked working in the yard. Oh well, I have been pretty good since the first of the year. Hopefully that will be enough. It is humiliating telling the doctor. Well, I have been irresponsible and took care of my health like a errant teenager. When my sister had a stroke, I ate a pack of peanut m&m candies every night for supper. At the doctors, they bragged on how good my A1c was. Maybe I will get lucky this time.  

2022 was filled with death for me. Many people I knew passed. On January 9th, 2023 Dick Flood who was known by many school children as Okefenokee Joe passed. He was 90 and his leaving made me think of my mother. He entered the VA hospital in Augusta in late November where he stayed until his passing.

I was lucky in getting to know Dick Flood. I knew him on an acquaintance level. I first saw Okefenokee Joe during a school program. I was in my mid-thirties. I remember the story he shared where his worst bite was from a woman. At the time, I thought a woman had actually bit him. Later, I learned it was from a divorce. He had been married several times. He never liked anyone to describe snakes as sneaky. Snakes weren't sneaky, people were.

One thing he always taught children was to be swampwise. This is a program that has been shared on Georgia Public Television. The program has been well watched. And like many creatives, he never made any money off of it. I did notice he had written a book so I ordered it.

This is the link to the video.

Swampwise - Okefenokee Joe


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Saturday, December 24, 2022

 I have read mine and a few other people's share of the gossip of Harry and Meghan in the wake of Queen Elizabeth's passing. Apparently Camilla snorted her tea when Harry suggested family counseling. The story made me realize a lot of the news of the royal family are sheer fabrications. Not that I haven't snorted some tea. It just happens so rarely as you mature. And who would have shared that tidbit? If you are having a royal family row, you really need to be able to trust the help that are within earshot.

Harry is following the path of many second and third sons who moved to North America to make a life of their own. Sadly, feeding the best bits to the first born and leaving nothing to the second and third born is unfair. I can see why such a book would sell. It is the sort of book that you would snort your tea when you consider the wisdom of writing it. 

There is a sadness to family problems. Everyone who has any family has them. In my income level, people air their dirty laundry on Facebook or Twitter for free.. I've never read any of the royal  biographies unless you count the Beatles. If I had a better memory you would be impressed with what information I have uncovered about the Fab Four. 

Long ago I had a friend who came from a prominent family. According to her, no one had mental illness, no one was an alcoholic, no one was developmentally delayed. No one had packed the family up to move with that night's dinner a live chicken being held in a paper bag on grandma's knee.. Her family was indeed exceptional. Everyone was a professional with college degrees. 

In Georgia, most of the people of Scottish descent are related. When they settled Georgia, the Scots had like 15 children and those 15 children had their 15. Eventually, it was hard to avoid a cousin. Anyone new to the region had a suitor. This friend had an aunt that did geneology. We were there connected to her. In the back of my mind, I thought loudly, well you just did not know your family well enough. I am kin to some wonderful accomplished people with feet of clay. 

My mother passed in her sleep in the early morning hours of December 24th, I can understand why King Charles was particular who came to the death of Queen Elizabeth. There is no handbook in how to handle death, grief or confusion about what you should or should not do.  Being a monarch does not shield you from death and it's processes. There are some things best left unshared. 

Usually my mother was rather quiet as she conversed with all of us living and dead. It was like dreaming out loud. Mom had stopped eating about two weeks ago. But she loved her ice water. I woke up around 3:30 am and realized there had been no request for ice water. At first I thought she was sleeping. I got up to check her. As much as I knew what had happened, there is disbelief. I sat down before rechecking my mother. Initially I was going to wait until daybreak to call hospice. Our well had frozen and I needed to hook up the heater in the well house. 

At 5:30 am I called hospice for the on call nurse to come out and pronounce my mother dead. I woke up my siblings and they gathered before the nurse came. There was some tears. We are having a hard freeze like most of the rest of the country. My dad passed during an unusual snow and hard freeze on December 18, 2000. My sister had a birthday yesterday and I suspect that is what my mother had waited on.

By daybreak. My mother had been pronounced dead. I helped the nurse get my mother cleaned up. As the nurse tied up details with paperwork, I went outside to put a heater in my well house. The nurse told me goodbye in the backyard. The funeral home would be by within an hour. After my mother was taken, I checked the well house. The well did not unthaw until the afternoon. It could have been earlier. I went to sleep after cooking dinner. We did not have water until after I woke up around 4 PM.                                                                                                                                                    

For Harry and Meghan, it is not that their trials and tribulations are unimportant. It is more that they have been blessed with a lot in their lives. They are in the right country. Personally, I think it would be really cool for Archie or Lillibet to grow up to become President or Secretary of State and their first cousin be King. I was disappointed to read there is a conspiracy theory connected to that. Some folks know how to ruin all of the fun. 

When I was a child, I was glad Prince Charles was not married. After reading the blue book of fairy tales, the red book of fairy tales and the green book of fairy tales in second grade it was a very real possibilty that he would marry me. The original fairy tales could be much darker stories than what Disney sells. In the original story of the Little Mermaid, the Little Mermaid is turned to sea foam. As ridiculous as the idea that a young American girl would grow up and marry the future King of England was. You would think the ominous nature of some of fairy tales would have given me caution. 

One thing I plan to do after my mother's funeral is to write down as many of her stories she has shared with me during my life. The title tenatively is, "Have I told you how I met my husband." I don't plan to publish it. These are ordinary stories of an ordinary life. We all have stories. Some of them more tragic than others.

Then I will tackle an inept person who gets carried away with conspiracy theories in one of the stories I have been working on. . 

Conspiracy theories are darker than fairy tales.The conspiracy theories I have heard have more plot holes and are a bit more far fetched than the average fairy tale. I always have more ideas on stories than I could really write or anyone could write. But a conspiracy spoof parady or a character that gets real excited over a conspiracy theory. Have him (you know a woman would not be that stupid "Ha" just kidding) go on a Don Quixote type mission inspired by his theory. Then, he does something really good accidentally and the conspiracy theory falls to dust by the conclusion. 

Meanwhile, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah. Yule, Bodhi,  Dimwali this December holiday season brings. The New Year is nigh.


  


Saturday, December 10, 2022

 It is late October and the morning air feels crisp and bright. I always let the wildflowers (weeds) grow tall along my drive way to enjoy the false foxglove, golden rod, rabbit tobacco, wild daisies, dog fennel and sedge grass in bloom. The goldenrod is fading and the false foxglove is going to seed. Nearby I hear dogs barking. My dogs pay them no mind.  A rifle is fired; hunting season is here. 

The deer hang out on my property during hunting season. We did not get any muscadine grapes this year. A doe and her twins ate them all. They were so dang efficient. I grew enough for the wildlife and me. But not enough for that doe and her children. I'll mow a wee bit this month and the turkeys will hang out when turkey season begins. 

We have a large buck that grazes in my yard. When my chihuahua mixes come out. He doesn't stop or look up. When he sees me, he continues. But when my bulldog comes with me, he skips out of sight. One time two of my dogs cornered a deer. Both dogs suffered a great deal of boxing. One had to stay indoors for about a week to convalesce . Apparently, it was horrible. 

I feel a bit jealous when I look at Japanese gardens and landscapes. They are so immaculate. We have very little of that. Calloway gardens are nearby and I don't go there as often as I could. I get very few stretches of time. I do plan to make a plan to go. We live in a warm humid climate for the most part. I use the months of November to February to try to keep my small piece of woodland under control close to my house. The rest of my yard is fairly wild. I used to keep a nice path mowed.

I don't like the idea of zoos. What the big pity is that some endangered animals still exist because of zoos. I decided to do a quick web search and there were many animals of which I had not heard of that no longer existed in the wild. The one I found the most interesting was the wild horse. It was not an ancestor  but more of a cousin of the domesticated horse. The wild horses in North America are actually feral domesticated horses. 

The wild horse which is called the Przewalskis horse is threatened with extinction. It's numbers were decimated in that hunters hunted them for food and with rifles, they hunted them too well. They are using zoo stocks of the horse to reintroduce these creatures to China, Mongolia, and Kyzakhstan.  More Info: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/przewalskis-horse.

Deer were reintroduced in many states including Georgia. They were overhunted until their numbers were very low around 1925. The reintroduction began in 1925 when there might have been about 20,000. In 1975, the population of white tailed deer was about 250,000. 

My mom used to like to see her dad leave with a rifle. They would be eating meat that night. My favorite story is how her dad brought home a turtle and her mom butchered and cooked it. People were so resourceful. My mom was born in 1930. When I told her about deer being reintroduced, she said that made sense in that she did not remember them in her Northeast Alabama childhood.

My mother started leaving this world on November 2nd. Dementia reared it's head. One night it is just a very tiny black kitten. Another night I had to throw an evil man out of the bedroom. I open the door to the bedroom and order him out. The normally obedient dogs just look at me from their beds. Hospice has begun. I've met the charge nurse. Tomorrow is her first follow up. A social worker and a chaplain came this past Monday. I'm very grateful. I had promised my mom that she no longer had to go to the hospital or meet with any doctors. About a week ago, she asked for a bag of corn chips which she munched as the rest of us gathered in her room ate our snacks. It was a small and final moment. Now she sips a bit of water late in the evening and no longer eats. 

My family has been very lucky. Sarah, the younger sister of my childhood friend has been coming and helping us out with sitting with my mother. People give me much more credit than I deserve for my caregiving. I truly am losing my best friend in life. I've had my clashes with my mother and it is damn difficult to take care of an elderly parent. .When dementia settles in, it is vicious. Add to that, like your siblings, your mother knows how to push your buttons. One night I look over at her and she is giving me a look which is not friendly. In her hand is a bank envelop. I looked in the envelop several days later, It is about six hundred dollars. I've had control of my mother's money for over twenty years. 

I have resented having to take care of my mother and handicapped siblings at times. In later years, I have learned it was a privilege. Now that my mother is in the process of passing, I'm surprised to know my taking care of my mother was more from having a deep relationship with her and not so much as my duty to my mother. While Sarah was watching my mother, I took my siblings to the nail salon and then to eat Chinese food. We had five dogs in the car. While riding in the car, I had to tell them to be prepared mentally for our mother passing. We may witness some unpleasant things. 

The suddenness has been crushing and the not knowing how this will playout leaves me stunned. You hold out hope and then you just look at what is going to happen no matter what. When the nurse spoke of a natural death, I winced. Walking down my driveway at twilight, the moon was rising full and orange. It was truly a beautiful sight. You would think in your grief that the world would be quiet and disappear from view.

Today, my widowed mother asked me about what my father wanted. From what she has said to many, clearly my father was what she loved most in life. During her first hospital stay this month, a nurse came in and asked her how she was feeling. My mother replied, "Have I told you how I met my husband?" All the stories are going with her. 92 years is a heck of a life to live. There is never enough time, eh?  




Thursday, October 27, 2022

Deep thoughts when I ought to be dreaming.


 What is it about 3 am. I'm awake. I remember when I was younger, I could really do some sleeping. All I had to do was lay my head on my pillow and I was out until the alarm rang and I used the snooze button usually one too many times.. 

What surprises me the most is that I function quite well on about four hours of sleep. I can't do that every night. But one or two nights a week and I am fine. However, if I sit down in a chair around 5 PM, I fall into a deep sleep until about 10 PM.. 3 am rolls around before I can fall sleep. I would get up and get busy but I don't want to stir the house up. 

If I fall asleep before say midnight, I sleep all night. My big problem is I have to unwind to go to sleep. With caregiving, you are on a unpredictable schedule. My big goal every day is to cook a good meal and to keep the dishes clean. I try to do one thing to get the clutter down in our home. Sometimes I am awake because I am mentally checking off what I will do the next day. Ridiculous, I know. I always made a list of what I needed to do to be prepared for the next day. The problem now is I stay awake making that list knowing dang well I am not going to do a fourth of what I plan. 

We are five packrats. Every week, I throw something away. It is a slow process because I guess I am a hoarder deep down inside. I look at things and see possibilities. Possibilities that just aren't going to happen. With Covid, people are not as keen on used items. Where I dump my recyclables, they have dumpsters for people to dump household furniture and large items. I try not to look too hard. I see good stuff in there. People throw plastic containers full of stuff. Good stuff. Good containers. I don't dare get it out. I've got trouble of my own. 

It is time I unload. We have some things that are of value. Some things have no value but have worth. I've got a building with all of one my sister's possessions when she moved in with us. I have a building of my mom's stuff. Like new Christmas decorations or at least they were when I packed them. Twenty years in storage can age things in a bad way. 

photo of nursing chair from the early 1800s
I retrieved a nursing chair out of a pile of garbage in front of a home in my childhood neighborhood. My parents had lived in the neighborhood about 50 years. Someone had cleared an attic. I took the chair to the antique roadshow. When the Keno brothers joked about what sort of rodent had chewed part of the deer hide seat, I knew it was worthless. The chair dated from the early 1800s. There is no market. I still have the chair. I can picture the woman who probably used it. The back legs were shortened so that they could lean back. I think of the woman who saved the chair. They probably had memories of their mother or grandmother. 

I would have returned the chair to the people who had lived in the house. I don't think they were the folks who put the chair in the attic. They were known to rent and lived in different houses in the neighborhood. Plus, they discarded the chair. Something like that needs to be displayed proudly So the kids will know what it is. 

One thing that I have heard from older people is how hard they had to work every day to get by. I remember ironing clothes. The perma press clothes we have now shake out to be perfectly presentable. When a load of laundry is done, I pop it in the dryer. I remember my mom hung clothes out on a line to dry. My dad teased me about getting me a solar clothes dryer (a clothes line). I now wish I had moved the clothesline posts to my new home when I moved my mom. 

My mother remembers when her Aunt Ludy bought a wringer washer which made their washdays so much easier. They no longer boiled some clothes and used a scrub board to wash some items. But the wringer washer did not have a spin cycle, You had to run the clothes through the two rollers to wring your clothes out. Hopefully no one dumps a wringer washer. I definitely don't need one. And yes, I would try to drag it home. 

The lottery got up to over a billion dollars. I bought tickets. We all speculated what we would do with such a handsome sum of money. One sister wanted me to hire her a personal assistant. The other was going to buy my house and the land behind me. Mom and I wanted to build another house with a large bedroom, bathroom and walk in closet for each of us. My brother probably would like us to buy an antique car. With that money, I could fund a lot of animal rescues, help a lot of people out of poverty. After I thought of all that, I was not that disappointed in not winning. That is a lot work deciding who to parcel money out to. Throwing your bread on the water is serious work.. More than I can handle I suppose. 

It is fun to dream. I could have opened up the Lady Diana doll museum. I'll write that fantasy in time. It should help with any insomnia you may be experiencing. ;=)

And if I could go to sleep earlier, I really could do some dreaming. lol  My mom is awake now. We resemble zombies staring at a Perry Mason show. I'm studying the old Perry Mason Show. The dead body shows up around 19 minutes after the hour. I don't know how many minutes that is without commercials. In the middle of the night, These are some of the deep thoughts I contemplate. I hope all is well with you. 



Saturday, July 16, 2022

Having your Maypops and eating them too.

 Whole lotta storms these past two weeks.. Yesterday the high was 82 which was a wonderful change from the average high of 100 degrees.. Although humid, I did a bit of yardwork. It did not take long for sweat to dampen my clothes. About 8PM I came in the house. Around 8:30, I thought I would push the mower a wee more. You have to get the maximum amount of dirty to make your shower most effective. Then I heard a heavy downpour of rain. I walked to the shower and cleaned up for the night.

When I walk I see the Maypops or Passion Fruits blooming. My mother tells how when the fruit turns brown, they are quite good. I would never know in that I see the fruit glossy and green hanging from the vines. They then just disappear. Mom tells how they make a popping noise when you step on them or throw one at another kid.  I have read the flavor for Hawaiian punch is based on a passion fruit that grows in Hawaii.


The flower is quite pretty but not so exotic as to grow them. Although they are native, they are also invasive and hard to control. My entire front pasture has them. Since some butterfly species use them as a nursery for their young and the animals that I share my yard with eat them. They are good.


I never cut all of my front pasture and certainly don't cut it during the summer. One thing I enjoy is walking around the front pasture during the gloaming and listening to the birds that live on the ground settling down for the night. This morning, there was a drizzle of rain and the sun was out. I jumped when I first saw a black King snake with small gold markings in the grass by my drive. The dogs and two cats who make the walk each morning did not take notice. I knew the cats had to know it was there. They don't miss much.





I would not dare to walk across this tangle of plants without a good pair of snake boots on. We do have rattle snakes. 


Taking care of my elderly mother has moved to a different level this past year. I spend the night in her room. Most nights she sleeps all night. I see her wake up during the night and check to make sure I am there. One night she was awake and angry. That morning she chastised me for telling people she was crazy. This all goes back to an incident with her seeing some kittens that did not exist. 

I decided to not pretend to see them.  We may cross that bridge one day. But now, a visit to the doctor was needed. They are doing a brain scan to check her out. I am not sure what they are checking for. I am guessing evidence of a minor stroke or plaque in the brain to diagnose Alzheimer's. We don't have Alzheimer's in the family but dementia does occur late in life. One of my aunts had mild dementia her last couple of years. This aunt was a very bright woman in her day.

Fortunately mom no longer sees the kittens and has decided I have not been gossiping about her. I understand where I get my sense of pride. She doesn't like I told the doctor what is wrong but as I told her, they can't treat you if they don't know the symptoms. I'm hoping they find nothing. Mom's thinking has cleared and hey late at night, I can think some wild things too.

There is so much rose colored admonitions of some truly tough parts of life. One I experience is the comment that I am lucky to have my mother. I often think of a child I taught whose mother was killed in a car accident. To lose your mom at 13 makes a difficult life. There are so few who are in your corner so solidly as your parents no matter how much they question your choices in career, spouses, child rearing, cooking.  

I'm glad to have my mother. But the duty is quite onerous. You have your mother and still enjoy being with them. You have your mother and a big part of your day revolves around keeping them tidy, making sure they have small nutritious meals which they may or may not eat, listening to very old stories and some surprising family secrets on occasion. I have enjoyed sitting more and being less busy working. 

I remember when I started this journey. My mom did not really need me. I have a developmentally delayed brother and this is why we all live together. I remember an older gentleman who shared that his mom lived with him for 26 years. I thought wow. You don't really think. The reality of life and death is nebulous in the beginning. We are on year 22. I hope we make it to 26.

My writing is  a welcome outlet. I try to not spend so much time surfing the web and writing instead. I'm a night owl and my day does not really end until about midnight. So I am wired when I first sit in the recliner that I sleep on.. I've discovered that I can play the television with sound as my mother snoozes. She doesn't have her hearing aids in. Television usually makes me conk out in no time. In a few minutes, I am sound asleep. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

It’s Hot Here.

 It has gotten so hot outside that a few people have had their tires to blow out on them. Although I think climate change is a real thing; it is normal to have very hot weather here during the summer. Last summer, there were fires and all sorts of problems out west. We had a mild summer. Temperatures rarely got out of the 80s which is unusual here. Funny how the ocean currents in the Pacific El Nino and La Nina have such an effect on our weather. 

All the same, I hate 100 degree weather.

We have had a few evening thunder storms which is typical. With central heat and air, we have a bit of a buffer between the weather outside and my memories of summer as a child. No matter where you stood in the house I grew up in, you could look out a window. Houses were built to stay cool and circulate air. I remember during the day, curtains were drawn to keep sunlight out. Windows were open to keep the air moving. Large shade trees cooled the house in the summer. 

With their leaves gone in winter, sunlight heated the house. We all gathered in the kitchen for most of day during the winter. At one time, kitchens were a separate building outside the house. So if you had a fire in the kitchen, the entire house did not burn as a result. At night you covered up well with blankets and quilts to stay warm. Bedrooms were not heated. I remember very old people who would crawl under their homes to turn water off if the temperatures were going to be below freezing for a long time. No one wanted busted pipes.

My favorite memory as a child was running around shutting the window before a storm. I always liked the wildness of the winds. My older brother's neighbors are from California. Our storms instill a lot of fear in them. I find this amazing in that California has so much natural phenomenon, our little thunderstorms don't seem to compare. It is all in what you are used to I suppose.

I have been very lucky to never experience a tornado. I've had some be close. I've slept through winds that toppled large pecan trees. The funniest story which is not that funny if you experience it was a tornado that swept through in a neighboring area. No one was hurt. There was a lot of property damage. One man was swept out of his house but unharmed. He was drunk as a skunk and barely processed what happened.

On the back of my house under the eaves, a bird called a flycatcher has build a nest. I thought they had abandoned the nest last year. I have two cats that live on my back porch. They would watch the swift bird that was nervy enough to catch flies that were attracted to their left over cat food. They suddenly disappeared before a storm last year. I worried those two cats got their young.

This year, the nest was repaired. About a week ago, the nest was bustling with four smart aleck babies. They were on the edges, spreading their wings, obviously talking bird trash. That evening we had a big storm. The birds and their babies were gone the next morning. I guess mom and pop make haste when a storm brews and the cats move to a more sheltered spot. . And moves their family.

What I enjoyed the most is that the birds can be seen sitting on a fence post and flying back to a pear tree. I wonder where they all go after the storm each year. I have seen fly catchers in my side yard. With a horse farm near by, you know we got the flies. 


Nest with babies


Friday, June 17, 2022

I'm late for a very important date.




 I am so like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. The least thing that can distract me makes me late. The other day, I was ready to go to the doctor about an hour and a half early. I jokingly told my family I would probably be late. I began to play a video game on my phone, listen to the television and talk with one of my sisters. I look up and realize, if I did not get in the car right then, I would not be on time. 

I'm boogieing on down my driveway and I find it blocked by these guys. Well this male and female snake. Snakes are not hermaphrodites. I was hoping their procreating did not last thirty minutes. They were not distracted by me walking around them and telling them they needed to find a safer place. I mean, I would never drive over them.  It would have been very troubling to me to have driven down there and found where a car had killed them. I guess the light rain on a shady area of my driveway made amor so irresistible on a hot day.





Fortunately after I got a few good photos: they separated and went in opposite directions. Nature truly understands how to hook up. Later I read they can spend up to four hours on the deed. Woo doggie, I guess I would have to cancel my doctor's appointment. Cough a few times in the phone and say I might have Covid would sound a lot better than two snakes are mating in my driveway. 

I had gotten a yardstick from my car. If they took much longer, I was going to slide it under both of them and move them to the side. 

There is a legend that snakes represent change. Earlier this year I saw a rat snake like a thick rope on the cattle fencing I have supporting some grape vines. 

The question I have is whether this change will be in addition to the normal change we all have in our lives. I mean I meant to hike the Appalachian trail in my retirement. I am pea green with envy over a friend of mine. She goes on Golden Oldies Cruises and takes a trip to the Holy Land every other year. And she openly discusses she is going to hike the Appalachian trail. I am so so jealous.

What about my slow boat to China?

Well currently my boat is tethered in Central GA to seven dogs, seven cats and four people. It is going to be an especially slow boat. Being an American, I guess China is out as a travel destination. Add to that I want to go to Mongolia and hang around. Then I want to ride the Siberian express. And Russia is definitely not the best travel destination for an American. (I worry about Brittany Griner who has been imprisoned. I do say a prayer for her.) 

My sister is taking a new medicine which upset her stomach. She is too scared to transfer to a bench into the shower. So I have a technique of washing her in her wheelchair outside. I have eight gallon milk jugs and two buckets filled with warm water to accomplish this. We were outside at 3:30 in the morning, The full moon gave a lot of light, and there was something in my front pasture wailing. From the sound of it, I suspect it was an owl and coyote mix.. 

One day I may discover it was an unusual cricket or frog.  I unlock my car door so my faithful dog can sit inside to wait on the bathing adventure to end. I suspect it could be something that my dog would be making a huge mistake tangling with. We would have gone straight into the house but the four cats hanging out with me made me feel whatever it is would stay where it was. 

In the near future, I plan to have one of my bathrooms done so I can roll a wheelchair in the shower. But meanwhile, while it is warm, well hot as hades here, we will continue the outside shower. This is one of the benefits of living off the beaten path. 

So my explorations will be bathroom renovation. Yes, I am going to do it myself with a lot of help from Youtube videos. I do plan to have plumbing service come in and install the new toilet. The big thing I am going to do is remove the present cabinet and place a small sink in there for hand washing. This will give room  focus to roll a wheelchair into the shower and to aid in the transfer from the wheelchair to a toilet. 

I'll continue my daily walks around my property. It's not the Appalachian trail. But there is a lot of nature to be appreciated. I can practice being on time. We were about thirty minutes early for my mom's doctor appointment this past week. Hooray for me!!!!!



Being Swampwise

 The small gray dog in the large dog bed is my mother's former dog. She now is mine and has joined my two primary dogs. The large black ...