Monday, July 23, 2018

Posts may be spotty as my dad is quite ill. I'll be in touch soon.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Today is my 27th wedding anniversary. That's a long time to be hanging out with the same guy, but here we are: still eating popsicles, watching Star Trek, and falling asleep on the couch together.

I've got a band gig tonight in Skowhegan, at Bigelow Brewing Company. Then tomorrow Tom and I will be in Monson because he's got photos in a show opening at the new arts center. Our friend Steve Cayard will have one of his birchbark canoes in the show as well. So you should come up and see their good stuff.

In other news, yesterday I finished my tenth new poem.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A photo of the forest fire situation near Temagami, Ontario

Last night, I got a note from my younger son, who's been incommunicado in Ontario, where he works at a wilderness canoe camp. It turns out he's smack in the middle of a giant firefighting operation. Forest fires are rampant in that area of the province, and Temagami, the town closest to his base camp, is particularly at risk. He says the camp itself is not in danger, but of course all of their local canoe trips have been affected, given road, river, and forest closures. Plus, there's the general anxiety of being responsible for the well-being of all of those campers. He sounds exhausted.

So that's a new worry. Nobody wants their kid to be in a forest fire. But now that he's got wifi again, I guess I can tell him about our downburst damage. We can swap awful tree stories.

At the moment, however, Portland is serene. Yesterday I planted two blueberry bushes in the front yard, washed a load of sheets, and submitted some poems to journals. Nothing fell over or caught on fire.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

After last week's downburst mess, I was nervous about yesterday's severe thunderstorm forecast. But as it turned out, we ended up with the best possible scenario: hours and hours of steady rain and almost no wind. So after getting a batch of editing finished, I spent my rainy day sitting on the couch and revising yet another new poem. This makes nine. Nine! I can't believe I'm still rolling.

Today the yard and garden are green and wet. Everything looks joyous. I'm planning to hang sheets on the line, mow some grass, do some weeding, run some errands. Maybe write poem number ten. A new editing project is due to me by the end of the week, and then my writing honeymoon will be over. But no one can say I've wasted my time. [Actually, many people could say it, and most people probably would.]

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I struggle to concentrate on my daily routine when the so-called leader of my nation is blithely burbling treason. I muck around with my little garden projects; I frost a cake; I make a pot of coffee for friends. But the man is a terrifying, fawning, narcissistic idiot. It's hard to avoid comparisons to Mussolini.

Anyway, here's the cake I made.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A faint and foggy morning. I wish it would rain, but the forecast says no. Today I get to loll around at the auto shop waiting for a state inspection and an oil change, and then I get to come home and bake a chocolate birthday cake for a dear young person. One of these things is better than the other.

My new garden bed is now complete, at least dimension-wise, for I have run out of compost-mulch. Already I've been able to transplant a few sad iris roots into fresh digs. At some point this week I will wander off to a nursery and see what other perennials I can find/afford.

I did zero writing over the weekend, which was just as well. My body needed some action. Something poem-like may happen today, in between car inspection and cake baking and floor washing. I'm still waiting for editing projects to return to me; I've got a band gig on Friday; distractions are heating up. But that doesn't mean the poems are dead.

And I need to find something to read.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Yesterday Tom and I crammed two loads of storm-damaged branches into a borrowed pickup, and he hauled them off to the dump. Then he came home and worked on the desk he's building, and I made some progress on a garden reclamation project.

On a strip of ground on one side of our driveway, some long-ago homeowner once tried to establish a perennial garden, even going so far as to make a stone stairway between our driveway and the neighbors'. But the plot has been neglected for years and is now a horrible mess of goldenrod, nightshade, burdock, maple saplings, rocks, and tree roots. For the past couple of months I have been keeping the weeds in check with a trimmer, and in the process I've uncovered some pathetic lilies and iris, a few unhappy rosebushes, and a limp peony. Now I've begun the next stage of garden recovery: spreading wheelbarrow loads of the compost-mulch I've been cooking since last fall. The mixture combines new soil from my two compost bins with last year's fallen maple leaves, which I had raked into a corner of the backyard and have been turning from time to time. My goal is to gradually spread a thick layer of the mixture on this ugly strip of ground, thus creating manageable and arable beds while suppressing the ferocious weeds. It's what a friend calls the pancake-makeup approach to gardening.

When I told Tom last fall that I was planning to keep all of the leaves that fell off our trees--and the trees are enormous, so there are many, many leaves--he was not enthusiastic, but he didn't argue. Still, I clung to what I hoped would be a good idea, though I wasn't sure the leaves would break down fast enough to be useful . . . or that I could get them out of the pile before the next batch of autumn detritus arrived. Yet here I am, less than a year later, with yards of fine free soil.

Chainsaws and giant compost piles: who knew how handy country-honed skills would be in the city?

Plus, after we finished working, we tidied up and took a long sweet walk into town for one of the best dinners out I've had in quite a while.

We're doing okay here.