Yesterday was an amber morning here at Goose Lake. The sun came up mellow. There was no wind. Ducks quietly drew lines across the water like they were solving a geometry problem. The breakfast room table became part of the landscape.
I learned that the new edition of SOMETHING ABOUT THE AUTHOR is out. The editor sent me a pdf of my article in it. The book costs $245 so I’m afraid it won’t find its way into many homes!
I spent the morning working on a new story. It stinks, but not as much as it stank when I started. In the afternoon I did a school visit and told the kids my story stinks but it’s only the fourth draft and has a long way to go. My goal today is to make it start smelling better, maybe even good.
It’s that time of year when migrating birds sometimes pause around Goose Lake on their way to winter quarters. Yesterday a band of robins stopped in our back yard for a while to drink from small pools of water accumulated from a recent shower. Some took a quick bath while they had a chance. One, I was sorry to see, broke its neck flying into one of our windows and died on the patio.
Mixed in with the robins were other kinds of birds. I don’t know if they were traveling together all the way but it looked that way. I saw three blue jays and three other species that I couldn’t identify for sure. I needed Sneed Collard to tell me what they were. One might have been a cedar waxwing and another, maybe, was a brown-headed cowbird. There was another kind of jay-looking bird that had a tufted crown but was light tan colored. I think another could have been a lark bunting.
Whatever these strangers were, I’ve never seen them in our yard before so I assume they we passing through with the robins. Some robins migrate as much as one thousand miles to reach climes where they can switch from their usual summer diet of worms to a winter fare of fruit. Maybe their travel mates read the same brochures. Too bad that one of the group got no father than Goose Lake.
Standing in the pool yesterday a slight movement under a chair caught my eye. I got as close as I could and made out a spider the size of a speck of lint busily weaving a web. I’ve never seen anything like it. Here’s the picture but you can’t see the minute weaver at work. As I watched, it ran out its attachment lines to form the basic foundation. Then it began going around the center in quick circles to tie it all together.
I wondered what kind of prey such a tiny creature could manage and decided it might handle a midge. The midges are beginning to show up now and many are attracted to the pool. I’ve had my first bite of the season. You go, little thing. We need you on that wall!
Into every home owner’s life some problems must enter now and then. At the moment, our place needs attention. When a tree cutter came out to remove the hackberry that fell in our back yard, his heavy equipment ruptured a buried pipe, probably part of the sprinkler system. Now the ground bleeds water so I’ve called our sprinkler folks to come find and repair the leak.
Mortar in our chimney has decayed in spots so that a heavy rain with wind from a certain direction presents us with water on the hearth. A mason is here with scaffolding onto the roof and is fixing the problem. When he finishes, we have a roofer standing by to replace several places where sun has found its way among shingles and destroyed the underlying felt.
Meanwhile, our pool has developed a problem caused by the loss of casing around the heating element in the furnace, exposing copper that is chemically binding with free chlorine to cause high acidity. We have someone coming out to replace the element and exchange the silica sand in the filtering tank with new.
The in-pool vacuum device can’t work anymore because somewhere under the house the original pipe transporting water from the filtering system to the pool has malfunctioned. For two or three years we’ve relied on an electric robot you have to plug into an outdoor outlet and drop into the water. We’re on our third one and each has been worse than the one prior. I have a plumber coming out to crawl around under the house to search for the problem pipe and fix it so we can go back to the original system.
Our gorgeous cherry tree in the front yard has been dying for two years and we’re near the time when we’ll have to take it out and replace it. It has been one of the prettiest trees I’ve ever seen when it blooms in spring. And remember our old timer globe locust near the driveway? I’ve shown you pictures before and have written about it several times but here it is again. Lately the gallant old gent has been leaning more than ever toward our neighbor’s yard and it’s a matter of time, I think, before we’ll be saying goodbye to it too.
Seems like a lot of stuff happening at once, but they’re all fixable and the sooner we get them behind us the better, he sighed manfully.