The midge hunter

Hi everyone,

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!


Paradise has a crack in it

Hi everyone,

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.

August beauty

ANNOUNCEMENT: Today on Kathy Temean’s blog she’s featuring me with an essay (Why Poetry?) I wrote for Evan and Laura Robb’s blog recently. I hope you’ll visit Kathy’s blog and leave a comment if you wish. Here’s the link:

Hi everyone,

A lot of beauty on the patio this time of year thanks to a cool, rainy month instead of the usual bleaching, dry highs of 90 degrees. I took this through my dining room window. Later I noticed the ubiquitous water hose. It gets a lot of use around here so I guess it has a right to be present in the picture.

We sat outside last night and dined on pork tenderloin, salad, and broccoli. Goose Lake was a mirror. A pair of squirrels chasing each other for sport ran past our feet, a beautiful green hummingbird entertained us as it made its way from blossom to blossom around the patio, lingering at the hibiscus blooms, at one point two feet from my face. It was a serene evening. You need one of those now and then.

But I’m hungry, Mama

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I entertained myself watching a fledgling robin hanging out in a planter outside our living room. The youngster wasn’t convinced it could fly although it made some successful hop-flights here and there around the planter. The parents kept watch from surrounding trees and occasionally brought a berry or worm to keep their baby going. My pictures are poor because they were taken through the window glass and I cranked up the magnification. Symbolically, the fledgling seemed attracted to an angel sculpture in the planter.

At first the youngster didn’t know how to take that silent figure with its hand extended. In time it got over its concern and cleaned itself without regard to what the angel might think. Then it became seriously hungry and started looking around for a parent. It was a big world and hunger was an urgent matter. You could almost hear its plea: “Mama? Poppa? Where are you?” From a nearby tree, a streak of feathers, a parent was suddenly there. The exchange was so quick that I missed it a number of times. The fledgling crouched, opened its beak, the parent stuffed the morsel in, and was gone in a flash. This was the best I could do.

The swans of Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

A few days ago I posted a swan painted by Sladjana Vasic when she illustrated GOOSE LAKE: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A LAKE. Here’s her swan again but this time with the back story and poem from the book. The swans on our table inspired the poem.

Swan Lakes

One year Goose Lake was home to a pair of swans. Their days were spent in splendid togetherness, one never far from the other. Even on cloudy days their white feathers stood out like two Viking ships sailing the lake one behind the other or side by side.

The second year one of the swans became ill. Its mate remained close until the end. The sight of the dead swan on the lake made each day a day of mourning. The remaining swan left the lake and turtles profited until life eventually resumed without a trace of what once was.

Two years later the swan returned. Perhaps it was flying from lake to lake searching for its lost mate. It seemed irritable and chased the geese onto the banks. After a few days it was gone. Now and then the swan returns briefly. We rejoice to see it suddenly swoop down over the trees, great wings beating, neck extended as though it can’t wait to arrive.
Each morning I look to see if the swan is still with us. I hold out hope that this time it is home for good. I still grieve to see such a magnificent creature swimming alone. If birds experience sorrow or a sense of loss, I’m sure this one does.

Two crystal swans swim
the mirror on our table,
etched feathers flashing white
fire in the slanted early light.

They face the lake
beyond the window,
gazing serenely toward

the solitary swan
adrift on the water,
divided from its mate
by the fate of the living,

who at this moment
unknowingly faces our window
at this splendid pair,
but unaware.