Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blood, prayer and bread

Unavoidable echo of Churchill's oratory, don't get me many problems with that person, but the rhythm of his prose took hold at an early age, as a little kid in the house with the nine o clock news from the BBC in wartime, bringing us, as the old joke went, news of fresh disasters...

Anyway, the blood reference is to a routine blood test thing I had to do, nothing alarming, but pretty high tech when you think about it. A person had to get it, but a machine will read it, pass on the info, a computer will record it, and blessedly a person will call to let know what's up.

So, since I was in the neighborhood and had coverage for HP, I nipped over to the labyrinth, with the intent of walking it with A. I. in mind, a thing I do now and then, keep a specific person and their current situation in mind.

It was one of those scrappy experiences, where my mind was all over the place, outdoing the monkey mind in its antics, and I remembered the sage who said, don't worry about it, you're just hearing the normal noise in your head! keep walking slowly, watch each foot advance, see what happens to you.

And what happens is always amazing. This time I found a little square of glass, glittering, sharp edges, but beautiful, very mathematically sharp, too, oddly appropriate for the recipient of the meditation. I carried it around and placed it in the center of the labyrinth where you put an object, and stand confirming that you have arrived at the center with your questions, before turning to exit, and experience the unwinding that always happens in the labyrinth.

There's always a new thought, or message, or something. And this time it was about how this was my job this fine Saturday morning, to walk the labyrinth with a particular person and her family in mind. No need to stress over how engrossed I could get in meditating, just do it. No need to stress over whether it helps her, just do it.

Chop wood, carry water.

Then home to lovely lunch with HP and HS, who always enjoys his Saturday meal with us, and a discussion of the newest high tech enterprises he's embarked on. Then later I made a batch of bread, ancient food, ancient form of meditation. Bread is alive, that's why it's so good to work with. It works back at you. And we ate some of the results today, so good.

One extreme to the other -- ancient to modern and back again in one day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bears for Haiti, Chicken for Dinner and face blindness

Food always being of interest to all, here's today's dinner (and tomorrow's in fact, since this is at least two meals' worth of chicken) which is my own recipe you are free to swipe if desired.

Chicken thighs, sauteed first on top of the stove on a bed of garlic cloves, mustard greens, portobello (sp?) mushrooms chunked, chopped scallions, spiced with cumin, turmeric and garam masala and salt, then finished in the oven at medium heat. Served with roasted potato wedges. Dessert fresh plums, prune plums being in full swing right now.

The chicken is great nuked on the second day or just served cold.

And the Dollivers are Doing Their Bit, knitting Bears for Haiti. A Ravelry friend's daughter is a nurse about to go to Haiti to work in a tent city and hospital there, and wants to take a lot of handknit bears to give to little children, since the doctors have affirmed that a new soft toy can do almost as much for a little kid as medicine.

So we have undertaken to ship a bunch of them to this nice woman to take with her, and here's our first, since finding out about the project a couple of days ago.

Teddy needs to be stuffed, scarf stitched in place, happy face embroidered on, then he can wait for a couple of others and all travel together. Anyone who fancies doing some of this, email me for the deets.

Last, and sort of related but not quite, is a wonderful piece by Oliver Sacks in the current New Yorker about face blindness, which he has to a marked degree. I do too, and it's very comforting to know that a brilliant man like him has a similar perceptual disability. Unlike synaesthesia, which is an outright gift in my life, this face blindness is a definite social handicap.

What it is: the inability to recognize people's faces, even if you know them fairly well, and complete inability to recognize people in photographs. In my case, as soon as the person moves or speaks I'm fine and now I know who they are. Mostly. I have been known to completely confuse two people and carry on a conversation that baffled the other person who was not who I thought she was, sigh, awkward.

I even have the distinction of having sat next to a nice woman on the bus many years ago in England, and noticed that she got off at my stop, and was heading in the same direction as I was, and then as I turned onto my street, she caught my attention, and I finally realized that it was my mother. She was cracking up laughing and said I was absent minded. So I let people think that, easier than trying to explain!

But it does offend people very much since they assume that if you were polite you'd remember them. Oh, to live in a world where everyone would wear a name tag! then if I see someone out of context I'd still know them. As it is, I go around with a friendly expression and willingness to pass the time of day with anyone who indicates they know me, rather than look rude and try to explain I have no idea who they are. Meanwhile frantically trying to visualize the person at the library? the doctor's office? the food store? the vet's? the park? where, where??

This hitch is also shared by Jane Goodall, who says she had trouble learning one chimp from another until she knew them well, and was always getting lost in the forest. Well, yeah. I've been unable to recognize my own house if I come at it from a different direction. This used to amuse HP very much when we were first married back in the Pleistocene Era, and we'd go out for a walk, come back from a different direction and I would have no idea I was at my own front door again.

So, bear with me, and Ruth L thanks for letting me tread water in the library yesterday when I was talking with you. The pink rain hat totally disguised your identity for a few sentences, until I saw your husband and put it together. Oh well!

Come to think of it Bear With Me is a good theme for today, bears being on the agenda and all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A time to dye

Fabric, that is. Recent thrift store finds for harvesting purposes needed further color work. So out comes the KoolAid as usual,

and the white all cotton sweater becomes a nice pale green,

which became vanishingly pale after the rinse, so it now has a spatter of bluing across it to make a variegated effect. And who knows what else will happen before I've done with it. No pix till it's done.

And the chartreuse ew silk knitted Liz Claiborne sweater is now in pieces and dyed with a mixture of blue and purple and yellow KoolAid to come out as a nice variegated warm orangy rusty color.

It's always interesting to see what colors do to a fabric that's already a neon color to start with.

These are not meant to look like the finished idea, folks. They are raw material for making other things, either by unraveling and reknitting or crocheting, or simply cut out like fabric to make other items. Dollivers are jonesing for new dresses and purses and who knows what else...and the variegated idea looks very chic in use. Much better than those flat, dopy solid colors beloved of traditional knitters the world over...cough cough.

This sort of dyeing is great because you can use the microwave and regular kitchen containers with no fear, since it's a food item, and the only bad part is the ghastly fruit flavors that scent the kitchen in the process. But I can plunge my hands in with no fear other than staining them. Given my aversion to gloves for any purpose, this is a Good Thing. And you can find easy instructions just using Google.

Come to think of it it's probably okay for medium aged kids, with help with the hot water part. Or absent minded old ladies like me. Nothing toxic anywhere.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ecce Panis, Amici!

If you are fortunate enough not to have had either a. a classical education, i.e. forcefed Latin and Greek, or b. a Catholic upbringing, i.e. forcefed Church Latin, you will need a translation, which is roughly: Behold, my friends, bread, or more to my taste Hey, fellers, bread!

We had a moderately cool day, weather in the mid eighties, so I got to work to make my first foray into the no knead bread world. I've made a lot of bread over the years, including the kneaded kind which was tough on my hands, and the bread was so good it was eaten far too fast.

I would make what I thought was enough to last us a week at the usual rate of consumption, and find by next day just a bit of end left. So I thought, dangit, what's the point, they'll only eat it!

But now if I don't have to knead it, and if I can keep a supply of dough happily waiting a few days in the fridge, it's better, so I am back into it. And I made the Classic Wholewheat Loaf, baking two loaves from the dough I'd prepared. What fun.

It tastes absolutely great. nice crust, nice crumb, (note my new casual use of technical terms I just learned this week), went over well.

After I'd taken the book's tip and used my oven thermometer to discover that my oven is about fifty degrees wrong, the big fibber, and I put the reading up a lot.

And finding that putting a broiler pan with hot water in it under the bread made a terrific steam atmosphere for it, and that my old cookie sheet, rubbed with a wrapper from the butter -- always save them in the freezer, to grease dishes with -- and finding that my hand driven wooden flat spoon thing worked perfectly fine with minimum stress, and finding that my local supermarket has started stocking King Arthur flour, a first, and vital wheat gluten, which stunned me, thinking it was going to be a specialty search.

So many discoveries in the course of doing an age old low tech thing.

Now I'll take the book back to the libe, in anticipation of receiving my own copy soon in the mail.

And sorry, I don't ship!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Down on the Farm with the Dollivers

A couple of Dollivers decide to come along on a trip to the local you-pick farm, which I love to go to, to encourage local small farmers. The whole family works all the time, and in the summer it's the younger generation in charge of the fruit and veggie area, ready picked as well as pick it yourself.

This is the Stults farm, which has ceded development rights to the state in return for a sizable $$ compensation, and the agreement to farm it forever. So this area of the town is protected and beautiful forever, crops of all kinds, mainly fruits and vegetables.

So, it being a short car ride, I took the latest Dolliver and her sister, dressed in their best, with me. I explained it's a farm you don't have to dress up, but was met indignantly with what do you think we are? ruffs and scruffs? we are wearing our best outfits, complete with earrings, so neener.

Ooooookay. So we posed at the farm sign, one Dolliver falling down repeatedly and finally clinging on long enough for a picture, hair blowing in a brisk wind. Then we found that her sister had lost her earrings already, but they turned up in the car, then we posed and shopped.

The Stults family are such good businesspeople, and now grow all kinds of vegetables that appeal to the Indian population of the township, who love to pick fresh and many of whom are strict vegetarians, so they're excellent customers. Items like bitter melons and other things I don't know how you cook them, as well as all the other more familiar crops.

Dollivers checking the cantaloupes

And were all very amused by a nice lady with two little girls who said she'd come to pick raspberries, then proceeded to ask the kid behind the counter how to recognize them, where were they, how do they grow? the kid, straightfaced pointed to the field behind her and said, see all those rows of bushes? all full of raspberries. You just pick them. Ahhh.

But I admired the mom for being willing to look silly in the course of giving her little girls a summer adventure of picking stuff on a farm. Many years ago, I took in a summer renter, a very young girl originally from Trinidad, then from New York city, who was a brilliant engineer and was doing an internship at a local company.

I had been horrified by their personnel department who had been sending her, a 17 year old girl, alone, to terrible neighborhoods in Trenton, really dangerous places, and who called me (I worked at the YW then) to ask if we had a residence in Princeton.

I realized that what was driving them was the nasty assumption that a young black student would not easily find a place to live. So I was so mad I said I've got a spare bedroom, I live right down the road from you, walking distance to work for her, refer her to me. And her family to make sure they know she's safe.

And she came to us for the summer. In the first day she was there, I was called by every one of her five brothers, checking me out! and her father actually came to visit, charming man, who visibly relaxed when he met me and I assured him his daughter was safe and we loved her, and my son, then about 13, would be her friend too! so it went well. She was astounded that I had no trouble with his Trinidadian accent, since I knew tons of people in England from the islands.

But I was reminded of her when I heard the raspberry lady, because at that time I had a big vegetable and fruit garden, and one evening I asked her would she please nip out and pick a bunch of cucumber and tomatoes for salad. Forgetting these are temperate zone vegetables.

She wandered about outside for a while with the bowl I'd given her, until I finally went out and she said, um, which are cucumbers? and do tomatoes grow underground? should I dig? so I showed her and she was amazed at finding them on the vine. It became a huge house joke that summer, she being a terrific kid with a great sense of humor.

And, back on the farm, scream, shock, horror, as I was ready to leave I realized I'd left the Dolliver girls posed at the pepper display.

Unharmed, indignant at what a rotten mother I am, leaving the kids behind, we proceeded to the library.

Where the Dollivers relaxed with an issue of O to check on what ways they should improve their lives, such as finding a new home where their mother won't go off and leave them...and noticing that she's about to borrow a book about making dolls from old socks, ptui.

So home with lovely Jersey peaches and tomatoes and green beans.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Clouds rapid sequence

I took these pictures yesterday evening right after a big thunderstorm, in the space of just a few minutes. Wonderful rapid changing sky, no time lapse photography involved.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eat, Pray, Kill!

Late summer, and the heat exhausted my hanging containers of petunias, despite twice daily watering, and the hornworms exhausted my hanging tomatoes despite daily picking off, who knows how these little guys managed to locate and climb up to the tomatoes, what powerful instincts. Anyway, these are all now in the woods for the animals to shelter in and eat and generally reduce to new topsoil. And they have been replaced with some nice bright new yellow daisies.

Meanwhile, it being late summer, reading is going on apace, and vague plans for Fall new projects and learning skills. Every fall I used to take up a couple of new pursuits and some of them have stayed in my life, others have fallen away. Playing recorder and flute were a couple of them, and they'll never go away.

Learning Hindi was one that fell away very fast, after the teacher announced on the first night of class that of the eight sessions planned, she would be in India for a wedding for three of them, had not mentioned this to the school admins...and her English was so heavily accented that I couldn't tell when she was speaking English and when Hindi. She was nice, but a nonstarter for me. I got a refund.

But nowadays it's harder to get out in the evening. Recorder monthly meetings will still be on, but classes, meh.

However, I do have plans. A terrific book I found at the libe, and have ordered for myself, since it will get use in the kitchen, not a good environment for a libe book, is about bread making.

And the great part is that you are making a risen bread but you don't knead it. My hands are not up to kneading, never have been, so this is a great notion. And these blessed writers point out that you can use a spoon to mix the ingredients, you're not stuck with massive pieces of kitchen equipment such as food processors.

I'm against machinery in the kitchen, beyond my little stick blender and a tiny version of a processor, a gift, and a little hand mixer, largely, figuring I'm not running a factory floor.

But a lot of recipes demand the food processor for breadmaking and I'm not sure what the heck to do if you don't have one, so I pass on them. But this one is definitely on the schedule for as soon as the weather cools off enough to switch on the oven again. And these writers explain how to make dough ahead of time, keep it in the fridge and be ready to bake a loaf when you need one.

So this is the Big Food Adventure of the Fall. I will either go very quiet on this if it doesn't work out, or I will bore you senseless, dear blogistas, with pictures and much bragging if it does work out. In which case the pix will have to be taken fast before the food has vanished. HP is definitely interested in what transpires on this front.

That's the Eat part of today's thoughts. Then there's Pray.

The Japanese stone gardens book is a wonderful browse just as an art journey, no need to have one or build one in order to enjoy them. But I do suddenly have plans for miniature versions of these, maybe installing my tiny moss gardens with their glass globes in a tray of gravel, combed into interesting shapes.

Sand would be nice but as a cat owner, I hesitate. All you cat owners will know if you put out a nice arranged tray of sand anywhere in the vicinity of cats, it will quickly be adopted as a luxurious new litterbox. So sand is out. But we'll see about other items that might work. As to praying, this is a very meditative art.

And finally to Kill. Robert Parker is always a great, fast, easy read, suspense and puzzle all about murder and wit and excellent dialog and no wasted time on descriptions, perfect for summer when your brain is kind of at a lower ebb than usual. And he wrote dozens of them, with various different detectives, sardonic Bostonians, sardonic female mixed up Bostonians, sardonic psychologists, sardonic Westerners, sardonic gay giant guys with great unarmed combat skills, you get the pic. And I'm undyingly (!) grateful to Maureen J. for introducing me to him a while back.

Great fun to read. Well, all the Eat, Pray, Kill books are great fun to read.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Young Collectors' Summer Show

At the library where a while back I showed you a terrific elephant collection in the glass case, today there were two collections, all done earnestly and with great seriousness by the young collectors, and shown in the cases near the checkout, so that they get a lot of attention from other kids and adults like me.

One is the keychain collection of an eleven year old girl,

I think crafted by her from those standard keychain things, great fun, kids waiting to check out books, picking out their favorites and so on,

and the other is a fearsome exhibit of Wild Things put together by a seven year old boy. It looks like the natural history version of paper dolls, where you pop out and build the shapes to make various interesting things.

He had three shelves, showing his versatility!

The Great Barrier Reef,

Ancient Earth

and the Amazon Jungle.

I had just been reading magazines, total luxury, on my respite time at the libe, looking at interior design things full of artful whimsy and witty little ideas, the kind that if a decorator does it it's witty, and if a civilian does it it's more like what the heck is that thing? anyway, all very self conscious, especially the playful stuff.

So what a treat it was to see this simple, serious presentation of stuff with no irony intended at all, just the enthusiasm of a young collector or two. So I thought I'd share.

Monday, August 9, 2010

General Dolls' Hospital cue music....

So, the endless rolling heatwave driving me to ever more esoteric indoor pursuits, I decided to repair the porcelain miniature doll I'd rescued from the dumpster along with some big and beautiful unplayed with ones which I freecycled ages ago to very happy moms who planned on them for Christmas surprises for actual children.

Anyway, this little doll, very nice face, all porcelain and jointed and hideously dressed in horrible Victoriana, sorry if you like that period, but oh well, and her hair and clothes were GLUED on, heresy.

And I found that her arm fell off at the elbow and her leg came off in my hand, and I realized why she'd been tossed. Long long ago, I had a big doll, probably baby size, but I was small enough to think Trixie was Big, who was similarly jointed, except she didn't have elbows and knees, and one time she just fell apart, head shot off, arms and legs likewise, very traumatic for me her mother, and I rushed her to the Dolls' Hospital around the corner, aka toy store with a nice man who said, oh, I can fix her up easily, come back for her tomorrow.

And I did, and there was Trixie good as new (well, she was handed down from an older sister, so I guess I mean good as I'd ever known her!) head and limbs all back in place. And I realized they were all attached inside on elastic and hooks, aaaahhh.

So when I examined this new little doll, I had a flashback to how Trixie worked, and was able to do likewise with this one, except that the pegs that held the elastic were broken off.

So I inserted some canvas in a roll, up through the leg, hooked up the elastic from the inside and stitched the canvas to it, then let it pop back, so the leg went back just right. Then I took a look at the knee, similar sort of exercise except no elastic, just canvas, glue and a scotch tape splint holder. And the elbow, which was much harder.

They do say that elbow surgery is much trickier than knee or hip, and as a surgeon on dolls, I can attest to the truth of this saying. However, after a while in intensive care while the glue dried,

under the eyes of the Nurse Dollivers, she came through, and discovered that while she was under, I had designed and knitted her underwear and a dress and organized new hair.

No more glued-on wigs and glued-up dresses for her, no, we knit and sew around here and make clothes you can put on and take off and change up.

So she sat up, took notice and got dressed and adopted a triumphant attitude.

This was so much fun I don't plan on growing up any time soon.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Glorious freecycling

As you know I'm a confirmed freecycler, giving and receiving regularly, and often very happy both with the transaction and with the resulting products (or space in the house!).

Recently two particularly good ones. A poster requested a commode for her very aged relative coming to stay, and they all suddenly realized she can't do stairs, and they have one bathroom up one flight, oh dear. So I got back in touch, since we have such a thing in perfect condition.

HP became paralyzed so fast -- over the course of a few hours he went from a person who could walk with a walker plus help, even do stairs with help, to someone who could not even support himself in a chair, total loss of mobility from the chest down -- that we got virtually no use from it, so it should go to someone who can get the benefit.

So my email bounced. Oh dear. So I posted asking her to get in touch explaining what had happened. Whereupon a whole bunch of people responded, some not understanding I was in search of a particular individual, some saying don't worry, I took care of her already, some saying are you giving or asking, etc. Comedy of errors ensued. But I did pursue it since this is the kind of item that if you need it you NEED it, and it's not a frivolous request. Finally gave up on trying to establish who was the original seeker, concluded she was already helped, ended up offering it to another person who came hotfooting over and I was so glad I'd done it.

Very sad story of her husband, only in his fifties gone to being almost an invalid, great pain, several unsuccesful spinal surgeries, very serious hospital problems, etc., all this happened in a mad rush, oh, I remember that feeling, and she's almost beside herself with fear and worry, now that he's home and trying to walk a little.

So we had a nice chat on my doorstep and I tried to be encouraging, and reviewed other stuff they might need that we have, and she departed feeling a heck of a lot better and as she said, not so alone. So that was a wonderful side effect of the freecycling impulse.

Then, the universe watching out for me, an freecycling offer of two pure wool large man sweaters, with pix appeared. The pix looked like a kind of greyish plain knit and a kind of darkish charcoal plain knit, so I thought, ah, harvesting! much good quality yarn in there, in acceptable colors for HS or others.

So yesterday, on a day when the heat index was in the 100s AGAIN, and high humidity, but I had the respite time, so I went out, I picked them up, and was stagamazed to find: two brand new, one still with original tag, handknit Irish aran sweaters, far far far too good to unravel, one with a signed tag of the knitter on it, in a natural creamy color,

the other in a darkish tweedy flecked with blue and green kind of subtle color.

And large was no overstatement. The sleeveless one will work as a winter tunic for me over tights, and the other needs some attention to the sleeves in order to become a winter dress for me. Both perfectly beautiful. What a treasure. I suspect they were gifts to the freecycler, not to his taste.

Anyway when I thanked him after I got home and realized what I'd been given, he got back saying, oh that's fine, then, and who knows maybe one day it will get cool enough to actually wear them!

Happy Weekend everyone! and please remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki in your prayers and making of peace cranes and walking the labyrinth and other observances that may suit your style.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Robin, robin, who's got the journals?

This post is in the nature of a housekeeping venture. Partly because it's August, and another heatwave is hitting us, and my brain is ticking gently over, more in reptilian mode than its usual high speed operation.

However, there are just a few things. One is: the Round Robin Journals. I'll post pix to remind you about them in case you have one or both lying on your desk and you've forgotten what they heck they are.

Please: who's got them????? and do you need to be reminded who gets them after you??? interested parties need to know. Just email me, okay? You don't want to be hunted down by the Dollivers.

That reminds me that a couple of people wonder what sort of comments I get when I set the Ds up for a photo shoot. Answer: none! very funny. Either people think I'm demented and they'd better not get me upset, or they think something very strange is happening and they don't want to be involved, or they know me and think, oh, I'll check Field and Fen in a couple of days and find out what was going on. Whatever, nobody says anything, which is actually funniest of all.

Next, a lot of people email me saying dangit they can't post in here, because they don't have whatever the ID is that the system is asking for. But all you need to do if that's the case, you don't have a Yahoo or a Google account, etc., is post as Anonymous! what a concept. If you put your name in the body of your comment, we know it's you. In this context anonymous just means not a specialized ID. Nothing more sinister than that.

And it's August, famous birthday time. No, not Barack, though I hear he has a bday around now, too, but Handsome Son!!! next Sunday. And one of our neighbors and great friends will be 75 on the same day. All the best people! and then there's Carol Q. and Liane and Eepy (on the Glorious Twelfth, Grouse Shooting opens in Scotland) and Marnie, blogger extraordinaire, and I always overlook SOMEONE, sorry, like I said my brain is at a low reptilian hum, rather than actual memory mode.

Anyway, happy birthdays to all, Hippo Birdies Two Ewes, bonnes anniversaires, felicitations, festina lente, very appropriate for a bday in hot weather, come to think of it...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mini vacation at the Preserve

Yesterday was the first day in weeks that was lovely, perfect 80s, low humidity, little white clouds dancing around the sky, and I had a couple of hours' respite, so I spent them at the Preserve. The Dollivers dogged, or dolled, my footsteps but never mind about them....

Here's the establishing shot showing where the day unfolded. See, I didn't work in public TV for nothing, folks:

There were a lot of birds out enjoying the day, too and the late summer seeds on all the wild grasses and flowers, several goldfinches in full mating fig flying around like bright little aerial dandelions.

The preserve backs up on to what used to be HP's workplace, back when there was a nuclear reactor there, deep in the woods, long since decommissioned. It produced experimental scale isotopes for chemists and various other brainy atom guys to work on, including some of the earliest isotopes used in cancer treatments.

It was what brought us to Plainsboro in the first place. But there was a lot of fear about reactors in the 60s when it was built, so it was kept a bit quiet, just not to alarm people for no good reason. Even though what HP was actually in the business of doing was developing approaches to clean water production for domestic use!

Anyway, it was a remote location, and back in those days we had one car per family, so I would drive in now and then to his work to get the car for the day. And we'd see red foxes now and then sporting in the woods, and one time what looked like an entire field of dandelions, which rose in a flock and whirred away! one of the last big flocks of goldfinches before development closed in on them and now they're a special treat, tempted around with niger seed and special feeders.

But that was then and now we have the Preserve to enjoy and walk in, and generally loll about in. The Dollivers are seen with the Preserve building in the background,

where there are all kinds of classes and specimens and interesting things afoot.

And on the same bench,

looking out over the lake before venturing on a hike. One of them is an amateur photographer who has not got the hang of keeping her face out of the lens.

You look in here? no? can't see anything anyway, oh look that's my face! and she points out that I've been known to take a picture of my thumb the same way.

And a closeup of an insect obligingly sitting for ages on a grass stem.

Possibly a cricket, since they look like that when they do their little flying jumps, or maybe a dragonfly, of which we have many species.

Then in the middle of the steps leading up from the building

to the main trail, on the way to the beechwood, a mature beautiful stand of trees which generates its own climate.

In winter if you walk here, it degrees warmer and cosier even on the bitterest winter day, and in summer it's like natural air conditioning.

Time for a rest before hiking onward, to the lakeside.

Around the lake we have eager beavers constantly felling trees and blocking the paths and the lake and anything else they can get at

so you see one of their artworks, the remains of what was quite a substantial birch tree way back before they gnawed it down.

Then, hats safely stowed in the bag,

they climb in, they say bound and gagged, I say gowned and bagged, for the ride home.

We're all hoping you noticed the addition of a new Dolliver, whose leg you saw in process recently, and who looks remarkably like Bette Davis, and the snazzy new raglan sweater and hat worn by Dreads, from leftover lovely homespun gifted yarn most of which went into a scarf for the Great Me.

And as the sun sinks slowly in whatever point of the compass it sinks in, don't ask me I have no sense of direction, us synaesthetes rarely do.....