Monday, June 12, 2017

So I’m up at the cabin


working on my new book. Which is not so new anymore, except in that it’s my latest effort at timeless prose of unquestioning brilliance.

Which means you get a blog post. Because, to paraphrase Anne Lamont, you never know until you sit down to write just how badly your eyebrows need plucking. Writing a blog when I’m supposed to be working on my book is my version of plucking my eyebrows.
It’s hot up here today, the sort of bright, clear hot that makes your eyes ache and your skin feel dry the moment you step outside. I don't like to think about how hot it must be in town, without the cool breeze and the green of the trees that shade me up here on this mountain.

I mention this because another version of plucking my eyebrows is going outside and wandering around. Which led me to discover this –



I should’ve checked earlier. Just after dawn I heard a hummingbird buzzing around the porch, and made a mental note to check the feeder I’d filled last weekend. And promptly filed that note away in the place from which no mental notes ever return.

Now the special care with which Chance marked the perimeter of the cabin when we arrived yesterday makes more sense. I’m used to him giving his urinary “screw you” to the coyotes each time we come up. This time he was extra thorough, ranging farther out around the cabin than usual.

Coyotes, you see, could care less about sweet things. Bears, on the other hand…



Ladybug likes sweet things too. We've been keeping her going with maple flavored breakfast sausages dipped in agave, chicken strips sautéed with honey and soy sauce. She's not going to be around much longer so she gets anything that will tempt her flagging appetite.

Chance is more like a coyote. He's a meat eater, a place marker, the master of his domain. At least as long as there's nobody else more alpha around.


It's a guy thing, I guess. (Pause for chuckles of disbelief and nasty comments from my guy friends.)

My blog posts (usually) may wind around a bit, but they eventually get back to the point. Even if I'm not sure what the point is when I first start writing.

But apparently not this time. Apparently my mind is quite content to wander, ranging far afield. My mind is not bothered by how hot it is outside. My mind just wants to shelter inside this blog, brilliantly avoiding working on my timeless masterpiece of great and unending significance.

Or perhaps I’m not meant to work constantly while I’m up here, even with the total lack of town and house distractions. Maybe I should pay more attention to one of my favorite things about this cabin.

No matter how often we straighten it, it always looks like this when we return. Maybe it’s this mountain’s way of teaching me to be more Zen. Maybe I should stop beating myself up and see if the writing flows more easily.


Or maybe I'll just go pluck my eyebrows.the sort of bright, clear

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Saw my first . . .


firefly of the summer last night. Ok, it’s not technically summer, it’s called poetic license and I’m allowed. I get to make up new words, too. (The picture on it is terrible though. License pictures always are.)

I’m up at the cabin again, one new road later, (ouch) after the great Kerrs Creek mini-flood of 2017.



If you didn’t know better, you’d never know anything had happened. Well, almost.

The season seems to have already changed up here, everything is green and leafed out from the spring rains. 

Nothing’s been burnt dry yet by summer’s heat, everything around me is still ripe and full of promise. The rhododendrons and mountain laurel are blooming and it looks like it’s going to be a great year for berries.






Of course, everything can change in an instant. A few dry weeks at the wrong time and the berries will shrivel, too much rain – well, you’ve seen what too much rain can do. Just the right amount, though, and the coral chanterelles will pop up on the banks and the vines will hang heavy with wineberries and blackberries.

It’s all a matter of balance, but then, isn’t everything? I’ve been feeling particularly unbalanced these last few months, as have most of my friends. And this last governmental action, this pulling out of the Paris climate change accord, hits home especially hard here at the cabin. 

I’ve gotten used to the idea that I have to give this place up. Days go by when I don’t think about being up here, although one warm evening in town with the windows open and the sounds of noisy neighbors, lawnmowers, weed whackers, and cars driving by with their stereos turned all the way up brings memories of quiet nights on the cabin porch with only the sound of whippoorwills rushing back.

If I can’t live here forever on this mountain, I want someone else to have the joy I’ve experienced here. I want them to love the hot days and cool nights of summer, the beauty of the intense colors of spring and fall, the whisper quiet of snow in winter. 

I want this patch of earth to be loved as all the earth should be loved; cherished and taken care of. Not just for what it can give, but simply for what it is, and what it does to help balance not only our spirits but the planet’s ecosystem.


We need to cherish everywhere, the whole earth, for what it is, not just for what it can give us. I know this log cabin was built to last, and 50 years from now it will still be standing. I hope the beauty around it will also be here, loved and appreciated.

Monday, May 1, 2017

I had intended to write

A long, fascinating, witty blog. And in fact, I did write just such a blog on Saturday. Then somehow lost the entire thing while trying to fight with pictures and captions. Mostly because the blog is all about the pictures. Except I had a couple of brilliant haiku’s in there which I cannot possibly re-create. Your loss.

Here’s my attempt to re-create at least part of it, just because it’s too damn beautiful not to share.

We will start our tour
at the gardens. Spring reveals
wild and cultivated columbines
herself in flowers.

the garden columbinia (my plural)
lilies of the valley


plus rose geranium and some soon to bloom siberian iris in the background

more rose geranium with wineberry stems and a peach tree. also much mint and garlic chive

baby peachlings

just a bit of green for you.

And now we head down
Into gardens planted by
Mom Nature herself.

black locust in bloom
Along the way, I’ll
endeavor to acquaint you

with stuff you can eat.
aside from being amazingly fragrant, the blooms are edible. their taste is kind of a cross between a violet and the way lilacs smell.

ease on down the road

Not ragweed, altho often mistaken. also not edible.  chrysopsis mariana to you.

but right purty they are

purslane in bloom. edible. better picture to follow, somewhere in this mess

just the creek after the rain. just because.

also. what she said above.
Don’t stop now, so much
More to see and learn about.

Surely not done yet?
wild garlic mustard. edible. lovely in salads or cooked with other greens. and don't call it shirley

say hello to my little friend

winter cress. edible , tho better young. a bit bitter. flowers taste like a cross between broccoli and mustard flowers.

a better look at purslane

water cress in the stream. winter cress's more popular sister

I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille
There’s nothing like it,
The sound of a creek, tumbling

Over polished stones.


pink clover, before flowering. all parts of this plant are edible. No thanks to Euell

plantain. the other kind. edible and lovely raw or stirfried. tastes like mushrooms.  I threw in the dandelion gratis cause  people consider them edible. not me.


wineberry vine. the leaves make lovely tea now. the berries are magnificent later

miami mist not edible

chickweed. my favorite spring green. i like it even more than violet leaves. very high in vitamins c and a

the white stuff is wild aster
my darling chickweed at its finest




wild strawberries, not in bloom.
you can eat the flowers. but why would you when you can wait and have berries?

i don't know their names. lets call them all alice.

wild aster again.

we call this heal-all. but i think it's not. feel free to correct me

violet leaves. remember what i said earlier? i'm nit going to repeat myself

the only wild azalea i've found on the propertty

another view of black locust

deerberry. berries look like green blueberrys but never change color. edible, but why would you unless starving.

wild blueberry or huckleberry. 



one of the rhododendrons getting ready to bud
This ends our program
for today. Time to head home.
New beauty awaits.