Friday, November 27, 2009

Nature Notes: November

Nature Notes

There isn't a lot of interest left in the landscape, now that the leaves are fallen. The tall grasses have dried to a dusty beige, and even the white clouds of milkweed have flown.

The grass is still green, though, and I'm glad for the pines all around. Funny story about those ... a fellow came by and asked the former owners and the neighbor next door if he could pay to raise Christmas trees on the properties, and they both agreed. He planted the trees, some in straight rows and some in a three-row-deep swath down the driveway. He never came back to harvest them, and now they're much too big; some are full grown. Lucky us, eh?

On our last walk around the place, the only splashes of color were a bluebird and a lonely red dragonfly.


Last Dragonfly

Bare Bones

Yellow Brick Road 2

Check out the Before and After shots of the trail. The woods seem smaller when the leaves are off. You can see much farther into it, and all the mystery has disappeared. The hubby likes it better this way. I prefer the shadowy green of summer.

This is such a strange time, suspended between the green seasons and the winter. I am ready for snow.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's wishing everyone a day filled with family, friends, great food, and hearty laughter. May you all be blessed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just Shoot Me.

Well, here's the door in its fresh coat of paint.

But hold your applause, because there's more. It develops weird streaks every day. They're chalky white areas with edges that look like ice crystals grew there and melted. Frost damage? On paint?? It can be polished off with a soft cloth, but new ones appear the next day.

I'm at a loss. Any ideas?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing Much

About a year ago, I put up this post at Maraca: Paint My Door. Some of you may remember. I had inherited an ugly metal front door that had been slathered with a bad shade of flat, pink paint. Clearly, something had to be done about that.

Given that the economy hit the fan at the same time we closed on the house, "something" did not include a fancy new door. That left paint. And for most people, that would have meant a one-day project.

I, however, am not most people. My talent for procrastination is so spectacular that I can expand a simple project into an emotional event lasting a whole. Freaking. Year. Don't believe it? Watch me:

For starters, there was the matter of choosing a color. The siding is beige, so anything goes. Red is nice. I had a dark red door on the last house, and it looked great. Of course, before it was red it was a dark gray-blue, and I got a lot of compliments on that color. But ... How about a nice pine green? Never had a green door before, and it kind of goes with the whole back-to-nature thing out here. So... red or green? Green or red? And what SHADE of green or red? There were dozens of them. Dozens, I tell you.

Which is where last year's blog post came in. I couldn't decide, so I had my blogger friends pick. They went with red. Of course, posting it as a Ruby Tuesday entry probably skewed the results, but so be it. However, by that time it was too cold to paint. So I waited for spring.

By spring, I had begun to consider navy blue. And dark gray. And the shade of red I liked last year wasn't quite ringing my chimes anymore. Summer came and went.

And then the holidays were here. And that damn door was still pink.

Until last weekend. Crossing the grocery store parking lot, I spotted a fallen leaf that was exactly, perfectly, absolutely the right red: bright enough to be lively, but dark enough to be stately; saturated, glowing, the color of ripe berries in sunlight. Ignoring the sidelong looks of my fellow shoppers, I scooped up the leaf and squirreled it away in my wallet. Back home, I sealed it in a baggie and put it in the refrigerator. The hard part was over.

Or so I thought. I carried that leaf all over town, store to store, running in and out with paint chips to compare them in daylight. Could not match it. Just could not. What seemed perfect in one light was completely different in another. In the end, the shade I wanted was in between two chips, so I ended up with two cans of paint, intending to mix them together.

It took me another 20 minutes to decide on a brush: A good one, to do a nice job? A disposable one, since I'll never get all this red paint out of it? I went with a cheap brush that still felt nice.

Back home again, I couldn't figure out why it had been so important to me to match that leaf. I wasn't going to be able to do it anyway, so I just went with the darker can of paint.

And finally, finally, finally I actually painted the door. It's red. It's not the perfect shade, but it beats the hell out of that pink.

At least, I think it does. It was dark when we put the door back up, and since it's dark when I leave and dark when I come back every day, I haven't actually seen it in the daylight. I'll take a picture this weekend and let you know.

Now. About the hardware. Leave it for now or replace it? Basic builder stuff or something upscale? Pewter or bronze ...

Friday, November 13, 2009

How Not to Start Your Day

The hubby left for work at 6 AM as usual. So it was a surprise to see him walk back into the bedroom a bit later. I opened one eye and asked what was up.

"We have a herd of horses in the front yard."

"We what?"

"Have horses. Five of 'em. What do think we should do?"

Well, seeing as how we have a fenced pasture, I thought we should try to get hold of a horse or two and put them in there. Hubby thought that was a dandy idea and set off to put the plan in motion.

In just the few minutes it took me to pull on some clothes and shoes, he managed to catch all the horses -- and to lose them again. According to him, he was able to walk up to one, get hold of the halter, and lead it into the pasture. He was elated to find that the rest of the horses were following them in. Mission accomplished.

Or not. As soon as he let go of the halter and headed back toward the gate, all the horses made a run for it. He wisely decided not to stand in their way. Last he saw of them, they were headed for the hay field next door.

By the time I got out there, the herd had vamoosed. The only thing we could do at that point was to wake the neighbors and tell them their horses were out.

It's still pitch dark at 6 AM here, so I never actually saw a thing. If it weren't for all the free fertilizer in the yard, I'd swear he made it all up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Signs of the Season: Deer Crossing

Deer Crossing

November is both the rutting season and hunting season for white tail deer. Add them together and you have whole herds of half-crazed critters jumping out at you from all directions.

I always take this road home because I love going through the tree tunnels. However, this section runs between woods on one side and a soybean field on the other. That's a recipe for roadkill if ever there was one.

There are always deer in the field. Always. This year, though, I have seen only five or six at a time. Last year it was common to see 15 or 20. Even with the reduced population, though, it's a good idea to slow to a crawl through here.

It takes a little longer to get home going this way, and it's a bit riskier than the alternative route -- especially if one is stupid enough to try snapping photos while driving. Still. Totally worth it.

For Nature Notes and more Signs of the Season, click over to Michelle's wonderful blog, Rambling Woods.