Tuesday was brought to us by the letter F – fog and frost. Before I left the house around 6:30, I checked the thermometer. It was 36F, a comfortable margin for our new plants. Frost was forecast for higher elevations. We made it through, or so I thought. There was nothing unusual about the day until I went down the steep hill and found the valley overlaid with fog. Taking a picture was useless, since all you would have seen was white blankness. The first bit of color was on the bank of the creek – little yellow buttercups. These same plants were under water only a week ago after heavy rain. The creek is back to its normal winter level.
After seeing the creek, I walked past the firehouse as the sun struggled to gain mastery over the fog.
The fog was still winning as I walked back up the hill, but I looked south and greeted the tops of the mountains there.
Coming back to our street, I was surprised to see white on the rooftops. Frost? As I took the newspaper out of its box, I saw bumps on top. I thought they were water drops that would move as I touched them, but they were cold and solid — ice! Oh! No!
I rushed to the deck to see what had happened to the new plants. The sun made the railing sparkle, and there was a thin layer of ice on the leaves. Twelve hours later the plants are still standing tall, so I think they won the frosty battle this time.
I have arrived!!! I had flowers in the bathroom, which is the ultimate status symbol for me. From time to time I watched shows that someone here had on TV, the programs where people were searching for a house to buy or renovating one. The shows always seemed to end with a grand housewarming party where nothing was out of place. Beautiful flower arrangements added the final touch of grandeur. The last place you’d put flowers was in the bathroom. Well, maybe the laundry room would be the very last, but you get the idea. Anyway, last night and this morning there were lovely blooms decorating the master bath. I swept in like I owned the place and had a right to such excessive luxury.
Of course, there is a story behind it. We bought a plant stand yesterday and the hanging planters to hook on it. The whole setup looked lovely on the bedroom deck. In the evening we saw dire warnings of frost in the mountains, and I pulled those new plants in before you could say Jack Rabbit, or more to the point, Jack Frost. This morning the thermometer on the back porch registered 35 degrees as I went out to walk, so the plants probably would have survived. They were used to being outdoors in the garden center. I’ll look at tonight’s forecast before I put them outside again.
If being a plant hoverer doesn’t make me appear eccentric, I’ll tell you that the birds are talking to me. Many of the wrens and sparrows here sound similar, so I don’t know who was speaking. This one bird kept saying, “Decisions! Decisions!” He had a distinct, fake French accent with a nasal twang. I guess if you say only one thing, you need to say it decisively. He did. Further down the road was a bird that Pollocks and Johnsons would have liked. He repeated over and over, “Ski jump. Ski jump. Ski jump.”
The pileated woodpecker didn’t speak, but I heard an insistent rat-a-tat-tat in the woods, along with his distinctive call. If I hadn’t been so self-conscious, I might have spotted him. I had just walked up the steep hill on Qualla and turned into Woodmore. People who must be my neighbors kept driving by, and I didn’t want them to see me standing idly by the roadside. I do have some pride and didn’t want to look like an idiot with my head cocked to one side. I’m walking as the sun rises, so maybe in a week or so these people will still be eating breakfast when I want to commune with the woodpecker.
Doves were on the railing. I don’t know that they were billing and cooing, because I was on the other side of the front door. They were using their bills, though, pecking gently at each other as if they were kissing each other’s necks. Wikipedia states that the words billing and cooing have been used since Shakespeare’s time and comes from the courtship of doves. I had no idea I was looking at a couple out on a heavy date.
The sultry dog days of summer won’t come until July or August, but I’ve decided we are having dog and cat days right now. The blooms du jour are dogwood and dandelion.
I found out this evening that jeans are thicker than I thought. It rained during the day, but I didn’t think of that when I stepped onto the deck. There were still lots of clouds about with just a bit of blue sky in the west. Watching the fading light seemed like a good idea, so I sat down. It took about three seconds for me to realize the plastic cushion held rain like a sponge, and the wetness was seeping upwards. Funny thing! I got up quicker than I sat down!
Son John $ kept me company while husband John was away playing with trains. We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant near Asheville, checked out books at the library, and stopped at my favorite waterfall.
My son made a long-held dream come true. I hoped he would take me on a hike to see a waterfall after I moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina. We went to the DuPont forest, walked to Hooker Falls (named for a man who ran a mill below the falls), and ate sushi in Brevard. John $ was on the phone with a fellow he grew up with when neighbor Amy dropped in for a chat. Perfect timing! Phone calls from favorite nieces bracketed the weekend. I may not frolic any more, but I can still enjoy playing.