Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chores and Choices

Once I started on my Tuesday cleaning rampage, I couldn't stop with just vacuuming and dusting. Yesterday the madness continued with windows and appliances and floors and other wretched tasks, even a few things on my must do but don't want to list. Today the house is sparkling and I'm feeling marginally cheery about it--except that housework is like weeding: it's never truly finished.

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Remember last month, after my basket class, when I gathered up some fallen pine needles whilst the boys and I were walking at the VA one Sunday?  Laying the little bunches in the nuclear heat of my garage, every few days I would turn them over so they would dry evenly.

Four weeks ago...

Last week I stripped the needles off the stalks to help them really dry, then yesterday I felt they had reached maximum doneness, so gathered them up on newspaper and brought them inside for bundling...

I managed to get four nice bundles, enough for maybe two smaller baskets or one large one...
Next, into the freezer for 3 to 4 days, then they're good to go, lasting for years.  And I've just gotta say how cool I find this whole process:  
  • Gathered off the ground: easy. 
  • Drying the needles: even easier. 
  • Removing from stalks: a bit time-consuming, but good for meditating on Nature's bounty. 
  • Arranging needles into perfect bundles: not difficult, especially with the subtle fragrance of a pine forest wafting around me as I carefully sorted.
I'm going to get back to working on my basket this weekend.  With any luck I haven't forgotten how to weave the sinew and needles.

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I had my camera with me this morning walking the dogs, mainly because I wanted to take a shot of this weird tree I've been looking at for ages. In the Winter months it appears even more demonic when it stands out from the other trees. I can't get closer to this clump of trees to see if this is several dead ones, or just a single tree with strange dead limbs. Still, doesn't it look like scary skeletal fingers clawing out of the foliage?

In a little glade, to the side of these trees--which hang over the riverbank next to the old veterans cemetery--was this beautiful swath of blue wildflowers. I got down low and let my camera decide what to focus on. I like the slightly ethereal look of this shot...


Done with the walk and after a few quick errands, I come home...and find the neighborhood lunch wagon is apparently open for business.  Is it any wonder I'm having a hard time getting the plants in the front yard to thrive?  Plants, I might add, that are allegedly deer resistant...
I did get the photo I'm using for the Shot of the Week, though it was a toss-up between those cool blue wildflowers and what I ended up choosing.

So, now my plan is to work on the next installment of the serial this afternoon, though I stopped by the used bookstore this morning and my new/old books are whispering in my ear, and I suppose I should haul out the sprayer and douse my bushes with deer repellent while I still have any greenery left at all.

Writing, reading, spraying...choices, choices.   Ah well, at least the house is clean... 


  1. I adore a clean house! It takes time & energy but soooo worth it in the end. Lovely deer photo as well!

  2. I think I would love a clean house even more if someone else did the work. ;D

    Yeah, the fawns are very cute--just wish I could get them to eat at McDonalds instead!