Thursday, April 22, 2010

SHELTERED BY LEAF AND SKY

The hackberry on the hill below the road is a
glorious green against a gorgeous April sky.
It's been an interesting week here along the riverbank…
The weather has been glorious, but cool—and in the mornings plain cold. Yesterday I could see my breath for more than an hour after sunrise. There were frost warnings several nights, though I never actually noticed frost anywhere. But then, I wasn't paying all that much attention when I took Moon the dog out for her hurried constitutional. Most days, the highs never made it past the upper-50s or very-low-60s. Which doesn't sound too bad except that it's already been in the 80s a few times, and upper-70s quite often before it turned cold…uhh, cool.
Not that weather has put much of a damper on spring. Or the seasonal work needing doing around the cottage and yard.
I'm still trying to put my planting beds in shape for another year—turning the soil, adding compost and other organic material, topping with mulch. Some seeds have been sown; others are still in their packets, awaiting my limited time, energy, and dereliction of fishing duties. I also have seedlings and larger plants to buy and get in, which given the rock-rich makeup of the ground, is more like mining than planting. A task worth procrastinating over, if ever there was one. And this afternoon—seeing as how it's supposed to rain for the next two or three days—I'm hoping to give the grass it first mowing…providing I don't get too distracted.
A lot of this would actually have been accomplished already (probably) if I hadn't been engaged in trying to build a pseudo-flagstone patio/walkway. The rocks aren't real flagstones, just various sized and shaped slabs of Indiana limestone, 2-4-inches thick, which—if you use a stonemason's hammer and chip out irregular chunks all along the top edge of the slab—can be fashioned to look more like a weathered stone than a smooth-sawn rock. Of course, you have to tuck the 60-pound or so slab under one arm and spin it around as you deliver the necessary whacks. (Safety glasses are a must!) And then you have to seat, level, re-level, adjust, fit, mutter suitable imprecations, and fuss with an imperturbable rock that would as soon smash your fingers as comply with your artistic maneuverings. Four-stones-per-hour is about my maximum rate…and when you add in sorting and hauling, you begin to see why the old Pharaohs started their tomb construction straight away after taking their throne.
Still, as I said, the days have been glorious and spring has continued to don her enchanting cloak of vernal green. There are times when I swear I can see the leaves growing! Every day looks greener, the view less open, my little home on the river more cloistered. Which is fine by me, as I like getting lost amid the surrounding greenery, sheltered by leaf and sky. Sounds grow ever more muffled—especially traffic and other manmade noise. The background music of my days are becoming that of birdsong and purling water, of wind stirring through velvet-soft leaves and bees humming happily over dandelion blooms.
In a few minutes I'm heading up the road to a nearby woods to check on the Jack-in-the-pulpit. A few were showing the last visit I made—which was last week. The strange little spathes are usually thick in this one area, and I want to spend time making photos. I'll probably get sidetracked for an hour or two by whatever else I find thereabouts. I'm easily distracted in the spring woods. And I may toss a fishing rod and my tackle bag in the truck…just in case.
[FYI, overshadowing the last half-dozen days has also been concerns and issues re. Myladylove's health. She became ill last Friday at work. I insisted she call her doctor, who happened to have an appointment opening within the hour. At the doctor's, she was having heart palpitations, a BP reading of 175/120, and a heartrate of 110 BPM. The doctor suspected a potassium deficiency, which was confirmed an hour later after a visit to the hospital for bloodwork. There were also some problems with her liver count. She was put on potassium and magnesium supplements and ordered to spend the weekend resting. Not easy news for a workaholic to hear or mind. Guess who got to police THAT order. We made a followup doctor's visit Tuesday, and she also had additional bloodwork—which showed a now normal liver count and much-improved potassium level. Yesterday, Myladylove had an ultrasound. It's suspected her problems were caused by the statin drug she was put on a few months back. She's still not feeling great—though much better than last week. And, of course, has been working since Monday. As you'll recall, I kicked off April with my own health issues; Myladylove was apparently not to be outdone. Like I said, it's been an interesting week (or month!) here along the riverbank…]
———————

26 comments:

barefoot gardener said...

Y'know, I have been lurking for a little while and I just gotta say: WOW. Loving your blog, hoping the best for your Ladylove, and keep up the fabulous work...

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Would that we could be sheltered by leaf and sky from illness. Sorry to hear you are both dealing with health concerns. Hope the warmth of summer days brings some healing your way. Do take care!

Hoping to see that jack-in-the-pulpit!!

Jenn Jilks said...

Judging by your health concerns, I think bashing away at rock is good therapy for you! You do whatever you need to do. When my mom lay dying, I would check in on her, drive 62 km to work with teen boys, drive home, feed her some, and spend an hour in the garden.

Caregiving is not easy. All the nest.

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ-

First, I love the picture - I am blanketed and conforted and sheltered by the feel of it. It is much the same here as is our weather a close match to yours, rain predictions included. The idea and image of your slab patio will be gorgeous - albeit back-breaking.

And about your 'lady-lov. It seems that the potassium etc. was the issue and she is on the mend. Staten meds, well, most meds, play such havoc with our bodies. And what of your health concerns? Are you 'in the clear'? - beyond risk? over the hump'? well? :-)

Love to you on the river
Gail
peace.....

p.s. I think our lil- Gracey had a mild stroke or has lyme disease. Her face on the left side is drooping and she is drinking a lot of water and ir restless. I called the vet and I am waiting to hear. sigh....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Barefoot…

Lurkers-turned-commenters are always most welcome. I'm glad you found your way to the riverbank…and glad you liked what you found. Please feel free to speak up whenever the mood strikes—and thank you for your nice words.

George said...

Nice post and gorgeous shot of the hackberry tree, Grizz. Hope your Ladylove gets better.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

I never made it to look for those Jack-in-the pulpit; got hung up on more yard work and several long phone calls and a case of rampant ennui. Sighhhh…

Actually, I'm now doing okay. Not the ball of fire I was at twenty, but not quite ready for geezerhood, either. I expect that Myladylove will be greatly improved as her potassium levels return to normal…providing I can keep her from checking Internet sites and reading about all the dire possibilities of having too little potassium.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jenn…

One of the benefits of rock whacking is that at the end of the day, I'm tired to the point that I can't lay awake and worry during the night—but sleep, instead.

I've also had experience providing health care to an aging parent, my mother. She lived to be 94, and for the last decade of her life, I cooked her meals, did wash, did all her errands, etc. She had various serious health issues, including heart problems and glaucoma. Then she started falling and breaking bones—hip (twice) shoulder, arm, ribs—and went from cane to walker to wheelchair. At that point I had to carry her up and down the steps, and lift her in and out of the truck, to take her to doctor appointments, of which there were many. But I've grown up in a family of care providers for parents, brothers and sisters, children—so it was just what we did and what ought to be done, so far as I was concerned. I never regretted doing what I could for my mother, exhausting, frustrating, and emotionally painful as it was. The toughest part was that I'm an only child, and Mom, though not the oldest, outlived all her brothers and sisters—so there was no one but me to act as caregiver. Not having a break from the stress was by far the worst aspect; I could cope with everything else.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Glad you liked the post photo. I just loved the juxtaposition and hues of the green and blue.

Yes, I'm doing okay. Back to "normal" for me, which is pretty good. And I think Myladylove will be okay once her levels are adjusted into range.

I'm sorry to hear about your pup. Maybe it's not as bad as you think; I sure hope not. Please let me know. And as you enjoy spring, do take care of yourself, too.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

George…

Thank you…for your compliments on the photo and the well wishes for Myladylove. I appreciate both.

KGMom said...

Hope all will be well, as your lady heals. High BP reading, palpitations, etc.--not fun at all. And an understandable cause for concern. It is good you are there to police; some folk are just reluctant patients.

Kay said...

The new-growth green of the hackberry leaves are so lovely--reminds me of Frost: "nature's first green is gold." Nature has such healing powers, the power to sooth and calm--it gets us through so many otherwise hard days. Thanks for your post. Your blog is one of my favorites.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

Well, I'm trying to remain positive about all this—but of course it is worrisome because of the potential danger. Yet things are heading in the right direction and I believe they'll work out to the good eventually.

This policing business only works because I'm equally bullheaded, believe the means justifies the end when it comes to doing what's best for those you love, and willing to be devious in whatever tact necessary when it comes to getting my way. I'm also the cook…a position not to be underestimated in any battle of wills.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Kay…

I'd forgotten that Frost line…but it exactly fits. There are so many shades of green out there right now—but somehow this single hackberry against yesterday's blue sky just struck me as the perfect spring combo. I'm glad you enjoy the posts.

Bernie said...

Oh Grizz I have just had an IV of potasium and a small one of magnesium as well I am now on vitamin B12 shots for a few weeks. They haven't given me a name of anything just that I have an auto immune disease.....ewwwww. I have had this problem for at least a year I am sure but it comes and goes so I have learned to live with it. I am so glad you are better and I am sending your wife many blessings.
Sounds beautiful by the river this time of year, we are getting some much needed rain tonight.......:-) Hugs

The Solitary Walker said...

Hope everything continues to improve health-wise for all. There can be issues with statins, as I'm sure you know.

Think you deserve a well-earned break after all this nursing and slab-cursing. But I doubt you'll get one!

Jayne said...

There are so many people who are having more and more problems with the statins. Glad she got seen and that her labs are stable again. Scary stuff.

Wishing you and your ladylove better health as the spring progresses. :c)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

We're supposed to have rain this afternoon—though it's already looking like it could rain any minute.

More and more, I'm coming to understand that a potassium/magnesium deficiency is fairly common, for a variety of reasons. The symptoms aren't much fun, and ignored too long, can prove serious. But at least it isn't a difficult diagnosis, or tough to correct. The worst thing is that some of us just tend to accept not feeling well as the norm, learn to live with it, and fail to get help. I'm one of 'em, as is my wife. Not all that smart, considering what's out there in the way of good medicine. I trust you'll be feeling better over the next few weeks—all perked up and ready to enjoy spring. Take care of yourself.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

What I really want is to put woman and dog in the pickup and head off for about a week in the woods; a good camping trip to some remote hill-top corner where we can heal of what ails us, and I can regain a proper perspective on my own insignificance. We'll all enjoy the spring leaves and birds and wildflowers, roast steaks over hot coals, make hickory-stick coffee, and watch the stars do their slow waltz across the night sky.

Yessir, it is, indeed, about time to reset our internal parameters…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

The more I read and hear and learn and experience about statins, the more I'm beginning to believe they're more curse than blessing. I'm not sure their benefits outweigh their side-effects…and I certainly don't think they're the "miracle drug" so wildly touted—except as a profit cow to the pharmaceutical companies.

But…Myladylove seems to be doing better. So maybe this will be the end of this issue.

The Solitary Walker said...

Oh, yes! Have you got room for another in that pickup? On second thoughts, your ladylove might not be able to put up with TWO obstreperous curmudgeons...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

Indeed we have—and would be delighted.

As to Myladylove's tolerance…she puts up with me (more or less) and is herself rather obstreperous and not to be ignored if you know what's good for you. Before heading off to live on an Alaskan island, she grew up in the mountains of east Tennessee—where dealing with mules and similar ornery critters, cranky men, wild kids, and the occasional bear was a daily occurrence. Her current job is in finance, but also entails managing a sales force of a dozen childish men, which she keeps whipped into shape and order through fear, intimidation, and a loud volatility that puts the fear of God into them on a daily basis.

Trust me…she'd have no hesitation giving our leashes a neck-snapping jerk.

The Solitary Walker said...

Good Grief, Sir, that sounds like a mixture of Boadicea, Catwoman and Margaret Thatcher!

Perhaps you'd better just leave me on the riverbank this time while you both go off on your Amazonian adventures. But remember to give me the key to the drinks' cabinet...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

It grieves me to put things in such terms, but are you an intrepid adventurer, a fearless walker who faces dark nights on lonely trails in strange lands, a hair-on-the-chest survivalist who eats small furry animals cooked over open flames and thrives on personal danger…or a wuss?

Uhhhh, the key is taped to the bottom of the hummingbird feeder hanging in the hackberry. Try not to fall in the river and drown.

Rowan said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your Ladylove is having health problems, hopefully she will soon be feeling 100% again. Sounds as though you both need to take things steadily - not too much of the spinning round of rocks and more fishing for you I think:)
As for weather - it's the same here, cool nights and nice sunny, warm days and the leaf buds just starting to break, soon there'll be a canopy of green in the woods and a carpet of blue as the bluebells (English version!) begin to flower.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Rowan…

I think we're both just worn out from winter and too much work. But things are on the upswing—it's spring, the greening world is glorious and filled with energy. What better time to rest and heal?