Just another Wednesday

Some days give one a quiet sense of things accomplished, small steps taken in the right direction. I’ve had a few of those just lately, and it feels good! No huge achievements or startling epiphanies – just life lived quietly, one day at a time.

Like … sitting down now to write my second blog post in a week – thanks mainly to inspiration by the inimitable Aussa. (Yes, okay, go and look, click “follow”, but mind you come back, okay?)

For the first time in months, maybe years, writing is not a struggle. I don’t feel I have to prove anything to anybody, including myself. I could work on any of a number of ideas I’ve lined up among my drafts, but instead I’m just going to record today – because really good days make memories, and really bad days leave wounds, but days like today get lived, and that’s worth noting.

Had to interrupt this for a quick errand of mercy. It is HOT – 106F, and I just saw one of our swallows on the veranda outside the window that I’m facing. (We have a pair that comes every year to raise a family or two under the veranda roof. I would like a whole colony; the poop is a bit of a pain, but it’s worth it to have NO FLIES on that side of the house, despite being close to the corral.) The poor creature was all fluffed up and panting. The river is only a quarter mile away, but I wouldn’t want to have to go that far in this heat. So anyway, I’ve put a bowl of water on the table outside, with a stone in it for perching on, and two guinea fowl all the way from South Africa, because all the best restaurants have exotic decor.

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And … now I have company. Himself and I share an office, and sometimes that’s a lot of togetherness. I do have my own (incipient) office, aka the Ivory Tower, upstairs … except that we don’t actually have stairs to get up to it. The room was inserted under the roof as an afterthought while the house was being built, and we have yet to figure out where the stairs should go. So for now, Himself and I share, and I should mention that he is unleashing his muse. Alackaday!

He is creating a video, complete with a carefully selected theme tune, that he filmed this morning, while I was playing with the tractor. The farrier is coming tomorrow to give Vos and Lizzy their monthly manicure, and I think we’re overfeeding them because the amount of poop they had generated was enough to make you go DUNGGGGGG. Jim scraped it all up into a tidy heap, which he was about to push off to the side of the corral, but then it occurred to me that I should probably learn to do tractor work myself because, you know, he’s getting old and all, and occasionally cranky, and anyway I’m fed up with being ineffectual around machinery. So I poked around a bit between reverse and first gear and – WHOOPS – up onto the dunghill, and making the scraper thingy go up and down, and you have no idea how big a gouge it makes when you rev and those huge tractor tires spin in the dirt! Eventually the heap was artistically untidy again and I had enough dust behind my contact lenses to feel that honor had been satisfied, so I let him get on with it.

No, I am not going to share the video. I was wearing shorts. My knees are visible. They have dimples. Nobody without the questionable benefit of a marriage license needs to see that. You’re welcome.

Anyway, driving the tractor was only one of the interesting things that happened today. The fun started shortly after sunrise, when I reminded Himself of various outdoor chores we had to do before the heat became unbearable. So the first task of the day was to persuade four reluctant and exceedingly stupid steers to move from one pasture to another. This involved much slow stomping through tussocky grass waving long whips, while they basically ignored me. Not for the first time I fantasized about just hopping up onto Vos driving them – I know for darn sure he was a cowhorse in a previous life – but that is probably not going to happen any time soon. This is why…

Vos Rearing

Then it was time to clean up the corral before Himself got going with his tractor. While I was picking up the random bits of junk that had somehow ended up in there (willow branches that Vos and Lizzie have done chewing on, and random toys and bits of wood that the wind or the dogs have brought in), I noticed that we’d grown ourselves a new crop of rocks. Yes, indeed, here in Eastern Washington we grow rocks. A scientifically inclined friend once tried to blame it on tectonic plates, but I’m pretty sure it’s trolls. Anyway, I wandered off to the veggie garden in search of a wheelbarrow so that I could cart them off somewhere useful. Himself said it was next to the grape arbor, but…

07-16 Weeds are winning

… I couldn’t find it.

After my previously described tractor-riding adventure, I came back inside and read a few chapters of Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Invention of Wings” (highly recommended). Then I channeled Dave Ramsey and updated our debt snowball for the first time in about eight months and discovered that our debts had shrunk by about one-third despite being completely ignored, thanks to nothing more complicated than scheduled bank payments and this:

Credit card cut into pieces
Picture from Dollar Photo Club

Yes, cutting up your credit cards really does work. Who knew?

And now here I am, watching the shadows stretch toward the river while the swallows swoop around the veranda. There are a couple of finches, too, panting and ruffled. I hope they notice their water bowl soon! I’m pleasantly achey from the morning’s exercise, and I feel good about what I’ve done with today. It’s quiet – Himself is done with his artistic endeavors, and is off reading somewhere. The dogs are sprawled on the floor, asleep. All is calm.

Ah. Spoke too soon.The baby wants his dinner…

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Argos

What are the ingredients of an ordinary but good day for you?

Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett

Discworld fantasy, published in 2013, available from Amazon.

I was so saddened, a few years back, to learn that Terry Pratchett had developed Alzheimer’s Syndrome. I assumed that would be the end of the Discworld, of which there was so much more still to explore. It’s great to be able to report that I was wrong! “Raising Steam” is the best fun read I’ve had in a while – absurdly complicated subplots, witty word plays, and fully three-dimensional characters, And yes, as always, there’s playful satire so it carries a wee bit of a message – enough to tweak the reader’s attention without burdening one too heavily. (No apologies here for intellectual laziness. Sometimes one just wants a chuckle.)

This installment from the Discworld takes us first to Sto Lat, where we meet bashfully obsessive young Dick Simnel, his slide rule, and the gleamingly beautiful Iron Girder. Then on to Ankh Morpork, where Lord Vetinari offers Moist von Lipwig a choice: add another hat to those he already wears – responsibility for the new railway, in addition to charge of the Royal Bank, the Mint, and the Post Office – or lose the head you wear your hats on. The story quickly builds up a head of steam and takes the reader on a twisting track that takes in rebel dwarfs, mechanically inspired goblins, talking golem horses, conspiracies and coups, politics and even the occasional hint of romance.

Just a taste…

“When it came to looks the Quirm goblins seemed exactly the same as the ones over the border in Ankh-Morpork. However, unlike the Ankh-Morpork goblins, the Quirmian goblins were dressed in a way that could only be called snazzy. They had a certain panache unavailable to their Ankh-Morpork brethren, and a whiff about them of what was probably eau de snail. Admittedly, the materials on show were effectively the same – bits of animal skin or indeed the animals themselves, birds, feathers – all embellished with sparkling stones. It was as if goblins had discovered taxidermy, but hadn’t quite got the important, nay, essential point of scooping out the messy bits first. But trust Quirm goblins to make their own haute couture.”

Seriously, how can one not just love such icky imagery? Makes me want to go back to the beginning of the series and work my way through it again, just for the sheer pleasure of watching his world take shape.