July 31, 2010. Saturday.
Situation: Again I go through the routine, the morning routine I now know so well (discovering that it’s 8:30 when I get down to the kitchen). When I pull down Squeak’s dish to put a wedge of cat food in it, I find that the wedge I put in it yesterday is still there, dried up – I don’t know why, but Squeak doesn’t eat up the canned food I give to her; fortunately, she has other dry cat food in the laundry room she can eat, so I don’t worry about this. Last night when I came home from work, I stepped in some dog poop in front of the kitchen sink; yesterday afternoon I only took Mway out in the back yard to fetch stick, and that apparently was not sufficient to get her to evacuate her bowels. I had seen her pee, but I hadn’t seen her poop (she tends to like to poop on the path). I work tonight, and I suppose I’ll have to take her at least out to the clearing before I leave. Since Squeak didn’t eat her food from yesterday, I don’t give her any more today. I put on my walking clothes, let Mway out the door, go out to take care of the chickens (I realize now I forgot to check for eggs), then Mway and I head for the path.
State of the Path: In the back yard, there are brown spots in the lawn where the chickens have torn up the grass scratching for handfuls of feed. Just beyond the walled garden, a crow flies in front of the electric wire and circles back – I don’t think I’ve seen a crow since spring time, and I wonder if they only fly around in spring and autumn. Mway turns right onto the path toward the clearing (remember, Moi only fetches stick with Mway in the morning, so Mway’s more used to this). But it’s my intention to take a full walk, and even to go on the side path along the old orchard, so Mway ends up turning around when she sees I’m going off in that direction. I’ve thought about bringing the clippers with me this morning, but decide to check on the side path first to see how much clipping needs to be done there. I soon wish that I had brought the clippers. Some grape vines sprawl out onto the path before the anthills, and some goldenrod hems in the path just beyond. More grape vine forms a canopy over the path closer to the back hedgerow; in fact, it seems to sprawl onto and form the crown of a tree (one of the boxelders?) that has no leaves of its own. Near the jack-in-the-pulpits, I lose sight of the path altogether for a moment, confused by bare spots in the ground caused by the drought that steer me in the wrong direction. Beyond the multiflora bush, I find myself wading through goldenrod and jewelweed for longer than I care to, before I come upon the swatch of path that I had clipped open yesterday. I see that I will need to bring the clippers with me back here sometime soon. All along the path, I have to watch out for spider webs strung from the weeds on one side to the weeds on the other. Down along the creek, it seems I don’t hear the cicadas as loud as they were yesterday (or perhaps I should say “grasshoppers” – the World Book tells me that “grasshoppers ‘sing’ to their mates. Most species make sounds by rubbing their hind legs against their front wings”). I walk into and get pricked by a bull thistle (which yesterday I deliberately spared from my clippers). I look at the tall ironweed, and it bothers me that the petals of their flowers are packed together like paint brushes, so that none of the plants look exactly like the photo in Audubon. But toward the clearing, I see that the fleabane flowers are still packed together; apparently flowers in general have not opened up all the way yet in the morning sun. (By the way, yesterday I noticed while going down the lane to get the mail a wildflower that I don’t see out in our fields: some, easily identifiable, chickory, whose flower heads, according to Audubon, “each lasts only a day” and whose “roots can be roasted and ground as a coffee substitute or additive.”)
State of the Creek: The pool at the log jam is losing water. Fresh mud in front of the big log thwarts the creek. The vinyl siding sits completely out of the water, and looks dry.
The Fetch: Just one fetch this morning – and while this is all right with me, I’m kind of irritated by it, for Mway must know that I’m going to feed her breakfast when we get back. Maybe Mway has figured out that, no matter how many times she fetches the stick, if I take her out in the morning, she’s going to get fed. Or maybe she’s just feeling lazy today, or maybe she’s upset that I didn’t take her for a second walk yesterday and she ended up taking a poop in the house. I have long ago decided that I can’t quite figure out what’s going through her mind, and I don’t know why I’m still speculating about it now.