Saturday, May 7, 2011

Falconers, Thalwegs, and Deck Pots

Falconers and thalwegs. Those are my special words for today. I checked the calendar and it said May, yet it is cool and rainy. In the night, the rain came down hard and I snuggled under my comforter and the blanket left over from winter, not feeling the warmth of May yet.

Sonny the cat, who likes to snuggle up next to me on cool nights, was taking advantage of his heat source, and didn’t want to venture out this morning, like he usually does. The rain was coming down a bit too hard even for our homestead’s mighty hunter and king of the jungle.

I fired up the coffee pot, and drove down to get the paper. Yeah, I usually walk, but yesterday, the neighbor’s dog decided to express his special brand of freedom after someone left the gate open to their yard. He wagged his tail, ventured out and nipped my on my arm. It was enough to bring some blood out, his teeth piercing my early morning sweatshirt. I chased him back into his yard and hightailed it home, to find the peroxide bottle, and motivate me to go visit my doctor’s office later in the morning.

At least, I accomplished getting an update on my tetanus, and also started a series of hepatitis shots. The nurse had fun poking holes in my arms, but at least I had updated my vaccinations. She gave me a passing grade on my first aid work and I didn’t have the fun of her cleaning up my canine pokes.

Still, I have an interesting crimson design on my forearm, sort of tattooish, but its not quite the design I’d like to keep for any amount of time. My wife doesn’t care at all for the design.

I meet some friends for breakfast, get some groceries and the mail, and come back home to watch the last few hours of the steady downpour. Sonny wanders out, but wants right back in, sick of the rain. We both think a nap is a good idea, just to rest up for lunch.

I catch up on my reading today, getting lost in a fly fishing magazine, and a discussion of locating the big trout. Seems there’s a lot of different parts of a creek, and the part in the middle, where the water moves the fastest, is a thalweg. That’s where the big trout like to hang out, even though the water is fast, because that’s where the big food is, floating down the stream. Good to know, if you are a big trout, or a fly fisherman.

Thalweg sound pretty medieval, even something Attila the Hun or the Vikings would say as they talked about creeks and rivers, and stream flow. They probably weren’t too obsessed about trout fishing, but then, you never know. Its hard to find any talk about fishing in a history book.

After lunch, we decided it was nice enough to go to the dump. Yes, that can be an exciting Saturday project around here, especially since the lawn mower engine is in the shop, its too wet to mow anyway, and I got the grocery shopping and my laundry done this morning. It didn’t take us too long to make a pickup load of treasures we could not live with, and so we headed down the road to the dump. Oh, its called a transfer station now. I’m just not very politically correct on Saturdays.

On the way to the dump, I looked at the river, and there was that thalweg, and another one. I thought about telling my wife, but she would really think I was nuts today, and I didn’t want to push my luck. Going to the dump together was enough of an adventure. Adding a new fishing word to the family vocabulary probably wouldn’t generate a cheer.

I’d heard from a friend that the transfer station folks have brought in a falcon to live there. No self respecting dump or transfer station would be complete without a raucous flock of seagulls, and ours is no exception. Except today, only two seagulls were in sight, and we saw a guy wandering around with binoculars and a hunk of meat or a chunk of wood on a long string. He started whirling the block around his head and looking up into the sky, blowing a whistle.

In a minute, the falcon showed up, circled the guy a couple of times and then grabbed the block and landing. The two seagulls took to the sky in terror, and another flock of seagulls flew around the place and then left. The guy hauled in his line and the block, and got up close to the falcon. The bird took off again and the guy wrapped up his line.

We’d dumped off our trash, and one of the guys in the shed grabbed on to the rusty portable barbeque I’d tossed, thinking it looked pretty good. I hope he has better luck with it than me, as the propane would leak and either I’d get a little explosion or the flame would go out. Not a good thing if you’re in charge of cooking the hamburgers for dinner and they won’t cook, or, they become part of my ineptness with fuel.

We ran an errand in town and headed home. It was getting dry enough that I thought I’d attempt my annual planting of flowers in the pots on the deck. I lugged my sack of potting soil and set out all my new plants, and cleaned up the old pots. I even filled up a bucket with bleach water and scrubbed off the winter’s collection of mold and moss.

After an hour, the project was done, and the deck was all ready for summer. New geraniums, fuchsias, thyme, verbenas, and something called a licorice plant will hopefully have their place in the sun this year. The deck furniture is out and the umbrella is standing there, today’s liquid sunshine dripping down onto the table where the pitcher of lemonade or iced tea should have been for today’s lunch on the deck. Instead, I munched on my sandwich inside, sipping a mug of hot tea, watching it rain.

So, there’s the promise of summer now out in the yard. We have a bunch of bedding plants in the ground now, and all the lawn ornaments out. Now, we just need some sun and some warm weather. I’d be up for that, now that everything is planted and all the summertime stuff is out of the garage. I may even be ready to put away my winter blanket.

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