2. Drought. I know those of you who live in normally hot, dry places think I'm exaggerating, but we've set records now for May and June with virtually no rain that counts through those two months. This has never happened historically, although we do often have a stretch of 6 to 8 weeks' drought late summer. Surrounded as we are by so many huge trees and considerable tall dry grass, I'm anxious, and I'm not the only one. Right now, looking across the Salish Sea, I see a thick band of smoke from a wildfire on the Sunshine Coast. And just behind us, on Vancouver Island, there's a 20-hectare fire that began in a hayfield and has caught some forest, caused evacuation of a small neighbourhood of homes. Sounds as if firefighters brought the fire under control last night, but it's been windy here and the weather report through next Thursday shows only more sunshine. No rain.
3. We're used to birdsong around us, but there was so much noise this morning that I took my tea onto the back deck to see what was up. Sat at the table, noticed the robins, a few sparrows, all chattering and chirping up in the fir and the yew tree near the pond. Then a double-take, as I recognized a large, striated shape of different texture and colours than the yew trunk it was perched near. Wow! A Barred Owl, in our backyard, so close, better get the camera. Got up ever so quietly and carefully and was doing fine until, on my way back out, the screen door clattered behind me, and I saw the big bird leave the branch he'd been sitting on. . . .
and fly the ten or fifteen feet to sit on the edge of our pergola! I suspect that, in this prolonged drought, he'd got thirsty enough to think of drinking from our fishpond, but the robins were not keen on sharing territory with a hunter. Check out my YouTube video, if you're interested, for 30 seconds of harassed owl trying to maintain dignity. He stayed long enough (whether as a face-saving move or still hoping he could satisfy his thirst) that I was able to get 2 1/2 minutes of video and another 5 or 10 minutes of gobsmacked enjoyment.
4. Recommended watching: My nephew, a stand-up comic and aspiring screenwriter, IM'd me the other day to alert me to a just-released documentary on Nina Simone, available on Netflix: What Happened, Miss Simone. Cue this for your weekend viewing 'cause my nephew is right! Powerful, moving, sad, entertaining, with some fascinating historical footage. Black and female with a burning ambition and a determination to use her music for political change, mental illness and an abusive husband and a desire for all those material goods that have spelled success. The documentary redeems Simone particularly through her daughter who speaks so thoughtfully and understandingly about her mother, despite what she details unflinchingly as some obvious neglect.
Isn't it wonderful to have this younger generation of daughters, sons, nephews, nieces, friends' children whom we have watched grow up, tell us about shows we should watch, books we might like, music we should listen to? Thanks, Gav!
5. Organizing. This has to be included in my Five Things, boring as it may seem, because it's assumed a spot at the top of my activity list this week. Having packed up and brought home five boxes of books from my campus office last week, I had to find room on bookshelves here. This meant serious culling, and it started a chain reaction of tasks. Since those books came home, I emptied the two 2-drawer file cabinets that supported the 8 foot x 30 inch desktop Paul made for me years ago. Then I cleared the piles of paper and of books, the containers of pens, pencils, and paper clips, the tiers for organizing mail, the camera and sketching gear that got "stored" on top of that desktop. Once all that was clear, we hauled the cabinets and plywood top out and replaced them with a desk Paul's dad made him when he was in high school. Its much small footprint makes my office roomier and the smaller surface forestalls my tendency to packrat the top of my desk. I still have four drawers, which is plenty of storage IF I'm judicious, which I intend to be.
I've also begun culling my books (the original task, if you remember!), and have already got four boxes to donate. I've wanted to get at tasks like these for the last couple of years, and was a bit frustrated, to be honest, that I didn't have energy to tackle them all as soon as classes were over. Bit by bit, though, I'm figuring this retirement gig out, and I'm pacing myself. But I'm also feeling really good when I get something done so definitively.
There we go, then. Another Five Things on Another Friday. We have some lovely family visits scheduled for the weekend. Son, daughter-in-law, and beautiful baby granddaughter will be here Sunday, and Pater will be picking Nola up the same day for a week's visit here. I have a post (Paris Eating, Part II) ready to publish over the weekend, and I'll be peeking in here to read your comments, but otherwise, I'm hoping to stay away from the computer for a few days. Happy Weekend!