Thanks to the continous downpours today, I now know what hydroplaning is.
All winter I marveled at those who wore sandals in the rain and wind. Those brave bare toes peeked out, and looked awfully chilled. But today, one day after the daylight savings change, it is balmy with a slight breeze.
I bought about $30 worth of seeds a few weeks ago, when it was dreary and gloomy every day. Now that the bulk of my day’s work is done, I’m going out to empty various pots full of rainwater. Unfortunately, during the humongous plumbing project, the workers did something to my main outdoor faucet. After the initial full spray in the face after turning the hose on, now the spigot doesn’t work right. Perhaps the squirrels sabotaged the hose, seeing as how I’m always going after them with it.
Maybe I’ll just take all those seed packets out and gaze upon them.
This was yesterday evening when the birds come by for the last feeding of the day. The wind today was much worse, and I gave up trying to shoot anything. I did learn that hummingbirds keep eating when it rains. Sparky is more skittish now that he is taking an active role in building a new nest, so I didn’t get any footage. He has finally relented, and lets the Missus approach the feeder, but not very often.
Around sunset, it seemed to clear up, so I put out props, wondering where all the birds were. Seconds later, it began to hail.
But the peanut-loving chickadee sidled up on the bushes by the door, all by herself, looking at me expectantly. She has been tending to her nest duties, and has ignored me for over a week. There was a peanut in my pocket, probably smelling like lint, but she jumped over and got it.
Despite the gloomy morning skies on Monday, it was brighter somehow. More sky showing. Overnight, a neighbor seems to have put up a new addition to his house. Either that or some mature landscaping was removed.
This particular neighbor, the one we refer to by his ex-wife’s first name, as in Mr. Maria (not her real name), seems normal. Until you try to have a conversation with him. Then Mr. Maria becomes Mr. Strange. But I digress.
All that sawing we heard Sunday night, thinking it was the solar guys working overtime - that must have been Mr. Maria. His driveway has the remains of a very large tree, which must have toppled over in one of the recent storms. We did hear a really loud ‘POP’ one night that sounded like a balloon in the next room.
So being the man he is (I should mention that he is also the guy who goes around with a tank of pesticide killing ants, one by one, it looks like, when he sees them on his driveway), he must have felt the need to deal with the tree before morning.
Most weekends will find him working on or washing his car. I shudder to think what his reaction would have been had the tree fallen on the car. He probably sits bolt upright in the middle of the night when he also thinks about this narrow miss.
This morning I was ready to walk down the hall to work, since I work at home, thank goodness, given the rambunctiousness of the weather. A bubbling sound came from one of the toilets.
Not a good sign. We recently had a plumber out, not the one at Thanksgiving, but a better one, who gave us a 90-day warranty. Meanwhile, the other toilet wasn’t flushing. The family member noted the condition of the drains on the street, and he called PG&E.
Meanwhile, the non-flushing toilet corrected itself with a thunderous roar. The bubbling toilet became serene. The utility company was called again, and the request to come out was cancelled. However, a crew was coming out regardless.
All morning, the suet-eating birds were casting meaningful looks through the window. From what I could see, there was enough food out there till I could get through a large chunk of work, and I ignored them. Till I realized I had an opportunity to bond with the lone chickadee that will eat from my hand. With a perceived lack of food, maybe it would take a peanut from me today.
What does this have to do with toilets and utility men? Just wait. So I went outside with peanuts, and sure enough, the chickadee hops onto my hand, choosing a nut. Sparky, the hummingbird, had plenty of food in his feeder.
I got settled in with work again. The doorbell rang. A PG&E guy in full fluorescence asked where my clean out was. I hate it when this happens. Usually it means a call to a family member, and in this case, he said we had no clean out. He and the guy spoke at length on my cell.. The guy went back out front.
A few minutes later, here he comes with another guy, less fluorescence, bigger boots. They’ve had a long, trying day. At the same time, Sparky also comes in to his feeder, which is right beside my head. The guys tell me I should call the last plumber back, that there is a blockage somewhere in the line that will come back to haunt me. And that if he won’t honor the warranty, to not pay a cent. If that is the case, the PG&E guys will come back. Sparky makes his humming noise as if he’s truly annoyed.
Then the guys ask what do plumbers do since there is no clean out? They go up on the roof, I said. Sparky was sounding really upset. I know he’s only a couple of inches from my head. PG&E doesn’t go up on roofs, they told me.
So was Sparky guarding his territory? These guys sure had colors that outshone his, even on his sparkiest days.
Major light dimmings since I got up at 6-ish, a report in that the blocks surrounding us are already out, including street lights. Torrential rain, thunder, the works. First major storm of the season is a stunner. Pictures later if I can keep the camera dry, which I was unable to yesterday.
Really coming down out there, the air looks green. And so, the commute will be messy tonight.
The feeding station has been in place almost a year now. Regulars are the typical visitors to backyard feeders: chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, California towhees, titmouse, and occasionally, wrens. The hummingbird feeder is dominated by Sparky, a fierce but somewhat friendly fellow. On the periphery are woodpeckers, crows, blue jays, robins, cedar waxwings (at berry time), sparrows and a couple of lovely but as yet unidentified visitors. They don’t partake from the feeder.
Back in the spring, there were lively young chickadees that took a keen interest whenever I watered the raised vegetable beds. I assumed they were juveniles from their lack of grace when landing on branches. They took to hanging out in either the plum tree or the pyracantha bush next to it. One day I aimed the hose spray upward.
They went crazy. Such a racket, and before I knew it, there were ten or so, all calling happily to each other, shaking out their wings, holding their heads upward. Clearly this was a great treat. After a few days, a wren or two would show up, and sometimes, a hummingbird. At this point, there was no hummingbird feeder, but they visited the fuchsia plants and Mexican sage regularly.
I wanted a video of this so that family members wouldn’t think I had gone off the deep end. But before I knew it, the young chickadees were gone. Vanished. On to greener territories perhaps. The whole summer went by without a single one noticing when I watered. If I pointed the spray at the remaining chickadees, they flew away.
Today, I went out to check on the green beans and the last tomato plants that are still producing. More on those another time. Was that a happy chickadee sound? Yes, and several were answering. There was the buzz of a giant bee, which I suspected was Sparky. I sprayed up into the pyracantha, which needs pruning very badly. One by one, they flew into the bush, which is more like a tree. Even the juncos were there, but more subdued than the rest, who had their wings out, heads up, shaking their feathers. Giant bee buzz again. There he was, in the middle, little wings out and chirping away, bobbing up and down, my resident hummer.
Will they do this for at least another week? Temps are warm, in the 70s. I must figure out the movie function on the camera. I’m thinking this is at least a 2-man project.
This afternoon seemed a good time to get rid of all the redwood tree debris from the storm last week. After the yard waste toter filled up, I was deciding which other garbage can to use when the sprinkle turned to rain. My side yard is shaded by the neighbor’s oak trees, so there was some protection. It began coming down in earnest, but nothing serious. I had just potted up some Japanese anemones and two hydrangeas too, so the rain is very welcome.
Obviously the South Bay did not get the deluge that occurred elsewhere.
Coinciding with school being let out, not a good sign. Sounds like multiple emergency vehicles up at the intersection, blaring their horns.
The back patio is still underwater, big puddles elsewhere in the yard. Big chunks of palm tree came down but no fencing, thank goodness. I put garbage cans under the roof runoff areas. No sign of a letup in rain, but gusts have diminished as earlier. Well, wait a minute. Take that back.
It’s 46° at 7:45 a.m. Brrrrrr. Absolutely wonderful. Might have to turn the heat on early this year. Yesterday I went for an impromptu walk with an old friend in the bracing wind. It took some time to warm up since I was somewhat underdressed. Few fallen leaves, but in that neighborhood some of the ginkgo trees are female, and there were nuts underfoot.
This time of year it’s hard to check the garden without walking into spider webs. In the 95° temps this afternoon, I found this creature. A hot breeze came up, so I didn’t get the shot I wanted. I suspect it will still be there tomorrow.
Thursday is garbage day (at least 3 trucks, sometimes more). It is also the day the gardeners come and do their leaf-blowing for two houses across the way, which cranks up the chihuahua in back and sometimes the chihuahua mix next door to it. If I’m really lucky, some neighbor is having a large tree removed and composted (an all-day project). For the past few days at peak rush hour times, the main thoroughfare up the way is the site of a horrendous accident requiring the services of many emergency vehicles. Add to this the use of student djs at the junior high who are allowed to play music of their choice during recess and lunch (sometimes longer), delivered to us via loudspeaker.
While I complain about the heat this summer, on days when I have to turn on the a/c, the white noise cancels out everything else. And guess what. Several days are coming with forecasts up to the 90s and beyond.
In early September in the Bay Area? No way. A few drops on the skylights at first. I went back to sleep. But then, a definite shower woke me up again. Did I leave sacks of fertilizer open? No. Did I leave tools out? Yes, all the pruners. Did I get up and bring them in? No.
You know it’s going to be bad when the blue-belly lizards are basking on the patio right in front of the window where I work. I think they’re looking for shade.
The wind has been blowing most of the day, and my eyes are itchy and feel gritty. Is it because it’s Friday after another week of PhotoShopping numerous photos and therefore, simple eyestrain, or is there stuff blowing from Santa Cruz?
Enough work for now. Tonight I get to choose between Coraline, Slumdog Millionaire and a British series, Pie in the Sky for a dinner movie. The latter seems promising for supper: the cop is also a chef.
I depend on my Mac dashboard to tell me how hot it is, and for a while this morning, Cupertino temps were lower than those in SF. That has changed.
The thing about the dashboard - on days like this, the projected temperature keeps edging up. Around noon, the temp was 93°, and the forecast was moved up to 96°.
The tomato plants must be blissed out, but a few of them are getting droopy, along with the squash. Maybe now the basil will finally take off. I’m in the process of clearing out the ivy growing on this side of the fence, because next year, that’s where the pumpkins and zucchini will go. But there will be no garden work today.
I will stay in the a/c. My Macs hate this weather, and yesterday one of them crashed in the heat when I failed to cool the house down in time.
Friday night at the produce stand next to Trader Joe’s, two of them were flanking a woman sitting on the curb. One was saying, ‘M’am, we know you’ve some substance, we just don’t know what it was yet.’ By the time I finished and was heading to the car, here comes another cop, a woman, moving briskly to help out. There were four police cars in the lot.
Saturday, we were slowed down by cops directing traffic around an accident in Palo Alto. Back home, we crept along near Sunnyvale-Saratoga, where chunks of tire debris littered the intersection. Off to the side, a large family with lots of little ones was talking to the cops.
Due to the heat, we mostly stayed home, but whenever we ventured out, there they were.
It used to be that the streetsweeper came by every Friday, made a few passes around my street and that was that. Then there was a water shortage. The city switched to using recycled water. If I didn’t close the door, the smell would linger in the house. A hard-to-describe smell, not real stinky but maybe a stench with a few of its aromatics removed.
The visits tapered to once a month. Sometimes, it seemed that it stopped coming around altogether. Today marks a definite change. Or maybe I got the deranged streetsweeper.
Around ten, he showed up, made two passes. I got the door closed in time. About 30 minutes later, here he comes again, makes a few more passes as if he missed some spots. Then he rumbles by again a few minutes later. I’m starting to get mad that I have to keep getting up. While it’s not as hot as it’s going to get over the next few days (up to the 90s, depending on which forecaster is consulted), it’s still stuffy with the door closed.
Now, at 1:30-ish, he’s here again. I don’t believe it. Is he making up for all the times he skipped? Does he have a girlfriend on the street somewhere? I’ll be heading out in a few minutes, and I bet the street is really, really clean.
And now, of course, there’s a ripeness in the air.
At the outlets, this little bird was found behind a trash can. High winds must have knocked it out of the nest in a large letter on the storefront. Another few gusts, and it would be in the street. It was not able to grasp yet, and didn’t want to be fed by well-meaning but untrained humans.
Off it went to Palo Alto’s Wildlife Rescue, where staff said one eye may have sustained injuries in the fall.
The idea was for an afternoon of art supply shopping and photo prop hunting. However, the sprinkles here turned into real rain in SF, and never let up. I had the wrong shoes for puddle-jumping, and decided props could wait another day. Mostly, I was hungry.
There are times when the family cook (me) rebels, and on such a blustery, wet day, wants pot roast and mashed potatoes, or some such comforting equivalent. We were, I thought, in the vicinity of Mel’s, good for quick, if somewhat mediocre, fulfillment.
The family member who was driving thought that either Mel’s had moved or had gone out of business. This seemed unlikely(there are three the last time I checked). But the rain became a torrential downpour, so we headed out of the city into an even worse storm, the kind known as a gullywasher where I come from. Visibility was frighteningly low in broad daylight.
But so much rain in May can only quiet the water-rationing types, if only for a little while.
Cold today, only in the mid-50s in the afternoon. All day long, the chickadees have been picking off the peanuts and sunflower seeds, with one female eating as if she had a big brood back at the nest. She tears off bits of the bread pieces, downing it on the spot instead of flying off like the others. When she finds a bigger seed, she wedges it between her claws, and hammers at it with her beak.
Just when I’m lulled into thinking all is peaceful, a big form comes out of nowhere and slams into the window in front of me. When I dash out, all I can see are two doves flying away, one making comforting sounds to the other. Maybe due to not hitting the window head on, but rather coming around from the side, it didn’t knock itself out. Which is great, but I didn’t get to take close-up photos. Dang.
After supper, it was still 90°. But it looked as if we were going to have pink clouds at sunset. I’m never ready for these things. Tried to leap out of my chair, but stuck to it again, thanks to the temps and suddenly, it seemed, high humidity. No time for a tripod, the mosquitoes would have cheered had that been a possibility. I brushed a few off my arm, and took some quick shots at high speed with the lens that’s really not meant for this.
Of course it was dark. But for a few seconds, the western sky looked like the cover of my copy of Dante, minus a couple of small details.
It was 90° at suppertime last night. No Netflix movies left. Need distraction badly. I grabbed The Bourne Identity, and we cheered at all the memorable scenes of the first 45 min. (I had to do some work in anticipation of the even hotter temps today.) The park bench cops, the climbing down the building, the intruder in the apartment. Then I got to thinking, could there be another Bourne in the works?
Apparently so. Although just when it begins shooting is still up in the air.
The orange oil was only a temporary fix, sadly. Believing it would do the trick, confident the ants were banished, I took off with a family member to shop in SF.
When I returned, the ants had sent out word that they were in a citrus-scented tropical paradise. It was time to bring out the heavy salvo: the boric acid solution. However, this solution has been aging since last year when I mixed up a large batch. Whether it will have its usual deadly effects will be obvious when I check tomorrow morning.
How cold does it have to be before the ants decide to move in? Early this morning, a bunch of ice cubes from a big cooler were tossed onto the driveway. Most of them were still there at 1 p.m. When we returned from the city after 6 p.m., there they were, diminished but recognizable.
Shopping was abbreviated, but successful. I found a few places rumored to be THE sites for the objects I hunted. There was parking very close by, surprisingly. For all practical purposes, I am done with the shopping.
The kids used to refer to it as brownus birdus, and we’ve always had them in the yard. They have been making do with scrounging around the mulches and other lowly pursuits while watching the chickadees and juncos feast on peanuts and sunflower seeds up on the table. Finally, yesterday one appeared nervously at the feeding area. I froze, knowing that they can be skittish. It hung around long enough to ascertain the abundance of foods, then took off.
Just now, another appeared. I faded into the background, and it never stopped watching my movements. It didn’t take the other birds long to get used to me. I think the cold weather is a factor in other birds starting to join the party by the window. Maybe I’ll get a picture or two today. It’s going to get lots colder, snow in the lower elevations, which means the hills all around are white today.
Even though the winds were gusty and the temps low, it was a fine day to go for a long walk. My walking friend and I had a lot of catching up to do, news-wise, and the ginkgo trees were at their supreme fall moment, turning the sidewalks and curbs to that wondrous golden yellow.
Hardly anyone else was out, given the cold, except for a man sweeping his driveway up ahead. People are generally very friendly on this route, but he ducked back into his garage. After we passed his drive, we noticed the smell. We both stopped to inspect our shoes, didn’t see anything. The smell prevailed over the next couple of blocks till I stopped and looked again. Surely one of us had stepped in something. Yes, there in the treads.
My friend decided that the man was cleaning away some dog poop. Surprisingly, a lot of dog owners don’t bother to pick up after their pets. Still.
The way home was simply the reverse route. Deep in conversation, we didn’t notice till we walked through the driveway again. This time, we took a close look. It appeared that the sweeper merely spread the stuff around. There was no way to avoid it unless we went into the street.
There was an incident recently, my friend said, when a construction worker client came into her office. The toxic smell that accompanied him throughout the office complex (over several stories) was so pervasive that a pregnant woman in a waiting room was moved to a different area for her safety.
Turned out that the guy had stepped in poop, and being in a hurry for his appointment, reached for the nearest solvent. The combination of diesel fuel and dog feces almost emptied the building.
It doesn’t like this 90s+ weather any more than I do. Now it’s getting audible about it, because it’s hard to get my attention otherwise. For the past few days, there’s been random static. Low, but annoyingly there. Today, it popped out a sparking noise (I’m rehearsing what to tell the Mac Geniuses), and set me to checking the Mac forums. Where this seems to be a fairly common problem coming from the left speaker.
As someone who is alarmed by the loud beep that sometimes occurs when the Mac restarts, I got worried. I hurriedly bought the AppleCare. Then I turned on the a/c.
Then I switched work areas. Someone mentioned checking the power supply, maybe something’s amiss with the outlet at the other desk. So far, no more popping.
Interesting that my old Macbook Pro had none of these problems.
After a few days baking in the high 90s, we headed for what promised to be a least 10 degrees less with fog coming in.
We had forgotten that most establishments in SF are ill-prepared for hot weather, and stale air from the previous days lingered, especially in stores with skylights. Back in the oven of a car, cold sodas in hand, we decided to see if it was easier to park near Paxton Gate on a weekday.
It certainly was, but a sudden braking meant I dumped half the contents of my Diet Pepsi in my lap. It felt great, but I looked like I had massive bladder failure. Luckily, I had brought a change of clothes.
Can you change pants in a car in the Mission?
Many thanks to the staffperson who led me into the nether regions of Paxton Gate where I was able to put on dry clothes.
Here in the Bay Area at least:
1. The fan on the floor has ceased to be an effective piece of equipment.
2. I am sticking to the work chair.
3. The mailman manages to deliver the mail before noon.
4. The laptop is hot enough to the touch that the software to help control the fan must be checked often.
I’m out of here.
You’ve never seen lightning in quite this way. Thanks to Chris for pointing this out.
The clouds tonight were very different, some in the west looked almost like mammatus. After we got out of the library, a huge rainbow dominated the sky, possibly the most vivid I’d ever seen. Everyone else dug out their camera phones too, but they probably were used to taking pictures with theirs. When we left the parking lot, people were still standing around, mesmerized by the golden pink light, and the enormous rainbow that stood out in the darker part of the sky.
Due to my inexperience with the camera phone, I have no pictures of this amazing evening. But many others did.
It sprinkled on the way home, but this being August, it didn’t last long.
Usually, I complain about the heat coming from my Macbook Pro. Once in a while, when a giant fog bank comes in overnight and cools down everything, the laptop works well as a handy source of warmth.
Are you going to line up at the Apple store tomorrow for a new iPhone? Do you keep the packaging that Apple products come in because they are so well designed? Did you know that packaging for said iPhone is made from potato starch?
I won’t be there, although the heat is supposed to ease off, and even though I know there is this device in my future. But I do keep the boxes of all things Apple.
Info via Popgadget.
At 8:30 a.m. the webcam shows thick, luscious fog obscuring the bridge. Tourists might not be pleased, but you can bet the rest of us are jumping up and down to see fog finally showing up after another heat wave. The forecast is still for the 90s inland, but there’s hope.
It may well be that when you view the page, the fog may be gone. But it was here, and it was abundant.
My Mac dashboard reports the Cupertino weather, which seems to be closer to the Sunnyvale forecast than the Mercury News or SFGate. But it keeps changing. Now it’s up to 99° for today and tomorrow. SFGate said inland areas will exceed 100°, and a quick glance at Sacto, Redding and Fairfield temps bear this out.
Meanwhile, the fires keep burning. Now in addition to the exhausting work, many firemen are having to deal with poison oak covering them from head to toe.
Excellent photos via the Chronicle can be seen here.
A whole week of temps in the high 90s brings joy to the heirloom tomatoes that are suddenly towering up to seven feet. However, those of us who are not fruiting vines cast a wary eye outside and note that it’s going to be hell if you aren’t in air conditioning. Especially with more fires murking up the already bad air quality.
There is one a/c unit here, but this being an open-plan house, there is no way to seal off rooms for maximum cooling. It makes the heat a bit more bearable, and keeps the laptop cooler, but that’s it. Nights can be stifling.
With mostly floor-to-ceiling windows, where to put a new a/c becomes a big problem. I will consult with the handyman who will be here tackling the dry rot problem later in the week.
In New York, they are hard at work designing ways to hide your unit.
Watched it before the heat wave. First, it’s not a good dinner movie if you plan to start eating at the beginning, unless you don’t mind scenes dealing with the side effects of chemo.
Second, if you like Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, chances are good you’ll like it even if the critics didn’t.
I don’t recall what dinner was, things have been shimmering and blurry like the view just above a car roof. Probably cantaloupe. Been eating lots of the Tuscan kind, very chilled, very excellent. It cools the entire lower half of the face for a time, and that has been a big plus.
It was 95° when I thought about dinner. The temperature in SF dropped 30° in a very short time. While the peninsula is not cooling down quite as speedily, the idea of lower temps was cause for celebration. However, I wasn’t planning on cooking much. Dinnerwise, we’ve kind of grazed lately on tunafish and lots of melon, so we did go with meat and potatoes tonight. Pork steaks, hash browns (the frozen kind) and the cucumber/tomato salad that seems to be a fixture for Saturday night.
The movie? Eh. Halfway through, we went to Dairy Queen and got a chocolate covered cone and their banana cream pie in a cup. Resumed the movie, which didn’t get a whole lot better, but Benicio Del Toro is always a treat to watch.
Tomorrow, it will be cool enough to work off part of the dessert.
At dinner, it looked yellow outside. The sun was a reddish orange, and it seemed the perfect opportunity for a photo shoot at the nearby nature preserve. Smoke from various fires has transformed the skies to a murky brown/gray on one side and strange, sullen clouds on the other. Everything was bathed in kind of a brownish glow.
The park ranger got his camera gear out as well. But at sunset, the sun looked its normal self.
Back home, I was looking through the pictures, most of which had a sepia tone. A family member came home and announced that the moon was orange.
Out again, but not such great results. My night shooting skills need work, and I lost a contact lens in the dark. There was a lot of foot traffic. But a few things worked out okay today. I didn’t get glass in my eyes from the shattering pyrex earlier in the day, and I found the contact lens undamaged.
Note: It’s easier to see a blue-tinted contact lens on a concrete walkway (with a flashlight of course) than on a white-tiled bathroom floor.
To get me through the upcoming sweltering days, I just might get one of these. Once only available to the military, they’re now for sale to all.
When it’s 95°, popsicles don’t stay frozen very long.
A flock swept into the pyracantha bush during a brief lull in the winds. It never stopped raining, and one robin decided to freshen up a bit, shaking out his feathers, and having a drink too. This is taken through a less than clean window with camera settings for indoor shooting.
One of the others decided to keep an eye on me.
Most of the shrubbery bending over double as the storm continues. A section of the fence is down (crap). It’s going to be a long three days.
Water is pooling in the lower parts of the backyard. The house shudders from high winds, and the vent in the kitchen rattles with debris. The power will no doubt go out, fences will collapse and an explosion was heard earlier (transformer?). If anything, the wind is getting more powerful by the hour. The neighbors’ eucalyptus looks ready to fall.
We don’t get storms like this very often, this is the first in a series of three to pummel us through Monday. Up in the mountains, a family member is going to encounter 150 mph winds and no snowboarding, and might be stuck for several days.
Yesterday after lunch the pumpkin (on my work table) that was outfitted with mini-motion sensing lights kept coming on by itself. A family member had tried to deactivate the blinking aspect of these lights, but was unable to do so Sunday night. I thought perhaps the vibration from my loud music was somehow triggering it. It stopped after a bit. When I tried pounding on the table to start it up, it didn’t work. But after a time, it would begin flashing again.
I spent part of the late afternoon at another house caring for a disabled relative. The dog next door, normally quiet, never stopped barking. The relative, usually napping in a chair, was extremely restless and fidgety, unable to keep still the whole two hours. I was somewhat irritated, because I usually try to get some work done on the laptop, but found it hard to focus for those reasons.
When I got ready to leave, I asked the returning family member if rain was forecast since it seemed so gloomy out. He told me it was clear.
Well, it was and it wasn’t. Six o’clock, a darkish cloud or fog maybe over the foothills. A strange stillness.
The official word (USGS) is that there is no such thing as ‘earthquake weather’.
No less than Aristotle believed that winds in the deepest underground caves were the cause of earthquakes. Which brings to mind this poem by Matthew Arnold, where he mentions ‘Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep,
Where the winds are all asleep. . .’
I miss my old dog, who always managed to tell me in no uncertain terms that it was going to rain. It wasn’t a conscious act, he didn’t come up, put his paw on my foot, and whine while looking up at the sky. That would have been kind of cool, actually.
No, he just did his usual, leaned his weather-sensitive fur against the door and then sink into a daily torpor broken up by the postman’s visit and regular trips to my various flowerpots. But there was never a mistake, even on an otherwise brilliantly sunny day. Brutie and I knew it was going to rain.
Now that he’s gone, the Argentine ants are trying to take up the slack. I’m not quite on their wavelength, and their collective attempts over the past six weeks have failed. (It did rain yesterday, but I had no idea it was coming.) I couldn’t help but notice their insistence at every crevice in my bathrooms, and their improved resistance to Terro ant poison. Stomping them didn’t work, as it seems every pair of shoes I own has soles designed to protect small insects. My fly swatter didn’t work either because the bathroom tiles have small indentations that provided just enough shelter for a fleeing ant.
Am I going to seek out another golden retriever? Oh yes. Not just yet though.