I Fought the Lawn and…Wait, I Won


I hadn’t mowed the lawn in three weeks. That’s not as bad as it sounds. It gets dry here in late summer. The climate here used to be semi-arid and despite the fact that the climate is changing, we still get semi-arid for the last half of the summer. We haven’t had a good rain in weeks. So you have two options. Spend a small fortune watering it in hopes you can keep it alive or let it go dormant. The later results in a yard baked to a crisp but that grass does come back in the fall. So I let this lawn go with the knowledge that it will recover just like it has in the past.

Weeds don’t do dormant, especially North Dakota prairie weeds. Add to that the fact that the grass still grows in the shady areas. This lawn was starting to look unkempt. Yesterday a couple of neighbors gave in and mowed their lawns so I figured I better keep up my end. We’ve got some real hillbillies on our block and the name of the game is to not be mistaken for them. So today I got to work. And it was a bitch.

The temperature today wasn’t high and it’s far from humid, but working in the August sun is still strenuous. I mowed, dug up weeds in the flower beds, scraped buffalo grass and other free spirits growing in the cracks of the driveway, and trimmed back some other wild growth. By the time I was done I’d spent almost three hours out there. I guilted Carjo into making me lemonade (it was too early in the day for beer).

All the work I do is pretty much with my brain so it feels good to do something so physical. It also reminds that I’m still a bit out of ideal shape and I’m getting old. I can deal with the former and hopefully it will help with the later. But right now I will bask in the sense of accomplishment while I go back to work, slinging around words and symbols on the laptop. And playing the Clash.

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Caturday – Knave, Prepare My Chambers


It’s a very odd thing but the cats are inching into winter mode. Let me explain. First, there has been an interest in sleeping spots that are normally reserved for winter. This chair is normally sought out in the mid-winter. Why, I don’t know. Daniel spent a good part of January/February there, burrowed into a pile of blankets and a thick comforter we piled on the cushion. A few days ago he indicated a renewed interest in spending the night there. Hmm.

Sansa, the Queen of Mayhem, has stopped staying out late. In fact, she’s only the last one home about half the time now. It used to be a constant. The nights have been getting a little colder but that means temps in the fifties rather than the sixties. And she spends more of the day inside, like she’s back under house arrest. Arya, her soul sister and partner in crime, has been spending afternoons in the man cave closet, perched on a folder comforter. Hmm.

The advance forecast says our fall will be colder than normal. Farmer’s Almanac predicted a winter that would be brutish and long for the northern plains states. Do the cats sense this and are already adjusting for it? Or are they just showing signs of maturity or in Daniel’s case, senility? It’s perplexing but I have a feeling about the coming season. It’s not a good one. I better stock up on dark beer.

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I Farm! I Farm Dog!


Nothing gets our two little dogs so delirious and stupid happy as a trip to the farm. They run until they’re exhausted, searching out every little smell and leaving tiny territorial pissings at every corner. It’s a good life and I’m glad to give it to them


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Play It Loud…Shostakovich Did!

I was surfing through a thread on Progressive Ears yesterday about Deep Purple. Someone brought up the three early albums with Rod Evans and I thought, “whew, lucky I got those copied off that bad hard drive,” Except I checked. And I didn’t.

So the bad hard drive made yet another trip into the freezer and I found that I had extracted only a portion of the Deep Purple rarities stored on that decrepit piece of plastic. It made me wonder, what else was missing.

Keep in mind, this is about 2 terabytes of music files and things get forgotten in the shuffle. I know I checked and double-checked some artists but did I get everything? The answer was a resounding NO. So the process began again.

A lot of Deep Purple, my collection of Shostakovich string quartets by the Emerson Quartet (some quibble these are played a fraction too fast – I just don’t have that refined of a classical ear), a silly David Lee Roth compilation, some KISS (that’s a bit embarrassing), a rather large amount of Kraftwerk (that’s not embarrassing), live Robert Plant shows, some Dylan (!!!), and last but not least a massive grouping of Porcupine Tree rarities and live shows.

I love Porcupine Tree. They did a lot to keep me sane from the mid 90s to the late 00s. Here’s a track from their last official release, a live recording called Octane Twisted. If you didn’t play the piano concerto loud, I might suggest you give this one a try. I’ll just listen to it again and reflect on saving some great music that I truly would have missed.


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How Dare You Interrupt Me?


When Amy Feral Fowler comes in for her afternoon nap, she usually camps out on the love seat in the living room. When she comes in for the night, she usually camps out on the love seat in the living room. I’m starting to think I should check this area for cat hair.

I’m waiting for a work project so I’m scrambling to get stuff done around the house and to get some fiction writing done. I’ve had more progress on the former. The later requires some concentration and no distractions which is a little hard to achieve this summer.

The city has some contractors running around town, digging up water mains and making a tremendous racket. Our street is not immune. In addition there’s my neighbor who has a knack for firing up his riding lawnmower when it is quiet. He moves at about 1/2 mph in this thing so it takes him for-fucking-ever to mow the damn thing. And then there’s this little kid with a pogo stick. That noise was amusing the first day. It’s no longer the first day. I don’t know how much energy that little fucker has but he can pogo for HOURS! So yeah, plenty of jobs around the house are getting done.

Right now there’s no construction, the lawn next door is mowed, and the pogo stick may have been confiscated by someone in the neighborhood. In addition Carjo had a rough night and is drifting into naptime. So I’ve got Sansa sleeping behind me, a fresh can of Diet Coke, and a blank page ahead of me. Back to it.

Now playing:

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Summer Flowers


Me and my wife are not exactly endowed with green thumbs. Neither of us have the patience, discipline, or cash for fancy fertilizers/pesticides/chemical enhancements. So are attempts at planting a garden were meager. But my wife pines for flowers (even if she expects me to do all the work). For years she’s asked for sunflowers. This year I finally found some seeds that would tolerate the cruel winds and my indifferent watering.

There’s about a half dozen big sunflowers behind the house and about the same amount of smaller ones. Only a few are blooming so far but I must say they look pretty good considering the ineptitude of their caretaker.


And then there are the four-o’clocks. My wife grew up with these in the backyard and I’ve tried to grow these outside our bedroom window for a couple years ago. The seeds have never taken hold for some reason but this year I decided on a different strategy. I planted again under the bedroom window but also in the plot on the east side of the house. The stuff by the bedroom window is struggling. The ones on the east, below the kitchen window, are thriving. Here they are this morning.


I’m encouraged now. Next year I’ll concentrate more on the spot where the sunflowers bloomed and the eastern flower bed. With gardening, like baseball, there’s always next year.

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Caturday – It’s International Cat Day


It’s International Cat Day. Like the Internet needs an excuse to post cat photos?

So here’s the lamest thing I could come up with. It’s an unflattering photo of Sansa crashed on the treadmill. It’s hot outside and she finds this to be a cool alternative to a warm bed, or baking in the hot sun. It’s a hard knock life for Sansa.


Back to work. You may now resume looking at better photos of cats.

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