Ah, sweet filthy lucre!

Money was running through my fingers like water this week, what with the chariot due for an oil change, toiletries running out, and shoelaces needing a replacement.  I found myself grabbing gas money out of the “Stash o’ Cash”.

Some readers may know it by another name: the emergency fund. I learned to squirrel away bills and coins for those situations that require cash on hand. (I admit it began with a gas-and-pizza fund at college.) It’s a kind of running joke among old friends that some of us follow the “squirrel model” too closely and forget where they put it. (Or add to it without using it, like my grandfather who stashed thousands of dollars in a safe over the course of years!) Continue reading


Decorating Nonsense

The furniture is moved and the floors are washed. The tree is up but not yet trimmed. The two silk Flores de Noche Buena aka Poinsettias are in the bedrooms. And bits of pine tree and cones are placed in various places so that their scent makes up for the tree fakery. Continue reading

Ditch bouquet 2016



Spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) on a flowering chicory (cichorium intybus). Copyright 2016 Jean Balconi.

This is photo is for Derrick, whose beautiful garden photos are one of the charms of his eponymous blog.

Years ago I used to have a running series on my first blog (now defunct). I called it “Ditch bokay” (a country spelling I used to see in the Thumb). I’d be traveling along fields or shorelines, only to stop short because of wildflowers or weeds in bloom.  I’d take snapshots with my low-quality digital camera and upload them.

Asters, lilies and the elusive buttercup – there are dozens of beautiful blooms growing in the fringes.

The beauty of snow

Last night I fell asleep to the sound of rain and woke to same.  The forecast called for a chill to set in overnight and turn everything to ice. I was thankful that the cold held off. If it were snow, I’d be shoveling shin-deep piles.

But when I opened the blinds, I sighed over the ugliness of the view. From my office, I see past my oaks and into the wooded lot across the road. In the summer, it’s a wall of green. With the branches bare, it’s a look at the property owner’s collection of stuff. There’s a uncovered boat on a trailer (uncovered generally means “doesn’t run”), a rotting tent, a front loader that hasn’t moved since last year, and something that looks like a fallen stack of lumber.

Then the chill arrived. The rain streaking the windows turned to glittery beads and stripes. The snow is slowly burying the evidence of sloth and blurring the edges of the junk.