Sunday, August 27, 2006

Here is the porch, almost completed. I still have to put shingles on it but it is almost done. What an addition to the house!
Still I have hummingbirds. Lately I have only seen females.
We have had a major heat wave this summer, above 1oo degrees every day for weeks. Last night and today it rained about an inch and the temperature was in the 80's. Sweet relief!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A new path

Here is the latest addition to the porch project. I like it so much, I may put in some other paths stretching out from the patio. Also, I am moved to put the roof on. I have an idea, partly from some phots Zebra sent me of her porch roof. I plan to go to the lumber yard tomorrow and get the wood! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


This is my friend Sandi teaching me how to rope. It's as fun as it looks. I practiced for several weeks and then I went and roped one of my goats on the first try! The funny thing is, then I didn't know what to do with him! I let him run around a while and when he got tired, he was ready for me to take the rope from around his neck. He's a little friendlier toward me now (that's not saying he's very friendly at all, really). I'm going to keep roping him and the others in and pretty soon maybe they'll let me pet them. Here's hoping....

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Yesterday, we hit a record high of 102 degrees. Today, we tied the record at 100. It's beginning to get dry since there's been no rain. There's a 20% chance in the morning. The nights and mornings have been in the 70s and the evenings have been pleasant. I've been sitting on the porch as night falls.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Brick patio

The latest addition. Laying the bricks was fun. I now plan to get some more (these were in the barn) and make the patio/walkway more expansive. I used the "basket weave" pattern. I have since filled in the ctacks with the crushed gravel stuff I got at the sand lot.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


We got about an inch of rain yesterday in a quick afternoon shower. Today, we got two and a half inches in a long, drawn out afternoon of raining. Exquisite! The trees were calm as the rain stretched on and on. They were, is essence, soaking it all up. So was I and everything around me. There is hope for the plants and the planet after all, at least for the next few days.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Enjoying the evening

This evening I was able to enjoy the porch and the hummingbirds without planning, in the back of my mind, the next measurement, the next board I need. I just sat some and gardened some, drank some excellent coffee and watched the sprinkler. It's very dry and no rain in sight.

We matched a record high today of 97. It's forecast to be in the mid 90's all week with lows in the upper 60's. Ouch!

I have at least 2 male and 2 female ruby throated hummers who frequent my yard. The males seem a little shorter and thicker than the females who seem a little longer and sleeker. I watched earlier in the week as a male did his aerobic flight pattern for the female. I think it's a mating dance. I had read that and forgotten about it until I saw the dance. Perhaps the show I described earlier about the two males flying in and out of the redbud tree really involved only one bird, doing his dance. If so, he was flying through the tree, back and forth and looked like two different birds. Amazing.

I don't know that I could ever get to the point that the hummers are commonplace to me. I am able now to follow them from branch to branch because they tend to go to the same spots in the trees to perch and preen, always keeping an eye on the feeder in case another little bird tries to feed. Rarely do I see two birds on the feeder at the same time but today I saw that once. I couldn't tell if it was a male and a female or 2 females. I think it was the former. I can't imagine 2 males feeding at the same time. They are so stingy about the feeder!

Tomorrow I am going to start thinking about the porch roof. I have done a vague preliminary measurement and it looks like I can have a 7 foot high roof at the proch's edge by attaching the rafters to a header fastened to the house with lag screws right under where the house roof overhang is. I think the porch roof pitch will be enough and won't look too strange compared to the house roof pitch. The roof will definitely be a challenge. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Porch floor

It's all done except for the end board on the left. I'll finish that in a couple of days. Next come the stairs. I think it would look good and would add utility to the proch to have stairs all across the front. At parties, people could sit on them. Or I could put potted plants there. Plus the pets would love the stairs. Plus it would be a great place to sit and play guitar.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

new hummingbird experience

I sat on the porch watching the hummers -- two of them -- vie for the feeder. The one was flashing his ruby throat at me from tree to tree or even in mid-air. Then they seemed to be playing somewhat of a game in the redbud tree. One would be in the tree on one side and the other bird out from the tree in the air. The air one would fly into the tree on its side and the tree one would come out of the tree on the other. Then the new air one would fly into the tree on its side and the new tree one would fly out. This went on and on for at least 10 exchanges. It was like those things with the steel balls hanging on strings and when you raise one and let it hit the others, the one on the other side pops out and when it hits backs, the other side pops back out. Fascinating!!!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A new thought perspective

All that's left is to get more decking and finish the floor and put the steps on -- then, the roof. Eventually I plan to put railings up. Meanwhile, the thinking chair is facing in a new direction.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Screaming Toad saves the day

Kelly got here about 2:15. We talked about the plan, had coffee, talked and thought some more, batted around all the ideas about how to compensate for the measuring problem and finally came out with the simplest and best solution for the joists. What a great thinker! We headed for the lumber yard and brought home four 16 foot long 2x6s for the joists. She knew how to do the hangers and we got those puppies hung in an hour and a half! Thanks, Jel!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ready for joists (and rain)

Today was a hard-working day! I'm wiped out as I write but I'm so happy about the progress, I wanted to say something about it.

It's hard to tell in the photo but up against the house is a board. This is usually called the ledger board and is an integral part of the deck. In my case, however, because of the way my house was built, I didn't want to attach the ledger board to the house. I am instead using a board attached to the inside posts in that capacity. Still, I had to have a board up against the house to give support to the flooring so I spent a lot of time today figuring out how to make that board secure. I cut 4x4s to support the board and secured it in as many places as I could.

I also had to repair the siding under the door. I will use flashing to protect that in the future from water splashing on it which is what caused it to get rotten.

I spent the rest of the day pretty much attaching the header joists (the boards on the perimeter of the posts) and making then level. I had to make up how I leveled them because none of the books made any sense to me on that part. I think it turned out good!

Alas, I think I didn't allow for the width of the header joists )the boards around the perimeter of the structure) so my measurements are a little long. I'll figure someting out. That's what the thinking chair is for!

It's supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow -- maybe the rest of the week -- so I don't know what Kelly and I will get done on the porch tomorrow but we can always drink coffee and talk about the porch. That's almost as fun as building it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Plans and materials

Today I spent some time talking to Ray, my neighbor, about how the porch is shaping up. I also sat in the thinking chair for quite a while, contemplating and going over the two books I have on building a porch/deck. Then I firmed up my idea for the joists and went to the hardware store. I got screws, new gloves and gorilla glue (just to have). I talked to the guy there about building decks. He gave me his 2 cents worth.
On the way to the lumber yard for the joists, I realized that each person and each book has its own ideas about how to do this thing. So from all my talking and reading and setting posts and whatever else is in my brain that allows me to move a concrete slab by myself, I became confident in my own plan.
I am going to have 2x6 joists hung on hangers 16" apart (unless I decide on 24" tomorrow). I'm going to use 5 decks screws on the header joists at the posts. I am treating the 8x16 foot deck as 2 8x8 decks and I am going to hang my joists and lay my flooring accordingly. I will probably use 2x6s for flooring.
Ray and I talked about the roof a bit and agreed that we could discuss that again when the deck is done. I will deal with the stairs when I get there and also the railings. For now, I am looking forward to having the deck done by Wednesday. Kelly is coming over to help me Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


A good day's work at night fall.

By the way, it rained 2.7 inches last night and today. Beautiful! Oklahoma City is actually .31 inches over for the monthly average but still over 2 inches low for the year. I may even have to mow for the first time this year next week.

leverage at work

The front porch stoop which used to be up on concrete blocks is now flat on the ground.

Friday, April 28, 2006

3 posts and 100% chance of rain

The only thing missing to make this a perfect morning is some donuts to have with my coffee! Hope there are no tornadoes to blow down my posts but the rain is otherwise welcome.

It's chilly as the clouds come it. I'm going to shut the windows and get a little reading done.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Two posts up and a porch to go

I thought I couldn't dig any deeper in this clay than the 18 inches I had struggled to reach but my neighbor, Ray, convinced me that I could so I kept digging, adding water, digging, adding water, digging.... I reached 24 inches (!) on two of the holes and sunk the posts. I tried to get the third hole dug but, as you can see, the darkness came first so I filled the hole with water and called it a night. If it doesn't rain in the morning, I will finish the third hole and sink that post. I am beginning to see the porch better in my mind. All that sitting and staring at my house is starting to turn into something tangible. Maybe I'm not just a hopeless dreamer!

I got to watch hummingbirds as I worked up until about 8:25 when I guess they called it a night. I look forward to seeing them in the morning. They seem used to me and didn't pay me any attention as they fed and fought over the feeder and just generally did their day. One of them was harrassing a chickadee in the redbud and then chased it across to another tree and then again to another. The chickadee (probably a carolina) looked big compared to the little ruby throat.

It has been a good day on the farm. It's amazing what a little encouragement from a neighbor and from some friends can help a person get accomplished.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

a hummer and a porch

I watched a hummingbird fly from flower to flower, tasting the nectar, then taking a few sips out of the feeder and then flying off around the house. Lovely!

I set the strings today for my 8x16 porch. I think that's big enough. I'm taking the 4x6s back and getting 4x4s. My neighbor is coming over in the morning to help me with the plan. Hopefuly, I can set the posts in the afternoon.

There's an 80 to 100% chance of rain on Friday. That'll be nice. It's not very green for it to be springtime. This morning was in the 40s and very chilly. It warmed up into the 60s in the afternoon and is chilly again tonight. I like it but it certainly does stay cold in the house a long time. It's not quite cold enough to light the wood stove or to stay in bed all covered up. But it almost is. I put the flannel sheets on today and the blankets and the comforter. I'm going to tuck in and read American Democracy, about the politics of oil, the religious right and the national debt and how our country is going down the tubes as countries will. Fascinating.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Well, it rained for about 4 minutes. I took all my animals outside to see it since they've never seen rain before. (They are all over a year old.) They liked it! After 30 seconds, they all ran inside and watched through the front door screen. Wish I'd gotten a picture.

The goats (who did not get a chance to come inside) were headed for their shelter but it stopped before they got there so they just started chewing their cud where they stopped. There was a bit of hay in the feeders but it had a few drops of rain on it and they so don't like to eat wet hay. They are, alas, like all goats -- notorious wasters of hay. When they strew it out in their yard, I always say, "there you go again, being notorious about your hay." They pay me no mind but it doesn't stop me from telling them.

Such is life on this little farm.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

High temperatures

I don't guess I mentioned that one day last week we had a record 96 degrees. The previous had been 92 in 1987. And it's April. Did I mention no rain?

Another record high

We hit a record 91 degrees today. The former was 89 in 1989. It did seem hot. It's supposed to be hot Monday and then cool back down to the 60s and 70s the rest of the week. Still no rain. Everything is so dry. I watered yesterday and it's dry already where I watered. I feel a pervasive sadness about it all.

Ruby, the pond queen

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hummingbird argument

There are two male ruby throats out there, arguing over the feeder. To me, they are using up precious energy. There are four feeder holes on the thing! What do I know, though? Maybe their argument goes way back to when they were dinosaurs or some such. All I do know is that I'm glad they are gracing my feeder and me with their presence, however heated their attitude.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Coffee and porch materials

Today, Preston and I had lunch after work and then had coffee at a new shop in Moore -- The Blue Bean Coffee Company. There was quite a bluish/purple tinge as we walked in. The coffee was pretty good and the atmosphere was ok. The proprietors tried to give us one coffee card and asked for Preston's name, as if we were married. I said, "They think we're together," and we laughed, and Preston said we probably would be but we're both gay. There was a pause and then one woman said one of her best friends is gay and that was funny too but we took it in stride, as Preston and I will, got separate coffee cards and drank coffee, occasionally talking to the women at the shop.

Then we went to Home Depot and I bought three 4x6x12 posts, six 80 pound bags of concrete and six 2x4x8s. He helped me load it up and when I got home I put the concrete and the 2x4s in the barn and the posts in the yard. (I have a very special way of unloading 80 pound bags of concrete.) Then I went and got 15 small bales of alfalfa for the goats and stacked it in the barn. Then I watered some and fell asleep on the sofa for a glorious few minutes as the unmistakable sound of the hummingbirds at the window feeder hummed me into dream land. I awoke and read and watered some more

So now I have the beginnings of the porch. Next, I will dig the holes. Right now, I will go to bed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

More hummers

Kelly and I sat outside this afternoon from about 5 to 6 watching a couple of hummingbirds (ruby-throated, of course). They flew from the feeder to several different trees, usually to the same spot in the trees. We watched one preen for several minutes in the rebud tree. It was precious. They weren't competing quite as harshly as they do sometimes. I suppose that will come later in the season when they are more possessive of their territory. They were both males. I saw at least one female this morning.

The sound they make is so obvious and special to them. At first it sounds like a big bug but is louder than that and unmistakable. They light on the feeder perch or on the tree limbs for seconds or minutes. They become so much more real and birdlike when they are perched. Kelly is going to Belize next month and will have the chance to see dozens of different types of hummers, I suppose. That will be neat!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Today I saw the first hummer of the season. It came to the feeder I had put out quite a few days ago. I heard the sound and opened the curtain. Sure enough, that's what it was! Hummingbirds are magnificent! The feeder had been over run by ants, though, and I don't think the bird liked the food. I cleaned it out and made new sugar water and put vaseline on the hanger. I read that might keep the ants out. I didn't have an ant problem last year so hope they find something else to eat. How do they find the sugar water hangin in the air on a small wire? That's amazing.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I saw 4 scissortail flycatchers sitting on the telephone wire today -- 3 on the top wire and 1 on the bottom. It was very striking against the evening sky. Their tails are so fascinating.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Firsts for the Season

Today I experienced the first mosquito of the season -- actually the first three or four! Certainly not my favorite part of spring but I suppose we can't have one without the other. I planted asparagus and a bleeding heart today, both gifts from a dear friend. I planted potatoes and carrots a week or two ago. My timing may not be good but at least I got the things in the ground. Sometimes I get so lost in thought about gardening that I forget to actually go out and plant things. I planted some wild flowers, Granpa Ott's morning glories and have plans for marigolds.

The hibiscus is coming back from last year. I thought perhaps I had lost it to the drought. I did lose some lavendar, the fennel, the strawberries (they were about spent, though), several rose bushes (I have got to stop planting tea roses in central Oklahoma!) and a plum tree I didn't pay enough attention to. -- By the way, I am not going to worry about grammar on this thing. --

Anyway, It was hot today for April 16th -- 91 degrees -- and still no rain. We are over three inches low already for the year and normal by now is only about seven inches so we've had half as much rain as normal. That is after last year's problems. Guess we'll have to hunker down and conserve and keep the hearty plants going and let the others go.

I have cut back on my driving in the past few months but that's a whole 'nother post so here ends the day's recorded history.

The skunk scent

Instead of, "skunks stink," how about:

It's sort of a thick, powdery smell
like when you breathe it in
it coats the passages
all the way through your nostrils and your throat
to your lungs --
not a wet coating but a dry one,
hence the "powdery" quality.

It's not really a stinky smell but more of just
an unpleasant one
Sort of like when you're chewing
something you don't like the taste of
but even more
you don't like the texture
So much so that you have to spit
it into the napkin
and then you can't
get rid of the taste
that lingers long after
partly because of
the awful texture.

Anyway, that's what
the skunk smell is.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

To Ferron

Instead of "Thank you for putting your music out and saving my mind and my life" How about:

In the center of the ocean
where no one has been or will be
on all sides deep
there must be little pockets
as in a pair of work jeans
places where necessary things are waiting
just in case
Like a pocket knife
a few coins
or a scrap of paper
maybe a stub of pencil
just in case
someone finally does make it down there

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Day

A full day so far. I've figured out a few things about this blog thing, painted the front door and a garden chair (red), and waterproofed the outdoor wood furmiture. I dug up my brick walk and used the 6,8,10 rule (or 3,4,5, according to how you look at it) to square off the corners for the new porch which I have been planning for the past few years. I think I'll make it 8x16, a big project, I know, but 12 feet will be right over the pipe to the septic tank.

The coffee I am drinking is exquisite, I like it with cream.

It's harder to write when I imagine someone might read it. I've been to a few blogs today and some people tell too much information. On the other hand, what difference does it make? I can either read it or not. It's different when I'm the one doing the writing, though. I mean, what if I say something I don't mean? Or what if I misspell something? I suppose I can always delete the post.

Also, I did some laundry. Not exciting, I guess, but a satisfactory feeling from it nevertheless.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Instead of “You told a spectacular story tonight,” why not:

You took off your dress,
slipped your shoulders and arms
out of the sleeves
and let it fall to the floor.
You were more than naked underneath
You were an ocean into which
I dove
Salt water trickling down my throat
The essence of you swallowed
into my being
You were a sea bird
with graceful wings
lifting you over the water
No land in sight
Alone in the vastness
Yet at one with the mystery
The water
The flight
The sky
The horizon
The distant shore
The floor where your dress fell.
I saw through you then
But I was born too late to touch you

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Getting the words out

I have been using new device in writing poetry lately. This has prompted me to long for it to be read. So I thought I'd find a vehicle and this blog is it for now. Any day now I will post some of it.