April 26th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Getting started...

So here I am on Live Journal, a new beginning for someone who's been online for years in another location, SFF.net.  I'm still there, and for now consider my SFF.net newsgroup my main "home".  It's the "fishing cabin on the river."   This will be something else...not sure what, yet, and for all I know, the comfortable cabin with its wide front porch, its deck over the cool water, the battered couch with the apple-box table in front of it, the never-empty refrigerator and the little stove in the corner will end up here as well. 

Meanwhile.  I'm listening to Borodin's Polovtsian Dances on KMFA, the local classical station, looking out at a gorgeous day and wishing I were out there with the cameras, but I'm doing this first.   Have already seen two adult  male goldfinches, full breeding plumage, some white-crowned sparrows, here at the house.  Wondering if the blue-winged teal couple I saw yesterday down at the creek (the drake in full breeding plumage, the hen as usual) are still there.  Wondering if the catbird's still up at Fox Pavilion.  Wondering if the other "odd" bird I heard is, please--please-please, a black-capped vireo.  Knowing it's already too late to catch any of the odonates doing anything but zooming rapidly around, unphotographable.  But the flowers...it's April in Texas and it rained in March.  That means flowers in abundance.  And with the flowers, every kind of insect that uses them.  Fading, exhausted monarchs laying eggs on every milkweed in the field.  Gray hairstreaks nectaring on verbena, along with American ladies, red admirals, variegated fritiallaries, who are also (with others) all over the blue-curls.  Yellow butterflies in every size and most shapes.  Flower scarabs wallowing in the pollen-heavy stamens of cactus flowers.  Life everywhere. 

When I figure out how to make some pictures 100x100 pixels, there'll be some userpics.  But right now, this place is just an empty shell of a building.   I expect it will have a title eventually--even soon, if I can come up with a suitable interesting one. 

For those who never wandered into the old fishing cabin and saw the rules posted on the door...right now this space is public.  If everyone wipes their feet on the porch before coming in, and refrains from spitting on the floor, it'll stay that way.  Up to you folks, whoever you are. 
  • Current Music
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Busy morning

Not just starting a blog here, but also doing a 1200 word synopsis of the book I'm finishing (if I could compress novels into 1200 words easily, I would write short stories!!), looking at the proposed cover art (wow!  I guess it was worth the time taken to write up something for the artist), and making a stab at the current chapter.  

You really don't want to get Aunt Grace annoyed with you, Maxim.  (Who is Maxim?  Someone promoted beyond his capacity and refusing to recognize it.  Though I may change his name to Peter, as he exemplifies the Peter Principle.  But that would require changing his last name from Termanian...I dunno.  Something like...(thumbs through list of existing names, looks for letters and lengths that will be distinctive....)  Well, nothing's showing up yet, and there's another character named Peter...

Meanwhile it's a gorgeous day and I've worked this morning...if I count the 1200 words for the editor's synopsis, can I sneak away into the woods with the camera?   Oh, yeah...but then I still need to Deal with Maxim or whatever his name is.

The music's changed to something more sedate than Smetana.  Baroque-ish.  There's a harpsichord in there and a lot of structure, which normally I like, but I want to get out of the house.  Still, I should upload a few userpics to play with.   (No, sweet pea, you should put another thousand words on the chapter....  But MOM, I can do that LATER....You were going to fencing tonight, remember?   And you come back from fencing wiped out, right?    Grump.  You're no fun.   It's not my job to be fun, it's my job to get your book written.   Oh, all right.  But if I don't see the teal today, it's your fault.  Oddly enough, I can live with that.   I'm not sure I can.  Two hours, then.  And think about the book while you're out there.  You still haven't figured out what Teddy's going to do once he gets where he's going.)   

Just in case any of you thought writers just "churned it out" effortlessly.
  • Current Music
    Smetana's The Bartered Bride overture
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Heading out...

And lo, the userpic appears to be showing up.   There I am, camera in hand, attempting (at that moment) to photograph a dragonfly flying over the water in the lower swamp pool.  Unsuccessfully, as it turned out, but fun to try.

Package delivery just handed over a large version of the cover art with the title mocked up over it.   Oh, YEAH.
  • Current Music
    "Courtly Dances"
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Two hours? Ha!

Well, there was a lot to look at.  Nothing wild and woolly, unless you count the peregrine falcon that appeared, flew by, and disappeared while I was deep in a hammock with binocs but no camera...

Flowers, butterflies, beetles, bees, bugs for which I have no name (mating under a leaf on the elbowbush),  minnows in the water, cricket frogs (lots of those, including at Owl Water), a very nervous young Texas spiny lizard which, like the falcon, appeared when I had no camera in hand. 

The bird list includes white-crowned sparrows, house sparrows, Lincoln sparrow, cardinals (lots, as always) and something tiny and green (no, it did not hang around for me to get the binoculars focused on it.) 

Unfortunately for my intent to spend peaceful quiet time out there thinking through the problem Teddy Ransome has gotten himself into, the neighbor to the west was doing something with large loud machinery, up and down the fenceline (and sometimes away from it.)   I understand the needs of farming...but it was such a perfect, quiet day with just enough breeze, not a roaring wind.   I found myself plotting ways to buy the land to the west (all fruitless--we don' t have that kind of money and it's not for sale.)

Despite the two tenths of an inch of rain the other night, the water's down everywhere.  The gully system's dropped about three inches; Westbrook isn't flowing east of "the island" (but still has plenty of water backed up behind the rock crossing); the creek itself is down (but still flowing).  I did some needed trailwork (not all of it, but some trimming up here and there.)     I don't like catching my summer hat (tall straw) on things that make holes in it (the ticks come in, the ticks don't come out)  and really prefer not to be brushing up against leafage.  Again...that's where the ticks are, but also a variety of other things that sting, even through a denim overshirt.

But then, I don't like wide trails everywhere, and I like twisty trails (they're more trail-like) so it's an artistic as well as practical approach. 

  • Current Music
    Rota, Leopard, perky and pleasant
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

With sword in hand and tick on neck

Made it to fencing...made it through fencing.  Have only one bruise (that's visible so far--but it was the only hit I really felt.)   For an out-of-practice old lady with the remains of the cold I caught in  Australiia (mild shortness of breath) I did OK.  Not great, but not totally sucky either.   I haven't forgotten everything, though you'd think by now I wouldn't miss a parry and get a beginner bruise in the upper sword arm.  DUH. 

But afterwards, chatting in the living room, I felt something on my neck...tickling.  Reached up and--yes, ick, a tick. Not  attached, just roaming around looking for someplace.  Brrrrrrr.

Once you've found one tick on yourself, you're sure that every other itch, tickle, or odd feeling is more of them.  It wasn't, but on the long drive home (which included a stop at the grocery store to pick up yeast and brown sugar for the bread I'll be baking tomorrow, garlic pesto, and cooking wine, and a stop for gas) I was sure that innumerable ticks were settling in for the night. 

Now the book is calling.  Words must hit the page.