Monday, June 30, 2014

Down Time

Nothing terribly exciting to report from the Agricultural Research Station in Alabama.

We could discuss the weather, the universal conversation starter.

Monday afternoon, it was only 93'F, with 73% humidity which equals 118'F Heat Index.  Welcome to Death Valley, Alabama.  Sucks the life out of you. 
I've been preoccupied with pouting over the fact that I can't run with this back problem.  Who wants to run in this anyway?  I should be grateful to be cloistered in my own house! Gratefulness is not what I have been emoting lately, more along the lines of grouchiness.  My slogan since I hurt my back has been "it could be worse".  I'm ready to switch to "this will get better". 
Perhaps not yet. The forecast for tomorrow:  99'F, or 37'C to my Canadian family.  Add a predicted 60% humidity and voila:  sauna, 120'F Heat Index, or as you Canucks say Humidex of 49'C. 
The heat wave today was interrupted by an unruly storm rushing in from the East.  The Storm Center warned of 60 mph winds, so I gathered up the troops and rushed the farmhouse. I didn't see the need to pile 4 dogs into the underground shelter, as I could watch the radar on my new tablet.
The same ninnies at Verizon who gave me a free Smartphone last year gave me a free tablet.  Their attempts to entice me into using more data are failing, miserably.  But, keep giving me the free gadgets, guys!
I have two regular boarders staying here this week, their initiation to severe weather preparedness. I've been accused of being a worry wart.. been honing that skill for years.  When I was eleven, I made my own rope ladder to use from my third floor bedroom in case of fire.  There was always a lit cigarette somewhere in the house when I was growing up and I practiced getting my cat stuffed in my backpack, out the window and down the ladder.  I was beyond Boy Scout prepared, tad bit of a wing nut back then, so what changed?
The storm rolled in and left behind some down limbs, took out the top of one tree and plopped it onto the fence.  Mother Nature can be apologetic:
While working to straighten all the toppled plants, I found a coachwhip snake that had snared itself in the netting I had installed over the sweet potato plants to protect them from marauding chipmunks.
Sadly, the poor fellow was dead, probably baked in the heat today.  A beautiful 4 foot specimen. 
Long enough to make two belts.  All joking aside, I can't find Wilbur tonight.
Wilbur fills up my hand when I hold him, I doubt the snake could have swallowed him, but that may not have deterred him from preying on him.
Good news is that the netting has saved half the sweet potato plants. 
I wish to encourage biodiversity in the microcosm of my backyard.  But, it's getting out of hand, the wildlife is edging me out. 
To vent, Cole and I went squirrel hunting after the storm passed.  The colors in the sky at dusk were amazing. 
Sometimes being benched is what's needed to start seeing things with more gratitude. 
Life is magical.