I'm reading a book called Little, Big at the moment, and it deals with, or suggests, fairies. And on summer nights, you do see things..... My friend Michael pointed out this grouping of little goblins. They'll be trying to get in via the cat door any night now.... I realized last night that the garden has already peaked. Now things are starting to collapse and look straggly and everything seems dry. It's around mid-July, early August that I will probably head in doors and resume my artistic machinations.
One of the best things about having a television that is completely dead: knowing I will never have to run to change the channel when the Yelling Man comes on pitching some crap. I know, it's sad that he's dead: voluntary retirement would have been my preference. And Gail Storm! When I married my second husband, Whiz Kidz alum, Palm Springs, performed the ceremony, holding open a hard bound biography of Gail Storm. A weirdly exhausting week. I need a vacation, and have a short one coming up. Thank Baby Jebus!

My friend Michael came over on Saturday and we smoked and drank and cackled. The next day I was extremely hung, to paraphrase Auntie Mame, and spent the day sitting or laying down. I have a good book, but at times it hurt my brain, so I just sat. Beulah came up and sat on my lap and became obsessed with the pleather pull on the zipper of my hoodie and would pull it down, and it's all I'm wearing on top, and I'd pull it up and it just seemed like the perfect thing for the moment. So: hung over zombie woman being undressed by a chicken.

Don't resist me, baby. It's gonna happen.Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.
It's been a strange 24 hours or so. MJ, obviously, although I confess when I checked on one of the many sites I troll throughout the day and saw that he'd died, I said aloud: Finally. That's a lot of fuckeduppedness to shoulder for half a century. It really felt like a protracted suicide for the last 20 years or so. But in terms of icons, well, finally someone usurps Elvis. Listening to the BBC last night was astonishing: the entire show was just breathless observations about Michael, Michael, Michael. I felt a little bad for Farrah. Also, Skye Saxon of the Seeds died yesterday. So, there was sumptin' in the air. In the evening a little after 7, I heard this sound like a - could it be - why, yes it is: a chainsaw. Recently, they've had to cut down this magnificent oak in the park because it had some kind of rot, and a lot of the logs it made are still there. I took Lulu and we went to go have a look-see. If it was the city doing this, I was going to bitch about the time. But no, it was just some lone guy, looking a little intense, nnnnnnnnngggggg-nnnnnnnnngggggggging away. Assessing the situation, I decided to let the cops sort it out - it's probably not prudent to engage with a man with a chainsaw. But apparently some neighbors were already on the phone with the cops, so we went back home.
Early in the morning I heard a little commotion. I figured it was just the cats playing, so I got up and closed the bedroom door. Around 6, Sammy finally showed up on the other side, mewing, so I opened the door and Lulu charges out and into the kitchen and just stood there barking in the vicinity of her food dish (and the internal cat door). I got her to move away, and opened the door to the mud-room and sure enough, there's a fucking raccoon. IN MY HOUSE. (Like some horror movie: it's coming from within the house - GET OUT!) With little trouble, I got him out onto the back porch (he slipped through the cat door with no problem whatsoever), propped the gate open and he was out. He was limping and had ripped the cat food bag open. I gave the cats a once-over and they're intact. Sammy was spooky for about an hour. Again: torn. This is no doubt the same solo 'coon I saw on the roof. He's beautiful! He's wounded! He's hungry! Then: he could rip open my cats throats (but didn't) and let's not even mention (ssssh: the chickens...). The sister-chickens had to stay in their house this morning, and from now on, I'm going to block the cat door at night. And I could use a nap.
I feel like I'm back with the living. The exhaustion of Tuesday was so intense that I didn't fully get my wind back until last night. I guess I have to remind myself occasionally that I am a delicate flower, although I tend to regard myself as more of a carnivorous lily.
The little black spot is Sammy's paw. The chickens have gotten a little brazen lately: I think it's because a lot of the earth (except in the garden they're banned from) is hard and they've probably eaten every bug on the place. They've been making more and more forays onto the deck and into the house. When they're up on the top step, Sammy reaches out as far as his arm will go and try to touch them. He's still not sure of where they fit in the Davis household: 'they're your chicken-sisters' I tell him - but he's figured out they're not food.
Hey, I'm done eating chicken shit, can I go back in?
I'm tired. This was another morning of goat rodeos, starting with Lulu and a particularly annoying snore, so I rustled her up and made her go to bed in the studio, which she should sleep in anyway, since it's much more comfortable on her old dog bones. Then Sammy came into bed. He now knows to check me out before shoving his nose in my mouth, or try to, so I woke up to him staring at me about half an inch from my face. 'No, Sammy', does the trick: he goes to the end of the bed to wait. Then Disdale starts up, 'eh-eh-eh', so I shut the bedroom door. Then Lulu starts shouldering the studio door. This all began around 4:30 in the a.m. So, I began the day in a ferociously bad mood, which has now sort of tapered off to a headache and zero energy.
That's about all I can manage for now.
First weekend of the summer. I went to a Solstice party at a friend's house. The party began at noon, and I mean, WTF. I'm a Party/Night person. I would have liked to hang with my friend and her BF in her lovely garden, but there were other humans. In the dark basement there was a big food spread and a lot of people (women) gathered around, eating the food, and talking about the food. This sort of scenario, for me, equals Hell. I stayed an hour and then fled gratefully back to my place. This place has made me pretty antisocial. I mean, who needs anything more than this? I'm happy to have other people over, but for the summer, this is where you can find me.
We had chickens in the house. Sammy monitored, but did not chase. They only pooped once, and that was quickly dispatched by Lulu. Yum!

I've given up on preventing Lulu from eating the chicken poops. So, now she gets to come out with us at night. The first thing she does is graze for poops, and then she finds a spot and pees in it: LULU WAS HERE. Or something like that.

I re-arranged the back deck and brought out one of the Religulous chairs. Dinsdale immediately took to it. Maybe he's not getting enough praying in his diet.

It was overcast for much of the weekend, which I don't mind. We had, again, a tantilizing hint of a thunder storm, but nothing histrionic.

Oh, and I got a sketch done - the extent of my artistic outpourings.
Yesterday I left my camera at work and as I was languishing in the hammock, I looked up at the top window of the Yellow House and their dog, Lou, was hanging his head out for a good hour. He would disappear and appear, and it was very comical. I have attempted to reproduce the hilarity, but no cigars, I know. This is an odd block: Lou is next door, and then there is another LuLu a few houses down (who I've only encountered manifested as a frothing, savage snarl on the other side of a fence).
It's going to rain all weekend, apparently. Which is good - saves on my water bill and we've had 29 straight days of sun, which is a little unusual. I'm actually feeling a little - painty. I have two potential projects, one for money, and one for not. I think I'll do the latter first.

What's in the box: Summer School. I have been increasingly puttering around with some new-ish electronics in my evenings. Video recorder, camera and voice recorder. I've yet to crack any manuals, but I have decided to really strive to at least utilize these devices on a rudimentary level. The upshot of this is to be able to post little movies and sound tracks. I had the recorder running for about an hour last night. This was initially in response to that sound that usually drives me indoors: the phlegmy opera next door. It's so over the top it's almost funny and that's when I decided to record it. *So, today I grapple with trying to upload and edit the tape. None of this comes easily. I confess to hating gadgets, but it's just sheer stupidity to eschew them because they're difficult to master (and they're only difficult because I have that built-in resistance). Perhaps, also, what I'm endeavoring to do is stave off the time when I need the services of the Alzheimer's hospice.
* Well, apparently I'll need to creep next door and hold the recorder up to the window of Pavarotti/Simpson's Cat Lady, and that would be just plain evil.
Last night, I was thinking about where this blog is going. One of you wrote and wondered if I'd just bagged my painting for the animals, to which I pointed out that I SAID I was giving the easel a rest for the summer. Truth is, I still don't know. It's a discipline. I've been journaling without fail for the last 15 years and I think this is the next step. What will be the next step beyond this, I still don't know. It's where the chickens are leading me. But ultimately what I'm doing is enjoying my fucking summer. Last summer was, well, awful and cancer-themed. What I'm doing here, for now, is just showing the fuck up.
I have a whole goat rodeo of projects vying for attention in my brain pan. Frankly, painting doesn't figure in there, but I won't eschew it completely, because it's the only thing - so far - that earns me any money.

The only place I want to be. Yesterday was long and began oddly: with my nephew waking up with me (not in the same room....) and a huge tree had fallen on some power lines early in the morning and all of my clocks had different times and until I found out about the tree, I vaguely suspected the nephew. Blamey McBlamersons, that's me. After I finished dinner and chores, I dispatched myself, with dog and chickens, to the back garden and just decompressed in the hammock for an hour or so.
It was kind of an action packed weekend. No car chases or explosions. Well, there was an explosion, but it was just a collision of humans. I have this survivalist neighbor down the alley. He's to be avoided, but we generally put on our cordial masks when encountering the other. I came home on Saturday to this thundering racket, and quickly identified it as coming from him: his power washer. So, I (marched) over and finally got his attention (he, of course, has these mammoth earplug headphone things on (because, you know, it's LOUD) and asked him if he could give me an ETA on when he would be finished, because there was no question of being out in the yard, it was that LOUD. He looked at me like I'd just said 'Ooooogggaboooogaruthbuzzybaggabaggaooooooga'. I reiterated. He was dumbfounded that I would even ask such a thing, and told me I was crazy, and to go ahead and call the cops......you Nazi. Which is kind of a bizzaro moment, when a Nazi calls you a Nazi. So, I turn around to go home and when I pass The Neighbors in the Yellow House, girly-man calls out to me "What'd he say?" and when I told him, then HE goes marching over and things escalate, and G-M says "you're using all this water, making all this noise, for something you could essentially do with a broom'. He was a compelling study in reason and aggression. I liked it! Girly-man: I misjudged you. But the guy shut the fucking thing off, and we had a nice quiet afternoon. My nephew, pretty much my last relative that I have any contact with, was supposed to come down on Friday and, not surprisingly, screwed that up. So, we rescheduled for Sunday and I really wasn't looking forward to it. But we ended up having a really nice visit, which got better the more we imbibed, natch, and I kind of hope we can nurture this, which won't be easy since he now lives in Canada. So, I guess the theme of the weekend was re-evaluating people.

On Sunday morning, Sammy ran in the house with his tail all big, like a toilet brush. I couldn't figure out what spooked him, until a while later I happened to look up at the clear roofing covering the porch and there was a raccoon. I immediately ushered the girls back to their coop and tapped him with a broom, and he ambled off to another part of the roof of the house. So, no free ranging on that day: I let them out when my nephew and I were hanging in the back garden, and kept them in, under my eye. I'm so torn about raccoons: I think they're beautiful, but they're hell on chickens and cats. Also kind of sad: there was only the one raccoon, and I know they travel in pairs, so this was probably a widowed 'coon. Confidential to solo raccoon: maybe you should try looking for a mate a few blocks over.

That's like hypnotizing chickens. Today, my television dies of natural causes. I've only been getting about 4 channels anyway, which at times means I'm in the position of actually watching Deal! Or No Deal! or The King of Queens, for God's sake. I went out with a guy long ago who would become hypnotized by my tv, which I always just had on as wallpaper. I think to some degree, that's pretty much what tv is, a big old chicken hypnotizer and there's nobody here but us chickens. I have plenty of DVDs to watch. For now, the show is outside, anyway.

The 'skeeters are a little fierce this year. For all I know, the hospice next door has a pond or some shit. You can see one right on Lulu's forehead. I was forever telling her to hold still and then, as gently as I could, smacking the 'skeeter flat dead. Lulu was all 'WTF?' When I trundle out to the garden now I grab a handful of lavender and crush it up and spread it over vunerable body parts and it seems to help.

Vacation from the easel. I'm a painter, and since I have a day job, there is blessed little time to spend at what I'd guess you'd call my real work. Past summers, the siren song of the blue sky and the need to accomplish something, have been at odds with each other. This year, there's no conflict, because I'm just taking the summer off. Period. No 'I really should be doing.....' this and 'I really need to work on that..' Instead, I have chores! This makes me happier than I can tell you.
Beginning this evening, this is shaping up to be a very social weekend. Since I live like a veritable hermit, this will be both welcome and, I'm sure, exhausting.

But since I'm occupying a little slice of heaven on earth, it only seems right to share.
Satellite of love. Sometimes, no, usually, it's great to be greeted by feather and fur when I get home. So much more so in the summer. Winter, it's dark and cold and usually wet and then it seems like the equivilant of Cinderella, Cinderella, feed me grisly substance, Cinderella, clean my cat box, Cinderella or I will pee in my favorite spot by the fridge, oh and sorry about that pile of hairball puke you just stepped in, Cinderella, take me for a walk, Cinderella, or I will make your eyes roll back in your head with the mighty power of my dog farts, etc. It's basically the same in summer, only it's: summer.
It's a beautiful night in the neighborhood, oh, why are you my neighbor? To paraphrase. The People in the Yellow House spent their evening on their porch and their voices - his is girly-high, her's is flat and grating - rang out like they were in an auditorium. Her sister came to stay for a week last year, and the two of them would sit out, long nights on their deck, screaming to each other in their flat dead voices. I take solace in, at least this year, I can offer up my own annoyingness as I no doubt present as completely out of my mind as I converse with the chickens.
The house to the north of me is an Alzheimer's hospice. Which, I guess, is like living next to a madhouse. I think in some ways my irritation with the south overcompensates for my dearth of any regarding the north. There are two sounds that are sort of the bookends of my summer so far. One, is an old guy in the house who is the Pavarotti of all phlegmy throat clearers. The other is the Good Humor truck, which plays Turkey in the Straw, an infernal tune rendered even more so by it's tinny production values and Chhhh! Chhhh! accents (in the 80s, I had a keyboard player who had a Wasp and that was like the coolest sound it made: Chhhh! Chhhh!). The two factors, the old man and the ice cream truck, sometimes gang up at once and I have to run inside.
Freedom: it haz a smell. Dinsdale, the great and hairy one, made a run for it and I let him stay out for a couple of hours. I've never seen him so happy, and so covered with shit by the time I got him in.

I used to let all my cats outside, until I got Bif. Bif. I will talk about him at some later post. But when I finally moved somewhere that he could go out, he would get in bloody and shitty fights, contract malaises, get into people's apartments, just bascially became a ne'er-do-well costing me a lot of money and anxiety. I haven't really addressed the issue since he died: I don't think Dinsdale would be quite the punk Bif was, but you never know. The pet ecosystem is a delicate balance that sometimes suffers greatly with just minimal tinkering.
It was a lovely weekend. It was cloudy and warm - not hot - and there was much housework and yard work to be done.

The back garden is now surrounded by cheap cheesey picket fencing with a 'gate' that is just a section that I cut. I bemoan the lack of manliness in my life, if only to have someone around to build me crap.
Mr. Pants, for romance, is not. Which is a lyric from the old song 'It's Too Darn Hot'. It got up to 90 today: I spent all day at work worrying about the chickens. But misting the coop in the morning does seem to help, although they both regard the hose with arch skepticism and mutters of 'oh no' since I used it on them the night they really tore up the new garden. Which, of course, makes me feel like crap. Around 8:00, the temperature noticably dropped and big bruisy clouds moved in. Thunderstorm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love, love, love big weather, probably because I'm living up here in the land of temperance and we don't get it very often, other than the seasonal flood here and there.
The yellow house is the neighbors to the south of me. At night, it often serves as beautiful contrast as the evening colors change. The people who dwell in it, well, meh. I'll bitch about them at some later date. The wooden fish was carved by the girley-man who lives there: he's a woodworker, apparently, and the fish along with others was perched on the fence that (thankfully) divides us. It would fall into my yard, I would put it back up, it would fall down, and so it went, until this year when I was casting about for garden 'art', I found it behind one of my plum trees, so it's mine now. It points directly to the house I appropriated it from.
The new garden experiment continues to be tweaked. The thing about chickens in the garden: as my friend Chicken Vickie said mournfully: They just ruin everything. Yes, in their allotted roles as nature's roto-tillers, they can do some damage, but basically, they damage is not catastrophic with established plants. I will be able to relax my guard once these plants take root. This weekend I'm breaking up the triangle and putting paths in between. Because, like another old song goes: How you gonna keep them down on the farm, after they've seen Pareeeeeee!!! And they've sampled that tasty loose dirt and now every night I'm tensed up waiting for the next chicken assault.
Ester took the dirt bath to top all dirt baths last night. I'd had a plant there, that wasn't making it, so I yanked it, so there was all that loose, cool dirt. She spent close to an hour in it. The area was surrounded by bricks and only big enough for one chicken. Beulah tried to get in, failed, and stood over Ester for a while eating the dirt on her feathers until she got bored and wandered off. My camera battery was charging and I missed it.
The chickens are now seizing the window of opportunity when I take Lulu for a walk to rape and pillage the tender new garden. This time they killed about 5 plants. So, already irritable because of the heat, I unfurled, with some difficulty and motherfucking this and cocksucking that, a cheapo white picket fence to just block off the premises. A more attractive solution forthcoming ($$$), but this'll keep them out, unless I invite them in when I'm there, which I did.

They like to eat the paint that is flaking off an old plant holder. It's not old enough to be lead and I've tried hiding it in various places, but they always find it. So, what the hell.

Ester's feather are so pretty. After this:

When they had enough of me, they waddled away, but not before Ester, light of my eye, jumped in the forbidden triangle. I'm sitting in the Adirondack chair, with ottoman, so I'm all 'HEY, GET OUTTA THERE, BAD CHICKEN!' while struggling like a beached whale trying to get out of the damn thing (and without upsetting my glass of wine). All this time I assumed Beulah was the gang leader in this. But Ester, unlike Beulah, did not dash around in 10 different directions until finally getting out. She gave me a look, combination hurt and indignation, and hopped right out.
A very warm Spring. We're having a bit of a heat wave at the moment (in the 80s, in Seattle, constitutes a heat wave, I tells ya).

This morning I misted the walls of the girl's coop: I hope that helps. When they came out yesterday, they were running around with their beaks open: I'm assuming they probably cool themselves, like dogs.

The garden is coming together:

There are sentrys:

Hops, verbascum, rose campion and a big bin of weeds that it's been too hot to schlep to the curb:

The back garden is new: when I moved in, it was where the previous inhabitants had kept their crap: a goodly portion of it still remained. Last year I tried a little lawn and a vegetable garden. When I got the chickens, the lawn was soon tilled under. So, this year a hefty amount of money has gone into The Chicken Garden aka The Bif Loman Memorial Gardens, for he is buried under the soloman's seal. It's where we all hang together, but I'm finding out that sweet little fence isn't adequate in keeping them out when I'm not around. I came upon Beulah, digging up voodoo lilies and irises and it was a horrible sight: like coming upon your best friend raping your diabled sister - yes, I wanted to say retarded, but I try to make people happy. Sometimes.

Meanwhile, on the back porch:

Happily, he has moved past the habit of screaming for me in his mew-piteous-mew voice while I'm on the other side of the gate.