Thundershirt

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The storm rolled in while we were in town for a late afternoon hardware store / grocery run. 4-wheel slip-n-slide back up to the house. In a lull the next morning I put in this new gutter drainpipe. The house and I came to a modified agreement of how this might be possible, still needs adjusting, but the rain soaked me off the ladder.

Nora gets me up at 3am and I dozily take her outside for piddles. There is a little lightning from a far valley over the high hills. Nora is terrified of thunder and has had a rough time during the days of storm- her Thundershirt has taken the edge off, but when the lightning thunders she shakes so hard her teeth chatter. I sleepily wonder if she awoke me because of the storm when a flash blinds the night, and Nora manically races a tight circle around my feet. The thunderclap sends her like a shot out into the night, straight toward the forest, and untold miles of nowhere. I run to the house for my headlamp, and call for her swinging the dim beacon into the rainy ink. I jump back inside and grab the truck keys, jumbling the key fob to chirp the locks: she loves the truck and always races to it when it chirps. I can feel the next lightning bolt building in a dead pressure, and Nora flashes out of the wet night appearing at the door and bolts inside. There is a large metal roofing panel affixed to the house outside the door, where my dad’s dog frantically ate away the house panelling in a mad terror during a pounding storm; and that dog wasn’t afraid of storms.

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Grass seed for the new berm before the rain really soaks us.

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Porch fix is my rainy day outside project. I rebuilt the floor and ceiling of the porch back in 2008 while I was helping my dad through chemo. The brittle synthetic quarter-round trim I’d dressed it with didn’t make it through one winter, and has bugged me since. I backfilled all the gaps with expanding foam and/or silicon caulk, put in all the new quarter-round and caulked the seams. The porch beehive is empty, save for a bumblebee who flies in and out even in a heavy downpour.

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The Kennedy Rocker I restored last fall keeps me company while I pop off all remaining old trim and finish nails. I get it all done just after dark, and finish by the glow of the old yellow porch light.

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Morning is misted and still. And soaking wet.

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The woods fade gently into the clouds.

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The lilacs are weighed down with rain, and have stalled their bloom.

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E & Nora escape the house during a break in the rain.

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I work between the raindrops to move a bed of lilacs I’d temporarily planted in a fairy-ring in the grass of the back yard two seasons ago, mixing with iris split from the front corner.

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Expanding the bed pulled out these border stones (added just a few years ago), so I reset them as a decorative border to help with the roof runoff.

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I split open old salt feed bags to block off the new bed ’til we return in July. 

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Look up at the ceiling for a view of the new quarter-round and fixed seams of the ceiling panel. The blue bench was another yard sale resurrection from last fall.

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After a few more bouts of rain E places newspaper around all the newly split Iris along the corner and I gather and spread pine needles/cones as mulch. We also weed and bailer-band-line the big garden out in the yard- we’ll move many volunteer poppies from the back yard there in July (they are just about to bloom now).

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I place old roofing tiles at the foot of the retaining wall as weed barrier.

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The little waterfall we added to the creek at the footbridge is churning away with high rain water.

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So many wet greens- the rain pressed down the high grasses on the steep hillside.

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I used the pick-axe to needle around and find most of the remaining sandstone deposited along the creek from years back. I moved them up to cover the roofing tiles and define the iris bed.

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Next I cut open and lay out a big tyvek grain bag found in the old machine garage.

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Then stake it in place. This area has issues with stinging nettle, wild carrot, sows ears, and every other kind of weed.

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The storm breaks apart in the later evening, and we have a cotton-candy sunset. Tomorrow is the cattle-drive. 

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