<![CDATA[OKLAHOMA FIELD AND FLOWER - August 2020 Journal]]>Fri, 16 Oct 2020 12:03:58 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[August 31, 2020: Hummers]]>Mon, 31 Aug 2020 13:47:25 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-31-2020-hummers

High Temperature: 87F
Low Temperature: 71F
Sunrise: 6:58 am
Sunset: 7:53 pm
Humidity: 90%
Wind: sse 10 mph
​Chance of Rain: 50%


We have three hummingbird feeders spread out along the length of the front porch. We don't often take the time to watch the activity around them, but today as I painted a couple of boards set up on the porch for my shelving project, I was kept company by 8-10 hummers. Two or three at a time would whirl around each feeder, their high-pitch, staccato chatter clearly meant to threaten, intimidate, and berate their rivals. I guess they haven't noticed that each feeder has four holes and four perches. These greedy, selfish, and ravenous little beasts want a feeder all to him or herself. 
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<![CDATA[August 30, 2020: Blister Beetles]]>Sun, 30 Aug 2020 18:44:44 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-30-2020-blister-beetles

High Temperature: 89F
Low Temperature: 71F
Sunrise: 6:58 am
Sunset: 7:54 pm
Humidity: 57%
Wind: ssw 7 mph
Chance of Rain: 20%


Tis the season of the blister beetles, the nasty creatures. They're not as abundant as in years past - before they killed off the healthy and vigorous autumn clematis growing up and around one of the thin pillars on the front porch. It took them three years to do it. A hardy dose of diatomaceous earth seemed to have no effect on them. August and September are their months and they are busy working on the only remaining autumn clematis. No blossoms again this year.

The toxin they secrete, c
antharidin, causes blistering of the skin. Cantharidin is the main ingredient of Spanish fly, a dubious and potentially injury-causing and life-threatening aphrodisiac made from the crushed bodies of blister beetles.  Who comes up with this stuff? Some species are toxic enough that a small quantity consumed with hay can kill a horse. The dogs seem to know to avoid them, thank goodness.

I've crushing them underfoot with delight and impunity, leaving their twisted and bleeding carcasses behind as a warning to others. 

Weather update: A thunderstorm rolled in during the early morning hours and I was woken to the lovely sounds of rumbling thunder and a steady rain hitting the roof. We got just under an inch; desperately-needed. Looks like more is on the way, fingers crossed.

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<![CDATA[August 29, 2020: The Heat Before the Cool]]>Sat, 29 Aug 2020 19:28:25 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-29-2020-the-heat-before-the-cool

High Temperature: 96F
Low Temperature: 71F
Sunrise: 6:57 am
Sunset: 7:55 pm
Humidity: 61%
​Wind: n 9 mph
Chance of Rain: 20%


For much of the day, the sky was the color of dull aluminum, as if all traces of color had been burned out of it. Walking out the door in the early afternoon, my skin instantly prickled in reaction to the heat. As the time approached sundown, the wind turned. The breeze brought with it a moderation in temperature and we were able to take the full evening walk around the western half of the property. Cooler days are ahead.
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<![CDATA[August 28, 2020: No Rain]]>Fri, 28 Aug 2020 14:06:51 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-28-2020-no-rain

High Temperature: 98F
Low Temperature: 73F
Sunrise: 6:56 am
Sunset: 7:57 pm
Humidity: 38%
Wind: s 8 mph
​Chance of Rain: 10%


August is going to make itself felt before it becomes history. The heat index as I write is 108-degrees and tomorrow promises to be similar. Walking outside this afternoon for a quick dog break it felt like walking into a pulsating wall of heat. 

Signs of distress caused by the high temperatures and lack of rain are clearly visible. The sweet gum leaves are starting to yellow; several oak trees at the wood's edge have gone fully brown. The ponds are low, the sticky mud edges starting to crack and curl in thick layers. Even those things we water regularly are struggling. It is the normal cycle for late summer in Oklahoma, but it is still unpleasant to see and feel. The hope on the horizon is a cooling into the low 80s and upper 70s with the possibility of rain.
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<![CDATA[August 27, 2020: Orange]]>Thu, 27 Aug 2020 13:39:54 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-27-2020-orange

High Temperature: 85F
Low Temperature: 67F
Sunrise: 6:55 am
Sunset: 7:57 pm
Humidity: 72%
Wind: e 0 mph
​Chance of Rain: 10%


For the past several days I've been sweating it out on the front porch, painting some large pieces of wood (for a shelf) that my husband set onto saw horses. I finished up just in time to avoid the uncomfortably high heat forecast for the next few days.

Even in the heat I enjoy painting. It takes a kind of complete absorption yet allows for the mind to wander over and through all kinds of subjects, both deep and superficial. Plus, one sees the results of the work immediately. Especially when one is painting said wood a bright orange.
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<![CDATA[August 26, 2020: Missed Again]]>Wed, 26 Aug 2020 13:44:42 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-26-2020-missed-again

High Temperature: 85F
Low Temperature: 69F
Sunrise: 6:55 am
Sunset: 7:59 pm
Humidity: 70%
Wind: se 12 mph
​Chance of Rain: 30%


Around 2 pm the wind picked up, tossing the tree branches around and bringing swirls of cool air. One half of the sky was a placid blue dotted by dumpling-fat clouds; the other half was filled with ominous gray. A small rainstorm was tantalizingly close. But true to past form, it skidded right by us.  
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<![CDATA[August 25, 2020: Smoke]]>Tue, 25 Aug 2020 14:07:15 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-25-2020-smoke

High Temperature: 93F
Low Temperature: 69F
Sunrise:6:54 am
Sunset: 8:01 pm
Humidity: 39%
Wind: e 5 mph
​Chance of Rain: 10%


The smell of woodsmoke has been drifting in and out of the day, evoking all kinds of memories: an early fall morning at a state park in Ohio, dad making scrambled eggs and bacon in a large griddle set over a grill blackened by years of fires and the elements. Tall trees, leaves crunching underfoot, mosquitoes, paper plates, corduroy pants and a puffy green jacket. And: winter evenings in front of the gigantic brick fireplace in the living room of my childhood home, the smoke occasionally missing the chimney and puffing into the house, pushed down by a brisk wind outside; my nose in a book and our dog, Violet, curled up against my legs. 

Hard to jibe those cool weather memories with the heat of this season - but that is the nature of smells, odors, and their associations. For a few seconds I reveled in the cool crispness of falls and winters past, even as the thermometer pulsed upward in the here and now.
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<![CDATA[August 24, 2020: Lost Day]]>Mon, 24 Aug 2020 14:53:02 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-24-2020-lost-day

High Temperature: 93F
Low Temperature: 66F
Sunrise: 6:53 am
Sunset: 8:02 pm
Humidity: 59%
Wind: sse 5 mph
​Chance of Rain: 10%


I lost most of the day to a 2-hour round trip to the dentist, and of course, the hour or so in the chair. Normally I would have expanded the trip to a "big town," but with the annoyances attendant with the Wuhan Flu, "window shopping" has lost its appeal. I didn't even pause for my usual and heretofore eagerly anticipated latte from Sbux. And I'm not sure I will ever buy another one.

It's been an interesting and unexpected side effect of the virus hysteria. I would have expected that we'd be chomping at the bit to get back to the pre-corona normalcy of entering public establishments mask-free and fear-free, but I find I've lost my interest in these kind of activities, and in fact, I've developed an irrational antipathy towards restaurants and stores and coffee shops. The antipathy has nothing to do with fear of getting sick. I can explain it, but it doesn't really matter. Perhaps my point is that humans adapt. Perhaps it is that non-life supporting material things really aren't that important. More likely it is that I am appalled at the ease with which most of us have rolled over and relinquished our freedoms and liberties.  
Picture
A praying mantis and its former self.
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<![CDATA[August 23, 2020: Delayed Gratification]]>Sun, 23 Aug 2020 18:37:52 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-23-2020-delayed-gratification

High Temperature: 93F
Low Temperature: 66F
Sunrise: 6:52 am
Sunset: 8:03 pm
Humidity: 36%
Wind: sse 6 mph
​Chance of Rain: 10%


Ike is all about his meals and snacks. As soon as he hears the promising plastic rustle of my hand digging deep into a bag of turkey jerky or peanut butter-and-bacon-flavored biscuits, the boy starts drooling. His ears go up, his eyes wax hopeful and the irises contract as he laser-beams his gaze at whatever delicious nugget is in my hand. I can tell, though, that he doesn't understand the concept of savoring his treat. Even as he [barely] crunches - let alone tastes - one snack, his eyes focus on the next snack that he hopes is in my hand. I think it's too late to teach Ike another concept: delayed gratification.
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<![CDATA[August 22, 2020: Birthday]]>Sat, 22 Aug 2020 18:52:53 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/august-2020-journal/august-22-2020-birthday

High Temperature: 91F
Low Temperature: 66F
Sunrise: 6:52 am
Sunset: 8:04 pm
Humidity: 36%
Wind: se 5 mph
​Chance of Rain: 10%


It's [another] gloriously bright and beautiful day here in the middle of the country. A riot of blue and green, magenta and yellow - as you can see from the above photo. Fitting for a long-distance celebration of the birthday of someone whom I love and cherish. I can't be "there" to celebrate, but I did bake a cake in his honor. My husband and I will make the big sacrifice and each eat a generous slice.
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