I have already done one blog post this morning but sitting on the deck in the morning sun has inspired me again—so here goes for the second time this morning.
On the old system I sometimes posted more than two times in a day if ideas popped up. I just checked my stats and I am now posting #1293 since I began blogging in May of 2006. What fun it has been for me to express my thoughts on this site.
Obligations and Work seem like the same thing when you say it,Â Â but my idea of an “obligation” does not involve any work at all!
This morning, I was “under obligation” to do some things that were very important.
1. I had to sit on the morning sunshine on the deck and turn my face up to the sun like some human sunflower…seeking a bit of natural vitamin D for the ergosterol in my skin to transform into that all- important vitamin we need so badly to stay healthy. I obeyed that obligation and got plenty of the sun’s early rays on my skin so I assume that I am now newly supplied with Vitamin D or am in the process of getting it.
2. I had to watch the nuthatches collecting sunflower seeds again.Â Â Â Those beautiful little birds who prefer to move up and down stalks and tree trunks in an upside down position, were flying in from the woods to collect one sunflower seed at a time.Â Â Â I think they fly back to a tree limb or some solid surface where they use their powerful little beaks to break open the seed and eat the meat of the nut.Â Â Â Â Then back they come, on the same route…flying from tree to tree on our hillside to the sunflower plants—to get one more sunflower nut to take back to the woods.Â Â Â So goes their September days. I am seriously considering buying sunflower seeds and other birdseed for winter feeding….I might have to go without something else but it seems more an more compelling to feed birds thru the winter.Â I might even see some cardinals!
3. I had to track the traffic on Hiway 10 one mile away from my observation post.Â Â Â It is pretty quiet right now.Â Â Â But I like to watch the traffic anyway. I am reminded of Howard Mohr, a Minnesota author who got famous for his “HOW TO TALK MINNESOTAN”… whoÂ described his days on his farm near Cottonwood, MN.Â Â Â He would get his binoculars, a lawn chair and sit on the edge of his property and keep track of all kinds of things out in the fields and groves for long lengths of time.Â Â Â He is my kind of person!Â Â Â Â I should use binoculars too…so far I just use the old “eagle eye” method.
4. I was also obligated to keep a watch on a huge “convention” of blackbirds who have no chairman, obviously, since their capophony sounds a lot like the British House of Lords in full cry.Â Â Â I noticed that they immediately shut up when a decision is made by “someone” or all of them, to fly to another tree where they take up the noisy chatter once again…talk about the “Chattering Classes”….these birds are the champs at being part of that designated group. I think they were gathered after eating a lot of some farmer’s corn so they could drink in the river and the “dead river”.Â Â Â There were clouds of them ; they must’ve numbered in the thousands. It is hard to count a flock of flying crows or blackbirds but one can estimate and I did.
5. I was obligated to stare out at my flower beds which I sense are short -lived with frost in the forecast soon. Most of them look like they are all done with summer but zinnias are still blooming, the bells of Ireland have not given up and the deep red sedum is just beginning its glorious bloom which will survive into late November.Â Â Â The red-white-and blue wildflower bed is totally done with it….the cosmos just started to bloom and I am sorry it will get hit with a frost soon and have its blooming days cut short.Â Â Â Â We cut open our first Suagar Baby watermelon this morning. I always watch the stems for signs of separation, as in what the cantaloupes do , but the melons did not…..so we finally just cut one open and it was red, ripe and sweet!Â Â Â We have to get at the others too before they over-ripen but that is another enjoyable obligation.
6. Last night, for our evening meal on September 16, we fulfilled another sweet obligation. It was my late father- in- law’s birthdate and he would now be over 100 years old. We ate a meal of his favorite foods…..I roasted a pork loin, made rich brown gravy, had mashed potatoes and white bread and we made Hot Pork Sandwiches!Â Â Â Â Also cooked McIntosh apples into a cinnamon flavored hot applesauce.Â Â Â Our Dad loved hot meat sandwiches and every time we ate in a restaurant that served them, he ordered either Hot Beef or Hot Pork.Â Â Â Then softly he would tell the server to bring him an extra cup of gravy…his wife (my mother in law) would see the extra gravy when it arrived and she would explode…”Oh for Pete’s Sake,Â Â S—–you should not be eating so much gravy…you know you won’t sleep tonight at all!”Â Â Â Â He grinned and ate ALL the gravy and suffered all night due to his missing gall bladder that he parted company with in 1969.Â Â Â The meal was sweet and warm with such fond memories of one of the best of men I have known, and his loveable habits and tastes. The only thing we could have added would have been a chocolate malted milk for dessert…he always called them “malted milks”…never just a malt like the moderns do.Â Â Â He always talked about the great malted milks served at the Mandan Drug and at Ohm’s restaurant there also. His son can attest to the good m.m.s at those places also…he was trained by his father to seek them out!
7. My last true obligation involves the stack of books I have to read. Being a member of an adult reading group piles them up higher all the time. As we get them on request from our regional library, we get the books early at times. Like now, I am reading one for November (STUCK ON EARTH) and have another that we are all waiting for….THE HELP which is still number 4 on the NYT bestseller list. That is for our January meeting.Â Â Â It is also NOT in paperback yet due to that fact…remaining on the bestseller list.Â Â Â Â There have been at least 25-30 “holds” on that book in our regional library at all times…how we got them is a mystery. IÂ think our wonderful Joy at our library knows how to pull a few strings for a reading group!
And then there is the Work.Â Â Â Â Work, vs. obligations,..is not pleasant like my obligations. The Work waiting for me today involves green peppers..another bumper crop this summer. So many are there, that I have a big bucket of them to chop up to freeze on cookie sheets and freeze them so I can pour green pepper pieces out of a freezer bag for winter cooking. I have to face it because I know I will be glad to have them in the cold of winter when no fresh ones at the store compare to home grown ones. ThereÂ are Â also the dishes in the sink and the clean ones in the dishwasher. They are “work”.Â Â Â Although I must say that being able to use my automatic dishwasher is a true “joy” in my world of housework.Â Â Â Â In 1969 when we still lived in our tiny farmhouse that was built by an early English settler named Sibley, my friend Sandy asked me why I did not have a dishwasher.Â Â Â I pointed out to her that the small crowded, add-on boxcar- shaped kitchen did not have a place for a dishwasher to be installed. “Who cares?” she crowed, “Get a portable–use it for a lamp table if you have to but GET A DISHWASHER!”Â Â Â Â Â I was not smart enough to take my friend’s advice in 1969 but when we built our new home in 1976, we did get a dishwasher and we are on the second one now.Â Â Â She was so right!Â Â Â Â Â That machine is worthy of a deep love as anything else alive is!!!! It is my constant friend and companion, especially after holiday dinners with so many gunky dishes to clean up.
Another piece of work is the digging of a trench for my one tea rose plant. I can wait til Terri H. teaches us sometime in October how to put our roses in a covered trench so we can avoid the high rate of winter kill in the sensitive tea roses. She has about 20 of them that she trenches each fall so why should I not listen to her and dig one trench?Â Â Â But that is for later.
I could also work and clean up the raspberry patch of the many dead canes but I need a hard freeze to kill off the biting bugs once and for all. Hopefully it won’t snow right away after that freeze I so wait for. I have a couple of outdoor campfires and picnics to have before it snows….so snow, stay away til about December 23!!!!
I could also work on cleaning up corners in the basement and designating a lot of “stuff” as garbage.Â Â Â Â But that can wait also—it has been waiting all summer so why not longer?
One bit of work that I really like: keeping the broccoli producing til the first snowstorm. Broccoli is so hardy and the fall broccoli is the best of all of it…so tasty and crisp in the cool fall air. The damnable white butterflies are also seemingly gone so no more green eggs hatching into green worms which must be cleaned out before you eat the broccoli.Â Â Â Salt water usually gets rid of them so you have to plan ahead and soak the veggies before you eat them.
Â There are even more work jobs to do but I am ignoring them as long as I can….the warm sunny dry days—with gentle breezes are much more fun to deal with as “obligations” galore.
I think I will go check the coffee maker for the last drops of morning coffee now. That is another obligation.
And isn’t retirement for obligations rather than work?Â I worked for 40 years or more–worked hard at home and at a school.Â I deserve to take care of my obligations first every day!