"Some calls it madness...I calls it HiDeeHo." - Cab Calloway
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Saturday, May 29, 2004


Morgan and I went down into the marsh again this cool, sunny, breezy Friday morn. There were hardly any bugs, the sky was bright and this time, I brought the binoculocam. So I have more pictures of my stomping, or now splashing, grounds.

The bugger about this camera is that you never know when you're holding it straight and when you're not. I'm usually in a hurry to catch a moment, and so don't bother about getting it straight, and boy oh boy can you tell in these.

Anyway...here is more Vernon Marsh for your perusal.

Hey real estate developers, don't even try to drain and build on this.

posted by Julie Neff  # 5/29/2004 12:58:00 PM

Thursday, May 27, 2004


The wedding isn't happening...today. Psych! Josh didn't get his birth certificate in the mail until just a tiny bit ago, and then with the moving, and the working and the school and for flaven out loud...there was just no time to go to the courthouse and apply for the license.

Fear not, though. Upon our return from Old Blighty, there will be renewed attempts at legal hitchin'.


Morgan has had 2 friends over for dinner since we moved in here - a girl who is a couple of years older, I think her name is Randi or Brandi or something, and the inimitable David. Both times I had cooked something not knowing we were having a guest, and both times said guests complimented me extravagantly by practically inhaling their food while making the appropriate gustatory appreciation noises.

So now Brandi/Randi knows she likes ginger-garlic beef, pea pods, red peppers and rice, and David knows he likes sweet potato gumbo and cornbread. Both of them love brownies. But DUH, who doesn't? I tell you what, there is no finer sabotage of a healthy diet than just barely underbaked brownies made with Lindt & Sprungli 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate. (Homer Simpson gargle drool here)


Whoohoo! A lot more of the ground is underwater than usual! The usual rules about what species show up in the marsh are suspended!

The cranes were apparently having a jamboreehoo last night. They were SO loud, and there were so many of them. There are now 4 herons living in the marsh and Phantom Lake. I saw yellow-headed blackbirds, whose range barely reaches into the southeastern corner of Wisconsin (I've never seen them here in more than 20 years of paying attention), and 2 other species that I couldn't identify. One looked a little bigger than a killdeer, yellow beak, looked kind of like a duck in flight, sat on top of the water like a duck, gray, blue and black stripy markings on the back, looked female by how dull the coloration was, and it let me get as close as 2 feet away before it ran, and then flew, away into open water. Might have been some sort of plover. (EDIT: It was a sora.) The other looked for all the world like a cross between a black swan and a hawk, and gave a terrifying croaky-honky call. It wasn't a vulture - the wings were those of a water bird - but I didn't see any legs hanging or stretched out. Weird.

Oh, and the bugs. Mayflies are out in abundance. At the end of my walk in the marsh last night, I was covered with them and their molted outer skins, probably by the hundreds, on my jacket, my pants, and most notably in my hair. Anyone who doesn't like bugs would have been terminally creeped out by me - but hey, they have such a short life span, why not give them a nice place to shed their last skin before they take off to mate and die? I don't mind bugs so long as they don't try to bite or sting. Like mosquitoes, also out in abundance. Mosquitoes bring bats and nighthawks and swallows, beautiful to watch in flight, so they're not so bad either.

But I think Josh might not want to go into the marsh again until after a good hard freeze.

posted by Julie Neff  # 5/27/2004 08:45:00 AM

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


I learned a new trick this morning - I can now tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. Josh showed me this trick fairly soon after we started dating, and needless to say I was impressed. Try as I might, I couldn't imitate him - until this morning. The night before I had acquired a couple of pounds of Bing cherries with green pliable stems. While I was typing this morning, I stuck a stem in my mouth on a whim and messed about with it. Sure enough it was in a loose knot when I was done. I did it a second time too. Now I have 3 knotted cherry stems on my desk - 1 from Josh and 2 of my own.

We are so talented it kills me. We should go on tour.


With the suburban yard comes the desire to plant stuff. Thus far, I have put marigolds in a barrel out by the driveway; basil, lemon basil and spearmint in pots to follow the sun; parsley and dill in the ground where the sun shines for a good part of the day, and the petunia Mo gave me for Mother's Day up closer to the house in some shade. There is that 4 x 7 foot enclosed bed that gets sun for only 2 hours a day and the rest is heavy shade. So...I put red wizard coleus, impatiens and begonias in there. The bunnies have left the herbs alone so far, and in the last 3 days, it seems the coleus have shot up and spread out by a couple of inches already. We also have a bleeding heart and some hostas, but...eh. Hostas are for people who aren't really into plants. I do like popping the little purple balloony flowers, though. There are some generic bush type things in the front, too, but I am disinclined to figure out what they area. Spireas, maybe.

Along with the horse chestnut, now in resplendent flower, we have 2 birches, a big lilac, some smaller lilacs, and a big columnar cedar right by one corner of the house.

The back is still a big ol' waller of mud and rocks. We REALLY have to do something about that. It's a big pain in the ass to mow around it, but Morgan and David certainly like playing in it. David splashes in to the 6-inch deep standing water like a bear cub, and Morgan daintily steps in and almost tippy-toes around, like a heron. Oh they're so cute.

Maybe we'll teach them to tie stems in knots with their tongues too.

posted by Julie Neff  # 5/25/2004 12:42:00 PM

Monday, May 24, 2004


A little while ago, my father-in-law Rick sent me some books on Cherokee astrology and spirituality. In an email, he mentioned that Josh and I were fated to be together even in this mythos, as the Hero Twins, Chaga'see (reed, Josh) and Chawa'see (flint, myself). Those are signs in the Cherokee astrological system, based on Venus. They are similar to Castor and Pollux of Gemini, but apparently smarter and far more important.

I investigated these in The Cherokee Sacred Calendar, and sure enough, the affiliations seem to hold true, although some of the personality and intellectual attributes seem to have cross-pollinated. Reed people are nature lovers, while Flint people are innovators and originators, fond of research and knowledge just for the sake of it. Who is who in this case?

However, in the myths, they are bound to each other and together are the Medicine Men creators/destroyers to whom the people prayed for help in times of trouble.

Reed and Flint led the expedition to the Darkening West to bring back Redbird, Daughter of the Sun. Reed is considered the creative force of the dyad, while Flint is the destroyer. They got that one right.

Morgan is a Rattlesnake Tooth, apparently the natal day of healers, shamans and sorcerers, a watcher and listener, or to use a westernized image, the quester after the holy grail, but for a practical purpose. You think she can live up to that?

posted by Julie Neff  # 5/24/2004 05:55:00 PM


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