The Pooch sits on a cut-off telephone pole I threw next to the road. He's stalking something in the weeds below the east fence. It's cool Monday morning, about 40 degrees. The sky's a hazy bright, like an old bed sheet. At 7, I move the tomato babies to a drying table converted into a small greenhouse by throwing a discarded opaque, plastic shower curtain over the wood and wire frame. It protects my babies when the devil winds throw trash cans into the air and toss my empty green plastic watering cans around. When the winds are calm I put the tomatoes on the table top. Otherwise, they're under the table protected by plastic stapled to the frame. The tomato plants are losing their first leaves. The new leaves are forest green and coming along quite nicely. I take a moment to decide if its too cold for them. The last few mornings we've had a light frost. I moved the babies outside for full sun, cooler temperatures and to make room for marjoram, sage and thyme seeds I've sown. The high temperatures in the garage greenhouse will cause the tomatoes to be leggy and thin, like the ones I see outside the Village Market. Mine are short and sumo wrestler squat.
The Pooch sniffs each individual stair to the deck. Some animal spent part of the night on the deck. He's hesitant to walk the length of the deck. I step outside and check to see if an errant skunk, raccoon or possum is still hanging around in the early morning. Seeing any of these nocturnal animals in the daytime is a signal that something's out of balance. It could be trouble. As I prepare my breakfast, I watch him scout the perimeter of the front field. There are Pooch standards for early morning perimeter checks. Rolling in the sand under the drying tent to disguise his cat smell is one. He stops at the pea garden and stares at the tree stump in the middle of the field. I go back to my breakfast burrito while he disappears in the brush that I pile on the stump for a burn pile. The Pooch has a tail that is ringed like that of a raccoon. Most of the time he holds it straight up in the air. It's a sign that all's well. If his tail is horizontal to the ground, he's hunting. He has different walks, too. One is the saunter, tail straight up. Another is the trot or canter. Dawn and I always laugh when he trots across the front lawn. "Boop, boop, boop," Dawn says imitating the sound his paws would make. When he does his Cheetah run, his paws sound like hoof beats, especially when the ground is hard and dry.
Dawn has a restless night compounded by a cat that wants to wrassle at 4 am. She's experiencing some of the same symptoms I felt last week. It's puzzling because she's the critter that gave me the plague early on. Sunday morning I thought I'd recovered completely from flu- like symptoms. But no, my wrists, ankles, knees and especially my thumbs are so painful, I can hardly open the bottle of prescription medication for arthritis. I learn a painful lesson that wrists ankles, thumbs and knees are necessary ingredients for getting out of a chair or off the toilet. To stand up from the kitchen table, I lay my left arm on the table top and push myself away. This is depressing. It's like thinking how to breathe or remembering how to put one foot in front of the other to walk. I become my own editor for this blog and quash any and all ideas. In my current state of mind it will not do to write about the kids and why we never hear from them, about the dead animal smell in Dawn's studio, the kitchen remodel or my lack of energy for any small task like the leaking water filter in the basement.
I'd forgot about the leaking whole house filter. Now my mind is preoccupied with the @#$% thing. Our well water has a lot of rust and minerals. The filter's once cost $20 each. We replaced them monthly. Now that they're $35, I wait to replace it. When the water pressure drops it's signal to put in new one. The filter canister is difficult to remove. Its messy. I usually spill water over the basement floor and myself. When I open the canister and remove the filter , it's covered with red slime. I last replaced it on December 15th. Uggh. We use a faucet filter and have a Brita water pitcher for things like coffee and tea. When we moved here, we had the water tested. The previous owner said he had it tested twice. The test results: near perfect, but the shallow depth, an old well casing and proximity to the river give us hard water. Very hard water.
The forecast for the rest of the week is a chance of rain and thunderstorms. There's not much happening in Kickapoo Center. I may have to go to the archives for material.