Cloud Day

On Sunday the morning clouds were magical, feathery shapes. You wonder what it would feel like if these clouds would brush against you. They appear softer than silk. Yet, they are mostly ice crystals, so the sensation may be startling.

On days like these, you want to drop everything, lie down on the grass, and watch the clouds all day. Employers let workers take off sick days and personal days. Maybe they should add Cloud Days for those days when the clouds are special.

Over the last few decades, Japan has added a number of national holidays to encourage workers to take more time off and to give the tourist industry a boost. Instead of conjuring up holidays commemorating historical figures, in 1996 came Ocean Day in July, in 2005 came Green Day at the end of April, and in 2016 came Mountain Day celebrated in August. The good thing about celebrating the ocean, forests and plants, and mountains, is that no one is going to accuse any of those things as having misbehaved.

Cloud Day certainly is a prime candidate for a national holiday. Life on earth would not be possible as we know it without clouds. Celebrate the things that make life possible.

Other candidates for national holidays would be River Day, Bird Day, Fish Day, Flower Day, Star Day, Rock Day, Sun Day, Moon Day, and Shooting Star Day.

By late afternoon, the clouds morphed into shimmering scales. And at dusk all that remained of the clouds were thin strands flowing like streams to the north east. All in all a very rich Cloud Day.

Most of my life I’ve been lucky to live in places where clouds entertain nearly every day of the year. I’ve spent some years in places where days and days go by without a single cloud in the sky. My heart goes out to those who must endure cloudless days on end.

Summer Cool

fresh eggs

We are back to summer cool, chilly, refreshing mornings and sunny, warm afternoons. What we are powerless to stop are the forest fires raging on the other side of the mountains. Each day the ocean breezes keep the smoke on the other side of the Cascades is a blessing.

Into this soft, cool summer, two ducklings appeared in the garden. I’m still not sure which of the two garden ducks hatched them. Without a drake in the garden, I placed, what I thought were three fertile eggs underneath the gray hen, and just one underneath the black one. But the two ducklings which popped out, are sticking with the black duck.

Nature is mysterious. And the ducks aren’t talking to me to tell me what happened.

There are new chicks too. Caroline decided to go broody just a few days ago. For weeks, Maureen was sitting on eggs. But at the last minute, Caroline decided to brood with Maureen, just in time for the chicks to hatch. And now the two are co-parenting a brood of chicks.

Every season I see hens come up with new ways of raising broods. It’s no wonder species diverge and new ones arise. There are frameworks creatures tend to follow, but there are always those trying out new things.

First Potatoes

First potatoes, the first potatoes of many. The nice thing about growing your own potatoes is that you can pull them out of the soil without pulling the whole potato plant out of the ground. All it takes is digging gently with a few fingers until you find a decent size potato. Pull it out and let the potato plant keep producing more potatoes through the season. These two made for a wonderful summer lunch.

Nothing compares to potatoes fresh out of the ground. Their skins are so delicate you have to handle them carefully or your fingers will rub the skins off.

Fragrant lilies are opening too. These lilies were a gift from friends so it is a pleasant surprise to see them open for the first time.