Most evenings at dusk during the summer Skunkpuppy and I go on a cool evening run. She has to lead the way for me on my mobility scooter, maybe it’s a control thing, I don’t know. Last night was no different, it is curious how animals become accustomed to the daily routines, right at 7 she sits in front of me with the “well are you ready yet?” look.
She and I have been interested lately; as I’ve written briefly about in previous blogs, the matted area on the levee, a wild one has been bedding down there. Last night, with her in the lead we almost caught sight of what animal it is. As we approached, she flushed the lounger out, I did not see it but the tracks leading up and out were evident and remain so this early morning. The pad marks were not revealing, but the size is as well as how the wild one reacted. It’s a Red Fox, with 80% certainty, a Racoon would not have cared if it was spotted. The cagey Fox has no desire to be discovered.
The footpads are smaller than dogs, and more compact than a Racoon, Skunks, Possums, and Otters are out of the equation. If it was an Otter he would have slid into the water versus running along the high side of the bank for 10 feet then making an escape directly across the rise. The saga will continue for now, there will be photos soon.
Meanwhile, the temperature is nearing 100 F. (37.77 C), it’s not worthy of a complaint. This summer is no different than any other since living in California. “Man is it hot out.” People will say to which I answer “Yeh, it’s summer.” Most years we have had over 100 F (37.77 C) days in early July, this is the first two days so far this year.
When a day is going to be really hot the atmosphere has a tell-tale, smog. Early in the morning while it is cool a haze will form beginning at the ground level extending skyward. Mrs. Lebec will ask me if it is smog or fog, I tell her I call it heat haze, it’s gonna be a hot one.
Summer is the fog season in San Francisco Bay, 50-60 degrees F (10-15.55 C) creates the Delta Breeze which blows from June 1 until September 1st. The Central Valley is 108 F (42.22 C) today, a differential of 58 degrees. That translates into stiff winds, the cool air rushes in to take up space the warm air leaves as it rises. Without the influx of Ocean air 250 miles south of us would be unbearably hot.
On the Island, we are kept 20 degrees cooler than the nearby Cities less than 10 miles distant. Rarely is the use of air conditioning needed, but once it reaches that point there is no denying it. With the low humidity swamp coolers are effective, back east they are useless in the heavy hot air.
The chores were completed early this morning, at 7 am it was 70 F (21.11 C) which was another indication it would warm up. After the Vegetables were picked and set in the kitchen, the next chore was to haul away debris from trimming the ice plants. It’s a blessing for the Earthworm farm, it’s good food for them as well as a source of moisture keeping the bed moist.
I rigged up a bumper hitch on my mobility scooter that allows me to tow my wagon, it’s able to do all of the haulings around the yard and garden. It’s a dumper, I pull the latch and lift up the box out slides whatever is in it. Of course, as is normally the case after using it for several years the desire for a larger one looms in the back of my mind. If it was any bigger it would be unreasonably ungainly, this one is by no means small, Jacques needs to come back down to earth.
During the summer months Skunkpuppy and I knock off at 1 pm, then we may swing back into action around 7 pm. The least we do is take her on the 1/4 mile run to burn off some of that energy. Some days the ball is tossed from the riverside porch to the bottom of the levee, running uphill is a bonus she tires out rapidly.
We are gaining people on Saturday’s, for the past year our neighbors from away visit with us and have lunch. They have owned the property next door for years and work on it every weekend. It has turned into a sit around and chew the fat day, they always bring sandwiches or Mrs. Lebec whips something up. They will bring a friend along on occasion, which is fine with us as it adds to the pleasureful day. Other friends show up as well, Mike always brings cookies or something after being ordered to let Mrs. Lebec know if he will be here.
It doesn’t make much difference if there is an advanced notice or not with the number of visitors we have. The numbers are increasing, another neighbor wants to know why she isn’t invited. When in fact no one is “invited” people just show up, after knowing her for all of these years the question asked of her is “since when do you need an invitation?” Everyone eats, talks, and jokes, Mitts wants me to tell him about the resident ghosts and if there has been any activity during the past week.
People leave stuff here, sometimes they don’t miss what was left behind, other times we are unable to locate the owner. We are faced with such a mystery now, a pair of 13-1/2 Nike Tennis shoes showed up. We contacted everyone that had been at the house during the past week, as they showed up after my birthday July 6th. No one owns them or has any idea who may, “well, you wear a size 13-1/2 come and get them” the youngest son was told. They appeared two days after Big Mike passed away, (twilight zone music) he wore a size 13-1/2, bah duh. I may sell them on e-bay, plus shipping.
Being holed up inside all day is not my idea of having fun, during siesta time I will sit on the deck in the shade. Today is just too dad blamed hot, so for today it’s, Baseball, Water, and Mrs. Lebec. She’s a talker which makes having to use a listening device worthwhile, it has an on-off switch. When accompanied with that far away look in my eyes she knows I am taking in every word she speaks.
She told me to take a break to eat breakfast and have coffee on the deck, I was busy cleaning up the stuff on the levee; I wanted to finish before it heated up. She came back out to the patio with a fuzzy duster in her hand, then started to talk about spider webs. Handing it to me she said I would need that, not right now but later. She told me that the webs had to be eliminated from the handrail and porch, and it was my job. The victory was realized when I told her that I enjoy dusting the spiders away, sometimes I aim to please and actually hit the target.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance