Got up an hour early today to go make sausage…i.e. vote. Chatham County is having a referendum on "Liquor by the drink." Bars in the county aren’t allowed to serve anything stronger than beer, so the vote is to allow them to serve mixed drinks or not.

It’s not expected to pass–the weird "dry county" mentality still persists strangely in parts of the South–but Kevin and I slogged out in the rain and voted anyway.

My poison ivy has reached the scabby crusty oozing phase, which looks positively leprous and feels worse. (They say leprosy doesn’t actually hurt, since the nerves go long before stuff starts falling off.)  I slather it regularly with anti-itch cream, which I think is mostly camphor. Sadly, despite all of our lidocaine creams and everything else, it’s plain old camphor that offers me the greatest relief. Go figure. (I have tested this extensively on my last bout of poison ivy, an appalling number of tick bites,* and The Chigger Incident.)

I have a week and a half to write the rest of Wurstbreath. Fortunately, I’m nearly done. Yesterday got me through the bit with the sewers and the potato salad, and now I just need one good fire-on-the-mountain writing day when I hammer out the Dramatic Climax, and I’m done.

It’s raining, so I don’t have to water the garden for a couple days, which is good. A pair of chipping sparrows were on the feeder earlier–that’s a new one for the yard. Sadly, the rain or wind or something flattened the one iris that had bloomed unexpectedly (the last tenant threw some bulbs in the ground–bi-colored dutch iris being one, apparently. There’s also a bed of daffodils and, under vast tangles of bindweed, what I think are daylilies valiantly clinging to life. I cleared out the bindweed, so we’ll see if they get around to flowering.)

Astonishgly, my liatris bulbs are actually coming up. I tossed ’em in the ground in a seriously half-assed fashion–another mail-order thing that didn’t look particularly likely to survive, planted months late, and wham, here they are. Darwinian gardening for the win! (I’ll probably buy some bigger established plants later in the year–I love liatris, and the goldfinches tear it up getting at the seeds.) My catmint is blooming dramatically in the extremely dry hillside area, and the bees are all over it, and my wild indigo is turning purple.

Indoors, my zoanthid garden continues to spread. The original 8-polyp colony has reached a whopping eighteen polyps, and the various others that I haven’t counted polyps on are spreading across the rocks. (Meanwhile, the mushroom coral, which has the reputation of spreading to take over THE ENTIRE TANK, the first coral I got, hasn’t so much as twitched. At some point, I’ll pick up some more mushrooms, since I love them, and apparently I do not provide the conditions required for total overrun.) Crab Bob has figured out that the chopstick that comes from above (I use a chopstick to push flake food down from the surface occasionally) frequently pushes tasty food into his vicinity, and will come out from under a rock, reach out a claw, and snag the oncoming flake, then gobble it voraciously. 

Also indoors, Ben continues to play Kevin and I for chumps, and manages to get three meals a day instead of two about half the time. He’s so pleasant now that his mouth is better that it’s hard to begrudge him, though–whenever we walk through the front door, Ben’s up on the end table, pawing the air, wanting to climb aboard somebody’s shoulder and nuzzle their ear, and in the evening, when Kevin and I are laying in bed watching Mythbusters or re-runs of Johnny Quest, Ben is usually right there snuggling and purring and generally making an enormous feline roadblock in the middle of the bed. (Angus sometimes joins in, but prefers to wait for days when I get a nap, and snooze with me.)

Meanwhile, I have coffee from the little drive-thru espresso joint, the rain continues to pour and the sky is backlit grey, and I have paintings to paint and miles to go before I sleep.

*Ticks out here itch. I don’t know why, I know they don’t usually, but this variety of tick bites about five times before it finds a nice place to settle down and suck, and each bite ITCHES. And then scars. These are the most malicious bloody bugs…

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