me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Cold clear morning

Chilly out here at the Rancho, sharp and cloudless. All three robin chicks born in the dogwood in front of the porch a few weeks ago are now breakfasting in it, with their parents and a catbird. Another catbird's on the ground, pecking at the berries these guys knock down. This kousa dogwood seems to be the most attractive bird cafeteria on the Rancho property. Saw two Baltimore orioles at the top of our tallest tree very early this morning, but the wind was gusting so powerfully they had trouble hanging on and gave up, flew away. Large flock of some kind of blackbird, maybe a fifty or sixty, skimmed by on their way someplace. Geese are circling, practicing those V's. This morning the crows' calls are muted; they're across town harassing someone else.

Speaking of cafeterias, my garden, pathetic as it was after all the rain in June and July, seems to have become one of this summer's hot dining spots for moles, voles, rabbits and deer. Empty places glare where I know I planted something, though who can remember what? I do know where the late lamented morning glories were, and the filipendulum. And a shade-loving young shrub whose name I forget, given to me by my friend Mel five years ago and moved by me from the old Rancho to this one three years ago. It's a slow grower, but it survived all those replantings, got itself established here and made it almost all the way through this summer. But this weekend, gone gone gone.

So if this place is the Rancho again next year -- yet to be determined -- I'll be faced with that gardener's difficulty: what can I plant that I like, that grows here, and of which deer and rabbits don't like to eat the above-ground part and moles and voles don't like the roots? What seems to have made it this far unmolested are lantana (an annual here, though), verbena, butterfly weed, echinecea, monarda, lady's mantle, and lots of daisy kinds of things. I'll try morning glories again if I can find a way to protect the stems from the deer, who don't seem to care for the plant when it gets more than 8" above the ground. And nasturtiums, which I love and which grow well out here in everyone else's garden but which have always looked crummy in mine, I think I'll grow in pots on the back deck. Otherwise I'll probably spend the winter like every other gardener, looking through catalogs.

Meanwhile all five robins are now pecking the ground under the dogwood, having been chased out of it by a squirrel, and an osprey's circling overhead.

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