went yesterday to gather elderflower to make syrup. i’d gone a few weeks back but there were only a few elders in bloom. not enough to gather. yesterday saw better results. i stepped out of the car by the first bush and was nearly bowled over by the wonderful odor of elderflower on the wind. cloves and honey. it was a huge bush, full of bees, and i didn’t feel bad about gathering a whole paper sack of blossoms because so many panicles had already set fruit! the top branches were way beyond my reach. there will be fruit in abundance for the birds and foxes in a few months. i’d have felt bad if i’d deprived them.
saw a very impressive gopher snake wending his way along the road. rounded a corner and startled a fox stalking a hen turkey. he stopped on a hillside in the rays of the setting sun and stared down at us in what i imagined to be a look of irritation. but i’m a big one for anthropomorphizing i guess. near the far side of the lake i noticed a swarm of honeybees floating over the road. a beehive in the hollow trunk of a great oak. farther on in the place where sister and i gathered rosehips and snowberry last year the banks of the creek were teeming with honeybees and mosquitoes. my arms are covered in welts where i (very begrudgingly) provided supper to the latter. found hoary white hedgenettle in a seep. took starts. passed a patch of brilliant wild pea. thought it was pride of california. but no. tangier pea. reminded me that i need to go into the mountains and gather seed of snub pea. the flowers change from magenta-veined ivory to cream to yellow to dark golden to burnt orange. they’re magical. near my aunt and uncle’s former farm passed a girl on a white speckly mare. she waved. she had long thick golden hair like the mermaids in storybooks. i wanted to pull over and go riding too but the horses and ponies of my childhood are all quite dead. i have one of their skulls on my piano to prove it.
in other news…
finished blocking my lace cowl today. it turned out beautifully except for where i used faux grafting to join the ends. it’s my own fault. i didn’t want to be bothered with a provisional cast on so i used a long tail cast on and consequently had no live stitches to work when i got to the end. that’ll learn me. still it was a fun project and since i plan on giving some of these beauties away at christmas i’ll have plenty of practice perfecting my technique. i used some fingering alpaca for this particular cowl. chocolate brown. the next will be midnight blue or grey. i may even try to make one up in cashmere since the pattern requires so little yarn.
took a book and blanket and crawled under a low plum tree this afternoon. i rested on my belly with my chin on a lofty feather pillow and read for hours. titmice congregated in the lowest branches right above my coffee cup (!) and nattered away distractingly. i didn’t mind so much because it’s hard to stay annoyed with such cute fucking little creatures. a cat invited himself to the party and set up camp near my feet where they projected beyond the ring of shade into the sunlight. eventually i couldn’t keep my mind on my book because the moisture from the grass had soaked through my blanket and into my trousers and the sun had sunk low enough that i got chilly. if tomorrow afternoon is as clement i may just have a repeat.