Above the clouds

Shades of grey

Clouds, heavy and grey, lay thick in the valleys. Their vapors dense and wet enough that outerwear of passers by dripped from the condensation as they moved through the mists.  Car lights pushing against the murk with little to no avail .

Grey. Everything is grey. The road is grey , the walls are grey. even the freakin air is grey. Hummie looked about him in disgust . The temperature had less chill to it than it had over the last couple weeks and he knew that he would be beating his head against one of those grey walls if he didn’t get out of Gotham , at least for a few hours. He thought about the trip, short as it was ,with this miasma that the citiots called fog , Hum knew the trip and weather would be nicer with a little elevation. Time to head to Zen .


Above the clouds

People generally talk about clouds as they were a single layer overhead. Fog being something completely different hugging the ground. Hummie , with some caution , zipped up the hillsides  swinging left and right , higher and lower as he passed through branches of trees that appeared in front of him.

The cause for the dark of Gotham was not a single layer of fog but the multiple layers of low clouds, all filled with rain aching to drop but not quite ripe yet. Layer after layer Hummie flew through. The original fog of Gotham had the smell of chemicals as they oozed through and fill the layer of fog. Breaking through to a patch of clear , Hummie kicked in the speed, Ma’s super juice was dead ahead.

The next layer of low clouds was far thicker than the murk of Gotham, Hummie weaving through the trees mists trailing from their branches . The denser cloud seem even wetter than the last causing Hum to land on a branch , ridding himself of excess weight, water draining off him as he shook.

Another break in the layers found Hummie almost half way there. The clouds above seem lighter as he closed in on them . Almost white , this haze barely slowed his trek , sliding between branches and with a burst of speed he flew over the top of the grove and into the sunlight.

The morning sun , still showing hints of reds and golds to the East along the far range began to warm Hum as he flew Zen Homestead now in sight above him.

Breakfast with Ma

Hummie flew to the feeder , half rolling his eyes as the juice hit his tongue. Ma sitting in her chair on the porch could hear him come in and all but squealed in delight .

” Hummie!” ” Hi Hum, you’re home!”

He watched her as he drank his fill of the super juice. The warmth spreading to his toes. Hummie could feel all of his bones, heck , even his quills began to relax. Too much time in town with all of the citiots honking and yelling. Dogs barking. City crows ,who are so rude ,unlike the Zen CawCaws whom always have something nice to say to him as they pass by. Nasty raccoons in trash cans, banging all night long below his town house. He attempted scaring them off but tossing wee bitty juice cans at them seem to not even be noticed. Baaaah , they can keep their city life.

Hum flew to the fence , stretching his wings, beginning a nice leisurely scratch behind his ear when Dad showed.

” Bout time you woke up lazy Hum.”

” What?!?! I just flew all the….never mind…Jerk.” Hum fluffed about his head showing his red to Dah. Ma giggled.

“He isn’t happy with you.”

” What else is new? He has been grumping at me since I put in the window covers and he will grump at me until the other hums come up for him to gripe at. ”

“Yup. Probably”

Hummie listened to Ma and Dah talk about him like he wasn’t even there…

” Ummm ..Helllooooo Hummie sitting right here. I can hear you , you know and I do not gripe all of the time I’ll have you know…oh..fine..point taken.”

Day trip

Hummie is coming in most days now as the weather is pretty reasonable this winter contrary to well, all of the predictions …So far. We started off with a pretty good chill for a few weeks and a snow storm even an ice storm but every day of our 40 some degree weather I smile.

Hummie makes his way up for the day but heads back to the town house in the evenings as he has toughed it out more than once up here with us telling him he should head below where it is warmer if not so inviting company wise.

Sitting in the town house, Big screen TV and surround sound blaring to compete with neighbors and Hum’s own kin banging about gets old for the wee little man in short order. A day trip to Zen relaxes him and there is the super juice at the end of the run.

The quiet of Zen , being above the bulk of the grey clouds hanging with us and the kids gives Hum that break needed to survive the ruckus below in Gotham. Even just the few hours leaving behind

” He’s touching me!”

” No I’m not! ”

Keeps Hum from the clock tower.

Super juice

Early winter means Ma jumps up the sugar content of Hum’s juice, just enough that it doesn’t freeze in the bottle or Hum’s tum as fast. He gets that extra burst to warm him up and makes him feel a couple weeks younger.

It is unlikely that the trip from town takes Hummie much longer than it does us as his route is most likely far straighter than our weaving road. There is less worry of ice walls to slam into than our icy roads we slide around as well.

The thought of that warming drink when he gets home along with the solitude of his grove is pretty good incentive for Hum to make the trip whenever the weather is mild enough.

Hum’s cabin

Hummie , of course , has a snug little home up here though in bad weather it just isn’t warm enough to stay. He still has to hit the feeder several times a day to keep going.

He’ll fire up his little wood stove after looking through our wood shed for a few loads that will fit in the box then it’s another trip to the feeder to get some energy before he settles in.

The other day I saw him at the feeder with several bitty jugs , siphoning off some juice to refill his wet bar. He saw me and shrugged.

“I am doing a ‘Greys-athon ‘ and don’t want to have to keep pausing the show.”

I shrugged back at him.

” Meh..Makes sense then.”

The next thing I saw was a wee leetle plume of smoke coming out of his chimney then heard him frantically hitting the remote as the sound blared out of his surround sound system.. Oh yeah.. “Game of Thrones” marathon was the last thing he was up to when he snuck out of the town house behind Mrs. Hum’s back.

Pea soup

This last week went reasonably quickly for myself anyway…Minus the morning trips through the fog laden hills . More than one morning.. which I use the term loosely as in my opinion morning starts with a sunrise thank you very much… I clamber into the truck ,turn on defrost and lights then climb out to shovel fog out from under the bumper. It isn’t so much that I can’t see past the windshield as that the stuff is so thick I am pretty sure it is destroying my gas mileage . If you open the window you’ll probably drown.

Slinking down our road , I try not to get lost before I even hit pavement and as driving off the edge would lead to not only a swearathon but burying the truck in the Kansas clay slime we refer to as soil up here on Zen.

Once I get to a real road I can speed up to a mind blowing double digit …ok well 11 mph is , in fact, double digit after all… Now I just have twenty-some miles to get through..Piece of cake ..ruddy moist dense brain boggling fog cake..

The only straight parts of the Zen roads are where you leave pavement to go straight down into the lands below. The gravel that keeps folks from sliding on the ice also tends to cover what marking paint there is as well. The water filled fog is every bit as good as a soaking rain when you drive through it pooling on the windshield even with wipers screaming in protest after fighting ice only days before..now THAT isn’t annoying as I press my face to the glass in an attempt to see over the hood for the Ranger.

My Christmas ornament of a right eye tells my brain

” Pphhhttttt I don’t see any problems ahead.”

My left eye scanning the murk is screaming into my head.

” Freakin Moron ! You can’t see anything anyway! Shut the hell up! I can’t concentrate with you happily humming over there!”

I’m fine until they try to glare at each other. Is it cross eyed when only one of them actually sees anything ?

My brain makes an attempt to get everyone on the same page as my left eye notices a curve marker immediately ahead and we are still going straight.

” CRAPP!!!”

Fortunately there was no ice as I correct , assuming the road is somewhere in front of me..Silly me.. We haven’t gotten to the corner yet. The center marker winking in front of the truck before hiding beneath the center of the truck.

” Crapp!”

So far at least I have kept my “crapping” to the vocal version so far though it had been close on the last corner.

Right side Right Side!

My left eye picks up what the right didn’t as a bulk of fur steps into the road. Bratty kids either also blind in the fog or seeing it was me and just jerking my chain step feet in front of the truck. Hitting the brakes I watch as a doe with twins walk in front of me. The last stopping , smiling and waves as she then hops off to file in with her sister..  I roll down my window..

Ya Brat!”

The doe and kids in tow all look back at me , giggle and walk off… I think I peed a little on that one.

The break through

I pass into a gap between cloud layers as I head down Walker Grade.

“Holy Crap! I can see!…”

I hit my brights , run the truck , throw her into third, and precede to hit the next layer as I pass into the next curve in the road.


Some how Some what the Hell… This layer is even thicker. …………………………… Jolly!

I barrel down the road at the lightning speed of…Seriously? You honestly think I am lookin at the flippin dash?

The next corner holds onto the gloom in check , the truck bursting into the wide open deep dark black that is absolutely no where near dawn. Crappin early freakin shift ……from hell…

Speeding up yet again  I venture to second gear..wheeeeeeee!  The next corner finds me back in the fog again..Heh…I knew that was coming…

I get to the village at the bottom of Zen to find that now I am close to sea level..and the freeway. We are finally below the banks of clouds.. Thank goodness.. Just because you are completely blind is no reason to travel less than 70 on the freeway, tail gate and flash your lights at someone actually driving the speed limit….. not only citiots but freakin imported citiots from other states… complete and utter dumbasses…as I wave when I drive by the moron sitting in his car with the local State patrol walking up to him.

Today , once again using the term DAY loosely , the freeway is clear and travel is a breeze.  I make my way to the next county and set of hills to head up to work..IN the friggin fog again…whatever..

Because THAT makes sense

Travelling up the back roads to work, I know these , at least, are all but straight and the drive isn’t bad…..Until Feet in front of me , a jogger , wearing black ,slips through the fog on my right side , I swerve more in fear than any concern of hitting them, though in hind sight ,maybe a swerve towards them making them jump into the ditch might teach the dink a lesson in dressing themselves for a night jog..in the fog…citiot!

My heart slowing as I travel the road the usual driveway marking lights wink in and out of the fog.


The wasn’t a driveway light , that was a jogger with a dog…On my right side which didn’t pick up the movement. Swerving again , I shook my leg and continued my drive finally pulling into the parking lot where I throw my head back and groan as my eye seems to explode in my head from release of the pressure I get every time I drive , which simply magnifies with each complication along the way.. Fog fun..

Home again Home again jiggity jig

The trip home in the fog is far less complicated as there is sunlight above the banks of clouds.  I drive through the pockets with far less stress than the way down almost yet not quite relaxed as I drive.. only to have one of the kids walk out in front of me…

” What?! I was walkin here…”

IN and out of the clear paths I get to the top of Zen …where the clouds live , raise their children , breed like rabbits and weep over the hillsides .

I know our turn off is close. I also know that once I hit top there is a reasonably tight curve…Now if only I could see where that is, you know, before I hit the sign or graveled edge followed by a long drop with a plop at the end… IN the Kansas mud like slime of the season.

There is it…as I pass it….

” CRAP!”

I back up and slowly head up our deer path of a road.

I finally slide out of the truck and slip on the steps heading into the entry. Glaring at the step seem to put things in order. I am reasonably sure it wont be slick now.

I put down my gear , slip out of my jacket and thank the gods that I only have five more days of the same this week…

” Crap! It’s only Monday?”

Reality check on isle 9

The weather is great , for winter,..so far… The kids have been everywhere up here all day long. We watch the does running and playing like they normally do come spring. Hummie is spending a lot of time up here and even watching our other birds as they kick back at the ” Fly-N- Go” all show signs of spring. Buds popping on trees and plants , the road is even road -like instead of the quagmire that is normal for January ….

The thing is… It’s only January ….We still can have things turn before the end of March..Or not.. The animals don’t seem to think so.

I have, duh, been watching the weather patterns a few times a day over multiple sites along with our station and , well , looking up.. So long as nothing goes wonky in the currents…yeah..THAT never happens… It looks like a decent winter for Zen.

I know that folks are a wee bit freaked over the lighter weather  The mountain doesn’t have a ton of snow low due to the snow level being at 5k right now though I have been watching it snow off and on this morning ( you know for REAL morning..sunrises and all…) We are sitting at 33F so it’s ” Just fer lookin at” snow I imagine though anything a matter of feet higher than us it would stick.

Zen , however can get water just fine from rain. The rain fall has been pretty steady , at least here at the homestead and it is sinking in .

The thing about snow for Zen is, our ground freezes and all of the precious water heads down hill instead of where we need it for our aquifers . For us, it is actually working just fine. For now.

What is ahead? heck if I know . I do know that we have a good month where everything could go on it’s ear if the currents just change a matter of a few degrees. Those can’t be predicted as the change happens within a matter of hours.

Sunday Sunday Sunday

We did our big chores on Friday and Saturday leaving Sunday as pretty much just a cook day for me. I decided that chicken soup sounded good so I hit the deep freeze pulling  dark meat from a couple chickens to get things started. A couple hours from pressure cooker and the good times of digging through a pair of chicken carcasses  later and it will all be sit and wait as far as that goes.

Yesterday’s rig runs wasn’t too bad. “Little Red” threw her normal tantrum , not wanting to go to work but unlike the last many weeks she gave in and behaved in minutes rather than an hour of begging and pleading.

” Blue” started right up. I ran her to the end of the road..err or beginning ,I guess as we are the end…. I turned her off to see if she’d start. for a moment she refused but also gave in with a second effort which was great with the exception of I still am not sure what her trip is.

The old beat up jeep started right up..showing off…and yet.. reeking of mice.. I pulled out anything I could, opening all the doors and finding nothing… awesome…

The sami threw the tantrum this week..Seemingly irritated to be the last to be started of the crew. Promises of better weather and getting her chains off seem to not affect her mood at all. Once I decided

” Fine be that way. I’ll just go do my work with the tractor…” She started.

What chores we had went quickly…sadly so did the day. I found myself in the “EST chair” ( evil sleepy-time chair) waking from resting my eyes…an hour ago… CRAP! Waking , I went into my room to play the guitar a bit before bed…..a half hour later I crawled under the covers to wake up at 3am…

” GAWWWHHH!””Day off dang it!”

counting sheep

Ma working on her spinning and knitting had finished up a pair of sweaters for me , situational and I asked for specifics which she , of course, improved on.

Ma now had to decide on something for herself….yeah , no, it isn’t as easy as

” Oh I’ll make a sweater..”

There are the reasons, the wheres , whys , then on to what would be the best type of sweater, type of yarn… Remember, Ma designs from beginning to end It’s not some Red Heart pack of crap yarn and a pattern from the local thrift. These don’t send your hair into fiery lightning storms nor are they toss in the washer with the jeans. Ma sets up the pattern as a whole, an over-all pattern. What style will work for what she is going to use it for. The next is what will work with not only the weight of yarn but what type of yarn. Right now Ma is spinning basically Yak , sheep and silk . That will go towards the heavier winter more outer wear style .

Ma is looking for something spring through fall , lighter but warm. The yarn is super fine so she can work herself to death with cables and knots and when you get a few feet away they will poof… Plans changed quickly after a test , going with something more basic Ma started again. The needles she is using for the project look about the size of  what they used to pull fluid from my eye so when she complained about only having a few inches of the sweater done ( as in ” height” not length ) in the time it took me to write the beginning of this post I just stood looking at her , the corner of my lip twitching and eye sparkling holding in a


I could feel a Snoopy dance coming on so I left the room.


Final thoughts

I’ll take this weather and thank the gods for it. If I need to run the gauntlet in the wee hours of the * snort* morning I would just as soon fight ONLY fog thank you very much.

It is , in fact, snowing mix as I write though being at 35 now it is for entertainment value only. ” Spring snow” ….Let’s hope..or I will anyway.. that this holds at least for a few more weeks.

We may yet see out Valentines snow storm and possibly our Spring Break storm.. If that is the only two storms  I wouldn’t cry too much over it. The wet is going through our now open soil and into the wells of Zen.

I have the stock at the resting stage before I pull the meat from bone making that part the busiest part of today..far as I know.

Ma decided that meatballs will be the go-to this week… Not that I gave her a large choice..

Ma is more than happy with vegetables….

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a salad with a large side order of lightly killed pig myself. I just figure that green looks better in the gardens than on a plate.

I saw Hummie the other day leaving the feeder. You could tell he had been hitting it hard as he weaved through the air, the sugar giving him a buzz. A short time later he came back in his  Hum-V with several weenie little jugs and a hose to both fill his ride and his larder .He saw me watching him then did his best Vanna White impression , wings spread over the hood of his rig. I stood on the porch , cup of tea in my hand watching his rims still spinning. His face fell for a moment, deciding that a second pose would help , he brushed his ” hand” over the hood and spread his arms wider. I chuckled and walked into the house….Hummie has spent far too much time in town…… He is in desperate need of

Just another day on Zen Mountain





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