Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thinking of fuel, working conditions, and backyard delights


Koi were circling like sharks in search of food last night.

What a difference ten degrees makes. We’re having a cool spell for a few days! Breathing is easy and I'm loving it.


So I fed them. For the first time in two or three weeks (I've lost count)the water temp dropped below 90. They propel their slippery selves up and out of the water when I arrive. A few of them are nearly a foot in length (dinner for two?).

Half of my flat of Snapdragons were finally planted last night when I enjoyed the warm sun, cool breeze. I ran out of potting soil and swore I’d not be lazy and buy just one bag of potting soil again. Next time I’ll buy ten although it doesn’t look like I’ll be planting anything until next spring. Our soil is only a bit softer than concrete.

Walked around campus for the first time in over a month and was excited to see the Rose of Sharon in bloom. I lost track of time watching a few hundred bumble bees floating from flower to flower.


Our director at work has encouraged us to work at home a day or two a week so save on our fuel costs. So far, I’m proud to say I have worked from home twice this month and actually accomplished “work” instead of gawking at the outdoors, nose pressed against the windows.


Fuel prices are affecting everything we do. College students are not attending classes as many of them live two counties away. Enrollment is dropping. News flash: The College is now proposing a four-day work week for all students and employees beginning spring semester 09. Classes will run Monday through Thursday but I think this change will be a scheduling nightmare. The college would realize significant energy savings by closing its doors three days a week. I’ve heard large corporations are already on a similar schedule.


Feeling the cool early summer morning and zooming in and out on the bees, I thought about the four-day work week schedule. Having off on Fridays will be great.


I’ve always desired a job with three-day weekends but I’ve never wanted to work four tens. Sometimes I work nine hours and go home whipped. Heck, I’m whipped every day.


After four tens, I’d need to spend half of Friday in bed.


It’s perfect to be home from work between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., in daylight, as I have been doing for the last twenty-plus years. This is what scares me about the big four-tens:

During fall and winter months when the days are short, will I need to patrol for doggie poop in the dark?

Fill the bird feeders in the dark? Go four days straight without seeing backyard birds? There will be no time for blogging. Wow. I don’t know about this…

Why can’t they just give us the day off if we promise to get our work done, dammit? Research reveals that productivity plummets during the last two hours of an eight-hour workday so why add two more?

What a hopeless, pathetic dreamer I am.


The grackles have been offered safflower seed. Gee, I hope they spit it out! Only niger and safflower seeds are offered now. No nuts, suet, or other treats. The clean-up crew shown above seems happy.

I sat near the pond with spade, potting soil, and camera. The view was glorious!



Be still, please!


Have a great weekend, ya'll :o)


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...


The cooler temps have lightened your outlook! Your fishies are gorgeous. Have you ever had stinkers or raccoons get them? Working from home sounds terrific but wouldn't work for my line of work. :(
Art said his work (Ameriprise Financial) is looking at four ten hour days. His area is having to go in to work this weekend for a special project. His boss asked that the building maintenance people tirn the AC on on their floor (set to 80 degrees on the weekends). It would cost $800 to cool one floor for two days! They're all bringing water and wearing shorts and T-shirts instead!
Have a good weekend friend- enjoy your outdoors!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post Mary. Everywhere the fuel, food and other costs are making people change their way of lives. It is sort of scary.

I think those huge koi are sort of scary too even though they are beautiful. You are lucky you don't have racoons in the neighborhood. They would gobble up your beautiful koi.

Those bumble bee shots are great. They love that Rose of Sharon. Here too but ours is not in bloom yet. A little early.

Mary said...

Lisa, I DO have raccoons! Foot prints on the back deck every morning...

Linne, it's a crisis. Fuel. We need to switch our power sources and no one can tell me it can't be done. But being ME, I don't have answers... I'm too worried about the water supply. I like the idea of wearing shorts and tee-shirts to work, however :o)

KGMom said...

Oh what fun--critters galore, and Mary in a festive mood.
I just talked to a former colleague (from my old work place) and she is now working at home three days a week. Same reason--high gas prices. It will change how we think about things, no doubt!

NCmountainwoman said...

Great post and lovely shots. Amazing how much better you feel when the temperatures get down to normal. Now...if we could just squeeze a little rain out of it.

Have a wonderful weekend enjoying your backyard delights. Don't even think of work until Monday.

Ruth said...

I would work at home but I really don't want to bring my patients with me :-) It is a great option if you can do your work at home, but not for Lynne or myself. Hope it works out for you!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures Mary! Our gas here is 3.86 in town and 3.99 in the country. We had HAIL here today. It was about the size of a big marble.

I finally saw an eastern bluebird yesterday!! My first one. He was in my bird bath.


Sherry at the Zoo said...

What beautiful fish! We had some koi but the racoons ate them. :-(

4 ten hour would take some getting used to, that's for sure. But every Friday off? That would be nice also. Tough choice.

Steve Buser said...

That's a lot of eye-popping fotos for a guy to take in all at once. I tried my luck at shooting Koi a few weeks ago, but it was really shading pond -- had to look for the streaks of light and hope the fish would swim through them.

JeanMac said...

Mary, I worked 7:15am to 5pm, four days a week for 26 years. Fridays off were wonderful esp. as Wayne and I tried to get away a lot - but - usually, on Fridays, I worked and shopped and ran around like crazy.

Wendy said...

Those fish are beautiful. All your photos are beautiful! Loved the butterfly at the end. You did cast a magic spell on him, so he'd be still, didn't you? If I had asked him - he'd probably fly away!
Glad it's cooled off for you. Extreme heat or cold is really not fun!
My brother works at McGill University here in Montreal. They have been having summer fridays off for years. I know he doesn't work 10 hour days - I'll have to ask him how he makes up the time. Or does he just get paid a little less? He's a systems analyst, so not a teacher with classes to teach, maybe there is a difference.

NatureWoman said...

First, I love your photos, as always. Ohhh, working from home, what a nice thing to do. Ten hours days just stink. I say four eight hour days would be perfect. Friday is a big waste anyways!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Amazing pictures, Mary! I love them all! I had rabbits in the yard yesterday.

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Mary! It has been cool here in NJ too. It is nice. Very nice. It is so enjoyable to go outside and be able to move without sweating.

My friend was offered a four day work week and she jumped at the opportunity. As appealing as it sounds, I am with you. I want to be home to enjoy the outdoors before the sun goes down. I also want to have dinner at a decent time. Now if my work offered me to work from home, I'm there. No problem here.

I love the picture with the bunnies and the squirrel. How adorable is that.

Well enjoy the cool weather. I have a feeling it wouldn't last much longer.


Debbie said...

Mary, so glad your weather broke a bit for you.

The fuel costs are getting a bit scary. We filled our oil tank yesterday...$4.59/gallon! I don't know how people will survive the cold winters up here at that price.

I just love your photos lovely, so peaceful.

beckie said...

Mary, I just read that Americans are driving BILLIONS of less miles since the gas prices edged close to and over $4.00. So somebody somewhere is doing a lot less driving. I know that I have cut way back on my going and try to do all my errands in one trip a week now. A lot of it is our lifestyles that we are so reluctant to give up, and a lot of it is speculators. I don't know what the answers are either, but I do know something has to give soon. We are middle class soon to be poor!

Enough of my views! Your pictures are delightful and I love those Koi. The bees seem to be in bee heaven. Now if you could just get some rain!

Unknown said...

I worked four tens when I was employed by a large corporation. It took awhile to get used to it, but once I did I really loved it! Overall though I'm with ya. Give me four eight hour days, and I'll cram everything it to them that I can!

Rose said...

Great post, as always, Mary. I just finished a post for tomorrow with some feeble attempts at bird and bee pictures, then I see your wonderful shots. (If you get a new camera, I'd be willing to buy your old one:)!)
Anyway, loved the bee photos and chuckled all through your musings:) I always wanted to work a 4-day week, too, but those 10-hour days definitely don't sound appealing. Maybe you could encourage the powers that be that more working at home would save that much more energy. Maybe they should just go to all online classes!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary Anonymous from Michigan here. How goes the safflower and nijer seed? Weather here has been cool all week. 70's during the day and 50's at night. Gas this morning was $4.15 a gallon. The pictures you took are beautiful.
I'm with you, I don't know if I could work 4 10's but a three day weekend would be nice.


Q said...

Dear Mary,
Four tens would be very difficult!
I think working at home every day would be the best!
Wonderful cool down. I love your butterflies on cone flowers and always bees....where would we be without our bees?
Happy Summer Solstice,

Naturegirl said...

Mary as I scrolled down to view each photo they got better and better and oh MY the one with the bunnys and squirrel all sharing their space!Precious!
The one with the koi circling the pond creating the most fantastic color!
Absolutely wonderful I love those ~bee bum~ shots with all the pollen!Enjoy your weekend off Mary!

Cheryl said...

Glad the weather is is a bit too cool here and still raining off and on.

I love the bee photos, really beautiful. How can anyone not love bees, watch them tumble around in a large bloom and don't you just fall in love with them.

When I hear of your working day Mary, I am not surprised you are so tired. I marvel that your soul is not damaged by the workload. Perhaps nature restores the balance for you and keeps you on track.

Have a good weekend and I hope you get some special 'me' time. By the way I think you are getting hooked on those bees!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mary, I so love your photos and this really is such a wonderful time of the year! Happy Summer and keep up the great blog post!

Stephanie said...


Anonymous said...

Before moving to NC, I lived in NYC and worked for women's magazines. A 10-hour day was a short day! (A shocking amount of time and drama goes into putting all those "100 Looks for Under $100" and "Hot Hair for Summer" stories.) Not that this'll make you feel better about the prospect, but you might be surprised how much easier and productive a 10-hour can be when you've had a solid 3 days all to yourself. And it's sooo much easier to justify a long lunch with 10hr workdays.

Of course, I work from home full-time now (often 7 days/week), so how much is my previous statement really worth?

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, Gus has every other friday off and he STILL works it! Fun post. Love the clean up crew. When you asked the butterfly to be still, perhaps you were speaking to your own heart? Be still my soul...

Anonymous said...

My, your kois are beautiful! They seem full of activity now that the weather's cooled a bit. I'd love to go to a 9/80 schedule (every other Friday off) but I don't see that working at my company :-(

Larry said...

The photographs are awesome: sharp images, beautiful colors, etc. I agree, potting soil does not go very far, I never have enough. Unfortunately, I cannot do my job from home-darn. These gas, food, etc., prices are unbelieveable. They say that gas (87 octane) might be at least $7.00 a gallon come August. What can we all do about this??? Everything is skyrocketing in price! How long have you had the fish? -Beautiful colors - no nasty critters trying to get at them? Glad cooler weather came your way. Have a good one!

Beth said...

Coming your way on Sunday....

Carol Michel said...

Requests for working at home one or two days a week are on the increase where I work, too. Those four ten hour days can be brutal, unless you get used to them. I have some co-workers who do that. Me, I try to stick with no more than ten hours a day at work, five days a week, then I'm outta there, and the evening is mine, along with the weekend.

I love daylight savings time!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Crayons said...

Hi Mary,
There are so many things to react to in this post. I'll just pick the koi and the bee and your diatribe on work. The energy in that fish photo is amazing. I like the way you cropped it. Your observations of the bee inspire me to look more closely at the world. I wonder if the people around you know what a brilliant view you have. You are amazing. Finally, I so much agree with your thoughts on work. I'm sorry that this is a stressful time for you.

JeanMac said...

Oh, Mary, your blog colors are beautiful!