Busy With Nothing (Not)

The number of balls in the air varies from day to day.  Basic maintenance (at which I’m not as good as some people)  always includes some cooking, some barn chores, some “land” chores, some business chores (email, mail, etc.) and some writing.   Of the writing some is work on the book, some is work about a book (such as the pronunciation guide for Remnant Population,  or a query about a contract, sent by my agent), some is correspondence, some is (like this) a post to a website.   Adding to this is the need to stay in contact with people I’d normally see at least weekly, and the need to work around the sudden absence of ordinary supplies no longer available.  Like toilet paper and tissues to sneeze into, neither of which we’ve been able to buy for the past three weeks.  Thanks largely to the hoarder contingent, who are still stripping the shelves of some supplies the moment a truck drives in.  But that’s another issue.

The book continues to progress; it’s now at 52, 500+ words.  Slow, and beginning to want me to work faster, but the other things I’m doing again after a longish break from them (like more cooking of more quantity which requires more chopping and mixing)  are making the arthritic hand joints act up.  It’s true spring/early summer now here, with gorgeous wildflowers and green grass,  still iffy weather, but I’ve been out photographing (documenting) things on the land, and getting exercises almost every day (every day it’s not thundering and raining.)    Here’s a Luna moth that came wandering by late last week, down in the grass SW of the dry woods.  It was early evening and the shadows were moving across it really fast.

Every year or so we see one of the giant silk moths–we’ve seen Lunas three times I think, in the 20 years, and the others once or twice each, but they’re quite rare here.   The first Luna we saw was near the driveway in front of the house, on a tree trunk.   We are well into rattlesnake season (three and a half footer has already been seen)  and from now unti a hard freeze we can expect a “buzzer” (family joke name for them) any time, anywhere on the place.  It means looking down constantly, scanning a six foot width, for anything that even remotely resembles one.  They can be invisible easily, and this early in the year are still “proddy” which means easily  roused, the babies, especially…they’re hardly thicker than a finger, but they put everything they have into every bite (older rattlers may not actually inject venom with all bites.)   This year, with the pandemic and all, it would be worse than usual to get a bite that required hospitalization….which is also of course very expensive because the injections to counteract the venom is extremely expensive.  So we’re careful.  Carry sticks (for poking around and under anything, including chairs outdoors, that we consider sitting on.  As it gets hotter, rattlesnakes seek shade.

Meanwhile, the book…there’s a curse tablet that has to get into it pretty soon now, I think, but so far it’s being hard to introduce into a household with Rafe handling the electronic surveillance and former military watching for human interference.   The latest method I tried required the recipients/targets to be stupider than they are, always a bad move on the part of a writer unless there’s a really good excuse (large distraction like a bomb going off, partner’s death, serious personal injury…)   I read the first forty pages (over the phone) to my first alpha reader (back when I was just starting Sheepfarmer’s Daughter) because she’s got serious vision problems now, and she was enjoying it…so that’s a good sign.

9 thoughts on “Busy With Nothing (Not)

  1. Lunas are stunning. I’ve only seen them 2 or 3 times in Georgia and I don’t know if they are rare, or just retiring.

    We are in a shelter in place situation, but still allowed to be outside, as long as proper distance is maintained, so I’m going to a small park nearby. I take my knitting, and sit on a bench looking across a small lake. Just in the past week, the trees have leafed out, and all sorts of people are out enjoying. A good variety.

    1. Every time I’ve seen a Luna, it’s stunned me again with its beauty. And I don’t see them every year. We do have northbound monarchs coming through, have been seeing them (one or two at a time, only) for several weeks.

  2. Glad you are doing well. Some stores in this area have an hour early in the day when only seniors and people with other issues are allowed to shop. If your store(s) have that, you might find some TP and tissues before the idiots come out.

    The moth is beautiful.

    1. Some stores here have it, but because of daylight savings time, and the fact that we no longer drive in the dark (each of us has had dangerous problems with that), we can’t get to the stores by 7 am without being a danger to self and others on the way–and that’s right at morning rush hour on the way to the stores. (We’re a half hour of open road from any of the big box or supermarkets.) If we lived in those towns, it’s finally getting light enough just past 7 and we’d risk driving a few blocks. But not as far as we’d need to go.

      We’re surviving. I just had a lovely egg salad sandwich for lunch. Hard boiled egg diced up with some ranch dressing.

  3. You do not do target practice on the buzzers? I live in New Hampshire where rattlesnakes are quite rare.

    Just take care and enjoy.


    1. We do not intend to kill ALL the buzzers. They’re native wildlife, after all. The ones who meet their doom are those that actively threaten or actually strike, and refuse to depart a trail we use often. Richard uses a rock or a T-post. The ones who quickly slither away, or turn away when we back off a little, are welcome to stay.

  4. The paper “A Taxonomy of Network and Computer Attacks”[1] by Hansman and Hunt has some discussion that might inspire ideas for your story, even though it is pretty old by information technology standards. A couple that come to mind might be a denial of service attack that overwhelms Rafe’s screens by sheer volume, forcing someone to disable it briefly to use the network for something else (or allowing a more sophisticated attack to go undetected); or a fuzzer that sends randomly malformed data in the hopes of identifying a vulnerability in Rafe’s screens.


  5. I am glad someone posted this link on your Facebook page– I have been missing your updates. I am glad to hear you are ok and the book is moving. Hope Tigger is well…

    Diana L. Paxson

    1. Tigger likes having another horse here, but he is no better, and should now, I suspect, be considered permanently unsound. Thanks to the shutdowns, he’s not going in for the lameness check we’d originally planned. He’s healthy enough. Ragtime is still pushy, but hasn’t knocked me down and run over me again. (He recognizes a whip when I carry one, and I do tap him when he forgets he’s supposed to stay back.) The book is…well, you know. When one is going well it’s a joy.

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