The weather was so lovely yesterday morning that I sat out on the deck in my underwear for hours. The neighbors moved out, so I have the entire visible area, about four acres, to myself. Most of the property isn't visible from the road or from any neighboring properties, either, so I walked around the yard in my undies too.

Mind, you, I don't wear tighty-whities. About 15 years ago I accidentally bought boxer briefs, and soon wouldn't wear anything else. They don't look so underwear-y, more like bicycle shorts, and I have them in many colors. Today I'm wearing camo (not commando). Betcha always wondered about that. The answer to the question, "boxers or briefs?" can be "neither" without meaning "commando".

Anyway, I spent several hours out on the deck with my legs up, trying to get a little vitamin D and maybe some color on my pasty white legs. Eventually the weather started to move in and I went inside. By the evening, my thighs had turned red and my lower shins and upper feet were pinking up. I went out on the front porch and cut a long leaf from one of my aloes. Then I split the leaf longitudinally and rubbed the juice all over my thighs and ankles, rubbing it in like a lotion. It felt pretty good.

I'm quite pleased with how well my aloes have come back from my accidental poisoning of them earlier this year. I bought some potting soil "with fertilizer" at the beginning of the growing season and used it to repot every plant I had. Most of the plants loved it, but the aloes and their "mystery succulent" companions turned an ugly translucent brown. With a lot of watering to wash out the fertilizer, repotting again with crap-quality potting soil, and then all this rain, they've all come back to life. It think I finally figured out why I've never had success with aloes in the past. They thrived in the weakly nutritious sand of central Florida; they apparently require a poor soil.

This morning I planted Lisa's curly willow on the hill behind the bedroom. When the morning sun finally reached the tree at 9 AM, I went back down to it, using Lisa's walking stick, and performed a silent ceremony involving burning sage, a tobacco offering, an ash offering (a little bit of Lisa) followed by a prayer to the Great Spirit to protect this tree.

At this time last year, the tree was just a cutting from the tree outside Lisa's childhood bedroom, one of many that we brought home. Only this one survived this long. It started as a 1-foot-long cutting but is already three feet tall. After the ceremony, I welcomed the tree to the hillside and told it that I think it will be very happy there, outside Lisa's window once again, with all the room it could ask for in which to spread its roots and plenty of moisture percolating down the hill to quench its thirst.

Tom Waits once asked himself, "Am I truly eccentric, or am I just wearing a funny hat?" I think I know the answer to that in my own case. But it works for me, funny hat and all.

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