Monday, June 30, 2014

The noise is deafening.

That would be the slurry of thoughts, ideas, future projects, things to do, lists yet unwritten, etc. that goes whirring through my head.  And that is before my first cuppa.  Frightening, indeed.  It's no wonder that I am never still.  I couldn't stand the noise!  As long as I am in motion, doing some project (never actually finishing most of them), going here and there, striking off items on my lists, I am perfectly content.  As soon as I stop, the noise machine gets going and I realize how much I a) want to do; b) have to do; c) should be doing.  The way I figure it, there will be plenty of time for sitting around and, if there isn't, then I haven't wasted any time either - win./win.!

I've been trying to put knitting on hold this summer - it's taxing on my carpal tunnels - so I've taken to mending things early in the morning.  This morning I mended two of the three L-shaped rips in my favorite summer shirt.  I would have done all of them, but I didn't realize I had snagged the third.  Once I find a piece of clothing that I like, I will wear it to a rag.  I also did triage on Cowie - Scrappy's favorite squeaky toy.  Cowie, unlike most of his toys, has stuffing.  While Scrappy is not interested in what is IN his toy (other than the squeaky), Lovey seems to pride herself on her skills as a surgeon.  I rescued Cowie before he was totally gutted, and restuffed him, then sewed him up good and tight.  He also got a much needed bath and is hanging on the line in the sun. 

I have a lot of sewing projects in the queue and I need to get cracking.  Thanks to the Boyz, I cannot leave my sewing machine out, so I need to haul it in and out of the craft closet every time I want to use it.  This tends to make me less likely to go to the trouble.  I finally did wash my summer cardigan, and it's on the blocking board.  My woolen sweater is not assembled, however, and will not be until fall (of what year is yet to be determined).  I have nine feed bag totes (f-otes) that need finishing.  I have a pattern for a wrap-around skirt with cute material that needs to be cut out and sewn.  The list goes on.

Right now, I am listening to the hum of my brain.  Time to get up and DO something!

One project I did finish - created a
skirt from a pair of well-worn linen pants.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It really doesn't get better than this.

During my long conversation over dinner with my new friend, Lisa, I had mentioned that I was sorry that I hadn't learned how to milk a goat.  She offered to teach me.  I jumped on the chance and invited myself for this Sunday (today).  I have found that it's better to just barge right in, otherwise the chance could be lost.  So, plans were made for me to show up at her farm at 7A.  I was pretty much right on the money, and would have been prompt (if not early) except for the fact that I had forgotten that the milk truck was due at the dairy barn this morning - I had to zip over and drop off the baked goods, a dozen eggs, give Jasmine and Alice a quick hug, pick up my milk and drive to Lisa's.  I am glad (for so many reasons) that she is not far.

I found her hanging up laundry.  She is never idle, either.  We walked across the road to the barn and got everything ready.  Having done this for years, she has a very workable routine, so I just chattered away, trying to stay out of the way.  I did step outside the milking parlour because I don't know of any dairy animal that likes their routine flummoxed by a stranger.  Once she had them in head locks, I came in and washed the bag of the one goat she is milking.  Because she has eight (large) goats and only milks one, there is a fairly complicated - to me - routine of who goes in the parlour when and with whom.  I found out that she has been milking this doe for four years.  Four years, once a day, since her last freshening.  I was flabbergasted.  And once this doe is done, that's it.  She will keep them all until they die, but no more milking.  I've decided to try and set up something similar to the milking arrangement she has so that I can get my errant sheep in a headlock, allowing me to trim hooves, etc. since there is only me.  She milked nearly a half gallon, then I helped her with the rest of her chores.  It's very light work when you work with someone you enjoy.  After the goats and chickens were taken care of, we walked back to the house where she had made breakfast for us - a frittata with her own eggs, potatoes (last year's - I should EVER be so lucky), her spinach, her onions.  This was washed down with kombucha with raspberries.  And with a steady stream of conversation.

I got a tour of her house - a homey, cozy, wonderful, old labyrinth, full of the remnants of her seven children and a mostly happy life.  She told family stories, showed me the photo album of the aftermath of a wind sheer that blew their original huge barn to bits - but left the silo.  I wanted to move in.  We walked down the road, through a field, behind the trees to their pond - a beautiful spot with a vista that people would pay millions for.  We finished hanging her laundry.  We toured her garden.  But most of all, we talked.  For Four And One Half Hours.  It felt like an hour.  I got a recipe for a flat bread/cracker that I sampled that was delicious and  I got her co-op catalog so I can order with her.  I have been missing this since I lost Kay - there are things they carry that I can't find anywhere else.  We listened to birds and tried to identify them.  I have a new hairdresser to try!  It was the best morning I have spent in a very, very long time.

After literally tearing myself away, I came home to apologize to the dogs (especially crated Lovey), I washed the beets I harvested from the greenhouse yesterday, and discovered that my first batch of my very own kombucha was ready today!  I am so excited!  I am going to try and maintain the level of excitement right through my mandatory ironing tonight....I think I can, I think I can....

First beets from the greenhouse.

Original part of L's house - from the 1700s.

L by the cucumbers in her garden
(which is MUCH farther along than mine...)

Her ingenious way of 'trellising' tomatoes:
4x4 wire panels laid horizontally.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Day.

 I was in full bustle-mode today.  Two loads of laundry washed and hung up, chicks digs cleaned, dogs walked.  Then off I went!

Garlic scapes for DS Melanie.
Kale for Mom.

On the road heading to
Lanesboro, MA.

Waiting in line at the feed store.

Two of my favorite people - Aunt Josie (L)
and my mom.

My favorite dog (don't tell Scrappy
and Lovey) - My Aunt's dog, Duffy.

Making a hedgerow of  extremely thorny weeds
in M's blueberry patch.

Taking a break and enjoying
the view (and the breeze).

Final stop at DS Melanie's to drop off

DS Melanie's CUTIE PIE lambs!  None made
it into my pockets...
I am now safely and totally ensconced in my little house.  I am not setting foot out of it for the rest of the day - what little there is left of it.  Tomorrow - adventures in goat milking... stay tuned...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Back to the Garden.

My brain is beginning to ache from all this posting....but maybe it's building muscle!  Wait - is that a good thing?

After a goodly stretch of dry (not remotely like anything happening in other parts of the country), we were blessed with a solid two inches of rain late Wednesday afternoon (just so I could negotiate the potholes and traffic jams through a torrential downpour), until early Thursday morning.  I could almost hear the garden sigh with relief.  I am also happy to say that my rain barrel is finally full.

Here's a little disclosure on the rain barrel.  I am using myself as an example of Haste Makes Waste.  I had a reasonably functioning two-barrel system until I got a bee in my bonnet to put a faucet fixture on the runoff barrel.  I trotted into the house, found my rain barrel kit components (a miracle unto itself), grabbed my trusty Makita 18w drill, and eyeballed the drill bits for boring the hole.  There, my dears, was the problem.  Why I would trust MY eyeballs, I have no idea.  But I was hellbent on finishing the project.  Well, I finished it all right.  I eyeballed the medium bit which was just ever-so-slightly too big.  I am now down to a one barrel system.  My advice to you?  Measure, measure, measure, cut.

The garden seems to be coming along pretty well.  I am so enamored of my mustard greens, that I can hardly bring myself to cut the leaves.  But I force myself.  I have yet to thin out the chiogga and red beets, but that is on my weekend list.  I am also going to dry the rest of the dill, leaving a few guardians to reseed.  Because I am a masochist and I tend to go through amnesia over the winter.  The lettuce has perked up - every other year, when I attempt to plant nice, neat rows of arugula, I get nada.  This year, I put all my elderly arugula seed in a shake bottle and sprinkled it all over.  I've got a quarter acre of arugula!

L-R - Chard (hidden by the voluptuous Mustard greens), collards,
kale, kale.

Tomatoes top, peppers bottom.  Fennel planted around,
basil planted between.

Arugula in the foreground, lettuces in the

I continue to get a quart of berries a day from the strawberry bed.  While it's a pain in the bupkus to have to fish around through the netting to pick them, at least they are there to pick!  The potatoes shot up overnight and now I must be vigilant to make sure none of those nasty insects are laying their orange eggs under the leaves.  My popcorn is growing well, although I don't know if I planted enough for it to pollinate.  I hope so.  Beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers are doing well.  The cukes are starting to reach up the trellis (with a little encouragement).  My second sowing of kale, collard greens and chard has popped up - I am hoping for a fall crop.  All in all, this year seems to be better than last.

Popcorn and beans.

Flowers on my cukes!


My squash in a bag, however, was a big fail.  While I watched the plants grow anemic and lethargic, I finally had had enough and whipped together a makeshift frame for a bed, filled it with cow manure, and then replanted the squash.  They seem to be perking up.  The squash plants that I stuck in the manure pile are huge!  I think, next year, I will just shove all the squash in the manure pile and not bother doing something tidy, like a raised bed.

Poor little squash plants... :(

It is with some relief that I realized I only have three more scintillating posts to create.  I am just about scintillated out!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Bit of a Sticky Wicket, What?

Last year, I kept running into my neighbor (one of the Gravel Barons) and his wife.  They oozed....friendliness.  Or their version of it.  I was all the Polite Ice Queen (or my version of it).  On one particular accidental meeting (I believe it was at the farm that sells the BEST SWEET CORN EVER), he says to me, "You know, Sue, if you ever need gravel, stone or anything like that, well you just tell me because I am your neighbor and I believe in being a good neighbor and I will just give you some out of friendship because I am a good neighbor and I want everyone in the local universe to know what a fine, outstanding fellow I am....Okay, I did add that last part.  I thought I would call his bluff - "As a matter of fact, neighbor of mine, I DO need a BUNCH of gravel for my driveway and a big, BIG apron of stone."  He only blinked a little and promised to stop by and take a look.

That was nearly a year ago.  I sniggered snidely (redundant?) to myself every time his gravel truck drove past the house.  "Oh, sure.  FINE neighbor and all that rot."  Or words to that effect.  I will add here that, as a gravel baron goes, he always drives slowly past the house and sticks to the allowed hours.

A week ago, Saturday, a giant 4x4 flame red pickup with big black flames painted down the sides pulled into the driveway.  Holey Cow, I thought.  Who the heck is THIS?  It was the Gravel Baron and Baroness.  It was, turns out, the Baroness' truck.  It is the local badge of royalty to have a bigger, better-painted, redder pickup than anyone else.

"We've come to see where you want the gravel, " he sez.  I blink.  Oh.  So I let my arms sweep in a BIG wide movement and say, "I want everything covered in gravel."  Not really.  "I want all THIS covered in gravel." 

There then ensued a conversation about types of stone and the need to put down a weed/grass barrier.  Here it comes, I thought.  The Baroness chips in, describing the correct cover and how to put it down.  The Baron says they will have to dig up the sod.  I'm starting to fidget. 

"Git yerself a can of spray paint and paint where you want it to go," sez he.  "I'll give you a couple of days' notice."  And with that, they roar off.

I'm now starting to thaw at the thought of my new best ever neighbors.  Then, two days ago, he rumbles (fast) past the house, kicking up a cloud of dust, a full half hour before allowed start time.  Then, this morning, he does it again.  I may be a paranoid nutcase, but I think HE thinks that I will not call him on it because he is going to dump a big pile of free stone on my driveway (and dig the sod, put down the weed barrier, smooth the stones...)  I was highly agitated, as I felt that I had just sold my soul to the devil and was now between a pile of gravel and a hard place.  Then I sucked it up, pulled up my BGPs and called him on it.  Literally.  No one answered, but I left a polite message to the effect that I was surprised to see him go so fast down the road at such an early hour, regulated starting times and all.  I hoped there wasn't an emergency.  I hoped he and the Baroness were okay.  I bade him Have a Nice Day.  It was downright treacly.  We'll see if I can have my gravel and drive on it, too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hey, hey, hay!

My life is so full of quirks, that I don't even blink anymore when something goes amiss.  Monday, I was to go get hay after work with Neighbor N.  We were to be met at the barn by the Hay Guy (sigh), who would help us load.  Then we would trickle back to the LLF, where we would be met by a young fella who would help us unload.  Piece of cake, right?

Not.  The Hay Guy was not there (sigh), but his son was - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, let me say.  Oh, to be 30 years younger!  He is delightful and a dead-aim with hay bales from the mow.  Neighbor N is not, let's say, a ball o' fire.  So it took twice as long as usual to get the bales on and strapped (and triple-strapped) down.  Arriving at the LLF, we one.  So, Neighbor N and I unload and stack the bales ourselves - me hefting them to the barn door and instructing how they should be stacked, Neighbor N stacking how he wants and ignoring me.

And did I mention that I stopped on the way home to give blood?  Oh, yes.  I saw the signs that morning on the way to work - they were in need of my blood type - so I thought, why not?  Why not, indeed.

We sat on the deck afterwards, trying to get our breath back.  I felt so guilty, I asked him to stop by for dinner Tuesday.  This was pretty heavy-duty guilt, as the last thing in the world I want to do after work and evening chores, is make dinner.  At least I chose grilling hamburgers and oven baked sweet potato fries (pre-made/frozen). 

Everyone was very happy with the hay:
Lousy picture but lovely hay.
Stacked the wrong way.

Linden and Juno willing me to make it

Norman is ready for breakfast.
Apria-approved hay.

I am happy it is over with.  This will last me most of the summer and, hopefully, my Farmer Neighbor will be available for the next load.  Now, off to find the Aleve!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Are there aliens among us? And other burning questions.

Since Carolyn decided to usurp my post topic (compost), I decided to tackle a few sticky issues - those nagging questions that leave one awake and staring at the dust bats on the ceiling in the wee hours.

Are There Aliens Among Us?
Why, yes.  I think there are.  After having attended a few town meetings, I can almost guarantee it.

Is the Earth Flat?
Frighteningly, there are actually people who believe it is.  Their minds have obviously been taken over by the aforementioned aliens.

Is there a Sock Bermuda Triangle?
I find it hard to believe there ISN'T one.  I, myself, have been affected by visitations from this triangle- having recently lost the mate to a pair of ancient, grayish, cotton anklets.

Is Elvis Really Dead?
I have no idea and don't really care.

Are the Really, Really, Rich Like Us?
Oh, puhleeze.  They are not.  Thank God.

Are the Zombies Actually Coming?
If so, I'm headed to Arkansas - Carolyn's a Dead-Eye...

Do Boomerangs Really Return?
Here I can state from actual experience that, yes, they do.  And you'd better be paying attention when they do!

Is June the Longest Month of the Year?
Yes, there are 154 days in the month of June.  Or so it seems, when you've joined the Blog-Post-A-Day-For-A-Month challenge.  (Did I just hear Mama Pea hit the floor....?)


Monday, June 23, 2014

Drum roll, please....

EVERYTHING IS PLANTED!!!!  While this is not news to quicken most peoples' pulse, it made me come inside and do the happy dance.  That got the dogs all het up, so we all ran around the living room yipping and barking.  Is it any wonder I live alone?  Or, is it any wonder, SINCE I live alone?

In any case, it was a happy occasion.  I then plopped down on the chair and swigged down an iced tea - then started dinner.  I had my new friend, L, over for dinner and wanted to make a good impression.  Of course, she is so nice that I could have served poached chipmunk with purslane sauce and she would have (said she) loved it.   When, during the course of a very long and enjoyable conversation, she said she was 80, you could have knocked me over with a pair of silk drawers.  Holey Guacamole!  She is the poster child of the result of a good farming life - seven kids, always raised their own food, milks goats (one goat now, OAD), eats as much organic food as she can.  Has a large garden and healthy soil (which she amends and sees to herself).  A year ago, her husband died, so she buckles down and does what needs to be done.  She has fruit, nuts and homemade yogurt for breakfast, a "green drink" mid-morning, a hearty lunch with lots of fruits and vegetables, and a light dinner.  She drinks kombucha and water.  Period.  She is as sharp as a tack.  She is my idol!  According to L, as long as you eat well, keep active and have a positive attitude, you can live a long time.  I guess so!   Anyway, she loved the meal - smoked turkey (discovered in my freezer), kale salad, carrot rice, and a blueberry/cranberry crumble for dessert.  She had two helpings of everything but dessert.  (I should take note of this......)

This morning came too fast - really, something should be done to slow weekend time.  Ideas anyone?  I got everything watered since we are not forecast for rain until, possibly, Wednesday, and picked strawberries.  Yes, I finally came up with a method to keep my strawberries for myself.  The bird net swaddle works!  It continues to be a challenge to pick strawberries for me, however, although, this morning I realized I could rip holes in the top (just large enough to put my hand through) and then reach around inside.  Still not ideal, but worth the effort:

Tonight I have to go get hay.  My usual source of hay manpower is up to his broken tractors in hay fields that need to be chopped and stored.  I will try not to whine too loudly, having to stack it myself.  Another neighbor is lending his trailer and my hay guy (ssssiigggghhhh) is helping to stack it on his end.  It's only 50 bales, so it won't kill me.  Just maim me.  :)

(Hang in there, Mama Pea - only seven more days....)

Sunday, June 22, 2014


As mentioned yesterday, DS Melanie hatched one lone home chick from the LLF.  Seeing as she is a warm-hearted woman, she (and her DD Madison) bequeathed me another chick so that homechick won't be lonesome.

The slightly larger chick to the left is Homie - gender unknown.  S/he is an Ameracauna/Blue Laced Red Wyandotte cross, the mother being, most likely, Screaming Meemie.  Figures.  She is a lovely blue-grey bird with full beard.  Every time, however, I happen to enter the (large) coop when she is in a nesting box (far away from me), she screams bloody murder and rockets out.  Let's hope this is not a genetic trait.

Homie's sidekick (who looks - shudder - like a chipmunk) is a Brown Leghorn (or, Legern as we say).  They are settling in, with Homie making some extremely loud peeps.  Sigh.

As an added benefit, I got to see DS Melanie's spring crop of Shetland lambies.  OMG.  I will have to say that Shetland lambs are the cutest things EVER.  She had to check my pockets before I could leave.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Summer!

I'm sitting on my deck after a long - loooooong - day, enjoying the heck out of WiFi.  The dogs are gnawing on non-rawhide chews, chickens are luxuriating in a final dust bath, there's an adult libation next to me.  This buccolic revelry will not last, however, because there are flying insects and Scrappy is already complaining.

It's a jungle out there!  Two loads of
laundry on the line.

High class livin'!

The pussy willow threatens to take
over the deck.
Along with my vinho verde, I am enjoying a snack of salted peanuts and jelly beans.  Hey - don't knock it unless you've tried it!  Dinner is a mystery, but I have a sneaking suspicion it will involve salad.  I've taken care of the parental duties, run a few errands, and worked like a slave in the garden.  There were 10 eggs in the nesting boxes - not bad, considering the geratric average age of the hens here at LLF.  Speaking of which, I also visited little Lonesome George/tte - the only chick to hatch out of Roquefort's last contribution.  I have a feeling the fellow was a little light in the fertilization department.  My DS Melanie, who incubated the eggs, had mercy on us and chipped in one of her own chicks so LG won't have to grow up as an orphan.  Pictures will follow tomorrow.

I harvested my first real quantity of strawberries this morning - a little over a pint.  This was made possible by the fact that I swadled the bed in netting.  While it seems this works as far as keeping the chipmunks out, it makes harvesting a real pain.  I am still trying to come up with a diabolical method of dealing with the scourge.  I do have some ideas....

The sheep are grazing and happy.  It isn't noisy for a change. Birds are chipping, the breezes are blowing, the sun is shining.


(Peace is shattered - the large crow population has trickled back in - giant babies carrying on, parents cawing.  What a hubbub!)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Constructing an Edible Art Form.

(Can you tell I'm getting desperate for subject matter....?)

First, one must go shopping for just the right ingredients - which are those ingredients one has at hand.

Chive blossoms for 'bite'

Variety of lettuces for color

"A" radish

Any strawberries the chipmunks left for me.

Then there is the washing, rewashing, spinning, snipping, slicing, dicing - all done with a bracing cup of Stash's double spice chai tea with honey and a dash of half-n-half.  

Buttercrunch in my new, BIG, salad

Red leaf lettuce of some forgotten type.

My morning beverage of choice.
Then there is the pause (or three) where one tosses crunchy snacks at the dogs so one won't trip over them in one's kitchen.  Where they are always lurking.

I cannot resist them....
Then there is the rummaging in the over-crowded refrigerator for just the right accoutrement.  This would be anything that is just this side of still-good:  olives, bits of cheese, the odd radish (I had one, which is an odd number), nuts, seeds, hard boiled eggs, anything edible.  Other than, say, peanut butter or cat food. 

The GD chipmunks left me three strawberries.
Cut everything into bite-sized pieces.  I know that 'chopped' salads are now all the rage, but mine is chopped so that I don't festoon my office clothing (such as it is) with blobs of dressing and sticky pieces of lettuce. 

Select an attractive serving/carrying container.  Mine is the haute couture of salad "dressing" (sorry, couldn't help myself) - aka Used Ice Cream Tub.  Layer your ingredients so that the entire creation is awash in bright colors, interesting textures, all evenly dispersed.  Or, chuck it all in there, snap the lid on and give it a good shake.

Just like 007 - shaken, not stirred...
Carry your dressing separately.  I came across this darling little gadget when I was dragging myself through the clothes-shopping slog.  It holds just enough dressing to coat your creation, without making it all soggy.  This is my present favorite dressing - homemade ranch, seasoned with LOTS of dill (surprise, surprise).

I LOVE my little dressing squeezy thingy!

I guarantee that you will find your salad experience has just been ratcheted up a notch or two.  Not only will it be a thing of beauty, but it will be one of the most tasty lunches you've ever had.  This will come in handy when faced with a season's worth of salad greens - when you will be eating salad


I have been listening to the most delightful collection of Bertie & Jeeves stories during my commute and all I want to do is say, "What, ho? That's a bit of a wheeze. I say, that's a bit rummy!  It's a bit thick for a chappie."  I've been chortling for days. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Eye Candy - Food for the Soul.

While I have to admit that my photography skills are for the birds (though not birdlike like this), I love, love, love my peonies.  I can't wait until they bloom - hovering over the plants waiting for the right moment to cut some to bring inside.

I put them in vases, glasses and pitchers.  I put them all over the house.  Did I mention how much I love them?  They make me think of exotic birds.

In my favorite pitcher - bought in Madrid.

After a visit to the new-to-me nursery, I also got a few annuals - something different from my usual pansies and johnny jump-ups.  This is a Cardinal Climber - I loved the leaves and vine and it blooms in the most beautiful scarlet, tiny trumpet flowers.  The color in the photograph doesn't do it justice.

Click to biggify.
I am still behind on my planting, but hope to get the two other annuals in the ground by the weekend.  I have been working on my flower bed, or, rather, flower/weed/grass bed.  The garden always takes precedence but I had better get cracking!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We've got ourselves a humdilly of a situation here.

When, two years ago, my neighbor fulfilled my request by giving me a (as in one single) dill plant because I felt my life was not complete without this herb, he also gave me a warning.  "They will take over your garden."  Ha, said I.  It was only one plant, after all.

Believe it or not, there are beets in there.  Six rows of them.  It started innocently enough - cute, ferny little seedlings that I could snip off here and there.  Then I turned my back on them and WHAM!  A virtual forest of dill.  And the kicker is, I just cannot make myself pull them out.  I have a weakness for plants - any plants - and it seems like such a waste.  So far, I have potted up a few dozen and palmed them off on friends (ahem).  I have three big bunches drying.  I have used them in salad dressings and on salads.  With fish, chicken, egg salad.   I am open to any and all ideas as to what I can use this much dill for.  I will continue to dry it - I do use a lot of dill, but....I mean....really.  If you're in the neighborhood, feel free to come by for a wagon load...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Score! And Pitties.

I have been looking for a way to place my plants in front of the sliding glass door during their winter hibernation for a couple of years.  Right now, I have a dandy little chest with 'flaps' that seems to be handmade (picked up for a song at my favorite estate sale place three years ago) that has been standing in.  However, it has limited flat space and blocks most of the light on one side of the door.  Yesterday morning I happened to open one of my weekly Freecycle emails and VOILA!  There it was.  Of course, I didn't hold out much hope, as I figured it had been posted for a while.  I replied to the post, he sent a pic, I got dibs on it and off I went to fetch it.  It is perfect!

I'll sand and restain it to make sure it lasts, but it is a sturdy thing.  It's now showcasing my Mosquito Geranium.  Aren't those dahlias in the back to die for?!?  I was walking into HomeAwayFromHome Depot a couple of days ago and saw a woman with three in her cart - I demanded asked her nicely where she had found them and then made a beeline for the perennials.  Just in time, too, as I passed four more people with cartfuls!


Now, on the subject of Pitties.  A week ago, a favorite egg customer of mine came down to get eggs.  This person and his wife are also friends, and I am very fond of both of them.  They are also truly animal lovers.  He came in the door and, of course, was awash in a wave of wagging tails and lots of wiggling.  He gushed all over Scrappy but seemed to keep his distance from Lovey.

"She looks like a Pit Bull," he said.

No shit, Sherlock, I thought.  (Pardon the language but I am still a bit hot about it).

He was very cool towards her - no matter how hard she wiggled and wagged.  I did point out that Scrappy, himself, is part Pittie.  I wanted to also point out that their own dog is of a breed that is notoriously aggressive.  Of course, she is a giant cream puff.

I know that Pitties have a bad rep.  And some of them deserve it - although, is it any wonder when they have known nothing but cruelty and meanness, and are awarded only for aggression?  I place the blame squarely on the human element.  Lovey and her brother (they think they are Pittie/American Bull Dog mixes - given her adorable wrinkly muzzle) were, apparently, abused and neglected - dropped in the woods as puppies with horrible cases of mange, infections, you name it.  Yet, after such cruel treatment at the hands of the humans they had known, they show only love and forgiveness.  In my limited experience with Pitties, I find them funny, quirky, intelligent, and very, very loving.  I think it's a bad practice to use the same brush to paint an entire breed.  Or an entire race of people, for that matter.

So, the next time some idjut tries to paint my Pitties with the mean brush, I will just hug them tighter.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Creating an Outdoor Room.

This is the first year that I have shifted some of my (limited) focus to creating beauty for beauty's sake.  I have been striving to make everything count for something - all things planted must produce an edible product, for example.  This year I realized that my soul needs nourishment as well as my body.  It may even need it more.

Last year I sat on my deck once.  One single time.  I was either too busy, it was too hot, it was raining, I was hiding from the goats.  This year I have been enjoying it immensely because I have remedied three of those problems - goats gone, canopy in place.  And I have surrounded it with flowers.  And tomatoes - old habits die hard.

Pansies, dahlias, hanging verbena,
tomatoes, lemongrass, rosemary

Mosquito geranium and two plants to
be put in the ground.  Giant, scary hops vine
lurks in the background...

Mustard greens are new to the garden
this year - with the first kale!

All these "Great Aunt" memories conjured up one of my own.  My Great Aunt Edie, she of knitting fame, lived next door to us for a period in my teenage years.  My paternal grandmother had moved in with us and that strained our limited bedroom space.  So my sister and I moved next door and lived with my aunt.  She was a stickler for neatness - those German genes - and my sister and I had to dust and vacuum our bedrooms on a regular basis.  After one such cleaning frenzy, I was walking downstairs with the vacuum cleaner, when I got my foot tangled in the cord and went ass over teacups down the stairs, landing in a heap at the foot of the stairs - vacuum cleaner held upright.  My aunt and her group of knitting ladies were in the living room.  As I gazed up, I beheld five faces - mouths open, needles frozen in mid-stitch.  I untangled myself, rewrapped the cord, said hello (we minded our manners back then), and trotted to the closet and put the vacuum away.  I don't think they started breathing again until I walked out the door.  I wouldn't care to repeat that trick today.  I may save the vacuum cleaner, but I doubt if I would be trotting anywhere.