Friday, December 25, 2009

The Golden Book of Possibilities Chapter One

Merry Christmas, first of all, and a Happy Glorious Rich and Juicy New Year!

I have this problem. Sometimes when I read, I read things cockeyed. It's not quite dexlysia, because it's not backwards, it's just... different. For example, "Sycuan Bingo Palace" easily becomes "Szechuan Bingo Police", and leads one to wonder, what will they do? "M'am, You didn't finish your Kung Pao Chicken. I'm afraid we'll going to have to fine you 30 chips."

So I find this note that I have written reminding me of something or other, and it says "The Golden Book of Possibilities". And I think, wow ! that's cool... It's like the Little Golden Book series we had as kids, filled with POSSIBILITIES! No wait, it's really the "Garden Book of Perennials", but man I am running with it.

So this then, is Chapter One of "The Little Golden Book of Possibilities."

The hoar frost sits crunchy and heavily on the grass crispy and white as a fine dusting of snow, but not. It is crystalline, it is magic, it's a tweener thing, hoar frost, not snow, not ice, not water, not quite solid. And it makes the most mundane things glorious. A piece of garden netting becomes lace left behind by the garden faes hurried dawn flight.

The guinea hens patrol the backyard, in an amoeba movement ,three for all, and all for three.

I got some pictures back of my puppy Grrrrl. Here is one particularly lovely one. I think she is a stunningly beautiful grrrrl.

Off to Seattle for Christmas dinner!

Chapter Two will be forthcoming.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Morning Jewels, Dangerous Dreaming

This past week has been a difficult one for plants, animals and people. Each morning, I would heat up a 2 gallon pot of water on my trusty propane stove, and defreeze all the animals' water buckets. This was repeated each evening. For a week, we never got above freezing at our daytime highs. For the Yards up top, for Teeghkii & Chance, and the Goat Royal Court, I used my wee wagon. I found a 5 gallon bucket I saved from earlier which has a rubber seal inside the lid, so it will seal, and stay sealed even if I accidentally tip the wagon over. Which I did every time, for some reason. Clumsy I guess :~)

It was a dry cold, with no moisture. I am hoping I will not lose too many plants. Plants don't much care to get frozen solid with dry roots. So we scrambled this past week.

Yesterday, the rains came. It was freezing rain, a constant drizzley very "wet" rain which soaked every thirsty thing. This morning when I went outside to hie me off to work, leaving a half an hour early just in case -which didn't help much- the sun poured golden over the landscape filtering through the diamond-festooned trees in beams of syrupy light. Each leaf, each branch, the seed heads I leave for the birds, all were bedazzled by frozen pieces of moonlight captured for the dawn.

The ground was slick with an invisable layer of treachery. I scraped and scraped to chip the ice off the windshield, resisting the urge to dump a pot of hot water all over the windshield. I know where that will lead, and it's not pretty. Started the truck up and reached the end of driveway. I got out and took a couple of steps into the street, and watched a truck pass on by with no troubles. My halting steps were quite like skiing with no skis, so I pulled the chains out and attached them to my back tires. Pulling out of the driveway, I noticed my wee truck skittering like a spooky colt. Fishtailing and bucking, I slowly made my way in first gear down the middle of the street praying no-one would be coming up the hill, or pull out from a driveway.

As I crept down my quite steep hill, I noticed the sunlight stroking the frozen leaves with tender ministrations. The beams prismed through each diamond drop casting tiny rainbows hither and yon. As I passed beneath the trees as they lean across the road, they dropped a mist of hail, of frozen solid raindrops losing their grip on their perches pummeling passers-beneath. The sunlight bathed the larger trees with silver light, illuminating each tiny drop as they fell.

I had to pay close attention to my squirrely truck as she wiggled and giggled down the hill, but the sight of all those crystalline raindrops clinging to their leafy boughs was glorious! It was beautiful. It was treacherous. It was dangerous dreaming filled with morning jewels.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Love Song to a Small Town

Love Song to a Small Town


Snow alights treacherously down upon the railings of the deck overlooking the pond disguised as fat innocent puffy soft flakes
where the ducks sleep restlessly
one eye open for the black bear in the orchard
one eye open for the coyotes trash talking behind the dog yards.
Our wolfdogs trash talk them right back
the hillside rings with the singing of the Brethren
Wolf & Coyote.

The guinea hens spook at every shadow which passes overhead, hawk or sparrow, it is all the same to them, all is danger, all is sorrow
They have short memories, however, and as soon as the shadow is gone, they go back to their chuckling and hunting.

I wonder if the bugs they hunt do the same shrieking and hiding as they spy the dangerous shadows of the guineas.

I wanted solitude, I wanted to touch the wild within me
the wild which was being smothered in the smog of Southern California,
crushed beneath the developers’ mitigating circumstances
as they bulldoze yet another riparian area unto insignificance.
I hungered for the solitude and quiet
and that, I got, in spades.
Now widowed, I have all the solitude I can stand.

This past week, I missed a bill, and have been disconnected
from the internet.
Like Joni sings, you don’t know what you’ve lost ‘till it’s gone
and like an ache, like a shadow limb severed unbeknownst to the brain which thinks it still controls it,
I miss the connection.
I miss the daily chat and the silly games.
I miss hearing the voice of the man I am seeing before I sleep.

And I wonder about that
as I watch the crackling of the ice which covers the pond
like traceries and veins of the Mother
a milky slip of crenalated silk overlaying the deep violet blue of the pond
with the stumps arising from the depths like loons in the mist
No matter how many times I pass them knowing what they are, I still give them a second glance to make sure they have not shape-shifted into the Earth Birds that I know they really are.
Grounded frozen into the pond, dreaming of flight.

Love is for the young they say, and if that is so,
I am still so very young,
Because I love
I love
I love
Strong and different this time ‘round, more direct
patient yet urgent
patient yet passionate
patient yet wild like the howls of the wolves.

Time does that to a person.
I always thought I would disappear into a puff of blue smoke
when I hit 30.
I did not.
Instead, I moved to Oregon and started a new life
where I watch the snow drift silent down upon this land
where I love
where I live
where I have found the solitude I wanted
and the love that I needed
and the life I never knew I could have.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

Drat drat and double drat. Having had one of "those months", I was unable to get my pictures developed. The derned mortgage company asked for a check, cashed my check, and then did a direct withdrawal on top of that, thus double charging me. So I have had to be very frugal, and limit my spending to canned cat food and medicines for Sunny the ailing kitty --Fatty Liver Syndrome due to stress. I spent two months solid giving her 100-150 ml of subQ injections of saline and normal saline with electrolytes twice per day, and tempting her pallet with canned tuna mixed with gourmet canned cat food. She has now OFFICIALLY turned the corner, and gained TWO POUNDS! YAY! - and my monthly 300 pounds of raw chicken quarters for the Song Dogs. For myself, I have been gleening treasures from the freezer. :~) And once per week when I get to see my friend Greig, he brings dinner makin's, and I cook them.

But there has not been that silly little millimeter extra to pay for the development of film. So my Garden Blogger's Bloom Day pictures are all at the developers awaiting my tender checkbook ministrations!

Got some nice shots of last call roses, a couple of erysimum varigatas who shall NOT give up the ghost! some moss phlox, some tarrying black-eyed susans, and a few berries. So my pictures shall be late! You will have to take my word that there are still some hardy lovelies up here in the nippy Pacific Northwest.

Yesterday, I startled four swallows or swifts -deeply "V"d tails, stark black and white color, smallish birds - who had been busily de-bugging our third greenhouse. How delightful! They flitted along the roof line of the filmed roof, and then made a beeline for the open door.. One I had to help a bit, he got confused. All got out safely! And I hope they know they are well and truly welcomed to come eat bugs in our greenhouses any ol' time they wish!

Happy Blooming!!!


On Mothers and Daughters

Right about this time of year, regular as clockwork, dependable as the setting of the sun, I find myself getting melancholey and thinking of stuff. Now, as we all know, I AM a Problem Thinker so it shouldn't be surprising, this deep contemplation of mine.

I waver between sorrow and gratitude. Sorrow for the losses and loneliness, gratitude for the many Blessings I have. I miss my Family, I miss my childhood, I miss my Tribe. I miss the familiar places of my youth. I am grateful for my new Tribe, I am incredibly grateful for the paradise and cornucopia of richness of my home.

I have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Even if I wind up spending it alone (I might just cook a turkey for leftovers) it'll all be well.

And one of my deepest Blessings is my Mommy. My Mama and I are as two peas in seperate pods. Grown of different types of peas. She's a Pole pea, I'm a Bush pea. :~) This has caused us no lack of consternation and frustration throughout my life, for both of us. Our differences are enough to make us butt heads, and our similarities are enough to make us butt heads.

As you might guess, we have spent much of our lives butting heads.

But my Mama is a wonderful, strong woman with a heart as big as Texas. I remember once, I was sent home from school and kicked off the bus for causing trouble. But I WASN'T. The kids behind me were. The bus driver was just fed up with their ofttimes violent shenanigans, and blew up. She wasn't feeling inclined to listen to another kid. The School was not inclined to listen to another kid, either. So I was sent home, with now, no way to get to school for the rest of the month for something I hadn't done. When Mama got home from work and I told her what happened, she took the next morning off, and drove me to school. She marched up to the bus driver, told her to get her hiney into the office NOW! and then proceeded to march into the office. With my hand held firmly in hers, she was every bit as intimidating as any drill sargeant. She read them all the riot act. I was back on the bus that afternoon.

Once we had a van big enough to transport the Irish and kids and accoutrement of dog shows hither and yon. It blew some part- transmission part, as I recall- and Mama took it to Car Doc (I THINK that was the name. They are no longer in business) for an estimate and repairs. They gave my Mom an estimate. Two days later, when we went to go pick it up, that estimate had tripled, and they refused to give the van back, or to honor the estimate. OR to produce what work had been done! My Amazon Princess Mom went down their entire counter with an armsweep and cleared it all to the floor. Then went home and hired a lawyer. Car Doc released our van at the estimate price the next week.

Once, I was feeding the horses, and Mom had gone into the shed to fetch more hay, when I heard ear-splitting terrifying shrieks of sheer horror. I came rushing into the shed, to find my Mama, the Amazon Princess, standing on a small chair screaming. I got her calmed down enough to divulge the nature of the beast who had so frightened her. My Mama, the bravest woman in the world besides my Grammy, had been treed by a mouse. I have to admit that I lost it. I just started to laugh so hard that I couldn't stand, and fell into the hay rolling in peels of laughter, later to be pummeled by flakes of hay by my brave and treed mama.

Another time, as we were riding our horses down the River bottom, Mama all dolled up in her new saddle, new boots, new fancy Western riding gear, new tooled leather bridle, me with my recalcitrant shetland pony Star (who in their right mind EVER gives a child a shetland? They are as mean as junkyard dogs! Get a Welch. Taller, yes, but EVER so much more companionable) with my well-oiled hand-me-down gear. I tried to tell Mama not to take the path she was aimed at, because there was a deep spot there, but Mama didn't listen to me. She was a VERY good rider, but I have always been in tune with horses. The horse Mama was riding LOVED water! LOVED it. Would drop and wallow in the shallowest bit of a mud puddle jut slike a pig. She whickered softly, I saw her ears prick deeply forward and an excited gleam flash in her eyes. I started to say "Mama! Watch ou...." and that horse bunny hopped into the deep spot and rolled. With Mama still attached. When the horse was done, Mama looked a wee tad bedraggled. All her beautiful clothes and all her new gear was caked and dripping with black eluvial river bottom silty sticky mud.

Oh and that was not the END of my poor mama's humiliation at the hooves of that rascally horse! Nay! Later, Mama was talking about something, and she turned just as a HUGE grasshopper flew straight into her open mouth! I heard a *crunch* and then a splutter more splutters, gagging and spitting as Mama tried to get that nasty grasshopper out of her mouth, along with that nasty brown "tobacco" stuff that squished grasshoppers emit. It was not a pretty sight. It was, however, a very FUNNY sight.

Mama has two birthdays. One is tomorrow, November 16th, which is the day she was born. The other one is the one she is most proud of, as that is her AA Birthday, the day she quit drinking. It's in April. I am so very proud of her! Our Family is all so very proud of her. It was a terrible struggle, and she deserves to be proud of this accomplishment.

For years, round about this time of year, Mama would disinherit me for one dumb reason or another, a threat to which I would shrug and tell her I was never in it for the money anyway. Round about this time of year, Mama and I would almost inevitably get into some kind of silly row. I wound up dreading this time of year. But we have both grown up, my Mommy and me.

Mama had me when she was still very young, and my Grammy kind of took over the job of raising me. When Mama had my sister Lynell, she was much better prepared to have a child. There were many times when I felt so sad that "Mama didn't love me like she loved Lynell", that "Lynell was always Mama's favorite", and all the typical sibling sorrow and Maternal angst. Now I know that Mama did the best she could. We all make mistakes that we wish we could take back. Sometimes we are not afforded the time to make it up. Sometimes we are not given the time to ask forgiveness, nor to give it.

I am Blessed. I get to see my Mommy for New Years', and spend some time with her, and I get to spend some time with my Tribe. We shall sing in the New Year, this shiney new bauble of 2010. I have the opportunity to have the time to be with my Mommy. It feels so incredibly blessed to find my True Friend in my Mother. I love you, Mommy!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Souls Day

Yesterday was tricksy. It was the first anniversary in which Vinnie has been dead. It took me a while to write that sentence, I wanted to say "Vinnie was with the Angels", but that is a euphemism meant to make the fact of Vince's death less painful to see in writing. Yet, it's true, he's one of my Guardian Angels now.

Now I know there are those who do not believe in that. And there is the distinct possibility that I believe because I WANT to believe, because it is comforting to believe that he is with me still, is with all of us who loved him. In the same way I believe in the Rainbow Bridge, I believe I shall see him again.

I guess that proves that I count our Animal friends as important as our human friends. I shall see them all again, in the great by and by. It's taken me a bit of a while to write this. There is much sorrow, still much anger, and now I find that there are regrets.

As often as we say to ourselves --nay, as often as I have told myself that I shall not make the same mistakes, I find -in hindsight- that I did. I made the same mistake, and I have made this painful one thrice.

And as I am want, I find a smidge of dark humor in my grief, and in my exploration of it. I am now -in some Churches- a blasphemer! In the same umbrella of Christianity, I would be stoned, or burned at the stake as a witch, or tossed in the pond with stones clutched to my breast knowing the proof of my non-witchiness was my death by drowning. How droll! I believe that Animals and Trees and Plants and even Rocks have Souls, have personaility, have intelligence, and were created by the same Source as I. Are thus deserving of the same basic respect. HA! Ah well, so be it.

But Halloween was my Anniversary (see above, I am STILL irreverant!) and my first Anniversary as a widow. And November First was All Saint's Day, when the Catholic Church Honors all the Saints of History. But November 2nd is the day I get confused with. This is All Souls Day, when we hold our Ancestors and Those Who Have Passed close to our hearts, the day when we Remember. In Mexico, and in many of the Catholic countries of South America, All Souls Day is a time of Gifting, of sharing memories, of Celebrations of Life. In Cancun, we all danced in the streets, like Carnivale, a festival time, irreverant, smiling and joyous of memory of those people who look over our shoulders from beyond the veil. (Another interesting euphemism) I baked sweets for the children, and helped prepare the evening meal for my roomies. And then I partied like it was 1983. (which it was)

When I moved to Oregon, I lost Grammy's ashes for some months before I could find the box her box was in. So I have her ashes in my breakfront, her very favorite piece of furniture. It's in my dining room, where she can be with me.

So as I remember these two very important people in my life, I also have to face the mistakes I made. The times when I was frustrated and not kind. The times when I was neglectful. The times when I was distant. The things I could have done better. I am trying hard to forgive myself for the unkind moments I allowed myself with both of these people. Despite my excuses and my reasons, the fact remains, that if I am ever in the position again, I hope I remember writing this. I hope I remember the sleepless nights I have tossed and turned through berating myself for my times of frustration and my unkindness.

I'm reading a very interesting book called "The Bitch, The Crone, and the Harlot" I resisted for a few months, because I found those terms oddly offensive. But I went ahead, and I am reading it, and I have found -besides Ms Schachterle's use of those three terms, chosen on purpose- much to learn within its pages. I will try to remember. I will hold my memories close to my heart. I will learn from my mistakes, and embrace the lessons.

And here, on this windy November morning, the sharp wind picks up the fountain's small geyser and casts it sideways. The water resumes its' carressing of the concrete figure in its' path, the form of a maiden water bearer. I wonder if there's a lesson there?

May all your Blessings not have to wait until Thanksgiving to be present in your life.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

That's IT! The Winged Garden is having a face lift

I'll bet you thought I was kidding when I said I was "busy making terrible landscaping mistakes", well, dang me, dang me, it's all true.

One of my biggest mistakes, and one I shall never repeat, let me assure you! was mulching for the Winter with straw. bright, fresh, bedding straw. Which, as the Spring came creeping along, germinated into lush, rooty, tall and pugnacious grasses. They have completely over run all my perennials. Plus, they have harboured the shrews and vholes, the bane of my Winged Garden's existance. Those evil rodentia ate the roots off all of my phormiums, and my EverGold Sedge. I don't even know what else they got their grubby little mitts on!

So this Winter, as the weather permits, I am going to pull, yank, cut and pummel the grasses into submission. Once they are properly submissive, I plan to use the newspapers that I have been collecting for 2 years, and lay them down to smother what's left. I shall cut out holes and spaces for the remaining perennials who are still fighting the good fight.. Such as a wonderful Geranium sanguineum 'Elke'.(or cranesbill) that I propogated at Clackamas Community College with jenny Ward 9the greatest propogation teacher in the whole wide world!); 2 beautiful Firepower Nandinas ; a Common Upright Rosemary Officianalis which is not listening to the naysayers about its' tenderness in my Zone; the Buddleias - a Royal Red , a couple of Black Knights ; and a couple of the standard Common lavender with the orange centers .. And most of the Lavenders made it. The Scarlet Monardo made it, as well as the Salvia Officianalis 'Purpurascens'. Mine's a much darker purple, tho, and it always sings as I pass by it. (You know the tune! and lookie what I found!) I think the golden sage made it as well. The Lucifer Crocosmia made it, but I do not know whether the Emily McKenzie made it, (I have another pot of that in the greenhouse, tho.. Yay!) and I don't know if the Solfaterre made it... I shall have to find another, and protect it from the ravages of the root scourges. I LOVE the foliage of this crocosmia!

Everything else is either smothered, yet to be re-discovered, or sacrificed to the dining pleasure of the shrews and vholes. Whom, as you remember, I loathe.

So, I think I shall do my best to remove all the grasses, lay down newspaper mulch, cover that with a thick layer of bark mulch, clean around the surrounding plants, and mulch heavily with the back chips.

Then I shall drag my ceramic bathtub up from the blackberry prison that it has been trapped in, and fill it with soil. I shall plant my phormiums and some trailing plants in the bathtub, something which will hide the back of the tub. Then I'm going to collect all my wine barrels, and cedar boxes, and place them around inside the Winged Garden, and plant them up with the plants which the vholes and shrews showed such interest in. I'm going to pull out a big stump, and put my solar-powered fountain on top of it, and my two sun chasers around.

A new look! A new plan! Perhaps a little ambitious, but I'll bet it'll look pretty cool! Well, this is exactly what Winter is for. To plan how to correct terrible landscaping mistakes!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Where The Wild Things Should Be

Earlier, I wrote about the loss of one of Denali's greatest advocates, the Champion of the Toklat wolves. As I was researching his death, I came across some very disturbing posts.

This One Is Defective

I could go on and on, and post all the hateful, painful, evil posts from these people. On another introductory page, they state "NO Flaming", however this website proceeds to vent i a most un-Christian-like manner.

I fully realize that I am a tree-hugger. I am so green, I glow in the dark. I am not an animal rights nut, but I AM an advocate for animal welfare. I just don't understand how someone can claim themselves a "human" and state:

"Looks like the lowlife POS mercenary (or whore, whichever you prefer) for the likes of PETA, HSUS and FoA, could get crossed off the list." and "this is the POS that lead the campaign against aerial wolf control counter to the recommendations of evey other wildlife biologist that did a study on the impact of wolf predation on the ungulate population.

He's an independent "biologist" because he is in the pocket of radical animal rights groups who need his credentials to give them an illusion of credibility."

I am sad for these people. I truly am saddened that they are so disconnected, so defective, so sparse of heart that they could believe this was acceptable posting.

So I find myself having to forgive them, having to Bless them, because they are defective God, take 'em on back and recycle 'em.

Me? I'm with you, Gordon. Thanks for your dedication. Thanks for your mentorship. Thanks for your passion.

and for the hate-mongers? Well, just Bless Your Heart.


The Denali Wolves have lost their biggest Advocate

Yesterday, biologist and noted wolf advocate Gordon Haber was killed in a plane crash doing what he loved best: following the Toklat wolves in Denali National Park.

The Backpacker in their Daily Dirt Blog ran the story. The pilot survived with burns, and after a harrowing 20 mile walk, is now being treated at a Seattle burn center. BACKPACKER Senior Editor Tracy Ross, who spent a significant amount of time in the field with Haber, had this to say:

"This is a sad day in AK history. I never met anyone with so much passion or such singularity of focus. As eccentric as Haber could be, he was a devoted wolf advocate and Alaskan icon. He'll be missed by many."

Ralph Maughn's Blog has some wonderful thoughts from readers.

Tracy Ross was also working with with Dr. Gordon Haber on a wonderful piece called "The Dogs of War: Hunting Denali Wolves" It is a beautiful and sad piece of writing.

He'll be missed by more than the people who knew him. The world of wild wolves will miss his advocacy. Haber's website, Alaska Wolves is filled with wonderful research about the real lives of wolves, and strips away so many of the old cobwebby myths.

I know you'll be met at the Rainbow Bridge by many of the wolves you championed. I'll light a candle to help you light your way. I will miss you in the world, miss knowing you were on the job, miss you just being there, fighting the good fight, fighting for those much maligned wolves who can't speak out for themselves. Go with God, Gordon. We'll see yas on the flip side.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blog Action Day: Global Warming? Why, It's COLD out there!

Post Script

Ever since I moved from San Diego up to this rural Paradise where I now call Home, I've been teased about worrying about Global Warming. It still snows here. It still rains here. Folks haven't noticed such a big difference.

But where I came from, there is a HUGE difference. I was raised in a very rural part of east county San Diego, at the foothills of the Cleveland National Forest. It used to snow there every other year. There hasn't been snow there for upwards of 20 + years. The summers now range in the triple digits for weeks into months now, not a couple of errant days. As long as you can bring water to the plants, there is no "out-of-season".. BUT "bringing water to the plants" is now problematical, as the Colorado River is being sucked dry, as is the Sacramento River. Summers are now filled with brown-outs and water rationing as the status quo. I go to visit my Mom every Winter, and walking down the streets of my old hometown is a jarring, jangley experience. It's dry, it's rustley, it's dusty and thirsty and parched. And the places where water still roams wild, those places are still brown along the edges, crispy, sad, with cracked mud like aged ancient sun stroked skin.

There is no more "non fire season" in San Diego. San Diego now has a twelve-month long fire season. Winters are brown and dusty, and what little rain that comes gets sucked away, or washes away the top soil in gullies from the previous burns.

The land is parched, the people disconnected from the land. The land is being cut up, chopped up, burnt and fenced off, the forests burn unchecked. Is it any wonder that SoCal people feel disconnected from the land? I can only imagine how it feels to be a real City person... I know I couldn't do it.

So from my vantage point, busy making terrible landscaping mistakes up here in the Great Pacific Northwest where rain is free falling right from the sky with nary an impediment, Global Warming is a fact of life. It affected me deeply. It chased me from my birth home. It still affects me.

I shut the water off when I brush my teeth. I worry when the water takes a bit to warm up in my shower, worry that I'm wasting water, but I just cannot brace myself to take cold showers up here. I resist allowing the hose to trickle in that NW trick of fooling the freeze. I wrap the faucets up in bubble wrap, instead. I'm piecing together rain barrels. I should have them up and ready next year. I worry about watering my gardens, and I figure that I need to divert that run-off into a source where I can tap it.

My other project is to see if I can tap the washing machine grey water for watering the landscape plants. That shouldn't be TOO hard, but I will need help in accomplishing it...

I have pictures of it snowing in Flinn Springs. I have memories -- not pictures, mind you, because we got into too much trouble skidding down the snowy hill in our new white britches --which got quite ruined-- on our butts as kids! This was in 1962.
I shall find the pictures of our wee home nestled in a blanket of snow. San Diego in a Norman Rockwell dream sequence.

So when my neighbors and room-mate tease me about being so water-conscience (or paranoid as it is also called), or when they laugh at me about my belief that Global Warming is not a myth, I shall nod, and go about the business of trying to prepare for the time when the PNW is under water rationing.

Since my career is now in horticulture, I watch articles about climate and how it affects insects and fungus. The nursery business is particularly susceptable to infestations of both of these pests.

I notice that White Pines in the PNW have been hit very hard by overwintering beetles. I notice that quarantines have affected the Nursery industry, in particular regarding transportation of plants. Oregon State put out an excellent and frightening article about the affects and unknown qualities of
Phytophthora ramorum

I found these articles to be quite disturbing:
Assessing the consequences of global change for forest disturbance from herbivores and pathogens

Mountain Pine Beetle

Doesn't this look familiar?

And what about my home town? Estacada is "The Christmas Tree Capital of the World"... How does global warming affect this beautiful rural heaven? When Winters don't have hard freezes, when Winters are mild, these bark beetles can overwinter in the forests and in the tree lots.

IPM (Integrated Pest Management) can only do so much. Look at this article about the Christmas Tree industry and all the things they must do to grow the trees we routinely throw away come New Years' :
Integrated Pest Management in Christmas Tree Production
What can we do when the Winters remain mild, and the bettles come to eat? We NEED the cold -- the hard cold, the hard freezes-- that kill these invasive and devasting pests. Not to mention the ability to ship non-infected trees and shrubs to other nurseries across the state. Oregon economy is dependant on the Nursery industry. There's been a 17% decrease in Nursery sales and I don't believe that that fact is wholely reliant upon the economy. Much of the decline is due to crop failures and damage.

I dunno. I just think it's pretty odd that there are so many folks who don't believe in this thing called Global Warming when, to me, it's all around me. In my short 50+ years, it's wrapped me 'round with it's tentacles of fear and worry. So I'll just frown and keep my worry to myself, and keep watching the weather, and keep saving water, and keep on being as sustainable as possible.


Blog Action Day! I'm In, are you?

Addendum: In beautiful and relatively unknown Maldive, the political party there is taking Global Warming pretty darned seriously. It's been hypothesized that their island will be underwater by the end of the century. I wonder if our American naysayers, if THEY lived in Maldive, would they be so certain that climate change was a hoax put on by the radical tree-hugging Left? I think not.

Off to muse with my muse....


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

Thanks to the Wonderful Garden Faes at Carole's place, I am at long-last able to get some bloom pics up for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and a tad early, since tomorrow's post will be about the Blog Action Day on Global Warming. (I hope you shall join me there! Or at least read my post :~)

So! Once again, I had to borrow blossoms from the Garden Center which one day, in a Universe Far Far Away, will have its' website up. Yay Verily. So withot further ado, here goes....

Irish Eyes Black-Eyed Susans. These green-eyes beauties are just lovely in a mass planting! I'm going to add some to my kniphifia along the frontage road..

Everyone at the Garden Center helped with this display. We hosted the Good Morning Estacada breakfast meet & greet, and held it in our display area, full of fountains, and flowers. I baked cookies for three days!

The baby Crepe Myrtles! After getting lost in shipment during a heat spell, they decided they liked us, and started blooming. I simply MUST have one for Wolfdancer Creek! Where's that darn shoehorn???

The habeneros are finally fruiting. Yes, I know, not blooms, but YUMMY hot! I ain't eatin' 'em, tho! My Mama dinna raise no fool!

I sure like this display.. Mums and Weigela.

I caught the rain drops on the penstamon. I love penstamon. Such a happy little shrub.. All gypsy wild and freely giving of its' richness of blossom.

Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens...

Last but definitely not least, roses.

Thanks for coming along! on my magical mystery tour...


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wake Me When It's Warm Out There

We have now had our first "official" frost. October 4th, o'dark hundred. It was a light frost, but it heralds something I had much prefered not to deal with yet. I am still lodged firmly in Summer, and the rest of the world has glided into Winter. How did that happen? I still have to put my garlics to bed for the Winter! EEEK! I shall endeavor to do that as soon as I get A day off from work.

I have managed to give the Sundance Kitty her 150 ml of saline subQ. *happy*happy*joy*joy* She seconds that emotion. She hates it, and her poor skin about the top of her shoulders is all prickly with needle holes. She looks like a closet junkie who's trying to go straight, hiding the tracks between her toes. She just hates it. She feels so much better when I give her her injection, but she doesn't connect the prick and discomfort of the cold saline squishy beneath her skin, and the immediate increase in appetite and perkiness.

I am saddened greatly that I can't take her to the Vet's. I know what she needs, and obviously I can do the daily-to-twice-daily administrations of saline, but I can't afford the office visit and the meds I know she needs. Vets are charging $50.oo just to open the door and say hello now-a-days. So I worry and feed her tuna, and give her injections. So if you have time, send a prayer for her to rally and get well.

It's been a crazy week, heck, in all honesty, it's been a crazy YEAR.. It seems to have just flown by so quickly. I find myself very resistant to that idea. I have grown accustomed to the gentle caress of sun and breeze. Winter can come, and I will embrace it, but I'm NOT DONE with my tomatoes ! :~( People keep telling me that this how you know you're getting old, is when time begins to fly by.. But I will NOT go gentle into that good night! I will, by God, shake my fist and rave! rave! to the dying of the light.

I am wearing my thermals now at work, with gloves, and 2 pairs of socks, thermal socks with wool socks over them in my heavy duty water-proof & insulated work boots. (Yer Gardener wears army boots!) We don't have our wood stove installed, it was pulled out around February when Marcos & Tim finished the display room. Turns out that wood stoves, when pumped up good and hot, turn drywall into a flammable, compustable fire fodder. You couldn't touch the handrail wall without getting uncomfortably toasted. So they removed the stove so we could insulate the walls with stone, and install a stone flooring for the stove to safely rest upon. And there it sits, still nekkid, still un-insulated, stove-less. And now it is getting downright nippy inside! My customers miss the cheery warmth and flicker of the stove.

I got my referral to the orthropedic specialist, it comes at Thursday Nov. 5th. Now we shall see what my options will be for my poor beleaguered hip.

And speaking of tomatoes, which we were, but much earlier, I have tried a new method of preserving my tomatoes. I gathered and cleaned and sliced up several pounds (close to six pounds) and I dried them in my dehydrator. When they were done, I placed them in a tall capped jar, and layered them with fresh basil. Then I poured extra virgin olive oil up to the top, capped the jar, and placed it in the fridge. Hopefully, they will turn out yummy. Next time, I think I shall call them done out of the dehydrator a couple hours earlier, and make them not quite as dried. That will be the only thing different. It looks beautiful, like garden jewels. And I like sun-dried tomatoes in omelettes and other dishes which call for tomatoes. I didn't use Romas, as everyone said I should, because I don't much care for the TASTE of Romas. I used the big juicy heirlooms that I grew. They are REALLY tasty, and this drying process is SUPPOSED to intensify the tomato taste. We shall see.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Autumn Maple Helicopter Dragonflies

The leaves are beginning to turn their Summer tresses in for showier fare. My Coral Bark maple is a shade of orange which is so vibrant it shimmers, it hurts the eyes, it hurts the brain to gaze too long at it, and yet I cannot tear my eyes away. It is beginning to acquire the pagoda-look I love so much about these delicate dainty Japanese maples, and although it is still quite small, not even three feet tall yet, it is every bit as lovely as I had hoped it would be when I planted it.

It's partner in crime, the Fern-Leafed Maple, while taller and wider, is also doing its' job displaying color in an area which had been devoid of any color besides grey and green. The Fern-Leafed Maple is dressed in deep burgundies and bright reds, her skirts flirt and skirl with every errant breeze, her leaves the size of my hands.

In between the two maples is my Rainbow Leucothoe, which I think I need to transplant. It is too far into the shade, and is not picking up the rich violet hues this evergreen shrub is noted for. Its' leaves swirl with chartreuse and creams, held erect with red stems. But it needs those violets and reds in the leaves to shine as it should.

These three are doing just exactly what I wanted them to, tho. Fall color, and Winter interest along the pond ridge.

At work today, the wind picked up and it has been quite cold. We're due for a bit of a freeze tonight, and I have some plants to protect in my garden. I have my paw-print beanie on, and chamois gloves. I've not been warm all day. I forgot my thermal socks. As I was walking out to show a customer a soil mix, the wind snatched up a load of maple seeds and tossed them hither and yon. They floated down on helicopter wings like whirlygigs, hundreds of them. They filled the air with silent flitting spinning dragonfly wings.

I let my Inner Child -never very far from the surface- out to play, to wonder, but none of the grown-ups around noticed the wee miracles spinning from the heavens like little post-it notes from God, and they were all too busy to wonder with me.

I'm sorry they missed it. I am glad I was watching.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

I've Been Tagged!

I've Been Tagged!

Now this is REALLY cool, because I don't really know what a meme is. HOWEVER, Since Happy was gracious enough to include the basic tenet within her post, I caught the ghist of it. How cool!

SO! Here goes the Rules?
whereby I have to reveal seven interesting facts about myself. That's difficult! Especially since there's so many weird and unusual things I could write about ...

The Seven Stupidest Things I've Ever Done comes to mind.. But I shall endeavor to spare you, Gentle Reader, such an ordeal.

To participate in the Meme Award, you need to:

- link back to the person who gave you the award;
- reveal seven things about yourself;
- choose seven other blogs to nominate and post a link to them
- let each of your choices know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog;
- and finally let the tagger know when your post is up.

So, onto the gristle of the biscuit...Wait. If my biscuits got gristle in 'em, I ain't cookin' 'em right...

Happy Mouffetard, that Notable Who Was Censored by the Dear Clueless Folks at the BBC Gardener's World for her OH SO offensive nickname, (read all about it HERE I mean, really Dear Ones, the BBCGW needs to get out more) Tagged me. You can read more of her adventures HERE Not to mention Happy is the Birth Mother of 'Lets All Post Cat Photos And Dire Poetry On Our Blogs' (LAPCPADPOUB*) Day' A Day which SHOULD be an International Holiday, but isn't.

Seven Things About Myself That You May Or May Not Guess:

1) I am ruled by animals. I share my life with 7 wolfdogs; 5 goats, one of which is AWOL, so I must go tromping about the back 40 searching for her when I get home; 5 male critically endangered Ancona ducks, whom we are breathlessly awaiting Dates for come Spring; 3 Guinea Hens, down from 13.. Making me think perhaps they are not nearly as smart as I thought they were; and at last count, 15 cats, all rescued ferals. I gave up my bedroom until I can build a Kattery and now sleep in the Living Room with the 2 oldest kitties. Now is that not just flat-out crazy or what????

2) I am prejudiced against certain foods, and am trying to overcome it. Porkchops. Chicken Fried Steak. Eggplant. Okra. So I am on a mission to create edible recipes designed specifically to change my mind about these poor maligned food substances! The eggplant, so far, is a HUGE win for vegetables everywhere.

3) I always plant about 6 tomato plants too many. It's not done 'till it's overdone. Tomatoes are the Bling of the Garden Set.

4) I love photography! Life is filled with these myriad vignettes and flashes! I wish I could plug my brain into a computer and download some of these images when I forget my camera or more film. I have reams of notebooks filled with descriptions of what I see. I have never been sure if it all was really THERE, tho...

5) I dream in Technicolor, with a full soundtrack. Life is filled with sound & special effects!

6) I hate getting dirt under my fingernails, but love playing in the soil with plants. That's why I wear gloves, to lessen the nail gunk. And as an added bonus, I don't have to feel slug juice on my fingers when I wear gloves.

7) I am very chaotic, which creates difficulties for the Obsessive-Compulsive side of me!

And so, I pass this meme on to the following bloggers. There's no pressure to take part! (But it'll be pretty if ya do! *grin*) In no particular order except the chaotic one in my noggin:

1)May Dreams Gardens with the Hopes that the Garden Faes will pipe up

2) The Mad Gnomes Because Gnomes and Gardens natually and spontaneously combust with joy

3) Weeder's Garden Who, unbeknownst to herself, was one of my Blog Mentors

4) Wishnik Woods a delight filled with magic. All I have to do to smile is click on her Blog link, and BAM! I feel the grin stretching my cheeks.

5) Talented Animals Roland is one of the most incredible writers and arguers I've ever met. Wish Pops would have met him, those two would have burned the airwaves up with musings and constructive arguments. Roland & Lauren are 2 of the finest animal people I have had the great Honor to have met in my life.

6) Musings From the Cascade Foothills This is my Roomie's Blog. She has quite recently discovered that she has a wonderful, Earthy, and delighful Gift for writing. I love her stories!

7) Shiba Guys Because I love their writing style! And check out their Earth Box Rox! post!

8) Thanks For Today Because she always reminds me that Today is a Gift, that's why they call it the present.

and 9) Bliss! Who gives me terrible cases of the *giggles* and introduced me to lapcpadpoub and Happy Mouffetard, and OH how the circle closes!

Thanks Happy for the Tag! *whew!* My fingers are cold ! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

PS~ I should have some neat pictures soon...


The Sunflower Boy's Smile

Every once in a while, a story just hits you in the gut. This one did me.

The Sunflower Boy's Smile

I think I shall always see his sunny smile in the sweet faces of the sunflowers as they nod in the sun.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Belly of the Beast

On May 3rd, I had an on-the-job accident. My Manager's husband left the Skidsteer (mini-tractor. REALLY fun to drive! I want one when I win the Lotto. Whaddya mean ya gotta actually buy tickets to win? What kinda deal is THAT?) out overnight in the rain, and the bucket was slick as cat spit. My first sale of the day was fir bark, which was covered by big sheets of plastic. I climbed out on the bucket, climbed up onto the big concrete bin walls, and pulled the plastic back so I could scoop the fir out. As I was climbing back down, my foot slipped off the edge of the bucket, and I did the backwards splits into the bucket, and came down hard on both knees onto the edge of the bucket.

I filled out an incident report, and included the customer's name who witnessed my Olympic-style dismount. I waited until June 3rd to go to the Doctor's, because I kept thinking it would get better. It didn't. So I have been going to a Physical Therapist twice a week since June. My little town has the BEST darn Doctor, (Dr. Rick Orth) and the BEST PT(Bryan Sundahl) in all the world. I'm not kidding, Par Excellance, bar none. I feel so fortunate that if I HAD to slip and fall at work, 1) I didn't do it in California, where I would probably STILL be waiting for a first appointment to see a doctor, and 2) that I live here, where medicine is still handled the Olde Fashioned Way: with Humanity, with Humor, and with Empathy. This would have been a long dark nightmare elsewise.

After a couple of months' worth of PT, and the derned hip was NOT improving as it should have, we had X-Rays done, which told us a couple things: 1) I have arthritis, and 2) I didn't break any bones when I fell. But I am still having to take anti-inflammatories and pain pills, and nighttime pills so I can sleep without waking up crippled up. I have pain. Yes, Virginia, and it is a living thing which gnaws and gibbers. And which I hold at bay with pills. So then I had to take an MRI last week. It's a special type of hell, a check for a lateral tear in my hip. Or the soft tissue around it. It's where they take a needle around 8" long, and gradually stick you with it. First prick stings, and then they pump the hip with novacaine-ish numbness, which creates a pressure not unlike having a tooth extracted, only it presses IN not OUT. They then take another needle full of dye, and slide it (and they do a generously kind job, as good as can be expected) under the cartilage --the "shower cap"-- which covers the ball socket of your femur, or somewhere in the immediate vicinity anyways... and inject it. You can see the skin rising, like in a good Rick Baker special effect.

Unfortunately for me, I get terribly stressed with needles. Bless them, and they are quite right, they told me "It will be alot easier on you if you can just relax." But if I knew how to manipulate that "OFF" switch from inside here ....well, *tap*tap* Is there anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me; Is there anyone home? And I'm a big weenie when it comes to needles. Break my bones, break my noggin, I is strong like bull. Threaten me with a needle poke, I is weak like lamb. So I, of course, cried. And couldn't quite stop. Just these annoying leakages oozing from my tear ducts. *bleh* What a weenie.

First they sterilize the area. Everyone is quite concerned with following protocol, so I have front- and back-wards cotton robes, or what one can loosely call a "robe", or in Hospital-lingo, "The Very latest in French Fashion Statements." A covering. Disposable lap-coverings. The Lady receptionist is there throughout the procedure, and actually, I was grateful for her comfort and presence.

But I remember being slightly annoyed at how "careful" they were all being to me, and feeling resentful of the extra time it was taking, this polite dance of political correctness and protocol. And rather wistful about the changing times which could force patient and doctor to engage in such an awkward tap dance around each other.

But that is for another tale, for another generation, for their children to scoff at. Besides, I quite felt that my annoyance was ill-placed. So I bit it. And bit it back to boot.

Once the anaesthesia began to almost-work, they put me in a short metal donut where they marked the injection site with a felt pen, after they centered in on the spot with what looked like a Fro Pik. OK, now, all of you who actually KNOW what that is, raise your hands, and then we shall all *giggle* together. Now, as the narrow cot slides through the donut, there is air shooting in a line across my body, as if following a light beam. But I didn't KNOW it was just air. What it FELT like, was every single hair on my rather hairless body, (being human, with a VERY meager coat, you know. All my critturs laugh at me behind my back) being raised up straight. Like static electricity was being played across my skin. Or like that creepy feeling which raises the hair off the nape of your neck?? It felt.. frighteningly sensuous.

And then here comes the object of my doom and despair: the miles' long needle. It hurts a great deal. It's not just pressure, although there is that, it's also sharp, and my body half rises off the cot, which worries the poor doctor something fierce, since any major movement will screw up the picture. We do not want this. Nay! I say, verily nay we dinna!!

Then I walk around to give the dye the ability to leak out and paint the surrounding areas of my hip if there is any tear. Then it's off to the "Magnet", the actual tube, where I lie upon yet another cot, and get slowly inserted within. With just my head sticking out. There are moments where I briefly feel the damp, cold touch of claustrophia pricking me, but I shrug that bony hand off my heart, and breathe through it. They set me up with a pair of headphones, and tune it to Kink Radio not to be confused with any OTHER Kinkish junk, which, to my dismay, there's a lot of. (KINK's a great radio station, by the way! Locally owned and operated, they are true to the music. It's just not Corporate. It's what FM Radio used to be in the early 70's. There's little looping, lots of great old classics, lots of great new music, lots of live music, they have lots of artists drop in and give acoustic performances on-air, and they give new artists a great venue for exposure...OOOPS! off track there, Me's's got! But check 'em out!)

This is very quite sweet of them, since this magnetic camera is REALLY NOISY! We drown most of it with some great rock. It takes about an hour to garner all the images, and I drift in and out of conscienceness, abruptly yanked out of DreamTime by mundane things like the jerking of my legs--luckily not a noticeable action which could bollux up the MRI-- or a burst of musical riff. And once, I drifted back to conscienceness with the feel of my lover's hand sweeping the hair back from my face, and the sweet smell of him leaning over me. A strange feeling to be both in and out of reality.

The following week, both my Doctor and my Physical Therapist ooooh and ahhh and grimace and frown over the report. It doesn't look good. There's a cyst in there somewhere. There's a tear. There's damage on the socket. Doc Orth has referred me to an Orthopedic Specialist in Portland, so I await a call from them for the next stage. I may have to have surgery. There may be other things which will be needful. I will find out soon.

But I'm still hobbling about! Still on the up side of the grass! and still gardening! I wonder if I'll wind up bionic? *Gee* I could set off all the metal detectors in the airport!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Woody the Cat

Now this is one cool cat!

Woody the Cat
Woody the Cat
Woody the Cat


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

a New One

The Song of the Day

Upside Down Lyrics Jack Johson

Who's to say
What's impossible
Well they forgot
This world keeps spinning
And with each new day
I can feel a change in everything
And as the surface breaks reflections fade
But in some ways they remain the same
And as my mind begins to spread its wings
There's no stoppin' curiosity

I wanna turn the whole thing upside down
I'll find the things they say just can't be found
I'll share this love I find with everyone
We'll sing and dance to Mother Nature's song
I don't want this feeling to go away

Who's to say
I can't do everything
Well I can try
And as I roll along I begin to find
Things aren't always just what they seem

I wanna turn the whole thing upside down
I'll find the things they say just can't be found
I'll share this love I find with everyone
We'll sing and dance to Mother Nature's song
This world keeps spinning and there's no time to waste
Will it all keep spinning and spinning round and round and

Upside down
Who's to say whats impossible and can't be found
I don't want this feeling to go away

Gently fading & repeated:Upside down
Whos's to say whats impossible and can't be found
i don't want this feeling to go away
Is the way it's 'sposed to be?

and the video


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Eggplant Recipes from the Garden

I love to grow eggplant. In particular, I find the Japanese Ichiban eggplant to be a particularly delightful plant, with its' lovely lavender flowers, and glossy deep purple skin. It grows well here in the PNW, in the same conditions that my tomatoes and peppers enjoy.

But it is a deeply maligned vegetable! Mention eggplant, and you will more than likely get a squinchy face with a stuck-tongue and a big ICK! And I never knew much about them before I started growing them. So what to do the little buggers when they start poppin' in the garden?

My Grammy used to say that invention was the child of necessity, and budget's been tight, hours have been cut, money is scarce, and I am REALLY glad I planted a garden. So I went a'searchin'.

Today, I tried a Ratatouille recipe. Now, I can't cook without messin' around with the recipe. Cooking brings out my inner mad chemist. Plus, rarely can I find a recipe which utilizes the exact left-overs in my fridge. Can't let that good food go to waste, so I experiment. /waggles eyebrows.

Wolfdancer's Ratatouille


* About one pound of left over bar-b-q'd London Broil roast, cut into bite-sized chunks, floured and sauteed until a fine golden crust occurs.
* 2 tablespoons basil-infused olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
* 2 large onions, quartered and chunked.
* 7 small eggplants, sliced thickly
* 5 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
* 3 to 4 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
* 1 teaspoon fresh leaf basil
* 1/2 teaspoon freshd leaf oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon fresh leaf thyme


Grab the slow cooker. Pour the juice from left over roast in it. Place the sauteed meat in it. Throw one freshly cubed onion in it.

In a large skillet, drizzle olive oil and heat. Toss the other cubed onion in, and saute till soft. Add garlic. Saute some more. Add the cut up eggplant. Saute until eggplant is soft, and onions are golden brown. Add a bit of left over pesto, because it's there, and it's left over. Toss into the slow cooker.

Add tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs; mix well. Cover and cook over low heat. Sample occasionally, just to make sure you're on the right track. Smack your lips! Who knows how many it will serve. Haven't served it yet. Made a goodly pot.


Now this one, I've done three times, and it's delicious! I think I've finally have it down enough to write it down.

Wolfdancer's Vegetable Lasagna


*A large pan of sliced Ichiban eggplant. (it winds up being about 7 or 8 eggplants)
*A large pan of thickly sliced large tomatoes. (winds up being about 5 or 6, depending on how big the 'maters are)
*one package of either spinach or other fresh egg noodle type of noodle.
*garlic, if the pesto isn't garlicy enough for ya
*fresh grated romano cheese
*fresh grated parmesan cheese
*mozzarella cheese
*fresh basil
*olive oil


Heat the over to broil. Drizzle pans with basil-infused olive oil, and place your 'maters and eggplants closely layered till the pan's full. Take your pans of eggplant and 'maters, and roast for about a half an hour. Try to flip the 'maters, if you can, although fresh 'maters tend to be pretty juicy! Flip the eggplants. When a lovely dark crusty yumminess occurs, they are done. That takes about a half hour. Watch them carefully, don't let 'em burn.

Prepare your noodles. If you're using spinach noodles, make sure you don't overcook them. It works better if the noodles are cooked slightly al dente.

Get a nice lasagna pan, or any deep dish oven pan. If you spray it with Pam, the clean-up will be a snap. Line the dish with your noodles. You should have at least a half an inch worth of noodles. Spoon pesto over the noodles, then sprinkle romano cheese generously over the surface. Take your eggplant, and layer the eggplant over the romano cheese. Take your tomatoes, and layer them over the eggplant. Add the garlic, if your pesto isn't garlicy enough. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese generously over the tomatoes. Slice the mozzarella cheese in goodly 1/4" slices, and cover the surface completely.

Drop the temperature in the oven to 350* and place the pan on another flat pan to catch potential dribbles. Bake for about a half an hour, or until the mozzarella is golden brown and bubbly delicious.

Let it cool for a bit, or you will scald your tongue.

From my garden to yours! Happy Gardening and Bon Appetite!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Lessons from the Universe

I am doing some Reading (with a Capital "R") about life changes. About Spirit. About the Great Mystery. About God. About the Goddess. About Balance, and Patience, and Lessons, and about how I may take the lemons of my life, and turn them into delicious lemonade.

Well, the Universe is definitely giving me my Lessons. Today, an employee of the Company I work for called me up at home and read me the riot act about all the hard work "everyone else does", and how it's unfair that I "sit inside and play on FaceBook or whatever."

I did speak my Truth, but I could feel myself get hot and metallic inside. I fought most of that back.

Here's this little girl who -bless her heart- just graduated College with her BA. I have to admit to being jealous! I make the assumption that her Family paid for that education, or the State did. I make the assumption that she did not pay her way through her education by her own monies, via her own blood and sweat. I make the assumption that she's been coddled and given her living, her housing, her food, that she's never had to live in her car, that she's never had to deal with homelessness, that she has never had to pull herself out of the mud by her own bootstraps.

So I make those assumptions, and then I have to tell myself, those are assumptions. I know nothing about her background, I know nothing about the trials she has suffered. I could call her, and ask her. I know she is paying for her education via part time jobs and through the summer. Bless her heart. I could call her and ask her who pays for her room and board. Does she have another job to pay for her room & board? Or does her InLaws help support her? She lives with them. I could ask her does she have a mortgage that she is struggling to meet so she doesn't end up on the streets again? If, indeed, she has EVER lived on the streets?

I could. But I won't. Or will I? Would knowing her circumstances and sharing mine further my evolution? Would knowing anything about a girl whose plans include Teaching --when she makes such wide ranging assumptions about others can she Teach? -- would sharing my trials and knowing hers help me in my Journey? I don't know. I just don't know.

I'll have to think about it. I'll have to search inside myself and discover if I just don't give fig about a person who won't be here in a month, but perhaps will be here next Summer, or if the Sharing is part of the Lesson.

What do YOU think??


Monday, August 10, 2009

Chaos Moment by Moment

There are days where no matter how tightly you hold on the control button, the "Rewind" or "Delete" buttons are just set on "No Reply, LOADING, Please Wait." *sigh* This is the tail of one of those days.

I tell you, I AM TOO in control of my Life! (right?) :~o

I am attempting to go back to school, and try for my Master's in some kind of business venue where I can;
1) Make a Living Wage plus a wee bit to Nest Egg.
2) Have a job that I enjoy, one I can be creative with, one which I can use to help folks with, and where I can still work part-time at "my" wee little Garden Center which I love.
3) Have some kind of stability which is not reliant on weather or the Economy.
4) Something Useful.

So, I looked into University of Phoenix.It really sounds like a terrific College! But I am very frustrated with the online application process. *bah* Trying to get funding. I spent 45 min. being put on hold, transfered, re-transfered, re-holded, re-processed and spat out as inappropriete. So I don't know if this particular line of reasoning will be do-able. *bah*

So after the eighth re-hold/disconnect, I called my physical therapist to verify my appointment. I called at 11:55 am, expecting my appointment at 1 pm. Au Contraire! I am due at Noon. WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! Low flying aircraft! Wolfdancer Airlines, taking off on Runway #9.

And now I am awaiting my appointment with Doctor Sarah. Doctor Orth is recuperating from his hip transplant surgery. I hope he's doing well!

I am sitting in downtown Estacada at the Scenes 'N' Beans Coffee Shop Their website isn't quite done yet. (*gee* If I had my Master's in Web Design, I could offer to build it for them!) Just finished watching the tail end of Overboard, and now I get to watch the beginning of Pink Panther 2 with Steve Martin. Funniness!

I found this on You Tube
I saw these guys at the Lakeside Rodeo, one of the last Ole Tyme Ro-DAY-os, long with the Pendleton Roundup. I wound up with really ugly seats which had no stage view. This was --by who knows-who!-- brought to the attention of a lovely lady in side comment as I was on the prowl for the Refreshment Booth. Turns out she was one of the wives. We got upgraded to the third row. GREAT seats! where we could watch the show without pillers and screens before us.
The Highwaymen and their Lovely Wives, real life style

How delightful to see these Legends and their Ladies relaxed and having fun!

Well, home sweet home, Me's'a going out to wheelbarrow shavings.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

To Bee, or Not to Bee, and Other Veggie Tales

Well, 2 days after my wee Bees showed up for a Staycation at Wolfdancer Creek Farm, the bee house blew out of the wee Grand Fir (ain't she Grand!) and they swarmed off in a huff. Since they weren't IN the bee house, only huddled between the walls of the bee house and the trunk of the Fir like small tiger-eye beads bee-decking the fragrant green of the needles, there wasn't any harm to the bees... I was quite concerned!

Poor wee dears. I hope they know how welcomed they are here.

It's been brutal hot here, we've broke records for heat, and continous hot days. I may have lost my trained larch /sadness! And my evergreen huckleberries are taking a terrible hit.

And I just have not felt much like cooking. Imagine that. So, when my friend Greig came over after he'd been at the Estacada Farmer's Market selling the Zark Galactic Emperor's Finest Soap, I defrosted a nice roast I had had tucked away, and went a'foraging out in the garden.

Now I have not been able to even LOOK at my Gardens, only have had time to put water on everything as frantically as possible; work at work, and water as frantically as possible THERE, try to deal with the fairly intense pain that my slip & fall on-the-job accident has incurred, (standing and walking without being able to sit and shift every hour feels like walking with ground up glass between my hip socket and my thigh bone) Try to deal with the fact that my manager is one of the most truly unhappy humans I have ever met, and takes it out on everyone around her. I am afraid that she is trying to make this job intolerable, trying hard to make me quit, or worse, let me go (or in her words "take me off the schedule" because I cannot "do the job I was hired to do") because of the accident. So I am trying to work hard to put myself in her shoes, and understand her viewpoint so that I may be kind. And still watch my back. *wry chuckle* It's Tricksey! Trying to keep the remainder of the new Guinea hens alive, trying to keep the Song Dogs happy, trying to fight the stupid fleas which are going CRAZY with this heat, and havingthemselves a hatching from HELL-o operator! Give me the flea police..

So yesterday, I went out to see if there was anything ripe I could add to the bar-b-q'd roast for dinner. I found 2 mostly ripened Celebrities, about the size of a very large lemon. I found 1 nicely ripened Abe Lincoln. I found 1 nicely ripened Stupice. and a whole bowlful of Sun Golds.

So I am thinking I need to journal what I liked, and what I didn't like, and why. So far, there is no dislikes!

The Celebrities, as per usual, were DELICIOUS! even not-quite ripe, they were tangy, good acid, nearly seedless, and juicy. They had greenish shoulders still. I should've left them on the vine for one maybe two more days. But one had a bit of a hole, so I figured I'd pluck it. About 3 1/2" in diameter.

The Abe Lincoln was also VERY flavorful! A nearly perfect tomato, it was round, bright-dark red, Great acid tang! Really has that "old fashioned tomato flavor"!!! About 3" in diameter.

The Stupice was DEEP bright red! a medium sized 2" in diameter tomato, it had an almost sweet tangy taste! For a very early tomato, I was VERY pleased with the taste! I will definitely grow this one again! Extends my tomato growing season by about a month.

The Sun Golds, of course, are so sweet with a bit of tang, that they are almost dessert tomatoes. They are prone to spliting, tho, so I try to pick them right away when ripe, wash them (IF they make it inside!) and dry them off by placing them on a paper towel. If I leave them to air dry, they will split. Putthem in the fridge right away after blotting them with the paper towel so as to avoid the umbiquious fruit flies. I like them cut in half in a bowl full of large curd cottage cheese. YUM! OR by the handfulls fresh and warm out of the garden.

I added a young cucumber out of the garden, and just cut them up. No salad dressing, just a bit of salt and pepper. We felt like tomato connoisseurs!

I am excited that the Abe Lincoln, a heritage tomato, turned out so well, as did the Stupice. I am looking forward to seeing how the Carbon Black tomatoes taste, and whether the Bonnie Bests are worth growing, since of all my 'maters, the Bonnie Bests seem always to be having troubles. Curley leaves, or yellowy. Now I know I'm not groing tomato leaves, so I will have to see if the taste is worth the extra effort.

I'm kind of excited to be doing this taste test! I know others are doing it, so perhaps Hanna of This Garden is Illegal will help me out on descriptions.

I planted:
Box Car Willie
* Abe Lincoln
Carbon Black
Bonnie Best

Early Goliath
* Celebrity
* Sun Gold

I think that's it...
Next year, I'm going to add:

Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red
Dagma's Perfection
Gary Ipsen's Gold
Cherokee Purple

happy Gardening!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bee My, Bee my, Bee my Little BaBee!!

Continued from Page One!

SO! The Beekeeper came, and brought a wee Bee House. I grabbed my camera and shot a bunch of pictures which--as soon a I get them developed!-- I will edit to post later. We stood there, watching this swarm, and he told me it was "just a little one". To which I replied, "AH! But that is SO subjective! I, as an allergy-ridden fool, believe this is a HUGE! collection of bees!" Since this is only the second time I have seen a bivouac, that is true. EVEN THO! The first one was pre-internet, pre-camera, and in the late sixties. That swarm must have included a queen, since it was well over 2' long, and 18" to 20" inches wide. My Daddy freaked out! and sprayed them with the hose to get them going away. I wish he hadn't, tho... I remember wishing that we could just watch them..... "Just a wee swarm" of perhaps 2,000 bees. A "normal" swarm is 20,000 !! bees! wowzer!

I fixed up a dish of sugar water, and he told me they won't touch anything less than 21% sugar, so I added more sugar...

He put on his bee hat, and some nitrile rubber gloves, and pulled out a shelf from the bee house. Then he gently shooed the cluster of bees onto the shelf. They ooozed onto it, rather like very cold honey pouring out, slowly, sweetly, and when that shelf was filled, he tucked it back lovingly into the bee house. He repeated this action five times. He looked for the queen, but was unable to find her.. but he hadn't caught all of the bees, either...

Then he tucked the be house into the branches of the Grand Fir.. (as gentle as he was with the bees, he was rough and untender with the branches of the wee fir, and left two scrapes along 2 branches... one branch is curled backwards, but I think it will spring back fine)

He told me they will either go into the house, or they won't. They are either a secondary swarm without a queen, or he just didn't find her. They will either find a hollow tree here, and bee happy, or they will go into the bee house, and go home with him.

About an hour after he left, I went out to check on them, and all the bees had left the bee house! They were now tucked between the bee house and the trunk of the fir tree. They seemed quite happy and protected there. I noticed that some were investigating the bee house, but the majority were now re-huddled in their wee mass.

This morning, when I staggered out, bleary-eyed to check on "my" bees, they were still escounced between the bee house and the trunk of the tree. No wee bees were drowning in the sugar water, so hopefully, those that needed a wee sip, got one handy. Just in case they got thirsty, and maybe they are tired from all that flying and stuff.. and maybe the pond is too far away, or something.. I didn't want them to be hungry.....


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Won't You Bee Mine, Honey?

This morning I staggered past a note written by my Roomie, and misread it of course, because reading with one's eyes shut really isn't very affective, I've discovered. I answered the question I THOUGHT she wrote.

Later, with java in my blurred hands, I re-read the note. Calling my now-confused Roomie, I responded; "OH the answer to your question is not the question I answered." She needed me to check her wee little Grand Fir, the Gladstone Tree, which she has babied Lo! these many years in a pot. We planted it out four years ago, now. Every few years, it suffers an attack of those nasty vampire aphids, you know, the ones that are as big as scale but aren't? The Ahnold SchwartzeAphids? and we spray it with Neem, hose 'er off a few days later, and Voila! She grows another foot. Well, she got hit pretty bad, and with this past week of exceptionally hot weather, she got her tip buds whalloped! Saturday, Dianne sprayed her well with Neem. Today I went out to spray her with Dawn dish washing water, to loosen up that yucky sooty must the aphids leave behind.

There was a wee honey bee circling lazily around the Gladstone Tree, then I spied another, and another. Now, I am alert to these kinds of things, as I am pretty severely allergic to bee stings, and anaphylactic shock just ain't pretty.

I moved closer. Anaphylactic shock or not, curiosity gets THIS Kat every time. Along the trunk, I see a darkened mass, which seemingly seethes with golden stripes, like a molten tiger. It takes me a few seconds to figure out what I am seeing. It's a bivouac of honey bees! It's about 8" long by 6" wide, by maybe 4-5" thick. It's beautiful!

SO! My brain starts whirring, startling the Starlings who are stealing cat food off the porch. I have about 500 apple trees! Not to mention the few plums and peaches, and huckleberries and blueberries which are making a valiant effort to thrive here... Fruits and vegetables LIKE pollenators! I wonder??? I called upon my Good Friend, Google

I m awaiting a local beekeeper to come look and see if we can "socialize" them.

How cool!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Well, Bless Her Heart

There is this delightful phrase that Southern women have used for decades. It's rather catty, (no, not moi!) but is oh! so! appropriete sometimes to remind yourself that 1) Some people really SHOULD be outta the gene pool, and 2) it's OK to realize Fact #1

I made mention of this phrase in my post yesterday about the Hollyweird Twit who has instigated a (county-paid, mind you) lawsuit against her neighbor who has been *gasp* FEEDING STRAY CATS! OH! The Horror! The Pain! The Despicability!

This, then, are the definitions:
Bless Her Heart
Bless Her Heart
and well, Bless Her Heart.


Friday, July 10, 2009

The Weird Meet the Council of Logic

So this Beverly Hills twit is trying to cast a Trap/Neuter/and Release (TNR) Advocate who's been feeding stray cats (and trapping them, and getting them altered IN OTHER WORDS, she's part of the SOLUTION, not the Problem) into the Brig for disobeying the law. Well, Bless Her Heart. (If you would like a translation of that little gem, I will write it up in a minute, and edit it for *HERE*)

WHAT IN THE GODS FORSAKEN GOODNESS is with this idiot?? (Yep, it's my Blog, and I can call this Hollyweird Debutante an idiot if I want to.) Alleys aren't "public", they are semi-private convenience egress and ingress. ANYWAY, here's the Scoop, I thought it was well done!

Beverly Hills Ruling on Ordinance to Criminalize Stray Cat Feeders

The Proposed Ordinance

What a CRIME!! against "Humanity"?

And Another

What are we coming to? This is not enlightened behavior. This is .. tragic, evil and incredibly selfishly stupid.

Perhaps it strikes a chord in me, since all of my cats (all "too many of them") are strays and ferals that I have trapped, spayed/neutered, and either kept safe in my house so they may not be harmed, or released. (Depending on their requirements "personality", or "tameability")

Just Bless this Twit's Wee Little Pea-Shaped Heart.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!

What a lovely weekend. Thursday and Friday we went to the Safeway Waterfront Park Blues Fest for the 22nd Annual Oregon Food Bank event. For a mere $10.oo and two cans of food, you get a whole day's worth of blues. Thursday was 3 pm - 10:30 pm, Friday was Noon to 10:30 pm.

I was in heaven!

And then today is America's birthday! Not my puppy America, but the USofA America. Let the fireworks commence!


Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunny Beaches!

Well, no beaches here, but lots of sunshine and the grasses (which I have not been able to QUITE control) are blooming with a surfiet and copious amount of pollen. I awaken each morning ready for Zyrtac! MMMMMMM Zyrtak. Friend to Allergic Gardeners Everywhere.

Seems we have 2 new ferals since the coyotes took my wee friend Dinkum /sadness.. I miss Dinkum with his whinings at the door for MEAT, MOM, MEAT! He would devour an entire chicken quarter in minutes flat. He demanded his due attention. These 2 new ones are just your basic skittish ferals moving in to fill the vacuum left by Wee Dinkum's demise. *sigh*

I must make a new appointment for the Hobbits and Mimi to join the Clip of the Month Club. The coupon expired. *bah*

I deep watered the (soft evergreen big tree person whose name I can never remember, good thing I kept the tag!) and my two baby apple trees.. BOY were they dry! BAD Mommy. Gave everything up there a soaking to.

The Salad Bar Garden is looking lush, or wait a minute, am I the Juicy Lush, and the Garden is just growing? Lushfull thinking.

The tomatoes are looking quite nice. I have a few SunGolds already ripening, and a few Stupice, Glaciers, and Celebrities getting sizeable. I have a few eggplants ready for harvest and a yummy new recipe to try with them!

Nihki is growing like a weed, no new photos yet, since I STILL don't have a digital camera. Spoiled, I be, with this film developing thing! HA!

My Work Horse Computer --upon which my entire website resided, and my full version of Office 2003, Windows XP, Cute FTP< and Cute Map not to mention Paint Shop Pro (whose disk I have no nso worries there) finally gave up the ghost. I am attempting to have the data retrieved. I only pray it's NOT a SATA system, as those are more difficult to fetch information from. If you're out there, with a spare moment between hoeings, I would appreciate a pray or three for the successful retrieval of said files and folders. 12 years worth of work in there.

Off to shower my self in preparation for a long, warm day at work.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Fairy Day!

My friend Twig the Fairy reminded me that today is Fairy Day.

Happy Fairy Day!

So how did you spend YOUR Fairy Day? I spent mine with the Garden Faes. Now I know Carol will understand this, and I hope she spent a lovely day with her friends, the garden faes. Mine helped me tend to the garlics today. With their help, I discovered an underground shrew factory. These evil minions had been attacking the roots of my wee plants. We exposed their evil plan.

I left a Gift of a dish of cream, several small baby beets, and some tender baby lettuces to grace their dining.

Here's a place to puruse Fairy Garden furnishings : The Fairy's Garden
and places where Faerie gather, and you can invite the Fae Folk into your gardens
Fairy Divas

I puttered about, pulling weeds, and watering the Salad Bar, playing with Nihki, and taking her for a nice long walk. Drinking from the hose like a child on a hot summer's day. I found myself altogether delighted with the world I live in, and my friends the Garden Faes all nodded in unison, as they gamboled and danced amongst the flower petals.

May your Fairy Day be Blessed!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On Becoming A Juicy Goddess!

Lately I have been feeling my age. I took a spill on the work tractor after someone left the tractor out in the rain overnight. The bucket was slick as cat spit, and I did the splits backwards and dislocated my left hip out of socket. So now, month plus later, I walk like a crippled up old woman, and look longingly at fancy walking sticks.

Leaves a serious dent in my self-esteem! So I look in my Roomie's reading library, and what should I see? "On Becoming an Older Goddess". YIPPEE!!! THAT'S what I shall do, I shall focus on my Goddess hood, and remember how to be juicy! Living Juicy! Starting right now, starting with this next breath. I turn the radio up HIGH, and I dance, (pirouetting on my one good leg) with my arms upraised... I step outside and just take a moment to glory in the breeze, in the sun, in the splendor of the day. I raise up my head, and open my throat with a good long howl to the heavens, which, of course, instigates a Howleluja Choir sing-along with the Kidz.

And do you know what? It WORKS! A lovely day. A friend stopped by and we measured out what will soon be my new house extension, The Kat Kondo, for the kitties... It will be attached to the house, and will include the third bedroom window, so that the kitties will have an inside access, where we can feed and pet them, and an outside environment where they can feel the breezes in their fur, play with butterflies, hunt bugs, eat grass, and throw it back up again. We're using some old framed in windows on the east side, to protect against the rain, it'll be roofed by either aluminum, or Lexan, (a see-through polycarbonate roofing material rated for 20+ years) depending on what I can afford... and then we are using chainlink for the rest of the walls, sunk into a concrete ditch, so that no predators can push their way in. There'll be a double-entry door, glass on the outside, and a small framed-in wire door on the inside, so that when I go inside to clean litter boxes (as this will be where all the litter boxes will go -- OUTSIDE! *yay*) and to play with the kitties, there will be no dashing between my legs out into the wilds.

I'm quite excited about this project, as it will mean I will be able to have my bedroom back. WEEEEEE! To sleep in my own bedroom with my own bathroom and no kitties dancing on my head at night! *happy dance*

A serious step towards Goddess-ness. /nod. We all achieve our Goddesshood in a different dance!


Monday, June 15, 2009

On Yer Knees, Grrrrl!

Wrong clothes, it was cloudy, but of course now that I am OUT in the garden, and on my knees in the Prayerful Position with sweat running down my neck into my t-shirt, the sun comes out and I am DRENCHED, can hardly see for the sweat in my eyes.. Pulling weeds, skittering about on my hands and knees in the soil... The knees of my sweats are dark rich chocolate with the soil of my garden.

Think I waited a tad too long for the lettuces... They look a bit beaten, but they are not bolted... SO! Maybe I shall have some lovely salad greens available to me for dinner... I planted another set of Walla Wallas, because oh my goodness, one can never have too many sweet onions! And I planted 6 more broccoli starts, since the slugs hit the ones I planted by seed.. ALTHOUGH! Once on my knees, I realized that I have more broccolis than I figured.. I should have some lovely steamed broccoli florets this summer...Yesh ....

The slugs did, however, take out the majority of my organic spinach, may the Goddess take their slimey souls before I can salt them. The ones who lived look like they bolted before they even had leaves. /sadness. *sigh*

I think I may have pulled up some of my parsnips, not knowing the plants look like carrots. So, why aren't there pictures of what the plants look like? I know what the ROOT looks like, but goodness me! And dagnabbit, but marigolds look just like weeds until you pull them up, and smell them. *bah* And the SMELL is what I wanted them for!

Nary a single Diva cucumber came up, so now I know that Diva cuc seeds are not viable past 4 years even if well-kept in the fridge with dessicant and ziplok baggies. Only TWO of my organic cuc seeds came up, and I am nursing those two wee plantlets, but the organic Muncher cuc starts I bought are doing very well.

I planted 2 starts of Early Butternut squash, and skipped all the rest of the squash, hoping to get some nice sweet butternuts for winter soups.

That derned puppy Nihki moved my garden stakes, or else I was sleep walking, because there's SOMETHING in there that doesn't look like a weed, but sure as heck doesn't look like anything I'M familiar with.. I'll let it grow, and see what happens. The Mystery Plant.

and I realized as I was pulling weeds that there is a BUNCH of volunteer tomato plants in this garden from downed fruits from last year. I wonder what kind?

wash off the sweat, git off yer kneees, Grrrrl! Off to place the 54" tomato cages about the perimeter sectors of tomatoes. I still have 6 more Bonnie Best tomatoes to find homes for... My friend Doc Lloyd passed away before I could plant the tomatoes I grew for him. I don't think I'll ever taste a Bonnie Best without thinking of him. What a delight my friend Doc was.

Gardening is when I am closest to the Angels.