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Archive for July, 2009

For the first time I am participating in Nursemyra’s monthly T-Shirt Friday.   Usually she inspires us with a “Corset Friday” post, which is well worth visiting.  She has a collection of lingerie that is so good it has almost convinced me I should go out and buy some panties.   I would participate in “Corset Friday” if I had any corsets, which I don’t, but t-shirts I have.

This t-shirt was sold at the Marin County Fair and Exposition in (we think) 1992.  The theme of the fair was inspired by the movie “Dances With Wolves,” which had recently come out.   We had just moved to Missouri and were dancing with beef cows on a daily basis, and found this t-shirt to be absolutely fabulous.   Unfortunately, I am rapidly loving it to death.

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Make sure you go visit the other participants:

Azahar, Nursemyra, Silverstar, sledpress, 70s teen, mudhooks, and renal failure.

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It’s been an up and down week over at The Havens.

My third Blog Anniversary went by on the 24th without me noticing it particularly.   I am amazed at the number of people I have met over the ensuing time I have blogged, and feel blessed by the associations.   Thank you all for stopping by and getting to know me.  It has been a lot of fun so far.

Anyone who tells you that hormonal disturbances are over after menopause is blowing smoke, I can tell you.  I don’t have the huge mood swings I did in my younger years, but there is still stuff going on, no doubt about it.   At least since I dropped below 180 I have not had any more hot flashes.   I read somewhere that your adipose tissue produces estrogen, and that is why when we are in peri-menopause our female bodies have a tendency to put on some weight in preparation for or in response to the drop in estrogen production from the ovaries as they slow down.  That is also why extremely obese men tend to develop some “female” characteristics.  Anyway, if it is true that estrogen/progesterone imbalance promotes hot flashes and fat makes estrogen, having too much fat would certainly contribute to an imbalance and getting rid of same would help correct it, right?

Anyway, whatever the reason, I am happy not to be having the damned hot flashes.  Knock on wood.

Another source of joy here is our vegetable garden, which has started producing some appreciable quantities of rather lovely vegetables.   Yesterday I went out and scouted around and came up with this:

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The sort of long green things in the upper left corner of the basket are long green Thai eggplants, and we had them for dinner last night in a Mediterranean vegetable sauté that was positively outstanding.  As you can see, the broccoli is still producing enough to eat, we have a couple of gallons frozen for future reference.   Those are the first “real” crop of green beans off the vines.  They are scheduled to be eaten tonight, I think, along with the jägerschnitzel Jim is planning to cook.

We had a volunteer cucurbit of undefined parentage show up in the spring garden, and since it wasn’t bothering anyone I let it grow out to see what I had.   What I have is a seedling of a wild gourd I brought home from the river several years ago to provide harvest decor for my front door.

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The gourds that are coming out of the garden are considerably larger than the ones that were growing on the gravel bar; I guess they respond to good nutrition the same as any plant.   The original gourds I discarded out on the “back forty”.  Well, they didn’t get ground up and the pile they were in didn’t get very hot, and the following spring I noticed that the pile of dirt where they volunteered that year got completely covered with gourd vines, rampantly covered even.   Eventually, I decided that the gourd that ate Missouri did not need to be growing in my back yard and I pulled them all up.   Apparently, there are still seeds hiding in some plant version of a terrorist cell in my compost area, and this vine showed up in the garden.   At first it was pretty cute, and I saw no female flowers on it so I let it go.   Now it is of terrifying proportions, and the next time I go out to the garden I’m pulling it out of there.  I need the pea fence for my fall pea crop.

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Notice that the thing has climbed up into the grape arbor and is comingling with the grape vines.   Apparently it does not suffer from acrophobia.   I fully intend to put the actual gourds in the trash.   I don’t really want any more of this thing on the place.   So this is a source of both joy, because it truly is beautiful and the pollinators love the flowers; and despair, for I fear that I will never completely get rid of it now that I have brought it on the place — a sort of “Old Man of the Sea” situation.

Oh joy, oh rapture, the front garden is looking its typical lush July self.

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See the pale pink on the left?   Those are the naked ladies, up and flaunting their juicy blossoms.

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I just love the pale blue/lavender tips on the petals.

The despair in this garden is sort of hidden.   I have planted numerous bulbs in there, which of course aren’t really in evidence today.   When I was beating back the black eyed susans, who think they should have the whole garden; and the spiderwort, which thinks the same thing; I discovered a trove of bulbs in the area I was digging up.  In that area I know there are grape hyacinths and star of Bethlehem, and I’m pretty sure there are some pink chionodoxa there too.    I sort of had my eye out for the chionodoxa because I wish to use it in another spot.   Needless to say, when I dug up the area there was a plethora of bulbs in there, none of which I could identify and all of which look very similar to each other.   I am in despair as to how to identify the chionodoxa from the other two small bulbs I know are there.   At least the daffodil bulbs that came out of there I can recognize as such, and they are scheduled to be put into the labyrinth project.

Here is a combination “joy and despair” picture of the root cellar terrraces.

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Joy:  look at all those lily plants.  They bloomed beautifully and smelled fabulous;  over the years they have propagated themselves like gangbusters.   The irises I have out there are beautiful, the sedum (Autumn joy) is working itself up to it’s August fireworks display, the day lilies are wonderful, the phlox is ecstatic.   So why the despair?

Look closely at the front of the bed.   There you can see an infestation of bermuda grass that is trying to take over this garden.   I have tried to dig it out twice now.   It has its rhizomes deep under the rocks of the terraces, wound around between them, and invading the beds behind.   I have no choice but to either use some sort of chemical (which would be absolutely the last resort for me as I am truly committed to organic agriculture), or to tear out the whole garden including the rocks and the steps so laboriously established there and meticulously sift out all the bermuda grass.

Does this sound like a lot of work?   For an idea of just how much, take a gander at this picture which gives you some idea of the scale of the rocks I am considering moving.

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Those timbers on the left are old rail road ties.  This whole area is a source of mingled joy and despair for me.   It is so beautiful, and now it is turning into such a bear of work.  I can’t even imagine what I am supposed to do with all the lilies and stuff that is in there already while I do the tear out, if I do tear it out.  Will they survive?   Who will help me move those rocks?   Jim has a torn rotator cuff ligament in his shoulder and does not need to be heaving on any over 100 pound rocks at present.   I just don’t know what to do and the longer I put it off the farther that damned grass goes and the worse the situation gets.   Needless to say, yielding to the grass is not an option, because mowing or weed eating the thing is impossible with all those rocks.   Don’t even suggest I cover them all up with dirt.  They are WAY too cool a selection of rocks to treat that way.

Last joy and despair.    Houseplants.   The happier they are, the more they propagate.   I was moving my aloe vera outside and a piece fell off it.   I looked all the roots on the piece and said to myself, “I should pot this up.”  So I did.   It has absolutely loved what I did, the one single piece of aloe has filled the pot.

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Joy, because I love seeing things grow and thrive.  Despair because I have a hard time throwing out the “trimmings” of houseplants and I am running out of room to house them.  I am also running out of friends to foist them off on give them to.   Maybe it is time to harden my heart.

Well, I shall cling to the joy and try to set aside despair for now.   It has been raining regularly around here, almost unheard of in July (joy), so everything is growing like mad, including the lawn (despair, sort of).   So I need to go out and do some lawn mowing.

Guess I’d better get busy.

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I knew that something was up as soon as my mom got out of bed today.   She had those clothes on that smell like my brother and the river.   And she got that white box out that she puts delightful smells into.   Sometimes it is crunchy grain thingies and that soft stuff that is white and pungent  that so often goes on the hot bread meat herb flat thing He makes, but today it had a stingy acidy smell and it only had those crunchy things She brings in from the place out back where I have to stay on the paths but sometimes there are rabbits I have to chase.

Anyway, I knew she was going to go see my brother Slick and the river especially when she started putting things in the car.   I saw the paddle and the floatation.  I watched Her.   She made Him breakfast and they both ate and I could smell the roasted meat underneath the hot peppers and there were eggs and hot bread and several different fats wafting over to me as I waited in the carpeted area where They think I should sit when They eat.    Oh, I thought I really wanted to go along but sometimes I don’t get to, so I waited and I hoped.

After awhile She said “Okay, Come on” and I knew that I was going to get to go this time and I could hardly wait to see Slick and wrassle and chase and maybe even bark even though She doesn’t really like it when I bark but I get so excited I just can’t help it.  But then I had to wait while They did that thing They do with their faces it’s so boring.   But finally they broke it up and then I had to Sit and then it was Dog Out and Oh boy there was a rabbit over in the vineyard and I guess I showed it where it was supposed to be and then She called me and it was Dog In and we started to GO.  It was great.  She even rolled the windows down.  She always does until I get tired of having the wind push my eyelids off my eyeballs and stop putting my face out the window.

After a long time we finally got there and I was very confused because Slick wasn’t there and no one knows where he is.  My other Mom said they thought he was looking for romance but I don’t know what that is because my mother had me spayed a long time ago.   Anyway, he wasn’t there which was a bummer because I really was thinking wrassling would be good and even though Marshmallow was there he’s nice but he’s not my brother plus he’s pretty old and gets stiff and sometimes in a bad  mood and doesn’t really like games all that much.  So anyway Slick didn’t get to go floating with us because he was off chasing tail whatever that means.

I got to swim, and run, and She kept throwing things into the River but when I went out there to get them the way I am Supposed to they weren’t there and everyone kept laughing at me.  She tried to make me stay on shore while she threw those things that disappeared but I know I have to go out there and get stuff when She throws it that’s my Job.    I’m a retriever.   My first and last names are Retriever, I heard my other Mom say so and I guess that’s about right.   She was actually pretty annoyed with me but I didn’t understand I had to go get the stuff  it’s my Job.

So after a while She said She guessed she had better stop trying to skip rocks when I was around or I would drown trying to find them.  I don’t know but it’s my Job.  So then She threw a stick and that was good.  Then my Other Mom threw sticks and that was great too.

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I was really starting to get tired by that time.   See, when we are in the river I don’t like to get to far ahead of Her after all She could get lost.   Once She and He were lost forever and when They came home and they smelled very funny for weeks afterwards and I didn’t like that even though that guy that fed me and lived with me while they were gone was a very nice man and petted me and fed me and took me for walks he wasn’t Her or Him.

Anyway.   So I had to keep swimming back to where She was to make sure She was really coming and not lost, even though She kept telling me I didn’t have to and then She would get ahead of me and I would have to swim very fast to catch up and She kept telling me I could run on the bank and I tried it but that was too far away from Her.   I like to be near Her, you know.  It’s just better that way I don’t know why.  So I did a lot of swimming.

So then since I was all panting She thought maybe I should be in that weird Tippy thing that floats on the water with her in it.   I was very confused even though She kept telling me Dog In I know that means get into the car so we can go for a walk or go inside the gate or come inside the house with Her or Him but this was very confusing.   So I lay down on the gravel bar right next to the Tippy thing to show her I didn’t mean any disrespect but I just didn’t know about Dog In when it means a tippy dizzy making thing with funny noises outside it that is cold when you lie on the floor.   So she got out of the Tippy thing and showed me I could put my front paws in there and after they were in my hind paws and tail just sort of came along, and she said Good Dog and that made it cool.

Then She got in and I swam for a while without having to swim.   And then She started laughing and told me to Sit Still and so I stayed as quiet as I could but my Other Mom kept talking and pointing and I had to look at her several times.   I don’t know what they thought was so funny.

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After a while She told me I could get out of the Tippy thing and I was glad.  Then I swam some more.   After we practiced Dog In a few more times I finally got the hang of it especially after Marshmallow told me how silly I was and showed me how easy it was.   But then it wasn’t that easy because we got hung up on a rock.  She said it was because my fat butt made the front of the canoe heavy and it acted like a pig boat whatever that is.   Anyway the Tippy thing got really tippy for a minute and She told me to sit still but I just had to look over the edge of the Tippy thing and the water was RIGHT THERE and it made me nervous but then she did People Out and things were okay again even though it seemed like there was an awful lot of water inside the Tippy thing with me.  Then I had to do Dog Out and then we swam down to where everybody else was waiting for us.  And everybody said what a good thing it was that we didn’t really totally dump because that might have been bad for the camera whatever that is.

It was a beautiful day, not too hot but that doesn’t really matter when you are swimming.

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We got back to the house where my other Mom lives and Slick still wasn’t there so I was ready to go home and have my dinner.  When we got there He was there!   That was good He could have gotten lost like before but He didn’t and the house smelled really good too.  I had dogfood like always.  They got to have steaks grilled out on that thing outside that gets hot and there was other stuff that got cooked on it too I could smell it but it was that stuff that comes out of the place out back where I have to stay on the paths and I don’t really care for that kind of food much.   Steak smells really great though.  But dogfood is really good too.

I’m really tired.   After we got home and I ate dinner I fell hard asleep and I don’t even care if there’s a rabbit in the labyrinth or not, even though I dreamed of one a little while ago.

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I know I mentioned a couple of days ago that I lost my radical eye protection out at our friend Doug’s place.   Actually, the way I put it in that post, that they had gone off for an adventure down south county was pretty accurate.

We got home after all four of us had searched and not found the eye protection.  All afternoon I kept getting vibes from my darling that he was Not Pleased With Me.   So finally, I asked him if the vibe I was getting was correct, and he assured me that it was.   He informed me that he thought I was being particularly careless when I lost those sunglasses.

Well, pardon me.   I am going off on a tangent here, but it is germane, so bear with me.  There is a reason why I don’t ordinarily spend more than 5 or 10 dollars on sunglasses.   As Jeri points out, the expensive sunglasses don’t float any better than the cheap ones.   This is very true.   What is also true is that I have a long history of seeding the Universe with sunglasses.   When we lived in San Francisco I lost a very nice pair of RayBans, a gift which was quite expensive.  They fell out of my pocket at a Giants game, which began in the afternoon and concluded after 13 innings way after dark (they won, by the way).  Since it was full dark when I left Candlestick, no one thought it was particularly thoughtless that I did not notice that they were no longer with me at the time.

After I had lost a certain number of sunglasses, both cheap and expensive, the Universe began coughing them up at unexpected intervals.   I found some next to a hiking trail where I was picking up garbage, some showed up at the beach, etc. etc.   I thought I was more or less breaking even.  There was a period of time when I had three or four sets hanging around in my desk drawer.

The irony is, when I went to Costa Rica I was presented with a set of sunglasses that were a brilliant pink, said “Costa Rica” on the side bars, and probably cost about 2 bucks.   I was able to hang onto those glasses for over six years, even after they had a bent piece of wire replacing the lost screws holding the eyepieces on, while the RayBans managed to stay with me about four months.

So it was not a bit surprising to me that a really cool pair of sunglasses had wandered off, but I forgot these were not merely sunglasses, these were ballistic eye protection.   Anyway, the way my spouse was acting made me inquire as to exactly how much this sort of eyewear actually costs, since I have never actually purchased any nor have I actually been in the actual store where they are actually sold.   He informed me that they run around a hundred bucks for a set and suddenly his jaundiced attitude made sense to me.

However, we discussed my history and he allowed as how anybody who was going to spend that kind of money for eyewear for me should do so with an open and informed mind.

So, the attitudes all adjusted, we enjoyed a sumptuous repast and I went off to walk the dog.   When I returned home fully exercised, we sat down to enjoy a little television and we began planning the following day.   This was when my husband let me know that while I was out with Ruby he had called Doug and let him know that he was planning on coming down in the morning and looking for my sunglasses some more.  Now, I was gratified that he found this so important, but I had plans for addressing the jungle behind the pond and asked him if he thought I needed to come along.  No, I could stay home and work here.

I need to explain that Doug’s vegetable garden, where the missing sunglasses were no doubt amusing the rabbits and turtles, is a lot more of a jungle than you usually expect to see when thinking “vegetable garden.”   Several years ago he had the misfortune to acquire straw bales for mulch that were full of Johnson grass seed, and he refers to the resulting scourge as his green manure crop.  He rototills it into the garden a couple of times every summer.  Interestingly enough, all this miscellaneous rampant vegetation does not seem to bother the healthy vegetables planted amidst it.  The “green manure” is about thigh high right now; interspersed with it is a lot of smart weed and sundry other rampant things.  Doug assured us that he never rototills before he has weed-eaten, and he promised to keep an eye out for those sunglasses when he did.

However, as Jim loaded up the truck preparatory to going out to search, it was patently obvious that he was not waiting for Doug to do anything.  He was loading up his own weed-eater, and the gas can, and his gloves, boots, etc.  I asked him how much of Doug’s garden he was planning to weed-eat for him, and he said “As much as I need to.”   So I told him where I thought it was likely the missing glasses had slipped away, and he went off on his mission.   I knew that he would not return without the sunglasses, he is pretty stubborn.

I was right.   When he returned, he handed the eye protection to me like the trophy it was, and I fulsomely thanked him.    Then I inquired as to where they had landed.  They had been enjoying the view of the giant sunflowers.   I asked him how much of the garden he had had to clear.  He said about a quarter of it.   Systematically, he cleared about one fourth of a garden that is every bit of half an acre just to find that errant eyewear.

Now, I do not flatter myself that he did this only out of love for me, although I am sure that is part of it.   He also did it because he loves and respects our son, and did not want to disrespect the gift that had been so generously bestowed on me.

The back story of this is that not only did he do that, but Doug went out the evening before and looked for them, and spent a couple of hours out there in the morning before Jim got there with the weed eater.   I know this because Cathy, Doug’s partner, told me.

She also told me that they were considering grabbing the sunglasses and throwing them back out there once they were found, just so they could get some more weed eating done.   (Yeah, uh-huh.  Much giggling.)

This has made me feel very loved.  Jim was willing to put out quite a lot of effort to find something I lost, and so was Doug.  But it isn’t just that I am loved.  They are both very special guys.

Especially Jim.  If I sound partial here, it is because I am.

P. S.  When he started acting crippled later in the afternoon, I realized that all that concentrated weed eating had done a seriously bad number on his lower back, and so I threw him down on the massage table and worked out those kinks.   I love him right back.

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PhotoHunt

The theme for Photohunt today is utensils.   After cogitating briefly on the concept of utensils, I decided that this still life with garden tools was just made for this theme.

This selection of tools is what I was using to make my flagstone paths in the Stroll Garden.  Of course there is a shovel, and my cobra head garden tool (with the blue handle), which is probably my all-time favorite tool for garden chores.   It is useful for weeding, loosening soil, digging out things you don’t want, and also for making holes for transplanting.   The hammer and star chisel are there because the project required using some sandstone that had been cemented into a wall, and I wanted to break that stuff off.  The axe is an invaluable accessory for this sort of project due to the large numbers of tree roots that infested the pathway areas.   Last, but not least, are my gloves, without which a gardener should NEVER start heaving rocks about.

11 Nov 2007 still life with tools

Head on over to the Photohunt base site to see what other people have decided epitomizes “Utensils”.

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