Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

well…….

Who knew that screaming would be totally out of the question so soon after I mentioned it here?  We became engulfed, enrobed we can say even, in smoke about three weeks ago.  Thus turning my life into one long Inhaler episode, removing any ability really to speak, or go outside. Or sleep, or breathe, or any number of things.   A bit of a fugue state, it has nonetheless allowed me to catch up on The New Yorker.

During which of course enough disasters have occurred to make a person wonder if it might not really be some kind of…something.  But what? Apocalypse? End of the beginning? Beginning of the end? We can see the fine hand of the forked tongue in the non-pictorial non-coverage of what’s gone on, at least on network TV.  The same pictures were shown over and over both for Harvey and Irma, but none that really showed what was happening and to what extent.  Nothing at all of the first earthquake in Mexico or hurricane information, either. The recent event in Mexico City is so big I guess it cannot be ignored but even so unless one watches Telemundo there isn’t much real information.  Likewise no film has been shown here, really, of all the fires that caused the above enrobement…because? Initially there WAS one news clip but OMG.  What was that in the picture there kids? It was a lot of marijuana plants, in an undoubtedly (due to size) illegal grow.  No aerial footage whatsoever after that, and barely even a mention of what was making the air yellow and solid either.  Ignorance is not necessarily bliss.

However, as usual, the kitchen has offered some solace from all this.  I finally may have gotten sauerkraut to work.cabbage1

And also, the butternut and other squash went insane to our amazement, and we’ve now got close to 30 butternuts stacked up for winter.  So that’s a good thing. Also a very good thing in that butternuts are something the Dog can not only eat, but goes cross eyed with bliss when he sees some in his bowl.  I also made a pickle from some of our never ending lemon squash so we’ll see how that comes out- curry flavor, and some prudently saved brine from prior pickles worked just fine.  It’s the Partner’s un-birthday tomorrow, so chocolate gelato seemed in order.  Fish tacos and homemade tortillas.  No singing but what can you do?  In other exciting news, we were reunited this week with the wonders of having a rear view mirror.  Readers may recall the funfest involved in obtaining Rear View Mirror Adhesive.  However, there was more.  This stuff could only be used between temperatures of 55 and 72 degrees F.  The people around here I told that to got hiccups from laughing.  So, they said, when hell freezes over, or February? Turns out it was 70! the other morning for about two hours so the Partner sprang into fixative action and I must say, it’s quite nice having that thing back.

This not being able to breathe business has, however,  made me feel even more grateful for all the good things in my life, and the ever present Bigger Picture of all of us on this planet.  Assuming, as I do, that improved functioning will resume sooner or later for both my lungs and the world in general, it’s given me an opportunity, lying flat and all,  to think about everything in our days with appreciation, instead of what was starting to loom which was more like $$%%!!!.  Still haven’t vacuumed but one task at a time, right?  I continue with redoubled effort to pray for some kind of sanity to envelop Washington DC at the same time as I think just how wonderful it is to have a garden and Nature to talk to, work with and in.  And a dog.  And a Partner who’s having an un-birthday.  Blessings and thanks!

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oh, dear.

The Partner has been striding around the yurt lately uttering the phrase, “white man speaks with forked tongue.” Declaiming, more like it.  He has the first nations bloodline to back this up, so we allow it.  I always kind of abjured the phrase, thinking it was a bit insulting to snakes.  Just like calling a person a “pig” is usually an insult to the pig. Looking it up just now, I learned that hummingbirds also have a split tongue and for heaven sakes- hummingbirds, while pugnacious, are pretty straightforward so I still don’t quite get it.  The meaning, however, is clear.  The possessor of the forked tongue is a liar.  Often a murderer and pretty much always a cheat.  Not a ringing endorsement.

So, here I am, having already been declaimed at this morning, on general principle, when two things intruded themselves into my consciousness, much like a Buick plunging through a picture window.  I’d just come in from the garden so I was hot, and a bit woozy but still.  First, there’s the news from Dixie, where someone has already been killed at a white supremacist rally concerning the removal of a Confederate War Hero Statue.  It always makes me wonder, this flaunting of the losing side’s icons for over a hundred years.  If this weren’t so totally awful I might be able to find amusement in the oxy(contin?)MORONIC aspect of a white supremacist rally.  But I really can’t.  Then, in what turned out to be a mindfuck channel surf, the Partner happened on the movie “Red Dawn”.  The description of which, provided by the TV network (Fox, so get ready), was “When North Koreans viciously attack a small town…” the plucky residents blahblahblah.

The movie is about Russians, as it happens.  But the Giant Forked Tongue that has taken over a high level U.S. office  (through- interestingly? a mechanism introduced after the civil war by…well.  Look that up and see) has somehow, so quickly one might have missed it, inserted the very forked tongue of which we speak deep into the heart of this country.  It must not be tolerated, Gentle Reader.  Fearmongering propaganda must be called what it is.  When tv stations start misdescribing movies in this highly politicized way, we have a big problem.  Time to wake up and say something.

 

a happy anniversary

It was on this day two years ago that the Dog moved in with us.getPart-1It’s hard to tell just how small he was here (this isn’t a big chair)…not of course as small as that first evening when he rushed out from under the yurt, famished and throwing himself on our mercy, and later after having eaten and shaken paws with us,  falling asleep on the deck and snoring.  All 16 inches of him, bowlegged and eight weeks old, barely old enough to be away from his mother.  How such a tiny creature survived the rigors of this place- how he even GOT to us- remains a mystery.  But get here he did, and for about a week (we surmised) he sized us up whilst eating strawberries and flowers on the quiet, revealing his presence in the nipped off potato flowers and overturned saucers we use for bird baths.  I guess we passed muster, and also he was STARVING.  Then came toys, food, a bed which was greeted with his first smile, a leash, car rides and pratfall filled walks.  A heretofore undiscovered world of dog life.  And now?

lord:master

This is HIS house.  Even if it is over 90f in here right now and he’s a bit pink as a result, augmented by the red light from all the smoke in the air (which is just the teensiest bit creepy and unnerving).  He has a smile that captures even the hardest heart (even if he teases me by getting all serious the minute I have my phone pointed at him), and his arrival has been, and is, one of the best things that ever happened to this bear.

Blessings and thanks!

the grace of ice cream

Things are somewhat indescribable of late.  Aside from the fact that it is mind numbingly hot, not even really cooling off at night.  (The tomatoes Do Not Like It at all but oddly the Butternut squash are going crazy, we have four Charentais melons on the vine, and the Chair Vert melon plant in the back has quadrupled in size to an almost sci-fi extent.)

The Dog has some allergic food reaction and is covered in spots.  There was, for the first time since we’ve been here, a fire that would have roared over the hill and destroyed our yurt (and maybe lives since it was blocking the only way out from here as well) if Cal Fire hadn’t gotten on it immediately.  It made me slightly sick to see the burnt place on the way into town,  but at least I got to thank the firefighters, barely able to not blurt out a question about how come they’re always so darn HANDSOME.  People I care about are having health issues and there’s a lot going on that seems very out of any kind of measure or control.   Also I found that as hard as I try, the poisonous atmosphere on Planet LPV and all that comes from same has crept into my little brain (aside, I mean, from wondering what I’ll do with no health insurance and an internet controlled by Comcast and Verizon, voter suppression and Environmental Protection c/o Exxon Mobil and how long til this guy gets COMMITTED???…oh well.  You probably know).  This was forcibly borne in upon me when in a couple of days, I got two follows on this blog, for which I am grateful!, in Arabic.  I watched my stomach clench as my brain said, Oh boy, this is IT.  “They” will ….they, who?, will do what, exactly? I mean, really? I get hits from all over the world, amazingly, and sometimes from places we’re “supposed” to fear.  (The many Russian hits are generally hacks and ripoffs from my website to porn sites, big surprise. Flower pictures, right?)  Don’t ask me what allure this bear’s life holds but there it is.  It’s kind of like when the sheriff drove up that day and clearly realized we’re just a couple of old hardheads and no arrest could, in any universe, be forthcoming for any reason.  ANYWAY the whole thing made me a bit more tense when I found that Google Translate would not let me cut and paste any language to be translated, as it usually does when such things come up.  Maybe it’s my antediluvean laptop. Finally I figured out that I could drag the text over and? Guess what? All of it was WONDERFUL poetry.  Beauty and expression thereof, carrying on a long tradition.  One person I couldn’t get enough blog translated to be able to leave a comment since, not reading Arabic, I couldn’t figure out where that might be.  So I very much hope they don’t think I am being rude.  I often wonder what would have happened to both Christianity and Islam had Capitalism not inserted its noxious snout- perhaps the inherent love at the base of both might have gotten the upper hand.  However, alas, it did and has and now? What the heck has happened to us that the simple act of reaching out and sharing one’s thoughts about reality becomes questionable and prone to causing wonder about who else might be “looking”.  At the same time I was filled with a kind of huge radiant joy at knowing there are people, everywhere, who do create beauty and strive for truth.  And  some of that was shared with me.

So.  Swinging between the twin poles of CHUFFED (followers! who write wonderful things!) and OH DEAR (fire, dog spots, dastardly politics) I turned to my latest obsession: Dulce de Leche.  Traditionally it is made of goat’s milk which is caramelized into total fabulousness.  It is also made quite simply by putting a can of Eagle Brand in a water bath for 40 minutes or so until it becomes thick and caramelized.  It being so hot and all ice cream seemed like the obvious solution for such a preoccupation.  Also I did not want to find that I’d eaten a whole can of Eagle Brand by itself.

The first batch was good, even if the experiment of caramelizing the Eagle Brand in the microwave went just. a. tiny. bit. awry.  The valiant and elderly microwave needed to be cleaned anyway and of course I expect this sort of things-reaching-past- their-assigned boundaries as routine.  The next time I started early in the morning on one day, using the stove, and putting the resulting cooked can into the refrigerator.  When it was cool enough a day or so later to even think about again turning on the stove, this is what I did:

1 cup of milk with the thickened Eagle Brand mixed in, heated slowly.  Three egg yolks beaten, tempered, and stirred in until spoon was properly coated.  Into the refrigerator with that.  About three hours later I mashed up a cup and a half of strawberries from the garden, put a tiny bit of sugar in them, and let them rest for a couple of hours.  A few drops of vanilla into the custard, berries mixed in, and into the ice cream freezer.  The Partner says it’s the best strawberry ice cream he’s ever had, and I think he may be right.  Now, if I can just convince the Dog that he’s not being punished by the now total absence of cheese treats, potato treats, and Daddy’s leftover milk from cereal, and get him to come out from under the table, all may yet be well.  May the Poetry be with you! and as always, blessings and thanks!

some days are harder than others

Fortunately we can begin with a gratuitous dog picture:

iAMthecutest

because otherwise, traction is not available at this location.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

Things are, it turns out, REALLY dependent upon one’s state of mind.  Ascension, for example, is real, even if the “definition” of it can be so airy fairy you think it’s got to be almost a scam of some sort.  The part that gets funky is realizing you get to implement a whole new mindset in the same place you were before.  One works toward inner peace and balance, and to do no harm and perhaps be of service.  That seems like a reasonable goal.  New mindset doesn’t sound like it should be a problem, right?  But.  I realized I was kind of thinking that new mindset might also involve a different actual place.  Silly bear.  What would the point be of achieving developmental progress in some easy, relatively problem free place?  After all, it’s EASY to maintain equanimity for the most part when your World isn’t acting like it wants to kill you.  The trick is realizing it’s all an illusion and there to be observed and experienced, no tampering required.

The no tampering part seems to be a bit of a sticking point.  Gardening gives you plenty of opportunity to see the problems with tampering- Nature doesn’t do the dumb stuff, and I have always wondered why humans felt they needed to “improve” it or change it.  Hybridize, clone, and fake it to literal death is more like what happens.  There’s really no good reason why anyone should be going hungry on this planet.  Except of course that the thrust of food production is toward mono-culture, chemicals up the yang, and killing the soil and all the pollinators in the process.  So there is desertification and food that actually now, for extra fun, makes you sick via endocrine disruption, heavy metal poisoning, not to mention nutrient deficiencies. All of which are presented to the public as no problem! and starving people….well, change the channel.  No problem!  I like to, and do, believe that people will turn the tide on this process, invest in community and personal gardens, and quit acting as though profits for the petrochemical industry are more important than anything else.

Of course, profits are kind of the bottom line of ick in all this.  It’s all about making money for a limited number of people, whatever it takes.  Poison the water, poison the air, who cares?  As long as we have control over it, a patent here and there on something that Nature made? it’s all good.

Which in a meandering sort of way leads me to the next light bulb that went off in between things falling over, the Dog eating a centipede or something and barfing all over the carpet, and my seeming inability to plan my activities in such a way as to allow their completion (this latter is of course a combination of procrastination and the bloody weather, for the most part, since I now allow a good several minutes or so at some point in the day for blubbing and decompression so as to get that Out of the Way in Order to Get Things Done.)  And this is? that in this country now, we no longer have the “rule of law”.  I personally find this rather scary, having long thought that reasonable rules, enforced by concensus and in practice, with processes and safeguards and attention, creates a more livable situation than not for everyone. Aside from the militarization of police, this is best exemplified in action by all the recent legislation around marijuana.

A lot of people probably think this has nothing to do with them.  And maybe it doesn’t except for the fact that there are  outright lies being stated as truth (such as there’s no research on the plant, it’s a “gateway drug”- which can be said of anything if you’ve got the brain chemistry for addictive processes) and thus as justification for certain actions, and this is a trend, across the board, about everything. Lies do not make good legislation or rules for living. The other thing is.  The overarching Federal law says this plant is illegal.  Some states have voted to make it legal in various situations.  Not dicey enough? local jurisdictions also have the ability to determine “legality”.  So.  We have something that’s illegally legal, and while there may in fact be a “law” that says everything is copacetic, there are generally at least two governmental entities in any given spot able to say the exact opposite.  Which means people can really get hurt.  For no reason I can see except the money to be made- the profits, if you will.  I always kind of thought that as soon as big tobacco and big pharma could get together on the profit margins, the stuff would be legal.  Now, here in California, it’s “legal”, with the federal and local caveats, and? to be taxed at a rate that makes credit card interest look like a bargain.  Philip Morris does not appear to be driving this particular bus- but investment bankers do.  So.  Aside from my general preoccupation with nature and healing and saving seeds and not poisoning things and all that, what makes me crazy about this is that “laws” are made, having huge impact on people’s lives, based on nothing except somebody’s desire to make money.  Just like the housing market bubble is being blown back up again, the thought form that creates this stuff is going full tilt.  And that is something that will lead to no good.

So net net the thing of it is….having a whole new mindset in the same place can actually move you forward.  It lets you see things more as they actually are, and you more as you are.  Then you can formulate ideas and actions.  While none of us can really tackle the beast whole, we can behave properly in our own lives, whether or not there is an external rule of law.  Another thing that means is we can no longer assume someone else will take care of things.  It means we have to stand up for each other, be conservative in the true sense of not wasting or abusing ANY resource, and establish the real rule of law, which of course, is love. ( See picture above for clarification if needed.)  It isn’t selfishness or profits or any of the things people turn to when their hearts are moribund and you need an electron microscope to detect them.  The real question now is what about all those hearts, after all? Blessings and thanks!

palimpsest

I’ve always liked that word, Gentle Reader, and since it means a surface containing layered images from various different periods of time which have been covered up by succeeding users of the surface with their own images which, in turn, get covered up by future users…..it just kind of makes sense in general to me.  It’s kind of what we are, really.

I guess it’s a good thing I like weathered surfaces, in short, given that I’m kind of turning into one.  And in that process, various things surface and submerge, day after day.

In the ongoing “What Would Pooh Do?” effort, we’ve had a couple of successes.  I found myself doing math in my head.  Multiplication and long division even.  Algebra!  And arriving at a correct answer, which was needed to figure out proportions in a tincture presently being made, and also one coming up as soon as I get more vodka.  This is quite something given that I always thought I “couldn’t do math”.  So.  Lesson learned was: don’t let other people tell you what you can and cannot do- try it out for yourself.  Gently, humming a bit.  It actually works.

In that vein as well I decided to play with the Dog when he wants to, even if I don’t since I often feel like I’m “too busy”.  A question of what’s important in a way, and the lesson here? is Joy is Always Important.  It helps with all the other spots of eye watering horror that pop up around here with Monotonous Frequency.  It’s harder to see that happy, bouncy, smiling yippee-ness of the Dog (with his various toys being tossed hither and yon requiring important sorties for retrieval along with extravagant praise for same) in humans but just knowing it is there makes it easier to just Do It all the time.  It really takes no effort to just smile or give a compliment or kind word- far less than coping with a slobbery, squishy dog toy actually.  And speaking of slobbery dog toys, we had another Step Forward today.  The Dog dashed out the door giving chase to a miscreant cat.  He’s done this a few times and it has always been dicey because he tends to run, and then just keep going…you know, for the Joy of it.  But today he actually came back when called.  We were both speechless.  Extravagant praise ensued, plus toast crumbs which he especially fancies.

jack 2:17

The third thing is realizing that we really do for the most part have just what we need.  The challenges and privations of our life now are real, and  it is way too easy to get sunk in anxiety and gloom about everything, and get on the What If Train to The Future (which as we do know is almost always a trainwreck).  The mood swoops all over the place at such times.  But! As usual cooking revealed the lovely picture underneath the more current spray painted scrawls.

It revolved around peanut sauce.  Kind of a necessity for certain noodle and vegetable dishes, as well as making a terrific glaze for broils and braises of whatever you might have.  It calls for fresh ginger which  I’d used up the day before so there I was at a pivotal last minute, chewing my lip.  We HAD to have peanut sauce of course, no question, and the clock was ticking.  And as I stood there the lightbulb went off.  I’d received, in a bit of a fiasco’d situation (since improved) a box of Fortnum and Mason stem ginger in chocolate.  The box is exquisite and ginger candy is a favorite.  FORTNUM AND MASON, after all. But? This stuff was ghastly.  A real British dessert, deafeningly sweet and a travesty of chocolate, if I may say so.  The ginger, however, was good and actually tasted like fresh.  So, I thought: hah! cut off the chocolate and use this ginger for the peanut sauce.  It worked like a charm.

Aside from enjoying the improvisational success, it really made me think about the fact that we do, in fact, have what we need.  If we’re calm enough to settle down and let it manifest- let, in short, the muddy water settle and clear.  As usual, the Dalai Lama is right: No reason for too much worry.  Just continue to saunter through the multi-acre wood, remembering that no matter how it looks, there’s something underneath and something to come and it will all work out.

Blessings and thanks!!

 

wereyotes

Among the many Special Things that occurred over the past month, the Return of the Turbo Coyote was quite striking.

We have coyotes around here, of course.  And roadrunners.  I myself seem to permanently inhabit Acme but after all this time, I’m used to explosions.  HOWEVER. This time has been different.  Usually it’s kind of a long, operatic YIPYIPYIPYIIIIIIPPPPPPyipyipyip…and so on.  Starts in early morning and continues sometimes until sunrise.  It’s really beautiful, actually and there are times we hear the patter of paws dashing down the road.   There’s even a sort of coyote restaurant at the creek where if you’re not careful where you step, there’s not only poop but dismembered tiny bodies, largely chewed but not completely. This year though?

This year is holding steady in the it’s all weird category.  The coyote we’ve had around lately sounds like nothing so much as as a half human creature, toothed and furred and standing up on muscular legs emitting a sound straight out of an old horror movie.  It finally came very close one morning, and the quick, strangled stop of the moan was almost funny when the Dog decided to Rise Up, Jump Onto the Floor with a Ponderous Yurt Shaking Thud, and BARK. It’s an interesting way to wake up and I found myself actually wondering if what was outside was…..in fact, a wereyote.  I’d believe it, at this point.  Some bizarre meeting up of zombie, dog, coyote, and probably one of our neighbors?  All theorizing aside, I’ve never heard a coyote like this one.  It really did sound almost human.

Then again, that’s how *I* feel for the most part of late- ALMOST human.  The effort it is taking to Remain Calm And Carry On In the Face of Everything provides constant food for thought and evaluation of both concept and execution.  This year has been a jam packed Expedition to Parts Unknown, let’s just say.  I have a SLIGHTLY better response time between losing my cool and pulling it together again and moving forward, so that’s something.  I’m much more clear about what I can, and cannot hope to, accomplish in any given area.  Whittling down the to do list to something smaller than Mt. Rushmore and maintaining both composure and humor is an ongoing process.  Things just take a long time, especially here, and when basic things like keeping your chainsaw running wind up taking weeks to accomplish at the same time as all the outdoor plumbing pipes give up the frosty ghost it’s hard to tell if one is laughing at the things life throws at you.  Or just hysterically.

Still.  All is possible, with love, for sure.  Even if it takes a minute to dredge it up.  Blessings and thanks! And all the very best wishes for the coming year.