Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

bees, temporarily

And yes, it is VERY exciting indeed, because now we’ve got cucumbers and squashes and several melons happening.  Even a few tomatoes!  Some unknown fruit pits have sprouted in the compost- I think they’re peaches but only time will tell- and lots of last year’s Anana Amerique melon seeds sprouted in there too.  Despite the often high levels of demoralization we experience around here, this stuff never fails to thrill me and put a smile on my face.

There was, also, an epic dessert disaster.  A friend who is gluten intolerant is coming to visit and I naturally thought, oh for sure there must be something sweet to eat.  I made an experimental fig gallette with coconut flour and cashew flour instead of wheat flour, using both coconut oil and butter.  Somehow, something got lost in the translation and although the taste was fine the appearance was gnarly.  In a way it was calming to realize that, actually, I don’t have to do that, don’t have to stretch into a rhomboid shape to have things be workable.  We’ll have fruit.  Simple and nothing wrong with it.  Especially since it’ll be from the garden.

This may be the tiny nugget finally and at long last retrieved from recent challenging brain excavations: In fact, things are fine.  No high falsetto handsprings need be done in an attempt to prove worthiness, or anything else for that matter.  We are enough as we are.

The ongoing question of what to do about the state of the world remains, of course.  But we had an interesting discussion about the shape and consistency of evil this morning, and the Partner’s opinion is that we are getting closer, through all current space exploration and photography, to seeing the origins not just of our world but of good and evil as well.  Imagine if evil and its attendant beleaguering effects on us all was essentially an old blast of cosmic bad breath?  We might all see that finally and our minds might change and then….well.  Then we’d start to enjoy ourselves once again, and things might be a whole lot clearer.  It’s kind of like we might realize that we don’t have to run around trying to impress anyone with anything- we just have to BE.  Or, bee, actually.  I’m going to stick with that for now.

still raining still dreaming

The world is oddly green around here now: Flourescent, almost.  It is incredibly calming, uplifting, and when one thinks about it, confusingly unseasonal.  The oak trees shot out a few new leaves during the week or so of “fall” we had, like emeralds in the midst of a fire, and now that all the brown dead leaves have blown away they linger uncertainly.  It’s hard to know what day it is, in short.

However it is December, this year is drawing to a calendrical close, and I feel oddly both bullet-proof and mangled beyond recognition.  But it is the nature of love that has been revealing itself to me of late.  I realized the other day that being cursed (we were drinking Maudite) and being very close to the divine often amount to the same thing experientially- what sets them apart is knowing that love is real.  When you feel cursed, you doubt and collapse.  When you are just that teensiest bit too close to the divine, the pain is similar but somehow you know it will shift and in the meantime there’s incredible stuff to see.

At long last it dawned on me that acting from love does not mean allowing things you don’t like or want in order to keep another person happy.  What is, is, how you feel is how you feel.  You simply have to develop your own beliefs and live in your own skin, whatever others may say about that.  You might ask, well, what about mad bombers or raging capitalists or…well, all of that worldly mayhem.  To my mind such individuals are living under the curse, believing they can control things and there is no limit to their actions.  Therefore in the long run success will not come from that direction.  It can only come from love. Everything really is an invitation to begin again- the difficulty we humans have is precisely that.  It’s hard for us to put down whatever we’re holding in a death grip and start over.  That start-over really does mean you start completely over.  How can this be made better?  How can this serve everyone involved?

Love really is the answer.  Perhaps acting from love means you refrain from injuring yourself.  Perhaps it means letting things move in their own time and accepting all the myriad realities existing around us without feeling the need to “do” something.  Love may not make you feel better the same way you think you feel better when acting under old patterning- but it does give you a way to turn the lights on and see how spacious things really are.  Love isn’t about changing anything except your own perspective, in a way.  It’s a force like light or wind, I think, which we can learn to flow and fly with.  It is amazingly easier to let people be who they are- but then you have the responsibility for your own actions as the north star.  No resentment, no rage.   Begin again.

In an important neighborhood piglet update: They’re getting slightly bigger and now they’re mostly covered in mud with tiny specks of pink showing through.  The chickens are hogging the heatlamp, and one piglet engages in daily duels with the rooster for a spot in front of the treat dispenser.   The pigs who had staged the daring escape on another part of the hill have now proceeded to being made into sausage, which is the ever present reminder that death and life contain each other all the time, every day.  With that basic reality check going on, things do start to make more sense.  In that general vein, we’re researching chicken raising and seed catalogs are winging their way here.  When you don’t know what to do, do what you know, right?  Green eggs and purple carrots should do the trick.

hasty resurrections

Sometimes that’s what it feels like: Like you’ve been dug up, had your face swiped, and been propped up on a ladder.  Weird, but a better view than you had while buried.  Sort of a cosmic, sorry about that but you know it was necessary, part of the process.  Urg, I say.

The oaks are ready to drop their leaves, it looks like all at once.  They’re an almost eery gold flame color, and against the moving gray of the rain the whole landscape is luminescent.  There is also a new fawn on the bluff, some baby hummingbirds, and a LOT of bluebirds.  And it’s COLD out there, so we wonder where they all sleep.  The garden is now at that point where I say to myself: Self! Pull the weeds now! Get rid of overwintering bugs! Prune the roses! and myself says: HAWHAWHAWzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  I’m figuring on giving myself a ten day window for this labor of Hercules although it will no doubt freeze or snow before then- which would mean I’d just leave it all for later and that wouldn’t be fatal.

Which has been something of a preoccupation during this most recent excavation experience- what really and exactly do we need to do?   Having had what I now perceive to be a sequence of wake up interactions, I think I get it.  But at long last, now that I’m up and wobbling around, I think I can say that really? Nobody needs to put up with disrespect, disregard, and opinionating.  There is so much putting forth of opinion as fact and that is not a good basis for action.  Actually it seems to function more as a tool for people to get their own way than anything else.  So I’m starting a new program of standing up for myself.   It’s been exhilarating, for all of the day it’s been happening, to realize I can just say, no, no thank you, to ANYTHING I WANT TO.   And as a corollary, I can say YES to what *I* want.

And as usual, this leads to thinking about the world around me.  As in, how can I make my own personal integration productive for the whole?  It came to me that all you can do, really, is keep breathing and give your best effort to whatever is in front of you.  It sounds deceptively simple, yes?  But when things happen that tip you over in either direction, that middle way is what you want.  Sometimes it resides in silence.  It always resides in love.  The first step maybe is to take your self out of the center place in the picture and realize that really you’re all over that picture, and the best way to look at it is with a wide view.  That wide view contains how others feel and are motivated, and that wide view is where you can truly say yes or no.   So.  I’m busily polishing my glasses, let’s just say.

And? aside from putting a little too much cayenne in the pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving went pretty well and I didn’t even get any kitchen injuries, which is a real first.

bears, pink mountains, and fracas

That’s pretty much it of late, Gentle Reader.  I hardly know where to start.

1) Obviously last week really was tough and not just my imagination.  On the way into town I saw two cows having a fierce argument, butting heads and roaring.  I felt the same way and was somewhat calmed by the thought that it was just the order of the day.  This was after fighting off the two pit bulls who were living across the road from us while paying rent, and before the pickup truck in front of me on the road with a whole bunch of garbage bags in the back managed to flip open its back gate and strew bags all over the road.  It was like barrel racing in a car.

2) We had a large bear.  We did.  I was pretty excited, really.  He was (I’m assuming it was a he, about 300 pounds worth) very neat about moving all the metal fence posts, cinder blocks, rocks and tarps from atop the garbage pile, delicately extracting only the newest bags in order to first slide them down the hill then drag them about a third of a mile away for further perusal.  I actually DID hear him one morning and felt quite strongly that it would be a mistake to open the front door, not knowing what was really out there and all.  Which it would’ve been , except I would have seen a real bear.  Anyway he has moved on for the time being and we’re thinking that we’ll put the garbage even farther away from the yurt pending dump runs- that way the danger of getting the walls clawed through will be minimized.  Perhaps.  But what a pawprint!!! WOW.  It’s quite something to see that a creature that big was just inches from our heads.  I thought it was pretty cool.

3) The landlady’s errant dog who has been barred from our garden via fence continues with her new trick of rushing to the post where the electrical box is and jumping on it just so.  It’s exciting being plunged into darkness at odd and unpredictable moments., but then again, knowledge is power and at least we know that with a walk of a half mile and a flashlight we can usually get things up and running again.  SO EMPOWERING.

4) But not as exciting as the continuing visits to the hill here from the sheriffs and their helicopters and trucks.  We have no idea what they’re doing but there it is.

5) Mt. Shasta finally has snow on it and in the evenings it looks PINK.  Totally amazing.

6) And then there’s the mid term election.  The local TV station on which we watch news was not coming through (many calls to the engineer later it mysteriously came back on) so I actually missed quite a bit of the returns, but not enough to avoid being seized by the thought that the end may really be near and people really cannot see the forest for the trees.  I mean: When a gubernatorial candidate says eliminating the use of plastic bags statewide in California stores is “irrelevant”, you have to wonder just exactly what planet he’s really living on.  One seemingly without oceans.  Dear, oh dear.

7)  Hope springs eternal and somehow we put one paw in front of the other every day.  Muffins are helping, oddly.  Quickbreads turn out to be remarkably restorative when one is having intermittent weirdness.  Pumpkin and pineapple for starters.  And, since it hasn’t been infernally hot in the daytime or freezing at night, the garden has taken a new leap forward and we still have some tomatoes and squash and volunteer bok choy.  I admit I’m spoiled by this garden!  Roses are blooming and the hummingbirds are buzzing around us all the time.  I saw a roadrunner the other day too!  Which really just about says it all, since we have coyotes as well.  Acme dynamite, anyone?

8) Beep beep, I guess.  For now.

saved by a tomato

Indeed, Gentle Reader, yes.  This morning I woke up and felt like a squeezed out tube of something.  Like a car up on the rack completely drained of fluid.  The Partner noticed this as I remained unresponsive when the blessed elixir    the coffee cup was placed before me.  He then, without saying much, placed tomatoes from the garden (picked a day or so ago) in my hands.  The effect was remarkable.  Suddenly I felt as though a living thing was breathing its heart into me and just like that, I came to.  Noticed the coffee and everything.

It was quite extraordinary, even if I did realize that since on some level this is what I do for other people in a way (here, drink this! put this on your forehead! hold this rock!)  it only made sense and of course it works.  My goodness.   The impact of things themselves is something often overlooked in today’s world, I think.  It is also true that most of the food people eat now is really totally dead.  You pick it up and feel? Nothing.   These tomatoes, though, practically sang in my palms.   It made me wonder if really, help is at hand for this world and it’s simpler than we might think. I mean: reconnect directly with the real world- the world that has animals and food and actual people you talk to in it.  The rest begins to take care of itself in that dance of time you recognize after it is over.

Lately I’ve been having conversations with people where they’ll say how awful they feel right now, how alienated and empty.  Then they’ll look at me and say things like, well, but you don’t feel this! (To which I respond with a strangled cry, of course.)  You like to cook! You ENJOY those things.  Like gardening.   I’m not interested in any of that, they’ll say.   I don’t want a spiritual grounding.  But I spend too much time on Facebook.  Well, I say.  Interesting.  You cut yourself off from everything that actually keeps you alive and then wonder why you feel so bad.  Since we do have to eat, shouldn’t we pay attention to that?  A spiritual grounding is not a confining religious program of doctrine.  It’s simply the ability to breathe in and realize you are part of a huge, humming entity and the longer you keep your heart and eyes closed to that, the more you suffer.  The sooner you realize you truly can breathe in this medium, the sooner you begin to actually live.  Marx wrote that people do things by hand, make things from scratch as it were, as an antidote to alienation.  There is something to that.  The time you spend learning to make bread or knit or build a cabinet is profoundly helpful and empowering.  You learn how to be at home with yourself and the earth and the record of your progress is right there to see, in a garden or scarf or cement counter or bicycle or engine or whatever it might be.  We’ve been bamboozled a bit, I think, by “technology”.   It’s kind of the same thing as being told in grammar school that you “can’t do math”.  We now seemingly all think that not only do we not need to do things like cook our own food or read a map because some technology can do it faster- we think, really, that we are not able to do these things. It’s “too much work”.   It is true as well that on some level the technology is smarter than we are.  It speaks a totally different language which takes a different sort of brain to understand and utilize properly.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, either.  It’s just that it should be another piece of the whole, and not a full frontal black and white operation, from which, given the politics of the world, many are excluded off the top.  It shouldn’t be a choice between spending hours liking things online or paying attention to real needs.  It’s just that paying attention to real needs generally means feeling what you are actually feeling.  That, of course, is what our culture is optimized to have you avoid.  Boy, oh boy.  Sleepers awake.

But there was also something this week that made me laugh so hard I just knew things are moving along as they should, somehow.  Dashing to the post office, as I got to the end of our gravel pit aka dirt road, what did I see but a passel of small pink pigs.  One velvety tiny brown one. The most adorable looking little cuties ever.  This, of course, was nothing like what I expected to see on that hiccup of a bridge and it took me a minute to adjust the gyroscope, stop the car, and realize these were probably our friend’s pigs out for an unauthorized stroll and not the usual wild pigs who would’ve  been chewing the car bumper by that time.  His animals often get out and they all have the same charming, frank but devious demeanor of a kid in a candy store.  We can be out here! yes! What?! Carry on!! We’re busy!!  As I sat there one small pig got so excited in telling the story that it toppled over onto its side.  Quickly scrambling up, just a bit muddier for the wear, and continuing the exciting pig escape story,  I looked at them all and just thought: Life is beautiful.  When I got to the fire station, which is the first place the cel phone works, I called home, The Partner called our friend, pigs were brought back into the fold, and all was well, once again, in the now.  As, weirdly, it is.  No matter how it seems.

off to the races

I have to say, Gentle Reader, even by MY standards the past few days have been  like a combination of Survivor, Godzilla, and a stampede of bison during a large size hail storm with the gong section of a Chinese Opera Orchestra playing along.

On the positive side:  It was the Partner’s birthday.  I made a cake and arroz con leche and game hens and shrimp cocktail.  And cocktails, of course.  And some really fantastic purple potatoes from the garden.  We actually had a lot of fun AFTER we got past the non-positive sunrise wakeup call from the landlady’s dog.  During which wakeup exercise said dog killed all my chile plants, dug the crap out of one raised bed and our compost heap, and attempted to dig several large and important plants out of their containers.  I almost lost it altogether and may have murmured something about you won’t have to worry about who’s going to kill your dog if this happens again.  Since this was the, oh, say FOURTH TIME.   Each incursion has caused some significant damage and this dog does some very acrobatic things to get into our space.  Apparently there is some mystery about what happens when you let a large, untrained ratting dog out the door at 5 am and don’t bother to go with it or check on it or anything like that.   It’s a dicey proposition to let your dog out like that around here because everyone is fairly heavily armed.   Country living and second amendment rights, after all.   Just Friday night, for example, there was a long, REALLY long, volley of automatic weapons fire.  It may have had something to do with the visit of a sizeable portion of the Sheriff’s Department the prior Friday elsewhere in the neighborhood.  Or it may not have.  Anyway.  It seems, for better or worse, that no dogs were harmed in that incident.

We’ve also been preparing legal documents and digging out tax returns and all kinds of awful stuff like that.  Sometimes I feel as though, really, no more.  NOT ONE MORE THING.  I get over that when I see the little wrens taking baths in the water seeping down into the plants as we water them in the mornings, flipping their wings and sending sprays of water into the air.  We also have a gang of hummingbirds now who have been chasing each other around every morning with incredible feats of derring do, sneak attacks, and nyah nyah nyahs.

But then I see something like the picture of people waiting for food in a Syrian refugee camp.  Thousands of people, as far as you can see, standing between ruined buildings about ten abreast.  Even hummingbirds can’t quite get me past that.   I find I’m at a point now where everything that gets said about what’s going on in the world sounds like a big, fat, lie.  We abandoned the gold standard as the value base for our money, yes, and now use what? OIL.   Yes indeedy.  In fact, the same stuff that seems to be funding the Caliphate Bringers.  Someone explain to me, please, just why it is we don’t have a huge effort moving to get things solar and methane energied, among other things, just to move us along and out of this gigantic sink hole filled with $#!^ that we appear to be jumping right back into the middle of.   Still it is somewhat interesting to see such a funding source being used by opponents in a struggle.  Or whatever it is.  Then there was the young girl on Bill Moyers who spent several minutes saying that it was really OK and a good thing to use selfishness as a reason to be concerned with climate change.  I must say things seem pretty extreme now, the lines are drawn and while there are many people, young and old, trying to do the right thing, there seem to be many, many more doing the wrong thing.  Over and over.  Unthinkingly.  Selfishly.  I find myself feeling real, actual fear about the future, and not just because my own situation is so weird, precarious, and somehow wonderful when I can keep breathing.

It really is important to stay with the awe we feel in life, but sometimes it is so hard to pick oneself up and carry on.  Today’s motivation may just be cake.

retreat into nature

100_1560Well, really Gentle Reader.  The world is too much with us of late, and it can be hard to remember to just do what is in front of one to be done, as best as one can.  HOWEVER:  Here is a picture of my friend Sam.  Dog of the West.

Every time I come to my friend’s house, Sam races out to meet me and be thoroughly petted,  then runs ahead to get up the stairs and attempt a force kiss.  He has lovely teeth (for a dog) and an imposing nose up close.  He’s very gentlemanly, especially compared to one of my landlady’s horses, who literally trotted over to the fence of his corral the other day, shook his mane at  me rather summarily, stretched out and planted a huge kiss on my ear.  Yesterday I saw this horse do something really astonishing.  The unattended water hose was running full tilt into their water tub (what drought?  WHAT WEST NILE?).  Suddenly both of the dogs there ran up to me, soaking wet and looking for a place to put their muddy paws.  I looked toward the corral and what did I see but the horse holding the hose in his mouth, spraying it expertly around him.  Then he flipped it a bit and got the end in his mouth so he could drink from it.  All this with the most intense devil may care sparkle in his eyes.   Young Rabbit continues to play hide and seek with the Partner, and Tyrant the hummingbird has started doing trick flying through his arms when he’s holding buckets.

So that’s all good, it really is.  And another good thing of course is the garden.  Although it didn’t produce as extravagantly as last year, we did have more different things this iteration and the ones that did well are totally off the hook.  And, as happens with gardens, you get to figure out things to do with all that lovely stuff.  I made chilaquiles with red chard and scallop squash last night, in a tomato broth made from our violet jaspers and hot peppers.  For desert we had something I thought came out really well: fig granita.  Our fig tree seems to really like it here and each year produces more and better figs.  I still have jam from last year and we’ve eaten our way through many a gallette and salsa in the meantime.  Since it has been so hot this year however, it has been challenging to cook, and I’m actually still secretly glad I don’t have a zillion tomatoes to can.  Thus my original idea of an upside down cake for the figs this week was quashed because it was just too darn hot to bake.   I had to think of something else that didn’t involve too much heat.  And, voila.  I trimmed and halved the figs, put them in a pan with the zest and juice of a lemon, some local honey and a bit of water.  Cooked them until they just started to soften and release juice.  Immersion blendered them, and chilled.  Then, into the freezer for three hours, with interspersed fork raking over surface.  Scraped into a glass with a small splash of Port over the top, it’s beautiful, delicious, and good for you.  What more could you want?

Aside from the obvious, of course.  We’ve decided after many lengthy discussions  in front of the swamp cooler             that there are some simple infrastructure and policy things that could make the whole world a better place.  One- go back to industrial hemp production. Everywhere would be good, but the U.S. would be a start.  This would provide food, fuel, fabric and paper. And jobs.  It would replace cotton, ramp corn down, and help with fossil fuel use.  Hemp is a miracle of a plant and it is rather confounding to see it outlawed both industrially as well as medicinally.  A major foot-shooting, there. Combine this with an actual focus on solar energy and a removal of selected dams.  Pollution reduction and environmental restoration.  Just a few small things would make a huge difference and maybe start a return to balance.  It seems to me that a huge part of the world’s dysfunction is that people, men especially, don’t have anything to truly do.  Whole segments of populations and societies are almost completely alienated at this point.  Individuals don’t have jobs or a real way to provide for themselves or any family.  When no self reliance seems to be possible, a return to connection to production for the basic person would be a huge step forward.  All the seething young men you see waving guns around all over the place would probably, if given half a real chance, be quite happy to have a productive existence.  You have to wonder why these sorts of things don’t get done but then again, you know already.  It’s kind of like how mystifying it is that big Pharma doesn’t have any kind of near to adequate supply of medicines that people might really need- excepting of course Viagra and opiates.  Which at the most recent examination do not appear to be much good for anything in the long run except they both do appear to have side effects that…well, heck.  That can create things in your body that mean you get to buy more pills, and maybe hire lawyers.  For sure you’ll need an insurance agent.   But they don’t deal with the real life problems people face, like auto-immune disorders and viruses and many bacterial issues.  Or pain, really.  Oddly, you have to go back to something a bit more old fashioned at this point to deal with those things- but that is, as a friend used to say, a whole ‘nother Geraldo show.

Sometimes it feels as though where we’re going as a species is too scary to contemplate, so I for one am glad that figs still exist to provide that much needed reality check.  And people’s hearts, in which I still believe quite firmly.



I suppose it had to happen eventually.  The deer simply could not take it any more, not one second, no sirree.  They’ve been somewhat restrained, but let’s just say we are now markedly flowerless and top branchless in the vegetable garden.  The fencing in the back was a bit crumpled as well- we’re thinking that’s where they jumped out.  The Partner is busy, as we speak, arranging a more formidable bank of deer fence and netting.   The little darlings ate the purple silk off our corn, too- probably washing down the potato flowers.  I have often thought, seeing their seemingly infuriated (judging by depth) hoofprints outside the fence, that one day there’d be a deer who would not be deterred.  It’s interesting in a way to review the various pestilential scourges we’ve endured here.  Veritable Legions of flies!  Not to mention: The ants! Swarming through the yurt at 3 am in the days when we were still sleeping on the floor.  The crickets! Stuck in the insulation and singing their hearts out between 3 and 5 am.  The scorpions! Just…never mind.  The snakes! Gah.  Then there was the LOCUST INVASION.  Indeed, I think it was just last year but who can remember for sure?  We were driving up Highway 5 from the bay area, and there were literally so many grasshoppers flying through the air we had to pull over in order to sluice the windshield off so we could see at all- there was a viscous muck all over.  I struggled with myself over a couple who’d been obnoxious, rude, and bad drivers, in a BMW convertible with the top down.  Part of me thought:  Finally! Just deserts.  The other part thought: EWWWWW.  Nobody really deserves that.

Then again, what DO we deserve?  We had a dual head explosion the other evening, the Partner and I, upon learning that in essence, the U.S. has paid for Israel’s dome of iron or whatever it is missile defense system.  Meanwhile, there are many of us here in this country who could really use some freaking help.  How is it that this country can give billions away to Pakistan and other places, and a great many of its own citizens are living in poverty because the corporate entities on whose behalf the whole thing takes place have moved their production and business elsewhere, excising  jobs with surgical precision.  I ask you?  I also found myself shrieking a bit incoherently when I heard a CEO say that US corporate tax structure had to improve or they’d all go somewhere else where it was “fairer”.  The corporate entities in this country may APPEAR to have a large tax burden, but wait!  There’s more, because in every area those taxes are offset by loopholes and rules and things that mean, essentially, these large corporate entities PAY NO TAX AT ALL.  Take Pfizer, for example.  Those poor, poor, devoted people slaving away to provide healing for the world- so what if their profits are in the billions.  They simply should not have to contribute a thing more.

It’s hard to know how to proceed.  It is true that if you want things to change you have to experience said change.  This involves challenges and shifts in behavior.  Nobody really likes this.  I think it is fair to say that the Partner and I have for the most part put our “money” where our mouth is.  We live simply (to put it mildly).   We eat local food- of which, sadly, there will be less because: DEER.  But that only introduces us to the fact that life is always changing, it is not going to be the same, and that applies to everything across the board.  The whole system is so skewed right now that it almost seems no part of it can remain for positive change to happen.  For example.  We don’t eat much meat, but we do eat it from time to time.  We haven’t been eating beef because….well, because it doesn’t taste like beef anymore, and God knows what’s in it or in what horrendous circumstances it existed.  We even live in a place where cattle are raised; still we can’t get any decent meat for the most part.  We went shopping yesterday and in a moment of throwing things to the winds, actually bought a small steak.  From New Zealand.  This is hugely against everything we usually do, but apparently that atavistic longing for STTTTTEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKKK was overpowering.  The thing of it is, the steak was wonderful.  It tasted like steak, wasn’t astronomically expensive, cooked like a real piece of meat.  But how can it be that we must buy something from another country, a long way away, to get something decent?    Especially in view of the fact that they’re probably eating US meat in New Zealand- trade agreements and all. This is precisely the sort of stuff that must change immediately if there is to be any hope for any of us.  I for one would like to see a world for people and not petroleum.  I would like to see a world where human beings took their proper position in the world- not one of domination but one of cooperation coupled with self reliance.    The world gets very small at times when what is both reasonable as well as unreasonable is discarded and what remains is placed out of reach.  Decisions can be hard to make- or else any ability to make and act upon them is so remote as to be moot.  In any event, we’re having vegetables for dinner- our deer don’t eat chard it seems, but we do, so it’s all good on one very small level.  Now, for the rest of the world- remember? Think globally, act locally.

There IS always a way, and this is important to remember right now.  We can do this.

catch and release

Indeed, Gentle Reader.  Those mundane concerns have had me by the throat of late, but today?  A bit of triumph.  Firstly, I did manage to put some photos on a thumb drive for my friend on the east coast.  As a piece of a longer ongoing fantasy/project of doing a small book of sky photographs, this feels like a huge accomplishment.  Probably because I couldn’t get the instructions (simple) for how to copy the photos to the thumb drive at the time I wanted to do it,  because I wasn’t connected to the internet at home and therefore it was an exercise in futility, I felt a bit of something hot rising in my chest.  However it was an excellent occasion for practice.  Feeling thwarted and unintelligent at first non-starter attempt, I realized that this was simply a case of Research Needed.  At my internet spot, online once again, research proceeded apace and  it all went swimmingly.  And I learned something.

That something has to do with my lifelong habit of self denigration.  This is a bad habit, held by many- except those who seem as though they’d benefit from some close internal self scrutiny, like say Mr. Putin.  But I think it has to do with a dynamic of survival, in which one damages oneself in an attempt to forestall damage by others.  This can take many forms, of course, but they all involve some sort of mutilation of self. (Yes, we ARE re-reading Jung.) When something is challenging, you decide it’s just too hard, you’re just too dumb, or whatever it is.  Then you march off and give up or do something else really silly to balance out that thing inside that you’re trying to not acknowledge.   In this case, I decided to have no opinion about it but see what could be productively found out at the soonest occasion.  And that worked.  And it was a lot better than slumping around feeling like a frustrated dummy.    This may seem to be, and is in fact, something that in a more properly functioning world would be common behavior for all, instead of a place arrived at after a rather long learning curve.  Phew, in any case.

Hope not only springs eternal, though,  but shows itself in the most amazing places once it gets moving.  Mr. and Mrs. Quail and their rolling crew of fluff balls have included a new family member.  There was a very handsome young male who Mr. Quail kept shooshing and chasing away from Mrs. Quail.  We watched this for a day and an evening; naturally I was worried about Nice Young Man Quail, since he didn’t seem to be aggressive or mean but simply wanting company.    The next day, to our delight, we saw the entire group coming down off the bluff- Mr. Quail leading with fluff balls, Mrs. Quail moseying down in her slightly distracted lady like way, and Nice Young Man Quail standing Very Importantly and Protectively, watching everyone’s back.  They’d worked it out and everyone seems happy and content.  In spite of the fact that it has been so hot some of our plants are dropping blossoms and not fruiting, we do have about seven heirloom melons (of a sort grown by Thomas Jefferson!) ripening, and the corn looks wonderful.  The swiss chard is rampant, some cucumbers are finally showing themselves, and the tomatoes are improving.  I fear for the cabbage and the pattypan squash, but you never know.  In the meantime:



Like most sensible humans, we are now busily watching the World Cup.  So far I think Ivory Coast has the most smashing looking team.   We hope to be in proximity of some viewable transmission today to see Iran and Nigeria play, and of course Ghana and the U.S.   We’re watching most of the games on the Spanish language channel, which comes in full pixilated, grainy grandeur, and the difference in the commentating between this channel and the English language channels is wonderful. FUEGO!! vs. blahblahblah, basically.

I’m struck by how wonderful it is to watch all the fans at the matches- rabid as they are there’s something rather joyous and sweet.  (Not to mention THE WIGS.)   Then there’s the astonishing news that Iranian Revolutionary Guards are going to assist Iraq in saving Baghdad from ISIS.  Leaving aside my irritation with these morons for using the name of a Goddess as their acronym, the whole thing is just mindboggling.  The Iranians may turn out to be a bastion of common sense (or what passes for it) after all.  You never know, except that conflict resolution on this planet seems to be at an all time low.

In happier news, a successful botanical transplant occurred over the weekend.  Realizing that the window of non-incineration-level temperatures was open a tee-tiny crack,  your correspondent tottered out to the ancient trio of bay tree, rosemary bush, and enormous lavender which had resided for all of their recorded histories in a wooden planter.  Said planter was disintegrating and the bay leaves were yellowing.  Something had to be done.   It took a couple of hours and required a bread knife for some delicate surgery on intertwined roots, but in the end everyone was happy and no wilting.  (My run in with a rose bush, while leaving me bloody, left no one worse for wear although it amused Tyrant Hummingbird quite a bit.)  The bay tree had been about five inches tall to begin with: Now it is about four feet high, and Julia Child’s dislike of California Bay leaves aside, the tree’s leaves are terrific in cooking.   This sort of thing makes me happy, thank goodness.  Also, for further happiness, the second batch of carrot seeds have come up and two cumin plants appear to be pushing toward fruition.

Speaking of Mr. Tyrant T. Hummingbird, it seems as though in keeping with his disregard for normal solo hummy life (he has harems! and everyone sticks around!), his new little  offspring is allowed to sit and drink at the feeder and Tyrant even flits around a bit indicating this or that flower.   So I still have hope and Love really does prevail.  And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of watching the new colts learn how to eat grass at their mother’s sides.  The face off between my little brain and encroaching reality thus continues.  I read something the Dalai Lama said the other day, too.  He said a psychologist had told him that when we’re angry or upset, about 90% of what we perceive is totally off base.  I believe this and certainly personal experience bears that out.  But it is a sobering thought indeed when you realize that we’re only perceiving about 3% of what’s there to begin with.  So if in the final analysis we’re only seeing…uh….10% of 3%? of what we’re looking at?  Shouldn’t we all go out and garden for a while? Silently, if need be?  Because the thing in all this that frightens me the most is the creeping realization that there are simply some people to whom one cannot get through.  At all.  Somehow the playing field needs to be restored; perhaps something productive like gardening that really does attach you to basic reality, eases alienation, and feeds you body and soul- it just seems like it might help.   And being quiet for a while might really help too.   After a month or so of cleaning up, soil preparation, planting things….it might be possible to reconvene all the combating entities and see a bit more of that small percentage of reality. It’s working, actually, for us.