It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Have you ever wondered why those who get certain holidays off get all four days for Thanksgiving but other holidays, even when they land on Tuesdays or Thursdays, only get that day off and not the four days?

Dirt, a school teacher (college level, no summers off), often has holidays like Veterans' Day and Independence Day where he may have to still go in to school for the day in between the holiday and the weekend. So it gets me to thinking, why is Thanksgiving different. And it must be different for many people otherwise why is Thanksgiving the heaviest travel day?

I came to the conclusion years ago that even though the fourth Thursday in November was set aside as the official holiday, back in the recesses of our collective minds is the historical fact that the original Thanksgiving was a three day, or more long feast.

The most detailed description of the "First Thanksgiving" comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

Did you know that lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims' menu?

So with this in mind we try to do our best to uphold the historical manner of giving thanks to our Creator and Sustainer, God our Father in heaven on an American feast day called Thanksgiving. I'm not sure what today holds for our celebration, preparation for the culmination of this feast season and the beginning of the Advent season. I will be visiting at least one of my daughters briefly, picking up some more lights, and perhaps we will have the main seafood course of our feast tonight.

We don't mind at all combining the Advent season in with the Thanksgiving season, I can't imagine a better combination, thanksgiving prior to the acknowledgement of the time before our Savior came. Which leads up to the season of reenactment, acknowledgement that Christ most definitely came; at a certain time, in a certain place, in a certain manner, in order to save us; in order to free us, in order to open the way for us, in order to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Teacher.

But this is quickly encroaching on another post. Suffice it to say that we love this season of Thanksgiving and we are thankful for the history of the first American celebration of thanksgiving to our Provider that gives us the freedom to celebrate on more than one afternoon. We are thankful that Thanksgiving is not over at nine o'clock on Thursday, that we can continue to celebrate with those who couldn't get together on the "official" day. We are thankful that we can have the new traditional food on one day and then have some really traditional food on another day and some new but very appropriate food for us on yet another. Hurray for Sunday, Hurray for leg of lamb.

I really hope, dear reader, that you too are taking advantage of the true nature of feasts and especially this one. I hope that you are taking advantage of the original length of this feast so that there is not a crash and let down when one afternoon isn't quite enough to make it what it ought to be.

I hope that just because you may have to go into your place of employment for all or any of these days, that you do not use it as a reason that you can't celebrate on those days. Another lesson from my mom and another post, about how even on days we celebrate we can and often still need to "work." Work doesn't nullify celebration.

But for me, heck I'm just down right thankful for an excuse to keep the party going!!!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Having A Happy...

Thanksgiving Day proper was the best.

I spent the day taking care of some two hundred seventy-five gladiola corms, my canna tubers, and my dahlia tubers, they all got separated, cleaned up and packed in sawdust. My begonias weren't ready yet, still very damp and then I went to my pile of strawberry plants, separated and cleaned two hundred of those and my pile isn't even dented. But I felt very accomplished.

As did Elisabet. She made our entire Thanksgiving dinner, the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade cinnamon bread and green salad. Wow!
Not to mention she butchered the turkey the day before. Her dad did the deed while she held the wings and he walked her through the process but she pretty much did it all.
This morning Dirt rousted us all out of bed, thankfully he waited till sevenish, so we could do the day after Thanksgiving shopping thing (his choice mind you!). SunBirds in Yelm had a great deal on Romeos so now Dirt and I match. Southhill Freddy's of course has the half price sox thing and we picked up icicle light for our house and Michelle's. Then off to McLendon's for LED colored lights to replace our big C9s. I also picked up a string of lights to replace the rope lights that died in my kitchen display case.
We were home by elevenish so the lights went up while I made homemade mayonnaise, and deviled turkey sandwiches. Man, they were yummy. I used the rest of Bet's cinnamon bread and made bread pudding. What an excellent day.
Off to the gathering in town. See you soon dear reader hope your weekend is sensational. Looking forward to tomorrow and especially Sunday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Seasonal Greetings: Part I

When I was little, a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I went to a parochial school and we wore plaid woolen uniforms (jumpers for little girls, skirts for older girls) with particular white blouses and green wool sweaters, even the socks and shoes were prescribed, white or green cable knit knee highs with soap and water saddle shoes (not sure what the soap and water thing was all about it is just part of the name for me), yet we still shopped for back to school things.

There were nice clothes to be bought for going to church on Sunday and nice everyday clothes, not to be confused with play clothes, to be purchased for our wardrobe for when we went to town. There were also book bags to be purchased and all the things that went in them. So suffice it to say there were "back to school" things that must be purchased, even in my family.

"Back to School" was not a bad time for me, yes I liked summer, my birthday was in the summer but fall is my favorite time of the year. September for me is like the real New Year; a new start on things, a chance to get it right this time, a time that is fresh with unending possibilities. I say this to note that I did not mind the whole back to school thing I only had two problems with it. Number one was that my birthday presents from my parents were most always some back to school thing. Mind you I was the youngest of six, I noticed that everyone else just had birthday presents, only mine were double duty, birthday and back to school needs.

The other problem I had with the whole back to school thing was that the stores had back to school signs all over the place; their racks and shelves were chock full of back to school things. Shopping with mom in the summer consisted of looking at all sorts of sweaters, wool skirts and the fabric to make fall wardrobes. These things did not show up in September, they didn't even wait until mid August, they were there in mid July or sooner, depending on the store - the fancier the store the sooner the fall wardrobe selections showed up.

Most times it didn't bother me because I liked fall so much, but sometimes I felt rushed, I didn't hate summer or even dislike it, so what was the stinking hurry to get it over with? I remember complaining once to my mom when we were in a particularly fancy store in the women's department, of course there were no signs saying back to school, but there where definitely fall clothing on every rack in sight. Well that complaint lead to one of my biggest life lessons.

My mother gently, methodically and for most of the rest of that day explained seasons to me. She explained that in order to enjoy the season many people had to think and plan for it well ahead of time. She explained that farmers for instance rarely did things that weren't really about what was going to happen six months from now.

She explained to me that grownups have to plan and think ahead and that it was only a child who could get away with taking one day at a time purely as it comes to them. Her words have stuck with me and when I find myself a victim of my own procrastination her words indite me. Only a child who has someone in their life pre-planning can blithely skip through life enjoying each isolated moment. But even children do a little future thinking, they certainly anticipate even if they are not planning and working toward a good outcome.

Now I know dear reader that you want to whip a Bible verse out on me and so I will beat you to it. Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

However, the key lies in the verse prior, there we see that it is not talking about only dealing with each day one by one, but of putting God first, resting in His best for us, it is not about not planning or planting "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." The verse is really speaking of attending to what you are to attend to and to not worry.

Ahh the key, not to worry. Not to fret, not to get our panties in a wad and freak out about what is or isn't getting done. The Bible warns sternly against the danger of worry but worry is not the same as preparation. The Bible does not condone childish flitting from one day to the next as our whims drive us along. The Bible does not condone the idleness that results in poverty, of the cupboard or of the soul.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer and gather its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8

My mom explained to me that just because the store mentioned school and essentially the end of summer was no reason for me to be upset and not enjoy the summer and look forward to the days in between now and the beginning of school. She said that just because she knows she has bills to pay in the future does not mean that she has to pay them right now today or have the money right now today. It means that knowing those things she and my father plan and prepare for his business to make the revenue it needs to cover what they know to be their expenses. To not plan and prepare is to invite disaster or, in the case of the farmer not planting his wheat, guaranteeing failure.

She took that day to bring up so many different industries that depend on at the very least a six month lead in. Being a farmer's daughter she leaned heavily on those examples and talked about not only planting so that you have harvest but all the planning and preparations that the farmer must do even to get to the planting stage, or the butchering stage or the milking, cheese making stage.

Retail, my mother explained to me, is even in the extra predicament of having to have the goods out so that people not only can buy them on time but ahead of time that the homemaker might also be prepared. She talked to me about how as a mother she appreciated the stores having the next seasons clothes out when it seems that the prior season has barely begun. It gave her time to plan and to budget out her needs, with her wants, with her ability.

Just because the store had beautiful plaid skirts and luscious woolen cardigans out in July did not mean that we had to purchase them that day. But even when we did purchase a lovely fall ensemble in August it would be silly to put it on when we got home and go out for a visit. When the store decorates their display with beautiful apples, Indian corn, cat tails and wheat stocks in July to get my mother to think about the up coming season, she in turn does not need to go home and decorate her home likewise. She would be silly if she did.

Just because the stores have Christmas things out the day after Halloween does not mean we must also decorate our homes at the same time. Just because they pipe in the Christmas music before Thanksgiving does not mean we need to go home and do likewise. Retail, like other businesses, deals with the next season before the current season is barely underway. But then perhaps we weren't meant to make retail areas the place where we hang out all day either. Retail is a place of business. Keeping that in mind may help if you feel cranky about their seasonal marketing displays.

If Aunt Suzie has her house decked out November first, with carols blaring on the stereo and pushing reindeer sugar cookies on you, making you open a gift and wonder where hers is every time you stop in from November first till her batteries run dead in mid December, then maybe you have something to get your panties in a wad over.

Worse yet, if the neighborhood puts a gun to your head or threatens to kick you out of the cul-de-sac if your house isn't decorated and you aren't hosting at least three holiday parties within the first week of November, then you ought to get your jockeys in a bundle. Those are our private lives, the lives we use the retailers to make easier and pleasurable. They are not the lives that should be following the retail business calendar.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I am most amazed and impressed not by people who make a ton of money in their chosen career, or singers, actors and models who become famous and are worth over a half a billion (yes, with a b) dollars, nor by ordinary people like you and I, who slog through ordinary things, but by people who are afflicted with a disease so severe that they spend their entire life contorted whether in body or in mind.

Our bodies, yours and mine, are meant to function in a certain way, we were built to walk a certain way, pick things up and hold them a certain way, gaze at things a certain way, and no matter what our native tongue we were meant to communicate in a certain way.

When I do something harmful to my body or my body picks up a temporary disease that causes me to hold myself in an inordinate way, I get a glimmer into the lives of those that are twisted, encumbered or lacking, in the ability to move, think or speak in the easy ways I take for granted. To know how much it hurts and fatigues me to compensate in my gait for a sprained ankle, that by the end of the day I want to weep because of the stress it puts on the rest of my body not to mention the pain of the injury itself, I wonder about others who have never experienced the freedom from the pain of a body that doesn't move the way the human body was designed to move.

When I look back on occasions I am deep in thought about something else or for what ever silly reason my brain misfires and I incorrectly communicate what I meant, I wonder about and deeply admire people that go through every single day not being able to easily say to people what they need to say, let alone want to say. To be constantly misunderstood and have to spend time on what just spills out of our normal palates and off our normal tongues, I cannot imagine the patience that it takes to get through a life encumbered with never ending difficulties.

At certain places in my life I have had the pleasure of being with and hopefully helping people who were dealt a deal quite raw compared to our lives. In college my brother worked at a group home for older kids with Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and other less well known but not less debilitating diseases. I visited him and hung out at the group home on a few of my breaks at the college I attended. It was here that I came to understand not only the chronic, unrelievable pain of moving about with a body that did not develop as our Maker designed the human body, but the chronic, unrelievable pain of daily communicating from inside those broken bodies and minds.

Jane, a sweet and very intelligent girl, with Cerebral Palsy, was so patient with my inability to understand her. The workers at the home had become used to her needs and her manner of communicating much like a mom of a toddler knows what they are saying when everyone else in the room is stumped. But knowing, that unless Jane was with someone who had come to know her well, she was faced with either not bothering to communicate or spending time and frustration on the attempt to be understood, I was overcome with sadness at her difficulty yet joy at the opportunity to get to know her and share in the delight of her sense of humor, quick wit and excellent checker playing ability.

I sometimes get very frustrated with my occasional inability to communicate with my fellow citizens. Often it seems that no matter how carefully I choose my words, they are misunderstood and visa-versa, maybe not often often but often enough to get me into hot water or cause a temporary break in relationship not to mention just the mild irritations. Knowing that, I cannot imagine having to deal with miscommunication on a large scale, day in day out, for my entire life.

Jane's body was so contorted from the disease that she was confined to a wheelchair and even from there I often wondered how much pain she endured. Her chair was well padded at all the pressure points and the workers would massage as best they could the stressed areas of her body. To not move freely, to run and jump and play like normal is one thing but when your every chosen movement and resting positions go against normal body mechanics, the pain endured is beyond my imagination and comprehension.

Yes, I get that the Jane's in this world smile and take the hand they are dealt, that they are diligent to find the joys in life amid the pain, to the seeming exclusion of the pure discomfort. But that is what I find so admirable. That faced with the constant physical pain of a contorted, distorted body along with the emotional pain of difficult or impossible communication, they smile. They smile and laugh with those of us who will never really know the extent of the burden they bear, they choose to brighten our day of relative ease.

Monday, November 24, 2008

If I Was Gunna Be In A Box....

I'd be like Purr Bob and get in this kind of box.

I wouldn't get in this kinda box....

And if I wouldn't get in that kinda box but would

rather be here instead,

then why would I put something I spend time with, that I miss when it is gone, can't really get into substitution no matter how lovely, something that I have named,

why would I put it in this unfortunate box?


Well Purr Bob has come to his senses, momentarily anyway, and is getting out.

So am I.

I am not sending my computer in just because they managed to make him forget he had a big boy keyboard. It is just a matter of learning and making it become automatic to hit the num lock key before I use the key pad. Big deal one extra key stroke, well two actually, on and off, but what the heck I usually hit a half dozen extra keys so what is one more intentional one, twice.

So I have homeied up Conrad and he is looking very much like himself again. Actually more like himself than when he first got back from his long spa vacation. I am glad I have decided to not send him in. The only problem is the key board thing and I'm determined that it will be okay. And yes, I have given my computer a name. I am positive now that I have anthropomorphized my computer all will be fine from here on out. I won't mistreat it and it will behave like a good Conrad.

I'm outa here, going to where there is no light, no sound and only a pillow. I am taking a little pill, biggish actually, with me in hopes that I can call an end to the stupid head. I might actually take Conrad so he can play a little Pachelbel on Pandora. Dirt is kinda tired of me being sorta short tempered so even though I feel like chopping my head off, he actually might.


Yipee, my computer's key board issue is not fixed and it only took from what, about seven-thirtyish till now, after one, to find out that it was all a waste of time, hanging around my computer making sure it didn't need me and then telling it things occasionally to finish 'er up. Yes, I said yipee and I meant it. I must be struggling with this for some deeper meaning and I am a happy sufferer.

I embrace technology and all the silly lessons that come with it. If I can't be Amish and drive a horse and buggy, I want to immerse myself in all the technology I can get my hands on. Stress from this is good, it builds character.

Why just look at me, I have not picked this silly little plastic box that cost more than a good horse and flung it across the room. I can learn to be patient. I can learn to be sweet when faced with aggravation. I can see the silver lining in every black screen

And now I get to decide to throw it into a box, okay, yes, I did mean pack it carefully into a box, and send it back to HP for the keyboard to be fixed, maybe, or just live with it.

A secondary decision is if I send it back when? and do I set up stuff for a day or two or live with a non-personalized computer for a day or two.

Keep in mind I am the person that you see in a hotel room, there for only one night, yet I have made it homey in a matter of minutes after arriving. I take flowers from my garden when I go camping. I already have an urge to set everything up the way I had it even if I do box it up, I have to wait for the box to get here, I can't be uncomfortable while I wait.

I'm going to let Dirt decide for me when he gets home. I'm not going to deal with it instead I am going out to finish putting my fuchsias, geraniums, begonias, canna, cuphea, abutilons, gerberas and verbena away for the winter. Yesterday, Dirt made a lovely little insulated cubby for everything, I am kinda tired of doing the curtain thing for all the stuff on my Laundry House porch, and it is getting nice and cold, it may actually be late fall now.

So, until we meet later, have a delightful afternoon dear reader, take a restful tea time or after school snack time whatever you want to call it. Me? I'm going to be outside and if I can find enough flashlight and car headlights I am going to stay outside 'til bedtime.

Girls, make your dad dinner. My luck I'd blow up the stove, ignite the microwave, chop off my hand with the food processor.

Thanks. I'll Try That!

The coffee is poured, the computer is poised, had a good read last night and notes to review but my bakers sleep still!! So not hot bready treat to go with my coffee and computer fix. (Guess I should have said all that stuff out loud last night rather than just think it or type it.)

Thanks for the two ideas for baked goods, maybe for tea time today! For now it is cinnamon toast (always accompanied by childhood memories). Hope to yak at you soon with a healed computer.

Burr, its cold outside.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Okay, Not So Much

Best laid plans of mice and moms. Put in the disc after reading on the front of it that I am to follow the on screen instructions and guess what, you got it, no on screen instructions. Arghghgh.

But I must be destined to speak with Costco concierge and HP fix it people tomorrow. I will try very hard to want to do this early in the morning. Its going to be cold and crunchy out in the morning any way so I might as well spend it in my lovely dining room in front of the fire with my computer and the phone.

Girls,make sure I have coffee in the morning! And a hot bready treat would be nice too.

Dropping out now with a little Acts, Galatians, Psalms and Tozer, good night dear reader, can't wait to hear about your adventures tomorrow!

All Tuckered Out

The computer is about to get another lobotomy, this time it will be on purpose. It is supposed to fix my key board issues. Num locks makes my computer think that it has a small key board. After that gets fixed I hope to figure out the issue with my Signiture Mini and my stuff coming back as "read only."

I'm a fairly smart person, this has got to be easier than it seems so far.

But it will be a nice evening just sitting here watching my computer get fixed.

Arbor Bed, The Promise of Renewal

Remember this over crowded, buttercup filled perennial bed?

And my buried garden bench?
And Dirt's buried fence?

Wa - la

Everything is out and now it is time to put on the alfalfa pellets, this is my rate of application, about ten pounds for the approximately three hundred square feet that I have ready here,

and over here.
Sometimes it is hard to tell where to keep going and where to call it a day with a particular garden. I made sure I did this area here along the fence because the tulips needed to be replanted and new ones added in all along the fence. Looking from the yard, the picture above this one, this part doesn't really belong. It is divided off from the lawn border by the lilac hedge, the grape that needs an arbor, and the bench that sits under the arbor that's not there yet.

But looking from the driveway this is one long garden bed. And when the red tulips bloom in the spring before most of the perennials have gotten any size on them it really is a cohesive long bed.

I do like playing with the placement of things so that from one angle the garden looks one way and from another it looks very different, taking advantage of different seasons. When everything is in full bloom and foliage and the garden bench is tucked in here among the lilacs in May and the lilies and lavender in July it is a delightful little cubby to rest in, hidden from a good deal of the daily work but with a view of most of the pay off, the gardens and lawn.

I enjoyed the floor under the bench being covered with growing things but it did get out of hand and then kind of weedy because weeding around structures is not my idea of weeding bliss. So this time I am going to put down some of my weed mat and top it off with sand and rock. I will purpose to plant a few things under the bench, a little mint, a couple sedums, maybe a clump of nigella at the corners of the bench. I know that these grow well in sand and rock because they are always jumping out of the lovely beds I have for them other places in the yard and grow in the sand and rock pathways.Here is the lovely bench covering arbor. No, it's not really there, it's in my head. But I think it may be one of those things that I have to build myself. I don't mind for two reasons; Dirt is talking serious about my chicken coop/greenhouse combo as his next project, and I have a plan for how the arbor looks and I have a sneaky suspicion that Dirt will not be able to see it the same way.

He often forgets that when he and I met I was in civil engineering and I understand a little about construction physics and what is possible, remember the tack box debate Tom and Dirt? Never say never. But really I don't mind that he forgets because for the most part I don't want to build stuff.

Well the frost is just about gone and it is a balmy forty degrees, so I am heading out to finish this job. And start a new one.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spagetti Sauce, Artichoke Dip, Leg of Lamb

None would be the same without garlic.

Vicktory Farm and Gardens' Kitchen uses garlic everyday and nearly every meal, we haven't tried it in oatmeal yet, but give us some time and we most likely will.
Garlic planting happened a week or so ago and was really supposed to happen in October but all will be okay. It just needs to get in a get going before it got to cold to mess with the dirt.

This is one of five raised beds that now have garlic in them. In three of the beds the garlic was planted in patches of eighteen and will be inter planted with veggies that appreciate hanging out with a strong partner. Off to the right in this picture you see one of my favorite tools that I had Dirt make me for my particular gardening method.

Here is a close up, basically it is eighteen dowel pieces, place at equi-distance from each other, into a plywood piece, that is reinforced with one by two and handles were fashioned for it. All it really does is mark the spots where I need to plant. The spacing is a little farther apart than what is recommended for garlic but I'm trying to adjust somethings to get a little larger bulb.

I've gardened the raised bed method since before Dirt and I were married. Part of the whole raised bed method is placing things equi-distance from each other not in plain rows. When Dirt made this tool for me it really helped. But just like measuring cups you shouldn't have just one size, you need one for each spacing size. Or else you just do it with a swing of your thumb and fingers and readjust a little when you notice your pattern is off a slight bit. The years before Dirt built my prototype for all the other spacings, I was very good at knowing the distance for the span between my thumb and each finger. Or how much to bend a finger to adjust it just so to make it an inch closer.

Once I've made the imprints, I come along with my hand claw and use it's handle to make the holes for dropping into the hole. Yes, I could buy a fancy thing called a dibble, but in this case it isn't necessary to have a tool that only does that job.

As you can see the handle works just fine, I marked on the handle how deep in the dirt I have to set it for the garlic.

Planting time is the best substitute for doing squats in the gym! After an afternoon of this my hiny muscles know that they have been used.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Disappointment of Sorts

I thought I had a great idea the other day, thought it was Holy Spirit guided (which it may still be just not in the direction I thought). But when I told Dirt about it, to see what he thought, to get his approval, he reeled me in. He squashed it like a slug.

My idea was that I would share my gardens with those in the "neighborhood" who are experiencing hard times and don't have the resources to get themselves through these national, global hard times. They would come here and garden with me, grow some food for themselves and learn gardening techniques that they could use for a lifetime.

When I tried to defend the idea when it appeared to be tanking with him, that doing this idea would help me stay on track, be a better producer myself, he really put the brakes on. He cautioned against using a commitment with other people to make a change in my life that I should make just because it is the right thing to do.

Ugh. He is right. I used to do incredible gardens, and except for things that do not grow here, our dinner tables nearly year around came from my garden's produce. I even used to grow my own dry beans. But I have not done so in recent years. I start in the spring with good intentions and then I let things derail me and all I have come up with are some mediocre gardens.

So no commitments this year. No promising people something I am not positive I can deliver, no matter how noble the idea. No using people to motivate me to get to where I know I can and should be.

He did not discourage me from purposely planting more than I know we can use. And then giving my extra produce to those who may need some help. But he cautioned me, and I am taking that caution, against stuffing the whole carrot in my mouth all at once. Especially with someone else involved.

And I guess in someway I am disappointed that I won't be getting the do-gooder award this year, darn. Darn Dirt for holding me back. Not really. I am very thankful that I have such a thoughtful husband who can see to my very core. Knows what I am capable of but also what my failings are. I am thankful that he has become a gentle guiding force in my life, guiding me against foolishness, pride and using people under the guise of benefiting them. Using people for myself, my reward. Well my little inner pharisee has been exposed and that is not a pleasant feeling at all.

I am headed outside to work off my feelings of embarrassment and residual disappointment.

Oh by the way, Bet is back to blogging, her paddle is back in the water. Go see her here Paddle_In_the_Pond its a quick read, she is not nearly as yakky as her mommy.

Joining Others

In their slight jumps on the season.

But I just couldn't resist.

Anna brought a little something in from the barn around mid-morning and it really needed a homey-home and what better than a Christmas basket, lined with a lovely plaid woolen and tied with a big bow.

What was it that needed homey-home?

Pippy and her three little kittens.

A little black one, a black and white one and my calico! Santa brought me my Christmas kitten to my house!

I have been wanting a calico because my beloved Moose is not doing well and we found out this week doesn't have long to live, but I think we kind of knew that.

Moose is an alias for Amie Jo. Amie Joe and Mary Joe were the last kittens that Monique, aka Bony, had and they ended up being bottle babies. Mary Joe, a calico much like the one in the Christmas basket, only lived for a couple of years.

Moose was our main momma cat for quite a while, we had her spade and then she developed this mouth thing. Well Dale, our landlord/neighbor/vet, would give her a shot every so often so that she could feel a little better and eat.

Moose was due for a shot again when Dale was expected home, but now that he isn't coming home, well I was getting very worried about my little Moose momma. She spent two whole days, yes, the entire day, curled up in my room, appreciating an occasional petting but never getting up.

So dear Dirt called one of his shearing customers, Michelle, who happens to have been one of the vets that worked with Dale at the clinic before he retired. She was on vacation but she was very sweet to call Dirt back. They discussed what the shot could possibly have been that Dale was giving her since he wouldn't tell the girls.

Well, Michelle's bad news was that the chronic use of the medicine that they discovered he was using will in fact make her death certain soon. That must be why Dale wouldn't tell, he knows I would be curious and find out about it. He was a softy. A General Patton on the outside and a Mother Teresa on the inside.

The reality of it is that she would not have lasted this long without the medicine so really the medicine maybe killing her but the disease, whatever it is, would have done it first. But now that Moose has received her shot she looks a little better today but in all reality she doesn't look as good as she used to after the shot.

That is why it is good that I got my Christmas kitten now. I needed a bright spot in my little world. Now no more Christmas decorations until next weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Look, I found a little buddy while gardening, actually I found two but I only photo-ed one. Ain't he cute. Not as cute as Kathy's_puppies, but pretty sinking cute none the less. I found something else while I was gardening. Just some more understanding of God, His Church and me.

Right behind my spade fork and transplanting spade is a very large clump of oregano, darn near as much trouble to take out as the Siberian Irises, but alas for me, no tractor help today.

I am taking most things out to rearrange and because somethings, like the iris and the oregano, have grown beyond their area and crowded out other things. But similar to many other perennials they actually benefit from being taken up every so often and separated into smaller plants. I really should do it more often with somethings.

Different plants have a different timing, some appreciate being divided annually, some every other year, others could go farther, but most of them appreciate it at sometime. Even plants that don't bloom heavily the year they are divided still do better with some room.

All of that plant material in the bed just beyond the water bottle came from the one oregano plant. When it was planted four years ago, it was just a baby plant. It quickly spread but also became a tight mat that was choking itself to death, the center portions of the plant are now much weaker than the outer portions.
I'll have Anna sit and separate the oregano into separate plants to fit a four inch square pot. I am sure she will fill several flats worth and I will still have some to dot around the garden for some fragrance between bloom times. And of course the ones we dot the garden with will in time become big and we will do this all over again. The pots will go in my holding area and in the spring I'll put a sign down on the highway and sell them for a few pennies.

You know, I do love to plant shop, find some wonderful thing I don't have yet in my garden, find a spot, tuck it in, watch it grow. I like my plants no matter how they come into my garden. But what I really love in my garden are plants I have propagated.
Now, I will certainly take the whole division thing, there are lots of gardeners, good gardeners, that don't even attempt that. But what I really like is propagating from seed or cuttings or layering.
Of course I do not turn my nose up at all my lovely little things that self sow, however seeds that are hard to germinate and the plants and flowers that come from them, those get me all giddy inside. The same goes for cuttings, anybody can take a willow twig and stick it in the dirt, nothing fancy no protection, just jab it into the dirt and it sprouts. But things that take bottom heat and certain humidity and all that, those are the cuttings I feel groovy about raising.
Mostly because as the wife of a poor school teacher, I can't afford a fancy set up, so my success rate isn't what it could be with a coveted deluxe propagation set, fans, hymidifiers, a green house. I don't think Santa is coming through this year either. Oh well, challenges are good for the soul, right?
Do you ever want to grab blogger by the... paragraphing issues this time, hence the dots, ugh.

Dirt III

God, no matter how bad his children are, no matter how rank the stench from his people's rebellion toward him, never turns his back on them or puts them away. His mercy is phenomenal. His mercy on our wretchedness draws me, draws others. He asks husbands to be an example of His love for His church in their love for their wives.To be called on to be a witness to that mercy; to be a living embodiment within my marriage of that love; for my husband to be the quintessential Ephesians' 5 husband that has greatly grown this here woman toward being a daughter of Sarah; for Dirt to be an example of Christ's love for his church by loving and caring for me, no greater earthly joy can be mine.

I Forgot

I forgot just how dark winter can be. No girls, we will not be moving to Alaska. Unless of course the Holy Spirit drags me there, um I mean, unless it is where we are supposed to be, in that case never mind.

And Linda, I'm not so sure you are exaggerating about the deer burping thing, because my husband is also that light of a sleeper. That is why we have " Nut- Job" radio (What The Heck? and What Time Is It? ) playing all night long. Somewhere in his late forties, Dirt decided that he was not such a dedicated farmer as to continue to jump out of bed at every little sound. Now he figures if Fluffy Joe wakes him up by barking louder than George Noory and the crazy people, then it is a real problem and he'll get up.

As for the alfalfa pellet inquiry, they give off a lot of really good stuff, not the least of which for this particular garden of a reclaimed lawn area is a little boost in the humus department. But they will be slow to release nitrogen and several other mineral and vitamins into the soil. Worms and other soil friendly little critters love to feed on alfalfa pellets. Some of my best flower years are when I have spread them on the top of the soil about this time, in the rain they swell, making a terrific mulchy goodness.

A local garden personality in this area, Ciscoe Morris, years ago recommended a blend of alfalfa pellets, fish fertilizer and Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and water enough to swell the pellets, as a side dressing for roses early in the spring and every so often through the growing season. It was great and I have used it ever since. Although it didn't really help my roses come back from their formative years struggling with our back yard shade.

I just learned in the last year or two, that roses not grown on their own root system, the ones with the graft knob just above soil level are not on their own roots, do not last for very many years. In light of that new discovery, I'm not so surprised that I have lost most of my original roses I bought many years ago. Ugh, some discussion make me feel kinda oldish.

My head feels much better this morning, even the singing pipe in my left ear is turned down a little, so I am going to tackle the world today! Well not really, I promise I won't try for the world today just my garden project, but this could mean that I will actually get done when I think I will. And that my dear Reader is a blooming rarity, like a neverarity really.

Things In the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

PurrBob the hockey player

It may appear as if I skipped a day but I didn't because it is not a new day until I go to sleep and wake up again. So my computer may think it is tomorrow today but it is still today to me

Why am I up so late? Because my brain is on fire still and lying down is not appealing. So the pups are on the couch now after being excited to still be up after the girls went to bed and Purr Bob is tearing down my house. I have righted a pitcher and a picture, rescued a notepad from being eaten not read and now he is playing tile hockey in the dinning room probably with a bottle cap of Dirt's.

You may ask, dear Reader, why I don't just throw his furry little self out the door? Because if he is left out at night he climbs the clematis and the fire escape to the girls window and tries to get in. Not necessarily a bad choice, until you know that he is on a metal roof whilst doing his shenanigans. So in he stays at the request of the concerned pet owners.

I did not finish my rejuvenation project today but I most definitely will have it and more done by Thursday.
I realized I can't really replant everything until I have taken up some plants from connecting beds that I wish to put in the one I am working on. I also need to put some of the ones I have been taking out into the other adjoining beds.
And I think I am going to have Dirt bring home a bag or two of Alfalfa pellets to put into the top six inches of the soil before I plant. I haven't priced alfalfa pellets in a while so I am not sure what has happened with the price of them. We'll see.
This maniac is still terrorizing my kitchen and dining room. I wonder what destruction I will wake up to. Dirt has requested that I try to get some sleep so I am going, with a long prayer list to distract myself from my four days of searing brain matter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Orange Tractor Rides Again, to the Rescue!

So, if you remember from earlier today I was going to completely clear out my lawn border and replant it. I figured I wouldn't finish the project today, I expected that I would be replanting tomorrow. I remembered that Siberian Irises are a bugger to move but I forgot the extent of how much of a bugger they are.

After Dirt was done with all of his after-work projects he came by to see how I was doing.

Now mind you, I was already way behind schedule because earlier I decided that I would do the right thing and clear my honeysuckle off of Dirt's unique fence. On top of that I looked for quite sometime for our blower only to come up empty so I borrow Norine's and blew all the leaves and stuff away.

When Dirt arrived home it took him a minute to see why Norine's blower was here, but once he did he was very pleased. (I'll include pics of the other side of the fence when I finish the whole project.) That meant that he was in the mood to help me out.

When he saw my struggle, the shovel completely sunk in under the iris clump had no effect on it, he asked for the shovel with the statement "I'm a big strong man, this is what I am for."

You got that right. I wish he was around for more of my large plant verses Lanny moments, but he is here now so that shovel was released as quick as Dahlias die back from a frost. Well a few stabs and lifts, attempted lifts, with the shovel and he leaned back and suggested he get The Tractor.

"Nah, it would be a hassle to get it into the backyard."

"No, it wouldn't. Remember, I made the gate specifically to get The Tractor into the backyard."

"Okay, if you think."

No sooner did I say it than Dirt went after The Tractor. Yes, you see correctly dear reader, it only has one front wheel, luckily it is what is known as a tricycle tractor. We can talk about that later, for now lets get back to the iris removal.

Dirt must really have wanted to not finish digging the clump out by hand because he really likes his lawns, he had just been noticing how nice his lawn looks moments before he began to help me. I can't imagine him wanting to drive The Tractor on his lawn even as much as he likes his Tractor. It is usually the case with Dirt gardening with me, he is always quick to get out the heavy equipment, I just thought that his lawn would keep him from jumping to that solution. Clearly I'm not the only one who has issues with the Siberian Iris.

On the back of The Tractor is a "shelf" and on it ride a pile of chains, various chains, different sizes for different projects. Dirt carefully chose his chains for the evenings work, he even put one back and chose another in its stead, they both looked the same to these uneducated eyes.

With the chain securely wrapped around the base of the clump and fastened to the pulling chain Dirt begins to pull. Out it came. Slick as a whistle and over in a second and too quick for our slow camera.

Tomorrow I will finish my job and plant my red tulips and maybe if the day goes really well I will pot up my Princess Irene tulips and my Woodstock and Gypsy Queen hyacinths.
Thursday and Friday I will be cutting back my tender perennials that refuse to die back a little. Clean out their home for the winter and get them put away finally. I hope that by the end of this coming weekend I will have everything done that really should have been done last month. Then I can sit around and look at the seed catalogs that are beginning to come in.

Finishing Up Before The Season Ends

Okay, so here is the last of my "Marie Antoinette A Real Person, A Real Award" given to me by that_Dancing_Daisy! The title of the award helped my pick my nominees for sure, but they also happen to be the very same blogs that I look forward to reading when I get my random chance to sit with my lap top.

This whole award thing is difficult, I wish that every non-professional (real person) writer who has the fortitude to put their writing out there in a potentially public arena even once, get a pat on their back. But then the old 4-H leader side of my brain kicks in and says to the warm fuzzy side of my brain "If everyone gets an award then the award means very little." Ooh ow.

There are two blogs I would have liked to award but they just started yesterday so maybe next time. I'm looking forward to reading them but I have no idea if they are a false start or in for the long haul.

There are a couple other blogs that I like but really wish that they would venture out a little more often, so if you don't see yourself on my list here, write more often! Take a few minutes and write something down and hit the publish button! I don't read magazines any more I just read blogs. I like the long articles and the snippets just the same. Okay, the 4-H leader lobe of my brain will now disengage. Oh and I tried to pick blogs that may not have recieved many awardy things but, there you go, there are my reasons. 4-H teaches that judges should always give reasons. And mine couldn't be any worse than a jusdge at a sheep show who based his reasons on gender.

So here are those whom I wish to feel as good as I did when Daisy gave me the award:

Marla enjoying her Life_Is_A_Chair_Of_Bowlies

Kathleen being gentle with Eggs_In_My_Pocket

Farm Chick Paula having a good life at The_Fraker_Farm

Flip Flop being light and encouraging as a Flip_Flop_Floozie

Linda Sue honestly

Ted a thoughtful, prayerful member in

If they accept this award they need to do what I eventually did:

1. Please put the logo on your blog
2. Place a link to the person from whom you received the award
3. Nominate at least 7 or more blogs
4. Put the links of those blogs on your blog
5. Leave a message on their blogs to tell them

Now I am off to revitalize and rearrange a large flower bed

Everything is coming out, red tulips are going in and some things will go back and somethings like the unruly bully Siberian Iris (the large brown mass laying on his neighbors) will be removed to a place where they will be appreciated and not harrumphed at.

Oh and Dirt has asked where his cool fence is. He didn't think it ought to be covered by my sweet smelling honeysuckle. So hopefully before he gets home he will be able to see his fence again.

By the way Bee, Winter, the cat, has a enourmous mouse like thing, not a rat, and not a frog, in the picture in my post, I'm Groovy . Although he is not above a getting a frog for dinner, the ponds are still a little low and the mud rimming the ponds deters him from adding seafood to his diet right now. He may look like a warrior sometimes but he is a little on the prissy side, like Heath in The Big Valley he wears white pants to do farm work in.

Bet wanted to identify the rodent he caught in the ivy jungle and then ran across the yard with to hide under the mock orange. But he was not sharing. He knows she was just going to take it from him and skin it to add to her collection, (not really but that is how he sees it).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just a Real Quick Happy Dance

This here is the honor of the week for me, heck who am I kidding, honor of the really long time for me, cuz I can't remember the last time someone gave me an award!

But I can't finish all the rulez to receiving this award because it is hard to hold my head, close my eyes and blog at the same time. It also makes for an odd looking dance, but Daisy, I am dancing on the inside, just not moving my head. The vicadin are not working today.

I worked with sunglasses on today, normal for some perhaps but odd for me.

It is way past my bedtime, but nut job radio and migraines do not mix well. So now I am going to go see if Dirt is asleep enough to leave the radio off. I have no idea what they are talking about tonight but the way my day is going it is either the breathairian or some chick having an alien baby. How such a smart, wonderful, caring, concrete thinking man can listen to that craziness, I have no idea.

I know, you may wonder why I received an award right now with such a lamo post. Better luck tomorrow, and I will finish the rules for sure. Good night dear reader, I am praying that you are all safe and sound and finding that the Holy Spirit guides you more each day, by leaps and bounds.

I'm Groovy

Well at least my blog is. Or at least Daisy felt it was worth the Marie Antoinette award.

As soon as I figure out how to get the logo over to here and figure out seven blogs I would like to give the award to I will finish up the rules to accepting this award.

I will try not to take to long to do this but I do have to get outside now, take advantage of the beautiful weather and the fact that Dirt is all mine today and willing to do what ever it is I need done. What a day! What a perfect husband!

Personally I love to extend a party, why an hour when you can do three, why an afternoon when you can start at breakfast and go till a night cap. why celebrate for one day when you can celebrate for two or three or a week! But I will try to wrap this up this evening if I can, as Dirt often says, just be smarter than a logo. (I already tried what I thought I should do and it didn't work so I may actually have to think about it.)

Have a delicious day, as great as the one I am having!

I feel like Winter, the cat. With a big whopping prize!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Look What I Found

Below is the content of a draft I neglected to post. Not sure if I posted these pics elsewhere but I thought I would just go ahead and post them. These pics are from a time before I fried my computer. Posting this in April 2010 but it is from Nov. '08