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

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Into Everyone's Life A Little Dirt Must Fall

It has been a bit of a crazy time here at Victory Farm & Gardens, no different I suspect from anyone else and their lives. I am always looking for ways to calm the nerve endings and take it at a regular pace.
After my work out days of going up and down and down and up the steps to Laundry House aka Propagation House, to give the plants inside a bit of fresh air and liberal waterings, I figured that the rest of the week and on beyond was looking rather mild, enough cloud cover that frost wouldn't be a problem and neither would sun burn.
I began to hang the thirty-two planted fuchsia baskets out on Laundry House's porch on a metal pipe the is held in place by three two-by-four brackets. I even devised some wire hangers to hang a second lower tier. Everything looked great. It was a bit windy late that afternoon but it didn't seem to effect the hanging baskets that much. Well except for the last one that didn't fit on the pipe and had to hang out a little farther on the chain where my topsy turvy tomato plants hung last summer.
In the morning I was delighted to see the lovely dew on the grass and the sun and clouds playing tag. But when I looked toward Laundry House I didn't see the line of baskets I expected to see. I could see one lone one but where were the rest. I hadn't put my contacts in and I know better than to panic when I have them out and can't see what I expect to see, I've been met with more than one old-lady-crying-wolf situations because of it.
I mentioned that I couldn't see them to vacationing Phil Dirt, so he popped up to the window and mumbled something horrible. But it didn't really matter because I had already spied what the deal was.

The center two-by-four bracket had given way and this was the mess it created.

And there is my favorite Pink Marshmallow, the one I thought was hanging out in the elements, looking down on its forlorn and broken brethren, saying, "It pays to be last sometimes."

Some baskets survived by being last to the scene but most others were broken and the plants in them tossed to the four corners of the porch and beyond.

Clean up and rescue took all day. We now have several flats of fuchsia starts and all the baskets and lone plants have been pinched back, or squashed back as some cases may be, to insure lovely bushy baskets.
I emptied and tossed thirteen broken plastic fuchsia baskets into the garbage. Four baskets worth of plants, sixteen in all, were completely unidentifiable and went into separate four inch pots to grow and bloom so that I can make proper IDs on them.
A little over half of what was left were repotted into their own unbroken pot or a new one because their foliage is distinct enough and they were all close enough in a common pile of soil to assume that they were from the same basket. These were tagged however, to keep special watch on, to switch up when it is obvious someone fell into someone else's dirt pile.
The last of the baskets that had pretty much fallen upright and unbroken, without tossing anyone completely out of the confines of the basket, were realigned, tidied up, trimmed up and set to rights again.
Even though I am fairly positive that the last batch I took care of are all the right ones together in a basket, no one is getting sold 'til all have bloomed and proven their familial standings.
Silver lining? 'Cause there always is one or two... Dirt and I have decided not to set pipe in the rafters for hanging baskets in the Hot House for sure now. I was beginning to lean to a portable system after my multiple trips up and down Laundry House steps, but now we are for certain not hanging pots on the structure itself.
Second lining: man am I thankful that I didn't seed the lobelia directly into the basket! I'm thinking that would have been the weep point of the whole ordeal. I am positive that certain procrastinations or changes of plans are definitely from the Holy Spirit.
All twenty-eight baskets and sixteen four inch pots went back into Laundry House and are hanging peacefully up next to the ceiling with the lights on them and the fans below trying their best to mimic a lovely soft spring breeze. I have decided that waiting for the real Hot House to be up and running is a better thing.
It won't be too much longer now anyway, in fact, if Charley's hadn't sent us home short two joiner strips, I most likely would have been moving in Tuesday morning. As it is Dirt and I and the girls too, will be making a quick dash up north to grab the two joiner strips and the two vent openers from back order.
Hopefully we will get to see some fields of tulips and other things and someones that will brighten our crazy days.
Dear Reader, I hope you are having a wonderful, busy, crazy, yet restful, spring, just like we are. It all makes for a great life doesn't it? Wouldn't you hate to be one of those folks with a boring and steady life?
Well I'm heading out to sing some praises to my Creator, Saviour and Counselor, and to plant some asparagus that was delivered day before yesterday and healed into some nice dirt. I will come back later this evening with HotHouse construction pictures from yesterday, didn't want to overload one post with all that went on this week. 'Til then, have a delightful day and if you're the celebrating commemorating type, Have a Good Palm Sunday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sittin' by the Edge of the Pond

I miss my Saturday company. They worked very hard along side Dirt and I and the girls, but they also brought some wonderful wine and a vital reason to relax and just converse, friendship. (By the way read the title to the tune of Sittin' by the Dock of the Bay)

We got back to work promptly after we parted with them and everyone else at the bowling alley for Spring Bowlerama on Sunday. Well first we stopped by The Orange Store, but that was a lot like work. And then we sorta sat and watched a movie when we got home.

But now were workin' hard. For instance, today Bet and I got her incubator up and running and stuffed it full of eggs. Chicken, duck and two turkey eggs about three dozen in all. After which she tilled the market garden area and I finished up making beds up at North Garden.

I moved about six wheelbarrow loads of dirt, soil, from North Garden down to Flag Pole hill, planted six lilac bushes and about fifteen dahlia clumps.

And before the day really started I walked thirty two hanging baskets out of my Laundry House (hanging in there aka as the Propagation House for about another week) not to mention twenty eight brugs that are getting quite large and gangly and several flats of this and that.
That'd be about thirty trips in and out and down two steps. And if I took them out this morning you know what I did last thing tonight 'til about eight thirty. Took them back in.
I think I have had my stepper exercise for the day. Which is good since I just looked up the side effects of my new drug and found out that the number one side effect is.... that's right, weight gain. Oh yippee, just what I need.
Oh well, a person can't have everything go their way now can they. Sometimes you have to have somethin' to push back against eh?
Dear Reader, please have a delightful day or two, however long it takes me to get back here to my zapping lap top. And hey, remember, God is taking care of us, you and I.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Words seem

When I am filled with awe for His Love,
and blessed with His corrections and guidance.
He breathes upon me and my life is but His.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dirt Hates, No Really, Hates Pizza

How to get Dirt to not only eat, but to even pick up, pizza for a dinner that he will be eating:

  1. The night before (this is best done late at night when everyone is on edge) allow him to say something amazingly insensitive to you.
  2. Resist saying anything at that time in retaliation or to grind in that he was a very rude, nay, mean, fellow. But do withdraw from the banter.
  3. Later, in choked back tears, go to him, hover until he recognizes your presence and then ask if he really meant to be that mean and insensitive.
  4. Later if he crosses your path ask him for a hug to reassure you that he indeed doesn't think you and your children (or whom ever may be involved in the banter) are the idiot he implied you to be.
  5. Then the next day nonchalantly have one of the parties involved ask if the group could have pizza because of time and fatigue.
  6. Not only will he do it, he will actually recognize what and why he is doing the pizza thing.

By the way, Dirt not only read this and said I could publish this information, he laughed as if he was watching "What About Bob". (This incident goes with the previously published post)

This post is specially dedicated to the Coulters! Who really wish Dirt would get over his pizza adversion but are sweet to never make him eat it.

Just A Bit


Dirt and I had a great trip and visit up north with our good friends.

And we were very successful at Charley's. The plans are gelling up for the hothouse and plant shed! Fancy plans will be drawn up and we will be getting a permit, 'cause Dirt wanted to make my plant shed a bit bigger than a non-permit shed could be. Ain't he a thoughtful fella?
I came home so well rested that I was sure I could conquer the world, and was about to proceed in that very direction Sunday morning when Janie began her labor.
I'm going to let Anna tell the whole story, it might take her a day to get there, but all in all somewhere around noon on Sunday I lost control of the destiny of my well restedness. It all got spent on Janie. And Anna.
Why on Anna? Two hours of middle of the night tears spilling out of a clam are very hard on a Mom-body, rested or not. Tears freak me out, they are a bodily fluid you know, a big reason why I couldn't stay working as a nurse, body fluids draw bad reactions from me. You do know that I am an economy model mother after all, don't you Dear Reader?!
In the end, all is well, well, not Dirt's pocket book, that is so light I think it floated up over the trees and right on out to sea. But Janie has five live pups, two born Monday at three in the morning and three born at three Monday afternoon.
Janie's career at Anna's Personal Puppy Mill is over! It was already going to be her last litter as she was about to move on to a whole different stage in life, but now it is over for sure.
And now I am going to bed.
Not really, I'm headed out to check on seedlings and maybe scoop out a few new pathways but I will avoid anything that takes even just one brain cell, 'cause those stopped working several hours ago, hmmm I was driving though?.
You know what I am going to end with, don't you Dear Reader?
God is good all the time, absolutely, in every step and turn in our lives, as He holds together absolutely everything, the wonderful restful days as well as the long long tearful nights.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What's Today?

Well, aside from being another day God made, it is a day for killing slugs (a favorite sport of mine) and eradicating "hard to kill weeds" hideous things in the garden both, so that is what I am going to do! In the rain.

Because it is raining I can't spray for disease and bugs like the sign of Aquarius recommends, but the next sunny day (no one told the rain clouds that they can't come around on the sign of Aquarius) I will certainly do so because the leaves on the roses have arrived for sure!

I was going to wander around and take pictures of everything for today's entry but Dirt is to come home early and I am to have myself and him packed for a little get away. I need to make sure that I actually get some work done. Sometimes between Photoshop and Blogger my day can render little else besides more pictures. Which... is not a bad thing really but....

Dirt and I are going up to Charley's Greenhouse to get the glazing for the hothouse, and even more importantly, to visit our dear friends up north, and for me to sort of regroup my brain cells, and gain a new go at things for the last hard push to have things ready for April 22.

The girls are staying here with eyes on the pasture, no more lambs are expected but we now have the bald eagles visiting because the early lambs are out on the field with their mommies and aunties. And because they are new and nursing they need good solid nutrition, so the girls stay and we go.

Besides, Janie should be popping any day now. Oh wait! LindaSue may not read this! I don't want to be responsible for someone else coveting.

You know really, it is a good thing I don't have much time to talk, I have several drafts in my file to tidy up and publish, all rantings about the current "green" movement, oh and one about bald eagles and the destruction and havoc that they bring to our farm.

Fortunately for you, I mustn't tarry here at the keyboard, I am going to take my cranky self outside in the rain to kill what I can and then off to a little time away to gain some perspective. Or get worse, who knows, you may get to read my rantings after all.

I am having what seems to be some major successes in the propagation department but I don't want to say anything too much about it at the moment, it could all go south, but I am going to make some chamomile tea today for my seedlings in hopes to ward off the dreading damping off disease.

Toot-a-Lou, Dear Reader have a very beautiful weekend whether it be a lovely shade of steel grey from the sky or clear robin-egg blue, it is all from God and to be cherished, may you and I revel in it and sing Him praises for His goodness.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Remembering, Doing, and Looking Forward, All in a Saturday's Work

How's the Hothouse and Market Shed project going?

Well this is where I left you last, the big trees were down,

the little brushy trees got cut out, and I kept looking at what it was going to be.
Last Sunday, the last day of February, Mr. Leonard, Leonard and Sons Excavating, came for dinner and a survey of what we needed his operator to do. This was how it looked then. And he promised to send us an operator and an excavator on Saturday morning.

Well sure nuff, early (early for us lazy bones) on Saturday morning, Greg the Operator showed up with the excavator to dig out all the stumps so that the site could be leveled, graveled and the building started.
One of my favorite children's books is Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton, (a girl, in case you didn't catch the Virginia part) this was pretty much like living in that book for a few hours.

The excavator began making quick work of the big stumps in the ground. I was in making coffee and so I missed a lot of the beginning work but Anna caught much of it on video and in pictures.

Greg would lift the stumps way up in the air and then open the grip and drop them from up high. All that crazy action to get as much soil as possible off of the stumps before tossing them over the fence.
The excavator is on tracks not tires, the potential for a lot of underground water to be pumped up to the surface with the back and forth motion made it necessary for the stumps to be shook and dumped in a pile on this side, then the

crazy prehistoric robotic alien jaws would toss them over the fence to be moved one more time after that to the rot pile. No stump burning piles are allowed any more.

Mr. Leonard, holding the coffee cup, has even gone to testify to the legislature that not burning is actually harder on the environment and creates more pollution than just burning them.
But no, the greeners are narrow minded and insist that if they see a big burn that it is more damaging that all the less conspicuous but much larger carbon footprinting that it takes to have stumps ground instead.
Oh well, ranting about the current "green" movement is for another day. Or more like days, 'cause if I said it all at once it would be a long post even for me.

Gregg chatting with Bruce, telling us that the thumb broke on the second stump pulling. The thumb is what grips and holds things in the bucket, or "scoopy thing" just in case it isn't called a bucket. Gregg is my new hero!
We were all in love with Gregg on Saturday, okay some of us still are, Dirt sent him home with a bottle of plum wine (sorry Kimberly, but we had to give away one from your special cache) but I still want to bake him a cake every day, every time I look at my beautiful building site!

In the middle of the excavating lambs began to drop. We ended up with five lambs from three ewes on Saturday. We went out to check on the first batch that dropped just to make sure everything was going well.

But then came back for the final touches that Gregg put on the site. He exchanged the small bucket for a larger one and because the thumb was broke it would not stay back so it got chained up to the "wrist" so that the "fingers" could fill in holes and smooth out the dirt.

Mr. Leonard, with Dirt's help, predicted that the area would be pretty wet and a big mess, needing a lot of special help and $ if we were going to have it ready to build before August let alone by the end of this month. Well, that may have been true on any other year but this one...
This one is all about me, so if you live in the PNW and are not enjoying our mild and dry winter and spring, blame me.
Everything is going so well that if I don't make my schedule, I am nothin' but a looser. A blessing and a test all rolled into one!

Justin from up north, joined us just in time to see the leveling of the site and help get the truck unstuck from the driveway, it pays to have an extra truck driver on hand.
Now for checking on the lambs...

and look more lambs have dropped in close proximity to the first batch! This is a problem! We run to jump in to the escalating issue.

You see, some moms are not satisfied with just their lambs, they want every one's lambs and will attempt to adopt all of them. Sometimes if we are not out there right away it can be a confusing mess to try and get the right moms with the right babies.
Even though the moms think that they want more lambs, once they get them all rounded up and huddle away from the other mother, they realize their mistake and reject the ones that aren't theirs. It is easy for them to know which ones were really theirs to begin with, one sniff tells it all.
But after all the ruckus and mixing of lambs it is often too late to get the right lambs back with the right mom.
This is why we take the ewe's and lambs into the barn once they have dried off and nursed. We try to wait at least that long so that the mom's aren't quite so nervous on the trip into the barn. But they need to be in the barn eventually not just to protect them from Bald Eagles and Coyotes, but to protect the new lambs and new moms from the bossy older sister and auntie ewes.

Anna catches the lamb so that Dirt can catch the ewe. Justin is the newest inductee into the world of lamb rustling and ewe driving.

Anna makes sure mom knows where her lamb is. Then the slow dance begins. Around and around we go, closer and closer, less and less tense around Mr. Vick...

and snag! the ewe is caught so she can be taken in the barn. This first batch will go in now. Then we will do some other farm work and come back and get the other ewes and lambs.

Bet, Anna and Justin spread lime on the front pastures, Dirt and I ran into town for some lunch fixins' and seed potatoes. We ate a lovely lunch and then headed out back to spread more lime and minerals on the hay fields out there.

Dirt is really diggin' on having the PTO driven cyclone spreader on the back of the tractor. It sure beats having a hand driven-hand held spreader, makes a week-long job get done in an hour or two, one of a few reasons, excuses, as to why the pastures and fields were a bit on the neglected side lime wise.
Bet asked to be chief tractor driver for this job, we were all good with that, especially since the lime is virtually dust free!

The rest of us gave the dogs some well needed entertainment and exercise, and the some of us just lounged around thinking of how tired we were from all that stump pulling. Man, my back hurts.

It was a splendid day, the sky was clear and blue, the mountain was in all his glory, just a great day to accomplish a ton of work and visit with a friend from way up north.

Definite difference in flinging styles.
After all this hard work and picking up more lambs and moving everyone around in the barn, it is rest time. A great simple supper, review of the day of excavating on video (thanks Peanut Butter) and a movie capped off the day.
Hey, about that pen, the ink pen, you have all asked about, it is a Uniball 207, marketed for anti-check fraud, but really it is for me, remember it is all about me, and writing notes in the mist and rain that I am sure we will get back to as soon as I need some rain in my life. Remember, it is all about me right now.
Oh, how does the site look? In all the excitement over lambs and spreading lime I forgot to take pictures of the finished site. Anna went out early this morning, a cold frosty morning and got a few pictures of it.
Brrr, we got cold here, even snowed a bit yesterday, but not to worry, anything that was tender is protected and the apple blossoms haven't begun to swell, neither have my fruiting cherries, just the ornamentals, so I'm thinkin' were still okay.

The site? She is lookin' pretty stinkin' good!

And ready for the next phase, Building!!!

Here at Vicktory Farm and Gardens, we have all been bitten by one type of bug or another, just not this one!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Today and Tomorrow, Oh and Yesterday Too

Today and tomorrow are the best days for seeding root crops and perennials, I'm a busy lady for the next couple of days. Plus Mr. Leonard's crew (okay, one operator) is coming early Saturday morning to rip out the stumps and level out my building site then Mr. Vick can get the gravel in here, and start my buildings.

Six ewes have lambed, there are nine more to go. Docking tails happens late this afternoon.

Yesterday, right on cue in the afternoon, ewe number six, Rickie, a first timer, had two lambs. Way to go Rickie. We all walked out to see how they were doing and bring them up to the barn.

One little guy seemed to not look so good.

Mr. Vick does a quick check with his assistants standing ready to help. A finger slipped in the mouth reveals all is well and nice warm temperature.

Where the heck did Rickie go?

What is she running off to and look at the one baby doing his best to keep up with mahm.

Here comes the crowd, galloping, bawling ewes. Some of them are definitely heavy with lambs. Most of our sheep are Suffolk, a down breed, raised primarily for meat. Their wool is not barbed and therefore not the greatest to spin up and it will not felt like others. Because it doesn't felt up it is popular to use as batting for quilts.
Ooops off track again.

This was what they were all running for, the girl with the grain. Bet is the routine livestock feeder and she is doing an awesome job this year. All the ewes are looking great nutritionally.

If you listen closely you'll hear her singing as she swings her empty bucket, most likely Danny Boy or Desperado, maybe it is a tune from American I. but usually it is one of her Johnny Cash tunes. Gotta get the girl a new cd to listen to.

Well it is time to head to the barn now that all the other ladies have been distracted by the grain. Anne and Abby will carry the lambs out in front of the mom and that helps get her moving forward.
Off to get seeds in flats and under a low poly tunnel.
God is good. His goodness never ends and it never takes a break.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's A Long Way to Tip...

No I didn't go to Tipperary yesterday, but I sure went a long way! Seventy-seven point four miles north to be exact, to get Anna started in her new venture, angora bunnies.

I was going to be clever and post the google map of our route up there but every time I try to put it here on my blog, internet explorer turns off. Hmmmmm. Google maps says I, common computer user, can do this, but apparently I, Lanny Person Vick, cannot. This is weird since both, blogger and maps, are Google "products". Oh well.

And the only pictures that Anna took were of bunnys and bunny fur, and I know she will post these tonight, before the phone begins its usual evening ring.

She would have my hide if I "stole" them and posted them first. So you are going to be visually impaired today Dear Reader, well only here actually.

Back to the drive. We went up nearly to Snohomish, I think we were just a couple miles to the south of it, in this gorgeous farming valley (our local valley, what I always call The Big Valley, use to be a farming valley but now it is an industry, warehouse and cheaply built housing valley). We left around noon and arrived around two, having made a couple of quicky stops on the way up there, a quick bite to eat and money.

The bunny lady was really nice, an artist. Anna picked out her bunny based on temperament and color. We chatted with Bunny Lady, saw her other baby bunnies (not old enough to leave momma), tossed the ball for Bunny Lady's Border Collie and then said good bye.

Oh wait. I told her I was headed to Covington, and did she know the back way there by any chance? I was not looking forward to rush hour (it was straight up three by that time) down Hwy 405. Hwy 405 is not one of my favorite roads, I do not like being a marble in a concrete marble works, especially when I am a soft squishy marble and all the other marbles are bigger and meaner and tougher than me.

So she gave directions to Duvall, and beyond, but I was sure that I could figure it out from Duvall, with a little help from a link up via Bet to Google maps. Sure enough the road through Duvall and Fall City and up to Snoqualmie junctioned with Snoqualmie Parkway. Snoqualmie Parkway turns into Hwy 18 and Hwy 18 takes you right to Covington and our fuchsia start supplier.

The drive from Bunny Lady's to Duvall was splendid! We hugged the west side of this beautiful farming valley, Snoqualmie Valley. Then we crossed the Valley and entered Duvall. One of these days when I have time to just meander around the girls and I are going to go back up here. We picked up Hwy 203 in Duvall where it is Duvall's main street and then heading south turns into Carnation-Duvall Road.

I was on familiar ground. Hwy 203 was the majority of the route we, Dirt, Mike, Rebecca and I, took up to Burlington on the motorsickles August '09 to visit the wonderful Coulters. A trip where God once again turned our lives upside-down, inside-out and all-about, but that is a story for another day, suffice it to say, this road is nearly permanently embedded in the ol' noggin', only a severe case of dementia will remove it.

From another day with the Coulters I knew that I could take a different road out of Fall City and head up to Snoqualmie and North Bend. And every one knows that from North Bend I could hook up with Hwy 18 and drop down into Covington. But I was sorta hoping that I didn't have to go all the way into North Bend.

Enter Bettikins. With a call to EBet and her looking at Google Maps at home, we figured out that in Snoqualmie I could take the Parkway and it would magically turn into Hwy 18!

Yah Hooosie!

On Monday, Rebecca and I drove up to Covington to Earthworks Fuchsias to check out, and purchase if decent, what seventy-five cent fuchsia starts look like. Well they look just like the two-ninety-nine ones at fancy-pants Watson's and the selection was far larger!

When I got home Monday with my own personal fuchsia collection, Dirt and I figured that at that price I could put some baskets together, grow them out a bit and sell them for an honorable profit for my trouble. And that it would give my cusotmers somethin' pretty to take home with their nutritious bounty. We even figured in the price of the fancy soil sold at Costco and the hanging pots from McConkey's all of which are on the way home too. So I was ordered, ordered mind you, to include another trip to the Fuchsia Lady when I went to get Anna's bunny.

Since Covington is a shoptropolis, on Monday Rebecca and I went ahead and shopped at the Costco right there on our way out of Covington, a half a block off of the main drag we past down. And heck, looky what is in the giant never ending parking lot that connects half of Shoptropolis, Carl's Jr. and some mighty tasty burgers.

So Anna and I did virtually the same thing, got to Covington, went out a mile or so to the Fuchsia Lady and her wonderful employee Dawn for eighteen baskets worth of fuchsia starts (I had even packed my sales tax waiver in my bag, check it out, I'm sorta getting organized and a tad bit grown-up).

We headed back into Covington proper where the Hwy entrance is. We zipped into a pet supply, saw a neighbor in the parking lot, stopped to say hi, in the pet supply store we figured out we could do better at Freddy O'Meyer for bunny supplies, zipped across the road and into megaparking lot, ran into Freddy's for bunny supplies (and ice cream), came out, repositioned the car closer to Costco, went in, bought soil, chatted with the same Costco employees that Rebecca and I chatted with on Monday, (weird, I'm feeling like a "regular" at Covington Costco) went out, loaded our purchases into the Exploder, chatted with the young men loading their purchases into a Mini Cooper, asked them how they go shopping to Costco in a Mini Cooper and wasn't the car rather antithetical to the whole Costco experience, hopped back in the car, went to the middle of megalot and pulled into a parking spot at Carl's Jr, got our very big juicy yummy burger dinner for everyone back home, (felt like a regular here too) asked for it to be double bagged for warmth, it wasn't, headed out to the car, double bagged the food with our own reusable shopping bags, jumped into the car, looked at the bunny and drove straight home.

All in all, a ninety-six mile trip back home from Bunny Lady's to avoid the freeway-marble-works and swing over to pick up fuchsia starts, soil and a few other grocery items from Costco and into Carl's Jr. Burgers for take-home dinner. Well worth eighteen extra miles.

And actually when I Googled the trip straight down from Bunny Lady's to Covington to home via the freeway, it is eighty-nine point two miles. So really, my beautiful scenic route only was six point eight miles out of the way. Albeit not on freeway fast track but I'm thinking considering rush hour, I was just as fast, and way happier!

Hope you were able to hang in there Dear Reader for that wild scenic ride. Sorry I didn't have photos but I will return to the scene of the drive soon, with more time and a camera on my hands than I did yesterday. Right now I've got to run down to McConkey's right quick and get pots for the fuchsias. Beem me over Scotty!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Pens!

I have found my new favorite pen!


It has been years, zillions of years, since I have had a favorite pen! This is a huge find! No simple little, "oh, I found a new pen I really like".

Mostly all I have run into are pens that are adequate. Or pens I really dislike and would like to..., oh I don't know, what do you do to a pen to hurt it?

But now I have found my ultimate pen.

What do I need for a pen to be ultimate?

Easy to read ink. This is why I don't like pencil, especially #2. They fade. And on a bad day, when I don't want to work hard at reading what I wrote, I can't see lead, uhmm, graphite, very well. It makes me work too hard. Remember, my full nickname is Lazy Lanny.

Colored gel pens, besides inconsistency, we'll get to that in a bit, come under this criteria also, or I guess I should say, more often than not miss this criteria. And besides that, except for blogging, e-mails and greeting cards, any other colored ink, besides black for important written stuff and blue for cordial letters or signatures, any other color of ink is just disrespectful, to the writer and the reader, a lot like hearts above the stick of the letter i, where a simple dot should be.

Oh, red ink? Ya, that is just plain brutality and saved for mom's correcting your spelling and grammar or for when you have spent too much money. Red ink is for noting a problem in a chart, or noting something that needs changing on the plans. Basically, it indicates wrongness. Ouch.

So I immediately toss pencils and gel pens from my hand when I ask for something to write with. Those are for sketching, or playing with artsy stuff.

Back to real pens:

Nice easy smooth flow of ink. Well that's fairly easy to find.

Consistent flow of ink. Ahhh, there begins the rub, toss those Bic stick pens, blue or black. They used to write consistently, they use to be my new favorite pen in the eighties and nineties when it became apparent that I could not hold onto an expensive pen, we'll get to that in another moment.

In fact, I used to have a plethora of Bic stick pens hanging around the house that were actually taped together, a black and a red or a blue and a red. That was when I would write all the time (on paper) or draw up plans all the time. I would need the red pen handy to make my own corrections or to show that the hydrangea was in the wrong spot in the yard and needed to be moved to this new spot over here.

But now when ever I pick up a Bic pen I have to spend a half hour getting the nasty little thing to write and then once it begins to write and I start wailin' away on what I was thinking about... it dies. Right in mid-thought-stream. I have come to despise those stinking Bic pens, I now toss them before even trying them, although first I try to make sure it was my pen to throw away.

Easy fit in the hand, a nice uncumbersome feel between the digits. That tosses out all those grossly fat things that write nice until you need an energy drink just to continue to hold on to the bugger.

Or so thin your hand finally dies in a spasmodic cramp before your last words can be formulated. (This is a recent occurrence in my life, I wonder what it means, my hand cramping around a small pen that is.)

Inexpensive. I don't even look at the high priced pens that would fit all my needs, because a pen should last longer than a week.

Well it should last longer than a week for me. I'm sure the person that picks up my expensive pen from off of the store counter where I last laid it, finds that those spendy ones can last nearly a lifetime. Unfortunately, I will never know that bit of information personally.

I'm a looser, I loose things. Except for those sentimental yet ugly cumbersome dusty weird things, those things I never loose. But a good pen, especially if it costs a good pile of pennies, those don't last a week even.

That just about covers it, oh wait, no. There is one more thing! The really important thing. The one thing I had a dickens of a time finding in a pen and actually became so jaded against ever finding, coupled with the aforementioned needs, that I stopped trying to find my idea of a good pen, and just went with those pens I would find lying around or in cups on the counter at Tacoma Electric Supply.


I'm an outside person, I live in Washington and much of my need-to-note things happen out-of-doors in the mist or outright rain. When I write on my note pad that I planted Shandong garlic in the second bed and Idaho Silver in the fourth bed from the end of the barn, I need to be able to see what I wrote later that day when I go inside.

I used to have waterproof pens and waterproof paper, both rather expensively obtained items and only in specialty stores. But I loved 'em,and I took care of them, they were much a part of my daily ritual. That was before I was a complete looser, back when I could actually hold on to pens and note pads. That would have been sometime prior to about 1981 and definitely before 1987.

Its been a while.

Since then and still today, I've totally dismissed the need for the waterproof note pad, although I know they still exist. Because if the paper gets all crinkly from being wet, as long as the ink stays put it is still readable. Certainly not nice and tidy and presentable, but readable.

But if the ink runs... . Uh ya, I can't make heads or tails out of what I planted in the first bed on the right. Or how deep. Or which seed company the seed... I'm sure it was seed, pretty sure it was spinach, if I remember correctly it was Olympia spinach but... .
Yeah, ink running ruins note taking for this random, untidy, forgetful, spontaneous combusting looser.

But enter Happy Day!

All the above mentioned difficulties have been solved! Each and every point that I need in a pen has been found!

I won't even think about how long this pen has called to me from the shelves at Costco. And how long I ignored it in my cynicism towards its claims of waterproof-ness.

I caved, I finally ran out of semi-working pens at home. I didn't have a trip planned to the bank where I could pick up another pen if I talked to one of the important people who sit at a desk where the free pens are. (I don't mind if give away or found pens don't meet any of my criteria, hey, they're free. Granted, the better the pen the more I like the business that gave it away, but I don't expect awesomeness from free, close, I've been close to finding awesomeness for free but never total awesomeness.)

But there I was at Costco yesterday when I caved. Thinking about picking up a pack of pens, a bunch of them, quite a few black ones and three blue ones, I love blue (I love signing my name in blue). I'm pretty sure the pack was about eleven bucks, so somewhere right around a buck a pen.

So standing there once again, feeling slightly more desperate for pens than previous I-should-pick-up-pens trips, I said to myself, "Okay, I'll bite, I'll try 'em, they'll be nice pens, Dirt will appreciate being able to find a pen in the house, but I won't expect them to really be able to hold up to rain."

I got home, I ripped open the pack, well actually I think Bet ripped it open and handed me a pen. I wrote on the back of the envelope, "Farmer Lanny".

"Here," I said to Bet handing her the envelope. "Run this under water."

She walked into the kitchen and I heard what sounded like a good solid Pacific Northwest downpour hit the envelope.

"Okay," she calls from the kitchen, "I've soaked it and it's not running. It is showing on the backside of the envelope a bit."

Hmmm, I wonder what that means. Rats, I knew the ink would bleed. I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. Pooh, well at least I liked writing with it and it does have nice ink and a good grip. Dirt needs to have pens in the house, reliable...

"I'm dabbing it," she continues to give her blow by blow on the test in her loud over-household-noises voice.

"Hey," she says, quieter now as she is entering the dining room where I am sitting logging in my fuchsias starts I purchased earlier that day, "I think it will be okay."

I looked up, in utter disbelief but pure joy. There it was, complete, readable and on solid white, unspotted yet soaking wet paper: "Farmer Lanny"

Yahoo, I can go back to writing outside!

And inside! On the couch, in my bed, at the table. And in the store while I'm shopping, and in the car when an important thought comes to me... . Ohhh wait, I don't write while I drive. That would be unsafe. That is what I have a digital voice recorder for, it's here in my bag somewhere, I can find it, let me show you.....