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Violas – December 22, 2015

It’s been a minute since my last post. No reason, really. Just life. Lots of overtime, but even when I took my vacation time in January, I wasn’t moved to post. I was sick for part of the vacation, and for the other part, I was just detoxing from overtime. You know how that goes. I’m fortunate for the work and fortunate for the pay and fortunate to be able to take time off from work for downtime. And although in a perfect world, none of that should be anything I should have to feel grateful for – we don’t live in a perfect world, do we? Regardless, I am grateful.

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Red Radishes – December 22, 2015

In between radish harvests, chicken tending, and copious amounts of work hours interspersed with hot eucalyptus baths to relieve my congestion, I spent a good deal of time passively consuming media (aka watching television shows and movies.) I watched all 10 Decalogue stories and enjoyed them immensely. I have a movie list that I keep with notable movies from various lists and sources, and in order to foil my confirmation bias (and eliminate time spent on trying to figure out what to watch next) I randomly choose things from that list. There are well over a thousand movies on that list, and I try not to read too much about what I’m about to watch, so I’m never sure what to expect. With the Decalogue, I was expecting to be preached at. In fact, it took me a couple of weeks to get around to watching after checking the DVD set out of the library because I figured I’d need to be sure I was wide awake when watching because surely this would be a sandy re-enactment of the bible filled with voluminous language and expansive metaphors. Also, subtitles. And while I was correct about the metaphors, I was incorrect about the settings and deeply wrong about the boredom factor. Each of the ten 1-hour segments had me riveted. The setting of the Polish housing community tied everything together in a way that caused my interest to increase over the course of the episodes as characters from previous (and perhaps future) episodes interact with one another briefly and tangentially as they each unfolded before me slowly in all of their humanity, joy, and tragedy.

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Big Mama – December 22, 2015

Watching a series of short films loosely based on biblical morality without the fire and brimstone provided a good frame for my usual end of year/beginning of year/change of seasons recalibration – especially as it was coupled with the isolation of not having any children at home AND being a contagious kind of sick that wasn’t debilitating but which slowed me down enough to consider my smallest actions and intentions. To balance things out, I watched Night of the Living Dead and all four seasons of Luther.

Of course, I did a lot of talking to the chickens and the dogs and the plants while I was off. Sometimes they even talked back.

Also, this happened.

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Eggs – December 29, 2015

The old Ameraucana hens have started laying again. I’m getting between 3-4 eggs from my flock of 9. I imagine this will steadily increase to about 6 or 7. I’ve been busy giving eggs away to neighbors and friends. And boiling them when I hit overflow mode. And eating a lot of egg salad, which is thankfully something the Tao of Bird also enjoys.

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Under the Big Oak – January 1, 2016

The second writing prompt over at the League of Unsponsored Blogs is about Kindness. Or about acts thereof. I think a lot about kindness. When I was younger and starting to form ideas about myself and who I wanted to be, I didn’t bother with the concept of career goals. Instead, I always told myself (and sometimes other people) that I just wanted to be nice. And by “nice” – I believe I meant “kind.” The difference is subtle, but to me nice implies acting and kindness is an action. I am often nice. I am not as often kind, though I strive to be. However, I am kind enough to forgive myself when I am not.

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New Year’s Day – January 1, 2016

I am fortunate enough to have been the recipient of kindness many times in my life. Particularly as a young mother going through divorce amidst a sea of happily married people. From the care I received before, during, and after the birth of TOB on through the dissolution and gradual ending my my marriage I was blessed with good friends who inspired, assisted, and risked to provide me and my children with a modicum of security and safety. The collective and individual acts of SO MANY PEOPLE at that point in my life is enough to make me tear up even as I type this. I only hope that at some point in my life I have, or am, or will provide others with that kind of support.

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Bottle Border – January 4, 2016

But there are kindnesses that are smaller than that. More ambiguous. Kindnesses that you have to squint to see. These are much more difficult to recognize, like the neighbor who shares a plant with you, or a friend who leaves you a note to remind you you are loved, or just someone who simply says “I appreciate your honesty/talent/bravery/existence.” I would like to initiate more kindnesses like these in the coming year.

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Lettuce, Cilantro, Carrots, Cabbage, and Swiss Chard – January 4, 2016

And, for crying out loud, I have enough stuff to give away now that all of my lettuces and greens are in full swing. Not to mention eggs.

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Birthday Breakfast – January 5, 2016

My birthday this year was mellow and uneventful. There was breakfast by myself.

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Birthday Key Lime Pie – January 5, 2016

And, of course, key lime pie. <3

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Birthday Cake – January 5, 2016

Oh, and also cake. Because.

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Under the Big Oak – January 7, 2016

And lots of sitting directly under this specific sky in particular, with that specific ray of sunshine illuminating.

Since we’re talking about reflecting – I want to spelunk into old journals to see what I was doing on this day throughout the years…I’m still missing my early early spiral-bound journals (ugh! I’m hoping they are tucked away in a box somewhere and not LOST, but UGH!) – So here are relatively recent-ish excerpts from this time period in my life…It’s fun to cut these random quotes free from the moorings of time and just let them be anonymous passages from my life.

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The Chicken Bong – January 8, 2016

I need to refocus and re-energize & I can’t do that while I’m focusing so much of my energy on one person. Which is not to say that I can’t have late-night hangouts, but that I need to confine the time I spend on him to the time I spend WITH him.

Pistachios in bed and Cherry Doctor Pepper. My hands are covered w/eggplant paint. I can’t figure out what’s wrong with my toilet. And it’s a New Year. I hope it’s a good one.

Solistice

Imbalance in perpetuity

Taken out

Behind this

Shed your skin, your ties your bind

Blind,

Ambitionless.

Staggering apex.

Numb. To. Find.

Forced to gentle. Resound.

Rebound.

There is a stillness

In the in-between.

An effervescence, unheard,

but not unseen

That silent air

like bubbles.

Rising

To the top

of a pot

of boiling

Water.

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Dill, Collards, Mustard, Chard, Lettuce, Fava Beans – January 13, 2016

Who freaking knows? Too many shelves, not enough space for them.

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Chard, Lettuces, Broccoli, Spinach – January 13, 2016

How long should I be expected to live with the corpse of our love? How long should you be expected to do so? It’s stagnating and it’s festering and I can’t bear it any longer.

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Lettuces – January 13, 2016

Thirty minutes before I begin my 12-hour day after xmas funstravaganza work shift. Joy to the motherfucking world.

So, anyway. That is my life. Secretive, forbidden sex…and cancer. I keep having sympathy boob pain.

When Monk came out of me, the doctors said he smelled funny – like there was an infection – and he grunted like a piglet, instead of crying. These things they took to mean he was a sick little boy. He had a fever of 102 degrees, as well. Since then, he no longer smells funny, nor does he have a fever, but he does still grunt. All the time. And that is why we call him piglet.

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Totally Disco – January 16, 2016

No apparent reason but still frustration. I don’t understand. I guess – or do I? Trying so hard to do the right thing but it seems to leave me wide open. So vulnerable.

Tonight Collapsing on my bed I found you there. Caved in and twitching pained and alone panged with twinges of lonely tonight collapsed inward into me. Freedom is a one way street and you just can’t throw it in reverse.

Seldom have you seen me this way (collapsed) without throwing it in kicking it in until gone dead gone to you youth to tomorrow.

You say you need me – what does your need give to me? It’s a hollow promise – a hallowed threat – a shallow grave to lay all my eggs in.

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Lulu – January 16, 2016

 

 

The painting is starting to get old. I’m trying to focus on the process as practice. And I’m trying not to think of all of the things I am NOT doing because I am painting, and instead focus on what I am doing as a function of painting. I am getting exercise. I am balancing and stretching. I am cleaning things that need to be cleaned and decluttering as I go. I am being creative and working with my hands. I am focusing. I am learning. I am improving my surroundings. I am going to really surprise the kids. I am having ideas and working through scenarios.

To Do:

  • ✓Brochure Copy/Emmett
  • ✓Call Mary (find out when Protest happns)
  • *Budget
  • ✓Randomwalks
  • *Edgy
  • ?? Note about A.G.
  • E-mail
  • © post
  • Bill Moyer (responsiblewealth.org)
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January 18, 2016 – Brussels Sprouts

Oh, by the way, I found my journal. Which is what this is.

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George is available for adoption! – January 21, 2016

But some things I do not want to forget. His cry squeal that he emits when he’s on the verge of a crying jag. His little pouty face he gets just before he explodes and how red it gets. Mostly, though, the way he seems to almost pat my back when he’s resting on my chest with his arms over my shoulder. And his wake-up ritual – how long it takes him to wake up out of sound sleep. He is an angel. Absolutely.

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I love how fake these flowers look – January 24, 2016

Went outside this afternoon to check on chickens. Hawk the chicken jumped up in my lap and then on my shoulder to preen me. I wonder if I could market chickens as lice remedy. Motherclucking Nitpickers.

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Dustbathing Buddies – January 24, 2016

Bloom

Regret is a seed, unfertilized

A stone surviving cold soil

Side by side with circumstance

And loneliness

Yet takes root

In light of love.

New Dawn Fades

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Brusseling! – December 13, 2015

I want to talk about blogging. How unique! A blog post about blogging!

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The Moon Garden – December 13, 2015

I miss my blogging community. I miss writing long form and actually maintaining a train of thought. I miss reading other peoples’ blogs from a diverse array of backgrounds and a diverse array of experiences. I miss sharing links and stories and tracking back and linking up and blogrolls and all of that stuff.

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Skunk the Chicken

I know there are likely very lively blogging communities out there, but I feel like a large number of blogs I stumble upon are sponsored blogs, and I just really don’t want to be advertised to, no matter how earnestly one is doing the advertising.

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Hawk the Chicken – December 13, 2015

And yet, while I’m complaining about that…I’m not really doing anything to improve the quality of blogging in the world. I’m just sort of…struggling…to come up with words. With the advent of Facebook and immediate feedback and access to an entire universe of captive audiences, it’s so easy to abandon the “work” of blogging for the ease of firing off a 10-word Facebook post – to satisfy that need for sharing.

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Under the big oak – December 14, 2015

But the other night I was on a walk, and it occurred to me that lately I’ve been doing walks wrong. I’ve been having to convince myself to walk because I need to get exercise. I’ve been setting goals for walking as a form of exercise. And I COMPLETELY forgot that walking is not JUST a form of exercise for me. It’s much more a form of meditation. A time for me to be fully present with myself, tuning out what I’m listening to in my headphones and listening to what I need to tell myself.

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earthworm in the moon garden – December 14, 2015

Since I started gardening – admittedly its own essential form of meditation – I walk less. And I miss the specific rhythms of walking like I miss the specific rhythms of blogging. Of feeling inspired by other people, and contributing to a conversation while also creating my own space for reflection, and having that space honored.

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Gregg’s Mistflower – December 14, 2015

That said – there are only so many hours in the day. I can only fit in so much before something has to be sacrificed. However, one thing that can be done is at least an ATTEMPT to revive some sort of blogging community. Even if it’s only a community for retired bloggers who can only post once a week or month or so. There are a number of people I would just prefer to always keep track of, because they are witty, or goofy, or smart, or kind…or any combination.

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Hoops, toilets, and dandelion – December 15, 2015

So, I’m testing the waters and starting a new blog called LUB – the League of Unsponsored Bloggers. On that blog, I will post semi-occasional blog prompts, and unsponsored blogs will be invited to pingback on the topic. Pingbacks will be monitored to ensure only unsponsored blogs are being linked. Though, who knows – maybe only the 4 or 5 people I currently have in mind as participants as I write this will actually participate!

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Dandelion – December 15, 2015

Because if I can inspire some of my favorite bloggers to start blogging again, that would make me VERY happy.

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Toilet plant – December 15, 2015

I’m trying to think of a good writing prompt to begin with. I’m also thinking about applying a different…intention?…format?…to this blog. I do well with templates. Sometimes when I sit down to write, the amount that I need to write to fill up the page overwhelms me. That’s why I’ve been breaking it up into chunks between pictures. Sometimes paragraphs, sometimes complete thoughts.

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Moon Garden – December 15, 2015

And also because, let’s face it, no one READS anymore. I don’t want to read an entire huge block of text either, so I’m no exception. However, I do feel like I write this blog mostly for myself, rather than any readers who may or may not be out there. And right now, for myself, it’s easier to break my writing down into small chunks. For now. And be inspired by pictures of my garden in between.

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Pea Blossom – December 15, 2015

Anyway – I got sidetracked there. I’m trying to think of a good writing prompt as my first. And this Joy Division song came on (“New Dawn Fades”) – and that’s a pretty inspiring concept, as well as pseudo-seasonal if you are celebrating the solstice, and possibly even in terms of other myths and religions.

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Lemon Mrs. Burns Basil and Squash Blossoms – December 15, 2015

One particular refrain of the song seems good to reflect on:

It was me, waiting for me,
Hoping for something more,
Me, seeing me this time,
Hoping for something else.

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The cabbage patch that was invaded by snails. Also borage – December 15, 2015

But – perhaps a bit heavy for a first writing prompt for folks who have not been able to find the time/gumption to blog.

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Artichoke starts – December 15, 2015

So, instead, I might start with this – what sorts of rituals have you developed to reward yourself? And if you haven’t developed any rituals – how do you reward yourself?

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Future Little Free Zine Library re-weeded itself – December 15, 2015

But that seems a little selfish in this season of giving, so maybe not.

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Collards, Lettuce, Fava, Mustard, Chard & various flowers – December 15, 2015

Perhaps – in the spirit of setting intentions (which is my seasonal holiday celebration) I will make this the question…

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Beets, Broccoli, Sweet Pea, Calendula, Collards, Lettuces & Spinach – December 15, 2015

What is your intention for this blog in the coming year, and how will you achieve that intention?

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Broccoli, Lettuces, Chard, Fava, Radishes & Chamomile – December 15, 2015

It’s a pretty straightforward question that can be interpreted specifically or broadly. As one who blogs about her life, the intentions for my blog might also reflect the intentions for my life. Others might have a less personal, more practical response.

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Cabbage, Chard, Cilantro, Carrots, Fava and Lettuces – December 15, 2015

My intentions are many. I hope I can articulate a few here.

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Fava blossoms – December 15, 2015

  1. I intend to hold space for myself to show progress on the garden and other endeavors (mostly the garden, because it’s the easiest endeavor to photograph.)
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Lettuces, snail-riddled collards and brussels sprouts, mounding nasturtium, and chard – December 15, 2015

2. I intend to reflect on what has brought me to this point – including writings, images, and recordings that flesh out my journey.

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Artemesia with ‘hot lips’ salvia in the background – December 15, 2015

3. I intend to cultivate community here in this medium, and find my place in that community so I am able to contribute as well as benefit from it.

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Cyclamen & friend – December 15, 2015

4. I fully intend (and hope I can live up to this intention) to spend less time posting on facebook and more time reading independent news and analysis and long-form blogs both personal and political.

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White Pansy – December 15, 2015

5. I intend to also participate more in the things I consume. I notice I read books lately as a goal to have read them, rather than have actively gleaned something from them. Same with endlessly binge-watching television or movies. I intend to spend more time reflecting on the media I consume, both in this space and in my private journals – perhaps to be shared later.

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White cyclamen & gregg’s mistflower – December 15, 2015

6. Going along with my own personal goals for this new year, I am also in a mode of gathering “The Best of” things into organized units. I’m creating a recipe book of my favorite recipes, and making lists of all of my favorite books and music. Keeping track of the nuggets of gold I’ve found in the sifted sands of my life.

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Radished Up! – December 16, 2015

Along those lines – I’m delighted that the Tao of Bird and I can have conversations about good 80’s music. Particularly New Order. I have a son who has Opinions about which New Order song is their best. My other son has Opinions about which Pixies album is the best. I don’t quite agree with them on their particular picks (I’m “Temptation” and “Surfer Rosa” all the way, But TOB leans toward “Blue Monday” and Buddha the Grouch is a “Doolittle” kind of guy.)

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The Moon Garden by Day – December 19, 2015

It’s just nice to not be COMPLETELY irrelevant.

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The Moon Garden by Day (wide) – December 19, 2015

I’ve been watching Bates Motel on Netflix. I’m in the middle of Season Two, and I’m completely confused and unsure of who to trust and who to fear, which I suppose is the point.

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The Moon Garden by Day – December 19, 2015

However, the very absurdity of some of the situations they put Ma Bates and her doting son Norman in has me cracking up. Norman learns to drive with the help of his control-freak mother. Norman and his mother audition for Community Theater. It’s pretty hilarious stuff.

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The Moon Garden by Day – December 18, 2015

I’m avoiding reading any analysis of it. I’m kind of enjoying not quite knowing what to expect or think of it. There are a lot of loose ends, and I’m certain every one of them in intentional. I’ll be very disappointed if they are not. At any rate – Netflix only has the first 2 seasons, and there are at least 4 that have been produced. I’ll likely watch all of the episodes  again once the whole series is over. I have a feeling I’m going to be left hanging at the end of season 2.

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The Moon Garden by Day – December 19, 2015

One thing about that series, though…the lead actress – the one who plays Norma Bates, Vera Farmiga, looks SO MUCH like Felicity Huffman to me that it’s disconcerting. And the character oddly reminds me a lot of Lynette Scavo from Desperate Housewives. I’ve spent a lot of time while watching wondering where Norma has time to cook all of these elaborate meals and make all of the beds up just. so. Which might point to my feelings of failure at keeping house more than anything else.

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Spinach – December 19, 2015

I am, however, pretty damn proud of the gardens of late. Early on, before the gardening bug hit me, one of my friends who was already a gardener told me I’d really start to feel it when things I grew from seed started growing. And I’ve had small successes at that – but nothing major. A basil plant and some beans here and there. I’ve failed at radishes because I hate the thought of thinning, and I wasn’t watering nearly enough when I started everything initially.

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Fall Greens – December 19, 2015

But these fence gardens are growing a LOT of really amazing things, most of them from seed. Lettuces and spinach and beans and radishes. All abundant and poking up and filling in and delicious.

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Spring Minestrone (with winter variations) and Flight Behavior – December 19, 2015

Slurp!

Continuing on the theme of year-end reflection and evaluation…it’s nearing the end of the year, and that’s about the time I yank my head out of my ass and try to evaluate what I’ve made of my life in the past year.

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The big oaks

I’m considering new habits I’ve begun and old habits I’ve left behind. I’m evaluating what I must keep and what I should give away. Where I’ve come from, where I am, and where I’m heading.

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Refugees Welcome! Syrian  Solidarity Rally, November 22, 2015 – Austin, TX

For the first time in my life, this year I’m finding myself Making Plans. I have several versions, and multiple durations. The 5 year plan is sort of exciting to me. Five years from now, I will be well beyond being directly responsible for the day-to-day activities of any other human being. Not that I’m incredibly responsible for them now. I’m thankful that both of the boys are fairly self-contained and marginally on track. But still. I’m here. In five years, they will largely be independent & hopefully more reliant on each other for a boost up.

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Refugees & Immigrants Welcome! Syrian Solidarity Rally, November 22, 2015 – Austin, TX

In 5 years I will make a decision based on where my kids live and how much they need/want me in their lives. In 5 years I will move towards where I will be for the rest of my life. I will commit to a geographical location. It might be right where I am, but it could be far away. I’m not even allowing myself to imagine where. If I am not here, I hope to be able to buy some land. I won’t need much in the way of a house, but it will be good to have some land.

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In Solidarity! Syrian Solidarity Rally, November 22, 2015 – Austin, TX

In 5 years I will be better at several things. I will be better at keeping chickens, better at growing food, better at drawing things, better at building things, and possibly beginning to gain experience in some sort of textile art. I will be stronger and healthier and have better stamina.

In five years, I MIGHT be ready to write that novel I started writing 20 years ago. It’s funny – 20 years ago, I was sure I already had the perspective necessary to process the events of my coming of age in a way that conveyed some sort of universal truth. I’m less sure of my ability to do so now than I was then. I’m not even sure there is such a thing as a universal truth. I imagine in five years I’ll have more perspective, but I’m not counting on it. Maybe in five years I’ll just say “fuck it” and learn to fictionalize better so I can approximate a universal truth without doing fatal harm to my memories of certain people.

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Chickens and Laundry – November 22, 2015

In five years I’ll likely have all new chickens. I might have an additional cat or two. Possibly an extra dog.

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Mulched – November 22, 2015

I honestly can’t imagine having a romantic partner in five years. I’m interested in fully owning my future without another human being gumming up the works. However, I’ve been known to get distracted by such things at inconvenient times, so I’m not ruling it out. Five years from now me will just have to roll with whatever.

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Things Sprouting – November 23, 2015

To enact this five year plan, I have some things I need to focus on this coming year.

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Fava Beans & Other Things – November 23, 2015

First, I need to celebrate what I’ve accomplished this year. I’m taking time off around my birthday to do this. I was going to go on a little retreat somewhere, but have changed my mind. Instead, I’m going to spend my time off painting the laundry room, laying flooring, paying a handyman to fix some of the interior doors in this house, and buying myself a nice washer and dryer and laundry table.

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Thinned Radishes – November 24, 2015

And in between bouts of painting and flooring, I’ll be arting. Hopefully getting the zine done. And planning. Because I enjoy planning.

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Pretty Purple Flowers – November 25, 2015

I already kind of am planning some things for next year. First – no more planners. My new system of planning is based on my computer calendar and written to-do lists on my days off. No more “carrying over” tasks. I’ve internalized my time budget and I know what my priorities are.

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Pansies – November 24, 2015

However, I will be starting two new journals…perhaps three. Definitely a garden journal (I’ve already started one, and I love keeping track of that stuff in a separate space that I can reflect on when I’m in the garden) and also a cooking journal. I’m thinking about a media journal, as well, so I can jot down notes about the media I consume throughout the year. I have such a bad memory about those things, and taking the time to write my thoughts down …I feel like that will make the experience more worthwhile, even if I am just watching Bob’s Burgers.

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Gaaaaaaaah-lic November 24, 2015

The cooking journal is something I’ve been needing to do for awhile. I’ve been working with random recipes for awhile now, and I need to consolidate my favorites. I’ve sort of begun that. I have a good noodle sauce for asian noodles, a good carrot/zucchini/banana bread recipe, ratios for vinaigrette, pancake recipe, and iced coffee/tea recipes all on sticky notes in my kitchen. But I have a repertoire of things I cook and I’d like to transcribe those things that are mine and find the recipes I need to find more staples that I can make my own.

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Lulu’s pretending to feel totally casual about the fact that THERE IS A CAT IN THE SAME ROOM WITH ME RIGHT NOW OMG OMG OMG – November 26, 1015

Some of the recipes I have already made my own are: veggie chili, artichokes, breakfast potatoes, tofu, sautéed collards, cosmic soup, Asian noodles, sautéed veggies and tortellini, and mushroom bourguignon. I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that immediately spring to mind. I’m going to go over all of the recipes I’ve cooked the past year and decide which I’d like to cook again. I want to perfect them.

I still need to find a perfect egg salad recipe, and more specialty desserts.

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True Love <3 – November 26, 2015

I’ve recently been confronted by a few realities. First – my aversion to confrontation stems from many many years of having any voicing of my concerns met with a barrage of all of the things I have ever done wrong without ever examining the validity of my own concerns. That shit sneaks up on you and is pretty tough to get rid of. It hit me the other day as I was planning to confront someone. Practicing what I would say so as to ensure I was as passive as possible in my approach, and picking through all of my behavior to ensure my grievance had merit and wasn’t counterbalanced by some equal and opposite behavior that might possibly be brought up to me in retaliation.

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Global Climate March: Austin, TX – November 29, 2015

What’s most laughable about all of this was my concern was very specific and incredibly valid, not to mention benign.

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Global Climate March: Austin, TX – November 29, 2015

The second thing I have confronted…slowly over the course of a few months…is my inability to repair some things and my knowledge that confrontation doesn’t always bring relief. Sometimes confronting people who have wronged you only makes the wrong more painful. If I am the one who has been wronged, the only control I have in the situation is to not bring additional pain on myself. There is a certain confrontation I had on this subject many years ago, and from it, I learned there are limits to the usefulness of seeking answers from people who are vested in concealment. It sucks, but it’s reality.

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Spicy Tofu and Greens Soup – December 3, 2015

So, I’m carrying some heavy shit lately, but no more so than most people…far less than many. I just am. It’s what I’m doing right now, in between the gardening and the chicken tending and the kid-rearing and the tech supporting and the artwork attempting and wordsmithing. In between the living, there is more life.

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Lulu – December 6, 2015

The other day I woke up and realized that I have very nearly fulfilled my biological imperative. My brain was spinning. What is the purpose of life? I was asking myself in my dreaming to wakefulness. I answered “You have already fulfilled your purpose, now do your best to enjoy it.”

And I can’t help but re-re-re-re-re-quoting (ad nauseum) one of the things punk rock taught me (which was surely ripped from Buddhism) – “Strive to survive, causing the least suffering possible.”

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Lulu & Nova – December 7, 2015

I don’t think that’s such a bad motto to live by. Further reinforcing a) punk rock taught me the most important lessons in life and b) punk rock is universal and timeless.

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Lulu & Nova – December 7, 2015

Confronting myself

I glare at me, menacingly

Return my own glare with pbt tongue

And we both

Dissolve into giggles.

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Tomato – December 8, 2015

Tonight I realized that I had forgotten that walks are about more than exercise. I need to not forget that again. Walks are necessary. As often as possible and as long as possible.

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Moon Garden – December 8, 2015

Dear me: it might be difficult to get started after spending all day sitting and empathizing with people while solving various technology-related puzzles all day, but trust me – at least 20 minutes of walking, please. It’s worth it. You won’t regret it. Love, Me.

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First Raspberry Flower (or it could be blackberry) – December 8, 2015

The secret, I think, is to create a ritual.

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Thyme – December 8, 2015

In addition to my annual goals, I have monthly and weekly goals and repeating tasks. My friend Kate made me realize I’ve been doing this forever. Talking about my time budget.

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Fava Beans, Collard Greens, and Other Things – December 8, 2015

It’s funny – being in one place and knowing people for a long time. Lately I’ve been paying attention to how I used to spend my time. Years ago, I actually spent most of my spare time playing the Sims. I also remember that period of my life when it was no big deal to post several well-thought-out blog posts a day. Further back, I remember spending hours and hours of my time cataloging my vinyl and cassette tape collection. Even mixtapes. I actually made cross-referenced index cards and organized my tapes so I could easily find that one tape that had that particular World Of Pooh song on it. It was insane, but I found time for it.

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Artichoke – December 8, 2015

Those things seemed as important then as spending entire days in the garden does now. I’m a little biased towards the spending entire days in the garden, however.

Even still, I remember just last year around this time, I was spending a couple of hours every night sitting outside in the cool air, just listening to music and thinking. That was nice, too.

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Autumn Oak – December 8, 2015

Looking back – I was content with all of these things. None of them felt like a waste of time in the moment. I’ve always been fortunate in that I appear to be magnetically attracted to contentment in life, and am thankful for that privilege, in spite of occasional obstacles.

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Lulu – December 8, 2015

I wonder what I’ll be spending my time on 5 years from now.

<3

78 Revolutions a Minute

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Strawberries – October 27, 2015

Our world has had an intense last few years…possibly decades. Hell, for some, it has been intense through all of history. Things are intense, and the intensity affects different people in different ways and some are obviously a lot more affected than others. In that sense – and in a lot of other senses…I can’t help but feel a bit selfish in my contentment.

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Collards and Brussels Sprouts – October 27, 2015

And I have grown selfish with my time. Which is not to say that I’m wasting it as much as keeping it all to myself, and feeling vaguely resentful of any perceived infringements on it. If only all social engagements could take place in my garden! Or while I’m folding laundry or doing dishes or doing some other practical task so I may spend my alone time dreaming, thinking and dancing!

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Lettuce Bed – October 27, 2015

And though I am content, I wonder how much longer I can allow myself to be content and static and still with myself before I force myself to participate more externally. When does contentment become complacency?

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ESP, Basil, Star Jasmine – October 27, 2015

If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that nothing is more difficult than overcoming that initial inertia that keeps me doing what I am comfortable doing and discourages me from letting go of the familiar. I have my schedules and routines with predictable chaos worked in as part of the plan. I am not isolated. I am not in need of rescue. I am not vulnerable or struggling, though some might say I’m always on the verge of struggling and that might mean I am vulnerable.

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Chef Vordivask and Hawk the Chicken (you can see her little buttercup comb) – October 27, 2015

In my defense (I tell my own self in my own head…and then type it up here to share with whoever happens to read it) (In case anyone thinks I’m trying to give THEM any pointers on how to live a life, let’s be clear this is me talking about my life and my life alone, and it does not necessarily extrapolate out to all lives or even any other lives but my own.) And, really – any resemblance to anyone living or dead who may or may not be writing and/or reading this is strictly coincidental.

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Skunk “Happy Hen” – October 27, 2015

Because, in my defense, perhaps I need contentment for a bit. Perhaps all of these various techniques of organizing my time and my space and my finances are the groundwork I am laying now for a time of more outward participation later. Perhaps I am squirreling away all the (precious precious) solitude I can for now in order to build more energy for less solitudinous times ahead.

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Strawberries – October 29, 2015

For now, approaching the season of reflection and projection…I’ll allow myself more time for reflection. I trust that I’ll know when it’s time to project. So long as I don’t measure my success too much by contentment and instead, at least occasionally, by risk – I feel like I’ll be ok.

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Strawberries – October 31, 2015

In other news –

Things are growing and blooming and progressing and regressing. Three of the baby chicks have started laying. I guess I can’t call them baby chicks anymore. Their first eggs were the most adorable tiny little oblongish ping-pong-ball-sized concoctions you have ever ever seen. I’m very proud of them, and vaguely proud of myself having raised some living things into adulthood. And only two of them died in the process!

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Baby Aloe – November 1, 2015

Though I am still getting the hang of this gardening thing…some of my beds seem to suffer from attracting too much attention from birds and fallen leaves. My plan is to construct a hoop or even just a square structure over them using pvc pipe and draping bird netting over them.

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Cabbage Bed – November 1, 2015

Other gardens are plagued by snails! I’m so mad about what they did to my beautiful collards OF COURSE before I was able to harvest the first tender leaves. I’m so thankful they grow and grow and grow and all the damage is replaceable. But still! JERKS. I’m probably going to plant more collards out of spite! And I’m being extra vigilant about those fuckers from now on. They do an incredible amount of damage in very little time.

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ESP

Following are transcriptions of journal entries from this time of year in previous years…

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Nasturtium, lettuces, collards, brussels sprouts, and ESP – November 1, 2015

The chill air bit through her jacket with jagged, fanged teeth. Ragged as the breath it pushed out of her lungs. She looked up at the endlessly silver sky. Silver sky. Silver air in her lungs. Silvered edges of this photographic image in her memory lifted from the silvering chemical bath and hung on the line with a hundred other black and white  images. She touched them, one by one. In this one, she laughed. In that one, she was lonely. In her favorite photos, the self-portraits anyway, she was a minor character. Off focus, with a sharp image of a tree or a bird or a flower in front of or behind her or the sky. Always either grey or white in these monochromatic prints. With clouds of various contrast floating by.

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Lettuce bed – November 1, 2015

In New Orleans post-Katrina 2005

Stayed up late talking at various bars & ended up at a place called the Buddha Belly, which was a bar/burger joint/laundry. Men walked in and out eyeing us all hopefully. I smiled at all of them, but was not scouting so could afford to be pleasant. Bars are strange.

At one point, a pair of armed military folks walked in, in full fatigues, guns in front and hugely visible. It freaked me out a bit, but K said she’s thankful for their presence. That the police would be out of control if it was not for these folks.

The military base nearby plays Reveille @5 minutes to 8 in the AM. I think in the PM, too. Perhaps a call to meals.

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Toilet Garden – November 1, 2015

Rule 17 – DON’T BE A HERO! Especially when urine is involved.

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The First Zine I ever read.

Bleeding

into paper

an honest subtraction

vagrant distraction

Phantom contraction

This severed – several

Severe and sacral

A womb

anomalous antimony

Congruent antipathy

Resolutely replete

Missing…always

you are always missing

Me.

 

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Artichokes – November 4, 2015

Unearthing

magma

The sinews of

sense

An agricultrual map

of residual

clemency

The skipping of stones

foretelling majestic

and forever

breathes solid air

into the traipsing lethargy

of believers

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New Fence Beds – November 4, 2015

Dreamed I was in a tornado in my car. Driving and all of a sudden losing control and car twisting sideways – I look down the street to see it coming. It’s twisting black winding towards me. I know there is nothing I can do and so I wait, half closing my eyes. It picks up my car and I am inside. At first I stand, trying to find a more comfortable/safe position. I see light among the darkness and wonder if I am dead.

I come to and the car is smashed flat but I am somehow alive, unharmed.

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Moon Garden – November 4, 2015

This is no illusion. Drag me to the hooks. I spurt songs from parched lips. It was bedraggled now bedazzled to exist in harmony wit this freedom. The trees bend solemnly – never breaking. Their roots are like rainbows – searching. Forever there is this dream of waking up and becoming real. And this is why I don’t want you to resign yourself to this particular reality. They flicker and sputter – put out by soliloquoys of truth, trust, prosperity. This is not a hermitage – a duo-tone dream cast out among these rocks of valience. Drowned out amidst the cries of many. There are some doomed, some damned, many dazed to forgive their plight.

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Little Pink Wildflowers – November 4, 2011

I wonder if he is watching over us. I wish to hear more, but can’t bring myself to ask. Instead, I grasp at pieces of a shattered past I have no placement in. It was easier when there was no past. Less awkward, I suppose – less to explain. A history, I suppose it’s called. Mapped out as plain to read as these neptunian stretch marks on my belly. They look like gills. They look like fish belly but red not white. They are many and it is permanent, I’m told. Rings on a tree. I can count that high still it seems so much has passed between the me I am and the then that was. Recapturing kindling – can’t fan any such flame. Rekindling capture. Away – away. Fair warning.

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First Fall Cherry Tomato – November 10, 2015

she is his

cleopatra

culminate this fair

unconsummated

 

Chagrined – she

steps aside.

Lets fate

undo the doing

decides

 

No more

for Egyptian

revelry

A tragedy in

pieces

 

Dramatically

swept away

years

like dust

on a tombstone

like moss

on a tombstone

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Basil: Lemon Mrs. Burns – November 10, 2015

EMERGE

Alight a light

And if life is suffering

Hold it

Bear it

because better suffer

better endure

than capitulate

 

Emerge

aflame.

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Borage Shoots – November 10, 2015

“Do what you want to whenever you want to.” -Elliott Smith

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Lulu – November 10, 2015

I scraggled my fingers in the dirt in the approximate location of the elephant garlic today and the cloves are still there. It feels like they are sprouting, but I can’t fully tell & don’t want to disturb them. It gives me hope. I think next month I might dig up the rest of the sweet potatoes and put more lettuces & greens in that bed.

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Daily Salad – November 14, 2015

Tao of Bird came home from school today & said “Dad’s giving me $7 for the school dance tonight. He told me to ask you for $7 for food and drinks.

I burst into hysterical tears.

Stupid Hope…what good has it ever done me?

Living it up. In an order – to be controlled. An acronym exists for this. It spells out the name of its private god. Osmosis. Ossify into a hardened grin. Gravitating rotisserie. My brain quantifies and absorption. Calcifies on proportion.

<3

 

Like a Birth in Reverse

I’ve been meaning to write this post for…oh, about a month now. Slowly adding pictures from my yard and my trip and my yard again.

Yes, I spent 16 bucks on dried worms.

Yes, I spent 16 bucks on dried worms.

Lots of transformations have happened. I saw my eldest child off to college – as my youngest began high school, took myself on a long roadtrip, continued to work on the yard, grew my flock by two adopted hens, and got a new fence.

Chef Vordivask and Skunk the chickens

Chef Vordivask and Skunk the chickens

But mostly I have just been sitting in my yard and watching things grow.

ice bathers

ice bathers

I would say I’m doing a lot of thinking, but I’m not, really. I’m just being. Content, mostly. But sometimes sad. Frequently euphoric. Pissed off some. Well, ok. Pissed off a lot.

Moonflower

Moonflower

But the back yard is peaceful.

Van with seats down

Van with seats down

And the vacation was good.

Van - packed with dog crate

Van – packed with dog crate

I think I’m afraid to finish this blog post because it’s the last thing I had on my vacation to-do list, and once it’s to-done I have to admit that my vacation is over, my kiddo is in school far far away, and I have one more child to go.

Crystal Shrine Grotto - Memphis, TN

Crystal Shrine Grotto – Memphis, TN

So…I’ve stalled. And in the meantime, I’ve become sort of ok with all of those things.

In a random hotel in Lebanon, TN...we are graced with the presence of Buddha the Grouch's socks...on the microwave

In a random hotel in Lebanon, TN…we are graced with the presence of Buddha the Grouch’s dirty socks…on the microwave

I mean, sure my vacation is over…but thankfully I don’t have to drive 16 hours a day until the next road trip.

Annie

Annie

And, sure my eldest son is in school far far away, but now I get extra time with the younger son.

Annie & Lulu

Annie & Lulu

And, sure the younger son is in high school, and therefore doesn’t really want to spend time with his mom.

In the middle of freakng nowhere...another random sock.

In the middle of freakng nowhere…another random sock.

But that just leaves more time for alone time.

View From the Student Services Center at Champlain College

Precious, precious…sweet, precious alone time.

Champlain College - Burlington, VT

Champlain College – Burlington, VT

So, I figure, why wait any longer?

Sunset in Burlington

Sunset in Burlington

I’m going to stop writing, so you can enjoy the rest of the pictures..

I totally got this sandwich. Yum!

I totally got this sandwich. Yum!

And I’m going to resume with The Rest Of My Life.

Lulu makes herself at home at Sagadahoc Bay Campground

Lulu makes herself at home at Sagadahoc Bay Campground

Enjoy…

Lulu on the flats at Sagadahoc Bay Campground

Lulu on the flats at Sagadahoc Bay Campground

Bay Point Road

Bay Point Road

Attack Rooster

Attack Rooster

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Sunrise - Sagadahoc Bay Campgrounds

Sunrise – Sagadahoc Bay Campgrounds

Acadia National Park - Mount Desert, Maine

Acadia National Park – Mount Desert, Maine

Lulu @ Acadia National Park

Lulu @ Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

Becky's Diner - Portland, ME

Becky’s Diner – Portland, ME

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

Popham Beach State Park

Popham Beach State Park

Gulls at Popham Beach State Park, Phippsberg, ME

Gulls at Popham Beach State Park, Phippsberg, ME

Beach Blanket - Popham Beach State Park, Phippsberg, ME

Beach Blanket – Popham Beach State Park, Phippsberg, ME

Sunset at Popham Beach State Park - Phippsberg, ME

Sunset at Popham Beach State Park – Phippsberg, ME

Lulu at Shenendoah National Park, VA.

Lulu at Shenendoah National Park, VA.

Me & Lu - Shenendoah National Park, VA

Me & Lu – Shenendoah National Park, VA

Flowers at Shenendoah National Park, VA

Flowers at Shenendoah National Park, VA

Back Porch art station - Pigeon Forge, TN

Back Porch art station – Pigeon Forge, TN

Vacation Reading.

Vacation Reading.

Lulu at Home

Lulu at Home

Cardinal Climber

Cardinal Climber

Moon Garden - 9/11/2015

Moon Garden – 9/11/2015

The Last of the Sunflowers

The Last of the Sunflowers

Cypress Vine

Cypress Vine

Chef Vordivask

Chef Vordivask

Moon Garden - 9/19/2015

Moon Garden – 9/19/2015

Chef Vordivask, Skunk the Chicken, and Hawk the Chicken

Chef Vordivask, Skunk the Chicken, and Hawk the Chicken

Hawk the Chicken upgrades to iOS 9

Hawk the Chicken upgrades to iOS 9

Cardinal Climber

Cardinal Climber

Fence Demolition

Fence Demolition

Fence in Progress...

Fence in Progress…

Fence in Progress

Fence in Progress

Fence in Progress

Fence in Progress

Fence Complete

Fence Complete

Chicken Pen

Chicken Pen

Moon Garden - 9/28/15

Moon Garden – 9/28/15

Lulu, Queen of the Back Yard.

Lulu, Queen of the Back Yard.

Random wildflower at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park in Austin

Random wildflower at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park in Austin

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Chard, Cabbage, Lettuces

Chard, Cabbage, Lettuces

Moon Garden: October 8, 2015

Moon Garden: October 8, 2015

Night blooming jasmine.

Night blooming jasmine.

Laying out the bed...

Laying out the bed…

Chicken coop signage.

Chicken coop signage.

Brsl sprts, collards, and ESP (the cat)

Brsl sprts, collards, and ESP (the cat)

Blurry moonflower mobile phone pic.

Blurry moonflower mobile phone pic.

Pumpkin Flower

Pumpkin Flower

Meager sweet potato harvest...

Meager sweet potato harvest…

(some of) the ladies.

(some of) the ladies.

Bear the chicken says

Bear the chicken says “Buddy can you spare a mealworm?”

Gregg's Mistflower

Gregg’s Mistflower

Strawberry blooms

Strawberry blooms

Purple Hyacinth Bean Flower

Purple Hyacinth Bean Flower

The whole flock

The whole flock

An Egg from one of the newly adopted hens.

An Egg from one of the newly adopted hens.

Cat and Chicken

Cat and Chicken

Cat Ignoring Chickens

Cat Ignoring Chickens

Hawk the Chicken - I <3 Her Little Buttercup Comb.

Hawk the Chicken – I love her little buttercup comb

Grumpy cat, beware - Srsly Pissed Off Cat is here!

Grumpy cat, beware – Srsly Pissed Off Cat is here!

Garlic shoots

Garlic shoots

The tiniest cucumber plant ever.

The tiniest cucumber plant ever.

Malabar Spinach. Also, Lulu looking vaguely regal.

Malabar Spinach. Also, Lulu looking vaguely regal.

Moon Garden: 10/21/15

Moon Garden: 10/21/15

Brsl Sprts, Collards, Lettuces, and my little seedlings of various things. :)

Brsl Sprts, Collards, Lettuces, and my little seedlings of various things. :)

Cabbages

Cabbages

Big Egg, Little Egg - the baby chicks are starting to lay!

Big Egg, Little Egg – the baby chicks are starting to lay!

The current view from my back yard perch.

The current view from my back yard perch.

The new girls: Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Big Mama. A neighbor needed to rehome them, so we integrated them into the flock!

The new girls: Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Big Mama. Named by the neighbor, who needed to rehome them.

Garlic shoots

Garlic shoots

Lulu and the Bottle Border

Lulu and the Bottle Border

I’m writing instructions for a friend to take care of the animals when I go out of town. I’m bringing the dog, but the cats and the chickens will remain behind. My housemate will be in the house – so the general stuff is fine, but I don’t really want to make him take care of the pets, so I’m having friends cover.

The girls: Chef Vordivask, Panther, Hawk, Skunk, and Bear.

The girls: Chef Vordivask, Hawk, Skunk, Panther, and Bear.

Because I think it might be fun to look back and see what my routine was at this point in my life, I figured I’d transcribe the note here. Let it serve as a warning/enticement should you ever decide to care for my animals for me…

Hawk the Chicken, aka: Mealworm Junkie.

Hawk the Chicken, aka: Mealworm Junkie.

An Ideal Day at Artichoke Inn & Gardens

Shaunee and ESP.

Shaunee and ESP.

Sometime between sunrise & noon (earlier, rather than later, but no one will die if you linger in bed a bit.)

Lulu stretching.

Lulu stretching.

-Let chickens out of coop

-Check feed & water (water is hanging in the coop from chains, and frequently the chicks kick up pine shavings into the reservoir. You might have to clean that out so they can drink. The container gets filled 2 times a week or so. The chicks will be off their starter feed by the time I leave, so they can all just get the chicken feed in the clear plastic container in the garage. Add some oyster shell to it if you refill and mix it up a bit.

Bear the Chicken

Bear the Chicken

-Dump scraps from previous day into pen

-Leave chickens in pen (make sure to put something in front of the gate because if it’s open even a tiny bit, those brats WILL worm their way out into the yard.

Moon Flower Bud

Moon Flower Bud

-Feed cats (just about 1/2 cup full in each bowl, otherwise they eat a few bites and then lay there with the tips of their tails twitching while watching the birds and the neighbors dick cat eat the rest)

Tiny bean

Tiny bean

Around noon-2 PM (sometime around the hottest point in the day)

-Gather eggs

-Bring ice or frozen fruitveggies to the chickens (you can put this in the dog bowl in the middle of the pen

-Feed cats (if necessary) (see above)

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

Between 6 PM & Sundown

-Let chicks out of pen to roam yard

-Sit under tree and supervise roaming chicks to keep them out of the yard. Entice them to the non-garden end of the yard by shaking their treat bag and watching them come running. If they wanter into any of the gardens, hose them out! Go Full-on water cannon on their asses! Those scalliwags are always trying to get into the damn gardens!

Moon Garden: 8/14/2015

Moon Garden: 8/14/2015

-Toss one handful of treats in three different directions so the big hens don’t bully all the little hens out of the way while they hog all of the treats to themselves (The hens, by the way, will still attempt to do this by running from pile to pile, so be as stealth as possible. I’ve found that feeding the smalls nearer to me keeps the hens away because they are chicken of me, and won’t get too close.)

-Give Hawk her special treat because she will not leave you alone until you do. She likes the mealworms, and HATES the raisins. Chef Vordivask loves the raisins. The rest of them just sort of pick through it all. Anyway, Hawk will sit in your lap and let you feed her one mealworm after another because she’s the smallest in the flock and everyone pushes her out…but she’s also the smartest in the flock, and she knows where her bread is buttered!

The Earth Give Birth

The Earth Give Birth

-Check food & water for chickens & cats

-Turn on sprinkler on the tiny lawn in the moon garden for 15-30 minutes. Every day, if possible.

Lulu

Lulu

-Water beds every 2-3 days (map attached.)

Moon Garden - 8/8/2015

Moon Garden – 8/8/2015

After sundown

-The chickens will all put themselves to sleep

-The big hens sleep in the doghouse and I don’t usually lock them in

-The 5 chicks sleep in the coop. The door folds like an accordion and is sometimes difficult to close. Just make sure there is no gap in the door, and if there is, put a cinder block up against it to make it secure. Be careful of little feet and wings when you close – sometimes those chickens are sneaky!

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-Check the cat food

-Sit under the big oak in the back yard and pet ESP (The non-aggro cat)

Artemesia and Hot Lips Salvia

Artemesia and Hot Lips Salvia

Next post will contain my endless preparation lists for travel. I bet you can’t wait! <3

Artichoke

Artichoke

Morning Glories, 7/19/2015

Morning Glories, 7/19/2015

Today I was looking around the garden. Some things are wilting – nothing terribly INTERESTING was happening. I’m between projects – trying to slowly clean up the yard. As of today I’m 23rd in line for my new fence. I still need to order the flooring for the laundry room – it likely won’t get to me until September. I’m losing interest and steam in doing the interim things, though I know they need to get done. Because it’s hot…and because I’m a little burned out. As I’m taking pictures, I’m thinking – I need a change of scenery. Not permanently, but…a vacation.

Moon Garden - 7/19/2015

So I guess it’s good that I have a vacation coming up. In the meantime, I’m just going to have to keep my head down and keep getting shit done.

And I guess keep trying new angles with these photos because, to be honest – it feels like I’m taking pictures of the same thing over and over again…& although that’s kind of the point – to show progress.

Toilet Garden

Toilet Garden

Slow and Steady.

Limber Hawk the Chicken

Limber Hawk the Chicken

Sometimes too slow and too steady.

Toilet Garden

Toilet Garden

In the meantime, in my inner world, I am also observing slow and steady. Intentionally slow and steady. I’m about to welcome the Tao of Bird home again. I’m sure he will resume his surly teenager bit and will vaguely grunt hello, if he even acknowledges me when he returns. I’m kind of bracing myself for that. Neither of my kids is particularly affectionate. The Tao of Bird has had his phases. I’m looking forward to seeing where he is now.

Sweet Card from the Vet.

Sweet Card from the Vet.

Not looking forward to telling him about Lion…but maybe he’ll be in apathetic teen mode and won’t care. Or will pretend to not care, only to have it dredged up when he’s in his mid-30’s and in therapy.

Chef Vordivask with the Mexican Honeysuckle

Chef Vordivask with the Mexican Honeysuckle

The chickens seemed to have a case of the pox recently. I was most concerned about Bear, as she had a big old warty looking pock right on her nostril. I read up on it and it sounded like it wasn’t something that would be fruitful to worry about. Mostly it’s the secondary infections you need to worry about, so the advice is to keep the birds as healthy as possible, and they’ll be able to ward that shit off. It looks like the outward physical evidence of the illness has passed, and everyone still seems really healthy, though a bit overheated.

And…this happened. I was late to the march, but was glad to witness it. What can you say? What can I say? If I type the words SANDRA BLAND in capital letters today…tomorrow I will just have to type SAMUEL DUBOSE. I’m proud to stand with people in honor of the murdered, but I’d rather there be no more murders. No more abuses of authority.

Phones Up!

Phones Up! #blacklivesmatter #sandystillspeaks

I have such a difficult time writing about this stuff. It feels like it’s already been said. A million times over…by people who are far better at saying things than me. I have no idea how I used to write several political blog posts a day. Now I just want to link to a slew or articles and signal boost. So, I’ll do that…

Of Lions and Men: Mourning Samuel DuBose and Cecil the Lion

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/01/opinion/of-lions-and-men-mourning-samuel-dubose-and-cecil-the-lion.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

#alllionsmatter Twitter hashtag search: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AllLionsMatter&src=tyah

VIDEO: Body Cam Contradicts Official Story in Police Shooting of Samuel DuBose

http://theantimedia.org/body-cam-contradicts-official-story-in-police-shooting-of-samuel-dubose/

A Lawyer Gave Us the Blunt Truth About Sandra Bland’s Arrest

http://www.attn.com/stories/2498/sandra-bland-arrest-lawful

Fancy New Journals from Shinola

Fancy New Journals from Shinola

I want those journals pictured above – one lined, one unlined – to be sacred. I want to write amazing things in them – even if I have to quote other people. I don’t want there to be a single complaint about the dog, or the children, or…really anything unless it’s written in verse or prose. I want to see beautiful things and transcribe them in language fully worthy of the honor of transcription.

Gardens 7/31/2015

Gardens 7/31/2015

There are so. many. distractions in my life. I need to be patient with myself. I need to redirect my creative energy into things that aren’t as easy to distract from. short paragraphs, quick sketches, and gardening. Still. But soon, one child will be gone and the other in school all day, and I will have full days off with no other human in the house. I can’t say I’m looking FORWARD to it exactly, as I’m going to miss those boogers…but then again, I’m looking forward to it, because I’m me. I’m a hermit. And I fear my inability to ever be really alone in my house is making me more of a hermit somehow.

Skunk the Chicken looking like a badass.

Skunk the Chicken looking like a badass.

I also need to remind myself that the reason I’ve been such a homebody is because I have been working on the yard. On the garden. On the chickens. And just working. And vacation won’t be the end of that, but it will provide a good respite from it.

Moon Garden - 7/27/2015

Moon Garden – 7/27/2015

I have two days left to book the most expensive part of my trip. I’m not sure why I’m procrastinating, but I’m totally procrastinating.

Morning Glories and Laundry Line

Morning Glories and Laundry Line

Other than the 2 Sundays of my vacation, tomorrow is the last Sunday I will have off in awhile. I’m losing my weekend off day in this new schedule coming up. I have mixed feelings about it, but it’s fun to change things up, and it’s only for 3 months. I traded shifts with someone so I could work closing, so I’ll have mornings free to take care of things that it gets too hot to take care of by noon.

Lulu Head and Bottle Border

Lulu Head and Bottle Border – 7/21/2015

Garden report: I think I lost two of the four artichokes that bloomed earlier. I don’t think I cut them back quickly enough. The other two are doing great. Strange that the two that didn’t seem to come back were both globes and the hardy ones were the purple artichokes. I’ll probably freshen up those beds with some real soil and mulch and a border of some sort. I want to add asparagus and probably echinacea and maybe some sort of fern.

Same-ish view - 7/21/2014

Same-ish view – 7/21/2014

The tomato plants both kicked, but I left one in the dirt because it was sprouting a sucker and I just want to see what happens with it. I put some pumpkin and “red, warty thing” (The Tao of Bird picked that one out because it sounds and looks like an STD.) in the bed with the lone tomato from springtime…sprinkled in some oregano and other things. I don’t have my notes with me, but damn do freaking pumpkins and gourds grow fast. It’s amazing how quickly they are springing up.

Can you find the two perfect hen-shaped dustbaths?

Can you find the two perfect hen-shaped dustbaths?

There are 3 remaining squash plants, and I’m not sure what, if anything, I can do to keep them alive. I might have to write the bed they are in off as a vegetable bed in summer. It’s just too much sun too much of the time. Even a shade cloth doesn’t appear to provide relief. It’s just. too. hot. So I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I might throw some carrots in there. maybe start my winter greens…

I love those morning glories. hahaha.

I love those morning glories. hahaha.

Something was shearing the leaves off of all of my pepper plants, so I planted more and dusted the bed with diatomaceous earth. We’ll see how that goes. The basil in that bed is finally growing. That bed has just enough shade that I really think the peppers still have plenty of chance to bear fruit even if I continue to plant them…if I can figure out what’s tearing them up and put an end to that shit!

The cukes have pretty much had it. I put some tomato plants in that bed. More greens, plz!

Future Toilet Garden overlooking Future Moon Garden - 7/30/2014

Future Toilet Garden overlooking Future Moon Garden – 7/30/2014

And the sweet potatoes are kicking ass. Hard to believe I ordered those slips through the mail and they arrived wrapped in newspaper and plastic. I threw some tomatoes in the bed with them & we’ll see how that goes. I’m hoping that bed is shaded enough for those fucking prima donna tomatoes, but some of them are already wilting. UGH. WHY DO I KEEP TRYING TO PLANT TOMATOES WHEN I AM CLEARLY NOT CUT OUT FOR IT.

This is my "before" shot to encourage myself to clean this area this weekend.

This is my “before” shot to encourage myself to clean this area this weekend.

I put some sweet basil in the front bed along with the Thai basil that’s already there…and I feel like I’m running out of beds to plant things in! I need to spend some time on the three beds outside the fence – mulching around them and adding more soil for fall gardens.

After Shot - West side of garage

After Shot – West side of garage

I kind of almost want them to leave the fence pickets with me when they tear down my fence. Sure they are old and rickety and very very weathered, but I feel like I can still turn them into great garden beds! I’m just not sure where I would store them while waiting to transmogrify them into squares.

Hawk the Chicken

Hawk the Chicken

<3 <3 <3

Moon Garden: 7/13/2015

Moon Garden: 7/13/2015

It was a difficult week last week. Lion the Chicken became very sick and listless – like, very suddenly. I noticed it right before bedtime, and just thought perhaps she was tired and overheated, so I made sure they had plenty of water – even giving her a little by hand to be sure she was still drinking. She sipped from my hands, and then helped herself to a bit of water and then…just stood there. But when I put her in the coop, I was encouraged by the fact that the other chicks cuddled her close and didn’t shun her.

Dust Bathing

Wood Ash Bathing

When she wasn’t better in the morning, I was a little worried. I separated her from the rest of the flock and put her in the dogloo tractor. I put some nutritious snacks in with her, as well as some starter feed and ice water. She seemed to perk up a bit mid-day, so I kept my eye on her…but tried to remain optimistic.

Lulu and the herd of Danes

Lulu and the herd of Danes

Late afternoon, it really started to seem like she was doing much worse. When I picked her up to examine her, I noticed that her crop was enlarged and squishy, so I called around to a number of different vets until I found one who was willing (actually, they even seemed eager) to squeeze me in as an emergency patient. By then she was very dehydrated, and all of the blood had drained from her comb. The vet didn’t know what it was that caused the blockage, but liquid was accumulating in her crop and she was not able to pass it – or anything else – through.

The vet and all of the staff there were so sweet. They made a little plaster footprint for me. They gave me “as much time as needed” to hold my rapidly deteriorating bird. They very gently and sensitively put sweet Lion to sleep while I rubbed her pretty buff feathers.

Almond Verbena Over Lion's Grave

Almond Verbena Over Lion’s Grave

Guys – I have to admit, the first few years of my life as a parent – and I think even stretching before that. Like not out of any sort of blame, but just due to living conditions, I feel like I stopped being able to afford the energy to give a fuck about pets. I had them. I took good, basic care of them…but I did not revere them. So, it’s interesting to be at a point in my life that I’m still mourning the death of a 2-month old chick a week after the fact. But, there you have it.

The remaining and the remains.

The remaining and the remains.

A lot of things are coming together right now. A confluence of energies. I’m in line for my new fence…which likely means it will take 6-8 weeks. I don’t even care. I’m just so happy to be in line. And now I know about how much time I have to clean up the fenceline – so it’s no rush, but it’s also not too too far off that I can procrastinate much longer.

Morning Glory and Milkweed

Morning Glory and Milkweed

Lately, I spend a lot of time sitting out in my yard, thinking about all of the little clean up projects that need to happen out there. I kind of need to start actually DOING those projects in earnest, but I’m slowly taking care of some of them.

Toilet Garden - Bottle Border

Toilet Garden – Bottle Border

I’m about a quarter of the way done with the bottle border, for instance – and I might actually do more bottle borders – maybe just bits of border here and there as a general guideline. And I’ve mulched from the patio to the big oak. And I whacked weeds. But there’s a lot more work, and I know it will be awesome when I get it done…but, still…I’m lingering. hahaha.

Lulu and the Gate

Lulu and the Gate

The umpteenth iteration of that gate that’s been concocted in my life with this stupid fucking fence is currently in the process of falling apart. Just having a gate that closes and latches properly will be a very nice thing. And I figure having a bullpanel fence, rather than privacy, will encourage me to be creative with natural walls and such. It will be interesting to evolve the design of the yard to provide for privacy while also sharing my gardening journey with the neighborhood. Because I know I’m not the only person who admires a good garden…particularly the barely-contained bursting with chaos ones that I’m hoping I can nurture.

Moon Flower

Moon Flower

Currently blooming: Lots and lots of these babies, and morning glories.

This is my

This is my “before” shot to encourage myself to clean this area this weekend.

P.S. I’m not sure this is going to happen this weekend – but possibly during the week. I have this new thing that I do when I feel unmotivated to do something because it feels too too huge to possibly accomplish. I focus on 45 things. So I either toss or put away 45 things. Once I’ve committed to doing that, it doesn’t feel so huge. When I get 45 done, I might take a break and do 45 more. Until I’m all 45’ed out.

Mulched Path

Mulched Path

I’m already dreaming of things to put on the clothesline side of the border here – to shield the clothesline and arc over to shield the seating area by the big oak. Perhaps things I can grow in pots. Perhaps trees – like small citrus trees…or even a pomegranate…or fig…or artichokes. Or a combination…I haven’t fully decided, but the shape of it is coming to me.

Morning Glories

Morning Glories

I totally forgive this monster plant for killing all of the other plants in its path to complete domination over the north end of the moon garden. A) It puts on a beautiful show every morning and B) it’s sheltering a volunteer tomato plant that must have sprung from last year’s pitiful attempts and tomato gardens. The tomatoes I planted have already succumbed to heat (and, let’s face it, my neglect) but that little scrapper is loving life in the shade of my morning glories.

I’m not counting on it to ever produce any fruit, though. Because it’s a fucking tomato plant and I fucking suck at tomato plants. Fucking prima donna plants. hehehe.

The Day The World Turned Day-Glo

The Day The World Turned Day-Glo

The younger child is at his dad’s, and the older is at a special event at his college. I’ve been kidless since Wednesday. My intention was to clean Buddha The Grouch’s room, in spite of his protestations…but I haven’t exactly accomplished that yet.

Moon Garden - 7/18/2015

Moon Garden – 7/18/2015

*Sigh* – I guess I better start counting to 45.

Butterfly Garden - 6/27/2015 1:00 PM

Butterfly Garden/Free Library – 6/27/2015 1:00 PM

Playing catch up with photos. I’ve decided I’m going to change up how I approach these blog posts so I don’t feel so pressured to think of anything interesting to say. I feel like I sound like a broken record. Chickens. Dog. Chickens. Road Trip. Chickens. Garden. Chickens. Chickens. Chickens…

The Big Oak - 7/3/2015 (wide shot post-trimming)

The Big Oak – 7/3/2015 (wide shot post-trimming)

But we all need some diversion. And this is mine. And I am quite…diverted.

Toilet Garden - 6/27/2015

Butterfly Garden/Free Library- 6/27/2015 1:19 PM

Speaking of road trip – I’m planning one. Soon. Dragging Buddha the Grouch and Lulu the Dane up to Vermont to drop the grouch off for his college thing & then proceed on to whatever epic adventure awaits while I meander my way back down in a vaguely random-ish manner. It is my graduation present to myself, and I’m looking forward to all of it. In both directions. I keep telling Buddha the Grouch we need to do a podcast of life on the road with us, but he’s not into it. So I might just do a podcast with Lulu. hahaha. Shit I say to my dog while traveling.

20150627_200859

Toilet garden with start of bottle border – 6/28/2015

There’s not much more to say about life lately. It’s full of slack and activity and beauty and minor amounts of frustration on occasion. I miss the Tao of Bird now that he’s at his dad’s, but it’s nice to be alone in the house for a bit with Buddha the Grouch. The work is unending and unendingly enjoyable.

Sunflowers through screen

Sunflowers through screen

Some ideas for spots to visit on my road trip include:

White Mountain National Forest

Stoney Pond State Forest

Amicalola Falls State Park

Blue Ridge Mountains/Smoky Mountains/Asheville, NC

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

Mark Twain National Forest

Ouachita National Forest

Pisgah National Forest

Monongahela National Forest

Baxter State Park

Acadia National Park

Deering Oaks Park (Just because I want to go to Portland, ME)

Green Mountain National Forest

Susquehannock State Forest

Allegheny National Forest

Shenandoah National Park

Cherokee National Forest

Daniel Boone National Forest

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Shawnee National Forest

Chattahoochee National Forest

I’m all over the place. I’ll figure it out when I get there. I might randomly pick from a deck, or throw a die…roadtrip roulette.

Moon Garden - 6/28/2015

Moon Garden – 6/28/2015

Books on Nature I’d like to read/listen to on the road:

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Hardcover)
by Cheryl Strayed

Walden & Civil Disobedience (Paperback)
by Henry David Thoreau

The End of Nature (Paperback)
by Bill McKibben

The Sense of Wonder (Hardcover)
by Rachel Carson

Walking (Paperback)
by Henry David Thoreau

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region (Paperback)
by Elbert L. Little

Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My First Summer in the Sierra / The Mountains of California / Stickeen / Essays (Hardcover)
by John Muir

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
by Bill Bryson

The Control of Nature
by John McPhee

Crossing Open Ground
by Barry López

Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
by Candace Savage

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Leaves of Grass
by Walt Whitman

Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America’s Most Hopeful Landscape: Vermont’s Champlain Valley and New York’s Adirondacks
by Bill McKibben

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
by Bill McKibben

My First Summer in the Sierra
by John Muir

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
by Naomi Klein

Naturalist
by Edward O. Wilson

Self-Reliance and Other Essays
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
by Edith Holden

The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany
by Graeme Gibson

Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd
by Karsten Heuer

Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside
by Edward Abbey

Edward Wilson’s Nature Notebooks
by David M. Wilson

In the Temple of Wolves: A Winter’s Immersion in Wild Yellowstone
by Rick Lamplugh

Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness
by Mary Reynolds Thompson

How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art
by Kathleen Meyer

A Natural History of North American Trees
by Donald Culross Peattie

Wild Fruits: Thoreau’s Rediscovered Last Manuscript
by Henry David Thoreau

Adirondacks: Views of An American Wilderness
by Carl E. Heilman II

Where The Sky Began: Land of the Tallgrass Prairie
by John Madson

The Big Oak - 6/28/2015 (Pre-trimming)

The Big Oak – 6/28/2015 (Pre-trimming)

One of my goals for the road trip is to focus on drawing and art. I’m getting a good set of sketch and watercolor pencils and some fine line black pens. I’d like to bring along some good books about art and nature, such as:

The Big Oak - 6/28/2015 (pre-trimming) wide shot

The Big Oak – 6/28/2015 (pre-trimming) wide shot

And also, some books on Environmental Justice:

Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply (Paperback)
by Vandana Shiva

Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality (Paperback)
by Robert D. Bullard

Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago (Paperback)
by David Naguib Pellow

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (Paperback)
by Carolyn Finney

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (Paperback)
by Seth Holmes

Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability (Paperback)
by Alison Hope Alkon

All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life (Paperback)
by Winona LaDuke

The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution (Paperback)
by Robert D. Bullard

Stuffed And Starved: Markets, Power And The Hidden Battle For The World Food System (Hardcover)
by Raj Patel

Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices From the Grassroots (Paperback)
by Robert D. Bullard

Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island (Hardcover)
by Will Harlan

Crimes Against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation (Paperback)
by Karl Jacoby

Chicks under big oak and brush pile.

Chicks under big oak and brush pile.

Books about the Commons:

Frischmann, Brett M., Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources

Hartzok, Alanna – The Earth Belongs to Everyone

Barnes, Peter, Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons

Burns, Weston and Bollier, David. Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights, and the Law of the Commons

Freyfogle, Eric T., The Land We Share: Private Property and the Common Good

Heller, Michael,The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation and Costs Lives

Barlow, Maude, Blue Gold: The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World’s Water [report], (San Francisco, Calif.: International Forum on Globalization, 1999)

Barnes, Peter, Who Owns the Sky? Our Common Assets and the Future of Capitalism

Alperovitz, Gar and Lew Daly, Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance

Nature for sale. Commons versus Commodities. by giovanna ricoveri

Reid, Herbert and Betsy Taylor, Recovering the Commons: Democracy, Place and Global Justice

Hardin, Garrett, The Tragedy of the Commons

Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature
by William Cronon

The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture
by Wendell Berry

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism
by Jeremy Rifkin

The Drama of the Commons
by Elinor Ostrom

Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance
by Peter Linebaugh

Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons
by David Bollier

Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good
by Heather Menzies

The Wealth Of The Commons: A World Beyond Market & State
by David Bollier

The Future of the Commons: Beyond Market Failure and Government Regulations
by Elinor Ostrom

Subverting the Present, Imagining the Future: Class, Struggle, Commons
by Werner Bonefeld (Editor), Stevphen Shukaitis

Butterfly Garden/Free Library 6/29/2015

Butterfly Garden/Free Library 6/29/2015

Books about National/State/Public Parks and forests:

National Geographic Guide to State Parks of the United States

National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States, 6th Edition (National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States) Paperback – March 17, 2009

Lion The Chicken

Lion The Chicken

Resources for traveling with pets:

http://www.petswelcome.com/

http://www.tripswithpets.com/

http://www.bringfido.com/

Big Oak - 6/29/2015 (post-trimming

Big Oak – 6/29/2015 (post-trimming)

Another one of my objectives of this trip is to “do nothing” most of the time. Which is not to say I will put myself in suspended animation, but I will take lots of time to sit, read, draw, and do what pleases me without rushing to do the next thing or trying to keep up. I will remind myself of the “go slow go slow” mantra, and stay in each place for as long (or as short) as I feel is necessary to really experience that place.

Roots

Roots

I’d also like to avoid eating at chain restaurants. I’m bringing two coolers that I will keep stocked with fresh fruit, veggies, and drinks. Of course, I will want to sample local restaurants (as much as I can with a large dog in tow) – but I really don’t want to get in a rut where I’m seeking drive throughs because I’m ill prepared when hunger strikes.

Some resources for road food and restaurant guides

Roadfood: The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 800 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More Paperback – May 10, 2011

http://nourishedkitchen.com/real-food-road/

Panther/Drublood/Skunk

Panther/Drublood/Skunk

General road trip books and resources (non-fiction):

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k2952460-Best_Online_Road_Trip_Resources-Road_Trips.html

http://www.roadtripamerica.com/travelplanning/Road-Trip-Planning.htm

http://www.planning-fun-road-trips.com/roadtripresources.html

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/road-trips/

http://www.reidsguides.com/destinations/northamerica/general/road_trips.html

http://myitchytravelfeet.com/usa-road-trip-planning-resources/

Lulu!

Lulu!

So – about the present…the garden is hanging on. I’ve decided I dislike tomatoes. Not eating them…just growing them. Freaking prima donna mother fuckers. However, my cucumbers are still producing, and I’ve got sweet potatoes growing, and I think there are some squash coming in. The flowers are AMAZING and wild. The moon garden looks ok, but I worry about the grass. I feel like I want to seed again when summer is over, but I might have to wait until spring. No peppers as yet – just the one chocolate pepper that was on the plant when I bought it…and a lone jalapeno. The melon/pumpkin patch looks pretty bleak…the weeds are doing AWESOME though. hahaha.

Lavender

Lavender

I keep saying “this is an experimental year – but I’m hearing from gardener friends that they are ALL experimental years.

Integration Day - 7/1/2015

Integration Day – 7/1/2015

The chicks integrated with the hens super well. I was paranoid to let them intermingle, so I was only letting them all out when I was able to supervise. One day, I accidentally left the coop open a tiny crack, and when I came outside later they were all in the pen scratching around together like no big whoop. Without any incident, they have become a flock. The older ladies still kind of hang out in their own little self-contained unit, and they still sleep in the doghouse coop for now, but even they have started exploring more. They are more approachable, not as fearful of me. They seem more relaxed now that there’s a bigger flock for them. At the end of the day when I open the chicken pen, the big girls flop in the mulch and dustbathe while the littles flit around the yard in search of new and exciting delights.

(Future) Chicken Garden - 7/1/2015 8:31 AM

(Future) Chicken Garden – 7/1/2015 8:31 AM

I’ve been looking at pictures of the yard from this time period last year. I had some friend who were staying with me who did a bunch of really awesome work back there. Most of it has come undone. There’s some wildness in its place, but also a whole lot of beauty. It doesn’t look as clean, but it looks alive. I’m not entirely sure that I’m interested in my yard being “clean” anyway. But the foundation they laid has really helped me to get it where I want it.

(Future) Chicken Garden - 7/2/2015 8:34 AM

(Future) Chicken Garden – 7/2/2015 8:34 AM

I’m waiting for one more bid on the fencing. And I’m torn. Part of me really just wants the professional fence builders to build the chicken fence, but the cost of that one fence and gate is substantial. I’m not sure I want to pay that much for a chicken yard, BUT – in terms of resale value, that particular area of the yard – fenced off – would make a great dog run. So perhaps it is the best choice. I know I would enjoy having a nice sturdy fence to contain the chickens so I’m sure the dog won’t chase them…and if my plans to foster and/or adopt a parrot come fruition, having a secure fence out there to enclose a parrot would be helpful for outside days.

I’ve been non-planning my route. Gathering random information…flipping through destinations like the used LP bin & today I was talking to someone randomly and they were from Maine & the words “cabin on a beach” were uttered, and I was…smitten, just so smitten, with the idea of that.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

So, I think  I’ve found at least one destination to plan for. It pleases Buddha The Grouch that I’ve decided not to hang out in his new town for a few days as I had originally planned. Though I did tell him I might drop back into town on my way back down.

The Big Oak - 7/3/2015 (wide shot post-trimming)

The Big Oak – 7/3/2015 (wide shot post-trimming)

I’m very very slowly and gradually repurposing the mulch from the tree trimming into pathways – in hopes of making rainy days a slightly less disastrously muddy proposition. I have tons of the mulch – probably also enough to surround the beds with. The grass/weed combination that I call my lawn is slowly growing back, and I’d like to at least attempt to somewhat rein in the wildness. This time of year most summers, all the grass is dead and gone and not an issue. My yard is lush with the stuff. I hate that it’s so prevalent without my approval, but I gotta admire its hardiness, while those fucking prima donna tomatoes WHITHER at the first overheating and sputter and die with a HINT of frost.

Morning Glories

Morning Glories

Seriously. I really really hate growing tomatoes! Or trying and failing to grow them. I’m far too lazy to baby those fuckers. Or I have far too much else to do.

(I say the above knowing full well I am equipped with an arsenal of tomato seeds to sow for fall tomoatoes.)

Lulu

Lulu

So, while I’m repurposing the mulch, I’m also burning some of the twigs and branches from the pruning I’m doing. Today, I googled “What can I use wood ash for” and, lo and behold, the wood ash can be put in the chicken pen and mixed in with the rest of the poop/food scraps/hay/pine shavings so the hens can scratch and move it around and aerate it and turn it into black gold.

First Moonflower

First Moonflower

DUH! Hahaha. I probably should have already known that. I mean, of course it all works together. I am an ecosystem.

E.S.P.

E.S.P.

This little kitty – almost a full year after deciding she does not ever want to be in the house again with THAT DOG; mostly because she weighs all of 6 pounds (pretty much exactly 6 pounds – no lie) and THAT DOG is a big, sloppy, dorky 100 – has decided she is going to try to be more brave and has on multiple occasions actually lay still and allowed the big, sloppy dorky dog to sniff her all over. She’s been coming into the yard when the chickens are out and the dog is in – because I can’t trust the dog around the damn chickens, either. We have a deal that she won’t go all bloodthirsty murderer of things (like we all know she can be) on the birds if I will pet her belly. I think we are both satisfied with the deal. Well, all of us – if you count the chickens.

Morning Glories

Morning Glories

I’ve been trying not to say this, because I hate being a commercial for a product that…well, ANY product, really. But I am kind of crushing on the new “For You” playlists in iTunes. At least one and usually two and sometimes even all three of the suggested playlists are consistently awesome. And I am a picky-ass motherfucker who never lets ANYONE play music for me (just ask my children, who have NEVER been able to play their own music in my car.) It’s getting to the point where I can’t wait until the end of my day so I can play a playlist while cooking or cleaning or…writing a blog post. It’s some pretty amazing shit.

Lulu

Lulu

I texted:

OMG! I’m going to camp on the beach in Maine in September!!!!!

With my dog!

She said:

That is going to be so dreamy!

I replied:

I know!

Pets welcome!

She concluded:

Kick ass!

Moon Garden - 7/11/2015

Moon Garden – 7/11/2015

Kick. Ass.

Moon Garden: 6/20/2015

Moon Garden: 6/20/2015

I’m a very lazy gardener. Those who know where I live can attest to the fact that I strive to keep my levels of maintenance as low as possible. Right now, the “lawn” is about knee high, with random tree sprouts starting. Two of my outside-the-yard gardens are fully overgrown (There are a couple of carrots growing in one of them, and they take so freaking long to grow that I might just turn that garden into the carrot patch when it’s carrot planting season again because – no joke – I’m pretty sure I planted those carrots like a YEAR ago, and they aren’t even close to being done.)

Weird Cucumber

Weird Cucumber

And, really, it’s only the 6 months or so that I consider myself qualified to use the term “gardener.” Before, I was just a lazy homeowner. And, whatever. Other things had priority. Now my goal is to find the perfect balance of slack and exertion – with a garden that is a balance of trash and treasure. I can only focus on so much at once. And, as I keep reminding myself…it’s a process. It’s a journey.

Panther the Partridge Cochin

Panther the Partridge Cochin

Those are important things to remember as I approach the last remaining months of sharing a home with Buddha the Grouch. And as I resume life with the Tao of Bird without BTG’s presence…and, you know, ME. And my life. Moving forward into what I will become. As always. I find myself grieving a little. Looking through pictures. Buddha The Grouch scoffs at my sentimentality. I remind him that he has always said he’s never coming back. He smiles sheepishly. I call him “The Stephen Colbert” of children, for a reason. Always in character, but somehow always him.

And time is so fleeting for Tao of Bird, as well. The adolescent attitude pervades our interactions. It’s difficult for me to not wonder if things would be different if he wasn’t in school. I struggle to remember a time that I was less sure of Buddha the Grouch. I know there was one. Like childbirth, I suppose you forget that pain. It gives me an edge. But I also remember it well enough to know I don’t have to worry quite as much as I feel like I need to.

Sunflower

Sunflower

The bigger chickens are approaching integration day. I’m still not sure what I will do with the littles. Perhaps I will move the mini coop into the larger pen and let everyone have their own space for a bit. I trust the girls will take care of each other. That’s only a few weeks out, max. The grow SO FAST. It’s kind of amazing. Skunk even CLUCKED the other day. It was like she had an adolescent voice crack, and then went back to chirping.

Pea Blossom

Pea Blossom

I learned some things about my family this week that I probably didn’t want to know, but was oddly relieved to hear spoken out loud. And realized two things.

  1. I really, truly was the goody two-shoes of my family.
  2. I probably need to make an appointment with my therapist.
Moonflower? I think? Now that I'm looking at this, it doesn't look like a moonflower...

Moonflower? I think? Now that I’m looking at this, it doesn’t look like a moonflower…

I got an estimate for the tree work and an estimate for the fence work. Both are A LOT more than I thought they would be, but I also feel that now is the time to spare no expense on those things. So I am quietly and as serenely as possible watching the loan money dwindle, and watching beautiful gardens, birds, butterflies, and bright colors springing up in its wake. I am lining my nest with feathers.

Moon Garden: 6/25/2015

Moon Garden: 6/25/2015

I went on a non-date with a nice man to remind myself that it doesn’t matter how nice the man might be, I’m just not in the mood to share my time with anyone on a consistent basis. I’m too completely enjoying doing whatever the fuck I want whenever the fuck I want to do it.

<3 <3 <3

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