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Golden Beets – April 4, 2016

My workflow for this blog is weird. Basically, I take photos just about every day, and on the weekend I import my favorite photos into the blog with the intention of writing my posts amidst the photos. But I get caught up in the photos and have few words lately. So I go several weeks without words and just pictures, and it just starts to get overwhelming to think about putting words between ALL of those pictures. And I have so much and so little to say. And really hasn’t it already all been said anyway?

I suppose this sounds like angst, but it doesn’t feel like angst. It just feels like mostly I’m not doing anything terribly interesting. At least nothing I can put into words that tell a story that I think would be interesting or amusing to anyone except me.

At the same time, *I* find my life to be deeply interesting and infinitely amusing. And maybe someone else could possibly be entertained by my conversations with myself. If not, I hope at least people enjoy the pretty pictures. I’ll go on having these conversations with myself, regardless.

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Strawberries – April 10, 2016

I have some potentially monumental changes in my life coming up, and I’m super looking forward to it, which makes up for the fact that it’s also intimidatingly scary to face this huge of a change. I don’t want to be overly vague, but I also don’t want to disclose too much until the catalyzing event is scheduled and solidified. However, it’s an evolution of a slowly rolling plan that has been modified several times until the current iteration, and it’s a testament to my learned behavior of trying to make something out of something else entirely and doing my best to remain positive in spite of uncertainty. And I don’t feel boastful taking credit for that behavior, as it was hard to learn. And I still struggle with it.

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Front yard+Shaunee – April 10, 2016

Looking at the before and after pictures in just the last year of my life, for instance, makes me feel pretty damn capable of taking on just about anything. And I’m kind of proud to say that in spite of my many and varied flaws I do seem to have a strong and innate ability to persevere.

There is no greater marker of progress than a garden, I suppose. And living beings that are thriving. These things comfort me when other facets in my life are less verdant. I am capable of this. And if I am not capable, I can become capable. I can adapt. I am resilient. I rezeal.

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The Moon Garden at Night – April 4, 2016

Anyway – so yeah. That is all pending and now is now. Now is things growing and blooming. Tomatoes bearing fruit and flowing squash and leafing peppers and potatoes flowering.

I’ve come a long way, but I’ve still a lot to learn. My beans and cucumbers aren’t doing great where I’ve put them. I suspect it’s too shady for them. They aren’t leafing out as expected, but I’m getting enough green beans to snack on and one of the cuke plants seems like it just might turn into something. This is useful information to gather as I rotate the crops. The more northern section of the fence has less shade. However, perhaps as the summer emerges, and the days get longer and sunnier, the shade will offer necessary relief. I guess I’ll wait and see.

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Blackberries – April 19, 2016

I’ve developed an elaborate system of tracking what I’m growing in a spreadsheet. From seed to harvest – including the ordering of seeds. As well as tracking what is in each bed. Refining as I go. I’m feeling super nerdy about admitting it, but also proud. I will reward myself for taking good care of each bed by building more beds to take care of. And so forth.

Also big news: Coming soon…FLOOFY PUPPINESS. In fact, at this time next week I should be typing with a floofy puppy in my lap. You can bet there will be a zillion pictures. If you are interested in that sort of thing.

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Love in a Mist – April 23, 2016

Things on the mom front have been difficult. It’s been a challenge for The Tao of Bird to be a teenager this year more than any of his preceding years…and it’s been a challenge to be his mother. I don’t want to elaborate out of respect for his privacy, but…yeah. He’s had a rough year. I feel for him. I have the advantage of having been through enough really rough years to not worry overmuch about whether there will ever be a non-rough year, but he doesn’t have that perspective, and it’s impossible to convey that to him. You just have to live it. Damnit if it isn’t almost more difficult watching someone you love living it than it seems like it was to actually live it.

On the other hand, and this is not in comparison like a good son/bad son comparison – just in terms of current circumstances – Buddha the Grouch seems to be doing very well for himself. He finished his first year of school and is staying in Vermont for the summer. Of course I’d love to see him, but I’m damn proud of him and so happy he’s doing things on his own terms and in a place where he can accomplish his goals. To be honest, when he called to let me know he got a job for he summer, I had the same feeling of “My work here is done” satisfaction I had when he learned how to read and when he first wrote an essay that demonstrated an acute ability to bullshit his way through a task. So, pretty much in my eyes everything he accomplishes from this point forward is icing. And though I’ll always be here for him if he needs me, I sense there will be less and less he needs from me moving forward. And if I think about that too hard it might make me squinty-eyed-cry, but I’m going to just float on the edges of that thought and enjoy the placid contentment of having raised a living being from dependent child to self-sufficient man.

And in that space…with that lens…I can comfort myself that Tao of Bird will get there. Eventually. He’s a different kid with different strengths and challenges, and he will get there. I believe in him.

I mean, for crying out loud, this month alone I successfully managed to rehome a dog, and my weird cat managed to lay down next to my hyper gigantic dog and they slept peacefully that way for a good long time until the cat moved too quickly and the dog went into sight hound mode.

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Vote Against Prop 1 – May 7, 2016

Also – the voters in Austin made a very good decision by rejecting this monstrosity. So, there’s that.

Also flowers. And fruit. And artichokes.

 

And my one year anniversary of becoming a crazy chicken lady!

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Moon Garden, May 14, 2015

And this.

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Moon Garden – May 15, 2016

Shake Dog, Shake

Spring is here. In celebration of my first full year of being a gardener, I have planted things. Many things. Like the cukes and beans above. And the corn below.

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Corn Shoot – March 28, 2016

It’s been a nice few weeks, weather-wise. With rain falling at appropriate increments in acceptable amounts. Not too hot, not too cold. So most things are growing really well…and I am content, not just with the garden, but with this whole series of seemingly unrelated events that comprises my life.

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Moon Garden – March 28, 2016

I feel like I repeat myself from post to post, but I think a lot about this, so in that sense it bears repeating…but my favorite part about learning how to grow things and keeping chickens is that I have an excuse to have short visits with people on my weekend. An excuse and also somewhat of a directive, which is frequently what I need to remind myself that there is a larger world outside of my back yard and own head.

It’s been nice to be able to put the word out among friends “I have these things and would love to give them to you if you need them.” Mostly because I know I have been on the receiving end of things given on more than one occasion and for certain durations. Not that I think a free dozen eggs is saving anyone from starvation or anything, but it’s just something that I can nurture, grow, and give freely…without even the burden of feeling as thought I’m owed something in return. And mostly that, because for quite awhile now…at least the past year…I have felt so content. I am content. More content than I think I ever have been before.

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I don’t know what this is, but it’s in the Moon Garden and it’s pretty – March 29, 2016

I’m searching through my emails for the exact date, because it just struck me that this is about the first anniversary of the day this house became officially mine, without encumbrances from my ex. Hmmm…so it HAS been about a year of feeling fully content with my independence. With very little consideration of further encumbrances.

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New Menu Board – March 30, 2016

I’ve been wanting to find a way to talk about singlehood. My singlehood, and singlehood as a concept. But, to be honest – I don’t really want to waste any of my time even thinking about talking about being single. Which is why I’m not in a relationships. All of that talking about things. It just takes too much damn time. I’m content just being about things. And I’m completely cool with being about things all by myself. Or with anyone who happens to be about things with me at any given time.

Which I think is both a funny thing to say for someone who loves the idea of blogging and sharing…but is perhaps the reason why I feel less and less like actually taking the time to blog and share.

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Potatoes that have survived Lulu – March 31, 2016

(Laughing at myself because I’m about to pivot from talking about how happy I am to be single to talking about my pets…)

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Hyacinth – March 30, 2016

Lulu is doing a new adorable thing. On our walk last night, she would periodically look up and me and then “hug” me, by leaning her head into my body for awhile – gently so as to not knock me off balance. She did it periodically throughout the walk and I got all mushy about how awesome she is every. time.

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Poppy – March 31, 2016

Also – our weird and adorable calico cat Shaunee has now almost completely trained Lulu to not be cat reactive. There are still moments when Lulu decides to chase, but she listens to me when I tell her to stop. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to train it all the way out of her, but she’s come a long way since her first encounter with cats, at which point it wasn’t entirely clear if she wanted to play with them or eat them all up. Now, I’m PRETTY sure she just wants to play, but she would probably hurt them a lot if she pounced on them as she seems to want to do.


At any rate, I woke up this morning and Lulu and Shaunee were both patiently waiting outside of my bedroom for me. Well, Lulu was waiting patiently. I had been ignoring Shaunee’s racket for a couple of hours. But they were sitting there – side by side – as if they hadn’t spent the last almost-two-years re-enacting every dog/cat chase scene ever dramatized in a warner bros or hanna barbera cartoon. Dorks.

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Squash Shoots – April 1, 2016

I’m really proud of Buddha the Grouch lately as he wins at life every time he turns around. He got the summer job he wanted and will be able to stay at school over the summer. This means I won’t get to see him here in Austin, but I’m already scheming a possible leafer road trip up the northeast coast…I mean, to visit.

Because Lulu hasn’t ever seen fall colors.

June
Are you weary of the lengthening days?
Do you secretly wish for November’s rain?
And the harvest moon top reign in the sky (now that it’s)
There is nothing in this world more bitter than Spring
Now I wrote you this letter
Because the clothes were hung on the line
And the crows flew out of the field
And up into the sky
I’m lying here in the station
Stretching out on the tracks
For all the possible places that I might arrive
There is nothing in this world more bitter than love
In all those long days of
Bring me the long, brown grass now that it’s dry
There is nothing in this world more bitter than Spring

(Song by Camper Van Beethoven, off of Key Lime Pie)

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Bluebonnets – March 6, 2016

My heart is full and wandering. It is once again spring. Every year as soon after the first of spring as I can remember, I reach for Key Lime Pie. I want to type numerous superlatives in support of this album, but instead I will simply say it is absolutely essential springtime listening. From beginning to end. Every year it reminds me that it’s a good idea to stop and listen to albums from beginning to end.

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Fava Bean Harvest – March 12, 2016

And every spring I renew my efforts to listen to more albums from beginning to end, but I’m always random-shuffling it by mid year. Still, at least I always have my Key Lime Pie. Since 1989, it’s been my jam. And now that I’m listening to it once again, I think it will be the opening essay to my zine which I very definitely am FOR SURE going to finish this month.

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Cucumber and pole bean beds – 3/15/2016

Things have been moving along in the garden. I haven’t been taking a whole lot of pictures, but every day it seems something new is blooming or sprouting or producing some sort of yummy treat. This morning, for instance, I saw the very first been sprouts starting to emerge from the soil of the bed pictured above. Soon the cucumbers will sprout, and I’ll alternate 2 rows of mulch on either side of another row of soil, in which I will plant bush beans and squash…and random other veggies.

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Strawberry Blossom – 3/15/2016

There are days when I feel like I’m being far too lazy. That taking 3 hours to listen to an album in the garden and draw pictures is maybe too much time away from the Essential Business of Keeping A Tidy House.

 

And then there are days like today when I need every last microgram of strength gathered in those wiling hours.

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Tomato and Barley soup with Dill and Greens – March 18, 2016

Being a parent is fucking hard, man. But being a teenage boy seems to be much more difficult. I feel completely unequipped to respond to the feeling Tao of Bird seems to be describing as being completely unequipped to handle life.

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Three Sisters Garden (Corn Planted) – March 19, 2016

It’s trickier now that he is in a situation where he’s expected to perform a certain way or there are consequences. My instinct as their parent was to allow them space to perform the way they needed to perform. To allow them the time to focus and concentrate on what they were interested and happy with. But that was a path that was closed to us, and now everyone seems to agree closing it was the right thing, because – look – now here are the consequences of allowing that choice.

And I want to move forward, but maybe instead these are the consequences of denying that choice. We’ll never really know, so I keep as quiet as I can about the path that has been chosen for him, and do my best to help him.

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Big, Gorgeous Artichoke❤ – March 21, 2016

It’s just that it seems like everything is so dire all of the damn time, and I hate that. I’m so fucking sick and tired of it. If I’m honest – what I wanted most for my children was for them to be as carefree as possible, because as someone who cared WAY too fucking much, I saw what that did to me. Now that I care less, I am so much happier.

I want them to care enough to have the full range of choices in life, but not so much that they waste their youth worrying. Or that’s what I wanted, anyway. But it just seems like they are always being pressured to worry.

I just wish there was a way to take away the worry.

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Ladybugs on Artichoke Leaves – January 31, 2016

Lately I’ve been reading gardening books. It’s funny, because my relationship with gardening books is sort of like my relationship with parenting books. When I was a new parent, all of the information seemed really intimidating and I just wanted to make sure I got everything right. Desperate for some sort of instruction guide to the intimidating endeavor of nurturing a tiny human being through various developmental stages, I attempted to uncover some sort of set methodology to apply in any given situation.

With gardening, as with parenting, I quickly discovered that my preferred way of doing things tends to drift towards benign neglect. This makes reading gardening books especially amusing. All of those overly-specific instructions about planning and executing the perfect vegetable garden actually deterred me for years from even attempting. And it’s only now – a year since I began gardening in earnest – that I can glean what I want from those books without feeling inadequate about my haphazard, crooked garden beds lined with cardboard boxes and sometimes surrounded and infiltrated by weeds.

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Dustbathing in the Garlic Bed – January 31, 2016

And I know not everyone has the means to experiment, especially when expensive soil is in play as the cost of experimentation. My investment in my haphazardness has been chalked up in my budget as an education expense. Also entertainment. And fitness. And I’m thankful I have room in my budget to afford it.

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SEVEN eggs – February 2, 2016

Even still, I wonder how many people just let their entire yard go to waste because they never realize that they don’t have to stake and string and double-dig and properly fertilize and balance and amend and take the temperature of your soil to get started with a garden. Like, you can LITERALLY just dig a hole in your yard, throw some seeds in there, cover them with dirt and tend to the emerging seedling and VOILA – you are a gardener.

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Ladies who dustbathe, and their feline admirers – February 2, 2016

 

I am ahead of myself on beds, and behind on planning. I have tomato seedlings and some pepper seedlings. I learned the hard way that the markers I used to mark the seedlings weren’t permanent and therefore I have like a FLAT of ?? seedlings. I’m pretty sure I can tell the difference between the tomatoes and the peppers, but I don’t have any idea of what variety of each they are. SURPRISE!

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Cauliflower – February 6, 2016

I have my little grow-lamp situation set up in the window of Buddha the Grouch’s room, since he’s away at college. It glows at night, and I keep waiting for the cops to bust down my door and raid my tomato plants.

 

The above are the remnants of summer’s tomatoes and peppers, which never really produced anything, finally coming to fruit in early February.

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Texas Two-Bean Soup – February 8, 2016

Today I cleared a space for a cucumber bed when it’s time to plant cucumbers. I might put cukes, tomatoes, peppers, and beans alternating all along the fence…and then just continue to fill up beds as they are emptied of their current bounty. Gradually – here and there. Piece by piece. Bit by bit, it all fits together and becomes an accidental plan.

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Dragonfly Lights in the Moon Garden – February 12, 2016

As a parent of young children, I was always searching for a rhythm. It shifted regularly, but on occasion I would find it, and things would be harmonious for a time before a new developmental phase would hit and I would have to pivot and shift. This still happens as the kids get older, but not as frequently. This is what I’m learning about my garden, and perhaps myself. I like rhythm, but I also like chaos and freeform. And, while I understand the reason efficiency is stressed in these gardening books I’m reading…and tools that need to be oiled, maintained, sharpened…bought…today I took my old spade and re-loosened the soil that my friend tilled up for me last autumn. I loosely lifted a 5×3 bed. First, with spade – then, sitting & running my bare hands through the soil, breaking up clumps and removing as many weeds as possible before covering with cardboard and bags of soil/fertilizer that I will add when I’m ready to start planting the bed.

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Princess Leia (1.5 days old) – February 12, 2016

Today when I brought my little seedlings out to transplant them, water them, rearrange them…I felt very much like I had delicate, precious cargo. I was worried I might forget them outside and kill them all. My precious babies who had come up under grow lights, with gentle eat from mats beneath. It was my first ever real “starting from seed” attempt that actually resulted in what might actually be viable seedlings. And it’s looking like I’ll have about a 50% success rate that time. Room for improvement, for sure. I’ve learned some things. But in the end I should still have plenty of seedlings, and probably plenty to spare.

With the rise of Donald Trump and the desire for a significant percentage of our population to elect an authoritarian into the presidency, I feel like I’ve already accomplished the most radical and revolutionary act possible by raising anti-authoritarian children.
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Moon Garden Salvia – February 15, 2016

I’m proud of my children. They have thus far managed to carve a “them”-shaped space among their friends without compromise or cruelty, and even though we don’t always agree, they are thoughtful and usually considerate of opposing points of view, as well as being prudently skeptical of their own opinions.
It’s not always fun to be the constantly-questioned leader of your own household, but I do my best. And I almost always learn more about myself when I overcome a knee-jerk reaction to over-rule by listening to those I am tempted to rule over than I do by strictly enforcing my authority.
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Mustards, lettuces, dill, collards, fava beans, and calendula – February 15, 2016

This is another thing about gardening/parenting that I’ve learned about parenting/gardening. In spite of their unrulyness, they listen to me in direct proportion to the degree to which I listen to them.
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Four Nerve Daisy – February 15, 2016

Me – talking to my tomato plants: OK little ones…grow grow grow

George (the dog) – sits in front of me, cocking his head from side to side while I’m talking.

Me – to George: What? I can talk to plants! I talk to YOU!

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Cabbage bed – February 21, 2016

I have such fond memories of this time of year – back when SXSW interactive was actually cool and not just a way to market your brand and monetize your ideas. Every year I would look forward to attending the Interactive conferences and seeing all of my original nerdsters. Talking about social justice in the blogosphere and diversity in the twiitersphere. Hell, I remember when Twitter broke during SXSW and we all stared, transfixed, in front of the map of tweets coming from around the world. Back when my Twitter feed was small enough to witness the arrival and departure of my out of town friends by their increasingly, then decreasingly frenzied reports of their comings and goings in short 140-character bursts. (or, before then, when check-ins on 4-square…or even before THEN – that other app that preceded 4-square that I forgot the name of.)

 

The last time I went to SXSW interactive, I just wasn’t feeling it. Most of the panels were thinly-veiled 30-minute advertisements for products that pissed me off, and everything still looked way too white and way too male to me – and no one really seemed to care about that anymore. I got thrown out of the conference that year for mic checking Stratfor’s George Freidman with other members of Occupy Austin, and headed down to a free show sponsored by Occupy…

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Arugula blooms – February 21, 2016

The following year, I was laid off from my job right before SXSW. I went to a few events out of nostalgia, thinking I would try to stay in the non-profit realm, but I was too jaded by having been ousted unexpectedly from a job where I had been told for many years I was a member of a “family.” (I wish employers wouldn’t say that shit. A job is not a family. It never will be.)

Since then, I’ve laid low. I did a solo road trip to Colorado a couple of years ago. I was planning a vacation this year, but canceled plans because Buddha the Grouch is coming home during the break for the first time since he went away to school (and possibly the last time for awhile, as he might stay in Vermont over the summer.)

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The best carrot I’ve ever grown! – February 21, 2016

This year, I intend to stick close to home. I have time off, and I plan to spend that time in the garden. I’ve also promised PROMISED myself I will finish the Chicago issue or Oyster Lexicon while on vacation and have it printed up by the end of the month at the latest. I actually hope to get it printed and everything while I’m off work, but I really only have 3 days off, so…that’s a bit ambitious. All of the pieces are there, I just need to put them together, and that might take time.

It has taken me FOREVER to get this post done, so I’m trying to wrap it up here. So much for my plan to start posting weekly! Ugh! I hate it when I don’t live up to my goals. But I’ll keep trying.

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What my carrots usually look like because THINNING IS MURDER!:) – February 21, 2016

I have tons of photos of the garden that I need to take once it stops raining. My fava beans are beaning up, and I’m getting more and more actual real straight carrots, which is super encouraging. It’s nice when you fail at something and then succeed. It’s true that success breeds success…mostly because so often failure means quitting. I’m glad I haven’t quit yet. I have so much more to learn.

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Get a room, ladybugs! – February 24, 2016

But first, I have some serious weed-eating to do. Everything uncultivated is going completely insane with this rain.

My plans for the spring/summer garden are to plant my tomato and pepper seedlings in two of the raised beds. I think I can intersperse the tomatoes with the garlic and put the peppers in the bed that currently holds a gigantic borage plant covered in pretty blue flowers. The other three beds will hold squash, Melons, and random herbs and edible flowers. I’ll throw carrots and radishes in between other plants and plant a bunch of cucumbers and beans along the fenceline – one row of vining plants in the back, and a row of bush plants in front.

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Tofu and bartered pea stirfry – February 27, 2016

I’m also going to dig up a new bed next to the house for a small three-sisters garden. Corn with squash and beans. I wasn’t planning to grow corn this year or make ANOTHER new bed, but I ended up with a packet of corn seeds after what appears to have been a drunken shopping frenzy at various seed sites (the funny thing is, I can’t remember the last time I was drunk…but I’m just gonna go ahead and use that as an excuse anyway.) So, why the hell not. The worst thing that will happen is I will loosen up some dirt so I can plant more stuff next season. My intention is to add at least 2 garden plots a year, while maintaining and building the plots I have. Starting in ground and gradually raising everything up. I really need to pick up my soil-making game so I don’t go broke doing this…dirt’s EXPENSIVE.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with a customer, and he asked how I was doing. I told him “I can’t complain” and I meant it and he knew I meant it. He told me that was a really nice thing to hear – people seem to complain all of the time these days. Granted – I have my days, but in reality…I have very little to complain about, and many fond memories of any one of several eras of Salad Days to reflect upon when things get rough.❤

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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.❤

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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❤ – 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.

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.

 

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!❤

Artichoke

Artichoke

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