Monday, February 28, 2011

On Reflection It's a Golden Opportunity for A Little Light Music

I love windchimes. Several sets are scattered about our yard.  More so now, with MM having helped me resurrect a couple last week that had lost one or two elements, but which were easy to repair.  So I now have a set of seven tinkling dolphins on the east porch; a set of three "beefy" iron ducks hanging from the old skeleton of the now-deceased Catalpa; a set of three pottery bells hanging on the south side of the picnic shelter, and a very boistrous set of six aluminum tubes on the southeast porch. 

You would think all that noise would be intolerable, but since they all front on different sides of the house,  they don't all "sing" at the same time. 

Windchimes aren't true weathervanes, yet they do offer an auditory message as to the direction of incoming weather.  Right now, for example, the wind is piping up to around 30 mph or so and coming directly out of the west, and the chimes on the southwest corner are beyond musical.  Their merry clanging is telling it loud and clear, sounding the alarm: batten down the hatches, we're in for a good blow.   The dolphins on the east, however, are completely silent.  They are unperturbed, and gently swimming through the air, coaxing tiny --almost inaudible--notes from one another, safe in the light breeze, protected from gusts in the lee of the house.  On the other hand, the dolphins respond vigorously to the east breezes.  That's when we can expect snow in the winter.  "East wind shall blow and we shall have snow."  So during cold weather, when we get an east wind, the dolphins are my messengers bidding me watch out for snow.

At night, especially, I find the "voices" of the chimes comforting and revealing.  We've often been awakened by one or another of the chimes, and sometimes that's important. 

Right now, the iron ducks are out there under the Catalpa tree, paddling vigorously and clanking against one another, so the wind has shifted some.  Time to get this posted before the electricity decides to take a vacation!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Seeing the Possibilities

One of the many reasons I enjoy photography is because of the possibilities.  For me, it's  discovery rather than recording that fascinates.  The hunt for images is exciting.  But beyond the immediate adventure, it is the abstract that pulls me in rather than the finite capture of some perceived reality. 

I know I am always shy of perfection.  What is fun is to take that imperfection and translate it into hidden connections I never knew were there.  These daffodils, for example...The hidden light that was there all along is amazing. 

It is also the craft of finding a worthy image in what at first appears to be a throwaway shot.  The morning reflection in the cow's water tank ...

Or putting a twist on the words "blue skies"

Coloring my world, sometimes re-shaping it, revising and reviewing brings a new approach to each subject when I start to see the possibilities.

Christopher Niemann of the New York Times is an absolute MASTER at the "abstract"    If you've not explored his blog, Abstract City, take a few moments to do so.  It will give your day a merry "twist" as you explore Niemann's quirky approach to life. If you have more than a moment, take a look as his previous posts, maybe starting with Red Eye.  I believe you'll giggle just as I did.   For me, now with HSI, I'm finally able to enjoy this man's artwork  shy of spending four hours to do so!  I find his view of the world so refreshingly unique and light-hearted.  And we all need some of that right now, don't we!

We are in the midst of a fierce windstorm and I thought the power was going off, so I rang off hurriedly! finish up:

It's been a tough week for many in the world.  I grieve for the people in New Zealand.  I worry for those in Libya.  Aside from sending a few pennies and prayers, there isn't much else we can do to contribute something tangible and positive in either locale.  So, that's what we do.  We do what we CAN do, to the extent possible.  Our hearts go out to these people, these human beings who are hopeful and fearful and in need of knowing we care.  May they find the strength they need.
(Power just went off and then came back on, so I am typing FAST!)

Thank you all for dropping by this past week to say hello.  Thank you for your kind words.  I'll be catching up with comments in the next few days!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 
See you Monday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Rainy Day

It's a drippy day, here.  First one we've had in a long while!  I'd almost forgotten the sound of raindrops on the roof.  Looking out through the screen, I see a somewhat murky horizon.  As usual, of late, what with the novelty of high speed internet, I've spent far too much time surfing.  Shame on me!  It's too much fun!  Mostly.  Except for the "not-fun" sites.  The ones that pull you in despite your trying to re-focus.

So, what to do with the rest of today... That's easy!  Back to burrowing in my toybox.  I've got a kettle of chicken soup burbling on the back of the Pioneer Maid wood cookstove, the house is warm and cozy, and I plan to spend the remainer of the afternoon digging my fingers into a pile of soft and lustrous Leicester Longwool roving.  I'm determined to spin enough for a sweater I've been planning to make won't believe this:  1976!  Boy, did I ever get sidetracked!  The pattern was one of three that had complete directions (without having to send away and pay for them) and was featured in Family Circle magazine.  They used to be located at the checkout counter, and back then, I often "splurged" and bought one.

For the cost of Family Circle back then I had to fork over 39 cents.  And Virginia Slims took up a full page advertisement on page 33, showing a very sophisticated lady with a long cigarette slung between the first two fingers on her hand, which was parked on her hip. She didn't look at all like someone who belonged in a magazine called "Family Circle."  There are lots of ads for cleaning agents: BoraTeem, Grease Relief. There was also an ad for Singer Sewing machines!  There was a story about Kojak....remember Kojak?  Telly Savalas...oh, what a long time ago!  Lots of hair dye ads.  But also the usual articles--interior design, gardening, recipes, along with "New Ways to cut food bills by 10=15%;"  "Simple decorating made elegant;" "Look pretty instead of plain..."  "Hearty main-dish salads."  and, of course, "Fabulous fall fashions to knit & crochet."

Missing seemed to be the heavy-handed focus on obesity we now get in most women's magazines these days, along with gooey, fudgy, gucky desserts you make first, and then try to deal with obesity later.  (I've always thought that women's magazines did women a disservice by advocating --in the same magazine, practically the same breath as--cooking up a storm of calories while simultaneously admonishing women to watch their weight.  As in, Watch it do what?"  Inevitably rise, if you follow the advice.)

At any rate, today, I am working toward getting enough yarn spun finally to knit this long-overdue easy sweater.  It's a garter stitch, knitted on the bias, with random placements of colors ranging from cranberry to black, and including "natural" along with "umber, and tweed. Who knows?  Maybe I'll have it done by February of 2016! That would make the magazine 40 years old, sneaking up on being an antique publication! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunrise or Sunset?

I don't know about you, but it seems to me the entire world is shifting...figuratively and literally.  And it's hard to tell whether this is a sunrise or a sunset....are you wondering, too?  

Even out here JOTOLR, we can't cover our ears and eyes and pretend the world's struggles against oppression and torture don't exist; we can't continue to ignore (and allow to go un-redressed) the economic plights of honest citizens right here in America who have lost homes, jobs, dignity and their means to sustain themselves through the fraudulent and greedy practices of the banking and financial industry; we can't take refuge in ignoring the horrific landscapes, the political  unrest, and ecological disasters fermenting across the globe; and we can't continue to cede this world to the power barons who seek to own it all.  

Maybe it's my imagination, but the blogging world --at least at my level-- seems at the moment almost as if it is holding its breath.  Is it just me, or does there seem to be a hush out there....maybe a feeling that Pollyanna isn't appropriate for the moment?  I know I feel that way.  It's as if there are a thousand more shoes to drop...and that we're all spectators in a worldwide unfolding drama of change. 

Selfishly, I'm beginning to view our world out here JOTOLR as a sanctuary, with problems that are so miniscule as to be laughable:  the pigs' water barrel, for example,  has developed a leak thanks to their playing with it; consequently, how best do we fix it?  The chickens keep getting out and scratching in my flower beds and making dust baths of my Creeping Flox.  I can't find the small pump I bought with which to make an artificial pond here in the yard, for the summer.  Should I plant petunias in the hanging baskets this year or wax begonias.  You see what I mean? 

Living simply, we don't create any wealth that needs defending; our power (struggle) is over three dogs, three bovines, four turkeys, a dozen or so chickens and three pigs.  

So, I am torn:  do I chitty-chat lightheartedly about the beautiful, the simple, the humorous, or the tiny tragedies we experience here JOTOLR (like a turkey massacre)?  To do so sometimes seems arrogant on my part.  On the other hand, maybe it's good to have relief from an agonized world now and again...

So, perhaps I need to remember that a few words shared with a small audience, embellished with a few pictures, five times during the week, sharing another side of life--remote as it might be from "real life" is perhaps a gift to a needy world.  It is in that spirit that I continue to write about life in the slow lane....out here Just Off The One-Lane Road. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


As a child, I lived in an "earthquake zone."  To be sure, it was a rare event when we experienced a temblor, but I can remember one like it was yesterday.  My mother rushed in to my bedroom--I must have been about four, maybe?  The house was, indeed, moving around, but nothing tipped over (my 66-year-old memory says) and nothing came apart. but I do recall a cavernous grumbling sound.  Thankfully, the little house by the bay had been built by my father to be strong and protective.  Mother, too, was protective.  She sheltered me beneath her, draped over my little frame until the earth settled back down.

I experienced another when I was attending the University of Washington.  I lived in a newly built dormitory, constructed a bit like the Twin Towers.  I can remember the towers swaying back and forth as I made my way to stand under the doorway as I'd been taught to do, even as a child.  Again, fortunately, nothing particularly large came adrift in my circumstance.  However, other parts of Seattle weren't so lucky.  MM was working at the Boeing Company and he recalls ceiling material coming loose, and on his way home that evening saw much structural damage to buildings and streets.

I mention this, today, as my New Zealand online friend, Julia, emailed me late (our time) last night to assure me that she was, herself, all right, but that they had heard no word yet, from many friends and family in Christchurch.  Julia's farm isn't far from there.  Her blog is Island Home and though she's been taking a break lately in deference to serious gardening this past summer,  her previous postings have been so engaging and lovely, and I look forward to her resuming this coming fall and winter "down" there.  I've come to know her only through blogging, but she is a dear. 

We lived in New Zealand for a short time and have never forgotten the experience of meeting some of the most wonderful and generous people on earth.  A peaceful, gentle country with love in its heart.

So, it is with sorrow that I ponder the horrific scenes in Christchurch, and can only stand by helpless  and unable to do anything.  You can get an idea of the utter devastation by going to I cannot imagine where one begins in starting over, not to mention the multiple tragedies which will be experienced by many on this tiny island country.  Which brings up the situation in Haiti, an island country as well, and which remains a zone of complete tragedy and paralyzing destruction.

Julia, my heart goes out to you and your country.  I only wish we lived (in a safe place) closer, so I could help.  As best you can--and I believe the civil defense is trying to keep the communications "uncluttered" allowing folks to use the Internet for finding relatives and friends--keep us posted.  We're sending prayers your way.

Friday, February 18, 2011


The full moon never ceases to captivate. It conjures feelings of wonder, mystery, and awe. As it rises over the horizon in all its full and gaudy splendor, it occurs to me that that same moon is rising over all on earth, and it connects me to the network of my fellow human beings.   What I see, in a cloudless sky, is the same moon those in Egypt see. Those in India, Seattle, and Rome The golden orb floats above us all, linking us by its light.
February’s full moon has many names—names that try to explain Nature’s capricious behavior. Speaking to the hunger, for example, that must have been acute, felt by the Cherokee, as their winter provisions dwindled precariously, they called February’s moon, The Bony Moon. The same is true of the Choctaws who referred to it as The Famine Moon. The Chinese, more hopeful, perhaps, call February’s full moon, The Budding Moon. Colonial Americans referred to it as The Trapper’s Moon. Indeed, the moon last night was all but daylight, and any trapper would likely be well-rewarded with lots of wandering game on such a night.The Dakota Souix had two names: Moon of the Raccoon and Moon When Trees Pop, the latter perhaps referring to sap rising too fast and encountering a late cold snap?  Or, alternately, when old branches are shed by strong winds.

Celts called February’s shining light The Moon of Ice. And I can practically feel the fierce winds and restless sea, as England’s Medieval citizens took shelter from changing seasons. They called it The Storm Moon and for those farther north, it became the Snow Moon. Indeed, some of our worst weather and heaviest snows—like last year here—do come in February.

Whatever the name, it’s easy to be worshipful of such a gift. Last night it was 100% full, and will be again tonight. It's too good to miss!  So if your skies are clear where you live this evening, take a moment and go outside. Look at the eastern horizon around 6:45 p.m. It’s huge! It’s beautiful! It's awe-inspiring!

Thank you, everyone who stopped by this past week for a visit!  You're all such fascinating people with so many interests and talents.  I marvel each day as I read your blogs, what you do, what you say.  You are absolutely the most wonderful people in the world!  Thank you for your friendships!

Have a great weekend!
See you Monday!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Water, water...not everywhere...

So far this year, we are short of our normal rainfall complement out here JOTOLR by roughly two inches.  All of you who got those mounds of snow--burdensome as they were-- are now lucky as you anticipate the coming gardening season with the knowledge you have ample water. 

Water.  Such a precious resource.  Yet we continue to abuse it, lose it, and over-use it.  Again, where is that word, "conservation?"  As farmers, we either have too much or not enough!  We're always complaining!  And we all take water for granted, don't we...did you know that one of the cuts in the budget being eyed favorably is to the Clean Water Act?  Enforcement monies, as I understand it.  Sadly, it seems water--clean drinking water--will wind up being something we'll value much more highly after it's severely rationed or even gone. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mountains [Out] of Mole Hills

It's disappointing, but they're back!   I had hoped that the frozen tundra conditions out here JOTOLR over this past winter would have not just discouraged these professional excavators, but eliminated them altogether.  No such luck.  They've already surfaced.

Yes, I know that moles are deemed helpful in the pest-irradication department, consuming at times, their own weight in harmful insects and larvae in 24 hours.  But their value is compromised by their incredibly destructive foraging methods.

Moles have an uncanny knack for instantly locating newly planted shrubs, trees, seeds.....and tunneling under them.  This has the unfortunate effect of both unearthing the transplants,  and denying them much needed water. The only thing the gardener notices is that the new transplants are unaccountably wilting.  Check for mole tunnels! 

It's a discouraging business, trying to irradicate moles.  It is said that there are usually--"on average" only three moles per acre...My skeptical nature wonders how this is measured.

We've been the whole route. We've tried all reasonable remedies short of explosives:  traps, pellets, gas, and even.....castor beans, castor bean plants,  and castor oil.  Now that particular old timey "cure-all" presents some interesting mental cartoons in my mind.  Wonder if the Castor Oil isn't a sort of propellant, that simply hurls the mole forward after having consumed too much!  

Moles can dig more than 100 yards of tunnels per day.  Left behind are ridges and hummocks of dirt.   It seems they only come to the surface "occasionally" least that's what another "mole expert" said.  But the dirt hills are now in plentiful supply out here JOTOLR, particularly in my dormant blackberry patch.  They've already geared up for spring.  And we've got new plants coming any day now.

Apparently moles' enemies come mostly from overhead--raptors, dogs, cats--and humans; so as long as they stay mostly underground, the only dedicated mole-predator is the snake. I'm not sure which I find more tolerance for:  the mole or the snake.  I think, this time, I'm in the snake's camp.

So, the good thing is that spring must be on its way.  Seeing moles moving about means we're thawed.  On the other hand, does anyone know of any sure-fire mole discouragements?  If so, please pass the ideas on!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


How many different ways can you recognize the wind? Of course you can feel it.  You can hear it.  Objects run from it, like frightened children.  But you really can't see it. 

Its roar through the bare branches of the hardwood forest yesterday was deafening at times.  Even inside the house we couldn't mistake that iconic "freight train" sound, tunneling under buildings, around implements, and against the side of the house. In terms of strength, it didn't start to compare to Yasi or Katrina.  We're talking in the 40 mph vicinity with occasional gusts to 50 mph or so.  But it was enough.  More than enough. 

Cardboard boxes which I thought I'd safely tucked away, took to the air.  Large dead limbs in the maples, ash and oak trees fell to the ground and clunked down on our porch roof.  Lawnchairs stored "securely" came adrift.  And tiny yard-tornadoes lifted whirling circles of leaves and carried them in small pirouettes across the meadow.

And it wasn't even March yet!

Eventually, the power went off, as would be expected.  And there were dire warnings out of the Weather Forecast offices all around us, admonishing against--(can you imagine  anyone would be so dumb?)  any yard burning...! 

But all is quiet today.  It's supposed to be 60+ degrees.  The sun is shining.  And despite yesterday's drama, the landscape is once again benign and benevolent. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

There's Something About A Blue Face...

Love is in the air out here JOTOLR.  Our surviving turkey tom is preening  and parading for his harem of three hens (also survivors), and they seem quite enamoured of his overtures. 

Personally, a blue face that goes bluer with increasing ardor, along with the wildly red wattle that goes "redder", would not be my taste in Valentines.  But it's obvious the turkey hens love this suddenly strutty male.  The quick changes in the color of the tom's wattle-- going from white to brilliant blue and still more brilliant red--remind me of the cuttlefish that so ingeniously morphs from one disguise to another.  What primitive magic  and mystery is in these animals! 

To watch the tom thrust out his feathers to look almost twice his real size, his wings sweeping the ground, parading back and forth in front of his feminine audience, fanning out his tail, and declaring to the world at large that he is in love and in charge (the hens know better) is a double delight this year.  These hardy birds survived one heck of a winter out here JOTOLR, a winter loaded with risks and discomfort for them.  The recent dog attack and temperatures consistently close to zero all season long posed great uncertainties for their survival, but these four made it through. 

Some say turkeys are "stupid."  Think again.  For the skills they need to survive, they are far from it.  It's simply a matter of differing strategies needed for propogation of the species.  "Stupid" is such a subjective term.  Looking at things through a turkey's eyes, instead of human eyes, casts a whole different light on the concept of intelligence.

Happy Valentine's Day, turkeys!   We honor you for your tough spirit.  Enjoy your dance of love as you look forward to a much gentler spring.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Land of the Free

The Land of the free........
And the home of the brave:  Egypt!

Have a wonderful weekend!
See you Monday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It ain't over 'til it's over!

A little reminder out here JOTOLR that winter's still got a grip.  The temperature dropped like a stone last evening as we finished up the chores before heading in for the night.  Fifteen degrees plus 25 mph winds made us hurry.  I always worry a bit about the animals outside in the elements.  But they seem to find places to bed down where the wind doesn't buffet them, but instead seems to be deflected. 
This morning, though, all is bright.  Crisp and cold, no doubt about it, but pretty with nearly cloudless blue skies and a bright forecast .
Now,  both wild and domestic critters are happily soaking up the sunshine BTU's, some simply flaked out on their sides (cows), soaking up the sun,  and others flitting about, prospecting for hidden delicacies in their favorite haunts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just Because I Can!

That's why I am adding a post for today.  Just because I can.  It took exactly two seconds for this photo to upload and download.  And, I missed Monday, so guilt propels my enthusiasm!  Finally, I thought these clouds deserved their own post. I took the image night before last during milking.  It's nice to have a reason to be outside in the mornings and evenings. 

More Color

I lost you all!  For several days, now, my listening/commenting audience up and disappeared.  I wondered what I had said to make you all leave en masse ...and then, yesterday, I went directly to my blog-site and there you were with all your comments, too! I guess in the transition from dial-up to HSI, peculiar things are occasionally going to happen..not many, granted, and certainly not worthy of much mention, especially compared to the extra time I now have to write on my novel.  And occasionally watch a YouTube video!  Still marveling, out here JOTOLR!

Still in search of interior color, I went to work, yesterday on the other end of the house upstairs.  Here's what I found!  A piece of stained glass which I have stored since I ordered it just prior to Y2K..Remember Y2K?  Did any of you believe it???  Shamefacedly...(is that a word?) I took it all to heart and prepared like mad! Took four years to use up the toilet paper!  And I still have at least 30 gallons of vinegar in the basement ( was very logical back then and made perfect sense--at least to me.  Vinegar makes a great cleaner!  And, as for the toilet paper, women know what that's about!)  Anyhow, Y2K passed with few incidents (altho' I am told they were more numerous than our trusty government led us to believe). 

Thinking of the coming chaos, I wanted a little color thrown into our lives, so one of the last-ditch purchases was this piece of (I hate to admit this....) Chinese-made, painted glass.  I also bought three similarly constructed lamps:  the table lamp you see here, a hanging lamp and a floor lamp of the same dragonfly motif.  I love them!  When I bought them, though, I had overlooked one outstanding fact:  it was supposed to be "lights out" as the grid went down, so they weren't going to be very functional until we did some kind of retro-fit.  Meanwhile, as we transitioned to the 1800's, we needed some stop-gap measure.  So, to be on the safe side, we bought several of these:

And, when everything else failed, I figured we could always watch the sun come up and go down and we'd be back to the circadean rhythms of the natural world, which, after all....wouldn't be that bad!

Early Reds
Sunrise Today Out Here JOTOLR

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Color My World

My East Window

It's a-snowin' and a-blowin' this morning....AGAIN!  I don't know about you, but it seems all of us in the JOTOLR blogging community are reaching hard to find something colorful and evocative lately.  February seems to be that kind of month.  Though it's the shortest month of the year it seems interminable. The wind mourns.  The sun is weak and fuzzy--just strong enough that Punx DID see his shadow around here.   So we're still on the hook. 

Aside from Valentine's Day, February always seems dreary and drab compared to other months. It's a muddy  month.  One day it rains, the next it sleets, snow teasers waft in and out, the ground freezes and then it thaws.  Tracks in the snow change to tracks in the mud. Grumble, grumble... 

Of course I've made a few forays outside to check for sprouting Snowdrops and Daffodils; I've started eyeing the yard, nominating targets for renovation this spring and summer; and, of course, outside, I see those perennial buds fattening up. 

But I know it's not time yet!  Lest I get too eager and face still another blast of Arctic air with something less than joy, I need firm discipline!  So, it's time to color my world inside and try to be content until the gods signal a return to flowering plants, hanging baskets, and the need to water them all! 

Hope you are enjoying your inside world as you mentally measure this spring's garden space, knowing that spring is on the way.....somewhere, at least! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Green Revolution

How many of you have houseplants?  I'll bet almost all.

I used to keep houseplants.  I loved them!  But gradual neglect reigned, and understandably they faded.  Or rather I should simply tell it like it is and say "they died." 

The tips of the Spider plant, (folllowed by the whole plant) turned brown and shriveled.  The Wandering Jews--extra hardy--eventually capitulated.  Even the dieffenbachia--the iron lady plant anyone can grow and is hard to kill--stopped looking to me for rescue.  Recalling my carelessness, I am now apologetic for the purgatory my houseplants endured all those years.  I take heart, though, that those that survived will have a new lease on life soon because I have decided (once more) to begin anew.

What's surprising to me is the realization that things don't really change.  My best friend back in the '70s bought me a book for my birthday entitled "Plant Parenthood."  The beginning paragraph of the book, published back in 1975, says, "If rice is the salvation of hungry nations, greens [plants] which grow indoors are comforting an emotionally hungry world."  Were we "emotionally hungry" back then, too?  Does anything change??

At the time, there seemed to be a revival of houseplants which came to the fore after years of only scant attention.  Maybe it runs in waves...  My mother always kept plants.  Her favorite manipulation of utility to art was a set of three COPPER plungers from an old ringer washing machine, salvaged from going to the dump, polished and restored to its bright copper sheen,  and then filled with glorious, lush ferns.  My dad added some hammered copper tubing by which mother could hang them.  They were beautiful, as were her lovingly tended plants. 

Somehow, though, my thumb has been mostly purple when it comes to indoor gardening. Those of us living our thirty-something lives back in the '70's, were encouraged to make the air inside the house more healthful by the addition of houseplants, which, we were told, absorbed poisonous vapors naturally produced in every home.  Not to mention the ambience they create. 

I remember having several Wandering Jews, (green/white striped, as well as purple) Moses in the Boat, Spider Plants, Swedish Ivy, Pothos, not to mention all the small ones I tried, that failed...Ficus, Pink Polka Dots, and our house was, indeed, made more inviting by the plants' presence.

So, as I begin again, I am starting with a delightful centerpiece:  the little mail-order Rupert kitchen cookstove, built in Montreal by the Rupert foundry, circa 1890 and shipped to the proud lady who ordered it from her British Columbia home.  The stove traveled around Cape Horn and was delivered to her by way of a log raft constructed to receive it from the ship, and brought ashore just south of Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC.  MM purchased it, when he was living there, and when we left to move east, the Rupert came with us.  It has had various duties:  collector of junk mail; bookcase, and plant stand. It also spent considerable time in storage, as we moved from place to place.  So, now, with gratitude for its having survived, I return to considering its destiny. 

At one time, I had African violets on the stovetop's surface.  A grow-light, mounted inconspicuously beneath the warming oven provided the kind of lighting the violets love; and the pots sat on stones in water-filled cookie sheets, keeping them above the dampness, but allowing them to "breathe" in the water vapor.  It was very successful. They were lush and beautiful.  So, that's what I am planning to begin with this time.  Above is the "before" picture, and I will show you the result when it's available.

And this is my other jungle.  Plus MM's banana plant and a few lime trees.  Gradually, we'll get it all sorted out.  I am looking forward to re-creating my indoor green space!

I missed a post yesterday, everyone!  I was busy still trying to tie up a few loose ends on our high speed internet connection.  I feel like a new woman of the world!  What a difference high speed internet makes!

We've spent the week following all the crises:  Egypt (aren't they "brave"??!! I so admire them!  And, of course,  Queensland's Yasi (we used to live on the "outskirts" of Cairns), and the Northeast blizzard...glad that skipped us altogether!

All in all, we've felt miraculously connected and informed.  A bit like a couple of Rip Van Winkles!   Well...not quite that bad, but at least we are not among the "forgotten" by big business.  Frontier is extraordinary in that serving rural needs was not automatically off their list.  They were willing to go out on a limb and take a risk for us.  I sure hope they will be rewarded for it!

Next week begins serious (FAST) responding to all your lovely comments begins.  The week has seemed really busy and I can't believe it's Friday already.  I think it's because of being able to view/do so many new things.

Thanks for stopping by.  I see a couple of new names on the comment list and today will hop back to the blog to wrap up responses.  I am humbly grateful and adore your visits!
Wishing you all a delightful weekend.  Super Bowl Sunday here in the U. S. !
Have fun!  Don't eat too much popcorn!
See you Monday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sun and Air Dried

It's blowing mightily, today, and I am taking full advantage of the gift of both sunshine and wind!  March is still a month away, but the gusts on this Groundhog Day, are lively, causing my clothes to dance on the line.  They look happy!  The legs of the jeans seem to be doing the polka!

I love washing that is dried outside.  It smells divine!  When you bring the clothes basket inside, its perfume wafts gently throughout the house.  No so-called air freshner can compare!

I don't own a dryer.  Wouldn't want one.  When MM was building our house, we consulted about the need to have one.  Why, we wondered, would two people with no children and no outside jobs, need such a greedy home appliance?  Besides, not having a dryer encourages better planning.  And it certainly saves electricity, not having one.  Of course, we own more than one pair of jeans, several workshirts apiece, and multiple pairs of socks and undergarments.  So, the dryer was crossed off the list of needed appliances and I've never been sorry. 

Admittedly,getting a washing dried on the line during the winter months can be challenging.  We do have the luxury of not needing most things quickly.  So during really cold weather, I set up the old wooden drying rack near the woodstove and hang the clothes on it.  I've seen several houses that have "rungs" between beams for just such adaptations.  But there's nothing like the smell of the out-of-doors, brought in, when winter loosens its grip just enough to hang the laundry outside.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Odds 'n Ends

Sunrise February 1, 2009
Here are some dangling topics on which I want to close the loop:

High Speed Internet

The ease and fluidity with which I now access my blog compliments of Frontier's High Speed Internet, creates a giddiness in me that could lead to volubility and verbosity!  I hope not!!!   It's so easy now, though!  Looking back, I am amazed at my power of endurance.  Consider the fact that today's post will probably take me 1/20th the time of previous offerings.  Nonetheless, I hope you will still find joy, usefulness, and education in what I write.  My readership continues to grow!  And that's exciting!!  I thank you for your devotion.  And please feel free to give me a corrective nudge if I let you down in any way.

I still receive your comments in my Outlook Express program and I go over to check it several times throughout the day.  For the moment, I'll continue to reply via the Comments section in the blog.  I now have a gmail address which I am using to reply to emails because Outlook Express still isn't letting me Send, but only Receive.  A few bugs, but nothing major.  All will be fixed in time.

Meanwhile....I am so grateful.  We have arrived in the modern electronic world.  I would think it's a bit like going from the 1800's to the 21st Century in one easy step.  Thank you once more, Frontier!

Turkeys- Final Count 

We lost three:  two hens and one tom.  For the practical side, I must tell you (in deference to several things including the saying "Waste not, want not.." and also with a nod to our "sustainable, subsistence" way of life) that we were able to save 90% of the meat value of the birds.  The backs were the most severely damaged.  These we pressure-cooked and packaged for later use by the canines in our family.  They won't be ungrateful.  The breasts, thighs, legs and wings were mostly all right, and after a little "grooming" with sharp knives, will offer many meals.  We have recovered from our tragic experience.  While we know who owned the dogs, we will simply let the event recede into history.  Thank you all, too, for allowing me to "write out" my fictionalized account of the massacre.  Lots of work needed to ever bring it into "real fiction"...Vicki Lane Vicki Lane's Mysteries is much better at that than am I.  But, as I mentioned on her generous blog, writing is also therapeutic. 


And that brings me to my last topic:  the novel I am writing.  It's probably best to declare this type of thing rather than skulk about pretending you're not.  Declaration lends its own kind of pressure, discipline, and longing.

I've been writing it for a very long time.  Life has a habit of intervening and there's nothing that can be done to dissuade it from interrupting the best of plans.  Sometimes I've been devoted to a regular schedule of writing so many hours a day; other times, I've let things slide.  I am in "slide-recovery" at the moment. 

After leaving it on the shelf for several of the foregoing years, I am now back at it and expect to finish it by next December, my goal.  Will I publish it?  I have no idea.  At this point, that's not a topic I even think about, nor a goal.  Instead, for me, it's currently my only goal to finish it.  Apparently, according to Roger Rosenblatt during last night's interivew with Jeffrey Brown on PBS's Newshour with Jim Lehrer, the majority of young writers he teaches nowadays are writing for the pleasure and art of doing so rather than for landing a contract.  The publishing business is having a tough go at the moment; it's a steep uphill climb toward whatever might be deemed "success."  The success I envision will be the completion of a project I've nursed for a long time.  I guess my motto is as Brother Sebastian of American Greeting Card fame, says:  Life is what thou makest it, so makest it fun!"  And writing it is fun!

To catch the interview referenced above, just Google Roger Rosenblatt Interview PBS.  I believe if you're a writer, or wanting to be a'll enjoy it.