Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Dirt

It isn't your usual gift.  It is what they want, however.  The wait has been long enough, and Christmas Day seems to be the time for fulfilling their wish:  dirt please.

Begging for Dirt!

Several "slips" of zygote cactus traveled home with me from my mother's. That was in June.  Of course, they needed to hang out in water long enough to put out some healthy roots.  That growth goal was reached by the end of July.  They continued their patient wait.

In the dirt of their dreams

The fall found them draped like dreads over the squash on my kitchen counter.  And now the guilt, or the Blessings of the Season, or the Gift of Christmas moves me to fulfill their hopes.   Things I get to do today will be to find their potting soil and to give them their dirt.

May all your hopes and dreams come true this Christmas Season.  Merriest of all to YOU!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Return of the Light

I bought them last year.  Now when I opened the wrapping, the fragrance melted my insides.  These mellow candles were made in Sweden, from my favorite store, perfect for the kind of table that pleases me, and their aroma was so sweetly gentle with a hint of bees' wax that I go all limp just remembering it.

All of the many Things I get to do today have slowed or been accomplished, and setting the table for dinner unfolded at a contemplative pace.  That's when I remembered the candles, positioned them in assorted glass candlesticks, and inhaled their bliss.

May the Light return for all of you with such sweetness.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Just a Tiny Bit

Here's a question for you!  How does one write about the Things I get to do today when there are so many delicious activities lined up waiting?  Shall I wrap presents and put chicken feathers in the bows? Shall I make Rosemary Olive Oil for gifts?  Shall I create a wowy-zinger salt scrub with the help of my Giant Sequoia tree?

Shall I create seed packets for sharing from those Honeymooning Lettuce plants left alone just long enough in the garden last fall?  Shall I create fun and interesting labels for the salt scrub?

OR shall I go visit my chickens?  Shall I turn them out into the yard since it's not pouring rain for the first time in 48 hours?  Shall I enclose the coop with protection against the elements to make it more cozy for featherless hens?

OR perhaps I'll jot you all this brief note, be grateful that I have eyes that see and fingers that move to do my bidding, and go to bed early.  It would be easy to go circular, just a tiny bit.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

So Thankful

I want to share one of your blessings with you.  It's your life.  During the busy and often frantic of this time of year, being still enough to appreciate the moments of your life is a rare event.

So from the Things I get to do today, please accept this six-minute gift from me to you during this Holiday Season--Gratitude in the Moment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where, Oh Where Has My Black Hen Gone?


They've come out by fistfuls.  Big, black, handsome Nina Simone Hen has lost her feathers.

A small token of the feathers
Nina has shed in the last two days.

That a hen would molt at this time of year is not a newsworthy item, facts be known. For some reason I thought Nina was immune.  When the other hens stopped laying, she did her best to keep up with an egg every other day or so.

Bare wing flesh showing today.
Then the bag of layer pellets ran out. The replacement sack seemed different, and I blamed the new feed saying it wasn't high enough in protein, saying maybe it was pullet feed instead of layer feed, saying I'll take this stuff back and get the real thing. My eyeballs bulged as I hefted the 50 pound bag out of the metal can (Things I get to do today) to inspect the tag:  Layer pellets.  Well, fine. And now the fistfuls of feathers.  It isn't the feed.  My big, shiny black hen is molting just like the rest.

Well, hurry up and get it over with.  Snow is flying.  You'll need your new coat soon.  I'll keep the heat lamp on to tide you over.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Neighbor

I love Mr. Rogers.  He'll always be my neighbor.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the in the news, my mother would say to, 'Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.'  To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are so many helpers--so many caring people in this world." - Mr. Rogers.

In the sober presence of the moment, the most important of Things I get to do today is to look for the helpers. There are so many caring people in this world. And I am comforted knowing that you are one of those many.

Friday, December 14, 2012

All Gone

The tomatoes are gone.  Out of respect, Things I get to do today will include observing a moment of silence and reflection for their magnificent presence this past summer and fall.

Here is the photo documentation of the last two, before they were sliced in half and put on the top of our Salmon Salad for dinner last night.

Picked green when the weather turned cold several months ago,
these two plucky little tomatoes were able to produce color and flavor
by December 13.  Good work, Jaune Flamme'

Until next summer:  Thanks for the delicious memories, the extravagant flavors, and all the sensuous, warm orbs gathered in the afternoon sun.  I love you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Dirty blinds.  Dirty cord on the left.

Slippery Slope:  I now know the meaning of that.


Washing windows meant cleaning the floor meant painting the walls meant painting the ceiling meant painting the woodwork meant getting rid of the mini blinds.

Old mini-bling hardware removed.
Ready for sanding, filling the localized painting

Some measuring and a rather quick trip to my favorite store meant that some stitching, some ironing, some removing of old dirty blinds, some hole filling, some touch up painting, some drilling, some attaching were all Things I get to do today.

Curtains at night
Curtains in daylight

The end result feels great, and it feels like it is the bottom of the slope, which would be the end, as in "Curtains."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Everybody Gets Hungry

Long stretch, but worth it!
The birds (even Starlings) get hungry.  The squirrels (especially the squirrels) get hungry.  A wise person pointed out to me just the other day that if I was going to feed the birds that meant Starlings were included.  Oh.  But they eat so much so fast that after a flock leaves the tree there's little left for the other two and four-legged critters.  Feeding the birds means feeding all the birds that want to show up.
They can swallow hanging upside down.

Perhaps the Persimmon tree could be called the "Feeder Tree."  It holds a bird feeder bulging with sunflower seeds.  Only 10 days ago it was also loaded with left-over persimmons that we couldn't reach as we picked or that had already been claimed with beak or tooth marks.  The critters just swooped in and cleaned up the fruit.  At least with their bellies full of persimmon, the birds don't hit the sunflowers seeds as heavily and that, of the Things I get to do today, can be put off until tomorrow.

It takes no imagination to see that this guy is full and fat.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Jewels

I'd come out to sweep debris off the patio, and there they were.  Gems like these certainly would have been part of the gifts brought by Magi and Wise Men and Worshippers to the Christ Child.  To find them scattered rather carelessly on the cold, wet and littered pavers seemed inappropriate at best.

But Nature is like that--not attached to her beauty, letting it go graciously and without hesitation, casting her pearls and gems before the common folk.   With that ease she is able to create again and again with the seasons, her abundance flowing because she never holds back.

Safire, Amethyst, Turquoise semi-precious "stones"

The Porcelain Berry Vine has been dropping her jewels for weeks now, some to the birds and some to the patio. I've always thought the berries were prettiest amongst their leaves and don't recall seeing them so near winter.  But this, this takes my breath away and gives new perspective to all other Things I get to do today.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Woodwork

14 in 1 painter's tool.
What do I use all those
curves and holes for?

It turns out it's not all that simple.   Painting the trim, putting the decorations on the cake, if you will, has been a growth experience.  As one hitches along the perimeter of a room, first taping the edge of the carpet under the baseboard, then painting the baseboard (not the wall, thank you.  It's already done and is Pale Honey in eggshell, not white in enamel), there is plenty of time for contemplation.  If one is paying attention and finds joy in details, there's a lot to be learned.

The big curve on the right of the painter's tool cleans at
least a half cup of paint out of the roller before it is ready
to be washed!  Washing up goes so much faster.

At the beginning of this painting project (you remember it all began with washing the windows and deep-cleaning the kitchen floor), the work list said simply "paint the ceiling Air, paint the walls Pale Honey, paint the woodwork White."

Kitchen corner BEFORE

So the baseboards became white.  The woodwork around the windows was a different matter.  Cracks and dried calk between the window sash and woodwork needed to be cleaned out and recalked.  Mini blinds were taken down.  The sashes were cleaned.  And the woodwork was finally painted.

The mini blinds went back up--temporarily.  They are old.  They are dirty.  They are slightly broken here and there.  And they look hideous in the newly painted window frames.

Kitchen corner AFTER

So one of the Things I get to do today (or tomorrow) is shop for new curtains.  What a slippery slope this has been!  How truly fabulous it is to have rooms feeling clean and vibrant instead of heavy and dirty.  Who knew?

PS.  This what I was doing when I was not blogging.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

All Is Well

Holiday Cheer from a friend to me.
Sending that Cheer on to all of you!
It's been awhile.  I've missed you.  Though I've been away from home most of the time since Thanksgiving and very busy when I wasn't, I'm finding that writing a brief, meditative or thoughtful perspective daily is as good for me as it is for you--maybe even better.

So I'm back saying hello, taking a long moment in contemplation, valuing my Space of Love, looking deeply into at least one spark of joy in each day, loving an instant when light flashes into knowing--these are all, once again, Things I get to do today.

Thank you for joining me from time to time.  When it looks like the world around us is going crazy, our time together, anchoring into the sweetness of a moment understood, will keep us grounded and sane, and will welcome peace into our souls.  May you all be blessed with Good Health, Abundance, and Great, Great Joy.