Sunday, March 31, 2013

Girls, Don't Fail Me Now

Golden gifts--one short

I'd promised eggs as a gift.  My husband wanted omelet for breakfast which would leave us with only four.  I assured him that we would have the six eggs we needed for giving by the end of the day.  He could take his three, and all would come out just fine.  I'm a gambler and Things I get to do today will be betting on the girls' ability to put out the goods.

Nina, the pinch-hitter

We're off before dawn cracks tomorrow morning to visit family and friends in Southern California for two weeks.  Fresh loved-hens' eggs are a treat in any situation, but for friends far from the farm, these are like gold.

Nina delivers!

Just as the breakfast dishes hit the dishwasher, Katy Perry Chicken set to cackling.  Ten minutes or more of her ratcheting tune was nearly enough for me. Inspection found Lena Horne Hen on the nest and Katy dancing noisily about.  She finally settled in to leave her egg.  Nest check an hour later yielded one from Katy and a puddle with shells from Lena.  The very heavy hen must have gotten fidgety with all of Katy's racket.  Still needing one whole egg!

Finally full

What we need now is a pinch hitter.  It was Nina Simone to the rescue.  After three trips up and down the ramp to the nest boxes, she headed in,  sure the egg was on its way.  Good job, and thank you, Sweet Nina!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Field of Dreams

Scratch, scratch, a flyin'
Chickens dream of fat, round grubs.  At least that's my guess.  If they dreamt of scratching the way dogs dream of chasing, their paws twitching, nose snuffing, and little "whiffle, whiffles" telling us of their progress, it would be difficult for the hens to stay on the roost.  So I think they dream of worms, long, stretchy ones and fat, fat short ones and grubs that are always short and fat.

Making chicken dreams
Things I get to do today included removing grass, weeds and roots from a huge berm area in the yard.  The by-product was 5 contractor-size wheelbarrows of debris that went straight to the hen pen.  It was spread out to cover the hard-pack of mud set up by the drier weather.  Hens can't scratch mud turned to brick. But this debris, filling with grubs and worms and seeds and green grass was heaven.  I know it made rich dreams.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Lieu of Flowers

A room needs life.  Fresh flowers are the quickest, surest way to make that miracle happen.  My favorites are from my own yard.  Nearly all winter there has been some small speck of a blossom that could be brought in to sparkle the space.

If your garden has nothing yet to offer, or the cold, the grey or the snow cannot hold a bloom, consider just greens.  Nearly everyone has an evergreen shrub or a conifer within snipping distance of the house.  A plant that has gone rangy awaiting the spring pruning was my target of Things I get to do today.  The branch lopping over on to the sidewalk found its way into this arrangement.  Don't even miss the flowers.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Field of Sweaters

The tie of friendship connects our hearts.  It's a real thread that runs through us, a fiber similar to wool.   Friend Karen who loved everyone deeply has left us yearning for her and found us filling in the absence with each other.  What a miracle that we are all now richly committed to holding the wider circle of friends in the same precious aura that she held each of us.

Unmade sweaters gazing and grazing
Driving one more time to Eugene to connect with those same, dear people is one of the Things I get to do today, and I'm basking in the birth of this vigorous season.  The Willamette Valley is filled with fields, many of them dotted with sheep.  Lambs are all over the place.  My wandering mind reviews the reasons for raising sheep: food and fiber.  The wool is friendly, cozy, comforting.  Karen and her knitting come back into focus, and I see now the immense green pasture as a field of sweaters, perhaps made from the fiber of friendship.  And speaking of dear friends, Happy Birthday, Therese.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Flesh and Bones

It nearly halted the trip.  I gasped, swerved and braked. How could this spectacular little tree have suddenly exclaimed itself in our neighborhood with my not seeing it?  It stopped me in my tracks!  But I was headed to Eugene, again, and collected my distracted wits, took my foot off the brake and slowly drove on, promising to give it proper admiration as soon as possible.

"Vulcan" Magnolia Tree

Back in Portland and nearly home at 6:30 PM, I searched the street for the little tree, did a U-turn and parked.  My nervous wave and a pointing to my camera and the tree brought the homeowners out for a chat.

Planted only two days ago, this babe will throw a
 flashy party for our neighborhood every spring.  Hooray!

They OK'd the Things I get to do today of standing in their flower bed for close-up admiration, appreciation and inspection of such flamboyant flesh and bones.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Brain Blog

Time to practice what I preach.  The only problem is that I can't remember what I said.  How do I get rid of the smell in the laundry tub drain?  What was used to protect the newly planted peas?

When my brain fails me going about the Things I get to do today, fortunately there's a back up.  On a brighter day, weeks, or a month, or a year before this blog contained a record of what was said.  So I type in the key words, and my memory comes up on the screen with several paragraphs and colored pictures to remind me how to do it.  I am so grateful.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Librarian's Dream

I get to organize all these headings and
started with "needles and hooks"

Heaven is organized.  I know that.  Give me a pile of widgets, just any kind, and my first urge is to sort them and put everything in order.  So when the sorting of Karen's knitting realm brought forth a huge bag of every sort of knitting needle and I took home my 1/3 of the stash,  I could feel the confusion settling into the needle cupboard--not heavenly.

I joined Ravelry ( over a year ago, entered my name and looked at a few patterns.  That was it.  Asta, who introduced me to "frogging," also took me by the knitting hand on Monday and gave me a helpful tour of Ravelry.  Last night I overdosed/blissed by organizing my new inventory of knitting needles.

My collection of knitting needles: at least 30 of them from Karen
Charts, squares, numbers, descriptions, categories, those all sing sweetly to my organized side.  Even though it was getting way past my bedtime, I carried on with this most delicious of Things I get to do today until all the needles, short, long, circular, double pointed, fat and skinny were cataloged into their appropriate chart home.  I slept with finely organized dreams.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Unfinished and unfinishable sweater 

My friend Karen had only one fault.  She had a terrible time finishing things.  By "things" I mean knitting projects.  Now that she's passed, several of us have sorted through bags of unfinished sweaters, discussed the possible outcomes for each, and stepped up to bring a conclusion and destination to their process.

Rip it out became ribbit out
I took the giant, patchwork, sweater body.  Since there was no extra yarn and no pattern, we figured the knitting was done. Pillows sprang to mind. We'd met an old friend of Karen's from her graduate school days, Bob, at her memorial gathering.  He would, no doubt, cherish work from her hands.  And her two nephews would have the other two pillows.

Pillow for Bob: front side
Sorting, unraveling, blocking and stitching eventually resulted in a 22 x 15" pillow from the back of the sweater.  While my hands were occupied with these Things I get to do today, my mind went about solving a word puzzle I had mentally tucked away on Monday while we friends sorted and talked of memories and of yarn and of knitting.  Asta had said she would "frog" a piece she had knit.

"Frog?" I questioned.

Finished at last: opposite side
"Yes, take it out," she replied.  My mind stopped and did not see the connection.  But today as I released the band from the body of the sweater, I got it. "Rip it"out became "ribbit" out.   And every person from age three on up knows that "ribbit" is what frogs say.  It's finished!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Purest Showoff

It's OK. Some folks brag to cover their insecurities. Exaggerations are often to fill in for what really isn't. But this plant is an unabashed showoff. And it is just fine, 'cause it is the truth. Extravagant color grabs me by the heart and holds me to gaze for sometime stopping all the other Things I get to do today while I drink in the glory and delight shared by this shrub that is willing to shine its fullest glory into my day. I'm appreciating its presence in all ways I know.

When we shine our most beautiful selves into the world, it gives others permission to do the same.  Join me, would you?   Let your light so shine. . . .

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Karen's Gift of Color

Colors and textures that hold Karen's delight
The doorbell rang. Saturday afternoon is not our usual time to receive unannounced visitors. No visitor, the mail carrier had left a box, a rather large one.

Grey and pale green yarn on the lower left
 is silk and sea cell by Hand Maiden
Now with Leonard Cohen playing from his Old Ideas album, I'm removing the yarn, skein by skein, from the big box sent to me by her brother in his cleaning out of her house.

Each wrapped bundle of fibers reveals surprises and delights. Colors that warm my heart line up on the table with their mates. I can feel Karen watching me, eager to share the excitement of her gift to me.

Karen passed last November in Boston. We are having a remembrance service for her tomorrow for her West Coast friends. Things I get to do today are to feel her close one more time, to touch and feel all these yarns that she touched and felt, to bask in the delicious colors, and to put my creative thoughts to mesh with her gift: planning more knitting projects.

Friday, March 15, 2013

This Goes

This wasn't the real game playing board

It's only a game.  Here's how it's played.  Pick a small area of a room that is cluttered.  I picked my kitchen.  Say out loud as you pick up each object, "This goes. . . ."

Before I zoomed off into other Things I get to do today, I played "This Goes" with my kitchen counters.  For ten minutes you would have heard this: This goes in the car (and I walk with the object to the car). This goes in the bedroom (walk with the object in hand to the bedroom). This goes in the office. And this goes in the pantry. And this goes in the compost pile. And this goes in the cupboard. This goes in my handbag. And this goes. . . . The winner of the game is the kitchen, and the winner of the game is me. Win/win.
We won!

Those of us who like to talk to ourselves, it's a great way to keep focused on a tidying project.  For someone listening in, well, let them think what they will.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Rowan Silk and Kid Mohair

It must be an addiction.  Since December my knitting fingers want only the touch of soft silk/mohair yarn. Five scarves slipped off the needles by Christmas.  Then two more.  Plus one for myself.  And then another.  

Grafting the beginning row to the end row
forming a circle scarf

Yes, it's time to admit that I've tried to quit but just found myself starting another before it could be helped.

Pink and Blue exploded out of the center
of the yarn ball.  I had no idea it was there.

So this one will definitely be my last bias-loop scarf (though several very attractive skeins of yarn are buried deep in my stash). The garden had a chat with the scheduler of the Things I get to do today. Knitting season is nearly over. Ten is a good round number and is surely enough.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Weep Not for Me

Silver willow tears

Her tears were few.  Willows often weep, but I had never seen their tears.  But here they are:  plump, silken, silver and grey.

Weeping Willows make pussy willow blossoms?

This sweet little Weeping Willow has two clusters of tears on its draping branches, one group shimmering in the afternoon light and the other so eager to shift the tears to joy that it burst forth in miniature explosions of yellow!

The teacher in me demands that the Things I get to do today explain that these pussy willow blossoms are called "katte labber" in Norwegian:  Kitty Toes--which is reason enough to turn tears to laughter!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Flower Fountains

They splashed all over the place.  Creamy gushes of flowers burst out of the evergreen shrub on the corner.

Top of the Things I get to do today will be to learn the name of this brave spring beauty.

But for now I'll let its elegance wash over me, wetting (whetting) my appetite for more flowers, more sun, more oceans of beauty, while I notice the tiny flowers also remind me of barnacles.

From the foggy past, I'm hearing the name Andromeda.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


They'll disappear soon. Better look quickly. Rugged, dark, fragile, and twisted, the branches will soon be covered and hidden from view. These bones jut against the sky and add their unique beauty to the scape.

Spring will bring out this season's growth to drape the naked trees. The beautiful structure will be lost from view until fall. Lovely Things I get to do today will drink in the amazing variety of good bones against the sky.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In the Detail

That's where life is lived. The fine points are everything. When the Things I get to do today bring flowers of the season into my house, the details have a chance to shine. I look for them. There is always a delicious surprise, too small to be seen by passing folks with other things on their minds. But for us, for you really, there is this--a precious green cup to hold the lit candles of this Lenten Rose. Blessings abound.


It's not full of wine or sex. Nor is it a movie title. It's the direction of the wind and snow. Skiers fall down when they're not even moving because of the vertigo in these conditions.

Here I am, out for the first time this season in Things I get to do today showing my muscles "what for" with a little cross country skiing. The forecast wasn't promising, but the morning peeped sun through the clouds to tease me into shedding layers of warm and wind-protective clothing.

Then the gaps in the dark clouds closed tight, the wind came up, and snow followed the wind's force. Lodge time! Drying out by the fire, I reviewed occasionally when and why it would be a good idea to suit up and head back out. Only twisted and sideways thinking would willing venture out in this blizzard.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Made in Heaven

DIY is Handy's motto.  Kind of been that way all my life, I guess.  Some crafties hook my inner child more than others.  Making envelopes out of pictures and spent calendars really grabs my DIY gene.
Front of this angelic envelope

A recent post by a creative blogger showed several lovely hand-crafted envelopes, and I read more.  When I saw the template and remembered making 30 exquisite, tiny envelopes for seeds once, my eyes sort of glazed over.  Hand cutting each packet, folding on the exact lines, and gluing had been an excellent project--I wanted a faster, easier-to-cut plan to follow.

Note that the folds create "closed" corners

Bingo!  Received a bead bracelet in this sweetest of hand-made paper pouches.  When I took it apart to find its "how to,"  I was thrilled.  It was a 6 x 6" square with one corner nipped for charm.  I was hooked.  

Diagonal positioning on picture
Using a "frame" template would make it easy to position
the square over the desired picture content

Bet this could be one of the quicky Things I get to do today.
Finished folds

Monday, March 4, 2013

Heart of Gold/Orange To Dye For

Neither of us had any idea.  The big alder tree in my sister's yard was scheduled to come down.  And it did.  Lots of work but no mishaps resulted in tired but pleased people.  But then the color set in.

Ends all ablaze

Orange, bright, defiant, yellowish orange was scattered all over the place on the cut surface of every chunk of wood. We stood in amazement drinking in the flamboyant show of a tree trunk cut to stove wood lengths.

Golden "Beets"
Wiki, our close, informed friend, helped us out here: "If the shoots of the alder are cut in March, they will provide a cinnamon colored dye, but when they are dehydrated and powdered, they provide a yellowish-brown or orange shade.  On the other hand, freshly cut wood of the alder provides a pinkish-brown or pinkish-fawn coloring, while the catkins provide a green dye."

Rich color of the bruised bark

Even the sawdust glows!
Somehow the creative Things I get to do today yearn to play in the color.  We'll find a way, and I'll share the results of this Heart of Gold.