Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hat Hair Solution

Ready for plarking

The hat's on.  That means Handy Andy has a serious plark project or projects lined up in the Things I get to do today.

Extra hair is off the neck and out the back
hole of the hat.  Cool and comfortable.

Prissy curls or long hair falling forward, blocking vision, requiring one hand to reposition stray locks, tossing the head to move the hair is strictly nonsense, at least for this practical person.  Get the job(s) done and be able to focus on the task, that's her motto.

Before the hat goes on, position 4 or 5 big
pin curls to hold the hair up and under the
hat.  At the end of the work day, they are
ready to be released and brushed out.

When the hat comes off, there's serious problem.  Hat hair--everybody knows what that is and has her own version of it--smashed, shapeless and ugly. There's this thing about Handy Andy, however. When she's working, she's working. When she's not, she "cleans up real good." The hat-hair thing has created a serious impediment to the clean-up.  Going out to eat wearing a cap because at its worst it is better than the hair is a grim thing to face.

Good enough!  Doesn't look like she sweated all
day in the muggy heat on a serious yard plark.

 Handy Andy, being who she is, put her thinking cap on, so to speak, and waited for a solution.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Know a Good Thing When I Have It

Can't tell you how many times I pulled it up.  Thought it was a weed.  That's the thing with new plants from seeds that one has never grown before but only read the flashy description of in a seed catalog.  When the plants grow, folks like me aren't sure if they're for real or are really just another weed.
Yellow Butterfly Weed--the great survivor

Three summers ago when I ordered multiple packets of seeds, all of which were finer than most house dust, I transplanted the little seedlings that sprouted and watched with disappointment when some of the herbs or flowers failed to thrive, or so I thought.  One such flower was the Yellow Butterfly Weed.

The front bed was weeded faithfully, and I recalled extracting quite a few plants that resembled Fireweed.  This summer I fell behind, and in spite of me more of the Fireweed-type plants again came up.  Flower buds formed.  The Things I get to do today allowed me time to be curious finally, just for a moment.  "Rush less," "look more" were one the list as well.  The buds were orange-gold.

So I'm embarrassed to say that in my haste during the past three summers, this lovely flowering perennial was never allowed to bloom.  Silly me.  Lessons from Asclepias Tuberosa.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Belle Basil

Sweet Basil 

It's fantastic with garlic.  Add tomatoes and any basil concoction is a match made in heaven.

Little hats for the faeries

Fairy blossoms

That's not all about basil that's from heaven. I took time in the Things I get to do today to really have a good look at the spikes sent up from the plant in preparation for going to seed. 

Tiers grow on the stalk with six round little bonnets holding space for fairy blossoms beneath. Faeries can be shy, so you might not see them directly. You can certainly feel them when you gaze at the delicate flowers.  Belle, belle!

Friday, August 16, 2013

You Gotta Be Somebody to Use Such BIG Equipment

You can see strange things on the road.  A horse-team-drawn, two-story covered wagon greeted us around a curve as it headed East on Oregon Highway 26 one day. We gaped. We were stunned. But we knew what it was.
Oversized, indeed!  On its way into the big city.

But this fancy monster's identity eluded me.  We were both on the freeway. I passed it, question marks popping out of all surfaces of my head.  By the time I thought of a photo, it was long gone.

The Bourgoin BH7100 is a green bean picker!  Did you guess that?
Several hours later as my trip brought me into Portland and rush-hour traffic, I spied Big Red again ahead on the left. A rest stop had given me another chance to include "photo this" in the Things I get to do today.  Once home Google filled me in, complete with video's of the BH7100 in action.
Leave me a comment. Can you tell me what this mammoth metal contraption does?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I'm So Sorry, Mary

Three gifts dried and gone.  Center one still alive
They were a gift. I tucked them out of the hot sun.  I went away for a week.  I forgot. And when I brushed against their brittle stems, I was horrified.  The four, very special chrysanthemums were dried up.  Three were brittle.

Gift is now safely
in the ground
Immediately, all other Things I get to do today were set aside as I plunged the little pots into water, hoping for some life to be wetted and coaxed back.  Three were, indeed, gone.  But one precious plant sucked up the water, fattened its leaves and soothed my guilt.

Thank you, little plant, for holding on while dear friend Mary peddled over on her bike ladened with lovely chrysanthemum starts from her wildly varied collection.  Thank you for holding on while I was away and forgetful.  Thank you especially for drinking and holding on to the water and coming back to life.   *See first comment for a postscript.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

HELP (Again)!

These tiny fingers keep adding another blossom out
on the end

This morning it was a Hummingbird perch.  Yesterday a pair of Goldfinches rested there.  Everyday, all day it is an extremely spindly, five-foot high flowering perennial with two-and-a-half-inch wide clumps of purple blossoms.  They began growing after I planted a "Bee Friendly" mix of flower seeds.

Leaves are sparse, slender,  sawtoothed,
rough to touch.  Stems are squarish and
also rough.

When creating a flower arrangement is one of my Things I get to do today, these naturally find their way in--perfect in all ways since they add a punch, have a slender stem, and have no leaves below or above the water line in the vase.

BUT WHAT ON EARTH ARE THEY CALLED?  Please folks--it's your turn to write.  Someone out there must know what these are!

And Nan, a friend in California, tells me they are Verbena Bonariesis.  Looked it up and it's a match!  Thanks, Nan.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Canna Lilies on an August sky

Opposites on the color wheel equal maximum contrast:  red and green, purple and yellow, blue and orange. Though Things I get to do today drew me to sit in the rocks of the front yard and extract plants that were not supposed to grow there, when I looked up, I was stunned. Morning clouds and high overcast has gradually melted away to reveal the deep blue sky that makes your heart ache. Add an orange Tropicana, and the picture is complete.

Contrast in life helps us define what we prefer.  When you experience what you don't want, you know more clearly what you do want.  So bless those unwanted things as they show you the way to clarity.  Then focus on what you are preferring, what you are desiring.  Tell only that story, and then watch it come about.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pin Ups

Old and weathered--the witness of many hangings
It was probably my first puzzle.  Maybe I was three.  Frankly, my memory is unsure of several things in my life time. Regardless of my memory issues, we hung our laundry on the line to dry.  There were perhaps a few home driers around the country at that time, but we certainly did not have one. The clothes line and clothes pins, the sun and fresh air were all that we needed and could afford. The only glitch in the system from time to time was that somehow the clothes pins would separate, refusing to work together. My job was to get them matched up so the wire spring would again clamp the two wood pieces and allow them to pinch the fabric on the line, holding it securely in place until dried and removed for folding.

These things don't
wear out.

Funny how finding an out-of-sorts clothes pin in the bottom of the container can bring back memories of life-changing moments in time.  Some studies of child and brain development suggest that there are little windows of time in which the brain is optimally able to grasp certain tasks.  Tying ones shoes is an example.  Learn to do it when you are, say four-years-old, and it's easy forever.  Wait until you are ten, and it may always be a challenge.  So my window of seeing how things fit together came early--with clothes pins.  And forever since that time, putting things together has been the most fun of Things I get to do today.  I just realized all those connections today as the two halves of the clothes pin slipped back together with a near pinch of my fingers, just like when I was three.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cool Down for the Hot Chicks

Coolin' it

90 degrees is too much.  Even with shade the hens are cooking in their downy coats.  It must feel like a perpetual hot flash, except that you can't peel off your clothes if you're a chicken. Gotta just sit there and pant.

On days like this one Things I get to do today include keeping the girls moderately comfortable. There's a  fan clipped it to the wall along side their roost for a night breeze. But during the middle of the heat, we provide refreshment in the shade for their comfort and pleasure. Several times a day we put ice cubes in their pen water bowl.  At the sound of the cubes splashing,  the girls come running and dip their hot beaks into water next to the ice cubes, drinking until they probably get brain freeze.  Hot chicks can be cool!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mystery Plant Unmasked

Feels like a sunflower--can almost see the seeds forming at the base of
each tiny flower.
It gave itself away. If one waits long enough, all is revealed. So I watched.  The petals fell rather quickly from the radiant blossom  And then the tiny flowerettes opened on what looked like seeds. Dahlias do not produce seeds. These seeds were separate and sturdy, sunflower like.

Same veins as a sunflower leaf

The leaves were furry, similar to heart-shaped ones of the sunflower family.  One central leader stem had multiple flowers sprouting from the stalk.

Shouting a vibrant "Mexican" to the sunflower name.

Playing on the hunch from my plant-wise friend, I added Mexican to the sunflower search and found many pictures that looked just like my specimen.  Comments on the previous blog say that it reseeds and grows again year after year. Comments also suggest naming the flower myself and giving starts to all my friends.  Sign up now if you'd like me to send you seeds for this drought-loving pretty.