Sunday, September 29, 2013

180 Degrees

I should apologize to someone.  Most likely it should be directed to Sam, the previous mayor of our town.  Since he's no longer listening (actually never was listening), perhaps it could just be a public statement, witnessed by blog readers from around the world.  That should be good enough. (See post "And My Mayor Loves Me" 10/24/11.)

One handsome bucket.  
"I'm sorry I said all those nasty things about the compost bucket put on my curb nearly two years ago. I know that you meant well, and I used it for a purse only once.  I've never used it for its intended purpose:  putting kitchen scraps into the yard debris for pick up each week.  My kitchen scraps are way too precious to give to any mayor, even one that I liked and admired.  But as I was cleaning out the pantry in the middle of Things I get to do today, I came across that compost bucket.  My other one was a little small, and I had a purpose in mind for it, so I decided to try this one I pay extra for each month.  I am chagrinned to observe that I absolutely love it.  It's wonderful.  Let me tell you why:  it holds about a gallon; it has a lid that pretty much seals off the odors; it is already brown, so won't stain from decomposing vegetables; it has a handle that is sturdy; it is designed well for dumping with a little lip for ones fingers to grip when it is inverted.  In short, it's a "beauty" regardless of where it came from.

The bottom line is that I love the bucket.  But, Sam, don't even think about getting any of my kitchen scraps.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Quick Fix

Little black chips around "Twelve O'clock"

Handy Andy could have been more careful over the years.  The damage is beginning to be noticeable.  Now that the gold is scraped off in small areas, the black shows through. She's shrugged for the last year, trusting that most folks are not careful observers and will not see the black where gold once was.

Close up of chipped area

Gold nail polish drying over the chips

Then Handy Andy remembered the broken wrist, the purple cast, the gold decoration and the gold fingernails to match.  Gold nail polish would save the day and the tray.  Daubing a tiny touch of "hiding the carelessness" took only a minute in the Things I get to do today.

Slightly visible at "Three O'clock" but so much better than black marks

Close inspection is not desired on this project.  Hold this baby at arm's length, and most folks will never have a clue that the tray was damaged, ever.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Savior of the Garden

The flowers of summer are gone.  If it weren't for the Rudebeckia, there would be no color in the yard--the Rudebeckia and the Zinnias.  The seeds for the Zinnias were started late, so instead of the plants finishing off the season now, they are just now getting their second and third blossoms.  In spite of the wind and the rain, they are blooming, blazing and brilliant all over the yard.

Dried Zinnia

This is the third generation of seeds from a single gifted plant two years ago.  Last fall I saved the most developed bloom of the most Righteous Red I could find in the yard.  All winter the wad of brown, twisted shards dried and waited.

Arrow-shaped seed still attached to the dried petal

Then finally it showed up on the list of Things I get to do today:  extract the seeds.  In that process, the Zinnia held a surprise for me:  the seeds were attached to the petals!  I know little about Zinnias except that their intensely brilliant color thrills my soul.  I certainly never knew this.

Among the beans

The odd, shard-like seeds found soil, sprouted into seedlings, and then were tucked into all the places of bare earth around the yard and garden.  And now the payback!  On a grey, rainy day, Righteous Reds reign as the savior of the season.

Lining the front walk.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Green Mountain Girls

The girls are not a militia.  Well, in some respects they are.  Earwigs, earthworms, cutworms, flies, spiders, little creepy critters of all kinds would definitely consider these chickens to be armed.  Sharp beaks and strong toe-nailed feet count as lethal weapons.

Mountain of gifted greens
When my hens bellied up to the mountain of grass clippings and clover dumped from the five-gallon bucket, they meant business, and they became the Green Mountain Girls, for just a minute or two.  Collecting the bucket of greens from my sister's place was one of the Things I get to do today.  Dumping it in the hen house where they could forage without concern for the rain was another.  Eating their way through the pile as tall as they were was their job which they dispatched with the precision of a platoon of soldiers.  What they didn't eat, they scratched.  Days later whatever is left will have dried and become the pickings for a boring day inside coop while a fall storm thrashes its way through.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall is Fell*

Nothing is forever.  Not last year's leaves, even if a tree is "evergreen."  What that means for a Giant Sequoia is that their leaves do not last only a spring/summer/fall, but for a full year, plus a few months, and every fall they loose the leaves from the previous year.

Golden carpet

Today while the Things I get to do today kept me safe and warm indoors as Nature assured us rather wildly with wind and rain that it was no longer summer, fall fell. Leafy needles everywhere.  Brown/black earth turned gold-orange in a few hours.

Nourishing itself with litter back into the soil
*An old rhyme that delighted a friend in high school in the 1960's:
Spring is sprung.
Fall is fell.
Summer is here,
And it hotter than
the average.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Best Answer I've Seen

Rotary cutter makes this quick work

Not a "keeper."  Don't save mementos.  Not a "collector" either.   But I have to say that throwing away fabric of any kind, as in into the garbage, is really hard for me.  So sorting through the linen cupboard and coming up with four old pillowcases that were no longer fit to lie ones head upon really put me into a conundrum.

An online search for ways to recycle pillowcases yielded nothing helpful.  You can, if you have one, put the pillowcases over the individual paddles of your ceiling fan to clean them.  We don't have one. Pillowcases make very poor rags for cleaning--too smooth, not absorbent.

Waxing (as a depilatory) grew its way into Things I get to do today, and the idea struck like lightning.  Cut the pillowcase into the little strips needed for pressing over the wax and jerking the hairs out.  Works like a charm.

These are 1 x 3" strips, perfect for brows and small areas

And free of charge here are two more ideas.  Use cut strips for rag curls.  If you sew, toss the pillowcases into your drawer of interfacing fabrics--just right for soft interfacing treatments.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tale of Two Tapes

Masking tape was her best friend.  It allowed her to fasten a message to nearly any object.  She loved things properly identified.  My mother-in-law, Evelyn, with the help of a black marking pen and masking tape, kept the world in order.

When cleaning and sorting are in the Things I get to do today,  history pops up in unexpected places.  Here in the bottom of a box jam jars not used for over a dozen years, I found Evelyn.  When I pulled one particular jar from the box to wash it, the stiff, adhesive-gone-gritty masking tape fell off on the counter.  Memories flooded back.  My name in her easily identifiable hand had been on one of the jars.  The bread-and-butter pickle label was still affixed to the container, filling in the details of the story.  She wanted to return what was mine.  Masking tape was the vehicle.

Ruth on the left.  Evelyn on the right.
But just last week during a serious cleaning of the chest freezer in the garage, Apple Sauce from 2003 showed up.  This was from my own mother, Ruth, a saver of all bits of edible produce on her property.  Waste not, want not must be inscribed in her at the cellular level.  Her favorite occupation, after weeding, is canning.  Freezing comes in third.  The masking tape on the recycled plastic dairy carton was fresh and gummy, belying its age.  The sauce was, however, ten years old.  We ate it for breakfast the next couple of days, remembering both mothers and their tales.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Tooth marks and the tit bit off
No skins in ratatouille
They don't like the peelings. Bet you never knew that. When the little rats (read "big, well-fed with sleek coats"), decided to take on my tomato patch, they taught me a thing or two. No skins, and the Rapreco Paste tomatoes are first choice. Galina, a pretty, little yellow cherry is least preferred. Jeune Flamme', a medium orange lovely, is somewhere in between.

Garden "udder" of juicy goodness
While the furry little critters are "adorable" in a Pixar movie, my fondness for any sort of rat is rapidly slipping away.  But when I think of the food view these rodents have in the garden, I do have to chuckle.  Rapreco Paste tomatoes grow a very pointed end.  From down under, it must look like a giant red udder with dozens of tempting red tits hanging down, begging for a nip from critters with elegant and discerning taste.

Tempting titters

Checking the eggplant was part of the harvesting Things I get to do today.  No tooth marks there or on the garlic, onions, basil, peppers or parsley.  This low-class band of thieves must be working on a one-ingredient version of the dish.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dali Droop

Its time has run out.  You can almost see the pocket watch draped over the edge. Whoever showed that picture to my cactus is in trouble, 'cause it's gone and done the Salvador Dali droop thing.

Looks like it tried to jump over the edge.  
More than likely, I'm the one in trouble. Third cactus in a very short time that has exploded and died from too much water. This blog reminds me that I buried a cactus in January for the same reason. Please take "water the cactus" off the Things I get to do today. Oh, never mind.  It's obviously too late.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Blow, Gabriel, Blow

Heaven over head

Seems they were earlier in previous years.  Whenever the Trumpet Vine blooms, it is the right time.  They warm my heart during all the Things I get to do today.

The bugle of this Trumpet is mixed with Porcelain Vine Berries
waiting to get ripe.

Having such a heavenly visual chorus over head adds uncountable blessings to the whole yard and everyone in it.  Thank you, Gabriel.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

With What You Have

A rock-climber's baling wire!

For us it was always baling wire. On the farm, if something broke, the go-to repair item was what was always readily available--wire from the hay making process.  Bits and short lengths of it were often secured near fence posts, the chicken wire hen enclosure, and stored in the repair/tool shed where they would be easy to grab for that quick fix in a pinch.  But then anyone who would use baling wire to make repairs on their actual farm equipment was the object of much derision. My prayers could have included, "Please, God.  May I not find baling wire in the Things I get to do today."

Bailey will NOT escape through this gate.

But one uses what one has.  Bailey, our grand-dog, escaped from his yard because the gate latch was not well secured.  From the household of an outdoors woman came the perfect solution not even close to baling wire.  Things have certainly changed.  My daughter done good!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Samuel F. B. and the Dove

It's like the original binary language.  That may not interest you, and I know the Mourning Doves, making their gentle calls in what sounds like slow, sad Morse code are not sending any covert messages in the pulsed coos.

We have these doves in Portland but not in abundance.  When we're visiting Bend, we see them clustered about the house, having found a notch under the eaves on both the east and west side of the house for nests.  Their call is the first sound in the morning air.  As I lie in bed, sliding slowly toward awareness, their code tells me the day is here.

Curious Things I get to do today include looking up Samuel F. B. Morse and doing a little code work with the call patterns I've heard.  If you are speaking Morse code "dah" is a dash and "di" is a dot.  The lovely dovelies in our yard seem to favor the code letter "G" which sounds like dah, dah, dit.  They also used patterns that could be "T" (dah), "R" (di-dah-dit),  "O" (dah-dah-dah) , "J" (di-dah-dah-dah), and a pairing of rapid "E" and "M" (di, dah-dah, di, dah-dah, di, dah-dah, di, dah-dah).  What's to be made of this?  Perhaps it is most clear that Mourning Doves know nothing of Samuel F. B. Morse, that interesting as their calls are, they do not translate into human language, that they know all that needs to be known in how to communicate in "dove," and that Handy Andy can safely move to the next thing on her day's list.