Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Wolves are multiplying.  They've been taken off the endangered species list here in Oregon.  And it's partly my fault.  I added one just this week.  Planning on adding one more soon.  Watch out!

It's knitting season.  I've been bit bad. When I saw this pattern last January, my knitting skills were basic. Knit. Purl. But I bought the pattern and began to teach myself cables.  Even attempted some simple lace patterns.

Then my sister said she wanted a warm hat for her birthday, and the project launched, full-speed. When the baby alpaca yarn arrived in the mail, there was less than a week till birthday day.  No worries.  Wolfpup gestation period is relatively short.  Out it popped and into the mail.

Haven't had so much fun and such happily knitting fingers in a long time.

*"Wolfpup"  a tiny owl knits pattern by Stephan Dosen
available at 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Time to Put the Down Down

Raw "garden down"

It's blanket season. Down comforter time. Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, honey berries, they all like their blankies.

Down converter.  Roar over the leaves with the mower for a
good chopping and bagging--all the easier to place and stay
in place.
Their idea of down is different from ours--a little leaf'l do. Actually thousands of little leaves will make for cozy winter nights and even temp days.

Two large maple trees create a mountain of leaves and desperation, out of which helpful ideas are born.

Strawberries in the middle, raspberries and currants on the right.  All tucked in.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saving a "Crystal Palace Gem"

Shining star of the back yard
She is a Gem, indeed. Not sure where the Crystal Palace comes in, but when the landscape is rather bare, the colors of it often in shades of tan or brown and there aren't many flowers around, a plant like this saves the garden.

She loved her location this summer after spending the winter in the house as a slip, then a small plant, then a very gangly plant.

Not all of these slips will make it, but we are hoping
for a dozen or more.

Now with frost on its way for certain, this garden star must be saved and perhaps even multiplied for next summer.

Plants were dug, pruned back and potted.  They will winter over in the garage.  The mountain of prunings went into a long, flat tub with damp, loose composty earth.

Next summer she will again shine across the whole garden stage, clumped in vivid chartreuse and shocking red-orange.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tomatoes on the Water

Not from my Bend garden, but a gift!

Scripture says cast your bread.  I know what it means. But all these many years when my garden was plump with a variety of ripe tomatoes, I've been giving them away to friends--casting them on the water, so to speak.  Tomato plants went as well.
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So when asked the other day about where all the bounty of tomatoes came from, I had to say it was a long story.  The shortest version is that a friend had too many and was willing and able to drive three hours to Bend where I live.  The fact that she was coming anyway does not discount the gift.  It merely reinforces the perfection of the timing.
The first seven out of the hot-water bath.

To have nearly 80 pounds of lovely tomatoes delivered to your tomatoless household is bliss beyond words.  

Forget the bread.  Just give whatever it is you'd like to received. It will come back to you when you are in want of it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sun in a Basket

Several dozen little heads and a few big ones, too.  These are going back to
the birds (and the squirrels, chipmunks, deer, ground squirrels and mice).
How much sun, sunshine, sunlight, does it take to make a sunflower? How many hours of powerful energy were absorbed in these many seed heads. From their tiny beginnings as seeds from heads like these, the sprouts became plants and grew from April to September. You do the arithmetic. I'll just stand in awe of the Divine Knowing that manifests here. As sunflowers. As sunshine in a basket.

Monday, October 19, 2015

We Won (We Think)

Sometimes you get the tree.  Sometimes the tree gets you.  So the hard-fought-for win may still have its challenges.

About 1/3 of the pie finished

When we sold our Portland house, we left behind a monster hidden in the yard.  The buyers had no clue about the horsetail (equisetum)--at least not for a month or so.  Bend yards do not have horsetail.  I knew we were safe.  But our sellers left behind a monster hidden in the front yard under the chokecherry tree--surface roots with suckers.  They began to pop up shortly after we moved in, but because of the attention to settling, the chokecherry suckers went untended.

By spring the density of the suckers had reached critical mass.  My trusted hand hoe was the weapon of choice. It bounced off the earth like a toy.  Hidden by less than an inch of soil, massive roots were the foundation for the suckers. Now the real combat began.

The easy part!  The hard part was so hard the luxury of photos
was not part of the pie.
Divide and conquer I've heard.  The pie-shaped ground under the tree went into quarters. One quarter a day was a reasonable goal. But the wooden spaghetti did not give in easily. One quarter pie a day was exhausting. On the fourth day, I cried "uncle" and asking hubby for help. Some roots were as big as my wrist. We (hubby) chopped, sawed, and clipped all the visible roots down at least six inches into the soil.  The removed roots filled two yard debris dumpsters.

Space for the birds to eat.  Wondered why there were no
ground feeders last year.

This summer a mere handful of suckers sprouted in the pie. Our fears that we might be killing the tree were unfounded. The chokecherry produced white flowers in the spring, but far fewer "cherries," and therefore less mess on the sidewalk. The leaves came on green and then fudged into chocolate by mid summer. The final score as of Fall seems to indicate a truce. We're counting that as a win.

Moral to this story:  The easy way (snip and cover with bark mulch) is the hard way.  The hard way (remove the underlying problem) is the easy way. The second truth of the story:  Karma happens.  There's bind weed outside our back fence marching into our yard!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Stinkin' Good!

2" in diameter and smaller.  Little ones I left whole.
If life gives you green tomatoes, make? What life in Bend delivered to me in the garden was green tomatoes too small to fry but perfect for pickles.  Years ago I had eaten a pickled one that had seriously caught my attention. Garlic! Salt! Tangy tingles! Hadn't tasted a pickle so good since.

Normal pickles are made with vinegar. Spectacular pickles are fermented!  That was the key I had missed.
Three heads of garlic for this recipe: Wild Fermentation by
Sandor Katz

Grape or oak leaves for crispness
The only difficult part is waiting for three weeks for them to be really good.  Fortunately, they needed to be checked everyday and sampled to verify their progress. Terrible job, but someone has to do it.

The day they were terrifically finished, I put them in jars for the fridge and to give away.  That was the day of complaints!  Bad smells, I was told, really bad smells, like dog farts.  And we had house guests arriving in two hours.  Not acceptable, I was told. Hooray! These pickles are stinkin' good!  Airing the house is one of the things I get to do today.  Small price to pay.

A two-gallon crock and dried dill weed.

Finished pickles.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

June, July, August

It really started in May.  The fridge expired 3/4 of the way through that month and whizzed hot death breath into a chamber specifically designed to keep things cool, cold actually.  No matter. Poor thing had alerted us of its trend toward giving up with louder and louder churning noises that sometimes startled us awake in the night.  Plan A was that we ordered a new fridge when the old one was still able to make noise.  Plan B was that we created an icebox by removing the bottom drawers, filling them with block ice and setting them on the top shelf.  Plan B was a genius move since Plan A told us delivery of the new one would be three weeks away.  That was May.

We are delighted with the new fridge.  It's cold and virtually silent.  It arrived just before we had to be away for a full week (ice boxes need restocking with fresh ice every three to four days). The amazing thing is that in spite of its newness and excellent performance, this new fridge needs to be cleaned from time to time, just like the old one.  June, July and August were enough to send the crisper dangerously close to being a rotter.  So soap and water and some focused cleaning turned the clock back to nearly-brand-new to say nothing of the creative dinner evolving from the now-or-never condition of found items in the rotter drawer.  Whadaya say?  Three months is too long or too short a time it put a fridge on your "get to do today?"

Thursday, August 20, 2015

All a Buzz

Only one honeybee agreed to sit for this photo.  You'll find her to the left and
down a bit from center.

It was time to meditate.  The usual time is much earlier in the day, more formal and less active.  But the bees were calling me and I caved.

There is nothing more sublime, more meditative, than sitting on the ground and inspecting the Salvia (Blue Hill) along with the honeybees.  The actual things I get to do today are snip off the spent strands of blooms to encourage the plant to make more.  Toward the end of summer, there are fewer flowers available for the girls in their foraging for nectar and pollen. The sacredness of this little task surrounded me, opened my heart to overflowing and blessed me with honeybee love.  I was all a buzz.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Happy Birthday, House!

All bright-eyed again and grit-free
It's been a year!  Our lives have moved out from this place for four full seasons.  We've seen summer dust, fall dust, winter dust and spring dust and summer again.  It's dry here in Bend, and I'm not in the slightest bit complaining about it.  I love the light, cleanness of the air filled with Pine and Juniper fragrance.

But on the anniversary time of moving into this house, it seems like the perfect moment to celebrate the clean by removing a year's worth of soil dust from the window blinds. With a pair old fluffy socks on my hands, I wiped down the shades removing the top soil collection.

Now we are ready to party.

Why do clean windows and blinds change so dramatically
the feeling inside a house?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

House Guests and Happiness

At the Throne of Fire in
the Old Mill District
They brought tall Shasta Daisies.  They brought Fox Gloves enough to outfit the whole pack.  They brought Campanulas that will ring for many seasons.  And they brought the delights of shared meals, shared memories, and an abundance of good stories we had not yet heard.  These two were super house guests.

Nan and Eric were our first of the season, and if they are an indicator, we are going to have a very good time.  *Note to self of Things I get to do today:  Get a light-weight blanket for the guest bed.  This is no time for a six-inch down comforter!
Washed sheets hang out for a record 3 minutes dry-time and a recharge with solar prana before the next round of happy visitors.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Real Education

I've been away. It's been educational. Tidbits garnered during the last two weeks:

1.  If you've flown your yard wizard in from Southern California for the week to design your space, go out and help with the work, sore throat or not.  But bundle up even more than you think necessary.

2.  If your body says rest because it is nearly ill, not listening and continuing to push forward allows the bug to get real momentum.  It will get your attention.  It will make you rest! Bottom line: it's worth it.

3.  If your chest is tight from the bug, cayenne capsules can help get things moving. However, putting them into a touchy stomach means they may be rejected (ejected).  Your flaming mouth and lips will make you more cautious next time.

4.  If you cough up "dirt socks" all night long, in the morning your bedroom will smell like a foul laundry hamper.  Fling open the windows as soon as you can gather your strength to do so.

5.  If you wake suddenly in the night having to cough up the heel of a sock and also needing to pee, get to the pot before you allow yourself to cough.  Keep clean underwear handy.

6.  If you're in the middle of your 4-AM-cough-until-it's-all-out (two pair of dirty socks worth) and your mind takes off to write a blog about it,  take heart!  You are getting well!

7.  Slowly, slowly, the body wins.  The bug wears out.  The body gets well.  However, a tentative, nearly-well body is no match for the splendor of plarking to flesh out a new yard, front and back.   Let's just see how much I've learned!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Get To. . .

Ferny rosettes of young Knapp Weed

"It is, indeed, my pleasure to. . . " I like those words so very much better than "have to." Can you feel the difference in your gut when you try them on for size?

Lush green heart eager under last season's dried growth
Recently it was my pleasure to remove Knapp Weed from the  county property next to my house.  Last summer the green plants with deceptively charming purple flowers swooshed in the breeze of the traffic going by.  Winter turned the tops grey-brown.  The purple flowers turned to seed heads.  The dormant plant resembled baby's breath, but chunkier.  The energy of spring has the perennial gathering steam for a new year.

Tiny, tell-tale pompoms that mark Knapp Weed.

Knapp Weed is considered a noxious invasive species here in Oregon.  The roots release a chemical that discourages other plants from growing.  Letting it go unchecked is not a good idea.  So Michael, another volunteer, and I marked off a section of the affected land and took it on.  Three hours of focused effort equalled ten bags piled at the corner for the city to pick up.

We'll go after it again one of these days.  Two more "get to's" ought to do.

Ready for pick up

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Shall I?

What an honor to observe the results of molecules
joined so elegantly in Beauty.

Got to thinking the other day.  The spirit of this writing, about how we look at our duties, chores, general activities wants to carry on, even in this New Land.  Is there still a space for it?  Is there yet an appreciation for the thoughts of blessing even the most ordinary of tasks?

For some reason, I feel a pull, a drawing toward the expression of the sacredness of all movements in this life.

Perhaps your opinion about the continuation of "Things I get. . " is not as important as the overwhelming benefit to the writer.  But I'd like to hear from you just the same.  Your thoughts matter to me.  Shall I write here again?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Come See Me!

Hello Dear Faithful Readers!

I've begun a new blog--Life in a New Land.  Come see me at