Saturday, May 29, 2010

We beg to differ ...

She's pushing 20. Her name is Stooge. But she didn't get this old by being stupid! She knows that when MaMa is heading for the garden, there's likely to be something yummy to be had for the begging. (She got a handful of spinach just for the asking.

Lunch today will be mostly green, thanks to an early start in the garden this year.

I've been accused of lacking patience. I maintain there is a time when patience is required, and a time when strict adherence to a schedule is imperative. And it pays to know the difference. That's all I have to say about THAT. But explain for me please, if I am so impatient, how did THIS happen?

I started this plant from a cutting years ago. I read that it can take years for an orchid cactus to blossom after it's started. I have a gardening friend who, after waiting two years for hers, decided it was a futile cause and tossed it out. Too bad -- look at the amazing flower that comes to those who wait.

Friday, May 28, 2010

With Hurricane Force ...

... she bellow'd, CAM-PA-NOOO-LA GLOM-ER-AAAA-TA

That was the answer we got when my sister innocently said to a local nursery-woman, "Oh, that is pretty. What is it?"

We were both temporarily stunned to the point of speechlessness -- my sister who was standing closer to the woman, by the fact that the blast nearly blew her hair into the next county; me by the curiousness of it all, considering that I had just been wondering to myself how the woman could even breathe, given the way she was sucking on cigarette after cigarette while we browsed the gardens. Well, anyway, we both purchased some of the plants in question, and giggled all the way home about the shock of it all. My plants didn't make it through the first summer. Small wonder! That woman probably scared the life right out of them -- she nearly did ME in with that holler!

The nursery I mentioned has been sold to new owners, and last year I bought some more of those clustered bellflowers from them. I think they are very pretty, and love the contrast created by the orange pansies. I didn't even know what color the pansies would be when I put them there (lost the seed packet months ago).

DH just called with a "small" request. (I shudder to think what he'd consider a BIG request!) Seems I am to go out to the back of the barn and fetch a 10-foot metal gate that the cows managed to unhinge from it's moorings. Then I am to drag that sucker across the barnyard to the sheep pen and figure out a way to attach it there. No, no ... that's not all! After I get the gate up semi-securely, I am to round up 30-odd sheep from the four corners of the earth and trap them inside the now gated area. All of this so the sheep don't get wet. The shearer might be coming this afternoon, and wet wool is a problem.

Is it just me? Why do I feel like my life is a script from the old "I Love Lucy Show"? At times, that is. Other times, it's more of a horror show. Yesterday, I was informed by a dentist that I have something awful going on in my jaw. To cut to the chase and make a long story short (yeah, me! for once!), it seems like there's some evil organism eating my face from the inside out. (I didn't SAY I was not going to be dramatic, just brief.) The resolution to this problem will involve surgery. I don' know nuthin' 'bout birthin' no babies, Miz Scah-let ... I'll worry about THAT tomorrow. Right now, I have to play Rodeo Star before the sheep get wet, and there are thunderclouds on the horizon. Joy! Count it all joy.

Irises are looking very pretty this week in spite of the fact I've not had time to weed them yet.

FOOTNOTE TO RODEO REFERRED TO ABOVE: Wet sheep poop is verrrr-rr-y slippery.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Letter of the law, and all that ...

There seems to be an unwritten rule that whoever uses the last of the toilet tissue has to replace it with a new one, right? Technically, if you leave two squares on the cardboard tube, you've not used the last of it -- but ... hey! What's up with that?!?


Wednesday marked the fifth anniversary of the day we had to come home from the hospital without our eldest son. It hardly seems possible that five years have passed, and yet sometimes it feels like it's been forever. There's a book titled, "A Broken Heart Still Beats ..." That about sums it up. I would highly recommend it to anyone who's gone through the agony of losing a child. Or anyone who wants a painfully honest look at some of the thoughts that cross the parents' minds. This stuff never goes away; we just get better at keeping it to ourselves as time goes by. Five years ... twenty years ... still counting. And still struggling. A dear friend accompanied me to the cemetery and we left some flowers. (sigh)


Garden news: got lots of stuff set out into the garden yesterday, and I plan to do more today. I've got some Malabar spinach, but can't decide where to put it. Sounds like it is a plant that will take over the world if given a chance. At least it will be killed off by frost in our area if it turns out we hate it. I looked it up online and there's already a red flag flashing it's warning on this one. Does the word "mucilaginous" give you a hint? How did I miss that when I was reading the seed catalogs?

Every year I try to find something I haven't grown before and give it a try. One year we had a ton of okra. Yeah ... way up here in the North! Not a big hit in our family. It got the nickname "snotweed." I sneaked it into soups and got away with it. It's actually quite good battered and fried. (What isn't?) It was really quite clever-looking canned in jars with a slim red pepper for color, but that stuff is still right where I put it back in, what? 2001? Time to feed it to the chickens. (They're like Mikey in the old commercial ... they'll eat anything.)

Here's my new strategy for foiling the rabbits this year:

I'm planting garlic everywhere as a deterrent. See how the lettuce is doing inside the garlic barrier? So far, so good. We have literally THOUSANDS of garlic volunteers. BTW: if you have some that sprout up from little pieces left in the ground after harvesting last year, they make great a wonder addition to salads, sautees, or anywhere you'd use scallions or garlic. They're just a little milder this young.

My sister just informed me that blueberries are 4.99 for 6 oz. in her supermarket. Yow! I have 12 blueberry bushes that were here when we bought the place back in 1976. They still produce lots and lots of berries every year. There are always plenty to eat fresh, and then I can and/or freeze what we don't use. At that rate, we'll soon have recouped the cost of the farm in blueberries alone! Too bad I didn't have the foresight (and the energy) to plant a few acres to berry bushes. I could be rich by now.

Oh ... the things I would do if I were rich ... You'd see a new wave of the Beverly Hillbillies!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This week's project ...

Done. And gone. But I did remember to snap a photo or two before it went home to its rightful owner. If you click on the photo, it will enlarge so you can see detail, if you're interested in that. Or, maybe try this one:

I'm a little sorry to see it go -- it was fun to work on. But ... I do have lots more to play with. And I shall get at it first thing tomorrow, so maybe there will be more quilt photos before the end of the week.

Update on the disappearing package saga: The re-ordered merchandise arrived without incident today, via the same delivery service as the lost package. I wasn't home, so once again the anticipated harangue was foiled. Maybe by the time we come face to face again, the driver will (a) have forgotten all about his rant; (b) move to Florida, or better yet, some place where dogs don't live (think: asylum, perhaps?); or (c) move on to another job. Not that I'm wishing he loses his job -- just hoping I don't have to deal with him again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The junkman cometh ...

This is exciting to me -- the man who picks up scrap metal is here today, collecting stuff I want to be rid of. Old dryer in the cellar: gone! Remnants of an old vehicle and a few farm implements are on their way out of here. It's always a good feeling of accomplishment when something rather huge gets out of the way.

And that's my reward for working in the garden this morning. I got a little carried away with the salad dressing (may have to wring out some of the spinach before I eat it), but it's one of my fav's at this time of year. I'm also canning rhubarb today, because we're getting a little tired of eating it and I can't stand for it to go to waste.

Then I'm off to finish up a quilt for someone who's getting a little anxious to have it in hand. Photos will follow when I get it off the machine.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A mighty fortress...

... kitten style. This silly kitty has been sleeping inside the concrete block in the barn every night. It looks like it's getting to be pretty tight quarters. He probably thinks its a fortress against the idea of being stepped on by cows. Or maybe that it's good camouflage? The litter-mate gets in behind a sheet of plywood leaning up against an empty sheep pen. They're so cute when they're little and chubby. They're so annoying when they get big enough to come begging for something to eat at the kitchen door. They're like a bunch of Depression-era hobos looking for a hand-out.

Now here's the latest episode of the delivery-man saga ... (sort of disappointing if you were hoping for something exciting, because it turned out to be uneventful). The regular driver has been temporarily replaced. Do you think it was because, when a woman from the company called, I told her I did not appreciate being yelled at by their driver? I sort of think it was, but can't be sure. I wonder if I'll find out when he gets his route back? If I come up amongst the missing, somebody remember this story, will ya?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

well, actually ...

It's Wednesday, May 12, 2010.

That last post got dated wrong because I created it late at night and published it the morning. I didn't realize it would have the "created" date. No matter. It's America. I can fly my flag on the wrong day if I want to!
Today, I am anxiously awaiting a package. I know. I know ... it's way too early to start watching for the delivery truck to arrive. But I can't help it. The contents are very important to me. And I'm concerned it won't come. Here's the story (it's a long story, and I'll probably make it even longer like I usually do) ...

From the "Why Me?" File:

Last Friday I called a company I had placed an order with to verify that the stuff had been shipped to me because now, a couple months after the original order, I realize I never got it. Way back when, I had received an email message from the delivery company telling me to expect two packages. On delivery day (THAT delivery day), the driver brought one package. I asked if there was another for me. "Nope. That's it." I told him I had received a message and was expecting two. "That's all I've got for you."

My thought was that it would probably come the following day, so I put it out of my mind and totally forgot about it. Until I went to order the products again and had that vague recollection of having already done this ... called the company, and sure enough ... so they would put a tracer on the package.

The delivery company called three times on Friday to ask me for details. Then yesterday, the driver called me. He started out by telling me how he distinctly remembers having delivered the packages in question, and that he had handed them to my husband who was "on the tractor, or in the pickup truck, or maybe he was out by the barn somewhere ..." (pretty distinct recollection, eh?).

Anyway, he went on and on and on ... growing louder and louder, until he was shouting at me over the phone that "I'm not going to take the blame for this ..." etc., etc. I told him I wasn't blaming him, I was only trying to find out where my stuff that I paid for is now, because I don't have it. That only served to rewind him back to his starting point, with the volume turned way up. I cut him off at that point, telling him I'd call the company again to verify the date in question because he seemed to be remembering a different delivery. Oh, No! He started all over! Okay. That's it. I told him to stop talking. I was going to get off the phone, and I'd deal with it through the company and hung up.

Not five minutes later, another person from the delivery service was on the phone. Sheesh! Don't they ever write anything down? She asked me all the same questions all over again! (Do you get the feeling this tracking process is going to take a ver-r-r-r-ry long time?

That's what I thought, too. From the point they said they'd put a tracer on it and some little red flag started flapping around in my mind's eye. And now we've come full circle back to the beginning of my story ...

Because I was leery of how long the process might take, I asked the company from which I ordered the products to re-send them, and we'd figure out where the original order went separately because I really, really need the stuff before THIS Friday. (Good thing I did that, right?) So I got an e-mail message from the delivery service that the package containing the newly ordered merchandise should arrive on Wednesday, May 12. It's supposed to be delivered by the now-irate driver. What do you think my chances of receiving this package are today?

Why me?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Where the wild things are ...

I was cruising thru a few food-related blogs this morning (probably because I was wishing I had something interesting to eat for breakfast) and came upon a recipe for ramps. Ramps! I forgot all about the ramps! Which means I also forgot all about the fiddleheads. I wonder if it's too late? I'll have to ask someone who knows better than I.

My first (actually, my only) experience with wild ramps came years ago. I had a friend, Cathy, who originally hailed from West Virginia. We were talking with an elderly couple at church one day, and for the life of me I don't know how, but we got on the subject of foraging for wild foods. I'm guessing it had something to do with where these people came from. The older folks had struggled through the worst of times, and probably had to make do with a pot of boiled weeds for supper more often than we can guess. Anyway ... my friend and this ol' fella decided we needed to plan an outing, on the hunt for wild ramps. He was certain they were plentiful in the woodsy area behind his place. So one fine day, we drove (a very long way) to his place, and pranced about the woods digging what looked to me like something related to lilies of the valley. The idea was to gather tons of these things because, I was told, one you cook them down, they don't amount to much. So we trounced about howling "... country ro-o-o-o-oads ... take me home ... to a place ... where we be-looooong ... West Virginia ... mountain Mama ..." until we were sick of it.

The day turned out rather warmish, and by the time I got mine home inside a plastic bag in the car, it became apparent this was not something that would be relished by my family. For my guys, they had all the appeal of boiled spinach with the added bonus of the aroma of way-too-much-garlic. I think I did cook what still looked half-way decent for myself, and thought, "Ummm ... I'm not getting it. It must be a cultural thing." (or more realistically, "Ghack! This is nasty!") Last I heard, Cathy was training wild things of another sort at some facility in Florida -- lions and tigers and such. But that was years ago ... wonder what has become of Cathy now?

Now ... about the fiddleheads. Tricky things, these. Like the ramps, you have to know where to look, when to look, and be certain you know what you're looking at before you can harvest them. I've seen them offered preserved in little tins in gourmet/specialty shops -- very pricey. And I've had them prepared by a local gal who learned about them from her family as a child. What is it about that sort of thing that intrigues me so? I automatically want to know these little "secrets" when I hear about them. Maybe I'm related to Euell Gibbons? Oh ... and at least the fiddleheads are truly tasty, unlike those ramps.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lots going on around here lately ...

Bunches of quilts got done last week:

Too bad I can't take credit for them. Nope. They were the handiwork of these ladies:

... Carol, Geri and MaryBeth (who, BTW, was a first-timer who got two quilts completed after announcing that she was only going to watch the others and knit the time away! I think she did more quilting than knitting.).

Sunday morning was a very warm and sunny day here. This nincompoop was trying to stand in the shade of a telephone pole:

Notice the stand of trees (ahem ... trees ... shade ... um, get it, sheep?) right behind her? I love my sheep, but they certainly are not the smartest animals around here!

Speaking of not-so-smart ...

... once there are a couple of hatchlings, everybody gets so caught up in the excitement, they forget what they were doing and start following them around. I nearly got my armflab ripped off trying to get close enough to get a good photo. That big brute at the tail end of this parade got ahold of the inside of my arm right above the elbow and wouldn't let go. Yowwwch! Those wings become absolute sledge hammers when there's an infant to protect. Trust me ... you DON'T want to try to steal a gosling from the flock.

And this bouquet was the first thing I saw when I looked out the kitchen door right after sunrise this morning:

They're all weeds at the edge of flower bed I've not gotten around to yet. But I think they're very pretty, nonetheless. May all the weeds in your life be lovely ones!