Friday, November 29, 2013


staal and i spent a nice afternoon in the garden.

weeding onions...

...and getting hoops up over the beds and covered with row cover.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

giving thanks

tomorrow is thanksgiving and i definitely have a lot to be grateful for. i've been very lucky. i had a lot of years of struggle and pain but i wouldn't change any of it. i am who i am because of it and i'm thankful for every moment---even the times when i just wanted to give up. i'm thankful for those who loved me and stood by me when i needed them---and just as grateful to those who only had meanness or indifference to offer. i've learned and grown from all of it.
on january 11th of this year i got married. i was never going to get married but i met a man who opened my heart and my mind in ways far beyond anything i thought was possible. i'm grateful we found each other and i'm grateful for this life we have together.

Monday, November 25, 2013

more garlic

got a deal on some russian red garlic---it's beautiful stuff.  picked it up at the post office today and got it in the ground. 

preparing garlic for planting      photo credit fred staal

below:  garlic i planted last month---recovering nicely from repeated deer prunings and tramplings

i put up hoops and covered them with row cover to protect the plants---mainly from deer but it will also keep things a bit warmer this winter.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

a good find

staal and i went to the dump yesterday and stopped at the spca's thrift store (perpetual junk sale) and made a good find...
...the bed on the truck is kind of an unusual size so finding a shell that fit as well as this one was pretty cool---and it's only missing one window!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

no words

love and gratitude,
frustration and pain,
“i love you” and “thank you”,
words don't touch the truth of it
acts, maybe, come closer,
so what am i to do when he kisses me softly and tells me he loves me?
i tell him i love him too,
and i cry,
because those words don't come close to what i feel for him
and i want him to know,
i want him to know how much bigger it is,
and there is a guilt and a helplessness in it,
a failure
for i wanted always to be honest,
completely honest,
but i'm made a fraud by the frailty of words.
and so, “i love you” and “thank you”, become a plea,
a plea for forgiveness,
a plea made in faith that he will understand

Friday, November 22, 2013

cat boy

i met a three-legged cat yesterday,
he was beautiful,
golden eyes,
thick black swirls and stripes over gray,
a white tail-tip and a small white spot in the center of his chest as if he'd been dotted with a finger dipped in bright, white paint,
graceful and strong despite his lacking limb,
he rubbed and bumped against me,
his back rising to meet my stroking hand, naming us instant familiars,
and i thought of you, brother, cat-boy,
with found kittens draped on your young shoulders,
purring contentedly,
mesmerized and mesmerizing,
small, kingly creatures,
befriended and bestowed an honorable throne

Thursday, November 21, 2013

a little rain

got some decent rain the last couple days---mostly at night actually, which was good because we were able to work outside during the day without getting soggy.  there are a lot of thirsty trees up here.  hopefully we'll have a nice wet winter this year.

nine tenths of an inch is a good start
the rain gave the ground a decent soaking and made my work a bit easier.  i'm still digging garden beds (and lining them with aviary wire to keep the gophers and voles out).  so far i've got six, 4'x8' beds dug---two have onions planted in them, two have garlic, and two are unplanted but will have more garlic and probably some greens put in soonly.
below:  the four planted beds are under the row cover (to stop the deer from pruning them and to keep things a bit warmer) at the right of the photo.  to the left is a recently finished bed and the bed i dug today. 

above and below:  zane supervised the work.

foreman grey

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

happy birthday, zane grey!

it's morning
you wake me,
gently licking my eyes,
or warmly nudging and nuzzling me with that beautiful, black snout,
or playfully throwing your furry weight against me,
then, with a wagging tail, you roll onto your back for a scratch and a rub,
your dark brown eyes full of excitement,
loving exuberance,
“it's morning!”, you say,
and i blink sleepy eyes and smile,
“yes”, i say, “it's morning”
what a wonderful way to wake up.

zane was born two years ago today, in stockton, california.  it was perfect timing.  grover died two years ago on the 15th of this month.  grover's life and death taught me a lot about myself, about life, and broke my heart open in a way that has made me a better person.  
i wasn't myself without grover, without a dog in my life, without my dog. i found zane in early january of 2012, he was about eight weeks old.  from the moment we made eye contact i knew he was my dog.  he sat calmly and quietly, facing me, staring into my eyes, the whole ride home from stockton (more than a two hour drive)---we've been pretty inseparable since.
like grover, zane is a wonderful teacher of life and living.  he brings a joy and playful enthusiasm to every day and reminds me not to take things too seriously.
happy birthday, zane grey!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


beneath love's infinite sky,
green sway of pine and oak,
dancing golden and silver within clear blue eyes,
humbled on earth-stained knees,
back bent to the warming sun,
hands tuck sleepy seeds into dark soil,
always with a prayer---
may the winds be my breath,
and yours,
may the rains slake my thirst,
and yours,
may the sun light my soul,
and yours,
may this love root deep within my heart,
and in yours,
may this love's garden grow,
and we two remain one,
sustained on love's ever-flowering vine


two ways to prepare chickens for winter...

1.   give them a cozy place to roost.  i screwed some fiberglass panels and stapled burlap (the stapling took place without incident) to the chicken tractor.  they should be pretty comfortable this winter.

2. mmmmm...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013


worked on the gate for the other end of the garden today.  was getting pretty close to finishing the second panel when i put a staple in my hand.  oops.  fortunately only one of the teeth went in all the way and it was at a shallow enough angle that it didn't hit bone. i was kind of surprised that it didn't really hurt going in or when i pulled it out (with pliers---it was stuck in pretty good).  my knuckle is starting to ache a little tonight.  (i am aware of how stupid this was and will endeavor in future to be more careful.)

after i got the staple out i finished up the gate and got it put up at the north end of the garden.

view from outside the garden

view from inside the garden

staal got the new dual glazing into the windows that face the garden.  we'll be much cozier this winter.

he does good work.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

leaf galls...

found an oak leaf covered in galls this morning when i took zane out to do the rounds.  never seen one with so many galls.  they're caused by a tiny wasp stinging the leaf to lay an egg.  the leaf makes the gall to protect itself, walling up the wasp larva.  i've seen different forms of leaf galls---these are some of the neatest.

got the tri-fold gate put up at one end of the garden near the front door of the house.

got some sunshine with the boys.


and a beautiful man made me a beautiful dinner.


Monday, November 4, 2013

a nice day

cooling off up here these days but still pleasant to work outside in the sunshine. today i worked on some panels i'm making out of bamboo and burlap---going to make a tri-fold garden gate for the kitchen garden.  

helped staal paint the south face of the house where the new windows are.  it's a bit lighter and greener than what's on it now.  haven't settled on trim color yet.


came across this little guy this morning.  maybe he's just keeping the bookworms under control.