Friday, November 21, 2014

snail races

kneeling on cool november soil,
weeding around the cabbages,
something in the scent of damp earth and bruised foliage,
manifests in my mind the very clear image of a snail,
and once again i am a child in my grandmother's front yard,
gathering snails beneath palm trees with my brother,
when we have enough we line them up along a crack in the sidewalk,
and wait for them to emerge from their shells,
some refuse,
others begin to grope about tentatively,
testing their new surroundings with alien eyestalks,
and then the race begins,
their course random and meandering,
some wandering into the lawn,
or down the curb,
leaving glistening trails behind them,
as they lumber along beneath cumbersome burdens,
something mesmerizing in their movement,
slow and swaying and steady,
lulling our child minds into happy hush,
until we forget about the finish line

Monday, November 17, 2014

greenhouse (glass---east wall)

today staal got all the glazing in the east wall.  it's looking great and i can't believe how fast he's moving with the work.  it's been kind of hard missing out on all the building but there really isn't much for me to do right now.  staal has a good system working for him and his building skills are far beyond mine though i'm usually in hollering distance if he does need a quick hand with something.  i have a lot to keep me busy in the gardens this time of year and it's probably a good thing that i concentrate my energy there and make sure we're in good shape for winter and spring before things really start turning cold.  

i came across the quote below in my twitter feed this morning---i think it applies.
"Work is love made visible." ~ Khalil Gibran

Sunday, November 16, 2014

greenhouse (glass---north wall)

i've been spending quite a bit of time working in the garden and working on garden-related projects.  after i built the storage rack and got the squash situated i moved on to preparing beds for asian greens and onion transplants.  i've got one bed of asian greens planted and three beds of onions planted so far and will plant a fourth and possibly a fifth bed of onions in the next day or so.  this year i decided to start my own onion transplants from seed rather than buying transplants---my seed-grown transplants are undersized so i've had to be pretty careful when i handle them which makes getting them in the ground a slow process.  i'm also trying out some perennial onions this year to see how those work out for us.

teensy onion transplants

'violetta' pac choi

'yellow multiplier' perennial onion

while i've been busy with the garden work staal has continued work on the greenhouse.  he's been putting to practice his ideas for installing the wall glazing---and he's having great results.  
we've had plans to build a greenhouse for quite a while and sometime last year---or was it earlier this year (i forget now exactly when)?---we stopped by the glass company in mariposa and bought a bunch of used glass that had been taken out of discarded sliding doors.  our intent was to use them to glaze the greenhouse and staal has been working out various ideas on how to do that---here's what he settled on...

he's been removing the studs from the existing framing, cutting channels in them to accept the glass, reinstalling them at the proper spacing (along with top and bottom channel framing), laying down a bed of silicone caulk in the channels and then pressing the glass into it's new frame. 

staal got the last panel installed on the north wall yesterday and today he started work on the east wall.  he got one glass panel in on the southern end of the east wall and set up the framing for a door in the center of the wall.

it's looking good, love.  you're amazing.

dream walk

it's dark
i feel you stirring restlessly beside me
i reach across your chest and draw myself into you
i want to say something comforting
i think i tell you i love you
but sleep pulls heavily at me
i want to bring you with me
to hold your hand and walk through sun-golden orchards
full of strange animals and unknown fruits
to walk across green fields
and meadows filled with buzzing flowers
to walk along rocky, winding creek beds
sparkling with the cold memory of some high and wintry peak

Thursday, November 13, 2014

rain on the roof

raining this morning---couldn't resist going out to the greenhouse to see what it was like with rain falling on the roof.  it's beginning  to be a very pleasant space.

staal and zane joined me and we watched the water droplets gather and roll down the valleys in the roof panels.

and enjoyed a little fall color.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

jerusalem artichokes

the jerusalem artichoke stalks finally died back so i decided to dig the tubers before the pill bugs ruin all of them.  it was a good harvest.

the raised bed was so packed with tubers it was hard to get them loose.

the following is perhaps a bit childish but i won't deny i found it quite amusing...

plenty for eating and replanting.

happy birthday, zane grey!

zane is three years old today.  after we made the morning rounds we had a fun game of "tug and toss" with his kong flyer (a flexible rubber "frisbee").  he's getting pretty good at snagging it out of the air but he mostly likes the tugging part and he seems to also really enjoy whipping it back and forth like he would shake a small animal (he used to catch a lot of ground squirrels and rabbits in the garden at the ranch and i think he misses it---he hasn't been successful at nabbing a tree squirrel yet).

zane's joy and enthusiasm are great reminders to me to slow down and enjoy the present and never take anything too seriously.   i'm so happy and so grateful for his companionship.
happy birthday pup

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

storage rack

i've been meaning to get the winter squash into a better storage situation for a while now.  they've been on shelves in the greenhouse with a tarp protecting them from demolition dust (and hiding them from raccoons).  the other day i noticed a couple had spoiled---probably from poor ventilation.  didn't want to lose any more so late sunday afternoon i finally started building a proper storage rack for them.  

with the late start on sunday it got dark on me pretty quick so i did most of the work yesterday (monday).  once i had the thing put together i hauled it up closer to the house so i could use the compressor and staple gun to attach chicken wire for the shelves.

i finished getting the wire on just as it was getting dark yesterday.  today staal helped me lug it into the cats' room (it stays cooler and more humid in there than the rest of the house---better for long term storage than anywhere else i could think of).  well, he helped me lug it almost into the cats' room.  it's a tiny room with not much room to maneuver---we got it mostly in but didn't have room to stand it into place.  we lugged it back outside and i did a little surgery.  i moved some braces around, cut the top shelf off, moved it back inside in two pieces, and reattached the top shelf.

after i had everything in place and screwed back together i moved the squashes in from the greenhouse.

i'm hoping they'll be happy with the new storage conditions---they sure look pretty on the rack.