Thursday, September 29, 2016

Revisiting a Poem

Every now and again I look back through posts or poems from this same date in past years. It's interesting to see where I was then, where my mind and heart were at that moment.
     A couple of years back from this day I found a poem. It bears repeating. Here you go.

Three Questions

Will the day ever come when, 
everywhere in the world,
the female of the human race
will have the same worth as the male?

Will the day ever come when,
everywhere in the world,
the teacher will be as
respected as the warrior?

Will the day ever come when,
everywhere in the world,
everyone will have enough
to eat and shelter and peace?

Why can't it happen?
Why hasn't it happened?
What must we do to insure that it does?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Battle For The Eastern Ramparts

     I have been slowly working my way through the tangle that was the gardens (I use the word loosely) east of the house.  Able and Kari came and helped with Part I, then the crew helped to mulch that part last week end.  I had begun Part II last week, starting with digging out the fatly disgusting Johnson Grass clumps. The roots look like huge, gross, yellowish white worms of some kind and they grow tightly packed into the dirt. In gardens they like to grow in and around some other plant. Whether that is for protection, disguise, or difficulty of extraction, I don't know.  It works.
      I had to abandon Part II at the time because the ground was too hard, as usual. I love the soil in Pennsylvania, where my sister lives.  It is soft and springy under your feet and when you step on a shovel, it sinks right into the earth. That would be heaven. Here on the prairie, where it seldom rains anymore, the earth is hard as a rock and can only be dug after a rain or in raised beds that have had heavy compost worked in.  It is punishing to my feet to dig in the hard ground.
      After our big rain on Saturday, I decided to try again. The soil was beautiful and dug easily. I finished Part II, dug across the path into what I call the Lemon Balm wilderness, found all five of the children's stepping stones, and saved a few Erica Iris from disappearing under the rose bush. Unfortunately, the lavender bush was inadvertently pulled up in the process of clearing out the Lemon Balm. That's what happens when you make poor choices in the company you keep (collateral damage, as it were).
   The chickens like to keep me company while I garden and there were five of them gathered back behind the rose, muttering amongst themselves, while I worked through the clearing out process. It sounded like nasty gossip to me, but what do I know.
    Then I moved on to the final bastion of JG: the top Iris bed. (Cue the ominous music.)
    This was initially a holding bed for some transplanted Iris that were waiting to find their real home in the other gardens. That was three years ago. The top bed is gorgeous beyond words for a couple weeks in the springtime, when the Iris bloom.  After that, I forget to go over to that side of the house because all the blooming is happening elsewhere.  That is the moment the JG seizes (rule-breaker) the moment and takes the place by storm.

     I haven't had the courage to attack this bed until yesterday. I hesitate to say I won, because you rarely ever "win" the war with Johnson Grass, but I feel that I may have scored a decisive victory on this one particular day.
     These Iris that you see tossed aside in the picture are:
#1. Deep maroon (no picture, sorry. It is as dark or darker than the falls of the picture at left.)
 #2. Maroon fall with yellow standard,

 #3. Pale yellow standard with lavender fall, ruffled (we call this one Erica). That's it in the picture below.

 Anyone need any of those colors? I also have lots of white, as well as the large purple, the one I call 'hound dog purple' because of the long falls. Let me know in the comments and I'll get them to you. Oh, I also have plenty of this little guy, which I have named 'Miss Mouse' (photo on left bottom).


 This morning my feet hurt so much I have decided to do my blogging and reading in bed. Ouch. I guess even when the soil is perfectly soft it hurts the balls of my feet to dig. Hmmm...I need a yard man.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Jingleboy Update

       Gosh, it seems like a long time since we chatted about our favorite little friend, JB. The last big trip he took was to NYC with Abbey and I in April, to see Hamilton. He loved the big city, except for the subway. He got a little nervous then but, he's small so it's understandable. Here he is in The Grange, the house Hamilton built north of the city, up where Harlem is now.

Jingleboy really wanted me to buy him this bobble-head of A. Ham, but I said no. Why? Because bobble-heads creep me out, that's why. And also because I said so.
     He has all the Hamilton songs memorized so if they ever have casting call for OKC we'll go down.

     He refused to go to Easter Mass this year and probably won't ever go again, since it was after an Easter mass when he was accidentally swooped up with the stuffed animals  (who confuses him with a stuffed anything?) and held hostage in a plastic trash bag for three years. He has scars, people...PTSD.. and no, he refuses to go to his therapy sessions so we're letting the Mass thing slide. Mum's the word.

     He was here for Farm Camp but pouted because we wouldn't let him ride the horse by himself. Having traveled around the world he has about him a certain sense of entitlement. It drives me nuts.
      He has been spending some time at the Casa de Korenak lately, helping Ro's 'workerguys' with their construction projects. The lady at the candy shop gifted him a tiny little yellow hard hat so he would be safe. He loved it.

      Last week he and Jangle both came home and get a cleanup and some new bells sewn on. I didn't realize the bells were missing until some child asked me why we call him Jingleboy. I looked and, sure enough, no bells in sight. He's right as rain now though. I dug out the aprons so he and Jangle could help with pie baking.  Jangle is already in the mood for Halloween and wore his Mizzou tiger costume. To tell the truth they didn't help very much but they enjoyed the photo ops. (Yes, his apron is hand-monogrammed. Your's isn't? Really?)

      Then there was this fiasco moment. I was cutting up a remnant I had, trying to get it straightened up so I could cut some strips for a border, when this happened. I almost lost him. I thought I heard a faint mumble or a tiny little yelp of fright. He knows what happens to those piles of  trimmings once I'm done for the night and he did not want to end up spending the rest of his life in the dumpster or buried in the landfill. Not to worry, my little friend. I would never toss you out with the scraps. (Where is your hat?)  I distinctly remember sewing that hat onto his head last time I went to the city with him and now it is gone again.
    Why do kids always take the hats and clothes off their dolls and toys? One of the mysteries of the universe I guess.

    Right now Jingleboy is in a funk because he missed the plane that was going to Croatia this week. Oh well, there will be another trip to somewhere else one of these days. He declined going to Las Vegas with A and K this summer because....yeah, you guessed it: been there, done that. (We have a picture of him hunched over the bar to prove it.)
      The other place we went the other day was to one of Zane's t-ball games.  Here he is, sitting, watching. He was very quiet the whole time.  I don't think he really 'gets' t-ball.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Catching up on Happenings

     We have had a busy couple of weeks in the city and here on the farm.  Able and Kari are busy rebuilding the nursery room, in preparation for their little lady baby's arrival. Uncle Zach has been down several times to help.  Able likes to use heirloom tools when he works so he is using his great-great-grandfather's (Charles Dotter) level and square on this project. (No, Dad, they did not sand the studs. Sorry, Charlie.)
       Of course we had the pie contest, which I have blogged about before. Below, Miss M. is helping cut pie for the customers on that day.  ( We showed her how to cut them in 'giving them away' size instead of 'sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner' size. (I knew you'd like that one, Dad. Just like the tomatoes.)

    The Spice Shop is doing great, with lots of gifts sets being made for the holiday shoppers and new customers coming in, finding us, every single day.  Most people are happy when they come to the spice shop and usually not in a rush. Our customers always bring visiting family and friends into the shop and we thoroughly enjoy meeting and visiting with them. Our customer demographic is very broad  and I love getting to brush elbows with people of all ages and from all over.
      I have started volunteering in the library at Deer Creek Elementary in Edmond. It's only one morning so far but I really like getting a chance to visit and get to know some new kiddos.  I'm also signed up help with the art days at M and B's school, if they need me. That should be fun.  I'm down there, I might as well be doing something I love to do.  I also want to do something for the elementary school that is a block north of the shop since they are our neighbors.  I haven't decided what yet, but I will.
      Abbey's family and Audie and Ro came out to the farm on Saturday for a day-o-fun.  Unfortunately it was hugely muggy and hot because a storm was brewing.  They didn't seem to mind but grandma sure did.  It wasn't until after sundown that the wind shifted direction and the cool came flooding from the north. By that time the Richards fam was already back in OKC.
      The kids did a tremendous amount of playing with the chickens, as they do.  That involves chasing them, trapping them in the outside pen, tossing them in the air, giving them 'ballet lessons', according to M. and just holding them.  The kids never seem to tire of this game, but I'm pretty sure the chickens do.  It's fine. The kids aren't here very often and the chickens are chickens so they don't get to have a say in the matter. Here is Master E. watching from the stump outside the 'ballet room'.
    The Production Reds have all had the name Mary for months now, but the others have been nameless.  This visit M and E named all the Buffs Emmitt and the two skinny black ones Lucy. Ro got to name the Barred Rocks and he called them both Honey.  Apparently we have lost one of the Honeys recently but I hadn't seen any feather piles anywhere, so it must have been a large hawk.
     There was one of the Rocks that was smaller than the other two, remember? She took quite a while to finally decide to stay alive in the beginning and then the others wouldn't let her wander with them. I'm assuming she was the one we lost because she didn't have anyone looking out for her. Drat. Some of the chickens seem to think they would be much happier living in the garage. If I ever leave the door open they make a bee-line for it and stomp around, pooping on the floor and flying up to the work bench. NO WAY, CHICKENS! All the children have been instructed to raise a ruckus and chase all chickens out of the garage whenever they step so much as one yellow toe inside.
     At one point in the day, Ro and E came waltzing out of the garage with a basket of small tools.  They said the tools belonged to a mouse and they were taking them to do some work.  Okay.  Later, I was in there and noticed that Danny's big triangular tool box was flipped open, went over to have a look-see, and found a little brown mouse staring out at me. He had made a nice little bed in the corner and he and a friend were quite cozy in there. I called the little boys over so they could see him and when they came over they looked at me and said, "We know, that's the mouse we took the tools from. He lives here." They were so funny, looking at me like I was dim witted not to have understood that earlier. I cleaned out the nest and shut the lid tightly. Sorry, Able, but it does smell a little mousey now. Oops.

Here we are, getting ready for our traditional Fall gourd painting activity. This time it was pumpkins and ghosts, mostly. I attempted to paint a leaf-man but failed miserably. I still think it would be really cute, but I have no idea how to make it happen. We also had reading time, of course...also known as 'nap time' for the littler kids.

       Everyone helped me dump and spread the new mulch onto the east side next to the house. It is one of the areas I have given up gardening. It is so clear and clean looking now that it seems completely out of place in my gardens. That's okay. It doesn't make me crazy like the Johnson grass did. I like it.  There is more to do. M suggested I might want to plant a couple of things through the mulch for a little color.  Love her.  You and she both know I probably will.

     Since Zane and his dad were off on a cub scout camping week-end we had to pop open the tents and spend some time in them here as well. I think they're working puzzles in there in this shot. While he was trying to figure out how to set the tent up, B almost succumbed to the 'I can't figure this stupid thing out so I'm giving up' impulse but Audra caught him just in the nick of time, reminding him that that is the exact moment when you ask someone for help and then work on it together. Yay! Success. It can be tricky.
      When the storm finally made its way here, complete with thunder and lightning and blowing rain, we tried to get Ro to stay snug in his little tent on the front porch and just watch it, but he was a little spooked by the noise and bluster of it all. One of the things I love most is watching the approach of and being in the middle of a thunderstorm. Bring out the quilts and watch the fireworks.

      We got a nice big rain out of it and the gardens are loving the water and the cooler temperatures.  It  is perfect weather for star-gazing, and we are in the dark of the moon.  The Milky Way is still out there, and all around us, in case you were wondering. Haven't seen it lately?  It's probably time you found a hill, away from the city lights, and spent some time lying on your back staring out into the universe.  


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Poem: Fanfare For Autumn

Dame Cottonwood shakes the jewels from her hair,
spreading a golden carpet across the gardens,
nudging the mums into exuberant starry song.

A single Goldfinch flits from branch to twig,
stitching a counterpoint to the floating lift
and fall of Monarchs waltzing on the wind.

Beyond the tree row, the hay field is filled with
tiny white butterflies that dip and rise,
busily gathering every drip and sip of nectar
from this year's final show of blossoms.

These signs and more serve to shake us from
our summer-lulled stupor and fatigue, 
like the ringing of tiny brass bells, urging:

Look!   Open your eyes!   See this! 

                She comes!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Poem: At The Moment of Letting Go

At that point in the long climb up the rocky slope where you have lost the will to climb,
you notice a single tiny, purple flower
growing out of a crack in the rock.

At that point in the summer heat when
everything you planted and cared for
is brown and covered in dust,
the Spider Lilies burst into rosy bloom.

At that point in a marriage when you
wonder what ever happened to the color
and power of your first love,
you turn and love springs forth anew.

When you have lost the path and lost your
way and are out of both strength and ideas,
suddenly you a star flares, a voice calls,
familiar laughter calms your heart.