Saturday, August 30, 2014

Poem: The Beginning

Spirit, newly flesh-clothed,
breathes and sleeps,
absorbs, observes, evolves,

Language and life skills,
understanding of subtlety,
exploration of the space.

Housed within the flesh,
her whispered voice
warms, enlightens, inspires.
Hardship happens, to temper,
Love happens, and meanness,
intuition and wisdom grow,
wit and humor.

Days spin into decades,
swirling and sparking with
strength, knowledge and ability,
family, friends and fortune.

Until gradually, over time,
as flesh wears thin,
and mind stumbles,
Glory begins to engulf the soul,

Burning through the veil,
singing outward, flooding in
connecting, fulfilling, evoking.

The body fades and fails,
bends, shakes and falls until
at last, free from earthly bonds,
she breaks free again
and flies.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August happenings

It has been a busy week on the farm and beyond. After finishing the fence/garden project I set to work on the house, cleaning, rearranging things, thinking through the logistics for having folks here for the rehearsal dinner in a month.  It will be a happy gathering and I want the place to look spiffy.
     I traveled to OKC on Saturday morning for a wedding shower for Kari, at Abbey's house.  It was beach themed, with lots of delicious goodies and joyous conversation around the coming nuptials.  Here we are, all the Blakley women that there are (in this branch of the family at least).

      After work on Sunday, I joined Audra's crew for a supper of salmon (with Pearl Street) and mashed potatoes and then settled in with Able and Kari to watch the first episode of the new Doctor Who season.  The first show of any new Doctor is disappointing, always is.  We are too invested and emotionally attached to the old doctor to be able to accept a different face and personality.  I'm sure we'll come to like this one too, we'll see.
      My sister flew into town on Monday evening so, after sharing a delicious supper with Abbey and her family, I headed to the airport.  We visited till far into the night and then fell into our beds. Why we do that every time is beyond me.  It isn't as if we only have the one evening to talk, we have many days, but still we chatter away into the early hours of the morning. It's fun though.
     I dropped her off at Dad's house and rolled back down the dirt roads to the farm on Tuesday night.  Good to be home again.  The temps have been over a hundred for the past few days in a row and my gardens are suffering because of it.  I hope they can manage to stay alive until after the wedding. I don't know.  The okra, on the other hand, is loving the heat. I would venture to describe it as jubilant in the sunshine.

       After picking a shirt-tail full of little tomatoes this morning, I decided to can some tomato sauce. I had a few cucumbers, carrots, celery, onions, herbs and garlic and I threw in some extra tomato powder from the spice shop for good measure and bottled it up under pressure.  That will taste scrumptious in the cold evenings this winter.
 Not much else going on in our neck of the woods. The oil trucks continue to roar up and down the roads, spewing dust into the air. There was a rumor of possible rain last night, but nothing came of it.  The locusts continue to rattle in the tree-tops as my two lazy cats sleep through the afternoons, draped over the porch swing.  I am staying out of the heat as much as possible, staying inside and working at beating back the chaos in here.  Back to my book!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm Back!

                                       My young garden helpers!
Hello! Hello!
      I had a bit of an Internet event here a few days ago and haven't been able to connect since.  I suppose I could have driven to town and sat it out in Starbucks, but hey….I can live without the Internet, I think.  I finally purchased a new router, had to fight it to get it to work (nothing new), and now, voila!, I am here with you once again.
      Last week I got well (the biggest event of the week by far) and then entertained Audra and her boys here at the farm one day
Zane helping me make cookies.

                                                        Rowan, with his white, white hair.

We explored the gardens and checked on the little tomatoes, the chickens and the morning glory tipi.

     Abbey's kids helped me set up the fountain on my new stone patio in the Peace Garden.  Maggie even picked some beautiful pink roses and floated them in the water. The carpentry crew came back on Tuesday morning and worked until noon, building the fence with new boards and old ones from my dad's house. I like the look of the two colors of boards mixed. Ta Da!

       The past week has been what is typical for August weather here.  We have had such a beautifully cool and rainy summer thus far, I guess we were due for some sizzling days here toward the end of the season. I know, I know, we aren't close to Fall yet but we are closer to Autumn than we are to Spring. That's a fact, Harry. This evening TBW kicked up a bit and I got to try out the new fence for real. The whole purpose of it was so that I would have a place to be outside and not get blown away when the wind was roaring.  It is so much better now, sitting in the shade of that tree, out of the wind.

       In other, unrelated new, today I had the DirectTV guy out to move the TV hookup to a different wall. That led to my moving all the furniture and the bookcases around into a new configuration. (My shoulder is still fine, thanks for asking). I really like it because it is very different and I was ready for a big change.  In the process I was able to do some deep cleaning and lots of throwing away of 'stuff'.  I'm in a simplifying mode right now and things are going away, big time.
        In preparation for the start of the new season of Doctor Who, BBCA has been on a Doctor Who marathon all week. I have loved getting to see some of my favorites again. By the way, if you are a Doctor Who fan, you can get 10% off your spice purchases this Saturday if you are wearing a DW t-shirt. Oh yeah! A spice special for our friends, the Whovians!
       Anywhooo….I need to go out and shut up the chickens now, so I'll bid you adieu for now.  It's good to be back in touch with you guys. Stay cool, sleep well, send up some prayers for those in the middle east and elsewhere (Ferguson) whose lives are being ripped apart by violence, and for those who mourn the loss of loved ones.  There, but for a chance of birth, go we.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Current Oil Boom


     In the northwest part of Oklahoma we have been in the grip of a huge oil boom for the past four or five years. We have had these booms several times since the turn of the century…oops..I mean the turn of the…uhhh…since the early 1900s. I keep forgetting that we have flown past the 2000 and are now in another century AND another millennium. Crazy stuff!!  My danced around point is this: oil booms come and go with some regularity around here.
      An oil boom means lots of oil companies racing around leasing up all the mineral rights they can get their hands on, as fast as they can, so no one else can get them.  There are bidding wars, there are shady deals, there are underhanded shenanigans, there are always neighbors talking to each other to make sure they're all getting the highest dollar they can get for the rights to drill on, and under, the land they own.

Oil trucks, company pickups, trucks hauling bull dozers and back hoes rumble past, moving from one location to the next.  Trucks hauling shale, gravel and pipes roar past, throwing dust into the air so often that it hangs there day after day at times.  I haven't hung clothes on the line more than four times in the past four years because of the dust.  What would be the point?
     Lighted derricks sprout from the flat land and stand shining through the nights, with mud and oil spattered men scurrying around the base, in and out of trailers, standing around in hard hatted groups, talking about how this one is going.  When it's time to frack the well, big blue or red tank trucks come in and surround the bore hole like bees in a swarm, even one snugged up as close as it can get. Then the roaring and growling begins and continues until the rock formations surrounding the bore hole have been shattered to let the oil and gas out.  Then, overnight, the entire outfit is taken apart, loaded back onto the trucks and hauled away to the next place on the list.  It's startling how quickly an entire location can be deserted. Then a different crew hauls in the big storage tanks and the pumping units and those rise up like miniature grain elevators.  
        All those jobs and the boost to the economy that comes with them, on many levels, and the check that eventually comes in the mail to the company and to the mineral owners are the most obvious effects of the boom.  The noise, the shaking of the earth, the dirty air, the depletion of the water reserves in the area, and oil spills, gas plumes burning in the night sky at times, water pipes of all shapes and sizes running alongside most roadways, are also effects, having a great effect on the land and the people who live here.  The little towns are leasing every available rental, apartment, and extra room to the workers and most towns have quickly built low rent motels to cash in on some of the gravy train.
     When you walk into any gas station in the region it is full of men who are hot and dirty, greasy, tired, hungry and generally looking and talking mighty rough. It is not a place for the faint of heart Personal hygiene is not anywhere on the list of priorities on a well site, why would they bother?  Drilling for oil is a filthy, exhausting job and no one has time to bathe, shave, get a haircut or wash themselves or anything they are wearing.  I think this is what the West might have looked like back in the mid 1800s, the cowboy days.  When we were watching all those westerns back in the 1960s, the cowboys were spick and span, rarely had a speck of dust on them anywhere, except for the bag guys who looked pretty wild and wooly.  I think everyone probably looked, and smelled, pretty wild and wooly if the truth were told. 
        (An aside): My four year young grandson walked up to me the other day and said, "Smell my pits, grandma. I smell like a man." Come to find out he had used his dad's deodorant that morning, trying to be just like daddy.  Isn't that interesting.  No, dear, that is not what a man smells like in his natural state, but I'll agree I like the smell of soap and deodorant better than the smell of a two week unwashed, hard working, sweaty male any day.  
       I'm writing down these observations about the current oil boom because I know that it too will pass, as they all have, and then things will be different once again, since everything is constantly changing.  Cycles upon cycles in which we live and move, assessing, adjusting, scrabbling for a foothold and a leg up, keeping on, dealing with what comes out way, one day…one decade…at a time.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Old Habits

      A child. A creek.  A hot morning in August.  Add to this mix an adoring grandma who loves adventures and you have a dream come true for both the boy and the grandma.  This is a picture of Zane under the big bridge.  He and I call this place 'Santa's Workshop' because we make all manner of imaginary toys there, and are continuously packing the sleigh so it will be ready to fly on Christmas Eve.  There is a lot to do so we have to pace ourselves, make a detailed schedule and stick to it.
    We field dozens of calls every day from both naughty and nice children, making requests and reporting on behavior (because we keep track).  Everything is computerized, don't worry.  This particular morning we were making Ninja Turtle action figures and Elsa and Anna dolls.  A huge order!
      Since we last were in the workshop, the creek has been high, so things were moved around, less bank and different rocks showing.  We also found a spear someone had made and left there for us.  It was every boy's dream spear, so we had to go down to the water and try our hand at spearing a fish.
     We had seen a big fish splashing around right below the bridge when we were up top, but it seemed to have disappeared once we were on the bank and ready to let fly.

     The climb down to the water was slightly more treacherous this time, again due to the washing away of the bank in the high water a few weeks ago.  There are little trees there to help, so we made it down to the water's edge with only minor scrapes.
     Zane ventured out into the wading pool and I followed, doing the fancy step/slide/stumble dance because all the rocks were new or larger and in different places.  It is always pretty dicey trying to wade in that spot but this day it was nigh onto impossible.  We finally decided to give it up and turned back toward the land. Zane got ahead of old sore-footed grandma and then…as you probably could have foreseen, stepped into a hole or off the edge of a rock and went down into the water.

    He immediately started swimming (hooray for swimming lessons) and as he paddled past me, I reached out with the life guarding hand and snatched him out of the current and back up onto dry rocks.  I've still got it, it seems.  Life guarding is like riding a bicycle and once you have developed the 'eye' you are always watching every kid in the water, no matter where you happen to be or who is actually supposed to be guarding.
     Zane loved it because he got to go swimming in freezing water, IN HIS CLOTHES, and lived to tell about it.  On our way back up the dirt hill to 'the workshop' he remembered to reach out to the trees for help and  I heard him tell the tree thank you as he went past. (oh be still my heart)    
      By the time we made it back to the house he was mud covered and had to be hosed off on the patio before he could step foot in the house.
       Good times! The only thing that might have made it better would have been to have actually speared that big fish. One day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday Things…well...

     I know, it's really Wednesday, but who really cares about such trivialities? As one of Audra's little nephews says, "What matters?' My thoughts exactly. When did we get so hung up on this week, day, hour, minute stuff anyway? Back when we lived and moved in harmony with the seasons of the earth, we did what needed doing at the right time. The native people probably had it right.
      Yes, I'm resting at the farm now and thoroughly enjoying these fairly cool mornings. They are perfect for working in the gardens while listening to the locust castanet chorus clattering in the Cottonwoods overhead.  My Mimosa tree has decided to bloom all summer this year, which suits me fine.  I can still see some giddy pink feather-blossoms high up in the top.  What a hoot.  That is the tree everyone told me to cut down because it would hurt the others. It has been here for fifteen years now and is doing fine and so are its neighbors.  Nay-sayers! Something is happening to my big Elm tree however.  I'll have the tree man out to check on it because I certainly don't want to lose that one.

      In the vegetable nooks (I planted some things here and there this year, filling holes and trying to avoid the normal bugs) things are changing.  The okra is producing and, while I was away for a few days, the squash bugs devoured the squash plants so now I have none. I was being so vigilant with
picking bugs and their eggs off!  Someone once told me that chickens were the best thing to keep the squash bugs at bay but I strongly disagree. My chickens turn up their little yellow beaks at squash bugs, preferring almost anything to them. I don't blame them. When I squash the little buggers they stink like crazy. I squash them right there in the plant or on it so that stink might run others off…..doesn't work.  Grrrrrrr….!
      But, in good news, the tomatoes are giving me just enough every day and some days a few more. Delicioso! My second planting of beets are coming along and I am going to plant potatoes for the Fall today, as well as pumpkins. I should have had these in the ground already since there isn't time before Halloween for them to ripen now, but pumpkins are welcome in November too…at least they are for me. Nothing says Fall like an orange pumpkin.  
     These are my yippy-ti-yi-ay red zinnias that my grandkids planted for me early in the summer. They are gigantic and the hot spot of that section.  The seeds were just thrown on the ground and up they came, willing and eager to join in the garden fireworks. Thanks kiddos!

      Here is a picture of a miracle for you. That is my male cat SLEEPING beside me while I type.  Let me clue you in here: this never happens.  This cat insists on being the center of attention at all times and the only place he really likes to be, when I am around, is on my lap or in my face.  I have no idea what has gotten into him today, but I like it.  The vet has named this cat James but he is simply Kitty to me.  Almost all my cats are Kitty now. I did have a Mittens and a Precious once, but they died. There you have it.