Monday, October 17, 2016

Birthday Goodies

    I had a wonderful birthday again this year, with folks coming to the farm, armed with chainsaws and work gloves, to help with the clean-up.  The branches and tree trunks have all been pushed/carried away and the look of the place is much improved. Many thanks to all the workers and also to those who sent greetings or called from other parts of this great nation, wishing me well.  We'll see you soon.
   That beautiful frilly girl in the picture was a surprise bloom that opened on my exact birthday morning. Oh my!  I don't know where it came from or how it came to be planted there, but there it is. I like to think it is my Mom sending me birthday greetings from the great beyond.
    The only drawback to the week-end was that TBW was roaring out of the south all day Saturday, yesterday and has now picked up again this morning.  We must have some kind of a storm brewing. Time will tell, as it usually does.
      Everyone is looking forward to another big week-end celebration this week as we gather with family to celebrate my dad's 91st birthday. Hip Hip Hooray!

    We volunteered our woods by the creek to some friends for a camp-out a couple of weeks ago. I was hesitant but knew them to be experienced campers so decided to trust them not to set the woods on fire or kill themselves.  The campers built a sleeping platform, weed-whacked the tall grass down, built a sand and stone fire pit, and cut out a lot of dead, hanging branches from the area. Now it is a wonderful place for camp outs for all of us. What goes round, comes the saying goes.
I'm more than pleased that it came round on that venture, as Fall is the perfect time for camping in the woods.

     Apparently I was gone to the city too many days last week because when I returned, I found the carcass of a dead female Cardinal lying by the back door.  Why do they have to eat the Cardinals when there are sooooo many sparrows of all stripes filling the bushes? Darn you, cats!
     I'm off to get some more mulch for the east beds today. I had lots of help on Saturday on that side, but we came up a little short, as usual. I think you can always use another four or five bags of mulch, no matter how many you buy.  Onward!  The Mums are adding splashes of bright color throughout the gardens now, as I work away, tucking everyone in for the coming cold. Hope your Autumn is chilly and bright. Enjoy this moment. Breathe deeply and soak in the light of sun and moon as they are beamed or bounced your way. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Little Paris Bookshop (exerpts)

  I read "The Little Paris Bookshop" a month or so ago and loved it. I want to share a few quotes from the book with all of you. Here, the main character is explaining why he named his floating bookshop the "Literary Apothecary". I love these images.

" I wanted to treat feelings that are not recognized as afflictions and are never diagnosed by doctors.  All those little feelings and emotions no therapist is interested in, because they are apparently too minor and intangible.  The feeling that washes over you when another summer nears its end.  Or when you recognize that you haven't got your whole life left to find out where you belong.  Or the slight sense of grief when a friendship doesn't develop as you thought, and you have to continue your search for a lifelong companion.  Or those birthday morning blues.  Nostalgia for the air of your childhood.  Things like that."

   And a page later: " Perdu reflected that it was a common misconception that booksellers looked after books.  
      They look after people."

Later in the book another character speaks:

    "I became myself when my son died because grief showed me what's important in life.  That's what grief does. In the beginning it's always there. You wake up and it's there.  It's with you all day, everywhere you go.  It's with you in the evening; it won't leave you alone at night.  It grabs you by the throat and shakes you. But it keeps you warm.  One day it might go, but not forever.  It drops by from time to time.  And then, eventually...all of a sudden I knew what was important --grief showed me.  Love is important.  Good food.  And standing tall and not saying yes when you should say no."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Poem By Lauren Zuniga

A poem to progressives plotting mass exodus

There is a sick pit in your stomach.
A plantation in your front yard.
The static flicker of black and white.
An absurd talking picture,
where sepia skin is now villain.
You are not sure who to trust anymore.
Everyone walks backward in your neighborhood.
You are surrounded by billboards with hate-sized font.
You are looking for a secret handshake.
A fish with feet drawn in the sand.
Blue paint on the door frame.
You resent even the dirt for being so damn red.
At night you are a furious search engine.
Screaming down the track toward
some kind of Shangri-La.
Portland has no jobs.
Canada doesn’t want you.
You hear property is cheap in Costa Rica.
Even Cuba seems safer than your next PTA meeting.
Anywhere is better than here.
But here is your home.
Here is where you chose to raise your kids
because the people are so friendly.
Do not let them drive you away.
Here is where you are needed the most.
Here is where the sunset stretches its arms wide as forgiveness across stolen plains.
Here is where Clara Luper sat down at the Katz lunch counter and asked to be served.
Here is where black and white soldiers fought alongside each other for the first time.
Where Kate Barnard was elected before she could even vote.
Where hippies squatted in Paseo until it became an art district.
Here is where Charlie Christian learned guitar.
Where Wayne Coyne keeps the bubble.
Where Woodrow Wilson Guthrie played the harmonica for sandwiches.
Here is where the healing has to take place.
Tell them you are not moving.
Oklahoma is worth the wait.
Sometimes evolution feels like
the stinging cramp in the back of your knees when you grow too fast for your outdated bones.
Sometimes it feels like a house in the city
with three goats, 10 chickens and 12 wild kids.
Tear up the sidewalk.
Plant a garden.
Bake a squash casserole and invite
all your terrified neighbors over.
Say “As-Salamu alaykum” to everyone you meet.
Fill out all government forms in EspaƱol.
Check all the boxes for your race.
Ride your bike to work. Make art in the streets.
Feed people without a license.
Go to city council meetings.
Sit in at the state House and Senate.
Wear a purple boa. Don’t apologize for your presence.
Write love letters to mothers and fathers in prison.
To the wardens, the police officers, the judges.
Write love letters to queer kids and their bullies.
Tell them you are staying here for THEM.
Kiss a Republican on the cheek.
Show them how to love someone you don’t understand.
DO SOMETHING with that tight fist.
That broken heart.
That liberal mouth.
Progress is a series
of small bold moves.
Don’t leave.
Here is where
we need you.

Lauren Zuniga
Oklahoma City

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Tea and a Bum Shoulder

   Do you know what this means?
This means it is cool enough that I can sit on the patio and sip hot tea (with fresh Lemon Verbena from my garden) in the mornings. Ahh....perfect. 
    There is a lot of cleaning up that needs doing around here; branches that need picking up, broken trees and tree limbs that need a chain saw 'very, very badly', mulch that needs spreading around, bulbs that need planting, Iris that needs a sharpie marker and division into sacks.
     Lots to do, but here I sat today, sippin' on tea and reading a good novel. Ya know why?  Because for some reason, my 'bad shoulder' (the one that was supposed to have been fixed a year and a half ago, so it would become my 'good shoulder') was suddenly zinging with pain again.
      This blows my ever-lovin' mind. It was fine and dandy this morning when I woke up. I walked out to the chicken house to let them out and BAM! suddenly it's screaming with pain. Again. This is so frustrating. I don't do heavy lifting or anything at all stressful with that arm and still it yelps.
    I iced it, took the analgesics, and spent the day wandering around in the beautiful weather and reading.  The shoulder has done this before, during the summer, and the next day it was fine. We'll see what tomorrow brings.  If it isn't fine, I'll go to the doctor again.
   Hey, Ann, thanks for this beautiful cup. I love it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Words I Need To Say

Hey there, yes you, I wanted you to know...I wanted to tell you...
      -in case it's been a while since you heard the words:

You are magnificent in so many, many ways.
You have gifts of Spirit that are absolutely essential for the healing of the world.
No one can do the work or speak the words into your unique space and time because
only you have your personal contacts, the ears, minds and hearts that are open to you.

    Please, take a few moments to be still and find the center of who you are,
see and accept all the goodness you find there and then look outward, notice what the people around you need from you, and gift it to them. Don't wait.
    Maybe it is your time they need, sitting with them and listening...or simply sitting, or walking by their side, or sitting beside their bed, reading.
    Maybe they need you to stand by them against an oppressor.
    Maybe it is your talent that is needed.
    Maybe it is the touch of your hand.
    Maybe it is the sound of your voice affirming the work they are trying to achieve against staggering odds, of which you are unaware.

    Step out of your own concerns, so that you are able to hear what their heart is whispering to your heart.  Then have the courage to take a chance on saying or doing that thing for them. They may brush you aside, but that doesn't mean they didn't hear you.
     Put the words out there and let the results go.  The results are not your concern.  You do not need to be thanked or to see their response. The speaking of the words, or doing of the deed is your responsibility.
    Remember, you are not the only giver. We are all in this garden together.
 Be content to plant the seed, or bring the water, or offer shade.
     You have so much to give. There is so much to do.
As I used to tell my students, "Be Brave".

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October and Good Thoughts

    My birth-month has begun.
From this day, through that final spooky night, I will wrap October around me like a multicolored shawl.
 I will walk through dewy grass before sunrise and lie under the stars at night.
 I will prepare the garden beds for winter, moving things to other spots with better light.
 I will look deep into the white-lighted throats of Morning Glories.
  I will bid the summer birds adieu and welcome back Chickadee and all his kin.

     We have a big family party planned for somewhere in the middle and perhaps another nearer the end, that one complete with original costumes and spooky treats on the counter. I love this month, though not because it is the first one I saw.  I love the feel of its air upon my skin and the scent of Curly-cup Gumweed through open windows. Autumn is never about sports for me.  It is always about nature changing leads, storing its energy for the coming days of winter. It feels as if we were putting on our brightest clothes and listening to soul-stirring music while packing for a long journey. 


     Here is a pic of the front of the house these days. Some of the plants and grasses did well in the horrid soil there, oddly enough.  Some did not, so now I know.  I like it anyway. I didn't want it to be a jungle that demanded my constant attention. I wanted peaceful, a few blossoms and a way to the car when it is raining cats and dogs, or snowy. ( No, I don't go down the ramp when there is ice.) There is a winding cement path around to the back steps for those days.  I suppose I could simply use a sled and zip down. Who knows, perhaps I will give it a try. First I'll have to find a sled. 


     Someone came into the shop the other day, taking pictures for an interview they were preparing for one of OKC's free food magazines.  Aren't these spices beautiful? I love the variety of colors and shapes. They didn't even include golden Turmeric in this shot. She is the Queen of Spices and rightly so. Star Anise (that's it in the center), packed with natural goodness, sweet on the tongue, antibacterial and gorgeous. What could be better?


     While I was looking for pictures for this post, I happened upon this old one of Danny and I.  Hadn't seen it for awhile so thought I would share it with you guys. What a nice man he was. Good, in so many ways.
      In the string of good things that have been happening to me of late, let me add this anecdote.
      A man came out to the house today to do some measuring for something. His sons had been students of Danny's and he had not yet learned of his death.  We had a good visit and as he was leaving he offered me a hug and a wish for God's blessings upon me.  I cried and hugged him back, which he also needed because both his son and his son's son have died within the past year.  Oh my.  On we go, spreading the love around, hugging those who need hugging, speaking encouraging words to everyone.