“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
~Henri Cartier-Bresson



Saturday, June 14, 2008

Let sleeping serpents lie ?

Well, I took a short walk this morning. It's going to be another hot day and it's always so nice to walk before the heat "swarms" down upon us. A blog friend used that word to describe how heat accumulates during the day in one of her poems. I like the expression because that's exactly how it feels.

I got to the big turn in our road where we have accumulated a few junky things. Our hauling trailer and various pieces of metal, fencing and wood that....,"we may need some day". I always walk over there carefully and my eyes are ALWAYS on the ground. I walk EVERYWHERE carefully, especially in the summer and it's a good thing because, when they're sleeping, rattlesnakes don't always rattle.
This one was sunning itself and didn't move a muscle until I took the picture. Then it came to life. For those of you who have never heard a Rattler rattle; there is no sound quite like it. It's like a well oiled motor that is running smoothly. It's a warning that you can't ignore. This snake was very good sized. It got into strike mode and it's tongue started moving in and out, tasting the air for the sorry two- legged invader who dared to wake it up. Then , as most snakes will do if you give them plenty of room, it retreated back underneath the pile of wood. It was still rattling loudly as I carefully backed away and returned to the house.
When I told the Prospector, he left with his shotgun in hand, to kill the poor thing. The dogs and I waited, inside. I never heard a shot. Finally the Prospector returned. It seems that he could hear the snake but could not get a good shot at it and, of course, didn't want to miss. I think I have said this before: We don't like to kill snakes but last year a very small rattler bit both of our dogs and the vet bill was enormous. Our German Shorthair thinks snakes are lizards and he will not leave them alone. So we don't let the Rattlers get anywhere near the house if we can help it. Now, with the goats, it's even another reason not to let snakes roam around here. We have a king snake that lives up near the chicken coop under the straw bales. It's beautiful! They kill rattlers. He is welcome here. We'll wait until this afternoon or evening and go down to the switchback again. It has to be done. It's about survival of the fittest. Sometimes I'm not so sure who the "fittest" is. This was the snakes territory before it was ours. Something I always like to keep in mind.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Gourds, goats and good food

I hosted our gourd club's annual potluck yesterday. It was so much fun and everyone had a great time. With everything that was going on I can't believe I actually did this; but I never picked up the camera and so I have no photos of all the delicious food , or the interaction with the goats, and all the creativity that was going on.
I did a mini workshop on how to make gourd pins and was amazed at the beautiful and creative results. We sat outside under the trees and everyone worked on one or two pins that they could take home with them.
At our next meeting I will take some photos of some of the wonderful results. I shouldn't be surprised at the art work that was created. These ladies and gent (Don, you were a brave man among all those women) are very talented people.






This morning I was greeted by this beautiful bouquet of Gladiolus. My friend Sylvia brought them yesterday. Look at them! Have you ever seen anything so gorgeous? She has a lovely garden in the valley and grows lots of vegetables, flowers and ......, gourds. Thanks Sylvia.


Now, I want to talk about the food that came with the flowers. The best thing about a potluck is the delicious food that everyone brings. We had a chicken mushroom casserole that was really wonderful, a pasta salad with string beans, fresh bread, rosemary chicken, fruit, fresh lemonade and ......desserts: How about fresh homemade lemon meringue pie, brownies, chocolate ranger cookies (with big chunks of chocolate pieces), and a creampuff dessert with custard, whipped cream and chocolate sauce? Oh my gosh!! We all died on desserts. What a feast it was!

For intertainment we had the goats do what they do best. ( Now I really wish I had gotten the camera). They were so cute and greeted everyone with joy. I even found two of the ladies inside the goat enclosure having a "moment" with the boys. I'm so glad that they were comfortable being around goats. Janice, one of the ladies, has goats of her own so I knew she was fine with them. All in all, we had a wonderful day.

Today it's very hot, but yesterday it was as if we had put our order in for absolutely perfect weather.
As I said goodby to everyone I thought, to myself ,how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place and be able to share it with my friends and family. Sometimes you've just got to step back and say a quiet "Thank you" to whom ever is listening.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My heat loving, chicken dusting garden; reborn

I think of Squeeky, in her next life as a chichen hawk, and it makes me laugh. Maybe she will be there to defend my garden from her nemeses hens. In the meantime, I have replanted and mulched. Of course, the hens will not be out and about for a while. I want to enjoy the garden a bit . I think I will need a fence around this area. It's the one place that they head for every time.
This is the Hollyhocks second year. Look at the color of this one. It's so yummy you want to taste it. Sherbet anyone?
...., and this one; the Gerbera or Transvaal Daisy. This is a beautiful perennial for hot climates. It's native to South Africa. What color!! This one should be called rainbow sherbet. Don't you just want one bite?
When I was young I had little interest in gardening. My mother was the gardener in our family. She knew all the plants and their latin names. She nurtured everything; the garden, me, my sister, baby birds , stray cats and lost dogs. It was her nature and I reveled in the fact that I was a part of all this love and care. We took hot water to the birdbath,in winter to thaw the frozen water so the birds could drink and bathe. We kept a baby bird in a shoebox and fed it with a medicine dropper until it was strong enough to fly away. We let big garden spiders make their huge webs in the garden because mom said they were "good luck" and they caught lots of bad bugs. But when it came to the garden I would let Mom do the planting. I guess playing with friends had priority. The garden was always beautiful and there for us to enjoy. Dad took care of the lawn ,and some prunning, but Mom did the rest. I think, now, that all the care that was given to that garden was like the care that she gave us. It came with great love. So, it found a place deep inside of me and stayed there for many years.
Then something happened a few years ago. I started to remember the names of things. I could even remember the"diabrotica". That's probably not how it's spelled but it's phonetically close. The diabrotica was a bad little lady bug. Instead of being red with black spots, it was green with black spots and ate plants instead of other bugs. I started remembering names like Escallonia, Lonicera japonica (honeysuckle) and Aquilegia (the lovely farie in the shade; the Columbine). Beautiful names. Names that make poetry when you say them. Buddleia davidii....., and one of Mom's favorites that still climbs on our old patio that Dad built in 1951......, Campsis radicans, the lovely Trumpet Vine. I look at these names and I remember my childhood. I may not remember the names to tell you, in a conversation, but they are familiar sounds from my childhood, and some are in my garden now. It was a gift from my mother that I didn't open until I was a middle aged woman. What a lovely surprise to find that when your life is built on a good foundation, like a garden with good soil, it can produce a bounty of wonderful memories.
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Monday, June 9, 2008

"Coop" de grace


I know I'm not suppose to be here. I just can't help myself. I see an egg and I have to sit on it. I wait in here until the others lay their eggs and leave. That's when it happens. I get this irresistable compulsion. Sometimes I find myself sitting on 3 or4 at a time and I don't even remember how I got there.
My friend, Henny Penny, says it's PMS. I don't know what this is but she knows about a lot of things. She's very smart. The old lady must have it too. She gets so upset when she sees me on the eggs. Yesterday she picked me up and held me....., and shes always sticking this little silver box in my face. Sometimes it makes a big flash of light and I don't like that. All these things can be so annoying when I'm sitting quietly, minding my own business.
I do feel kind of cranky. Henny Penny says it's the beginning of old age and that I will experience a lot of moodiness and, sometimes, paranoia. I don't know what paranoia means but my friend says that I might get "evil thoughts" in my head.
Just look at those hens hanging around Napoleon. They think they're such big shots. I'll bet they're talking about me.
Here's something to think about big shots: In my next life I'm going to be a chicken hawk. My name will be "Coop" de grace. Then all of you big, fancy hens better watch out when you're free ranging in the old lady's garden.
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bambino Blog; guest post

We had fun today. Daddy took us to Noni and Papa's. Mommy had to work so she didn't come but Uncle Matt was there. We played in the water. We had lunch at a yummy place. I had chicken pieces, french fries and fruit. My little brother had fruit and some of daddy's lunch. Then we went to a park and played on the slide and the see-saw, and walked across a big bridge that Papa called a "foot" bridge. That's funny. Then we came back to Noni's and sang Happy Birthday to Papa: really loud. I helped Papa blow out the candles on his cake. Noni gave me a blue bowl with cake and ice cream. I ate all of it with milk. It was good. Happy Birthday Papa!
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