It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Little of This and That....

Remember this tree...
Well I have finally found, through copious amounts of Internet research, that this is the Callistemon pallidus, or Lemon Bottlebrush. It's suppose to be a shrub but someone has made this beauty into a small tree. It's native to Oueensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania in Australia. The deciding factor on this, instead of the Eucalyptus Obliqua or Stringybark, was the height: only 6 to 10 feet instead of the Eucalyptus tree that reaches heights of 300 ft. and  the fact that Eucalyptus trees got a really bad name here in the 1991 Oakland Firestorm when groves of the non native tree burned so violently in the strong winds that day. I can't imagine the city would let anyone plant another Eucalyptus again, anywhere, in the Bay Area. The Bottlebrush also has the same seed capsules and the fuzzy white flowers.
I want to thank everyone for giving me lots of information to take with me on my search for the "mystery tree". I'm so glad that I found out what it was. It's my conclusion that the Aussies really know trees. Everyone who gave me an idea about what this tree might be were from Australia. Thanks to Roslyn, Pauline and Kate. You are not only loyal followers at Over Good Ground but very smart as well.
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I don't know about all of you but, compared to last Saturday, I'm feeling almost religious about being well again.  At my age getting better after being so sick is a sign that there is an all-merciful angel of good health out there somewhere who facilitates getting well. I know that's a bit over the top for Farmlady but I'm sure I saw an angel floating about on my ceiling one night. Maybe, maybe not.... could have just been a vision of  Vicks vaporub and Chicken soup flowing  together with the bedtime Benadryl. I will never quite know but it's great to feel good again.
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I have started knitting and I love it. When I was a young thing I thought that knitting was for old ladies that sat a lot. Well, now that I'm an "old lady" I have a better perspective on this. So, I have become a Yarn-nista, or "old person who doesn't sit much but when she does has knitting in hand". I bought some books and needles and , "oh my gosh" beautiful yarn, took to the Internet for video lessons and have become an obsessed, dedicated knitter. I'm just learning, so I have bought a few books. Then I started watching these great videos on the Internet. I spend about an hour in the evening watching, and re-watching, how to do one new stitch or how to change a color, etc....
I started with the basics. I'm making dishcloths. I gave this one to my sister. I like them because I can learn the different stitches and how to cast on and bind off. They don't take too much time and they are useful.
This Sugar'n Cream yarn by Lily is pure cotton and wonderful for these small washcloths. Each wrapper has a free pattern on the label which is really helpful.
I'm making this scarf out of two different yarns; the ends are Lion Brand Homespun 416 Coral Reef mixed with Lion Brand Fun Fur color # 208. and then the middle is just the Homespun 416 yarn. It's beautiful and glamorous. I think I make a mistake last night when I was watching TV in bad lighting and getting tired.
There's a little space that seems to be missing a stitch. I don't know why. It's too late to go back and see what I did so I guess I will just have to wear this scarf myself. What a pity.
This is really fun. This is the same Sugar'n Cream yarn in solid colors.....Again, it's great practice for stitches and for changing color.
I tried "bobbles" in the green section but I don't care for them. They just look like I really messed up my stitches. But, there are all kinds of "bobbles" that you can add to your knitting so I will try some different ones and maybe one will look like I intended to put them there. Look at these colors. They're so bright and wonderful.
And to end this odyssey, I want to show you the beautiful wool roving (Bernat) that will be a pillow. I love the softness of the wool. Roving is not like yarn. It can be pulled apart and so you have to be careful when you're knitting it but this will be FELTED after I get through making the knitted piece. Wet felting is a process that makes wool into a strong fabric. It's quite a project and I will leave the specifics for another post but I can't wait to try it.
Hope you're having a pleasant weekend and may the Angel of Good Health reside on your ceiling all Winter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Thank you for wearing the bracelet....."

It was 1973 and we had just moved to Antioch, Ca. We bought a new home and I had recently  given birth to my second son. It was a busy, happy time in our lives.  The news was always and incessantly about the unpopular war over in Vietnam.  I was very upset about the Vietnam War and the losses that seemed endless. I wanted to do something and felt guilty that my lifestyle didn't seem to show any of the concern that I felt.
I was never comfortable with the protests down in Berkeley and most of the people that were joining the anti war rallies were more about being there and making lots of noise  than being truly committed to the cause.  I know there were some who were dedicated, but the mass of demonstrators were, I thought, there for the thrill of it. I wasn't sure that I wanted to make any statement  that would have reflected on our troops over there so my body didn't protest....  but my feelings were strong and my prayers were for our men over there that didn't understand the confusion of this war anymore than we did.
So, in 1973, I hear about a new program that was selling bracelets with names of soldiers that were missing in actions or prisoners of war. (Here is a site that give some history on this.) This was something I could do to support our troops and make a statement.
It was not a fancy bracelet. Just a piece of metal with a name and a date. That's all. The name.... Major Henry Muir Serex and he was shot down with his crew on April 2, 1972. I wore this bracelet for years and then, at some point in my life, I put it away, with the letter from his wife.....
and the information I have gotten on the P.O.W. network. Every year either on Memorial Day or Veterans Day I take the bracelet out and put it on..... then I read the letter. His two daughters are 51 and 48 now. They will never know what happen to their father.
There is a long history of  mis-information, called off rescues, cover ups and withholding of information to families of MIA's . Major Serex is just one story. I would hope that in their lifetime these daughter of a proud and committed career officer in the Air Force will get some answers.
"Major Serex is fondly known as "Mick" by his family....His plane was shot down over South Vietnam on Easter Day, April 2, 1972..... rescue teams were unable to determine the fate of the plane's crew. Thus, my husband has been listed as Missing-In- Action."
" We sincerely hope all POW's will soon be released and all MIA's fully accounted for.With your help, support and prayers, it may become a reality  in the near future and not just wishful thinking. I will keep you posted when my husband's status is changed."
 That was 37 years ago.It haunts me to this day......

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reminders of how I'm progressing

These are things that I found in the vegetable bin while I was looking for something to eat...
This is kind of how I felt on the weekend....
This is how I felt yesterday..... a bit fuzzy, but I knew who I was.
Today I feel much better.  A little dry and wrinkled but still alive on the inside.
In a few days I hope to feel like this apple which was NOT found in the bottom of the bin. I want to feel bright, shiny and shall we say.... in the pink... or reddish pink.... or red, yellow and pink. Anyway, I'm fairly sure that this apple isn't sick, not even a discoloration. It looks the way I want to feel.
This is a Washington State apple called a Cameo. Isn't it lovely? I will eat it tonight with dinner. You know the old saying...."An apple a day keeps the yuckies away."
Obviously, I didn't eat any apples last week.... or the week before. But you can bet that they will be the mainstay of my diet from now on.

Monday, November 8, 2010

When you're under the weather...

Henry David Thoreau said, "Tis healthy to be sick..." I'm not so sure about that, but it seems that I do get things done that might otherwise just sit where they lie. I, also, feel better today.
Thank you for all the advice. I have tried everything. The chicken soup, resting, drugs, Zinc, and the old Aussie remedy....rubbing Vick's on the feet and covering them with warm socks.  I believe I'm feeling better. I think they all helped.
Thank you. Farmlady was alive this morning when she got up.
During the Cold plague I.... did some knitting and learned how to make "bobbles" online.
I went all the way through the IKEA wish book, read my AARP magazine (that reminded me how old I am and how dangerous colds can be.), cleaned out another box of old letter and notes of my mothers and watched a lot of television. Did anyone watch the new series called Migrations on the Nat. Geographic channel? It's wonderful.
I drank lots, and lots, and lots of water and sucked on many cough drops.
...and finally found the bottle of Vicks VapoRub in the closet. It was next to the OFF Deepwoods insect repellent for sportsmen. I had a moment where I thought that a spray behind each ear might help my situation  but I know I didn't get bitten by a West Nile virus carrying mosquito so I will save that for another occasion. Still, it wouldn't hurt. Can't be too safe when you're fighting off the plague.
I spent way too much time on the computer the last few days. But I'm sick. It's my connection to the land of the living. This is my new tiny Jansjo lamp I got at Ikea for $9.99. My other lamp was taking up too much space on my desk. This little gem is just right and puts out a focused beam of light that is stronger than the old lamp. The light is called a diode.  It consumes 70% less energy and lasts up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. It comes in lots of great colors and you can twist it any way you want to. It's a real deal.
OK... yes, that's a snickers wrapper in the bottom right corner. So what? I needed extra energy.
This afternoon I went outside for a few minutes. The sun was shinning and it was so beautiful. The clouds are coming back in and it will be raining again tonight but right now the sun is shiny and warm against the south side of the house. It's lovely.

One of the garden ladies was drying out, soaking up the warmth and wearing flowers in her hair. She's a California girl for sure.
I need to go lie down for a while but first a  little thankfulness....

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little,
 And if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die;
so.... let us be thankful."
That's a quote from one of my favorite men.... the Hindu Prince, Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Misery Loves Company

I have a miserable cold. One of those kind of colds were you are so stuffed up you can only breath through your mouth and you feel like you have cotton stuck in you teeth.
I woke up this morning feeling like someone beat on me all night and sat on the side of the bed hoping that I might just die and get it over with. Then, I looked out the window.
It was raining. Everything was glistening wet and the multi colored  leaves of the Chinese Tallow were moving quietly in the morning air, as if each leaf was turning upward to catch the rain.
The Catalpa trees behind the house were holding on to what few yellow leaves still clung to them....
The goats were nowhere to be seen.
I was on my feet by now, moving from window to window. Trying to accumulate  enough reasons to make it worth being alive when my brain felt like it was draining out of me with all the other debris. I hate being sick.
Then I walked out to the living room and was greeted by Cutterbutt who has decided that life is good  when you can spend a cold rainy morning on the couch right where Farmlady wants to lay down.
I poured a cup of coffee. The Prospector asked how I was feeling. I considered this question. I replied, "Better, I guess.", as one of the nerve cells from my brain slid down my throat and sent me into a coughing attack. I hate being sick.... Why do I have to be sick. Where did this come from. What did I do to deserve this. I feel so awful.
"Well," said the Prospector, "you'll feel better in a few days. Just take it easy." 
Well, that went well. Not a lot of sympathy there and the dogs are taking there morning nap oblivious to my pain.
I sat down on the edge of the couch, between the two dogs, sipping my coffee and feeling very sorry for myself and that is when it happen.
Cutterbutt came over and put his soft head on my lap.... and he made a little doggy noise. Just a little growl mixed with a sigh that said..." Everything will be all right. This too shall pass."