"People from a planet without flowers
would think we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us."
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fantasies in the Summer Heat

I'm trying to embrace summer.
Yes, today the temperature is 104 degrees. I hope all of the folks that LOVE SUMMER are happy campers  'cause it's here. I know that many people are really happy about this... while I'm inside the house dreaming of a White Christmas.
So, I have been thinking about this DISLIKE (the Prospector says I shouldn't hate things.) that I have for Summer and how I could remedy the situation. The heat definitely affects my judgement but...
I think I have found the answer.
We have these open areas around the house. They are steep, rocky and all downhill.
This area is next to the driveway and has access to mountain lions and rattlesnakes. but it's also easier for the work that would have to be done.
This spot, below the retaining wall, has grapes growing over it. Perfect! This might be the best place.
It's fenced. It's easy to access from the front yard and we already have a retaining wall above it.

We could use this area, behind the house, too.
Brownie might object to cutting off his access to the south pasture but he would get use to it because it would be so beautiful and he would have company all summer long. Nubian goats love company.

So, what is this idea of mine that would make the summer more palatable? Well...
This is what I have in mind.
Or this...
Or... are you still with me?  Are you really understanding the level of my desire for this summer salvation?

Here is another idea.
Oh yes. This would make summer a bit more palatable. Oh, yes indeed.
Or, how about this one...
These last two are called "infinity" pools. Aren't they the most beautiful swimming pools you ever saw?
And this one...
Oh my gosh... I'm feeling the cool water flowing around me as I write. I can feel my body cool down as I dive into that beautiful pool. This would be Heaven.
I guess we would have to remodel the house to go with this yard, but that would be no problem. We just need about $100,000. for the pool and a couple hundred thousand more for the remodel.
So, I have a plan.

 I could make a plea on my blog. You know, like the "kickstarter" program where people donate to a good cause. I could even have a raffle. The prize would be a weekend on the mountain with swimming privileges.
I figure if all my friends, family, all my followers and even the folks that I "friend" on Facebook, donate five to ten thousand dollars apiece, I could have this whole thing done by next summer and never have to "dislike" summer again.

But, just in case this doesn't pan out, I have a plan "B".
It's kind of cute isn't it? Like a new puppy. I can get it at WalMart for around $200.00 and it comes with its own pump. We would install it ourselves.
Let me know which plan you like the best. I'm open to all inquires and questions.
The heat affects my judgement, as I said before, so I may not have the right perspective on this.

p.s. I do like plan "A" the best.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Too much for this old lady.

This is how I feel today.


Yesterday we prepared the porch deck for refinishing. We let this go way too long and now it's in desperate need. 
Ten years ago I refinished the whole deck, when the Prospector was gone for a few days. All by myself. Imagine!
 I didn't know it, but I was young then. It's all a matter of perspective. 
 Lowe's, our successful and much visited "do it yourself" store, advises that you refinish every two or three years... max. Of course they are selling the PRODUCTS, so they would always recommend this be done more often than is probably necessary.
 However, water does not "bead" on this deck anymore. It hasn't for the last few years, so it was time for a serious cleaning and staining, whether Lowe's thought so or not.
Yesterday I volunteered to work on the porch FOR A WHILE. The job required using a vacuum and metal spatula to dig out ten years of accumulated gravel, dog hair (that's six dogs in 16 years.), oak leaves, bird feathers (yes, baby bird feathers.) dust and dirt from between the boards. This is a down on your knees, labor intensive job that required a 20 to 40 year old body without arthritis in the hands and feet. The Prospector had started the job, got about a third of it done and came in saying he had some "other stuff" to do. I know, living with this man for forty seven years, that this now translates to "My #&@# knees are killing me." and that this was going to be a long day.
I went out and thought, "This doesn't look so hard.", so I sat down and started working the cracks. Once I got started it, somehow, became a competition... with myself. It became an issue of endurance. I was determined to finish the whole blessed porch. I couldn't stop myself. 
Yes, well... that is what happens when you get old. You feel you have to prove something. I'm not sure what it is that I felt I had to prove, but when I stood up an hour or so later, I knew that I would have this "PROOF" for a few days, maybe a week, afterwards. I could hardly move.
There was so much "debris" in between the boards that you couldn't see through to the ground below. 
YOU CAN NOW! After an hour or so of digging out the solidified sand and dog hair with the scraper and vacuuming it up, the boards are ready for some sanding and our neighbor's power washer. With the temperature going over 100 degrees this weekend the porch should be dry enough to stain by next week.
We had to replace the steps.
The old ones were shot and no amount of stain was going to bring them back to life. Glad we didn't wait too much longer or we might have had to replace the whole porch.
So today we rest. This was more than our 67 years old bodies could almost handle and we are realizing that we now have LIMITS. You know... the ones you ignored when you were younger, and now... you pay dearly for your efforts the next day (or two... or three... or a week later.) 
I'm trying to accept being a senior citizen person but it sucks (excuse me.. no other word fits as well.), so I complain and I take naps.
It's part of the sensual delight of living past middle age.
Carl is tired of listening to me. He's leaving.
And Cutter...
Well... he is chillin' in the air-conditioned living room and he says, " Just rub more Aspercreme in, Farmlady. Stop whining.... Can I have a biscuit?"


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

We were so young...

It's been forty seven years since this photo was taken in my parent's back yard.
What a wonderful day it was. We were so young. It was "the beginning".
Where did all of those years go, my love?
It's been so good , this choice we made,
and we're not done yet.
Happy Anniversary to us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Doing nothing, outside, in the middle of the day.

We are having our first heat wave. Summer is finally here and ,with it, limited activity. I water and do projects in the morning and go for walks after the sun goes down. I loose all my energy on hot summer days, so I stay inside with my precious air-conditioning. I have no shame. I would be living in Alaska, or at the ocean, if I didn't have air conditioning. I'm not a hot, summer in the city, type person. Summer is something I suffer through. Its redeeming value is summer vegetables, wild blackberries and the fragrance of the Butterfly Bush blooming in the front yard.
One project I did this week was to paint a folding, metal chair that badly needed help. This was done early in the morning after Farmlady's second cup of coffee... in a cool, shady spot under the oak trees.
This was what it looked like "before".

 A pretty chair that you couldn't sit in. The paint had oxidized and if you sat on it you got up with dusty white stuff all over your rear end.  The cushion helped, but you still got powdered if you leaned back.
For a while, I just put a plant on it.
This worked and no one accidentally sat on it. But, it was a chair, after all, and things should be used for what they were intended.
 So... last week I washed the chair with soap and a wire brush, let the sun dry it, checked for loose paint and the next morning I spray painted it.
Here is the new spiffed up chair with all the intention in the world... waiting for someone to sit on it.
I love the color. It's Krylon indoor/outdoor spray gloss. The color is "ivy leaf". It dries in less than 10 minutes. I only used one spray can. I wanted the darker finish to show through, so I didn't cover it with a second coat. I like the effect. Now, there are no embarrassing moments when friends want to sit on the porch and talk.
****************************
Last night I went for a late walk up to the top of the property. It was still warm and it smelled like summer in the foothills... a mixture of heat, grasses, oak trees, manzanita and toyon. It's a good fragrance.
Annie followed me and then decided I had gone too far, so she waited for me below the well house. Always, at some point on our walks, she stops. It's as if she knows not to go further. Interesting.
Maybe she smells something or senses danger. I'm not sure, but she always stops and waits until I come back. Then she runs ahead of me and we walk back to the house.
She leads me home. It's a very important job for her. If I stop to take a picture she runs up to me, circles my legs and starts walking again. It's a little ritual we both enjoy.
I stopped once more before we reached the house because I saw a burst of blue in the dry grass. It was one of the last spring wildflowers standing.
It was Brodiaea elegans (the Elegant Brodiaca). This wildflower blooms from April to July in our grassy hillsides. It begins to flower when the fields dry out in early summer.
I took some pictures and then, as the evening darkened, walked back down the trail toward home.
When we reached the house I put Annie in the garage, gave her a treat and a quick back scratch, closed the door and walked across the concrete to the back door. I heard Brownie acknowledge me from the goat house.
The dogs were at the door and greeted me like I had been gone for years. Carl looked annoyed. He forgot that he and Cutter go with me every other night. It's a different walk with them on a leash. Not so peaceful. Lots of stopping and going. I guess Annie feels the same way about me.
The Prospector was reading in the living room.
He looked up and said, "Did you put the cat in?"
I said, "Yep.".
He said, "Thanks".
I looked outside and it seemed dark already.

Tonight I went a little earlier... and took the dogs.
We watched for Rattlers and stayed in the middle of the main road coming up to the house. With this heat we have to be very careful.  No walking in the grass.The Rattlesnakes will be coming soon. Another reason to love summer. (That was sarcasm!)





Sunday, June 10, 2012

Squeaky's Opinion on the New Chicks.

We have new blood in the chicken house.
They are in confinement until they are a little bigger. The baby Roadie is larger because he is older than the others.

 There was another one just like him but we let them out into the general population and one of the big hens killed his mate. The Feed and Supply said that they were really to mingle with the big chickens, but obviously not. So we put him back in with the little ones for a while longer,poor thing.
I want you to see the chick in the top middle of the photo below. Isn't she beautiful?
You can see her in every picture. This is a stand out chick. She's an Araucana. I'm going to call her Cleopatra because of her dark eyeliner. Even when we first got her she stood out.
Oh what a sweet beautiful chick she is.

There are two more Araucanas, a Silver laced Wyandotte and the Roadie.
 The Wyandotte seems more on top of things and very confident. Maybe he's a rooster. We'll see.
We have a symphony of chirping chicks to greet us morning and night. It's lovely!

Squeaky is not impressed.
She is being annoyingly broody right now, sitting on everyone else's eggs.I think she is doing this to get some negative attention. She is really upset that there is something littler and cuter in the chicken house.

"Squeaky! I looked up your breed today and they call you a Mille Fleur Bantam. This is a very special and  beautiful name. It means thousand flowers. Squeak'?, look at me. It will be alright. I won't give them your special pile of lettuce. Now, let me have the egg that you're sitting on..... Please."
She never looked at me and she wouldn't move. even when I reached down under her and took the big, brown egg. She just pecked me.
Tonight she laid an egg of her own... and left it for us.
I can't figure chickens out, but I'm working on it.
"Thanks Squeak'."