I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Afternoon on a Hill"

Friday, June 29, 2012

Annie's Message

"Farmlady is driving down to the Bay Area today to see her sons, the BEANS and her sister for a while."
"I will watch the chickens for her until she returns. 
I'm not telling how my nose got so scratched up, but all I have to say is..... That rooster is walking a very thin line around here.


"Farmlady said to be a good girl. and not to mess with the chickens.
Moi?...., I mean, meow."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. ~Author Unknown

I think I have found the supreme reason for summer. It lies in the flowers... whose only true and  passionate love is the summer heat.
They teach me to feel summer in a different way. To embrace its intensity and find what the heat and I can accomplish together.
So I'm allowing my mind, and the camera, to capture all the reasons that I must accept this season of fire and passion... and its amazing plant energy.
William Carlos Williams said "In summer, the song sings itself.", so I listen...
A hummingbird flies above me as if to ask if I have anything to offer... and then moves to the autumn sage which gives this small bird what it desires.
The butterfly bush attacks my senses with a heady fragrance and bees buzz around me as they check the clusters of each lavender wands.
This is Buddleja Davidii, the summer lilac...the butterfly bush. The hummingbirds and the "bumbles" find this bush irresistible, but no butterflies do I see.
Even Carl is at one with his summer environment. The "little man" dog who always needs control of everything is in total bliss. I listen to his panting... which helps him deal with the hot air. I watch him as he listens, anticipates, watches and feels the summer until it becomes his whole doggie being.
 "The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses."~Hanna Rion~.
He is soaking up the resources of summer as if he were praying. He is in total acceptance of what IS.
I need to practice this technique.

I think that the Hollyhock understands this. She is jubilant in her bright pink tutu. Like a young child dressed for a dance recital, she is at her very best in this heat. She sparkles in her self esteem.
Why haven't I seen this before. These flowers are in their element. THEY ARE SUMMER.

As I walk down to the garden I hear a scream, an animal scream , and the birds fly up all in one movement. Carl returns to reality and barks with Cutter at the screeching sound that cuts into the summer silence. What could this be? A bird? An animal? There is no answer. Just silence after the scream.
"Oh, for the time when I shall sleep without identity."
~Emily Bronte~
 I want to understand what happen. I guess it's not mine to know. It will remain an unidentified death.
 The birds are talking about it. Slowly they start their conversations.
 The deer are silent. Even the air is still.
Something left this world.
 I hope it was a death with purpose.

 

I walk on down to the garden.
First checking the dirt, then the leaves of the vegetables.  Do they need water? No.
Do they need to be protected from the afternoon heat. Probably not. It will not be over 90 degrees today.
They will be OK for one more day.
The pumpkins are taking over the south end of the garden. Soon Brownie, our goat, will be able to reach the leaves through the fence.
We will have a bumper crop of pumpkins this year. Only in this heat do they grow inches each day. Only in this heat do they flower and grow into a mass of yellow orbs that means pie and jack-o-lanterns for Fall.
Without Summer, Halloween and Thanksgiving would loose their color and taste... and creepy cutout faces.
SUMMER HAS TO BE.

The tomatoes must ripen...
There are sun worshipers.  I understand this.
 "Plants cry their gratitude for the sun in green joy."~Terri Guillemets~

The little Italian heirloom, pear tomatoes need heat too.
They need to grow and become what they were created for... Tomato sauce.

It's all there before my eyes. I need summer. I will suffer the heat because others need it. A simple revelation.
I didn't have to see a therapist to understand this. I simply put my dislike on hold, listened to my garden and understood.
We have to accept the possibility of fire, rattlesnakes,  hearing screams of death from the wilderness around us and the limitation of our water supply. I must accept this because I know that if I choose to live somewhere else and I leave this mountain place, my life will be the less for it.  Summer is what it is... a season of knowing danger, being aware of my fears and listening to the conversations of the plants and flowers. 
I'm trying to understand and embrace Summer.
I know that this is about attitude, a new point of view, and acceptance.
What does Summer mean to you?

“The sun shines not on us but in us.” ~John Muir~







Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brownie and the Black Feather

On my walk the other night I went through the back gate. Annie was up on the fence, as I went by. She has  a badly scratched up nose. She has had this sore nose for a week now.
  It's healing but it still looks kind of sore. She won't let me touch it. I think it's getting better on its own.
"Wanna come with me Annie?" She looked mighty comfortable and didn't move, so I left her and continued up the road.

As I walked past the "other woman" I sensed a feeling of unrest.
And I thought I heard a small grumble coming from her hood vent.
I'm really sorry that she has to stay outside now (Really, I am.) but until we build another garage, this is the best we can do. I don't think she's happy about it.

I walked on up the hill to the well and choose the low road to the orchard...
 The road, on the left, goes to the top of the hill where I love to walk. (This was our escape route during the fire last summer.) The road on the right goes down  to the old orchard, (what's left of it) and to our septic leach system... and to the other knoll where all the Manzanitas grow. It's a much shorter walk.
 I always take the lower road in the summer because there is less dry grass. Even though the weather is nice and cool this week, I never walk in the tall grass until late fall when I know that there's less chance of a Rattler lurking in the weeds.
The sky was so beautiful.
The hills to the east, toward the Sierras, were laughing in the overcast, coolness of the day.
I said hello to Maggie who is buried up on the hill near the road. She was our last big dog, a beautiful shepherd mix, before we got the two little Corgis. Actually, Carl, our first corgi, came to live with us while Maggie was still alive.  
When she died, The Prospector buried her up here and asked me to make a sign for the site.
  That was almost four years ago. She was a wild little puppy when we first got her and I always feel like her spirit is bounding around with me up there. I don't walk up to the grave this time of the year (the grass is too long) but I always say something to her. She was a good dog.
I turned around and started back.. When I got about two thirds of the way back to the house, I saw something long and black on the side of the trail. My heart started beating a little faster, but I was quite a distance from it and well... rattlers aren't usually that dark. I just couldn't see it clearly.
I walked down, slowly, and  realized it was a feather, a huge black feather...
 underneath the utility pole. It was a turkey vulture wing feather sitting there moving a little in the wind. It wasn't in the deep grass, so I picked it up. It was huge.  The vultures like to sit up on the top of the pole a lot so I guess one of them dropped this feather. We have found them here before.

I walked down toward the house and the blond hussy (the 38' Chevy). This time she didn't say anything. I think she should be happy that we, at least, cover her. After all, she is going to get a complete overhaul one of these days (money, money, money...) and I can't even get the Prospector to pay for my orthopedic inserts.
Oh, I'm sorry. Now, I'm the one that's venting.

When I got down to the back gate, Annie was still up on her perch. I took the feather and teased her with it.
She humored me for a few minutes and then...
Lost interest.

I went by the goat yard and Brownie gave me a  muted "Hello.", so I walked over to the fence, reached over with the feather and tickled his nose.
That's when he made this face. Hilarious! 
 I pulled the feather away and started to leave... 

So he gave me his cute goat look.
 "Why did you stop?"
 "Farmlady. Please keep doing that."
 And he made that silly toothy smile again...
 What a ham!

So I played "feather" with him for a while
And he got downright silly about it. He tried to eat the feather. We had a great time. He loved all the attention.
This morning I took an old brush out there and gave Brownie a back rub. (Yes, I'm spoiling him.) His hair is growing back and he's looking pretty darn good. He's still too skinny, but he is gaining weight and his body looks so much better. He seems to be thriving in his "last goat standing" status. I was always told that Nubians didn't like to be alone. That they need other goats. Well, this guy is just fine. He's a character. That's for sure.
 I dearly miss Murphy, but Brownie is our survivor... par excellence. He is playing this solitary life for all its worth. He's still our outspoken, show pony. I'm sure there will be more stories to tell.