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"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Something was different.

She noticed the difference the night before when , in the dark hours before dawn, she got up and turned off the overhead fan. The coolness from the open windows brought a new sensation... a chill. Could it be that summer was loosing its hold on her mountain top. She could only hope.
In the morning she worked in the garden and didn't need to water. The ground and containers were still moist from the day before.
Later she took a walk up to the well and beyond to the Manzanita grove.
She felt something happening...The air was cooler and a breeze followed her like an old friend.
An oak tree leaned over and let some of its small leaves fall around her.

The Pine tree laughed with excitement...
as it shimmered in the morning sun.
Seeing this, she smiled, thinking, "Nothing stays the same. The heat is leaving. Life moves on.". She felt the first real moment of relief she'd felt in months... and also a small tear, that stayed inside, for the passing of time.
"Oh, look." she said, to anyone who was listening, " Someone has been sleeping in the grass. A deer or a mountain lion...or the coyote?" She heard the coyote last night through her open window... "or was that in a dream? "
 Maybe the dry grass is just tired of the heat and wants to become a part of the earth again, she thought.
She stepped bravely into the high grass and then, thinking it was not time to walk there yet, she backed down onto the dirt path.
The breeze came again and, with it, the voices of trees.
The wind brings clarity, she thought, It cleanses the mind that thinks too many thoughts...
and finds the world a confusing place.
She stood quietly in its beauty.
A bird flew overhead.

Walking back to the house she watched for signs on the path. Soon the shapes that bring fear, from a distance, would not hold such significance and she would be able to walk without watching every movement around her.
Broken branches will become... simply... branches. The slithery fears will return to the ground and lighten her cautionary steps.

 There was a difference in the air. It was falling from the trees.
There was a fragrance of dry leaves and thankfulness.
She heard herself laughing. This is where I will find some answers, she thought . This is where the magic  becomes a part of me... the mystery is revealed.
She held the laughter inside of her, holding her breath to keep it there, and walked back down the path.
"I will find this thing that I need.... this wanting... this understanding of something. It's here. Maybe it's hiding in the dry grass. Maybe I already see it and I only need to look at it differently."
Another leaf fell.... and then... another.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Chickens in Transition

Napoleon remembers when he had things under control.
 When Squeaky was his best ally..
And life was good.
He, pretty much, had his hens in a row... albeit, in my garden.

But then the mafia arrived. 
The Roady, the Rock, and three Americanas...  
The new kids in town.

The coop has not been the same since. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Visitors

It's still dry and hot here.The wild animals are all desperate for food and water. We have a big river nearby, but for some reason, we had become the oasis in the foothills for a small group of "regulars". I think that the word is out. We do fill a stock bucket with water and we do have a pile of garden clippings etc that must look pretty good to these critters right now.
So, the animals arrived everyday looking for water and whatever Farmlady has thrown on the pile beside the road... from tasty rose clippings to grape and tomato vines. I try to throw something out there every day.
The deer come morning and evening. One young buck, that has been coming here for quite a while, had a good rack started. He's the one in the back.
 They are lovely animals.
The turkey were gone for a while and now they are back. Here are "mom" and her babies... no... they are more like teenagers. I can tell because of the harried look on mom's face.
And yesterday we had two surprise visits. One was a Pigeon.
The pigeon, somehow, got stuck inside the garage and the Prospector had to do a catch and release maneuver with it. He said it had a band on its leg but didn't remember the numbers... only the letters CAL.
I look up pigeons on the computer and there are whole organizations that do nothing but deal with pigeons. They keep them, give information about them, look for lost Pigeons and even race them. It's a big deal. They even have pigeon rescues. We'll see if the pigeon sticks around or moves on in the next few days. Right now it seems happy to be here.
When Annie, our cat, walked back to see what I was doing... the Pigeon flew to the roof of the house from the potting shed.
It's a very pretty bird. We thought it might be lost or hurt, but it flies well and doesn't seem to be in distress. It does keep its distance from the cat though. Birds instinctively  know about cats. Anniecat catches doves in mid air. She's a force to be reckoned with.
I walked back behind the house and Annie stayed near the potting shed watching the pigeon. As I went through the gate something caught my eye, under the electric box, against the house.
It was our first Rattlesnake of the year. It appeared to be sleeping. I had walked by two times and never noticed it, but there it was not four feet from the gate. I went to the backdoor and called the Prospector to leave the dogs in and bring the handgun with him. He came out and killed the snake.
A young one... but no less dangerous. I don't like killing them but when they come into our yard they make a fatal mistake. I think that we are accumulating some bad karma with each one that we kill, but it has to be. They are dangerous reptiles and we can't have them near the house.
Their markings are beautiful.
These venomous pitvipers are amazing creatures that eat boat loads of mice, gophers and other rodents... and probably a frog or two. They are part of the delicate balance of nature.
 This one only had three small rattles but it was almost two feet long. We killed one a few years ago with 13 rattles on it. That was a BIG snake.
So we are on high alert from now until the first really cold stretch of weather, when they move their slithery little bodies back into the earth for the winter. Where there is one, there will be others. And you wonder why I don't like summer?
I have created a computer generated photo of this beautiful predator to honor its death.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Farmer's Market Goodies

To market, to market, to buy some ...
Okra (Yes, my husband LOVES Okra.) and a few more veggies.... and some garlic.

Saturdays and Sundays we have a Farmer's Market in Jackson. It's in the parking lot behind Mel & Fay's Diner.
They sell lots of local produce, but they also sell other things. I made the mistake of walking in without a list. I knew that I needed some Okra and garlic... and the little squash that we love so much.
What I didn't know was that I also needed some lemon curd,,,
...from this sweet lady, with a scotch accent, who lived in Mokelumne Hill.

And I also didn't know that I needed this beautiful night light. But, there it was... waiting for me.
Don't you think that I just had to have this wonderful piece of artwork for my green bathroom? Of course I did.
This lady had some beautiful jewelry. Her name is Helanna Andres.
 She was so nice and she makes beautiful jewelry. Her business is called Classic Art Glass and she has an email address: helanna@comcast.net.. If you are interested in glass art, I'm sure that she would be happy to tell you all about it.
That night The Prospector fixed some fried Okra to go with our dinner and, later...
 I went into the bathroom just to look at my new nightlight... in the dark.
It's so pretty.
I can't eat it... but that's OK. It will keep me from falling, in the middle of the night, and breaking my neck. It's my new beacon in the dark. A perfect blend of form and function. I just love it.