Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Standoff

"Where are you Moke? Here boy." Where is that dog? Probably digging a hole somewhere.
" Steve, have you seen Moke?"
"Yep, he's behind the fence facing off with a lizard."
I walked around behind the fence and there he was.

"Moke, are you bothering that poor little lizard?"

No answer.

What a hunter this dog must have been before we found him. Once a "flusher", forever a flusher.
He and this lizard had eye contact for 5 to 10 minutes. The lizard never moved a muscle.
Moke slowly moved closer, and closer, inching his way toward the lizard, one half step at a time. Stalking, predatory; as if this small, beautiful lizard was a prize bird in the bush waiting to fly away. They were almost nose to nose.

Still, the lizard didn't move..

And then it was over. I didn't even see the lizard leave. Moke hit the wire fence and left a wet mouth spot on the wood, but the lizard was gone.

"Well Moke, no lizard today."

No answer.

But I know Moke was seeing red .

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A productive holiday: report on the homefront.

The prospector is trying to get the new goat sleeping quarters done before his Pinecrest fishing trip at the end of the month. As you can see the only help he is getting, in the photo, is advice from the goats. This man amazes me. He is 64 years old this year and we've been married for43 years ; and he still astounds me with his ability to get things done. He just makes a plan and goes to work.

I help, sometimes..., I hold things. I hold a 4x4 while he nails. I hold the level while he moves the boards up and down to make them "plumb". (I even know some of the lingo, like "plumb" and "4x4 pressure treated lumber". Wow! I'll bet you're impressed now.) I'm great at giving careful advice in the form of question, like..., "Hon, is there going to be another door on the side that has the storage room on it so we don't have to walk too far to dump the hay in the hay holder?" or " Do you think we need a step up into the the shed, kind of like a porch, for the goats?" or " Wouldn't a flower box look pretty under the ventilation window?" You know, practical things....

Then I get the "Haven't you got anything better to do" look and it's time to move on; at least until he needs another helping hand.

I went in and made some Strawberry Jam.
This was a new recipe that I found on the internet. The last one I made, even though it was more like strawberry SAUCE, tasted better.
This one doesn't use pectin but you have to cook it to death. I think the fresh flavor of strawberries is missing in this batch. By the time you cook the strawberries, sugar and lemon to 220 degrees F. , at a rolling boil, for more than an hour, it looks like cut up tomato soup and even scorched the bottom of the pan a little.
We taste tested the jam this morning and it's good..., and it's thick. I just like the other batch I did, a while back, better. That was at: tomsdomain.com/recipes/strawberryjam.
His had pectin in it and I don't know why it didn't jell. I'm no expert at jam making. I just follow the directions. But I'm determined to find a perfect recipe: Fresh like Tom's Domain but thicker like Katharine's at : allrecipes.com.

I Just love doing this. I'm getting to be the "Jam and Pesto queen" around here. It's so satisfying, so domestic...., so real. I may try tomato or apple sauce this year.
The basil is growing all over the place in the garden this year so I need to make a batch of Pesto soon. This I know how to do.

But first I will go out and see if the Prospector needs any help. He hasn't asked for any help today. I wonder why?
Maybe he's thinking about my "goat porch" idea and flowerboxes. After all, if we're going to have to look at this little house from the back porch everyday...., it should look *PRETTY*! Don't you think?
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Bracelet Maker

Yesterday I had to go to South Sacramento Kaiser and Costco. When I was through I stopped by to see the Bambinos. Baby boy was asleep because he's just 1 yr. 6mos old and he is into naps. Big boy, the "A" man was so excited to see me and sometimes he skips a nap because he has other things to do...., like show Noni his new bike; his DIEGO bike,... and his new helmet; his GREEN helmet...., and his new hair cut( that makes him look a lot older. No, no you can't grow up too fast little one.)

Mommy took them to Pixey Woods in Lodi. They "Rode in a train and saw a tunnel." and they had "...so much fun." and " Noni you should come too; you would like it."

" Can we go outside. I will ride my new bike.

It has 'taining wheels."

"Is that so you can learn to ride without falling?"

"I won't fall, Noni. I a big boy."

"Of course you are, sweetie. Just be careful."

"I be careful"

"Can you put your helmet on so I can take your picture?"



Baby bambino woke up and then it was snack time. After we had a snack "A" showed me how to make a bracelet like Mommy's. He had made one for her and wanted to know if I would like one. He wanted mom to give me her's. We explained that he needed to make one just for me. So he did.
This is the bracelet that "A" made just for his Noni. He had a kit with lots of beads and stretchy plastic string.

"What colors would you like, Noni?"

"Anything but orange."

"No orange?"

"Not today."

Just one orange?"

"No, I don't think so. Maybe in the Fall, around Halloween."

" Here. One orange ." He picks one orange bead up and looks at me.

"Ok, just one."

So I have a wonderful ,one of a kind, bracelet made by my grandson, and I love it. There is one bead in it that reminds me of Halloween and in my grandson's infinite wisdom, he has placed this orange bead among the others to express his own creativity and to remind me that I must not look at the world with old eyes and that I can wear orange in summer and live to tell about it.
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Garden Speak

The garden is doing rather well this year. Maybe it is the chicken manure and the mulch. The gourds(below) are always so beautiful. I think they're one of the easiest plants to grow. Something is nibbling at the new growth though. I think I'll try some reflective tape first because I think the culprits are birds and they don't like shiny ribbon flaping in they faces. It has worked before. I'm willing to share a leaf or two with them, but they have been known to get carried away. So I will decorate the wire fencing with ribbon, then maybe some whirl-i-gigs or noisy wind things. That last one I made up, but they would be something that would let the wind blow through and make noise..., you know, something like a whistle? I have to look around for this one. The whole effect should really frighten the birds away. I hope. "Hope is a thing with feathers...", but not in my garden.
This is the shot I didn't want to show anyone but I'm thinking that someone might have an idea about what is eating ( I mean DEVOURING) my Sunflowers. I can't find any bugs. If it was a gopher the whole plant would be gone. Again, I'm thinking it might be birds, but look at the way something has chewed the stems and even though the plants keeps putting off new growth, the leaves below are being eating to pieces. Does anyone have any ideas?
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Baby birds for a friend

My friend Karen needs more prayers.

Even though she hangs in there with all the tests and hospital visits, each day is a struggle.

On Thursday she goes in for a kidney biopsy and an ultrasound.

Please keep her in your prayers. She is trying to be brave, but it's hard.

The baby birds are for you, Karen. I hope you can smile at them, because they are saying hello to you.
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Monday, June 30, 2008

Always an open door..., with dogs.

This is my sister's home...., isn't it beautiful?

She has a gift for decorating and there are always delightful places, here and there, that reflect her talents. Then, of course, there are the dogs. They greet you at the door as if you were the only person in the world. The cacophony of barks, yips, small growls and kisses always makes me feel like I'm at home. This is a relaxed "chicken in your lap" kind of home, only without the chickens. Someday, though, I might find a couple of goats in the backyard. Oh no, wait! This is Lafayette, California. They don't allow goats here. But...., you never know.

I stay with Mom when I go down to see her. There is always lots to do and I feel like there won't be a lot more time to just be with her. (I would love to stay with my sister; but she's close by and we always get together while I'm there.)
I woke up to blue sky this morning. The wind has finally come and blown the smoke away for a while. There are still many fires burning all over California and many people have lost their homes. It's very sad. We have been lucky so far, but you're never safe. Fire is the "beast" here and always a threat.

Mom is doing well and I got to spend some time with her, talking about her childhood. I wrote down a lot of information; some that I had not known before. She was born in Berkeley , Ca. in 1918. When she was 5 yrs old her father died, so her mother took she and her brother and sister up to Napa, where her mom was raised. She lived in Napa until she married my dad. They live on her grandpa and grandma's ranch. Lots of great stories. Must write all this down. It's important. It's a connection to the past, but it's also a gift to your children; especially the stories.

I drove home this afternoon. The valley was clear and blue with a few whispy clouds and so were the foothills. The prospector and the dogs were here to greet me and the goats seem happy too. It feels so wonderful to be home. As I hear the "youngsters" say: It's all good.
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