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

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Visitor

Late one night I was working at my computer desk and this moth flew right past my face and landed on a folder. It startled me. It must have come into the house when I went outside with Carl before bedtime. Since mine was the only light that was on in a dark house it was naturally drawn to my desk.
Pretty little thing. I looked it up in the field guide and I'm sure it's a Tiger Moth of some kind; maybe a "spotted" one. I should have caught and taken it outside but I didn't. I just finished what I was doing, turned the light off and went to bed. Now, I can't find it.

Maybe tonight it will come flying toward the lamplight, again, and I can help it find its way back outside where it belongs. Did you know that moths can hear? They have a "hearing" organ, called a Tympanum, on each side of the thorax. Amazing! Was he listening to me.

He (I'm guessing..., it could be a "she") stayed for a long time and even when I touched him he stayed. We had a "moment" this moth and I. Even when I least expect that something will happen..., something does.
It might be what Mary Oliver refers to as the "greatest gift"....,"Could it be the world itself?"...,"That you have a life that I wonder about more than I wonder about my own." and her instructions for living one's life:
"Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it...."
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Friday, November 20, 2009

A Little Bit of This and That

The latest on "billy goat gruff".... He is doing very well. The purple bandage is gone. He must have rubbed it off on a tree or the fence. His short horn looks kind of funny but I would never tell him that. He has, somehow, built some self-esteem in the herd from this ordeal so it's best to just tell him he looks handsome and leave it go while were ahead.
He came out to greet me this morning, complained about the wind and the incoming storm..., and then walked back into the goat house. Love ya Brownie.....

Storms coming in fast. The wind is picking up and the sky is this wonderful color of blue and creme. The fall color against the cloudy sky is beautiful.
The house is warm and comforting as I walk back into it and stand here looking through the windows. I love the coming of a storm..., the anticipation of winter..., and the holidays. It's a thankful feeling. It's the promise of needed rain and the slowing down of life, for a while. I love this time of year...

And with the slowing down, the anticipation, comes a magazine that lifts the spirits and makes me want to climb the stairs in the garage and drag out all the boxes of Christmas decorations. A magazine that inspires, with lovely ideas for the home and delicious food and homemade gifts. If you haven't picked up ROMANTIC HOMES yet..., do. If you want to be motivated, spurred on, or need a reason to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee on a rainy afternoon..., just pick up this magazine, find that corner with the comfortable chair and spend an hour or two sitting quietly, looking at the charm and loveliness of the holidays. What else can you do on a stormy day? Relax...., give yourself a moment of silence before the storm.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why I love this poet.

Black Swallowtail

The caterpillar,
interesting but now exactly lovely,
humped along among the parsley leaves
eating, always eating. Then
one night it was gone and in its place
a small green confinement hung by two silk threads
on a parsley stem. I think it took nothing with it
except faith, and patience. And then one morning

it expressed itself into the most beautiful being.

( for Nina )

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Annibel at Sunset


plus this....

equals this.

(Collage made on Picasa 3)
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Saturday Evening Post- Feb. 10, 1912

I get caught up in the longevity of some old newspapers or magazines. When something so old survives the ravages of time and is still in one piece it just amazes me. I found this old Saturday Evening Post in a box of papers, not separated from everything else or in a protective sleeve, but just sitting in the bottom of the box. It was laying there..., a bit frayed around the edges, with some pages torn and it was dated February 10, 1912. Two areas were cut out with scissors ,like you would cut out a coupon. Both ads that were cut out said that you could send for more information. I guess someone did.
February 10, 1912. That's old!! In 3 years it will be 100 years old. For paper and ink that's just amazing. My parents weren't born yet. My grandmother was a teenager. We had not even been in a "World War" yet. Campbells soup was 10 cents a can and the center of population in the U.S. was Bloomington, Indiana?????
Wikipedia has some very interesting information on the history of this magazine if you're interested. If you go to this site you can read about it .
The illustrator of this cover is no where to be found. I don't mean the person himself, who is probably dead, but info. about him on the Internet. The famous artists/illustrators of the day like Clarence Underwood and J.C. Leyendecker did many of the covers for this magazine but F. Mehean Cuotes( Cootes, Coates????), it appears, only illustrated this one issue and never again. I can't read the signature clearly, so I may not be Googleing the right name but I looked up all the illustrators for Saturday Evening Post and this name never came up..., anywhere. It's a beautiful drawing. This artist must have been very good to have a drawing on the cover of this magazine.

The stories and articles are wonderful and depict the times that they were written in. Some things have changed drastically and some things haven't changed at all. For being written 97 years ago some of the worries and problems are strangely familiar.
What really surprises me is the advertisements and how many companies are still making these products....: Kellogg's corn flakes, Chiclets chewing gum, Quaker Oats, Campbells Soup, Grape-Nuts and Van Camp's Pork and Beans are all still available in our stores now. I find that very reassuring.
You could even buy a Ford Motel T touring car for $690 , a steel fireproof garage for $72.50 to put it in and build a 5 room bungalow to live in for $868. That included blue prints, specifications, lumber, millwork, floors, doors, and windows. If you wanted a fireplace mantel it was a whopping $11.75 more. Now I know why they called it the "good old days".

Please check out the other vintage items and stories on Past Due Tuesday and join us with your own wonderful things.

(Brasher Girl from Alabama just sent me a comment and gave me the right name for the illustrator of the magazine.She wrote..." I believe the cover illustrations for the February 10, 1912 issue was done by F. Graham Cootes." and she gave me a link. Thank you, thank you Brasher Girl. I really appreciate this.)

These are the photos of the advertisements in the magazine. Click on photo to enlarge the individual pictures.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Brownie's Ordeal

Brownie, our Nubian Wether, has always been a little bit different. Aside from his anxiety over being "second" goat in the pack and always having to talk his way out of everything, he is the only one of four goats, we brought home as babies, that kept growing HORNS. After they came back for the second time, we decided that we would let the horns grow. Brownie seemed so proud of them that we didn't have the heart to remove them, even though they were going in two different directions.
I always thought they made Brownie a very handsome goat and he thought that he should be the top goat around here just because he had horns and none of the others did. I call him my "show pony" because he likes to pose and is really a beautiful goat. His attitude is another story.
Recently we noticed that the horn on his right side was growing over his eye. It was getting closer and closer to his eye and we thought that within a month or two that it would start to interfere with his sight and possibly, rub the surface of the eye. We called a few vet hospitals for advice. They said we could cut it off ourselves but there was a chance that there might be a lot of bleeding and it would be safer to have a vet do it. Also, without giving Brownie something to make him sleepy he would not stand still and we could injure his eye trying to remove part of the horn.
This all made sense to us. We decided that we should take Brownie down to the large animal hospital in Elk Grove and have the horn shortened. The prospector borrowed a horse trailer from a friend over the weekend and this morning we led Brownie into it and took Carl too, for moral support.
You would have thought that we were taking him to a meat packing plant. He didn't understand and he was very frightened at first. But, we gave him his lead and he actually walked up into the trailer without resistance as long as we didn't push or pull him. We just talked to him and guided him and let him do it at his own pace. He did let us know what he thought about the whole thing for 15 minutes or so as we drove down through town and out onto the highway. But once we got going he settled down and an hour later, when we arrived at the hospital, he greeted us silently and with a renewed confidence when we opened the back door to the trailer.
The vet, a very nice man, helped the prospector get Brownie out of the trailer while I took Carl for a quick walk around the parking area. The Vet said that this wouldn't take long and he, my husband and Brownie disappeared into a big building. Brownie was being such a good goat. He walked with them into the building as if he knew all about what was happening.
About 20 minutes later they all came out and Brownie was walking a little slow. His right horn was gone, except for about 2 inches of it and that was bandaged. They had given him some "gas" that just knocked him out for a few minutes while they did the deed and then he woke right back up. He was fine and he didn't make a sound all the way home.
This procedure cost us $65.00 ($40 for the gas and $25 for the dehorning.) I think that's reasonable. (The vet even clipped his hoofs while he was at it.) I thought it would be a lot more than that. The trailer was free..., well, we are giving it back with a couple of cases of good beer in it but that's small payment for its use..., and, of course, the gas in our truck to drive down there. So..., I think it was still a very good deal.

The boys were so glad to see Brownie. They all came over and milled around him whispering quiet little things to him and sniffing the new bandage. Brownie accepted it all as if he had gone to battle and come home the hero. He was the returning warrior with his war wound. He even allowed me to take photos. He posed for me.
Before I left and as I was walking toward the gate I thought I heard him say something. I thought I heard him say "Thank you Farmlady." I'm not quite sure. Brownie is not known for overt displays of gratitude but I'm pretty sure I heard him say thank you. It could have been "(something else)....you", but I don't think so because he kept looking at me and I think he was smiling..., just a little bit.

You were a good, brave boy, Brownie. We love you.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Postcards from the Coast

Wednesday morning I drove down to Sacramento and picked up my friend "C". We drove down to Berkeley and stopped for lunch and a quick look in a couple of great stores (A Thousand Cranes and Castles in the Air) on 4th Street. Then we headed for Pacifica.
We arrived on an absolutely beautiful day, with sunshine and a light breeze blowing the fall leaves around. We stopped and bought some groceries, drove up to my sister's condo and settled in.
Sis bought this place a few years ago and she has been so generous with it. It's not down near the ocean ,which is fine with me because of my fear of the high seas, but up on a hill with a view to die for. It is in a gated community which makes it very safe for anyone who stays there. Sis has decorated it beautifully and one only has to bring clothing, personal items, food and themselves to spend time there.
Above is the view and some photos of the condo. Below are some photos of ( from left top, clockwise ) Pacifica Pier, Mori Point, the beach below the pier looking toward Mori Point and Point San Pedro, and the beach above the pier looking toward San Francisco and Marin Co.

We had such a good time. Mostly we RELAXED. "C" is going to have a knee replacement in February and is having a hard time walking, so we were very careful not to tax her already damaged knee.
On Thursday afternoon we drove around the area from San Pedro Point up into the San Pedro Valley and back to the ocean..., then up to Rockaway Beach ,where we had dinner at NICK'S restaurant. Nick's is a great place for dinner. It has been there forever and it's right on the ocean. A little too close in a storm...., but beautiful. As far as I can tell there are not that many good restaurants in Pacifica but you can always get a good meal at Nick's. I think the prices have gone up recently, and you don't get a salad without paying extra for it, but all in all it was a very delicious dinner.
On Friday my sister arrived . She was able to come over and stay the night thanks to her sweet husband who took the day off and taxied her youngest to school for her. We did some sightseeing, then drove down to the Pacifica Pier and had some clam chowder and a sandwich for lunch at the Chit Chat Cafe on the pier.
That evening it was truly "lady's night". We had sushi hors d'oeuvres, ate Salmon for dinner and had (what else?) bread pudding for dessert. Bread pudding is tradition.
After dinner we ate that bread pudding with Carmel sauce, big spoons and no reservations. We watched some television, talked, and laughed until , one by one, we headed for bed. We are 57, 64 and 65 years old and this kind of day is what these years bring to us now. No more parties, drinking and staying up all night. We all did our share of those indulgent kind of things when we were youngsters and could get away with it...., but now, we are content to slow down, share our lives with each other and eat some dessert without worrying about how many calories it has and how we're going to eat salads for the next two weeks to make up for our indiscretions. Please don't get me wrong. We still have to worry and health is even more of an issue in our lives now, but we don't get obnoxious about it with each other and what we do, say and eat in Pacifica..., stays in Pacifica (if you will allow me to coin a phrase).

The year is coming to a close at warp speed and this was the only chance that "C" and I would have to take some time together before the commitments and rush of the holiday season fall upon us. So we chose to walk a while on the same Pacific coast that saw us walking together many years ago on the beaches of Mendocino. A lot of time has gone by since then. A lot of changes have been made and we are older, wiser and much more aware of the distance that we have traveled together. I know what my sister and I have gone through recently and the pain of our losses in the last few years..., but with my friends, and especially with "C", there is not as much monitoring of our lives. There are lots of gaps. Finally, now, we are the closest, geographically, that we have ever been. We choose to continue, as best we can, our friendship with each other. So the times that we do spend together are important and help us understand each other more. These visits, are the "adhesive" of our friendship, the way that we hold on to the distant threads of memory, the places that we have known and the new history that we continue to make each time we get together. This was a very nice weekend and we will do it again ,next year, after her operation.

This has been a long year. I'm tired..., and feel that life has changed in irrevocable ways. We work hard to maintain the quality of our life and sometimes it seems impossible. So, when I start feeling sorry for myself I think of this old Ojibwa saying...,
"Sometimes I go about in pity for myself,
And all the while....
A great wind is bearing me across the sky."

...., and I try to remember that whatever happens we are all moving in one direction and I do not have to fight this flow or be afraid. I can just live each day, sometimes each hour, each minute, each moment in a place called Now.
It was a good weekend and now I'm home.....
It was a good weekend and now I will feed the chickens and walk the dog.....

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