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

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Morning in the Garden and Squeaky tales

The temperature went to 86 degrees today. It was almost too warm for a spring day, but it was lovely in the morning.
I decided to go down to the vegetable garden and thin the lettuce.
 I can't believe the nettles. It's everywhere. It has reseeded all over the vegetable garden. I couldn't thin some of the red lettuce because I didn't have my gloves with me. This is a re-occurring problem of my own doing. I hate to wear gloves. I like to feel the soil between my fingers.
 I tried to pick around the nettles. (You can see the new nettles growing in the red lettuce below.)
I immediately felt that awful stinging sensation as I pick out some of the lettuce. I couldn't do it without touching the nettles. I tried thinning another area and left with a handful of lettuce for the chickens.
Looking over at the other raised bed that was filled with nettles I said to myself, "I will be down here tomorrow morning with the Prospector's gauntlet gloves and a long sleeved shirt. You are toast. There will be pumpkin seeds planted in this spot, my stinging friends, and you will be compost."
The nettle just sat there waving at me in the morning breeze, looking beautiful and green.
Tomorrow it will all be gone and I will have retrieved my vegetable bed from its clutches. I hope.

I took the handful of lettuce up to the chicken coop and threw it into the enclosure. The hens were so excited. They love lettuce. Squeaky, our banty hen, ran around them grabbing a piece of lettuce and running to a corner, squeaking the whole time.
I went around to the big door and into the hen house and Squeaky greeted me through the chicken entrance.
She expected me to bring a special bunch of lettuce (just for her) like I do with the scratch. I didn't have anything "special" for her this time and she was obviously miffed.
 She kept squeaking at me and running around.
"Well, Farmlady, where is my "special" serving of...?
 She walked over to the feeder with the egg maker grain in it and acted like she couldn't reach  into the feeder... like it was just too difficult for her.
She normally has no problem.
"Come on Squeak'. Don't be such a drama queen." I said.
I went over and checked for eggs. There was one in the big box. A pretty, light brown one.
  The Roadies had been laying this morning, all ready. Good girls!
Speaking of Roadies, one of my old red hens came in and started for the feeder. Squeaky saw her coming.
The Roadie was just looking for more lettuce but Squeaky thought the big hen was on the attack.
That's how Squeaky is. She always thinks the sky is falling..
 Squeaky got that look on her face... that wide eyed, deer in the headlights look. She whirled around...
and hightailed it to safety, behind a storage container.
Oh Squeak' What am I going to do with you. Life is just not fair and fears can be disabling , real or not.
See you tonight... I will bring some "special" scratch... just for you.
I promise.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Found Gold

Our friend left yesterday morning. He was a long way from home and it was time to hit the road.
Both he and The Prospector drove to Manteca for a reunion luncheon that happens every month down there. My husband goes down frequently, but this was Al's first time, in many years, seeing a lot of the people that he graduated with.
They mingled with some old high school friends, had lunch and then they said goodbye to each other and went in two different directions. The Prospector headed back up here and Al got on the highway heading north, back to Washington... and home.
We will see him again in September at a big 50 year high school reunion. (Yes, we have known them a long time.) He and his wife Ginny will both be down here. We are looking forward to this trip and seeing them again.
 It was a good visit. Al is an easy person to have around. His quiet manner and willingness to go with the flow makes him really easy company. He even fixed us dinner Tuesday night. Yes, that's what I call good company.
 I emailed Ginny and sent some pictures. She promised me that they would be here. We are going to hold them to their word. After all, we will be the best looking, youngest couples at the reunion. Right guys?

You will never guess what I found. I was watering the plants on the porch and ...
I guess we didn't get an accurate count on those Easter eggs when my grandsons were out there finding them  on Easter morning. I found a green egg in the ivy.( No ham... just one green egg.)
"Hey Beans! You missed one. Now Papa will have to eat the chocolate inside the egg."

And then, as if someone was leaving me small surprised, I found another treat.
 Remember the candy that my friend from Michigan sent me for my birthday? Well... I found one little box hiding in the corner of a drawer. There it was wrapped in its foil, inside this pretty little box, looking like the fine Italian candy that it is. I set the box out on top of the buffet and relished the idea that no one was home and... it was all mine. Like finding gold in the bottom of my gold pan, I marveled at its beauty.
  I opened the container and slowly pulled the silver wrapper from the pretty box. Then I  removed the candy from its shinny wrapper. This La Florentine torrone is a wonderful candy with almonds and lemon, orange or vanilla nougat.
I had saved the big box that the little boxes were in and this is what is said on the back:
We blend together crunchy almonds, smooth golden honey, pure cane sugar, fluffy egg whites, as well as rich flavors pressed from the finest oranges, lemons and vanilla beans.
No artificial preservatives or coloring of any kind are added.
This one was orange. There it was. waiting for me to finish its bon bon, nougat goodness.
So, I did...
Going, going, gone... until only crumbs were left. I licked my fingers. The wrapper laid crumpled and empty on the buffet.
 Receiving this candy was an act of love from a friend and eating this last piece reminded me of distant memories in my childhood. As I bit into it, all the holidays with my Italian relatives came back. It was a remembered taste. A taste mixed with long ago.
One little candy with so much nostalgia packed into it. Such good memories in something small, found in the back of a drawer.
After Al left, I found the delicious chicken he fixed us for dinner. We ate it again for dinner last night thinking about the enjoyable visit.
A green plastic egg, found in the ivy, reminded me of a wonderful Easter with my family.
The little box of nougat candy in a drawer that brought back memories of a found friend and my childhood long ago.
Each discovered with joy, reminding me of a wonderful time, laughing grandchildren, good friends and family.
How sweet is fate? How delicious is the chance of finding gold in the bottom of my pan?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

There's a Strange Truck in the Driveway

And a strange man in my house.
He's not really a strange man... he's an old friend who went to school with The Prospector and has come down from Washington State to visit. 
We are so glad he's here. 
Lot's of reminiscing going on.
Lot's of talk about " The good old days".
The only thing missing is... his wife, Ginny. 
With all the fishing going on, it would be nice if you were here to keep me company. I can just take so much talk about big fish and "Remember Manteca when it was mostly chicken ranches and no freeways. 
We could be shopping... and having lunch together, girl. 

They went fishing again this morning. I think I will go for a hike or FELT something.

 This is the man who stood up for us when we got married and we did the same for them... in Manteca... when it was all chicken farms...
 He and the Prospector have known each other for a long time.
It's a good visit.