Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Around the Place:

The Grotto Pond

Bees in Lavender

Mother Duck. So she thinks.

Grotto Friend

Pasture Visitor

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pumpkins' Progress:

Only 125 growing days left in The Great White Pumpkin Contest.

I have begun to see some rapid growth on the vines this week...

Something ate my vine! Stealth intrusion!

Yesterday I set up a fence around my pumpkin patch,
to keep out stampeding ponies and marauding bloodhounds.

Now...we shall just sit back and watch the vines grow...and grow...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Morning Fun and Prayers

I awoke way too early this morning (3:20 am), and that is, of course, when all the ills and fears and troubles rear their ugly heads. Not to mention, I was hot. So I thrashed a bit, and then I awoke again at a proper hour (7:45). I got up and began my morning ritual (my gosh: I am old, if I have a morning ritual) of starting coffee, feeding cats and fish in the grotto.

The grotto was cool. The sky was overcast. Could it be? A cool morning?

But I saw trees swaying. Not a good sign.

I headed into the study and consulted NOAA Weather. It said: "Ride your bikes into church this morning with the glorious overcast sky, the 70º temperature, and the 18 mph tailwind."

Yippee! I trotted into our bedroom where that Spouse o' Mine was STILL catatonic, nudged him furtively and announced the weather report. Once. Twice. Waiting for movement, waiting for signs of life...

He rolled over, and that was his downfall. I announced the weather report, and the fact that we should take advantage of it, and please, please, PLEASE LET'S DO THIS!

He got up. He made it to the coffee maker. And he shut down.

I prodded him once again: Come on! It will be GREAT! It will be your recovery ride! (Because last night he rode 38 miles to my 8 miles...)

After quite a bit of cheerleading, prodding w/ a verbal cattle prod (call it as you see it.), he opted in. This, after I was already in my normal cycling shorts and jersey. Cycling shoes on. Ready to go, I was.

But, wait. Why is HE putting on church clothes? Pants and a shirt? What the heck?!

He didn't want to stand out, apparently.

But off we went, he in his church clothes, and I in cycling shorts (I changed from my jersey to a shirt which would "work" with the skirt I had in my backpack, along with my kicky summer sandals.)

I have to mention here, that I felt like I was cycling with some Mormon missionary.

The 13 or so miles went quickly: 19-20 mph average, and even a few 25 mph stretches. We got to church, and I pulled off my backpack. That Spouse o' Mine mentioned that I had sweat marks on my back. Ick. I had not anticipated that! I went inside and traded my cycling shorts for the skirt and sandals, and we went into the sanctuary.


After church (well, I have to say, that Spouse o' Mine opted to leave service right after communion {so that noone would see us}, we hopped on our bikes, to go to his place of employment, where he had a car parked: YAY for this (and this was our plan all along), we would drive home in the cool of car AC instead of battling hot and humid headwinds which might indeed make me swear - this after a nice church service.

But Lo & Behold! Some 24 hours, and again some 2 hours, beforehand, that Spouse o' Mine had said, "You have got to get new tires for your bike."

Wowee. Is he a foreseer into the future, or what?! I turned into an intersection going quite fast, and not 15 seconds later, I felt an explosion on my legs: my back tire "blew". "Was blown" ? "Exploded"?

All I can say is that my legs felt the explosion. That Spouse o' Mine went ahead without me to collect the car, and I was left on a park bench to wave at passersby for several minutes.

Once home again, jiggety-jig, I mentioned that we were better off today for having done the ride, and that, yes, tomorrow I WILL get new tires on my bike.

I love that at age 51, I have worn out my bike tires.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Football

Ha! That blog entry title is sort of bogus. Entirely bogus? Yes. But it's a fun, hilarious memory.

Way back in the days of motherhood with young grade school kids, we lived in a university town which held the most amazing university pool. The pool was for university students, alum, and faculty. We fit two items in the bill, alum and faculty, and we were a shoo-in. (Well, we were paying shoo-ins.) Summers saw us in the pool all the time. ALL THE TIME.

I have no idea what triggers memories, some synapse or other, some flashback, or other, and in this case, perhaps a post-traumatic case of some sort or other. It's funny now, but at the time, I stood stock-still in bewilderment.

I had taken our three kids, ages probably something like 5, 8, and 9 years old to the university pool. We would all frolic, and we met other families and enjoyed their aquatic company there.
This afternoon, in my flashback memory, shows our three kids frolicking gaily and showing off their newly-accomplished strokes and aquatic maneuvers.

In an arrival that mimicked an Oklahoma hailstorm, the entire Oklahoma State University football team entered the tranquil pool in the heat of the Oklahoma afternoon. These weren't
your regular swimmers. Your regular ANYTHING. These men were like giant water buffalo, looking to cool off after an afternoon of whatever football players/giant water buffalo do. They jumped in the water. They cannon-balled into the water. And then the activity got even more - frantic? The football players began dunking each other and holding their victims under.

More splashing, more WAVES (I kid you not: think about 200-300+ lb men "frolicking" in a pool!)

I hauled our kids out from the get-go. How could they survive a football player tsunami??

I don't know what made me remember this day. I just remember the giant men, jumping in and playing like...little kids.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I am sitting here in the study. Facing south. I have the west blinds drawn, yet the sun is still peeking in at 7:45 pm. It's peeking in my west/northwest window.

The wind is blowing 34 mph. Gusts, it says, but I am not seeing any gusts. I am seeing willow trees bowing down to the earth.

The temperature is 75º. I can deal with that! Yessirree, 75 windy degrees surely beats the 95+º windy degrees we wilted in yesterday.

So here we have it: Summer Solstice, longest day of the year, and for Kansas standards, not too bad of a Longest Day.

Come on, fall and winter. Come on...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday, Monday

Well, this is exciting!

Eaglets: Empty Nest

So these eaglets were hatches approximately 2.5 months ago. Three eggs, three eaglets. Now an empty nest. At least in the day. How fun!

Other Monday news...

I awoke at 5:00 am (without aid of an alarm), and mentally planned my morning: run to the cemetery (2.5 miles), carry a shovel out to the pasture and dig up wildflowers (see: Garden Tour), frolic with the Bloodhound (Biserka, the Bouvier, is an easy keeper, and wants no more to do in this heat than I do, so she is grateful for a headpat and a kind word. Beau, on the other hand, has needs to expend ~ 3000 calories of energy before breakfast. More on him later.), attend to orchard growers' needs around the world, and make goat cheese. Sounded simple in my 5:00 am head. Get it all done BEFORE THE HEAT SETS IN.

I made my coffee and after a quick cup, headed out for my run. And it wasn't going to be a walk/run or a run/walk, it was going to be A RUN. Now...I noticed, as I was making coffee, the treetops bending towards the earth. It didn't register until I got out onto the road, away from windbreaks, that this wind meant serious business. 24 mph winds? At the crack of dawn?? Omigoodness, I couldn't even run or walk in a straight line. Worthless. I went half the distance of my goal, and returned home.

I frolicked with Beau the Bloodhound. I think he was anticipating my one word: "PASTURE!!!!" after which he, Biserka, and the cat Euripides gleefully line up at the pasture gate to stampede out to acres of freedom. But after yesterday's little fiasco, when Beau caught the scent of perhaps the last living dodo bird on this earth and bounded (3' high bounds, I kid you not - like a 120-lb bunny rabbit) into the next county, after which Biserka cast a fleeting glance at me, and bounded after him (maybe 2.5' bounds), in pack mentality, and I can see that this is going to be a run-on sentence, I am so sorry, Mrs. Mitchell, and perhaps a half hour later both dogs reappeared from the poison ivy and tick-infested woods and creek bed, where Beau was NOT sporting his AKC Bloodhound harness and 10 meter equine longe line...

Where was I going with this?

Oh. Beau and I frolicked in his yard this morning.

I collected wildflowers. If they are to survive the transplant will be seen next June. Stay tuned...

I attended to some cherry queries and quandaries, and then...

I started my goat cheese!

And there you have it: Monday, Monday.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Day for Fathers

Father's Day. Does it mean anything different this year, from last year, or last decade's, or from when I was a child? It does, and doesn't.

Things I have always known about my father:

People respect him.

He is funny.

He enjoys another's sense of humor.

He is very kind.

And thoughtful.

He is a bit of a jock.

He is jaunty.

He encourages everyone; he is the world's coach.

He loves his wife of many decades. (This is the best on my list.)

He loves us kids, and grandkids. We respect him, laugh with him, learn from his kindness and his thoughtfulness. He urges us all to try - to learn - to attempt - to create - to compete - to achieve.

What a legacy.

I love my Dad. Happy Father's Day to everyone. I hope you have a celebration about your fathers, too.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Photos:

Black and Yellow Argiope

Argiope aurantia

People wonder why I don't kill spiders.
Spiders eat things I DON'T like.
(Same as snakes.)
In the night, these spiders eat their old webs and spin new ones. One morning I walked outside and tripped up into a spider web - head-height. I flailed for a brief moment, maybe said a bad word that early in the morning, and went on with whatever I was doing. (Because now, 20/20 hindsight, I cannot recall anything leading up to the moment when I felt something on my forehead.) I swept my hand across my face, and felt something large and plastic-y.

It was a Black and Yellow Argiope. On my face.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Days

As has become something of a summertime routine, I awoke this morning before the sunrise, made coffee, and headed out the door. Some mornings I head down one road or another, doing a run or walk or combination of both. Some mornings, I gather two dogs and a cat and head out for the pasture to see the sunrise.

That was this morning's destination. I had a small thermos of coffee and a china cup, a Bouvier, a Bloodhound, and an awesome long-haired black cat as my company. We went out as the pink orb surfaced in the east-northeast sky. I sat on an upturned horse tank and enjoyed my brew. The dogs frolicked, and the cat explored in the cool of the day.

An hour later saw me feeding ponies and hand-feeding my little ducklings. Well - they are not so little anymore, and some of their voices have begun changing. No longer a unison chant of peep! peep!, now it's a harmony of peeps and baby-quacks.

I try my best, these summer days, to beat the heat. So next, I moved on to transplanting lavender and putting in lantana, watering a few garden areas, and as the sweat began to emerge, I headed in to the air conditioning. I am a wimp.

But a happy wimp, in the AC. Cool inside; 70% humidity outside.

I hated to go into town, but errands are errands, so I thought up a couple of fun things to do in between errands: check out sales at the greenhouses, stop by the library, grab a sandwich down by the late morning could be fun!

At my first errand (grocery store!), my cell rang: Farrier: coming in 1.5 hours. Our farrier is more than capable of calling the horses up to the barn and helping himself into the tack room for halters and lead ropes. But our two dogs are not so welcoming of strangers that it would be a smooth morning for the farrier, and we do appreciate our good farrier! So instead of enjoying my sales at the greenhouses and the cool AC in the library, and a fun sandwich down by the university, I did my errands and headed back home to situate the situation.

Later, as he and I were chatting in the drive (farriers have all the news of all the area!), an acquaintance drove past. I waved, and she backed up (only in Wabaunsee can one back up on a highway), and called out, "Do you want some goat's milk?"

Well, of COURSE I wanted goat's milk. I want to make cheese. chèvre. How fun to have it ready to serve at our mini-potluck tomorrow?

The mini potluck means we, at the last minute (48 hrs' notice), invited several households out to our house for a gathering of food, and a mere few have rsvp's that they will be coming. Silly wheat harvest and families from Germany arriving and the ilk are interfering with our hospitality. That's ok; we have enough people for bocce and golf or whatever.

Just another summer day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gardening Woes

There's not much going on in the Darwinian Gardens this year. Yes, I have 6-8 tomato plants tucked in amongst the WAY out-of-control horseradish that somehow got tilled up and over and around the garden a few years ago. If I am not weekly-vigilant, that root root. And it has, in a bad way.

And I have a row or two or three of collard greens, in various stages of life. Two rows overwintered, and that was dandy for the springtime "fresh-green" needs that we craved. But somewhere in that time frame, some of the greens bolted (even though it was still frosty outdoors), producing lovely yellow flowers. So lovely, in fact, and full of fragrance, that I added them to 16 small arrangements I did for a funeral luncheon at our church. (I almost added the incredible white flowers from my huge amount of horseradish from around the yard that somehow got tilled up and over and around the garden a few years ago, {is this a broken record?}, but thought better of it, in case someone actually asked me what the glorious fragrance was - and it IS amazingly sweet, given the root from which it arises: "Oh? That's our horseradish.")

More troubling was the Darwinian way the collard greens took to seed, and took to our green lawn. One day that Spouse o' Mine came in the house and commented that something like cabbage was sprouting all over the yard. (Note: we have a very large yard.) Later I went out and quickly recognized the plants in question: collard greens. All over our lawn. Huh.

Oh, well.

This month's woes have to do w/ a a broken rototiller. Not just any rototiller, but a Sears one. One that seemingly cannot be "gotten into" by anyone but a Sears man. And apparently, the Sears men in Kansas have all gone to Tahiti. But I am jumping ahead...

A couple of years ago I went out and purchased a little rototiller. One that my 5'2" body could manage. Hey - I'm not plowing for wheat, I just wanted a little thing to do the walk and the garden and an occasional plot. Its tag touted "easy start!" "lightweight!" and such. And for two years, it worked grandly.

This spring, that Spouse o' Mine "borrowed" it. (I say this, because for 27 years we have not been compatible in the gardening arena, and this tiller was MY tiller. Mine. I purchased it so that I could use it.) His version of what transpired is that he simply pulled the starter cord, and it came flying off the rototiller, into his hands. No more starter cord. Funny, though, that not 15 minutes later, he came into the house and proceeded to pull the cord to open our attic door, and lo and behold, it, too came off in his hands.

Is there a testosterone problem in this tale?! I told him, MY GOSH!! CAN YOU PLEASE BE A LITTLE MORE GENTLE WITH THINGS AROUND HERE?!

Ok. So, we have taken the tiller to a couple of places in town who have said it takes a Sears man. We called the Sears hotline. Someone in India whom I am quite confident has never run a rototiller tried to extract information from me - not about the tiller at all - just my name, email, bleh-de-blah-de-blah. This week that Spouse o' Mine tracked down a Sears repair center a few towns away from us. But, they have closed. Our option (singular), according to another lady in India, is to take our tiller to a Sears store, then someone will collect it from the store, take it to a repair center (where? In India?!) and then return it to the Sears store. I am not sure what the $$$ repair would be.

Today was a wonderful day - 70º or so. I got up at 5:00 am to have coffee and yoga before a little run. I had to wait till clear sun-up, though, to discern just where the thunderheads were gathering. I headed out east, 2 miles (running and walking, mind you), and then south for a mile. No kidding - when I got back to my front porch, I heard the first rumble of thunder. Lucky me.

I spent the morning (after the thunder clouds abated) weeding things which will probably not be weeded again this summer, and transplanting things. After I wrote this, what comes to mind is that Spouse 'o Mine's irritation some decades ago: "Trish, it's not furniture, you know."

Ha ha! The irises have moved, as well as some lavender. And the hostas?


Dwight D. Eisenhower

I am reading a book by Dwight D. Eisenhower.
(as part of my Non-Fiction Summer Reading)

Here is a quote by him:

"When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing and as we sat there in the warmth of the summer afternoon on a river bank, we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him that I wanted to be a real major league baseball player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he'd like to be president of the United States. Neither of us got our wish."

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tuesday Newsday:

I awoke and rolled out of bed at 5:00 am this morning. The sun was sort of up, and I was sort of awake, so it made sense to start my day. I am so glad I did.

After some coffee and yoga and a look at the news, I headed out on a run. A run/walk, if you will. Interestingly, there were several people out on Wabaunsee Road at the break of dawn. They must have read the same weather forecast as I had: HOT and WINDY. If the Kansas folk forecast WINDY, that means batten down the hatches. I waved and said hello to several people along my way, and then I headed home to attend to the canine residents at our place. They need exercise as much - no, more than I do - they go stark raving nutso if they don't get their sillies out a few times a day, and in the heat, they tend to lie around and think up bad-dog things to do around the yard: dig, chew on small trees, chase a cat or a duck, pester the slumbering ponies, bark at passing semis, - you name it. It's just better to spend half a hour out in the pasture, letting the dogs think they own the place, and let them chase scents of bunnies and foxes and such. Then they retreat quietly into the yard and snooze in the shade through the summer heat of the day.

Tonight that Spouse o' Mine and I went to a Wabaunsee potluck dinner, down at the Beecher Bible and Rifle Church. We visited with folks, both kith and stranger, and then we headed home.

Home this evening: where we normally enjoy two televisions, the one upstairs seems to be on a lightning/storm/end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it blink. That Spouse o' Mine wants to watch basketball. I want to watch Cats. We have one operational TV. B-Ball wins. I am going to go in and catch up on my magazine reading. I will catch Cats on DVD once again from the local library.

I do love that musical...

Monday, June 06, 2011

Family Time

I headed south for the weekend - to Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, my home town. The pretext was to help my parents after my mother's knee replacement surgery. Pretext, I say, because she didn't need help, nor did my Dad. They had it together, three days after surgery, when they arrived back home. Maybe it is a case of who needs whom? Sometimes I still need my parents, I guess. Sometimes I still need to know they are as I last left them. And they are...

I had fun! I saw three brothers, a couple of sisters-in-law, a niece here and a couple of nephs there...all three wonderfully fun next-generationals. I love seeing the grown-up versions of the little tykes from just a few years ago.

Last week, my PC took a major dive from some cliff in Acapulco, I think. It appeared that nothing, no files - no documents, no photos, survived. Where did it all go? Even though I had just made a backup of files the week before, it was disheartening. I emailed brothers, nephs, and computer friends. My Middle-Older Brother Bob emailed, "Just bring it home with you and someone will fix it." Wowee. Really?

Sure enough. Apparently when you get a couple of degrees in Computer Science, they award you with a magic wand. And that's all it takes, I think, because he re-delivered my PC to me this morning, all good to go. I paid him with chocolate chip cookies. Which he, Mister Triathlon, declined. So one of the nephs took a couple, and the rest are the property of the Parents in Pryor Creek.

Driving the 5 hours north towards home it was ~ 97-101º the entire jolly way. And my car's AC was not up to snuff. I called that Spouse o' Mine and whined, to which he replied, "Maybe it needs some coolant." Well, that did not cheer me one whit. I stopped at a Barnes and Noble for a city nature break, and, walking in the door, the COLD AC took my breath away. I stayed in B & N for 25 minutes because it felt SO NICE. AHhhhhhh......

And now I am home again, jiggety-jig. That Spouse o' Mine told me one duckling died in my absence, and for that I am sad. Well, 15 little guys and one big duck: that should still keep the beetles and bugs and grasshoppers at bay...

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

June's Bustin' Out!

I have wonderful, happy, funny memories of my sister Barb. We laughed together, sang together, shared secrets, were partners in hilarious crimes, talked on the phone too much... I wish everyone could have a sister relationship like we did.

I was thinking of her just a few days ago. I was driving in a hot Trailblazer that had no air conditioning, and I was beyond grumpy. I was sweating and irritable. But then my mind went back to a trip I took with my sister and my grandmother, from Oklahoma to Texas for a cousin's wedding. We went in Barb's car, which had no AC. And she and my grandmother sat in the front seats, and I in the back, and I swear THE HOT WIND MAKING MY HAIR FLY ALL OVER THE PLACE MADE ME CRAZY. Allthewhile, the two chirpy travelers in the front were smiling and cheery and commenting on how they LOVED driving with the windows down. I spent hours glowering on that drive. Years later Barb and I would die laughing about that trip: a college girl and her pre-teen sister, and their grandmother. What a mix.

I always think of Barb and this song in May, because each spring she would teach her class of 1st Graders to sing it. She and I sang it on the way to doctor's appointments in the spring before she died. This is a happy memory! It just goes to show you: the power of music.
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