Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A June Tuesday

This morning's 5:00 am lightning kept me in bed one more hour, and then, up for coffee and nowhere to go: not down the road on a run, not up on a ladder to paint...the pesky lightning just intermittently paid a calling card.

So at 7:00 am, I headed into town to get groceries - we were out of milk, which puts us coffee drinkers in dire straits.  I pulled into the giant (and empty) parking lot, and a sign caught my eye:

Roses - $2.00   

Really?  Six rose bushes and quite a few groceries later, I headed home to sunshine and began planting my roses.  (My rule is: Purchase only what plants you can put in the ground today.")   After the rose-planting biz, I put on my painting clothes (more on that later), and commenced scampering up and down and up and down the paint ladders.

Boy, am I having a fun summer.  Up, down, up, down, up, down.  It should be a mountain in Colorado instead of a ladder in rural Kansas.

My painting clothes?  I have 2 pairs of sweats cut off  just below the knee (not unlike a fetching pair of kicky capris, only they're not.)  A week into this "Let's Paint the House"- themed summer, I went to the Wal Mart and purchased a 6-pack of white cotton t-shirts for a princely sum of $8.00, and I am making good use of them each day.  My sweat-capris and white t-shirts have all sorts of paint spatters on them.  If I see a "drip" on the house, I catch it with my thumb (or hand, if it's a REALY big problem), and then I smear it across my sweats or shirt.  No rags needed for this painter.

Yep.  I am professional.  No doubt about it.

This evening I am making vegetarian quesadillas.  I have never made a quesadilla.  In fact, I am not sure I have ever eaten one.  I had to call daughter Gillian on Cape Cod to ask her about the structure of a dang quesadilla.  ("Dang Quesadilla" is something the college boy Graham ate last weekend at a local cafe, so he told me, and I think that is what planted this epicurial seed in my head.)  That Spouse o' Mine is off on a lengthy bike ride, and I hear the college boy Graham readying for a run (10 miles or so?), and that means I have a bit of time to figure out this dang quesadilla business. 

And time to get the paint off my hands.  By the way: the house is looking really nice!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Twenty four hours: 

Ten hours driving.

Eight hours sleeping.

Two hours swimming.

Four hours kissing babies, hugging nieces, nephews, inlaws, outlaws, siblings, elders, and whoever walked past.

And home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

That was fast.  But a very nice mid-summer pick-me-up.  Family has a way of doing that, you know.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Poem for June

I may have posted this poem in past years.  That's OK, because A) I really like James Whitcomb Riley, and B) One cannot read or recite this poem too often.  And so, here it is:
(Oh, and it's better if you rad it out loud.  The vernacular, especially if you've grown up in Oklahoma, really makes the poem sing!)

Knee-Deep in June

Tell you what I like the best --
'Long about knee-deep in June,
'Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine, -- some afternoon
Like to jes' git out and rest,
And not work at nothin' else!

Orchard's where I'd ruther be --
Needn't fence it in fer me! --
Jes' the whole sky overhead,
And the whole airth underneath --
Sort o' so's a man kin breathe
Like he ort, and kind o' has
Elbow-room to keerlessly
Sprawl out len'thways on the grass
Where the shadders thick and soft
As the kivvers on the bed
Mother fixes in the loft
Allus, when they's company!

Jes' a-sort o' lazin there -
S'lazy, 'at you peek and peer
Through the wavin' leaves above,
Like a feller 'ats in love
And don't know it, ner don't keer!
Ever'thing you hear and see
Got some sort o' interest -
Maybe find a bluebird's nest
Tucked up there conveenently
Fer the boy 'at's ap' to be
Up some other apple tree!
Watch the swallers skootin' past
Bout as peert as you could ast;
Er the Bob-white raise and whiz
Where some other's whistle is.

Ketch a shadder down below,
And look up to find the crow --
Er a hawk, - away up there,
'Pearantly froze in the air! --
Hear the old hen squawk, and squat
Over ever' chick she's got,
Suddent-like! - and she knows where
That-air hawk is, well as you! --
You jes' bet yer life she do! --
Eyes a-glitterin' like glass,
Waitin' till he makes a pass!

Pee-wees wingin', to express
My opinion, 's second-class,
Yit you'll hear 'em more er less;
Sapsucks gittin' down to biz,
Weedin' out the lonesomeness;
Mr. Bluejay, full o' sass,
In them baseball clothes o' his,
Sportin' round the orchad jes'
Like he owned the premises!
Sun out in the fields kin sizz,
But flat on yer back, I guess,
In the shade's where glory is!
That's jes' what I'd like to do
Stiddy fer a year er two!

Plague! Ef they ain't somepin' in
Work 'at kind o' goes ag'in'
My convictions! - 'long about
Here in June especially! --
Under some ole apple tree,
Jes' a-restin through and through,
I could git along without
Nothin' else at all to do
Only jes' a-wishin' you
Wuz a-gittin' there like me,
And June wuz eternity!

Lay out there and try to see
Jes' how lazy you kin be! --
Tumble round and souse yer head
In the clover-bloom, er pull
Yer straw hat acrost yer eyes
And peek through it at the skies,
Thinkin' of old chums 'ats dead,
Maybe, smilin' back at you
In betwixt the beautiful
Clouds o'gold and white and blue! --
Month a man kin railly love --
June, you know, I'm talkin' of!

March ain't never nothin' new! --
April's altogether too
Brash fer me! and May -- I jes'
'Bominate its promises, --
Little hints o' sunshine and
Green around the timber-land --
A few blossoms, and a few
Chip-birds, and a sprout er two, --
Drap asleep, and it turns in
Fore daylight and snows ag'in! --
But when June comes - Clear my th'oat
With wild honey! -- Rench my hair
In the dew! And hold my coat!
Whoop out loud! And th'ow my hat! --
June wants me, and I'm to spare!
Spread them shadders anywhere,
I'll get down and waller there,
And obleeged to you at that!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rural Kansas

Ugh.  95 ยบ out this evening.  Have I mentioned that we are painting our house?  The exterior.  "WE" being the operative word.  That Spouse o' Mine and I began scraping and priming when it was still cool and quite nice out last week.  And the painting has commenced.  We have two large porches with roof overhangs, and that's been my main haunt this week during painting hours.  Scrape, prime, paint, trimwork...scampering up and down ladders in windy weather.  The first two days I was a bit reticent to venture too high on the ladders, but I am feeling more and more at ease with each passing, painting day.  I think I am building up a tremendous right arm; I may have to start up my tennis game again - I might have a mighty serve at the end of this mammoth job!

Martin, our tiny little kitten, is in the way during this painting biz.  Last week he managed to polka-dot himself with white paint.  Tonight, though, is the worst.  I was painting "Misty Something" (blue), and Martin managed to climb some bricks 12" above ground, and arch his entire backside into "Misty Something".  He looks like a baby skunk with a blue stripe.  I am so sorry, Melissa!  (former owner)

I had a fun morning today.  My schedule of late has been to head outdoors as the sun rises, paintbrush in hand.  But this morning I was distracting myself with all things non-painting.  I just did not have the energy.  And lo and behold, that Spouse o' Mine called me mid-morning: Would I like to work in his lab today?  (He is a BioSystems Engineer who works for USDA and his job title is "Scientist".)  He mentioned, "And it has air conditioning!"  Well, that won hands-down over sweating like a pig on a June mid-morning.  Off I went...

My job was to measure soybeans for their oil content.  They first went through an NIR (near-infared)
spectroscopy (which that Spouse o' Mine developed!) and then my job was to place each soybean into a test tube, weigh each soybean in milligrams (a soybean weighs ~100-200 mg, by the way; compare that to a 325 mg aspirin.), and then move that test tube to another machine, an NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) which takes the weight and gauges the oil content.  Kind of like an MRI picks up things at your local hospital.  Kind of.  It was really menial labor, tedious, and yet, I had fun.  I have honed a fine, fine skill of guessing the weight of a soybean.

The cherry season has begun in Washington State, and that is big stuff in our household here in rural Kansas.  My work, aside from painting houses (and kittens) blue and weighing soybeans, is to make and sell testing instruments and equipment to orchard growers around the world.  And this season is U.S.A. and Canada cherry season.  I have to say, orchard growers and packing house folks are the nicest people to work for.  Really nice people! 

Speaking of Washington...the BEST news of the week is that college boy Graham returns to rural Kansas from Western Washington Uni. this weekend.  For the summer.  It will be so good to see his smiling face in real life, not on Facebook, not on Skype.  

And that's the news from rural Kansas.  Oh, wait...

Our hayfield has never looked so good!

Friday, June 07, 2013


I am probably not a real quilter.  Real quilters crank out several quilts each year, or even each month.  I must be a quilter wannabe.  I have many starts, many plans, and many nearly-dones.  But my annual quota is far surpassed by the folks I call "Quilters in the Know".

They know how to start.  How to plan, to assess.  How to gauge fabric and backing and binding: piecing, basting, tying or quilting... Time.

Tonight I went up to the art room and some familiar fabric caught my eye:  from my grandmother, Gram.  My sister Barb gave it to me some time before she, my only sister, passed away eight years ago.  Gram had given Barb this fabric, and now I have it, to do something creative.

And that is where I am this evening, loving the generations that are my family.

Here is a quilt I finished last year, a bargello quilt for my niece Katarina:
 And now, I am going back upstairs to look at the age-old fabric that my sister gave me, that our grandmother, Gram, gave her.

Like Marthe Stewart in the old days: 

"It's a good thing."

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Little Tykes

So we have the new kitten, Martin.  He is funny and inquisitive about everything.  He stands up on his haunches whenever he feels the urge.  He skittles sideways anytime he thinks it will benefit his well-being.  If I pick him up and lay him on my chest, he wants to climb higher and higher - and I remark to him, "Martin, you cannot enter my head, you know."  Where does he think he is heading?

He plays with grass, with leaves, with a crack on the wall that is filled with shadow.  He plays with shoe strings attached to ankles.  He plays with the great big MacArthur - even jumping on his back.  MacArthur doesn't react; perhaps he doesn't feel the little gnat on his back.

This afternoon while I was in the grocery store, I saw an older cowboy, perhaps a grandfather, and a little boy, about three or four.  The pair wore jeans, workshirts, and cowboy boots.  The grandfather was grey under his hat and had a handlebar mustache.  The little boy had buzz-cut blonde hair.  The little boy looked around his surroundings and was off!  Just like Martin Kitten.  The little cowpoke saw a bench and ran to it - climbed up on it, and then hopped off and moved on to anther site.  Just like Martin Kitten - and so on, through the grocery store.  He was really fun to watch. 

After I made my rounds down the grocery aisles, I moved to the cashier, and there was the pair: the grandfather cowboy was cradling the little tyke cowpoke, who was nearly dozing off in his arms.

Not unlike Martin Kitten, who runs and runs and then suddenly stops: time for a tiny cat nap before starting all over again. 

Monday, June 03, 2013


This is Martin:

This is MacArthur:

MacArthur closes his eyes when Martin approaches.  He thinks when he reopens them, the little gnat will be gone.  Martin is about as big as MacArthur's tail.  Martin likes to pounce on the tail.  He does not realize that there is a 20+-lb older cat attached to that fluffy, swaying object. 

The pouncing gnat causes great consternation to the larger cat.  MacArthur's tail begins switching back and forth, angrily.  Oh, the fun that a swiftly moving object holds for a young kitten! 

Pounce!  Switch!

Pounce!  Switch!

Will this game never end?

 Finally, MacArthur has had enough.  Up he the roof!  Sad day in the life of a cat when he has to retreat from youthful exuberance!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...