Wednesday, May 28, 2014


What have I been doing for seventeen days?

Late spring/summer apparently has much more activity to offer me than deep dark winter and crisp, cool autumn.  I shall write a list of my goings-on:

It is cherry season on the West Coast.  I have cherry orchard customers who want attention, and they WANT IT NOW.  Orchard growers and people in the orchard research biz are the nicest people to work for and with.  So, even though they want my attention NOW, they always say it with a smile, (because I can hear smiles over the phone), and end it with a thank you.  I have only experienced one unkind person in the orchard biz (and he did not get my biz), and although we get occasional frustrated customers (because not all orchard growers are computer geeks), the best in my recollection is the woman who RANTED and RAVED and RANTED yet again and again because her equipment was not working and IT WAS ALL OUR FAULT.  Granted, a cherry season is short and time is of essence in all things harvest-driven.  But her apology at the end of the season was sweeter than honey, when she realized (actually, we realized it for her), that her testing instrument, which we had sold to her, was not even plugged into the wall.  And she, my friends, was a university professor.  It happens to the best of us.

Ten days after our return from Richmond, VA, that Spouse o' Mine embarked on a trip to Ghana.  He is still there.  Things are really quiet around our place.  I get sporadic email and garbly phone calls from him, depending on the phone and internet capabilities of any given area he is traveling in.  He is on a team of USAID workers (Agency for International Development) who are on a 5-year project to implement improved post-harvest handling practices amongst grain growers in Ghana.

After two years of lavender planting and propagating, I asked a tractor-owning neighbor of ours to plow a swath of land for my lavender farm.  OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration.  Yes, he did plow a swath of land.  Yes, I have lavender to plant.  But while most small lavender farms hold as many as 6000 lavender plants, mine will be a 50+ plant lavender farm.  No, I am not planning to make essential oils or sell soaps or things like that.  I just want a large plot of lavender to enjoy.

Thursday Women's Bike Rides have commenced for the summer.  I am helping with drumming up interest and routes for said activities.  It's a fun group of women who started riding together last summer, and this year we are starting earlier and plan to ride well into fall.

College Boy Graham graduates in two weeks.  Saints be praised, NO MORE TUITION PAYMENTS.  I know, I know, most parents endure this just like we have.  We put three kids through college, and some semesters called for three tuition payments at the same time.  Gulp.  But you know what?  My parents somehow managed to put five kids through college, very often paying multiple tuitions per semester.  I have no clue how they managed it, but I suspect prayer was involved.

Daughter Gillian has spent a year exploring Cape Cod while gainfully employed, and announced last month that no one under fifty can afford to live on Cape Cod, and that she was heading west, to Colorado.
Here she is on her brief stop in rural Kansas, down the road from our house:
 College Boy Graham is leaving for Australia soon after graduation.  He will visit the Aussie Gma & Gpa, and the Aussie aunties and uncles and cousins.  He has been to Australia twice, although once was in utero and while he will not recollect that trip, I do.  I so, so, so do.  Morning sickness and all that it encompasses magnifies when one travels across something like twelve time zones.  I do recall that trip well.

Daughter Gillian is contemplating joining Graham on his adventure to points Southern Hemisphere.  That Spouse o' Mine and I concur: go while you're inbetween jobs.  My weeks have been spent reminding the two to make airline reservations soon, before fares go up...get Int'l Youth Hostel cards (because one can travel cheaply and meet fun people...most times), check insurance and driver's licenses, do you have a tetanus shot? and what about health insurance...I hope you two are applying for jobs even as we speak, you can always decline a job, but you can't make one appear out of thin air...I think you should stop in Hawaii...I think you should stop in New Zealand... I think you...

Uh-oh.  This mother should sit back and be quiet.

This past week was a glorious show of Springtime at her best. Our roses, roses, peonies, salvia, clematis, and lilies all went !POOF! and bloomed overnight, it seems:

June is Bustin' Out all Over

Well, June is not too far away.  It is a beautiful time here in rural Kansas.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Once in my young motherhood, MY mother mentioned something about refraining from chiding "No" or "Hush" or "Stop that" over and over again to young children, because they will end up tuning the admonitions out. 

Fast-forward to this morning's pre-sunrise walk in the pasture:  A few days ago, upon return from Virginia, I took the mower out and mowed my summer paths which lead me around what will soon be hip-high brome grass.  I took Biserka the Nutcase Dog along with me this morning - she loves these walks. 

As we neared the creek, I spied a very pretty, fluffy tail, high in the air, on the mown path just ahead of us.  Beautiful black with a silvery stripe along the middle.  Yep - Mr. Skunk was utilizing MY path to go about his morning business!  Of all the gall.  I stood stock-still because A) I wanted to watch him, and B) I didn't want to alarm him.

Well, things were just fine until Biserka the Nutcase spied the tail, and she took off pell-mell after Mr. Skunk. 

Thank goodness I don't call Biserka down much - if at all.  (She is, after all, a nutcase and is too timid to merit much scolding.)  I screamed "BISERKA!!! NOOoooooo!"

And you know what?  She stopped.  Right there, dead in her tracks.  She turned around and looked at me, and stayed right where she was.  I was really, really lucky this morning.  I had visions of major dog-bathing filling up my entire Sunday.

And here it is, Mother's Day, and I want to share a really, really big pet peeve of mine.  I HATE it when someone, more often that not a veterinarian, sees me with my dog and calls me "Mom".  I hate it so much that once when a new vet said something to my dog along the line of, "Tell your Mom blah blah blah..."  And I leaned over to the dog's ear and said , "Tell Dr. ****  that I am NOT a bitch."

That vet never called me Mom again.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Southern Living

I planted cotton this morning. I am making a Southern Garden this year: cotton, peanuts, coffee, tea, and rice.  I am not doing this for anything more than a learning experience.  Stay tuned...

Hopeful mental image:

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Fast-Forwarding Life!

Wowza.  Where did the last ten days go??  Where did I go??

Ah, yes: We (that Spouse o' Mine and I) went to Richmond, Virginia.  Home of southern manners, shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, southern accents, and of course, our daughter Claire and her husband, Rich.  Daughter Gillian and her friend Roscelle also joined in the fun, coming down from Cape Cod, in what was supposed to be a morning flight only a few (read: three, at maximum), hours long, but ended up many, many hours into their day - as Gillian put it: they could have driven from Cape Cod to Virginia in the time it took them to fly on that particular day.  The clouds and the winds made the Eastern Seaboard flights iffy and bumpy.  Even I, a former flight attendant, was not comfortable with our final approach into D.C.

But what fun, what fun, once we were all together.  I love our adult kids.  (Note: I loved our little kids as well.)  It is so fun to chat and laugh and banter and muse with them.  We really felt the absence of College Boy Graham, out on the West Coast, though.  Happily, he is completing his final quarter of college and come mid-June, he graduates and we have no more thoughts of tuition payments and such.  Wowee: another parenting chapter, closed.  I love closing some of our parenting chapters.

What's fun about our family is that we feel free to "move about the cabin", as it were.  None of us felt obligated to participate in everything everyone else wanted to do.  Some of us went cycling, some went running, some went shopping (me), some went to church (me), and the list goes on - because it truly was  non-stop activities, the choices of which were endless.  We even gardened and mulched.

Such a good time was had by all.
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