Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer. Summer. Summer.

There's not much to report on at the moment, here in late July in rural Kansas. 



The weather, they say, is mild (I am STILL hot).  We are watering gardens and such every day.  The farmers are irrigating every day.  I kind of take my lead from them: if they are watering, well, then, so am I. 

In addition to the 169 lavender plants I put in this summer (The Summer of Lavender), I also declared it the Year of the Perennial.  Whether it was the lavender field (weeding, tilling, making troughs with a shovel, planting on hands & knees, weeding, coddling on hands & knees) or my age (54?) or the heat and wind (definitely), I am tired of the annual Planting of the Flowers.  Annuals, being the operative word.  Annuals must be put in every year.  The positive of annuals is that they flower all spring, summer, and fall.  Perennials, on the other hand, need only be planted once (with luck & a prayer), and the bloom for a few weeks each summer. But, with luck & the prayer, they will hang around indefinitely and bring joy each and every summer to one's garden.

Sadly, I think it's the "54" thing.  My knees hurt.

But!  Enough of that nonsense.  In other news, I feel like I have been inundated with negativity of late.  So much so that in my morning prayer today, I asked God to make sure I am a Positive Polly each day.  I don't want to be a 54 year-old Negative Nancy. 

I just looked out the window to across the field where a man on a tractor is taking a huge drink of water from his thermos.  He is cutting/baling hay.  Interesting that he is making small square bales (what we always ask for ) as opposed to the big round bales more prevalent these days. Our hay man stopped by yesterday to tell me that he will not be cutting our hay this summer - too short, too meager.  This is not a concern of ours, really. When we had horses, we wanted grass in the pasture.  Now that we are equine-less, the hay man benefits from our field much more than we do. 

Here's a happy:  Two of our kids are winging back from Australia this week, after having visited the Aussie Grands and extended family for a month.  Gillian is heading directly to her new museum job in Colorado, two days after arrival (Jet lag, anyone?), and Graham will retrieve his car and head back to Washington state and commence his post-grad/post vacay job hunt.   All happy, all positive.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But inside is so delightful,
And since there's no place to go...
Please raise your glass to the guy who invented the AC.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Manhattan Women's Thursday Rides

Last summer a cycling friend, Diane, organized a women's bike ride during the summer months.  It was a hit!  We slacked off during August, heat being what it is, and we called the cycling season good.

This summer, Diane once again organized the group.  I help out by posting notices on Facebook.  This morning's ride held ten cyclists: a group of women who run the spectrum of life: Teachers, self-employed (that would be me), grad student, minister, physician, and more.  What a fun group.  We enjoy the camaraderie of riding and learning about each other.  Would I call us all close friends?  No.  We're fun sporty friends, the ones we can share the outdoors and funny anecdotes with.  We tell funny stories on our rides, as well as discuss politics and civic news.  Just a fun time to be had by all.

We are hoping to keep the group going at least through the autumn months: what a great time to ride!

On another note, this one quite bucolic:

That Spouse o' Mine came home and I was out watering things.  I called to him, and then I said, "I hear sheep."

"Sheep?" he replied.

"Yes.  Sheep.  I hear sheep.  Baa-aaah" 

And that is where we left it.

Well.  Fast-forward an hour, and I thought I heard a call to prayer, Moslem-style, from a high minaret.  "This cannot be,"  I thought to myself.  How can I hear sheep and then a call to prayer?  I am not in the Middle East (although I follow the goings-on like a native.)

Just after I heard what I thought was a call to prayer, my neighbor Barb came round our corner with a pickup and a trailer carrying - YES! - a lamb.  The lamb was not at all happy to be going to the County Fair tonight.  Baaa-aaaah!

Somehow, from the 2nd floor, this bleating sounded like Call to Prayer which I came to embrace back our Egypt days.

And that's all I have. 

Tomorrow's temps are forecast around 108ยบ.  I am not amused.

Monday, July 21, 2014

One Hundred

They lie, they lie.
It is NOT fair.
It is stinkin' hot and windy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Bedtime Story

Once there was a little duck.  She was a cute little duck who ran around the yard with her little duck friends, all of them chasing June bugs and grasshoppers, willy-nilly, all over the place.  One day, the little duck sat down under a big old pine tree.  When she got up, there was a pretty white egg laying on the pine needles.

The little duck did this again and again over the next few days, as did her little duck friends.  They had a nice collection of pretty white duck eggs!

One day came that the little duck decided she wanted to keep the pretty white eggs warm and protected, so she decided to set on them.  She built a neat little nest out of pine needles, and that's where she sat, day and night, keeping her egg collection dry and warm.

After a couple of weeks, the duck herdswoman noticed that some of the eggs in the nest were missing.  Hmmm...she thought.  A few days later, she mentioned it to her husband, "There were about a dozen eggs on that nest, and now there are only seven.  Do you suppose something is getting to them?"  He shrugged his shoulders.

Well.  The very next day, the duck herdswoman was walking out by the barn and came upon a very long and pretty snake.  It was FIVE FEET LONG!

The duck herdswoman put two and two together, and came up with "let me go count those eggs again."  And so she did.  There were three pretty white duck eggs laying in the pine needle nest.


The very next day, the duck herdswoman looked out to see all the little ducks standing around the big old pine tree.  What was that about?  And so she went outside to see what the ducks were doing.  And this is what she saw:

 The end.  Sleep tight!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Setting Sail

Last fall, so late that it already felt like winter, that Spouse o' Mine and I purchased a sailboat.  A small boat - a dinghy.  I remember that it was sleeting the day we looked at - and took - the boat.  That's faith in one's fellow man, to be sure.  No test driving for this transaction, so late in the season.

I am happy to report that the sailboat is sea (or at least lake-) worthy.  I have photos of OUR Zuma sailboat somewhere, but I cannot find them.  Maybe they're on another computer.  Anyway, here is a stock photo of a ZUMA:

Today we went out to the lake and set sail.  The wind was mild, and at one point almost non-existent.  The ONE time in our summer that we want a bit o' wind.  (Really.  No Kansas wind, please, unless it's a sail day.)  It was fun, though, gliding along, my fingers making little trails in the water as we moved along.  We waved at the ski boats, the bass boats, the houseboats.  We are dinky, a dinky dinghy in their wakes.

Fun, nevertheless.

When we got back to the boat ramp, that Spouse o' Mine hopped out effortlessly and exclaimed, "It's really shallow!"  He was standing ankle-deep in the water.  I hopped out from my side of the boat, into a water depth over my head.  DUNK!!

Which takes me back, years and years ago, the first time we ever took our kids, ages three, five, and six, fishing on a boathouse.  They all had life jackets on.  That Spouse o' Mine, their father, asked them, "What will you do if you fall into the water?"

They looked at him, stunned.

He answered his own question, "SWIM!  You will swim!"

What a great lesson he taught them right then and there.  They already knew how to swim.  But to put Point A to Point B: Fall in...SWIM.

Today I jumped in, expecting to remain fairly dry after a dry sailing trip, but there I was - soaked.  I came up laughing.  Expect the unexpected, I suppose.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


A day or two ago my friend Margaret called.  She wanted duck eggs to give to an Asian co-worker.  (Some Asian populations deem duck eggs as a specialty.)  I was happy to give Margaret some eggs, since our ducks are currently laying 8-10 eggs each day.  (Although I have noticed a nest of eggs out under one of our pine trees and I suspect one of the ducks will begin setting in the next few days...)

Margaret came over to collect eggs yesterday, but I was not home.  She returned today, and yes, I had eggs, but I had not washed them yet.  Duck eggs tend to be dirtier than chicken eggs, plus, I had weeded the gardens and then collected the eggs this morning with muddy hands, so the eggs were pretty unsightly.  I told Margaret I would wash them and we would connect later.

Later, I did take two dozen eggs over to neighbor Margaret (six miles away).  We visited some more, and Margaret told me she would bring over some sweet corn when it is ready, in payment for the eggs.  This is how we do it out here in rural Kansas. 

What a fun surprise this evening when I spied Margaret at our garden gate with a bag of sweet corn!  I didn't expect sweet corn for another week or so.  It turns out, Margaret and her husband went and picked sweet  corn down the road (ten miles) at the organic pig farmer's place, because he was trading his sweet corn for some of Margaret's other garden produce, and Margaret thought she would share the wealth this evening.

Agri-business, at its best.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Please Think:

We, that Spouse o' Mine and I, went to a funeral yesterday. 

It was for a fellow cyclist, Mark Jilka, who had been out riding last Thursday evening.  That evening: a sunny summer evening at 7:00 pm. 

It was determined that the driver of the pickup truck might have been distracted by his cell phone.

He, who has logged hundreds if not thousands of miles on his bike, was on the shoulder of the road. 

He, who had served for 10 years of active duty in the United States Navy and still served in the Naval Reserves and held the rank of Lieutenant, is dead.

He, who had served two tours in the Persian Gulf, and one in Afghanistan, is gone.

He, one of nine siblings.  He was 49 years old.

We knew Mark from our Saturday morning Pancake Rides.  He was quietly funny.  He was totally athletic.  He did not brag or gloat about his cycling expertise.  He was a very nice man. 

It was determined that the driver of the pickup truck might have been distracted by his cell phone.

If you think there is a remote possibility, any possible chance at all, that you might get distracted by your cell phone, or radio, or cd player, or anything else, while driving, please think.

Please think.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

I am not Linked in

Years ago I must have done something to enter the LinkedIn site.  I really do not recall what or where or when.  I honestly do not recall "LinkedIn".  But I get numerous emails from LinkedIn telling me that folks want to join or link or whatever.

The trouble is, I went on a couple of months ago to see what the hullaballoo was about, and I could not even retrieve my account.  In fact, I had no idea what my LinkedIn name was, so forget about any potential password.  It was like LinkedIn was sending me emails and I had no idea - NO IDEA at all, what they were on about.

And you know what?  It's still the same situation today, July 2nd, 2014.  I cannot access LinkedIn, (well), and that I am self-employed with a fairly obscure job, I am not seeing how this thing, this site, this whatever, can aid me in my professional life.    

So: for those of you who are irritated that I have not joined you on LinkedIn...

It's because I have no clue what's going on.  And yes: this may nip me in the rear, or it may simply sail west/south/north/east of me in the future, and I will be done with it.
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