Friday, September 30, 2011

in case anyone is keeping track

30 pounds of tomatoes will make 14 half pints, and 7 pints of tomato paste.  only took 16 hours.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Autumn colors

Monday, September 26, 2011


Why or how it happens, I have no idea, but I salute it when it drops in.  More than once I've been hearing a song in my  head, over and over, turn on the radio, and there it is, right at the part I'm thinking about.  More than once (in the days of TV you could watch without paying for it) some part of the brain was playing out a more memorable clip of something from MASH or "Frasier" and I'd turn on the TV--and there would be a rerun playing,  of just that episode, and just that place in the episode that had been running in my head.

You encounter a really unusual word or phrase,  and for the next week or so it seems to be everywhere.

Someone says, idly, "whatever happened to..." and names an old friend who has somehow dropped out of sight.  The next day Old Friend appears, walking toward you. Or you see them at a party a week later, they tell you they just came back to town for a few days...

Easy enough to write all of this off as coincidence, but I don't think it is.  It's being where you need to be to have something 'familiar' happen and having the good grace to recognize it for what it is.  I often wonder at all the times that were missed because we turned right instead of left, or decided that day to take one street to work instead of another. 

The mind is a strange and wondrous place, some days it's like looking through a keyhole, getting only glimpses of what's going on in there. Some days the view widens a bit.

Friday, September 23, 2011

progress of a sort

With cats, you have to take them as they are, no matter what baggage they bring with them. We  have had Toby and Sam for five months.  In that time they have progressed from huddled cringing terror (omg here she comes, shes gonna pat me,I just know it, ohhhh make her stop) full throttle escapes whenever a human came within view, from any distance, to resigned acceptance that yeah, the humans are still here;  we don't have to like it, but they do feed and then if I am already In The Room they will hurry through and I pretend I don't see them. 

They have finally reached the stage of trusting cardboard carton "caves" and Toby will play a skillful game of solitaire soccer with almost anything that makes rolly noises on the floor. Sam watches encouragingly.   They recognize, at last, that I am the one who throws stuff for them to play with,  and I am also the one who feeds them. 

The other two cats have accepted them, and share rooms, food bowls, and sleeping cushions although not necessarily at the same time.  And this, after all, is why I keep them.  They needed a safe place, and the other two needed companions.  So this is progress, too. Someday they may let me in and that will be cool.  But for now...

Monday, September 19, 2011

and the hawks

Too far overhead to identify, but definitely hawks and not vultures;  a neighbor called and said, get out there and tell me what these look like to you. The magic of hawks migrating is, when you see a cluster like this they seem to be just milling about in big lazy circles;  no raucous noises, no announcements.  And even as you watch them, they disappear,  in only a minute or two. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011


This morning when I stepped out to see just how cold it was last night (and thank you to the full moon last weekend) I heard the first geese of the season (at least up here) overhead.  From a distance it always sounds at first like dogs barking, maybe terriers.  Then you realize if it's dogs it's flying, and the brain kicks in and you think, oh, yeah.  always have to look up when they go by, a kind of wistful, silent homage to that journey and the inner need that tells them when to go.
We were late getting the fields mowed and it was a bonus to the Monarchs;  all last week we watched as two and three or sometimes as many as a dozen would feed on the goldenrod before they left.  I always keep a nice sized stand of it by the garden, since it seems this is one of the few things out there blooming in any quantity this time of  year, and they head right for it.  They feed, always moving steadily down the fields, and then follow the driveway and away.
We missed the frost this time (fingers crossed), but I will go out later and pull off all the ripe tomatoes, they should be just about due now.  Serves me right for planting so late, I guess.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Decisions and Choices

Years ago I saw part of a YouTube video involving a kid who's father had pulled the plug  on his Worlds of Warcraft account, without his knowledge and obviously without his consent.  Come home from school, turn on the computer, and the game is wiped.  Where is it?  Where did it go?   I could only watch about a minute of the video,  it was painful to see.  Obviously he was out of control, and perhaps that's why the father did this, he was probably so hooked on the game it was, at least in his dad's mind, the only way to 'teach him' something.

But the video bothered me.  I kept thinking then, and still do, even without knowing the circumstances, surely, surely, there was a better way to have handled this.  Two hours after school, maybe, as a stock boy at the supermarket, anything. Let him earn the money to pay for his own game, Give him back the choice.

And that's what it comes down to.  Choices. When something or someone you love is removed from your life, without mutual consent,  knowledge,  or input from you,  you no longer own that event or the choice. It now belongs to the person who did the removing. And what that kid was reacting to was not the loss of the game, but the loss  of his autonomy;  and his pride, ego, whatever you want to call it, took a heck of a beating.
I do also wonder who turned the video camera on, and why.  And then posted it on YouTube.

Friday, September 9, 2011


There are new stoves, and then there are old stoves in new places.  We decided last spring that the stove in the dining room  was getting to the 'must be watched carefully" stage, since the door latches had become worn over time and tended to glide open at odd moments, and the stove itself was just plain wearing out due to old age and steady use. 
Its well over a hundred years old, and has been used for all of that time.  But even the best stove ages.  We are replacing it with a stove we used to use upstairs, and the key in that sentence is "upstairs'...The hard part  was getting it down the stairs without making a sudden new door at the bottom.  The rest is all threshholds and placement.  So far no tempers have been lost, no fingers mashed, no cats terrorized.  A few more days and it should be set up and ready to go.  Hooray for us.

Today I clean the chimney and the stove we're moving out,  still not sure what to do with it.  I'd like to see it go to a good home, but it's been in the family for over a hundred years, and it may just have to become an end table.  *s*

I sincerely hope this is the last major stove move we have to make. We're not gettin any younger, here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


August always presages fall, and toward the end of the month we are visited with hot clear days and chilly (er) nights.  The July humidity blanket lifts.   Now we see preying mantises, grownup crickets, and bees that also sense the changes, and cannot be dislodged from the flowers they're on, even when you cart them both to the compost bin.  The very earth seems to hum with cicadas, crickets,  and bees.

Insane chipmunks and psychotic red squirrels attempt daily suicide in their mad scrambles to the center line of the road and back, while you slow, swerve, and hope the thing doesnt panic at the last minute and run under your back wheels...the summer birds are gone--quietly this year, not with that raucous gathering and fussing as in previous summers.

Fall's coming. Too soon.