The Storm that Approacheth has Arrivedeth –

Picture of Storm Rolling in
The blessed wind brings the storm our way – the light white is the wall of clouds approaching

Late yesterday afternoon, after managing to untwist and untangle the dry, clean laundry from the sagging clothes line, I took a stroll around my place to see what changed during the two lovely weather spring days I spent holed up and hobbling around the house –

*Note to self – remember to tighten the clotheslines before next laundry day – –

Even with Oakley’s digging, rooting and completely successful transfer of nearly all the mulch I placed over the Jerusalem Artichoke bed last fall, into the house (over the course of the entire winter, one or two pieces clung to shaggy coat at a time) I see signs of new Artichokes rising amidst the decay of last years stalks (which I didn’t get trimmed close enough to the ground…)

Jerusalem Artichokes - 2015
Jerusalem Artichokes – 2015

I admit I’ve rather forgotten what these fellas look like when they first poke their heads through to air, but these 3 are in the right spot and don’t look the same as the weeds I pulled nearby, so keeping my fingers crossed they are what I hope they are – 🙂

To my delight and then dismay, I see that one of the tulip buds unfurled –

Picture of yellow tulip
That is Yellow! Yellow I Say!

Delight because the few dips in temperature had not sabotaged the dream of tulips this spring…

Dismay because the bulbs I purchased last fall were clearly marked “purple” and “white” – this is yellow – maybe yellow is the new purple….

*Note to Mom -Thanks for helping me plant these bulbs last fall –  it’s perfectly okay if you did, in fact, drop a bulb outside the rock border area – we’re pretty laid back in regards to perfection around here – 🙂

Alas, I will wait to see what the others reveal during their unfurling – granted, this area did contain existing tulips before I accidentally weeded too vigorously the first year – then left entirely alone the second year until the wild poppies were done and I knew where to be careful, so as not to disturb wild poppy seeds.

Perhaps, one of the old existing bulbs decided to make an appearance, now it has been assured of a proper backdrop and doesn’t have to fight with foot high weeds –

You don’t always know, for sure, what you’re Sowing

I’ve planted seeds before that ended up not producing what was indicated in the packet picture – –

One year, some round squash, tiger-striped dark and light green, appeared right in the middle of the oblong, yellow, spaghetti squash patch –  we knew not what to do with it and was unable to identify it or a relevant recipe, so it simply became a fall decoration – –

Sh – ahem, correction, Things happen –

**********

I can picture it now – dedicated heirloom seed saver is in workshop, patiently putting together seed packets for internet orders –

The door flies open, wind whirls across the neat seed piles waiting to be packaged –

Hubby stomps in, manages to close the door before it blows off its’ hinges and gustily exclaims:

“Man!  That wind is a blowin’ gangbusters today….What?! Why are you looking at me in that tone of voice?”

🙂

**********

And now I’ll share the real storm that arrived –

The storm of my outraged sense of justice, compassion, tolerance

For Pete’s sake, I’m not even sure what part of me has been outraged, but here I sit, dealing with it….which means if you continue to read, now you are part of the process…

These past few days I’ve been told of or witnessed several instances of someone declaring,

“I don’t really think you can be a (fill in the blank with trade or talent) without formal (fill in education, training, expensive equipment) and anyone who says you can, is wrong or lying to you…”

Now, while that may be true for some things (being an astronaut or brain surgeon come to mind) the occupations, activities or trades that graced the ‘fill in blanks’ in these recent statements were not either of the aforementioned, highly specialized, endeavors –

They were, instead,:

  • Author
  • Gardener
  • Builder of Dwarf Cars

Poppycosh!

On Being a Writer (someday to be Paid Author)

Yes, I had some ‘training’ for writing – I went to state mandated school for 12 years and had to take some form of writing, reading or English class each and every year – I also was raised by those who loved to read, in a house full of books –

And no, I’m not (yet) a paid author – and neither do I have a Master’s or Doctoral degree in any such related studies –

Yet here I sit, boldly and brazenly writing and publicly publishing – as most every one here in the WordPress community does.

While I agree that education and practice can enhance a writer’s craft, I do not believe it to be the must-have ingredient in the making of a paid author –

What is necessary?  To my mind?

(Oh, thank you so very much for asking, I’ve been bustin’ a gut, waiting to proclaim the answer, sans a paper certificate that comes attached with a $120,000-$200,000 price tag…I trust you to forgive me my sins…)

Necessary:

  • A mind that observes reality and wants to know what the possible back story leading up to the ‘observed now’, might actually be
  • An imagination that can come up with many varieties and flavors of said back story
  • The curiosity to ask, “What motivations, life experience, problems to be solved, led up to this moment?”
  • Compassionate room in the mind for all the possible answers that present themselves

Add to that a love of the ebb and flow of words – whether said love was gained through years of reading, or a simple born-in ‘hearing’ for such things…

The great writers I love and appreciate know how to craft each line –  first as a small tributary –

One that flows and then joins another, and then another, until the whole, massive, roiling, moving torrent bursts through the delta and joins the calm of the ocean –

Or spills over the edge of the cliff and lands with an impressive display of mist, rainbows and thundering applause at the bottom of said cliff, which, in the end, wasn’t so steep or deadly, after all –

These things are, to my mind,  necessary to graduate from Beginner to Master –

Take the classes – perfect your craft – learn the rules so you can break them at will –

But don’t ever, EVER! EVER! believe the person who tells you your natural way of seeing the world and your love of sharing said vision via a river of words isn’t good enough for you to be dubbed a writer.

It is…And You Are…And you’ll only get better as you move forth in your journey…

Next on the list of things reported as ‘you simpletons can’t do’…

…is Gardening

If you have been waylaid/lambasted by such feedback, I simply refer you to two resources that applaud your courageous, gambling heart:

First – Mr. Gardener Extraordinaire’s wise musings, which I will re-cap below, to save you the strain of clicking yet another link:

(If you like the following, you might find the linked story useful; otherwise, know the important points of gifted-to-me wisdom are listed below).

  • A few years back, the Master Gardening certificate was big doing’s around here.  So he bought the book, read it, and found out he’d been gardening wrong for 60 years.  Since he raised a family and kept many of the residents here in fresh veggies for the same amount of time, he threw the book in the dumpster and went back to his ‘wrong ways.’
  • Every year, something will go wrong – something won’t grow, or won’t keep good or will end up dying.   Doesn’t matter how long I garden or how good I get at it, every year, something will let me down.

And, secondly, if you would like to start gardening without taking a college or Master’s course, but are rather scared silly by those who say you can’t just jump in and do – I encourage you to check out Sophie’s Free Super Simple Guide to Growing your Own Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs eBook

Yes, technically, reading about such things does mean you’ve done some ‘learning’ but what comes across most in her guide is

“Don’t Worry – You Can Do It – It’ll be Fine!”

Though I’ve read many a book and blog about gardening over the years, nothing touches the great gush of support and confidence one feels just from reading Sophie’s take on the matter.

Since I’m more than happy to experiment and try…

…whether I actually know anything or not…

…gardening is just a life long exercise in observation and experimentation, to my mind.

I do feel bad…

…when my clumsy attempts or wrongly pursued ‘good intentions’ end up killing something –

I confess – I’ll have many mass murders to answer for when I reach the Pearly Gates…

I trust those Dandelions who find safe haven here will be in massive enough numbers to speak up for me and tip the scales at my eventual trial…

On Building Dwarf Cars

Take a few minutes (4:35 to be exact) to marvel at the talents of one Ernie Adams.

(You will find the statement that raised my hackles around 2:19 if you’re in a hurry and just want to know what dwarf cars have to do with writing or gardening)

Barcroft Cars Presents – Ernie Adams & His Dwarf Cars

In Conclusion –

Yup – it is satisfying to work at your ‘craft’ in order to journey from Apprentice to Master.

A yearning to try, the confidence to laugh at mistakes and a sincere joy in the doing of said craft is all that really counts –

Pepper in the education, degree, public approval or expensive equipment when and how you see fit.

Unless

You’re going to be an astronaut –

(you really do need some pricey protective gear and rocket scientists to aide your quest, otherwise, you could die while trying…)

Or a brain surgeon

(yes, I confess, I’d really prefer you have some formal training, else I might die while you’re taking a stab at your new career…)

If this is the case, for You – Right Now!…

…disregard all the previous ramblings and go find someone who writes knowledgeably about such things, cuz, seriously, you won’t find much helpful advice here – 🙂

Easter Dinner in the Toaster Oven

Yes, yes, I may do a separate post with just the recipe (facts) Ma’am – in true Joe Friday style – but here, I shall share the journey of said recipe  –

Remember, I don’t write cookbooks or earn my living from nutritional guidance – – 🙂

It’s Easter Sunday –

And I’ve cooked nearly all week – except for Friday – when a tummy virus laid me low and I offered  supper options of reheating the beef-cheese-green chili enchiladas made on Thursday OR a deli meat/cheese sandwich – –

Seriously, I was so sick and miserable, I didn’t care much about Friday’s Supper, as long as there were options for folks to not go hungry –

And didn’t even bother to lay out salmon fillets for thawing to be in tune with what I (a non-Catholic) believed might be appropo for Good Friday fare – –

Because, in the end…

Bad Things Happen When folks go Hungry –

Just ask Marie Antoinette if you don’t believe me…

***********

Saw a post on Facebook this a.m. about ‘healthy alternative to french fries” –

My family, including me,  are still enamored of potato products, even in face of all the advice to not be –

We do have the ancestry to validate our love of said root veggie -and grains –

We simply must honor our ancestry and evolved taste buds all while conforming to the latest bandwagon of “Do’s and Don’ts” –

It’s a Process, to be sure…

What could it hurt…

to try out this new-to-me potato recipe?  It’s Not like we’ve sworn off potatoes…

Served along side healthy, pasture-fed  beef and a colorful spring greens salad,  said meal must surely be dubbed ‘A-okay’ by the experts, right?

I make my own little “It’ll be okay” trades and so do you – so let’s just live and let live, shall we?

After all, I’m not the one touting the benefits of chocolate – To Each His Own!

Though I’m on board with you regarding dark, red, room temperature, wine….

🙂

************

First, I managed to locate 5 potatoes from the sack purchased 2 weeks ago and stored in a cool, dark place that nevertheless are already on the downhill side of life – given their wrinkly/soft appearance a mere 7 days later –

What exactly, I ask, is happening to purchased food?

As an aside, I’m all the more galvanized to garden more fervently

I strive for efficiency –

Did I not plant on the warm south side of the garden the organic, GMO free spuds I purchased in January and who felt the need to sprout a short week later?

No, they haven’t poked their heads out yet from the ground I entombed them in – I shall watch in anticipation that my heart might actually be in the right place – for once –

I planted each with a fervent prayer –

“Its the time of year where you want to sprout and go forth to prosper –   You do realize you’re currently located in Colorado, right? 

Well, Okay then, here’s your place to ‘do so’

Oh! How I hope I didn’t just murder you and your grandchildren by planting you way too early with no prep or understanding of your needs at all…

I Did Manage To:

Slightly and lightly slice…

…the end of my thumb while preparing the potatoes for baking this recipe –

But not so much as to spew blood over said prepped meal area…

Just enough to appreciate traditional methods of fixing potatoes in simple baked form:

Picture of Sliced potatoes
Slice the potatoes, not nearly to the bottom where the knife meets the cutting board…or your thumb….

In effort to be efficient…

…And giving in to the desire to tweak the process before EVEN trying the original recipe, I chose to mix the olive oil, salt and pepper into a bowl to be brushed over said sliced potatoes –

….Then decided –  more effort than it’s worth to patiently separate those potato slices and drizzle each one with custom olive oil mix –

Plan B It is Then –

Brush with olive oil mix, place butter pat on top and again,  salt/pepper the Hades out of ’em – in the true spirit of banishing the shadows of Hell from  things, at this time of year….

Picture of potatoes with butter added
Throw some butter on top, Salt & Pepper them – pray to the Domestic Goddess –

Finally!

I place said experimental tray into the toaster oven, lower rack, 425 degrees, for 20 minutes…..though truth to be told, it has taken centuries longer to tell you about the journey than said actual journey took – – why type 178 words when you can type 2,178?

I Hear and Respond to the timer “Ding!” announcing the completion of said First Stage –

I pull said tray of half-baked goodness out of toaster oven – try a slice of potato – no worries, good flavor, not quite cooked, but will be done in a jiff –

Re-arrange said potatoes and placed slab of Round Steak on tray to cook –

(the same steak…. that I just thought to remove from freezer, stick on counter, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper in a covered glass dish this a.m. around 8 to cover the following:

  1. I didn’t think to defrost ahead, so food safety be damned, I’m defrosting on the counter –
  2. I have a dog who is willing to jump on and feast at my counter-top, so covered dish is needed

I comfort my awareness of my own laziness with a, “Afterall, who of any of us are perfect…” reminder…

And now, said cooking tray looks like this:

Add beef - try not to worry - - there's fixin's for sandwiches in case it doesn't work out -
Add beef – try not to worry – – there’s fixin’s for sandwiches in case it doesn’t work out –

Put back in toaster oven at 425 for 20 minutes –

Spend some minutes wondering why the house is smokey, and belatedly open all household windows, previously closed to the Storms of Winter, Up to the greet the Breath of Spring, because I don’t have a real stove or venting system in place  –

Answer “Ding” of Nagging toaster Oven,  20 minutes later, test, put back in toaster at lower heat, for 20 more minutes….

Because I didn’t defrost frozen beef early enough – Oops – My Bad ….

Fix Plate full of colors and exclaim, “Ta-Da!”

yes, we love 'sauces' - no, they aren't the most healthy - Yes! I forgot to pick up more A1 last grocery trip -
yes, we love ‘sauces’ – no, they aren’t the most healthy – Yes! I forgot to pick up more A1 last grocery trip –
  1. I cooked a full meal, in my toaster oven, that fed my family with no gagging  – –
  2. There are tweaks to be made, so the ‘recipe’ will be forthcoming – not bad, but can be made better –
  3. We chose to garnish our potatoes as if they were regular ole’ baked potatoes –
  4. Yes, we put some salad dressing and healthy-fat hard cheese on our mix of spring greens –
  5. Yes, I was sorely disappointed to find no A1 sauce in the fridge, because I love the taste of it and fix steak so I can indulge my A1 craving without doing the socially unacceptable thing by actually drinking it straight from the bottle in front of witnesses  -)

Still – food is served – it’s hot and I didn’t kill myself fixing it – no one is hungry and we’ve had a lively discussion about what worked and didn’t –

And how to improve upon said meal plan in the future –

And  isn’t that what Easter is Really about?

New Beginnings and Hope?

I consider this Experimental Easter Dinner a Win –

On so many levels –

🙂

Gardening in Colorado

Gardening in Colorado is rather like trying to keep your home thermostat set to always meet the comfort needs of a woman experiencing hot-flashes –

It’s not easy –

January

Oooh!  look!  60 degrees and the grass is turning green – maybe I’ll do clean-up and plant some peas…

Oh! Look at the forecast – snow – guess I’ll wait cuz I don’t have time to build row covers – –

February

Wow! 70 degrees and walk my property in my skort and sleeveless shirt – I get my vitamin D, skin saving protective tan AND plot out this year’s dreams – maybe I’ll put the summer tools out in easy-access reach – – –

DURNIT!  Should have left the snow shovel out – just how am I going to leaf-rake this 3 feet of snow?

snow day
I kept up and just swept snow as it fell – 🙂

March

It’ll be fine — the rhubarb, irises and tulips look good – The Universe will guard me against my failure to build row protection this winter for spring events – – They’ve survived before, why not this year?

Picture of Iris/Rhubarb in March
Iris & Transplanted rhubarb bed
picture of tulips
My newly-planted-last-fall-purple-and-white-tulips – 🙂

picture of Daylillies 2015
Daylillies gifted in 2013 looking good! Notice the tuft of grass that made it’s way through all the layers of newspaper – Sigh – Ya just gotta love the persistence of native grasses – 🙂

WTF it’s snowing again!  How?  Why?  …okay, getting out the snow shovel….

snow, 2
Had to shovel this time, and this is just the first wave of the storm front passing through

April

Who said March came in like a lion and left like a lamb?  WHO I ask!

Baloney! – It’s April 2nd and the wind is blowing like a banshee – so it can efficiently deliver the next snow storm to my area – wonder if I can simply drape a sheet over my tulips and poppies?   The irises and rhubarb have made it fine without me worrying/working too hard – but (sob…) so want to save my beautiful new purple and white tulips from the chaos – –

Frickin’ wind… and snow fast approaching…and nice, sunny day temptresses –

DURNITT! I had to turn my thermostat from “Off” to 65 today – What Gives?!?

I May Never Embrace Fully the Mid-Life Crisis Colorado Is –

I’ve suntanned in December and watched it snow in July – I’ve started gardens two or three times each season in response to hard frosts/blizzards/hail storms and tornadoes – I still haven’t built infrastructures to save me and the plants I love from Mother Nature’s fickleness  at what the gardening software says is ‘rare time of the year’ for such events to occur – –

In the end, I may never be a master gardener, but as I walk the seasons and learn, maybe, just maybe,  I can provide a loving home for those plants that love living in Colorado as I do – 🙂

Hot flashes And All – 🙂

Sunflowers, Hell’s Kitchen and Just What, will the Neighbors Say?

If you recall, I planted mammoth sunflowers a couple weeks ago next to the north side of the western wall in hopes they will provide some shading relief against the July/August sun.   They are coming along nicely and hopefully, will keep the kitchen from feeling like a furnace from 3 to 8 pm each day here in a month or so.

Lookin' good - get tall, fast - okay?
Lookin’ good – get tall, fast – okay?

The summer is heating up and while my little 100 year-old home is comfy for the most part, the west side consists of an ‘added on’ kitchen area and obviously does not have the roof or wall insulation the main structure was blessed with.  Which means in the late afternoon, I officially own “Hell’s Kitchen”.

This is not an issue if nighttime temperatures cooperate – I have four fans and strategically move them from window to window throughout the day, dependent upon the sun’s location.

I have shades and insulated curtains and what not, but there is just no getting around the late afternoon hell fire.

Perhaps I haven’t been as good as I thought I was…

**********

The southern portion of the western wall infrastructure for rain drain-off is complete and all that’s left is creating the sloped bed, mulching and planting my kitchen herb garden. (or at least a portion of it.)

Ready to build kitchen herb garden
Ready to build kitchen herb garden

The southern perimeter tire fence is now on tier 3.   By end of July, I shall have the southern portion of my ‘kitchen garden’ enclosed and will actually be able to start planting some things.

A slow process, but Oh! so worth it!
A slow process, but Oh! so worth it!

***********

I’ve not yet set up any drip/micro irrigation, as I haven’t completely fleshed out just exactly where I want my middle row beds to be.   THE PLAN has changed so much since it’s inception – the discoveries of rhubarb, irises, poppies and such have meant re-working where I will put what.

And so, every third morning, I water the little spots that are considered “done” and dream of the day when my irrigation will turn on at 5:00 and shut off at 6:00, once a week.

There are those that disagree with my thoughts regarding watering.   I like to deep soak with long periods in between watering.   I read once that vegetables from plants that had ‘suffered’ a bit packed more nutrition than those who had each and every need met in a controlled environment.

Makes sense.   People who’ve been knocked about a bit by Life are generally stronger than those who haven’t – so why not plants, as well?

To that end, I don’t usually baby my plants.   I supplement water when there is no rain.   I try to learn as much as I can about them and companions they like, so they are planted where they’ll feel at home.

And then I wait and see… Either they like it here without a lot of fuss, or I’m looking for something else – something that likes living where I do…

**********

I will admit to a certain prejudice in my watering values.   I just can’t stand investing time/energy in an irrigation system that takes care of the beautiful, but inedible.

Translation: Flowerbeds and lawns.  This doesn’t keep me from planning for flowers or lawn-like areas, I just am more picky about what I plant.  Every plant that is scheduled for my little slice of earth serves dual or more purposes – perhaps it’s good for seasoning, has a pretty bloom or lures destructive insects away from one of it’s more frail neighbors.

Some have deep roots that will aide in soil conservation and bring trace minerals up to the surface for everyone else in the plot to enjoy.

Others will protect the northern wall from winter winds, keep the soil rich and fertile and scent evening breezes with the smells that bring peace to the soul.

A variety of choices will be planted purely because bees, butterflies and birds love and depend upon them.     My house is surrounded by nesting trees for many types of birds – I even got to watch the young during their flying lessons a few weeks ago.

I’m hoping eventually, I’ll have enough berries the birds will feel generous and share with me…

I will admit to a certain frustration in just what, exactly, I shall plant in the top, exterior tier of the tire beds that will grow and trail to cover the black ugliness behind and bear pretty edible flowers and/or fruit, as well as shade the interior beds from getting too hot during summer months.

I must admit to being somewhat swayed by public opinion in my search for just the right plants.   Currently, another town resident is being called in to justify and explain his creative use of pallets around his place.

Apparently, there is a general outcry about the state of his place.   I confess to not knowing much other than the public notice of a town meeting to discuss the matter.  I drove by his place the other day.  Yes, it’s not all uniform.  It actually reminds me of modern art, with all it’s spires and uneven sprawling geometry, but what do I know?

He has, in my opinion,  ingeniously put the pallets to use and he has painted them in various shades of tan, brown, light and dark greens.    Once, I observed him carefully clipping, by hand, the weeds that were growing next to one of the pallet walls – his green areas look neat and prosperous, so why the big uproar?  Because his place doesn’t look like this:

Manicured Perfection
Manicured Perfection

And so, I still search for a trailing vine that will quickly cover the exterior of the fence, is not a noxious, invasive weed and will provide some food for either humans or my local wild neighbors…

However, I’m starting to think the manicured-estate residents will just have to live with some bare tire patches for a season or two – – I have plenty of options if only I don’t insist the entire tire wall be hidden from the view of looky-looers this year.

***********

Why do I tell you all of this?   Because I’m somewhat chagrined to find myself a water snob – I’m rather frustrated with my place being on the local Sunday drive tour, entitled, “What’s she doing with all those tires” by those who have lived in the same place for 20 years and hire someone to keep their sod lawn and flower bed looking pretty – as well as those who choose to run their wide-arc sprinkler around noon every day, probably because they get great satisfaction out of watering the air.

Perhaps because it’s hot, I’m in a churlish mood and living in town is getting me down…

But mostly, I tell you what my garden will look like in the next two or three years, because it helps to keep me in better spirits and motivated through this long and tiring infrastructure phase – a phase accompanied by plenty of Poohs and Pahs from the local peanut gallery…

Free time & Snakeskins

As of yesterday, all wandering travelers had returned home and I’m once again responsible only for my little slice of heaven.   Which means I got 5, count ’em 5! hours in on my own projects today before the sun drove me indoors to the cool shadows of my home.

My home was built in 1913 – so sometime this year, I shall officially live in a 100 year-old home.  Those homes built long ago sure stay cooler than their modern counterparts!

I was sitting taking a break and pondering whether  to do just  a tad more or be good to my body and scoot indoors when Mr. GE drove by, waved, slowed and pulled over near my place.    I pulled out a stool and called out, offering lemon water, since last time I led him down the path of temptation by offering a beer.  You remember him, right?   Ran the gas station of my childhood and gardener extraordinaire.

He didn’t have time to stay and chat he said, but he did want to know if I’d ever seen a snakeskin.

Which I have – plenty of times during my youth and I even got to watch the shedding process once while visiting the zoo.

He reached to open his back passenger door, and I stepped back – about 10 feet –

“You don’t have a real snake in there, do ya?”

Laughing, he assured me that he didn’t, but he had never seen a completely whole snakeskin before (in his 85+ years, as he put it) and he had found not one, but two in the past week.

“Where at?” I asked, somewhat afraid of the answer…

“The cemetery.”   Oh…  Guess there was a reason I haven’t been visiting as often as I should…

**********

Mr. Phillips 66 with 5 and 6 feet long snakeskins
Mr. GE  with 5 and 6 feet long snake skins

Apparently, he had showed the skins to one neighbor lady already, who was not very knowledgeable about the subject, but eager to learn.    When she asked him how he got them, he told her,

“Well, I had a hold of ’em, but they just slipped right outta their skins to get away from me.  And wouldn’t ya know, she said, “Oh My!  That must have been exciting!”

I laughed and asked him if he sent her snipe hunting after he had finished telling her his tall tale.   He grinned and said ‘No…”

**********

After snapping some pics of the snake skins, Mr. Phillips 66 set about sharing some stories.  While I didn’t record the stories, I will do my best to tell you as they were told to me…

“I had killed plenty of snakes in my youth, mainly rattlers I came across from working the cattle, you know.   One year we went on over to Pueblo for the State Fair.   It was during the war, you know and I saw a tent with a sign, “Hitler’s Children” and since it didn’t cost much, I went in to see what it was all about.   There was this big plastic ring in the middle of the tent, with two women that looked to be from India and a whole mess of snakes.   And they was a pickin’ em up and holdin’ them and it liked to make the hairs on the back of my neck crawl.

Well, they almost got themselves into trouble.   One of them was holding a rope about yea long and she flipped that rope over and it landed across my neck and I liked to wrecked the whole tent trying to get outta there.”

Then  I shared a snake story, which isn’t near as good and then he countered with:

“When I was running the station, one day E.M stopped by and asked me to check the oil, and check under the hood.   I was stumped as to why he’d ask me to do such simple things as he and his brother took care of all the maintenance of their farm equipment and were probably better mechanics than I ever was.

Turns out, E.M. and his brother had found an ole bull snake and had messed with it, teasing it, seein’ as how it wasn’t poisonous.  But it had crawled up onto the chassis of the truck and they couldn’t get it outta there.

While I’m checking the oil and messin’ with his truck, in pulls a carload of gals from New York City.  In them days, the ladies room was accessed by a door over there, back on the east side.   Well they all piled out and started headin’ toward the ladies room, just about the time that snake, ticked off over his long ride (E.M. had driven all the way in from H’s place with that durn snake in his chassis.) decided to bail from the truck.

He hit the ground and beat his way straight for that group of ladies.    His head was nearly a foot off the ground and he was movin’ like lightening.

Well, I tell you, I’ve never heard so much screaming and carrying on in my life.   Them gals liked to kilt each other trying to get outta the way of that big bull snake.

And I don’t think there was any need for the ladies room after that commotion, neither…”

**********

These are the kinds of things that make me so grateful for the life I have.    I’ve missed having neighbors stop by and tell me stories.   I’ve missed having drop in’s that are happy to sit or stand in the yard and chew the fat for awhile, rather than those who make you wish you had done less landscaping and more housecleaning.

The morning has passed – I’m into rest mode and I have a spot all cleaned up and ready to transplant the extra blue flax, pretty-purple-wildflower (yes, I forgot the name) and spearmint Mom’s wanting to rip out of her symmetrically designed flower bed.  The cactus is getting ready to bloom and the sunflowers planted last week have poked their way out of the ground.

It’s been a wonderful day.

Sunflowers have made their appearance!
Sunflowers have made their appearance!
Ready for self-seeding perennial transplants.
Ready for self-seeding perennial transplants.
Cactus soon to bloom
Cactus soon to bloom