Thursday, November 15, 2012

Midlife crisis # 1 "I'm Stupid"

duh, yeah, can't even think of an  opening line for that great blog title.

My passion has abandoned me.  The insatiable urge to put my thoughts out there sifts away.

The lines to Bohemian Rhapsody bubble up to my subconcious-nothing really matters..

is it suddenly seeing a speck of time and acknowledging that nothing is permanent and what seems so important really isn't important at all.

precious moments reading crap and merely functioning within parameters set for oneself.

Maybe senior stupidity isn't that bad.  An aging brain learns not to sweat the small stuff, it merely boils down to sleep, drink. eliminate.

Not necessarily in that order.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Mineral collecting- a new Twist on an old Hobby

I have always loved rocks. I remember smashing rocks as a child, the sting of a stray chip hitting my cheek, the flash of sparks when I found pyrite in the mix. I remember losing a thumbnail turning over big rocks in a creek on my grandmother's property as a wee one.

I must have been a prospector in a past life.

Geology has always been my weak science. I have always been frustrated by mineral identification. In every other regard I am pretty much a science geek, I remember when Trivial Pursuit came out and I would win by making sure I landed on a green (science)spot because I could answer almost all of the science questions. Forget Literature, Arts, History..can't remember the other one...I could answer one in five of those, so given enough turns I would eventually get those other ones for my piece of the pie.

I remember telling my mother as a small child that I had found gold in  the back yard.

"That's not gold, that's mica," she said.

Maybe I was an alchemist in a past life, because I remember about that time mixing bathroom chemicals behind the locked door. A little hand lotion, a little of this, a little of that. It's a wonder I didn't make chlorine gas and that would be the end of the story...I do remember the plumber coming and getting accused of putting stuff down the toilet and plugging it up, but the plug looked like cotton balls and surely I hadn't considered that worthy of my alchemy experiments. More likely my sisters flushing their tampons....

I remember going to a new school when I was about 6 years old, and someone raised their hand and asked to go to the labratory.  I could envision beakers and distillation equipment and sort of a still like device (ok, maybe I was a bootlegger in my last life) and I thought that must be more interesting than whatever the teacher was talking about, and the classmate had been readily excused to go there.  I couldn't resist.

I raised my hand. "May I go to the labratory?" My diction was very precise, and the teacher caught right on. 

"Where do you want to go?"

"The labratory, to see the experiments! You just let someone else go."

The teacher chuckled.  "She asked to go to the LAVATORY, the bathroom, the restroom"

I was so disappointed.

I didn't understand the concept of calling it a "restroom" either.

no wonder kids in America want to spend classtime in the halls-who wants to go into the smelly bathrooms? Everyone wants a restroom from a boring teacher.

Sorry Miss Somerville, but the only other thing I remember from that year was the first day when you showed the slide show of your trip on a 747 to Disney World, and how to spell photosynthesis. And how to grow beans in a cup, that was fun.

Miss Somerville didn't teach us Geology, unfortuneately.

Actually she must have been a terrific teacher because I remember that much. I don't remember anything specific from the next two years. Except I became a leader of a gang...not in the way it means now.  I even made up my own words for my own language, but couldn't get anyone else to learn it with me.  They were too busy learning the multiplication tables.  I still struggle will 11X12 I must have been writing my own language at that critical time.

I grew up, and contined my love affair with rocks, often picking up pieces that caught my eye and sticking them in my pocket, quartz being my absolute favorite.  I dont' remember what ever happened to them all, either chucked out in the washer at the laundramat, or left for roomates or landlords to deal with, apologies to them...

Later as a homeowner, I showed skill at laying flat stones for patios, most likely because the house I was raised in had a stone patio done in two parts. One was beautifully done and original to the house, the second added on later with sloppy masonry. I loved it so much as a child, I offered to scrub it for allowance and wrinkled my knees scrubbing and hosing it to sparkly clean and then having to haggle the value of the job with my mother...

I remember one partner scoffing at me when I crouched along our drive dipping in a seasonal stream with a wok.

"What are you DOING?" he enquired.

"Panning for gold," I said.

"There ain't no gold in there," he scoffed,

I found a couple teeny garnets and discovered one of the rocks up against the culvert was covered in fossils from about 300 million years ago.  He wasn't impressed, so I put the wok away.

In the years since then, other sparkly bits have caught my eye, and it's always the same from whomever I showed it to:  "Mica"

Later years I rode my horse on a big land preserve where there was an abandoned Mica mine.  Big chunks of dark glassy flaky mica.  Mica, ok...

A homeowner again, I have continued my fascination with rocks. Certain times the house has reached critical mass and I have evicted all the rocks.  I stink at rock wall building, but edged all my perennial beds with rocks that have caught my fancy. The small pocket ones end up in the house, and are eventually placed outside the back door which has currently reached critical mass so I have started a couple other places to pile them.

I moved from quartz to what I thought was red quartz. I have a couple of choice chunks in the random piles on my desk. Even though when I did some research I discovered it was probably cinnabar, an ore of mercury.

 I started lugging home metallic bits. Oh boy, now I am bringing home lead and arsenic yum.

I couldn't resist. The shine put stars in my eyes. Who cares if it is mica? That looks like gold..I can't identify it since my geology training has been limited to, "It's just Mica."

Internet research isn't cutting it, but I did learn that the only county in the state which I grew up in that has significant gold the county that I grew up in.
Mom, I told you that was gold in the backyard.
The ex stopped in for a visit today and I had him take a look.
"remember when you laughed at me and the wok?" I asked.
"Looks like Mica to me,"  he said.

Then he added,
"Maybe it's time to befriend a few geologists in my department."

"Stairway To Heaven"
There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.

There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who stand looking.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.
And it makes me wonder.

Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
The piper's calling you to join him,
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold.
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all is one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.

And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
Led Zeppelin



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blue Moon

I was wrong about the Firebird's position on the varsity soccer team.  He has been first string, a starter playing outside mid.
I also had the camera settings wrong, been making a lot of mistakes lately! 
Mostly I have been trying to forge my way ahead by backtracking, and that seems to consist of finding out I never want to do (whatever) again!
Hopefully a new door will open ahead and the path forward will become apparent. In the meantime, I try and enjoy the moment and make do with what is available.
We had a rooster appear in our dooryard this week. A young handsome rhode island red. I thought he wandered down from the neighbor, who has chickens and at least one rooster, so I tried to shoo him up there, but he didn't want to go.
A short while later he seemed to be heading in the direction of another neighbors who also has poultry,( in the mornings you can hear the roosters calling up and down the road, it is funny) so Willow and I shooed him that way.  A little while later he was back.

We have three roosters of our own, separated into two groups, and no room for a fourth. Our flock is locked in for the summer, so we weren't having any fights, and the newcomer was well behaved and not trying to be a bad bird. We all sort of admired him, truthfully.
As soon as I saw him I thought of my old Boss, and a couple days later I was answering an email from her and asked about her rooster. She had taken in three Red hens and a rooster a couple years ago someone dumped at HER neighbors. She told me her rooster had died, and agreed to take the newcomer off our hands.
I saw him in the goose house around noon and shut him in. That way I could catch him. I put him in a carrier and drove him over to the farm. He was very happy! The hens looked happy! Everyone was happy!
Willow and I saw a large spotted fawn and an enormous doe on the way there, and then two wild hen turkeys and a large brood of young turkeys.  Then we learned the peafowl at the farm had hatched some chicks, and saw three cute peafowl chics!
Here are some pix Willow and I took of the last soccer game.
Number 2 in this shot by Willow looks to be trying to trip the fast Firebird up before he can beat 14 to the ball

This was right afterwards, the Firebird had the ball and something happened with 14 and he was down.  Willow snapped this pic just as he fell, and he lept right back up and took off again, but the pic of him flat like that is a bit unnerving for this mother.

I took this lo-res shot of him coming down from a header, boy he sent that ball high! But when I looked closer it looks like the guy from the other team is trying to elbow the Firebird on his descent. Maybe he was just trying to keep his balance. I have overheard a coach(not ours) encouraging his players to play rough, so I pray the flashy Firebird doesn't become a target on the field.
The coach from the best team in the league was at the game watching. The Firebird played with his son in 8th grade. The coach commented to me that the Firebird was coming right along and nodded approvingly. So now I am in the unenviable position of wanting the Firebird to slow down and not draw so much attention to himself. He'll have the toughest guys on him. He's still my baby, after all.
He had two assists on goals and we won the game. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

The downslide of August

Lost one post during a cracking thunderstorm out of the Nor'East-atypical for this time of year. I thought it would miss us, cursed the touchpad blue when it highlighted then deleted unrcovereably several hard-typed paragraphs, then blessed the powers that be when the storm barrelled down atop of us with seconds between lightning and thunderbooms.

Now to recover lost thoughts and not highlight and delete again in a random moment....

The Firebird made the high school varsity soccer team, yeah! He's subbing second string right mid, not my favorite place for him since he is so agressive with the head butting of the ball, and I am convinced that someday in the near future the soccer heads are going to realize that this is simply NOT good for the brain, and ban head contact.  I mean, you can't touch the ball with your hand, but you can slap your brain silly banging the ball into the goal..and this is "football"...jus' sayin'.

And being one of the underclassmen, I am totally comfortable with his low starting rank, I knew that to be a given if he made the upper team. For the team to function well, he needs to be accepted by his teammates when the team knows he can do it, he will get more field time. And, as a parent, the less time he spends on the field with those strapping 17-18 years olds the better his odds are of surviving the season...:D

The Freshmen parents were telling me they were a bit frightened of the Firebird during summer soccer. I remembered the year before watching him join all those big boys in high school, and sympathized.  But the Firebird is big for his age now. He just went through a big huge health scare causing me to pull him from the NorthEastern soccer invitationals-but everything looks good now except for some seasonal allergies.


We've had fleas really really bad this year.  I have always knocked them down with two frontline treatments and blamed flea-infested visitors. This year I Frontlined at the first sign of a flea.  Then repeated in a month, while the flea population exploded. Now it was ourselves that were the carriers. I saw fleas hopping off my pants in the doctor's office.  the dentist's office, Lord help the laudramat, (where I think we got them this time)

The cats caught on quick, and refused to touch the floor upstairs. Then downstairs. The dog stopped coming upstairs and whined on the steps. The trick to Frontline is that it gets in the animals blood stream and stops the cycle after the flea bites.  Well, my animals ain't no dummies, because they were NOT going anywhere near those fleas.  Pity the stupid humans, who took another month to dance across the floors eventually taking to tiptoeing over the furniture and end tables and quickly wiping legs off into buckets of soapy water or keeping a vacuum handy in every room and vaccuuming three times a day.... OMG!!!! Thank God it's been beautiful 80's because forget pants and socks...unless you want to spray insecticide on them.

I contemplated malathion, onced used successfully on a bedbug infestation that took care of every insect for ten years. (forget the 30 day half life on the MDOS)  I contemplated bombing. I thought about the stuff on the shelf at Wally world for spraying everything in your house for bedbugs and fleas,..(probably developed after I called that big chemical company 10 years ago about their perimeter spray and told them I was using it and they kept repeating, "we don't recommend it for that use" and I finally said, "well, I am using it!"

We got just about everything those two years-we had all been living rather reclusively and then I was in University and the Willow in day care and the Firebird in the public school system. Oh yeah. I was never sure if that violent intestinal upset was a roto virus or a stray flick of campylbacter jejundi I flicked across the lab table from my innoculating loop...but it was the threat of head lice at day care that had me pull at least two of us out of that public bacterial swamp lol.(In other words, I stayed at home until Willow was ready to go to Kindergarten)

I had a friend recommend Pine Sol on everything for the fleas including carpets and furniture with a spray bottle...which I meant to buy today and forgot, dang., It is two week's past the second month treatment and I think they are tailing off a bit...I hate ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, black flies, bedbugs, lice, any of that nasty stuff. Obviously something must be bugging me... hehe

***Like the price of feed, for instance. I swear to god the price of a fifty pound bag of layethe cornpellets was $16.50. Yes there is a drought, but corn was $ 6 for a 40 pound bushel . So how the heck is feed that high?

I bought a 50 lb sack of whole corn. I had stopped graining the goats for a couple weeks when pasture was good, and thought I would just give a bit of corn to supplement.  Then I ran out of layer pellets for the chickens at the same time. Ok, this is really cheap to say, but it cost me $4 in gasoline to get that bag of feed 10 miles away, so I decided to tide the (free range ) poultry over on the corn  in the meantime.

Here "Free range" means the birds get to be outside. Not running around the yard. Which is what free range means to me. Anyhow, my birds get daytime access to an enclosed pen, where they get the stray bug or worm and lots of garden thinnings plus their grain. Well their grain for their 2-3 eggs a day was getting pretty high.  A bag lasts us about ten days for the two ganders, 7 hens or so, three when you get a couple dozen eggs for $16.50 that is sort of pricey. Free range (sic) or no.

So they were on corn and thinnings for two straight days.  The first day I soaked the corn overnight and then put it in the blender.  Poor blender. Corn milk. That took while.  The chickens thought I was nuts when I put it in the pan.

The next day I realized I had this ancient grinder that I have used to grind leftover meat bits for the pets(real ground chicken, yuym)
So I did the dried grain in that. The grain did grind, every full stroke forward I had to do a half stroke back to free the whole kernels up, and it took forever and I felt I was skimping everyone. So we threw in some crushed stale potato chips and some raisin bread crust ( don't all children hate crusts to the delight of their animal friends?)

Anyhow, while the whole corn is preferable for the goat's digestion, I preferred the ground product for the poultry, so I decided to give in (to modern convenience)and buy the pellets today.  When I arrived home I looked at the ingredients:

Processed corn by-product, Plant protein by product, and then vitamins. What the heck?????BY_PRODUCT?!?!?!?!

The Willow came in tonight with four more eggs. Our eggs prduction on straight corn doubled for two days.  Screw the over-priced by-product crap!!! I am going with grain and a handful of stale frosted flakes!

Anyone for breakfast? :D

We'll have it on the patio- the fleas aren't so bad out there.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Odds and Ends

Well it's really been a B-E-A-U-ti-ful summer here! I know you had to suffer through listening to me rag about the summer that wasn't last year, but that's not the case this year.

This southern girl is loving it!

We had a nice little stretch of 80's and a few 90's, with only one or two sweltering nights. I have had four upstairs and one downstairs window open for about a month. I run a fan out my upstairs bedroom to draft out the hot air. I did have to pull a second window on the Firebird's small bedroom. He is on the ell, with a bank of three windows facing east. Those hot sunny days his room was quite toasty by noon.
 (even by my mid-atlantic standards )
Tonight it is about 60 or less outside. The mosquitos are horrible still, now we are having a hatch of the micro ones that welted both Codeman and I tonight walking the goats along the stream.

We have been having a lot of fun with a cheap blow up raft, paddling up the pond and using it as a swimming launch to shore, one paddling and the other jumping in and swimming to shore and back, usually almost swamping the boat. Lots of fun when it's in the 70;s and 80's. :D

The Firebird scored two soccer goals and I missed it!!!! UGH!!!! We were running behind schedule (mercury retrograde) and I dropped him off and dashed off to run some errands. These summer soccers games run to almost dark and then a half hour home..Anyhow, I knew as soon as I arrived at the field he had scored a goal. He was playing with the freshmen, and a couple of his own grade he has had a year playing with now... and they were a fine honed machine.

The Firebird was playing center mid, his small fast freshmen ahead of him-pasing back and forth dominating the field, him setting them up for was a lovely thing to see, his confidence and leadership. :)  They won the first 2-1, Firebird both goals,(which I missed) and the won the second game against different opponents.

The third game they went to change fields, and the Willow and I gathered our chairs and dutifully followed, and the Firebird disappeared.  We were playing two teams, and I thought I spotted him at another field, so we dragged everything over there, and then he wasn't there.

We stood in the crosssection of four fields looking back and forth, wondering if he had gone to the loo? (which none of them EVER do no matter how many gallons of liquids they consume...)and then a couple parents started waving at us. I looked and looked and tried to see if he was on bench behind her, wondering, "Where the heck did he go?"

Finally one of them took pity on me and came over and told me that the Firebird and her son were playing for the other team -who was short players- and they had put on red vests.  HAHA! As soon as he put on red he disappeared in my eyes!!! Like a chameleon!  At least a hundred kids on four fields and I was looking for royal blue-he put on red and vanished.

Well, that was fun! Our two boys playing for the other team! And it was to the other team's (who was already quite good) advantage, since it was our two senior best players! Who obviously had to try very hard for the other team so the team knew there was no funny business! And very challenging for the boys not to pass to their own team mates in reflex. I think a few times they had fun skunking their teamates, though!

That team won the game, so the Firebird was 3 for three that night, very sweet.

Last night they played home with the whole lot of them, I counted 27! We had wicked (that's slang for terrible, awesome, amazing, pronounced, wick-hed)weather earlier, fast moving thunderstorms dumping rain. I kept waiting for the text cancelling the game, but these darn soccer coaches ain't no sissys, let me tell you.

The thunderheads and anvils and blowing their tops, and then dark clouds underneath...several lightning strikes and finally the ref blew the whistles, saying, "Ok, I saw that one," have them all sit in the open field on the bench while it passed.  Well, it was to our south,(but just over the tre tops at the far edge of the field south) and I hadn't seen any green...(not a good sign, means take shelter NOW) but lots of yellow...

Yup, I just heard tonight that cell spawned a TORNADO a mere 15 miles away. The weatherman said, "oh, it was a F0, 50-60 mph winds, -only 20 yards wide and .2 miles long.*la-te-da*

and I was thinking, that's 60 feet wide and 800 feet long...would of made a big dent in that field, I tell you what.

I don't remember if we won or lost last night. But we did finish the game after it went by. 

Just call me Cissy. ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mercury's retrograde

And it's in full swing.  First thing this morning I heard road equipment at the end of the drive. I took my time getting dressed over coffee, heard it diminish up the hill and then return. I booked it outside just in time to see the Irises planted around the mailbox stream out across the end of the drive, just behind a brush hog.

Roadside mowing time.

I went down to survey the damage.

My road frontage has had it's own mini story this spring.  Well, it began last fall. The road commissioner ignored all signs and did nothing to any dirt road.  They waited until the bitter end to post, because the road commissioner is also a professional logger and there is a bit of conflict of interest there.  Because once the back roads are posted for weight limits, loggers can't haul out on them.

So our roads went all to hell, nearly swallowed my car a couple times.  I even got out there with rakes and shovels and implements of mass destruction (at least that Arlo Giuthrie song was running through my head) to level out the ruts (which was a mistake, because they turned into a quagmire-which prompted action, so it's all good)

Right after the spring thaw, we had town meeting and a new first selectperson. Next thing we know, all the back roads are being re-worked. I kept my mouth shut for the most part, and watched over several morning's coffee as the locals ditched and graded and rip rapped and burlapped my road, mostly leaving me alone since I know the less work they do the better. :)

Well, they did smooth down my ridge and deepen my ditch and spewed hay and even seeded. I couldn't resist and overseeded with wild-collected coltsfoot (gone to seed at the time) and organic flax seed I bought as a food supplement at the health food store and which germinated better than any of the aforementioned seed stock.

The flax was on the verge of bloom; the tender grasslings they had sowed about 6 inches high, and the coltsfoot really just barely making a show, and the damn brush hog went through and scrushed it all.  I was so stinking mad it was a good thing I couldn't find the road commissioner's cell number/

I left on errands shortly after that, just in time to see the tractor and mower attachment loading at the crossroads, and realized that it was not any of the locals-apparently a private contractor on the mowing, so I let it slide.

The worst part was that they went right around my mailbox and mowed down all the Siberian Iris I had there, thank the luck they had already bloomed so maybe they will recover.  And I am holding out hope the flax was just pinched back and will bloom bushier than ever, as I gazed at a few early lonely bright blue blossoms severed on the banking.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, so on the way back home I stopped and grabbed a big bouquet of fallen black-eyed susans ( one of my favorites) and stuck them on a vase on the deck.  Then I went back out and raked a huge back end of the subbie wagon full of roadside forage for the goat's dinner (although I wondered if I spent more in gas than I saved in hay and grain)

I just wish that they would wait to mow until the perennial flowers have gone to seed, the yarrow and black eyed susan and Queen Ane's lace. The mowing is really supposed to keep back the brush, the roadside would be so much prettier if they allowed them to flower out with the native wildflowers.

Or the occasional sowed flax. :P

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Can't go back might as well slog ahead

I have been knocked off my high horse and landed in a swamp.

Last fall I started helping an old friend with a food business.  I had long ago retired from professional cooking.  One of the last places I worked burnt any desire for the business right out of me.

I was a lead saute cook for a huge Italian place, running a 24 burner gas range.  They worked me 6 splits a week, 11-2, 4- whenever dinner slowed down. Obviously that left me no life but the restaurant, which was good because it didn't pay for much of a life.

Before that I had several long terms stints as a kitchen manager, always cooking on the "hot" side, expediting, etc.

I tried a couple times to get back into the business, but found I had no tolerance for the job anymore.

Until last fall, when I came out of retirement to help a friend.  I spent the off season helping develop new markets, playing secretary, designing menus, fixing food costs, and actually preparing food.

We barely scraped through the off season, I found myself facing a horrifying financial position in July. Out of the blue I had a call from a place I worked years ago. I readily agreed to go back.

My friend dropped me like a hot potato. I couldn't be available 24/7? Bye!

Then what happened? The new job was right out of kitchen nightmares.  I had worked the place for 7 years then a co-worker bought it 15 years ago. The changes were not all for the good.

I think it could all be blamed on the menu.  Enormous menu. I was told people had walked out because the menu was too big. Whether customers or employees or both I forgot to ask.

The menu was not several things done different ways. A good menu would offer haddock for example, fried, baked, broiled, chowder; then chicken, shrimp, you have a few ingredients to use different ways to keep product fresh.

This place it seemed every item on the menu required three or four things specific to that item. Now times that by 100, and you can imagine the amount of storage you need for all those ingredients. So he added many refridges and freezers.

Along that philospohy of more is better, the kitchen tools had been breeding for the last 15 years.  dozens of inserts for all those fridges- scoops, spatulas, spices. The place was stuffed to the ceiling.  That left a 18 inchgap to pass food to the waitstaff.

Most of the cooking equipment had been downsized to make room for the fridges. One busy breakfast they had to break out an electric griddle to cook pancakes- and they still took forever.

The owner and designer of the menu rarely worked in the kitchen. Only if he was called down if the line was busy.

Most of the help were relatives.  The son in Law seemed to worked endless days and hours without a break and it quickly became apparent that was the status quo.

I was hired for the pantry/salad girl position, and I hated it. I got to run the microwaves, and root out all the ingredients from the freezer and thaw them in the nuker for the hot side all the while making salads out of the cheapest nastiest produce on the market. 

The other hot side cook was 23 years old and spent the shift questioning everything I did from if I was sure the baked potato was done, to a fried chicken tender I dropped for him when he was in the weeds, to criticizing the size of my chopped tomatoes.

If he was an accomplished chef I would not have been so offended.

I lasted almost two weeks.

Finding myself once again in a financial jam, I heard the farm where I used to work was short on help, so I swallowed my pride and sent an inquiry about possible employment.

It turns out the boss is still holding a grudge from a year ago over my questioning the amount of shavings on a concrete barn floor used for horses.

I still refuse to budge.

That's three bridges I have destroyed in a month's time.  I just hope there's a few pieces floating around because I am up the creek without a paddle.

Any good energy or prayers sent my way will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

That Boy can Jump!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Soccer

The Firebird is doing well in soccer.  He has been playing a lot with the upperclassmen. Last night the underclassmen had a tournament and he volunteered for goalie for the first two games.  I think you can see in the last pic  why I don't like him playing goalie!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Funny how when an external source prevents you from doing something it becomes irresistable. Yes, I was the kid who had to stick a pebble up my nose after my mother said never stick a bean up my nose. What would happen? surely the pebble would come right out. Let's pick a bean-sized pebble and see.  Ooops.

My internet is down. I never realized how much I appreciate my excruciatingly slow internet connection until the phone line crashed.  The phone line is still hanging below the electric service wire, it's just dead dead dead. 

Why is it dead? I don't know that yet, I called the phone company over 23 hours ago and they said someone would be here by 6 pm tonight.  I guess they don't make service calls to their own equipment on Sundays.

Oh, I know it is on their end, I have already gone outside and checked the line at the source and a big fat nada.

We did have a big thunderstorm here on Saturday evening, so it is possible the line took a lightning strike. The power never blinked, but I suppose it is possible. My neighbor's line is working fine.

I was having internet withdrawals so I found public wifi and sat in the blazing sun trying to make out the screen on the craptop. I mean laptop.

I realized that I could actually watch some of those videos I had been wanting to check out. The highway traffic sounds competed with the speakers cranked to 100%. I crouched over the front seat with my ear pressed to the keyboard, straining to hear a long anticipated interview. "too many, too many"

I verified that I had indeed been the videographer of a music video recently posted on you tube but wasn't given credit.  I thought about contacting my old friend with a gentle reminder that I had been the camera person, but I had gladly handed over a copy of the vid years ago and the vid was grainy and shaky so perhaps I don't need to remind the world it was of my making...but it did bring back memories of old hopes and dreams.
The Willow is revisiting her love of fishing.  She caught ten fish in ten casts a few nights ago and broke her own record. She caught four fish on the same worm. She hooked all the fish perfectly. She caught several big largemouth bass, some pumpkinseed (or sunfish) a pickerel, and possibly a smallmouth bass.

We went over again last evening, and she didn't catch quite as many as ten, but she caught a few. One bass was so big I couldn't get my hand around it, and ended up cradling the bottom half with my barefeet. She hooked it in the jaw and I had a heck of a time getting the hook out. I finally used my left hand to hold the fish by the lip so I could work the hook with my right hand, and had to apply some force. That fish held still until the hook came out with a "snick" and then the King of the Pond gave a big flip out of my hands and feet and returned to the depths.

Then she had a couple of pumpkinseeds swallow the hook. I am not sure how a bass with a mouth I could fit my hand into would get hooked in the mouth but a small pumpkinseed can swallow the hook so deep I can just make out the little pink beads in the depths and no hope of reaching the hook shank with my needle-nose pliers.

We used to do as directed by the fishing regulations, cut the line close to the mouth and release the fish with the promise the hook will rust and the fish will be fine. Until we found the dying loon. I suspected fishing gear lodged in the gizzard. After all, loons eat fish, and what could be more tempting to a fish-eating bird, then a fish swimming erratically with a hook in it's stomach?
So we didn't fish at all last year.

We started fishing again this year, and early on performed an experiment with the first sunfish that swallowed a hook and verified that the fish weakened and died within a couple days. The protocol for us now is that if a fish swallows a hook, it will be quickly dispatched. The idea is to process them and utilize them for some good rather than poison the loons.

I have two sunfish in my fridge awaiting processing, or my food awaiting the absorption of fishy flavors.

We catch and release the rest, or as the local fisheries expert claims, harass the fish. My compassionate side feels a small twinge of guilt for teasing the hungry fish with a yummy squiggly worm and then yanking them out of their environment.

But them my parental instincts take over when I share my daughter's excitement when the bobber goes under and the line starts scree-scree-screeing, holding my breath while she tries to manoever whatever it is around the overhanging bushes and keep it away from the submerged log.
We get to see what sort of fish is living right across the street from us up close, and learn to treat
them with honor and respect as we handle them carefully and return them to the water.

I think it's our favorite part of Maine summer.

But I would like my internet back for my morning coffee.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I see that it has been quite awhile since I posted. In the meantime, blogger has a new interface, which is taking horrendously long to load at the moment.

I have been busy as a consultant for a friend's business.  That has involved a huge amount of my time and sapped my creativity right out the window.

I am in the process of letting the bird fly on their own, and finally had a breather this week to find "ME" again.

Our early spring drought ended. We have had rain, and rain, and more rain. Last weekend we had a storm that dumped 8 inches in places. This is the first time the sun has shown itself in a week.  My garden paths are  under water. Water is bubbling up in my driveway. The slugs are actually hiding under hay bales to get out of the rain.

The saplings are doing well, school is almost over for the year, and it is looking as though both will finish with high honors. :)

The Firebird is signed up for summer soccer. We have had a running battle over the state of the lawn and my perennial beds from constant soccer. I realized when he did a paper for Honors Reading & Lit on Lionel Messi that I was fighting a losing battle.  Gardening and soccer do not a good match make. Those water logged perennials are no match for a soccer ball.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March winds

The winter that wasn't. My prediction for tons of snow couldn't have been more off. We had 80F degree temps several days last week. Our road turned into a swamp. My driveway ate a truck. Willow saw a butterfly. I was bitten by mosquitoes. We saw a bunch of ladybugs.

My lilacs are budding. Crocus and snowdrops are blooming. Ticks are everywhere.

Then the North winds came down yesterday. The ground refroze last night. The chicken water froze all day long. The winds are gusting enough to shake the house.

No one knows what to make of the weather. MY goats keep coming into strong heat, including my senior doe that didn't even show much heat last fall. The migratory birds have returned.

I was a little late in getting the maple taps in. I put in 10 taps and got about 16 gallons of sap in two runs. That made about a quart of delicious maple syrup. That's an estimate since I put it up in fancy jelly jars and cool jars I saved, like the charming little squat better than bullion jars. I just boiled the jars for ten minutes to sterilize, and then poured the hot syrup in and inverted them until cool.

The heat last week put an end to the sap run. Maine Maple sunday was this past sunday, and I bet no one was running fresh sap through the evaporators! I left some poor trees with the taps in, cince it was supposed to come off cold again. I think I will pull them, though, since it takes many smoky hours boiling the sap down(if there is another run) for syrup and I am feeling lazy. :)

We are all actually hoping that we don't slip back into a typical Maine spring, because everything is so far ahead of season that a cold snap could be devastating.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The third week in February already!

Our winter has been very unusual. The snowstorm before Hallowee'en was nearly the biggest snow we have had all winter. Three times we snow-scooped the driveways, and the intervening storms have been rain.

The ice has been awful this year. Or awful good depending on whether or not you are a fan of ice. The second snow-scooping storm fell on a good layer of ice, so it was nearly imnpossible to get any traction to push the scoop of snow.

I fell pretty good during that time. Or bad depending on if you are a fan of falling. My feet flew out and my head and elbow landed simultaneously to a very loud "Crack!"

I was sure it was my head that made the awful noise, but it didn't hurt as badly as my elbow. Owie, ow, ow, ow. I figured the pain would ease right off in a minute like what usually happens when you give a joint a hard rap, but it continued to hurt.

The point of the elbow is still tender to the touch three weeks later, so I guess I know where the explosive crack sound came from.

There are still patches of ice about. I scorn the pair of ice cleats a concerned friend gave me after my fall, and creep duck and flat footed over the remaining icy bits.

The winter that wasn't, that will be this year. And it follows the summer that wasn't. Looks like we are going to balance out eventually at mud season 12 months of the year.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Lots of stuff has been happening around the homestead.

Both the saplings made honor roll at their respective schools, yay!

Then the Firebird suffered a concussion during basketball practice. He told me when he arrived home he had taken a crack from a team mate's head that bloodied his nose. I was distracted and didn't think it too serious so I told him to grab a bag of frozen veggies to apply to his nose. An hour later he didn't respond to the dinner call, and I went to check on him.

He complained of being exhausted and his head hurting and I quickly grabbed a flashlight to check his pupil response. His right pupil was not contracting in response to the light and spun eerily trying to avoid the light.

Everything stopped and I took him into the ER. We weren't treated with much priority there, but the doc recommended a ct scan to be on the safe side. The scan came back normal, so we went home with instructions to watch for anymore symptoms. (headache, slurred speech, vision trouble, etc)

The Firebird was adamant about attending school the next day, (and wanting to play in a far away game the next evening)so I put him on the bus and called the high school. The athletic director told me the school's sports injury specialist would take a look at him and would have to clear him to play again.

Word came back via the Firebird later that he couldn't play, but he was going to the game on the bench. When he was examined, he had experienced dizziness when tippping his head back, so he was still exhibiting signs of a concussion.

He felt pretty miserable after sitting through the loud game. I kept him quiet for the weekend, and again he insisted on attending school on Monday. No practice or game after school, so he rode the bus home, or to the bus stop.

He sent me a text from the bus asking me to make sure I was at the stop on time. When he got off the bus, he started crying; his head hurt so badly. Everything stopped, and I rushed him into the ER.

I managed to get him into a wheelchair, and when intake saw that he had been in a few days before, they rushed us right through- way down the back of the ER, where all was quiet except for the nearby bleep of monitors. I was getting a little scared.

He was sent off for another CT scan. I was told that sometimes bleeding in the brain can take several days to appear. The CT scan came back normal. He was diagnosed with post concussion syndrome, given a pill for nausea, some Ibuprofen and some Benydryl, and I was told to take him to his PCP for followup.

In the meantime, the Willow had developed a horrible cough. She had been fighting off a bug for awhile and it had obviously settled in her lungs, so I took her to the clinic the next morning for a script of Amoxycillin and kept the Firebird quiet at home. He had an appointment the next day.

His PCP laid down the law and told the Firebird to take the rest of the week off from school and sports, and the following week of vacation, and see how he felt after the New Year. He was pretty cooperative the first week but got pretty restless by the second week, texting back and forth with his coach (he was sorely missed by the team) trying to con me into at least letting him go WATCH the practices, but I held firm and howled about it being doctor's order's and I wasn't the bad guy...while wondering if I really wanted to let him go back to play at all.

Willow didn't get better on the Amoxycillin. She had been given capsules and can't swallow a pill. So we were dumping the powder in chocolate pudding. Her cough got worse. The script was changed to one of the cephalexans in liquid form and she thought that was yummy tasting so that went pretty well. She finished the course and still has a little congestion. Overall, she seems her old self again, yay.

The Firebird was cleared to gradually return to basketball. He had some minutes in the last game. He has fallen out of condition with two weeks off and been tired and trying to catch up on his work, too. He is on the student concil and had to been @ school before 7 this morning, and then attend school; finally a late practice tonight from 7-8:30.

Of course it is now my turn. I was laid low for three days with fever and sore throat and sinus pain. Then my ear filled up and I frantically swallowed Advil and Benydryl one after another until the pain subsided. All day yesterday I had the signs of a ruptured eardrum, so i finally went to the clinic this morning.

The Doc took one look inside the ear in question, quickly recoiled, and pronounced I had returned to my second childhood and had an inner ear infection. He handed me a ten day supply of Amoxycillin.

Welome January. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 6 ,2012