Thursday, April 27, 2017

A New Look

What is it guys said when they went to the barbershop...just a little off the top and sides?  (Obviously, before the Presley pompadour, man buns or the Trump-do.)  At any rate, Helper Dude came early yesterday morning and gave Farview a trim and a new look.  All the rain and occasional sunshine have caused the weeds to spring up with vim and vigor.  That particularly nasty plant with the lacy leaves, tiny white flowers and those dratted dagger seeds was rampant on the hill.  HD went to work with his weed whacker and cleaned off the slope behind the chicken pen, around and under the deck, and any number of areas where I can't take John Dear.  As much as I dislike that weed, whatever it is, I have to say it gives a delicious fragrance when cut down.  It may take another go-round or two, but I'm determined to keep it from reseeding this year.  Filaree with its auger-like seeds and burr clover are annual pests, but nothing gets in Bessie's fur, my socks, the sheets, blankets, laundry, carpet, and furniture like those gawdawful spears.  Helper Dude probably looks at the weeds as job security.  At any rate, the place looks pretty neat and tidy.  I have a couple more yards to mow if and when we get a stretch of good weather before the beauty treatment is complete.  (Feel free to remind me of this when I whine about having to mow again.)

Yesterday was another grey, drizzly day.  Not real rain that might do some good, just enough mist to make the critters and me miserable. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


As the Romper Room Lady (an old TV show) would say, "This is a Watch-Bird watching you."  While I sit and look at trees and clouds, Bessie Anne protects the neighborhood.  That bottom rail is at just the right height to rest her chin and the pickets are just the right width apart for her nose.  She might move from sun to shade, but this is how I see her most often when we share deck time.

More and more lizards are showing up on sunny days.  This is a new crop of little bitty guys.  I'm not sure a two-inch lizard is big enough to call a totem, maybe a tote?

Bess and I are not the only ones who enjoy the deck, but this sharing business has gone too far.  This is all that is left of my salad garden and I didn't get a leaf.  Aarrgh!  The ground squirrels keep the cats amused (or frustrated) as they run back and forth with impunity.  Ralph and Celeste watch the activity from window sills and doorways, kek-kek-keking away in excitement.  I think the thing that really frosts my cookies is that, even though they have ten acres in which to do their business, the squirrels come up on the deck to use my flower pots as litter boxes.  I mean, really?!

Bess and I took the trash down to the big road yesterday to the bin we share with Camille.  The ungainly wheeled bins must be dragged across the street and back again which is a pain in the patoot, but better than having to take a truckload of trash into town to the dump.  Sigh.

It was a lovely sunny day.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Don't Move

Never having had the experience I can't swear to it, but it seems to me that John Dear steers like a Sherman tank; at least how I imagine a tank would steer.  John is a big boy and I definitely get an upper body workout when we mow a yard.  Note to the John Deere designers:  consider power steering on the next model.

Between the yelling muscles in my shoulders and arms from working with John and those screaming from the back of thigh from bending over for sticks with Pete, the order of the day was Don't Move.  More accurately, don't move after milking and cleaning the barn.  The real rain had stopped, but there was still mist in the air and the ankle-high weeds in the pen were dripping wet.  Back in the house, I stripped off soaked socks and put on slippers, fixed a cup of hot cocoa, picked up a lap cat and sat down to watch the race at Bristol (it had been delayed by rain on Sunday).  Warm at last and comfortable, the sound of engines had a soporific effect and even though Bowyer was fighting his way up the field after a speeding penalty in the pit, I fell asleep with about 40 laps to go.  Were it not for a text from Clay, I would not have known that Clint came in second at the finish.  Stewart-Haas has given Bowyer a car and support worthy of his talents and it shows.

A sandwich for dinner, put the kids to bed, and call it a day.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Help Is On The Way

Taking a break on the deck after barn chores, I saw what looked like an alien invasion on the forsythia.  I'd never seen anything like the frothy white fluff with tiny black spots surrounding a tender center.  Had a spider become rabid or simply berserk?  A glance at the neighboring pot revealed the answer.  Normally I deadhead the anemones as soon as their petals fall, but what with the rain and one thing or another, I'd not done that.  It wasn't the forsythia but an anemone that had gone to seed.  That would never have occurred to me because anemones propagate by rhizomes.  Live and learn.

Pete, my volunteer worker for the day, arrived to check the Help Wanted board.  A chore I'd really hoped to accomplish was resetting a number of latches on the goat barn.  The building had settled out of alignment over time and it was either a struggle or the latches wouldn't connect at all.  I'd put the battery for a cordless drill to charge the day before.  Good luck with that.  It's been years since that tool has been used and the battery was beyond help.  Pete found another drill, but of course that battery was dead, also.  I put it on a charger, but it was useless for the day.  So much for Plan A.

Plan B was the seemingly insignificant but so necessary task of playing Pick Up Sticks in the front yard.  A helper at my side made the job go fast.  This was the third full cart to get hauled to the burn pile.  The trouble with a really tall son is that he can lose his head when the focus is on the foreground.  Sorry 'bout that.  It would have taken me days to clean up what Pete and I did in an hour or two.  Boy, did I appreciate the help.  Pete is my electronics guru and he gave me a lot of advice on how to possibly fix some current computer problems.

After a snack and a bit of a rest, Pete took off.  As much as I had needed the help, his gift of time meant even more.  I was more than ready for a bit of sit-down after all that bending, but knowing that wet weather was predicted (again), it seemed prudent to get John Dear out and mow the yard before wind and rain brought down more branches.  It looks so nice, if I do say so.

The rain began last night.  I can feel muscles I didn't know I had.  It will be good to take time off.

It was a super good day.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


You get a pretty good idea that you are not living in the city when your neighbor calls in the early morning and asks, "Are you missing a leg?"  I glanced down, "Um, no."  "What color were Esther's legs?  My dogs found one in our yard and I wonder if it could be one of hers."  Ahh, it became clear to me then.  The cleanup committee has been hard at work, vultures on the day shift and very vocal coyotes on nights.  It normally takes four days and all traces are gone.  It was pretty rude of the night crew to leave their leftovers on someone else's property, though.  Cam said, "Oh, don't apologize.  My dogs couldn't be happier."  What can I say?  We aim to please.

These pollen-loaded catkins give the live oak such a lovely lacy look and drive everyone with allergies absolutely nutters.  They blow off the tree and coat the deck, the porch, the truck.  There is a seemingly endless supply of the darned things.  I won't miss them when they're gone.

I find that my enthusiasms rise and fall with the thermometer.  Yesterday was a "downer" as the wind blew and there was a heavy cloud cover.  Again.  Sunset was the one bright spot in the whole day.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bees, Burgers And A Boy

The Spanish lavender is in full bloom and absolutely buzzing with bumblebees.  We hear so much about the decline in bee colonies that it makes me happy to see all the busy little creatures here.  I get more bumblers than honeybees, but perhaps that is because I don't have so many flowering plants.  The Spanish lavender doesn't have the intense scent as its French cousin, but I get a kick out of the perky little topknots.  Lavender is one of the few plants (rosemary is another) that the deer do not eat.  They also avoid santolina, and I have both the grey and green varieties.  It was pure luck that I have anything that is deer resistant because I had no clue when the plants were purchased.

There are clothes in my closet that I've not worn in years.  Just how long it's been was apparent yesterday when I was dressing to meet Pete and pulled out a shirt/blouse that I thought was appropriate and found that it had shoulder pads.  Shoulder pads have not been in vogue since I can't remember when.  Oh well, it was better than bibbies so I went off looking like Joan Crawford, Joan Collins or a quarterback.

Pete and I met at Bones within minute of each other, perfect timing.  We've had so little contact over the years that it's like becoming reacquainted with this Kid of mine.  Bones has great hamburgers and even better onion rings, and we chowed down on both and talked and talked and talked.  It was fun to discover that we share opinions in many areas.  It made for a lively discussion.  There is a "Help Wanted" column on my refrigerator note board where I post chores that I cannot do by myself and would appreciate the Kids' help.  Pete said he'd be up on Sunday to check the board and do what he could.  Won't that be nice?

With just the three girls, bedtime has become chaos in the barn.  Tessie has never had a room of her own and is desperate to go in the back stalls with Inga and Sheila.  One of the plastic roof panels is broken or I'd put Tess in Cindy's old room so they could all be close.  As it is, Tessie has to go into the big room she'd shared with Esther, putting her across the hall where she can't even see the others.  She doesn't like it.

It was a better-than-good day.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Cracked Egg

In front of the barn door was half a robin's egg shell, a lovely blue speckled with brown.  I was going to bring it back to the house, but it was so fragile it didn't make the trip.  I may be a bit cracked myself, at least in the minds of Beau and Helper Dude.  I have a huge, repeat huge, burn pile that both guys offered to come burn for me.  There is always the possibility of fire spreading and burning alone is something I will not do.  I definitely wanted to take one or the other up on their offer, but asked that they do it before the birds started nesting in the brush pile.  I cannot bear the thought of roasting baby birds.  (Guys are more pragmatic than emotional.)  Time went on and the fellows had chores of their own, I'm sure.  Obviously, having found an eggshell, it's too late to set fire to the brush pile now.

As I've said before, my daughter could out-Martha Martha Stewart in her attention to detail.  I was told to "look for the gold egg" when presented with the Easter gift.  I didn't realize there was a difference in gold eggs.  The smaller eggs were filled with jellybeans (including licorice!) and I was a happy gal.  In semi-frustration, Deb finally put the larger gold egg in my hand.  When cracked, it not only held candy but two one-dollar bills, the required amount for a poker buy-in!  It was the Willy Wonka gold prize.  Sadly, there wasn't time for cards last Sunday, but I'm staked for our next game.  Those carrots, by the way, are filled with bubble solution and a little wand.  Ralph is mesmerized by floating bubbles and I enjoy watching him watch them.

Not just eggs are cracked around here, the squirrels are pretty nutty, too.  Mama had either sent Papa out for supplies or she decided to gather material for redecorating the nursery herself.  Peeled bark from cedar firewood was evidently on the shopping list and I'm left with the litter.

I'm glad I hadn't yet picked up branches from the yards as, although sunny, it was really windy yesterday and I would have had to do it all over again.  I'm not into that.