My Trees, My Heart

My dreams were full of rain.  I heard it and saw it and fretted over having to go out in it. Rain in dreams suggests crying or tears.  There have been lots of tears.

My heart hurts for my trees.  Six are getting removed.  Two came down yesterday and four more have seen their last sunrise today.  I know why it’s happening and I’m not trying to stop it, but my heart hurts anyway.  Especially for my beautiful maple with its bark that curls away from the trunk and the healthy gloss of its gray-green leaves.  That tree watches the birds with me and calms my spirit.  When I hugged it goodbye this morning before going to work, words I’d said to my mother (that I’d be back very soon–before I never saw her again in this life) echoed in my mind.

I know why I’m letting this happen: the house, the water, the foundation, the roof, my husband’s peace.  He knows that this is personally painful to me and so hasn’t pushed it forward until the lightning came.  But all of our knowing is meaningless because it is without understanding.  My heart cannot understand logic and he cannot understand my heart.

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 Carnage. Ugly Awful.

Right now this place feels destroyed. I should have stopped it.

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Beautiful Ugly Apples

Today is Happle Day (Happy Apple Day) where we eat apple cobbler from our very own apples for dinner.  (I just made this holiday up as the cobbler was baking.) I happily have two gallon bags of frozen apples and a bunch of peels and cores in the fridge. Thinking about making apple cider vinegar and/or some hard cider with my scraps. The most fruitful harvest of the season came not at all from my efforts. It was just a gift.

Eddie is a good sport.  Don’t worry son, there’s always counseling. 

Update: I’m trying it. Vinegar on the left, hard cider on the right.  Only real difference is that cider recipe has more sugar.  Yeah I know that a kool-aid pitcher isn’t a legit fermenting jug, but while googling I discovered that people ferment actual kool-aid for cheap booze, so…..The good news is that nobody is going to be ingesting this stuff except for me, so there’s only a risk of poisoning one person. And not really, since I have a magical iron stomach.

Fun with Fermenting, or Stuff for the Compost Pile

Cheers!

Below are a links to sites that helped get me from 0 to here- o. But, to disclaim, I’m a ballparker when it comes to recipes.

Reassurance that Ugly Apples are Beautiful

Cobbler recipe – easy yum!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Scappy Cider

Date Night

One upon a time there was a couple who were creeping up on middle age. Their adventous streak matched the silver streaks in their hair and therefore spent most weekend nights at home with the kids. The husband, however, had asked his wife to go out on a proper date this particular evening. This couple who, after a little back and forth debate of whether to see a cheap music show at a little dive in the city or a cheap music show at a larger dive in the country, took into account the meteor shower that was supposed to be visible and headed out into the wilds of the North Carolina bible belt on a Saturday night. (The wife, in her aged wisdom, fixed herself a hefty to-go wine).

They first found themselves at a fish camp (aka seafood restaraunt) in the middle of nowhere that was so jam packed with folks that there was a line to get into the place and a line to get out. Then they moseyed down the road, bellies full of fried food and red slaw. 

Rolling pastures and wooded areas decorated the journey. They passed a lovely old boarded up church which the wife suggested would probably be easy to break into. Later she begged him to pull over and let her try and climb up an embankment inhabited by three ancient silos. It didn’t happen.  

Eventually they came to a very well kempt little downtown with buildings that were probably two centuries old. A pickup truck sat parked at a storefront with a sign in the bed announcing the entertainment within. 

Rows of various cheap old chairs filled the place, plastic and metal, some with flattened pillows or cushions. The ceiling tiles were actual tile and the stained ones all had the same pattern like brown flowers in the corners. Beyond the hanging fluorescent light, a six piece band warmed up. An old man warmly greeted our couple at the door, pegging them as first timers. He bragged that there were no bad bands that ever played there and that everyone there was just like family…no smoking and no drinking. The wife smiled widely in reponse, nodding but saying nothing, guiltily clutching her to-go wine and trying not to exhale. Over his shoulder, a tiny woman with white hair climbed the stage steps and began singing “I’ll Fly Away” with the band.

The husband and wife gingerly moved among the octogenarian crowd and placed themselves on cushions on the outskirts of the hubbub. The wife’s unease grew when she realized that the gregarious group of spectators near the stage were all wearing tap shoes. What was this place? She took a deep swig of her smuggled wine.

The old man from the door hopped on stage to introduce the band and to do more bragging about the musical lineup between now and the end of the year. He welcomed the audience and asked if there were any birthdays. The husband heard “first days” and mistook his wife’s jittery nudges as an urge for him to raise his hand. Awkward, but truly no big deal except that our couple was all kinds of out of sorts.

The band began playing a toe-tapping tune, and not even a few moments in, the clackety shoe people got up to clog. No time wasted. No liquid courage needed. These ladies and their gents had been waiting all week and were ready to cut loose. The wife woefully noticed that the path to the bathroom was now forever blocked by the tapping spectacle as she finished her cup. The greeter-host pulled a chain off to the couple’s left and the fluorescent light erased, leaving only a warm stage glow. Our newcomers felt immediately more able to sink into anonymity and began to relax. 

The music was good. Bluegrass with some classic country and a little bit of rock. They did a Celtic number as well. The dancing never stopped. Folks who seemed to have trouble walking to and from their seats, bodies full of age and ailment, danced number after number, faces full of smiles. 

The contagion finally spread to the wife and she wanted to partake in the boogie woogie. The husband, not so much. So they began planning the next part of their journey: meteors. 

And old Indian burial mound was nearby and sometimes stayed open late for celestial viewings. Not this night though. Wifey said they should go anyway and jump the fence, hubby said um, no. 

They went outside into the humid night and wandered around the deserted little town, admiring the church and poking their noses into creepier structures. They laughed and tried to guess where the zombies might be hiding. 

Eventually it was time to try and see some shooting stars. As they zoomed through the countryside the wife planned their big trespassing mission. The husband told her to just relax and look at the stars. He opened the sunroof and told her to put her seat back. They rode like that for a long time, listening to classic rock and sharing some light banter. 

The husband suddenly pulled off the road and into the front yard of the boarded up old chuch they had passed earlier that day. Private Property and No Tresspassing signs shouted their intent. The husband cut the headlights and killed the engine. The wife, thrilled that her bluff had been called, jumped out of the car to make good on her part of this scheme. The husband and wife tiptoed up the church steps and looked around the portico lit up by his cell phone. That was enough illegal adventure for our rebels, so they headed back to the car. The husband did stop to pee on a shrub, though. And when he did, the wife noticed the blinking red light of a camera staring down at them. 

Later that night in the safety of their cozy bed, the wife dreamed that new ghosts had followed them home and were fighting with the resident ghosts. The husband dreamed that they were vacationing with the kids in an abandoned town and were greeted by men with guns. 

Perhaps our couple should go out more often. Or not. 

The End

Quit Your Whining, Me

Of course it’s worth it. So I haven’t grown more than we could use of anything, or enough of anything to put up or get sick of eating. But today I picked enough to share a nice little variety with my neighbor. So yes, that’s a nice feeling and I’ll just get better at it. 

Why dost thou

think thou needest effing light before your first true leaves arrive? And why dost thou still stretch out for the daytime skylights in the mudroom after spending all night under a grow light in the basement?

Why don’t my plants seem to follow the rules?  Little brats. They are cute with their little baby broccoli selves, though. Maybe it’s just because broccoli is a floppy baby anyway? 

Do I have the energy to plant a fall garden? Can I hack up the grass and move my decrepit containers and amend the soil and have a round three for 2016? Is it worth it? Will the slugs and caterpillars demolish all of my brassicas before they’re even much of anything?  Will planting in the actual earth be worse for pests than even my containers were?

My dirt seems way too full of life as I hack it up. Grubs and beetles and random freaky looking guys.  My hamstrings and shoulders get destroyed after only an hour or two. Why the fuck don’t I have a tiller yet? Too lazy to ask for the help in getting one I guess. I’d rather hack, hack, hack.

Except I’m tired and I haven’t been hacking very much. 

Is this going to happen? Motivation is low due to the shitty little harvests following high hopes over summer. I loved it, I did. But is it time to rest now instead of hacking up the earth to meet a seasonal deadline? 

Don’t know. Leggy babies after a half-hearted planting waiting for my broken body to fix the dirt in the heat makes me question it for sure.

Corn Fail

Somebody is stealing corn and leaving remnants all over the place. Also the stalks look brown and dead. However, the biggest problem is the corn itself. Obviously the pollination failed, being that there are only a few kernels. Also the silks are rotted (which fooled me into thinking the pollination was effective) and there seems to be infestation as well.

My guess is that having the corn against the building inhibited air flow, making it too hot and restricted the pollination. Our manual pollination efforts were not very good either.

I ordered a pack of seeds to try an early fall crop, like the man at Southern States said he was going to grow. Have no idea where I’m going to put it. I know where I’m not putting it though:

Full of Hopes, Since Dashed

I should never count my baby veg before they’re done growing. But I do it anyway.

So Thankful

As I was coming into town yesterday on my way home from work I saw an impressive bolt of lightning off in the distance.  Immediately following that I felt the clap of thunder beneath my car. Feeling it seems odd even in retrospect, but perhaps the universe was nudging me. 

Pulling into the drive I stopped to take this picture, happy for the rain.

Gordon met me outside to tell me about the lightning that hit the lamp post out back while he and the kids and the dog stood watching the storm roll in. He said everything turned red. I expressed my disappointment in missing it. He told me that things got destroyed: the modem, the wireless router, the PlayStation. 

A bit later while Gordon was figuring out whether these items were under warranty and dealing with that hodgepodge, I went to wash my hands and discovered we had no water. The well pump got fried as well. Luckily our neighbors had the ability and kind willingness to let us tap into their well for a couple of days until we get it sorted out.

We also lost our security camera. The neighbors also lost their air conditioning unit. Happily for them they have a landlord and happily for us it isn’t us. 

Today Eddie found another striking point. Lightning struck the sycamore in front of our bedroom window that has a destiny for removal (whether I like it or not). Note the new wound down its beautiful length.

This is likely going to cost us at least a couple of thousand dollars. But I’m not complaining.  My boys were all standing beneath the carport when lightning arced over their heads, hitting this tree on one side, and the lamp post on the other. They could have gotten hit. It’s a bit of a miracle nobody was hurt. Never again will any of us watch storms outside the house. 

I am so thankful. 

81 Hour Drought & an Enemy of an Enemy

We drove to Ohio to visit family and to fetch Eddie who’d been staying with Grandma in time to start his Cross Country practice. Of course that meant we had to leave the garden for a bit to fend for itself during a heat wave. Yes, they have very limited moisture access in porous containers, no I do not have an irrigation system or somebody around who I’m comfortable asking to help me. I would have womaned up and begged a favor from the neighbor had Gordon wanted to stay longer, but it wasn’t the case so I watered right before we left and right when we got back home.

The trip was exhausting, but good. We spent short chunks of time with many people, catching up after long periods of little communication. Gordon’s sister Renee was very sweet and inquisitive about my garden and the pictures I showed her. She said, “You should start a blog!” The second glass of wine I was sipping encouraged me to respond with admission that I already have one. She urged me to send her the link. I agreed and immediately began fretting over all of the editing required to make that a good idea. As we were leaving Mae’s house that evening, I decided that I would just not send it instead. I’m sure that the next time the blog comes up will be never.

My dad checked in with me today near the beginning of our seven hour drive and for 50 miles (until Gordon hissed that he didn’t want to listen to this shit all the way home) we argued about the presidential race and which candidate was the lesser of two evils. (I suppose I was foolishly riding the wave of lovely “agree to disagree” success in Ohio.) At some point while Linwood was trying to enlighten me against my “small thinking” he began educating me about a brand new conspiracy theory that had not entered my awareness before, but I’m sure I’ll be blessed to hear about again. And again. Chemtrails. Apparently the international evil powers that be have the technology to control the weather by shooting chemicals out of the backs of planes. That the droughts and floods and unusual temperature fluctuations attributed to climate change is actually being done on purpose by the bad guys for some masterfully orchestrated personal gain. He says China has the technology too. How else would one explain the perfect weather during the Beijing Olympics? Whatever. Maybe I won’t have to hear about the Anunnaki anymore.

Although Hillary Clinton had been piloting around and spraying weather chemicals to keep it from raining while I was out of state, I found the garden looking pretty good overall. The tomatoes were in good shape, except for one Red Currant that was knocked over for whatever reason. They normally go a couple of days between watering anyway and are in less porous bags, so yea! The corn, however looks like death has warmed over.  Which I find weird because corn out in the field gets less attention than mine, surely. Also, some freaking critter helped itself to an ear. I found the moldy dried out remants off in the yard.  I’m concerned as to whether it was dried out and moldy before or after the “harvest” although the point is likely moot.

Another effect of our extremly uncomfortable heat, was that a baby melon exploded.

While watering, I discovered lots of different creatures, even though I coated the place with organic pesticidal soap before leaving. A stink bug hanging out on on a reddening bell pepper, a cluster of eggs on an unripe tomato, a big lizard, a new baby lizard, and this dude:

Hornworm with Braconid Wasp Cocoons

Apparently thsee little white things are going to hang out and grow on this terrible tomato predator, kill him, then hatch into wasps that kill other evil vegan invertebrates. Mwahaha! Here he is walking on the twig which brought him back to the tomato plants. I usually take a pic of a cool plant killer then squish it, but this guy should probably nibble a few leaves and finish out his life as a host. Thanks for your sacrifice, horny.

Vermicomposting, or WTF

Hot Compost 1   Hot Compost 2   Hot Compost 3

Ok, so I have a very active colony of soldier grubs hanging out in my compost. I first discovered them a week ago and I gotta say, they freaked me out. At first glance, it seemed like my compost may have an infestation and be unusable. And while it’s definitely overrun, apparently the creepy crawlies are enriching the pile.

Isn’t he so cute?

During the week I buried a whole rotted cabbage, an entire watermelon rind, a pineapple rind, and various other scraps. Want to see what’s left of all of that? (And I did a thorough turning today, so this is certainly ALL that is left:)

Pretty cool, right? Well now it’s time to get really grossed out. I didn’t have my camera with me when I first surprised the baby soldiers, so it’s a crappy phone pic, but I think you’ll get the gist.

Holy WTF

I really wished I had some nice big fat hens to toss these guys to. But at least I did fetch my husband some bait. I could hear them crawling around in the container.  Heebie jeebies!!!