Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lots of rain!

It's been raining here off and on for several days, so I've been working inside. On Monday I canned 30 pints of beets from the garden, and they'll taste great this coming winter. Now waiting to do tomatoes, sauce, chili sauce, and maybe some more pickles.
The garden is winding down, with only a row of late beans to pick right now. I harvested the garlic -- got a whole bunch of nice heads, mostly hard-neck, and a few soft-neck.
We had some big zucchini, and we used it for Dorie's zucchini stew -- like a rich spaghetti sauce, with chunks of zucchini in it. I put up 23 quarts of it in the pressure canner, and that'll be great on pasta, or just by itself with a loaf of Italian garlic bread on the side.
There are still some onions and peppers out there too, and a long row of sunflowers starting to bloom. Maybe I'll get some seeds to roast this year, but they mostly go to the birds as winter feed. I just hang up a head of them, and watch the birds go at them.

I've been working on my book too, and it's supposed to be out in March 2011. Doing final edit now, and it's amazing what a difference a hard copy makes, over reading it on the computer. Hoping this one goes well, as I have at least two more waiting their turn.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Our grandkids brought a dozen or so Monarch caterpillars a couple of weeks ago, and we put them into containers, fed them with milkweed leaves, and watched them chrysallize (is that a word?). One of the three came out ysterday, and this one made its entrance this morning. I was fortunate enough to see again the miracle of metamorphsis up close and personal!

I saw it once before, several years ago, and wrote this account of it:


The air was still and crisp. I moved my lawn chair into a sheltered spot near the house, next to a patch of wildflowers and weeds that I had missed with the mower, and sat in the sun. It had been a difficult day, and my head was full of my own self, and all of my problems. It’s a wonder that I even noticed the chrysallis, hanging nearby on a dried-out milkweed plant. A movement caught my eye, though there was no wind. I watched for a moment, and saw that it had begun to split open, revealing a dark interior. At first I thought it was all of one color, but it opened further, and I saw the black and orange cloak of a Monarch. It struggled for a time with its confinement, then stopped, its spindly legs and crumpled wings trapped half in and half out of the unyielding case.
It’s too late in the season, I thought, it just didn’t make it. Too bad. My own thoughts came crashing in again, and I closed my eyes for a moment, to try to sort them out. Things were just not working out the way I had planned them, and now it was too late to do anything about it. Might as well give up, like this poor, dead, black and orange thing. Monarch of what, I thought sarcastically, some king -- can’t even get out of its own shell. Just like me.
Then something brushed against my cheek, and I felt something hit the front of my shirt. The touch was so light that I thought for a moment that a leaf had drifted down from the maple in the side yard. I opened my eyes and looked down, and there was the Monarch, resting on my chest, just over my shirt pocket. Its wings moved slowly, drying, and I could see life working its way into them. The twisted legs straightened and flexed, and it appeared to be enjoying the warmth of the sun.
I sat still, hardly daring to breathe, captivated by the miracle I saw unfolding so close to me, until the wondrous creature gathered up its warmth, and its strength, and flew off to join the rest of the late bloom on their southward migration. Never too late, it flashed in a blaze of black and orange reassurance, it’s never too late to claim a kingdom.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Busy Day!

Been a busy day so far!

Stopped at the barber shop first thing, and now feel cooler again!

Then the truck started overheating, was low on coolant. Looks like maybe a small leak in the water pump. Added some cooland, ant it seems okay now. Came back in out of the heat.

Added a 1gb memory stick to this desk-top computer and didn't notice a whole lot of improvement in speed, but it's running, so I must have done it right.

The old Troy-bilt tiller (1963 model) stripped the engine mount bolts last week, and I just now got it back together and working again. They must have been loosening themselves for quite a while, and I just missed it. Gotta pay more attention. Anyway, I was able to replace three of them, but had to re-tap the fourth hole and go to a bigger bolt. The originals were 5/16, and the next size (available) SAE bolt was 7/16, so I opted for the in-between 8MM metric. Seems to work okay, and I put the red loc-tite stuff on them so they'll not back out again. I don't anticipate ever having to change out the engine again.

Came back in and submitted an article on writing, to a magazine -- $75 if they accept it.

Back out and tilled up a space to plant the fall broccoli and kale, maybe even some more beans and peas. Tiller's working fine!

Dug up the garlic, and laid it out to cure. Got some nice heads! Then cut some Swiss chard for lunch -- YUM! Saute a little fresh garlic (crushed) in some olive oil, drop in the washed chard, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Cover, and let it steam, tossing once or twice to coat it all. Double Yum!
The only downer was the call from the interviewer I talked to last week, saying that they'd hired one of the other applicants, who had "more computer background and skills than I do." Not sure what that means, since I've been extremely active in the computer field -- teaching, supporting, repairing, building, using -- for over 40 years.

Oh well -- into every life ... speaking of which, I'd better get back out and finish up in the garden, as we're supposed to get some T-shower activity this afternoon, and the tiller still sits out there.