Wednesday, May 21, 2008

one of my favorite poems

by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird--
          equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old?  Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?  Let me
           keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and and heart
            and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
            to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
            that we live forever.


Monday, May 19, 2008

a family tradition

What's your favorite food group?  

In the Paine Family Tradition, there were only a few things that rated above Strawberry Shortcake.  Most definitely Mom's pies were #1, always.  Sure, somebody usually had a favorite, like Biggy, his was Rhubarb Pie, or Lemon Meriange (O, here we go again!).  Mine was Huckleberry or Cherry or Peach or Blackberry, in that order.  Crisps and Cobblers were considered made only by "...lazy people, or people who don't know how to make pies..."  Mom!!!  Are you reading over my shoulder?  

Growing up on a dairy gives one an acute taste for all things cream and butter.  Early spring brought strawberries to the store or the fruit stands and home to us by the crate.  Later the bright red berries ripened in our garden, guarded by a sly woman with a mean side-arm.  I did have my ways, though, of slipping a couple huge, ripe strawberries into my coat pocket as I wove my way though the garden on the way to the barn to feed calves.  Not too many clods or rocks hit me as I made my exit when she was chasing or wailing on somebody else.  

It was a travesty to put cake in the strawberry shortcake.  Ugh!  Too sweet!  The exception to this rule was the Angel Cake, which was/is a perfect compliment to berries and whipped cream.
Now, in present time, my sister makes this amazing thing out of egg whites and sugar, piles it on parchment paper in the shape of sorta a nest, and bakes it to a gorgeous color, cools it for a day or so, whips up gallons of whipped cream, piles that into the Meringue (ha! I did it!), and 
each serving is topped with yummy, Central Valley Strawberries.  Omigoddess.  That is divine.  And as sweet as can be tolerated.

Strawberries!  Their appearance meant that dessert would be sumptuous, we would all be hilariously entertained and content.  Dad would put on his glasses, "so I can see this better!" and always let out a delerious sigh, "ooooooooohhhhhhh!"  Those of us with our handy-dandy magnifiers know what he meant.

My baking career, spanning now too many decades to tell, has affirmed what I already knew: Butter is best.  Shortcakes are biscuits with extra butter and cream, and strawberry shortcake is food for the Gods, big and little, male and female, friends and friends.  Now Luna and Meat Pie get to lick the beater, which is good for a belly laugh, and still I believe that the best Strawberry Shortcake is for sharing. 

It must be time for a party?


Saturday, May 17, 2008

garden update

The pole beans are sending out the feelers, the little curly thing that isn't a leaf.  They're still short, but soon they will be thigh high.  The tomatoes are making blossoms and have made at least two more tiers of leaves since we put them into the ground.  The Speckled Bayou Beans are crashing through the crust of soil, breaking free with their pale green bent necks.  Today many of them unfurled two pleated leaves.  Morning Glorys (Glories?) popped out yesterday, having been put in their bed on Thursday, and their friends, the sunflowers are up today.  Apparently some body is in a hurry.  But where are those Scarlet Runner Beans?

I am the type of gardner that cannot stand a bare inch.  Today more Morning Glories went in with the tomatoes because of the fabulous fence for them all to clamber upon.  Then some Nastursums (oh, sorry about the spelling) went in with the zucchini.  Moon Flowers with the Neighbor Beans, and Flying Saucers with the Cleomes and marigolds all over the place, cheering on the potatoes and yellow squash and eggplants and peppers.  Of course at some point I will post a photo, when it is a glorious tangle of produce and color.  My object is to fool the bugs and choke out the weeds.  Actually, I am serious.  Have you ever read the little book published back in the Dark Ages (1971) by Organic Gardening called "Easy Gardening?"  The author tells us to mulch heavily so the weeds are easy to pull out, plant closely to confuse the bugs, and to let the "pests" be.  I had that book, a gift from Organic Gardening for my subscription.

The garden has been my refuge, my healing, my returning to physical activity.  I cry when I am tangled in the damn hose and when I find those horrible yellow and black not-ladybugs chowing on my beans and when I am exhausted.  I stop and watch the nesting birds, the black birds took over the woodpecker condo and have a batch of hungy ones in there.  I sweat buckets.  Most of all I am deeply grateful for this patch of dirt, for the desire in the seeds to sprout, and for my internal clock that wakes me up and shouts, "Plant tomatoes today!  Call N2 for help!  Do it now!"  I am grateful for Wayne's willingness to pound in posts and put up the wire for the tomatoes and beans, for rototilling and digging beds and reminding me that I used up all the time for taking the dogs to the lake (oops).  I am grateful for this time to do my internal work, my prayers, my meditation, more prayers and to be in the warm, budding, vital buzz of late spring.

Maybe tomorrow I will start that painting.



Friday, May 16, 2008


these bloom a certain ways up the hillside, yellow like the Meadow Larks' belly

well, it is rotton hot.  
just right for starting into "the hummingbird's daughter" again.  really, isn't a hot day sorta like a cold and rainy day, in that it is perfect for reading ones' brain out?  yes.  that's what I thought.
and it is starting to be summer.  grass already tall and dry, cinder.  the orchard orioles are too busy to visit the feeder, so the hummingpiggies are capitalizing.  yummmmyummmm.  the raven chicks have hatched, I saw the parents feeding them!  how remarkable is that?  I am wishing I had a very tall periscope to look in closer, though I could clearly see the youngsters being fed.  
it appears that I am very happy just staring!  what remarkable events occur all around.  
tomorrow is the last day to plant before the full moon.  perhaps the pumpkins will make it into the soil, or maybe they will go in on Thursday, the next planting day.  meanwhile I will be tying the youngster tomatoes up to their wall, and pulling out more and more of the crabgrass.  and writing.  it is time to put the "discipline" to work for me, to surrender to the desire, lean into it, dissolve into it.  yes.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

mine, all mine

I did all the work, cleaned up the mess, so now she's all mine.  Everything is all mine.Of course, that's my projection.  This image just brought that up and out!  I remember with each of my newborns how possessive I felt, and how at times the hair on the back of my neck would ripple to attention, "Alert!  Alert!  Alert!" and a flash-judgement would appear as to the character of a person or the safety of a situation.  I remember experiencing a deep respect for my mammal-ness (yep, I made up that word).

Intuition is my connection to Spirit Within.  Listening to this voice, allowing it to come forth ego-free (Ha! Now there is a whole Bloggsworth!), allowing it its say, its observation, its judgement, its discernment.  Intuition does not argue, it presents.  Intuition does not say, "Do this!  Do that!" Intuition guides me, shows me.

So today I am grateful for this voice Within that has been ever present in my experience.  

Blessed Be!


Friday, May 9, 2008

celebration in the neighhhhhhhborhood!

Here is our newest addition!  Having an early morning snack.  Mama and Babe are well and healthy, and obviously a little hungry.  Isn't this the essence of spring?
I can't get enough of them!  She is wobbley.  She is curious.  She is confident!  She is "I can do it" in the most magnificent way!

This one is for the nurse and midwife in all of us!  Birthing is a messy affair.  Joanie, the owner of this glorious pair, said that the little one "...fell out!  Mom was walking into the stall, and whoooommmp!  There she was!"  All is well, and ALL IS WELL!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

gardening and the art of restoration

There is a creep in my garden soil.  Oblivious to the mess it creates, it grows itself anew from a tiny piece of dried up and dead looking joint.  Crab grass.  I recently read an article about a few "weeds" which have jumped of their own accord on the GMO wagon.  They no longer are deterred by Round Up, the "safe" herbicide and yes, Crabgrass is one of them.  So now in the Amazon Basin, and in our own back yards, we have the brilliant strain of Crabgrass.  What to do? Surrender and just mow it?  Harvest it and stuff our mattresses with it?  Make skirts?  Hats? Weave place mats and throw rugs?  Make brooms?  Twist it into belts and bracelets and dog collars?  Why, a whole new industry may arise, as there must be a way to sell it to some one.  We could make thatched roofs and table runners, upholstery fabric.  We could make nests.  Maybe Crabgrass will save us, as we become creative with its fibrous and miraculous tenacity.


I really do love you.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

ya ya....let's go to the lake

What do you think we should do this morning?  First, you need a face wash.  Then we'll decide.
Morning cuppa coffee with the lapdog revealed a plan... let's take the dogs to the lake.  It's been months since we've been there, and after too long in bed and this warm sunny morning inviting participation, find the leashes, get dressed, LOAD UP! (ya ya!), pick one, no two of Sandy's oranges and we are off!
Can you believe this place?  From here one can hear Orioles, wild turkeys, barn swallows, Canada geese, wild pigeons, osprey and this morning, we saw a Peregrine Falcon.  Mallards and Merganzers and Great Blue Herons slide into the landscape, around that bend.  This is what it looks like before we let the ladies out of the car.  
What can one say?  She's a Saggitarius.  And that just means that she throws herself into whatever is at hand.  She isn't a Labrador.  She swims like a waterfall.  Or like a Luna dog.  Not like a paddlewheeler, they were steam powered and quiet.  She churns, and splashes and chops and plunges.  She goes all the way under and comes up gasping for air.  She snorts and chokes and gags.  And she goes back for more.
See the Labbie?  She lives for this!  She knows the way "to the Lake!"  Turn here!  Now here! NO!  NOT THERE!  Hurry it up, we don't have all day!  Her swimming style is to watch where the ball falls, and then she commences.  Her brown nose is the point of an ever-widening V, she doesn't break the surface.  She just goes.  And goes.  She has gone past the geese honking and patrolling the beach.  Apparently she is not "birdy," she is "tennis bally."  Floating feathers frighten her, make her pop out of the water like there's crabs on the bottom, "Eek!"  When she was a yearling, she would go until she she'd collapse, which was frightening until we figured out to s-t-o-p before that happened.  

She's our awesome Meat Pie!

Happy Tuesday.  Here's to vibrant health, Love, and Peace.  Here's to Global Healing.  Here is to the strength, perseverance and surrender that it takes to clean up and restore ourselves and our planet.  Yep, I love you.


Monday, May 5, 2008

sitting on Seth's shoes

Ms. Pie likes to assert her authority now and again.  Here she shows Seth who is boss around here.  Usually, she is quite good natured about this, but Mr. W., The Miracle Dog Person, says, "No, not good natured.  Calculating.  Manipulative.  She is all about being in charge..."  Geesh, I say.  Guess an old dog can learn tricks (that would be me!).  Truthfully, Ms. Pie will do just about anything for a treat, even open the door to her crate and go in and sit!  And, she knows all the words and spellings for "dinner" and "lake" and "river" and "walk."  I'm not kidding.

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