Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Nonnie Sees the Harvest

Yes.  I admit it:  I am a sucker for grandkids and puppies.  Not being able to help myself, I have decided that this is just the state of things in my world.  Some day in the misty and distant future I may return to painting and writing something serious.  Maybe.

Sarah called this morning, and I moved the dog-to-the-Lake appointment to later.  Maybe tomorrow.  Drove out to the Ranch, and was met by my favorite farmer, Thomas.  He is full of amazing facts.

Here come more grapes!  In 1/2 ton bins.  Wow.  Lots of grapes.

Harvest is in its first days, will go on for some time.  The whole year's work and salary is right here, in these bins.  Aromatic, beautiful, glistening black in the sunlight.  Back home, I hear the Harvest all around me.  I heard it night before last, when loud beeping and crashing bins and diesel engines and Spanish voices above the din woke me around 2:17 a.m.  I don't mind being awakened by this bustle.  Lord knows, it is a miracle to have a viable Harvest this year.

Thomas is learning first hand his connection to the Earth and its cycles.

I am a grateful Nonnie, with a camera.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Yes. A gooood weekend.

This is a portrait of a happy man.

 My morning meditation.

Early fall.  Maple considering yellow.

The crew arrives, and sets to fun.

Meet Sweet Potato, the newest Grandpup.

Sorry.  Most of the rest of everything is all Sweet Potato.

She loves the river like all us waterdogs.

She's trying to get Skyler to come to her.

He does!  Oh no!  Whine whine whine!

She can do it!

Real dog-paddling.

And reaching shore really got her going!

Yes.  After this came some serious napping.

More gas, more wood splitting.

Smile, Gina

Can you see the round of Fir?

They left several piles.  Big piles.  Beautiful hot fires for winter.

And that was very fun.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Slipping Upriver Again

Yesterday over at Gladys's I picked a basket of itty bitty figs.  Yes.  Food of the Goddess.  Seductive.

The Swiss Chard loves these coool nights and warm days.  The garden is a magical place.  I love to get in with my lens and witness the unfurling.  Reminds me of the miracles of daily living.

"Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees!"  Oh, and my mother used to say, among other compliments, "Beauty is only skin deep."  I prefer Joni Mitchell's line.

As you can tell, I am very busy packing, feeding the animals, organizing the ice chest, doing the laundry and getting ready to go to work, after which we are eating dinner and driving off into the North Country.  But, I just had to show you those figs and Golden Delicious, because they are!

The dogs are off to their other favorite place to play for the weekend.  Wayne and I and our "boys" and Gina and Sweet Potato are going to spend time together at a wonderful place my friend N2 has shared with us over the past years.  The weather is forcasted to be hot, the nights cool.  A hot day by the Eel River sounds divine to me.  Sweet Potato is my newest Grandpup, and there will be photos!

So.  Seriously.  I am sticking with my list and doing everything I have avoided or forgotten over the last week.  My carrot is that I get to read and write and sleep and walk and swim and walk some more and eat and talk and watch my three favorite guys for two whole days!  Not to mention hanging out with Gina and the puppup.

Yes.  Taking figs and apples.

Have the best weekend ever!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumn Equinox

Started... yes.  Today I began the garden clean-up.  It is the first day of Fall, and does feel so different than the Spring Equinox.  Tonight is as long as today was; I am so looking forward to climbing into the sheets and comforter and Wayne and the big black dog.  No really, Emerson doesn't sleep there all night, just long enough to where he feels me begin to relax then he moves his girth to the floor.

I picked most of the Heirloom tomatoes.  See that dark one?  Note to self: plant at least 100 of those next year.  It is beyond description for deliciousness.  It is dark, sweet, smokey.  This is the last one, and I only got about five of them.  Yes.  I do hope that there are 100 seeds in there.  The rest of these are from a plant called Cuban Yellow.  Hahaha.  Mislabeled.  The label also says that this plant will be covered with "yellow cranberry-sized tomatoes in profusion."  Nope.  Not.  Regardless, these too, are sweet and not to be missed.  It makes me melancholy to realize that the short tomato season of 2010 is o-v-e-r.

Shhh.  There is a miracle occurring in the pumpkin patch.  The vines are still green and strong, and I see that there are still tiny pumpkins setting on the vine, which will never mature.  There are these that seem to grow inches daily.  They are gorgeous and flat and serrated and the most luscious orange imaginable.

Startling.  You know what?  I read stories to a three year old girl and a two year old boy today on my daughter's couch.  I was the "substitute" daycare person.  The little girl chose fairy books, so I read several stories which ended happily ever after with a kissing prince.  I found myself making up more palpable details and saying to her, "What do you think of that?" and she'd smile a toothless, wide smile and say, "The Prince kithess her!  She'th sooo beautiful!"  Then we'd move to a tractor book.

These are Cinderella pumpkins.  Actually, they are a "French Pumpkin."  I can almost imagine the mice turning into thundering Budweiser Percheron's with flowing white manes and tails, huge pounding hooves, dashing footmen in scarlet coats, glass slippers, beautiful gown and strains of music settling in under the broad round leaves.

Yeth.  We do grow up and some fall "in love."  I notice that happily-ever-after takes on a moment-to-moment quality, that it is important to cultivate and nurture this in-love.   Humble is important.  Growth and letting go take on equal importance.  Support and acceptance seem integral to this process of growing beyond our Cinderella-meet-the-handsome-Prince bodies.   Love gets bigger.  

A line jumped out this morning in my Spiritual practice reading:  Faith without joy is not entirely genuine...  If you are not happier as a result of your faith there is probably something wrong with it.  Faith in God should bring a deep feeling of happiness and security no matter what happens on the surface of life.  The prayer for today:  I pray that my horizons may grow ever wide.  I pray that I keep reaching out for more service and companionship.

Sweet dreams:  May they be peopled with kissing and good things far beyond any heretofore imagined, wide horizons, joy, and a faith that carrys you lightly, sweetly, settling you in Love.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Play Date

We met at the Lake.  Emerson got to meet two real pretty girls.  Maggie is looking right at us and I cannot remember her sweet little sister's name.  I wish that I had taken my camera down to the water, because it was a beautiful sight to see the Labs, the water, the sky, the breeze, the sand, the mud.

As you can see, having them sit for the camera with the treat in my hand while they did the "sitting" was clearly annoying to two of the three.  Maggie didn't care.  She knew a treat is a treat, regardless.

Catherine asked me if I wash off the dogs after a trip to the Lake.  No, I said.  They're clean after their swim, as far as I am concerned.  We joked around about her needing to take a shower, because her girls had loved her up as she sat on the beach, she had sand all over her face and wet clothes.  Oh God.  What makes boy-dogs tick?  Right about then Emerson nudged her, and then peed on her back!!!  For cryin' out loud!  Omigoddess.  Well, I will say right now that Catherine was (and is) a true dog lover.  Nope.  She did not throttle him.

One time at the dog park, a young male Weimaraner let loose all over my shoe and leg.  Of course, I made the whole breed wrong and bad, not to mention his young owners.  Ah yes.  Of course.

My guess is that Wade-The-Miracle-Dog-Trainer may not have an answer for this one.  I have no idea as to what to do.  Maybe as he "matures" into an amazing adult Labrador, he will not do such a crazy thing ever again.    I may google "dog who pees on people" and see what comes up.  Meanwhile, I so appreciate Catherine's calm, well, I mean she did calm down and I do appreciate that, because I was still screaming.  I appreciate that she is interested in another Labbie Play Date, maybe even walking on the trail after the rattlesnakes have gone into hibernation.

Yes.  There are distinct advantages to girl dogs.  Luna has never, ever done such a thing.  Neither did Meat Pie.  Girls rule!

So, Thank You, Catherine!  Let's walk on the trail in SR, soon!  Emerson does know how to walk on leash pretty good...


Oh, and PS:  Luna gets her turn with playdate and walks.  I am using my big, human brain, and keeping myself healthy and in one piece by exercising them one-at-a-time, until they are old and shakey, or at least reliable on-leash.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Misty rain, tomatoes and Chimney Swifts

The clouds piled up and lowered right down to the ground, and rain floated all around.  Driving into town, it looked as though the sky had fallen.  Oh no, I thought, the tomatoes will crack!  As soon as it cleared up, which it did right after my nap, I took my baskets out to pick the Heirlooms.  These yellow giants are called Lemon Oxheart.  Mine took forever to ripen, but look!  Isn't this amazing?

I still think that a yellow tomato is just kind of weird.  The photo doesn't show how huge they are.

My favorite, and first serious foray into the Heirloom tomatoes is the Mortgage Lifter.  During the Depression years a man grew these and sold them to pay off his mortgage, and he did it successfully.  They are very very good.  Very "tomato-y."

And these are one of the Brandywines, and oh are they delicious.  I have pink, yellow, and these amazing orange ones.  Oh, and a dark one.  IF it were daylight, I'd go out and read the labels, but it's dark and windy, so just trust me.

Tonight our Writers Group was two of us, so we took a field trip out to where the Vaux's Swifts congregate to fall into their chimney for the night.  Notice the jet.  It is way higher than the swifts, but I thought it was a pretty amazing sight.

The birds hang out in our area for a couple of weeks before they continue their journey south to Mexico.  They fly many miles every day, and come back to this chimney to roost.
From here they fly over to the Sacramento River Delta for their breakfast!

It is incredible to sit under this spectacle.  The birds gather as the sun is setting, and at a given moment they begin their descent into the chimney.  They make many passes, and do not crowd one another.  No one pushes or shoves, whines or honks their horn.  A bunch of them will go in and the rest circle until all is arranged and well within the chimney, then the next layer goes in.  We stayed until the last bird entered.

It was a great field trip.  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Soccer. Mostly.

No action shots, because she played on the far side of the field!

Cartwheel, Step 1.

Step 2.

Step 3.

Step 4.  Taa taaa.  (Next time, we'll get it from the front.)

She decided 22 3/4 minutes ago to join the team.
Who cares?  It's gonna be a gooooood season.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just a Little Past Bedtime...

With Thomas, it is not really correct to call it a "walk."  He dresses for the occasion, and he runs a good mile to our 1/4 mile slow.  He also growls a lot.

"I like to hunt and I like pink.  That's why I have a pink camo hat with ear-holes so I can hear and a flap to keep my nose warm."  Seriously.  She said that.

This is off the subject of beautiful evening walks with brilliant grandchildren, but I am going on with it.  Over time I have received, as have all of us, I am sure, hurtful e-mails that are forwarded on to others without much thought to how destructive they are.  Yes.  I have big judgements about this practice.

No.  A racist, mean-spirited, blah blah blah, political blah blah blah is not an appropriate use of our modern communication technology.  Yes.  Of course people do this all day every day.

What would happen to this world if all cynical, bitter, "realistic," negative political crapola were NOT sent anywhere?  What if that urge were checked?  What if we thought a moment before we pressed the send button?

Which brings me to another thought:  what if the opinion of the negative message is no more important than any other message?  What if my opinion is my business, no one else's.  What if my opinion leads me to vote one way or another?

I do remember in my family of origin, that lively debate was encouraged.  I remember that my dad insisted that I have "references" for any claims I made.  Ha!  What would he think of the crap that is thrown around the Internet?  I used to get so irritated with him that he made me state my references (did he reference his opinions?), and I used to believe that he said that to me because he didn't want to hear what I had to say, especially when I came home from college excited about some "new" idea like "guaranteed annual income!"  "That," he said, "is NOT a new idea."  

There is the moon in the sky.  Just like it has been for forever.  Hanging there, showing the setting sun on one side of it.

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