Archive for June, 2010

As summer begins

There is no better start to a summer’s day (or any day for that matter) than to take one’s morning coffee and venture out to the greenhouse to meet with friends. We meet with our little bundles of seed envelopes, our reliable favorites and our newly acquired hopefuls, as we bring ourselves to the potting benches to begin this summer’s process of sowing and reaping. I still feel the same way at the start of each season, the joy I remember of last year’s bounty, and the promise of this season’s harvest to come, all begun here in this space and time. These tiny seeds and well worn pots and bags of soil will all translate through the work of our hands (and later on our knees) into the fruits of our labor at the time of harvest. As long as there is time there will be seasons. Indeed, some things never change. I love this. I like to think of it as participating in an ancient ritual of our ancestors – tending the earth, me along with the multitudes of people over the centuries who have heeded their inner voices to plan and nurture a garden. I find it a great character-developing process the way the “delayed-gratification” principle of planting and waiting relates to my life and the fulfillment of my desires. I must do the “dirty work” first in order to get the desired results. There are just some lessons in life you can’t possibly learn any other way. There is no instant anything in a garden, it is the process that one must love.

I think of summers past when I would spend entire days in the yard, often forgetting to eat lunch, and not wanting to go inside until the last possible moment when the sun went down and it just became too dark to see. I would grudgingly pull myself away from the last project and scuff my feet in a childlike way back into the house, as if I somehow thought it would help the day not to end. First thing the next morning I sneak out, trusty cup of hot coffee in hand, to check and see what the morning light will bring and if I chose well. Most always I am happy with the results.

Working in a garden is a constant source of energy and ideas and I possess a true passion for working with the land and being in sync with its rhythms. I have kept a garden every summer of my adult life. I hope I always will.

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Squirrels and shatterproof glass oddities

I have one of those beautiful green glass bowl bathroom sinks (or I should say had one.) One morning last week, as I returned from feeding the animals, I came back in the house and walked into my living room – crunching on broken glass on the floor. Baffled, I followed the trail halfway down the hall and stopped short in my tracks. There were green glass shards all the way down the hallway and 4 feet into the second bedroom. I picked my way over the glass covered hall carpet and peeked around the corner into the bathroom. It looked as though a bomb had gone off! There was green glass everywhere! All of the soap and lotion bottles that had been on the counter were strewn across the floor. I panicked. I had no idea what had just happened or what had caused it- I grabbed the phone and the camera…. no one was going to believe this! So 2 phone calls to my insurance lady, 1 missed day of work and 5 hours of cleaning up glass later, we learned that while this is uncommon, those glass bowls CAN explode! Of the billion that are manufactured, a few hundred actually do blow up….Hmmmm good odds, I’m going to go buy a lotto ticket if this is my luck!

Now to the squirrels. So, as I am working sweeping and cleaning glass up in the hallway, I hear one of the chicks that I am brooding in the mud room start to cheep loudly. I go to investigate and as I come around the corner there is a rather large ground squirrel jumping out of my brooder box with one of my chicks!

I was aware that rodents will kill birds, but squirrels don’t usually come to the forefront of my mind where this is concerned. Upon spotting me, the squirrel dropped the chick and quickly fled through a very small hole in between the floor boards. I stood there for a moment with my jaw slack and agape at what I had just witnessed. It was a good size rodent, and the hole it escaped through seemed way too small for it to fit down. I went outside to look around to see if I could figure out where this beast had come in to the house. I found a large hole right next to the back porch steps. I placed my Have-a-heart trap right in front of it, baited with some sweet feed. Most rodents can’t resist sweet feed. Let the games begin!

Day 1
The good news is…I caught a squirrel in the trap. The bad news is… it was a different one then the one I had seen in my kitchen- much younger/smaller.
Day 2
I baited the trap again. I caught another one. Again, not the one I had seen.
Day 3
Ok, today the one in the trap could have been the one I have been after, but I set the trap again to be sure.
Day 4
This morning, much to my surprise, there were two of them in there! Now I am starting to see that I have had an entire squirrel village invading my house, and this is going to take time before I trap them all.
Squirrels are smart, but I have opposable thumbs. I will reign victorious in the end.