Saturday, June 26, 2010
This is about half of the moring's cucumber harvest.
They have been given a cool bath. Do they join the pile languishing in the fridge?
How about a basket full taken to church and placed in the lobby with a sign, "Free cucumbers"--or--"Please take me home"---?
Would it be immoral, unethical, to uproot a healthy cucumber vine or two [or more] while they are in full production?
My mind boggles at the thought of more pickles.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Is there such a thing as too many cucumbers? As fast as I finish a batch of pickles, J. lunges through the door with another armload. I've never considered myself a great creator of pickles, but its either make pickles or lob cucumbers over the fence at the neighbor's cattle.
Only two hills of zucchini as J. is quite sure its not fit for consumption. The things grow so quickly from shiny tender baby vegs to something resembling baseball bats.
I've been freezing green beans. I'm disappointed in the yields and don't think the bean bushes look as hearty as they should. I have a second planting coming on and may try a third for a really late harvest. Learning to garden effectively in zone 6 is an experimental process.
Summer has swept in very hot and steamy. We are in need of a refreshing rain.
By mid-afternoon the garden looks limp and exhausted.
Pebbles retreats to the relative cool of the barn lean-to.
We hole up in the house with the A/C chugging.
The kitchen is a welter of glass jars and kettles.
I was presented with the above award last week by Dianne at Thinking About It. I began the laborious process of complying with the requirements for accepting the award--simple enough on the surface--just list 15 favorite blogs and pass on the tribute.
I had created the links--twice, in fact--each time "blogger" gobbled them up and whooshed them off the screen. [Not my fault--blogger is the scapegoat!]
Another stipulation for dealing with the award is to compose a meme of 7 things which should fascinate my readers who don't have the priviledge of knowing me in person.
1. I am terrified of snakes. Any kind of snakes.
2. J. and I have been married 47 years this evening.
3. I am not a morning person, but I prefer to be the first one out of bed and about, snatching a few moments of peace before the day is launched.
4. I can--and do--read most anywhere there is light enough to see.
5. When I lose my temper, I lose it badly.
6. Quiet time is very important to me.
7. I have an imagination that works over time.
I've been thinking a bit about why we create blogs, why we "follow" certain blogs.
I expect there are many more good writers publishing than I have discovered, but there have to be limits on how many I can keep up with.
Shared interests are the initial key in reading a blog. I have found most of my favorites through visiting other bloggers' lists. I don't have to have everything in common with someone who becomes a valued blogger, but several key factors are a common thread in those blogs to which I return eagerly.
I enjoy people who are observant and can distill the essence of an experience or a particular setting and then share it in a manner which makes me want to know more.
I am drawn to bloggers [as well as "real life pople"] who are creative--who make beautiful things in most any medium, whether it is a craft that I share or not. Reading about, seeing photos of what others have made, is inspiring.
I return to writers who are "word-smiths"--who take care to search out just the right phrase or word to express themselves, writers who have an individual "voice."
There are blogs which appeal for a short time only. There are great bloggers who seem to fade from the scene and their last post is disappointingly from weeks or months ago.
I think most of us would agree that we love comments!
Sometimes the exchange becomes so lively that we end up with a new pen-friend, one whom we would love to meet, to share an outing or a cup of tea.
I suspect that many of us create blogs because we simply are compelled to write, have always done so in the form of a private journal or in vast and bulky letters to family and friends.
I enjoy my little community of blogging friends. Your comments add much to my days.
If you would enjoy passing on the award, I will enjoy your participation. If you are busy or not inspired to do this exercise, that's OK too.
Do try some of the blogs on my list--you may find a new kindred spirit. These are listed in no particular order and all the links were working when I tried them.
Letters from a Hill Farm
Glimpsing The Past
Mac n Janet
Crivens Jings and Help Ma Blog
Journaling the Journal
Codlins and Cream 2
We Three, Ginger Cats Tales
Circle of the Year
Where Beechmast Falls
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
We met Old Hopper as he came to be called, through the noise he was making outside our small log house in Vermont. Working in the kitchen late on a grey and cheerless winter afternoon I heard a series of thumps and scrapes drifting up toward the kitchen window from the area near the basement door.
Going down, I encountered the sight of a cat's striped rear view and shoulders. His head was thrust inside an empty tin can which he had rootled from the garbage bin. He lurched forward, bumping into various obstacles, reeled backwards in a crazy attempt to free himself from the can. I managed to get within reach as he bumbled about and in one quick wrench freed his head from the tin. Slightly dazed, he glared at me as though I had been the cause of his dilema, rather than his rescuer. Then he scuttled toward the bottom of the garden. As he hobbled away, I saw that one back leg was only a stump--the paw missing.
I didn't want him there. He was a tomcat, he was wild. He had surely never been vaccinated. But--it was cold, he was certainly hungry, and it didn't appear that anyone else wanted him either.
Resignedly I found an old shallow pan, put in a cupful of kibble with what I hoped might be an appealing assortment of leftovers and placed the pan near where he had been raiding the garbage bin.
Nearly every day that winter we saw him. He approached the house with his hobbling gait, peering anxiously about. If I opened the door or window he retreated. As the winter advanced his retreats became less hasty. He limped to the edge of the frozen vegetable patch, humped himself around to face me, squatting in the snow. His eyes were wary, his thin body tense, but sometimes he allowed himself a tentative meow. Once in a great while, if I inched toward him while he was eating I could lay a cautious hand on his back.
With the coming of summer Old Hopper's visits were less frequent. We saw him sometimes crouched in the rough grass of the pasture or at the edge of the meadow. We assumed his hunting must be productive.
When the days grew short and cold, again he accepted the offerings put out in the battered pan.
During the second or third summer of our acquaintence with him, Old Hopper began to stay closer to the house and garden. We were outside a good deal, working in the garden, taking tea on the porch, strolling around the yard. Old Hopper would venture cautiously near, twitch and glare, mew in his rusty voice, back away, then inch forward again. We had the impression he would prefer that we go inside--away--leave him the yard and the porch to enjoy in solitude.
"We're not going," I told him firmly. "We were here first."
If I was alone and carried a book outside to read, Old Hopper began creeping forward to take advantage of the shady spot beneath my chair. He could never relax, was always alert to spring away. Cautiously I began to reach toward him at such times, lightly stroking his bony spine, patting his head. Sometimes a croaking purr rumbled from his throat, sometimes he raised his head almost eagerly to my trailing fingers. Sometimes, perhaps overcome by his own termerity in accepting human affections, he would suddenly growl, hiss and run for the edge of the porch, where he would huddle, staring at me in a wild manner, before creeping slowly closer again, almost as if he recognized his own lack of social graces.
I never attempted to pick him up. To do so would have frightened him horribly and I knew he would struggle and claw. He seemed to be resigned that during warm weather he had to share the dooryard and the gardens with the humans who kept his dish supplied with food.
Through that summer and autumn Old Hopper followed his pattern of short-term disappearances and frequent visits.
As cold weather came on perhaps he was relieved that he had the yard and the garden and the woodpile to himself more often.
Sometime mid-winter I realized that it had been nearly a week since we had seen him. Days were short and bleakly cold, nights were long and frigid. As the weeks wore on, I suspected that we had seen the last of Old Hopper. His dish was untouched, his unique footprints no longer marked the snow at the back door.
Feral cats don't live long, harried as they may be by dogs, foxes, other territorial cats, or by humans who won't tolerate their skulking presence.
We couldn't invite him in, but we could feed him. We never knew his story--where he came from, how his life ended. I remember his uneven gait, adapted to his three and a half legs, his precipitous arrival and his desparate maneuvers with the empty tin. I remember that, however reluctantly, he was finally able to accept my touch--in exchange for a meal.
Drawing a line in time: Earth, ashes and song The story of Jackie's Kiffer Cat is here, with a eulogy for him at the ginger cats' blog here. http://wethreecats.blogspot.com/2010/06/thanks.html