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Tree on a windy hill
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Date:2013-05-23 22:27

Thought I'd share this post: mom-knowledge - Annie

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Date:2013-02-07 16:08

To quote an earlier post:

I do think I've gotten better, over time, at carrying departed loved ones with me. It's always seemed to me that life (in a larger sense than just this earth existence) is a lot like traveling on a bus. You may be looking out one window, but the person seated next to you could be looking out a different window and seeing a completely different scene. Or he might have a headset on, and be listening to something you can't hear. You're in different worlds--different states of consciousness--and you can't really communicate. But you're still sitting next to each other, and you can always reach out and give that person a hug.

This is Annie, Susan's daughter. Sue (Bardsmaid) passed away last Tuesday, the 29th. She was surrounded by family and Love.

I wanted to post something earlier but I couldn't find the right words, then I found this quote from her while scrolling through past entires. I think they're perfect. Please reach out and give her a hug. She'll hug you right back, I guarantee it.


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Date:2012-11-30 20:27
Subject:Big. Really big.

The duo above popped up in my neighbor's lawn overnight. The reason I noticed? I glanced out the kitchen window this morning and spotted it immediately, because it's huge. The cap of the larger one is a good 8" across--the size of a respectable pancake. Of course, I had to run over and get pictures. The little one is huddled underneath as if its bigger mate were a convenient umbrella. Really glad I was able to capture this.

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Date:2012-11-27 21:52
Subject:Winter sneaking in

This picture seems to capture the very best of a day where we never quite made it to 40 degrees (about 4 C). Fog shrouded the river area and never dissipated, including at the Delta Ponds shown here, but the birds I saw (ducks, a group of geese, two snowy egrets, two huge great blue herons and a kingfisher) seemed oblivious of the kind of weather that makes humans shiver.

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Date:2012-11-24 16:34
Subject:Cozy time

Most of the trees around here are bare now, though the flowering cherry leaves around the neighborhood are hanging on in bright colors that make them look lit up. Our walnut tree is also taking its time; the leaves have just turned yellow, a color that adds a touch of warmth to the otherwise cold and rainy backyard. I'd forgotten just how much I enjoy being able to look out from the living room and watch a flock of chickens grazing, or making their way from place to place. There's something homey and comforting about it, to say nothing of the really flavorful eggs we're getting these days.

Most of all, though, with the occasional daytime darkness from storm clouds and the early dusk, the picture above suits my sense of the season. It's time to gather by the fire, as Jack has here, sitting close to the heat with his eyes closed, luxuriating in the cozy warmth.

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Date:2012-11-06 19:24

Watching TV coverage of the election and seeing all those people waiting in lines, and all the equipment and volunteers needed inside the polling places, made me really glad I live in a state where all voting is done by mail. Ballots were sent out about two weeks ago, and we could either mail them back in or choose to deposit them in a neighborhood voting drop box. Ours is about three blocks away. Easy. No lines here.

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Date:2012-11-04 22:26
Subject:Falling leaves

I had the opportunity to take a walk up a forest road this afternoon. Far from 'civilization', all you could hear was the rush of water in the creek.In the silence, if you stopped moving and simply stood, you could watch leaves gently falling, unfastened from the branches where they've spent the last six months or so and drifting down through the air, sometimes twirling or momentarily catching the sun.

Most of the time we tend to be so busy rushing around within our pre-programmed agendas that leaves in the act of falling are something we don't even notice, much less stop to consider. But I can tell you that it's one of those beautiful small gems of an experience, like sitting in the luxury of the sun's warmth on a particularly cold morning. Try it if you get the chance.

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Date:2012-11-02 22:22
Subject:We've got girls!

The most striking of our three salmon Faverolles

For the past year, we haven't had our own chickens because we've been getting eggs from Aaron and Jenny's girls. But their flock has been going through a slow molt (losing old feathers, getting new ones) for a while now, and they've only been producing a couple of eggs a day. So I've been having to buy store eggs, and they just aren't inspiring at all. They have little flavor, and when you crack them into a frying pan, they spread out like water, indicating that they're really not fresh. Finally I started thinking about getting some girls of our own again, hopefully ones that have just started laying (which, given the growing popularity of backyard birds, is actually something you can find here these days). I'd checked a few craigslist ads, but hadn't seen anything inspiring until I was moved to check again yesterday and found just what I was hoping for: four large-breed birds who have just begun laying, for sale as a group rather than individually. Perfect. So we picked them up last night, when they were drowsy and easier to handle, and today was their first day in the yard. Within a few days or a week, they should be adjusted and start producing what our kids have always referred to as "real eggs". I can't wait.

ETA Saturday afternoon: We have our first egg! The Buff Orpington seemed to be missing, and after some searching around the yard I found her in the nesting box, sitting on a warm egg.

See another chicken...Collapse )

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Date:2012-10-30 20:08
Subject:Fall color

Fall color along the Long Tom River on Highway 36. If you like yellow, this is the place--and time--to go, as Ben and I did yesterday.

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Date:2012-10-26 19:50
Subject:Gleaning time

Con helping fill a basket with hazelnuts

The other day a friend invited us to come glean in her hazelnut orchard, about 20 miles south of town. She said their harvesting equipment had broken down after its first pass through the orchard, and for whatever reason, they haven't been able to go through again. So Ben, Jenny and the kids and I went out this morning and searched through the fallen leaves for nuts. And there were lots. Actually, it was rather shocking to see clusters of nuts in the husk that were in one piece, since all we ever get from the hazelnut tree at the back of the yard is treacherously sharp, broken nut litter covering the ground, which is what the squirrels toss down when they raid the tree every year. But these were beautiful, big nuts and a good time was had by all.

A little bit more...Collapse )

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Date:2012-10-13 21:27
Subject:Peaceful end to the day

Jenny called me late this afternoon and asked if I wanted to walk with her and the kids over to the Ponds. It was the perfect outing, and just before it got dark. My favorite visual was of the two ducks above, with the one stretching down to drink.

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Date:2012-10-09 22:13
Subject:A new crop

Juvenile cedar waxwings waiting for their "shower"

Ben phoned me from inside the house this morning and said, "Look at the Gravenstein apple tree." So I got up out of my chair and went to the window to find the two small apple trees and the harlequin glory bower all full--and I mean completely full--of birds. They were sitting eight and ten to the branch, and flying between the three trees. I had the rotating sprinkler on below them, watering the flower beds and lawn, and what they'd really come for was a bath. They'd flock into place on the branches, adjust themselves to face the coming spray, and then fluff themselves up as the water passed over them. Estimating from what I could count, there were probably between 120 and 150 of them, and they stayed for a good half hour. It was quite the dramatic show.

Below you can see them when the water passed:

Yes, there's more!Collapse )

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Date:2012-09-23 22:24
Subject:Fall is on its way

Late afternoon light shines on a bench at the edge of the Park Avenue pond.

The signs are all around now, if still subtle: the return of the squirrels (lots and lots of squirrels), a few leaves beginning to turn and/or fall, cooler evenings. I've had the chimney cleaned in anticipation of the heating season, though at this point we need a new fire pot in the pellet stove, and are waiting anxiously for the ordered part to appear... especially since we'd be using the stove a few of these mornings if it were functional. As it is, we put on hoodies or jackets, and sit at our computers with blankets over our laps.

Yesterday, working out in the front yard for a little while, I was approached by first one neighbor and then another. We talked briefly and each one offered me something from their yard--a bag of pears from one and two pumpkins from the other. Very cool! For my part, I've picked two lug boxes of apples from the tree at the back of the yard and shared them. Tonight, I made the first apple crisp of the season with the apples from that tree. Yum.

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Date:2012-09-21 19:04
Subject:The first chapters of Topaz are up!

I've been working away at Topaz since mid-May, and the first group of chapters is ready for prime time... or as ready as they're going to get. Chapters 1-3 are available now, 4-6 are awaiting final beta and should be available soon, and 7-8 are written and "settling". The story seems to be heading in the right direction, meaning it's taken the reins and started to lure me through a lot of unanticipated territory--always a good sign, from my experience... though I admit to sometimes feeling like a person trying to braid with a dozen strands of hair. Everything is available from the Topaz page. Many thanks to sinkwriter, Listen and cybertoothtiger for taking the time and effort to go through the story with me, catching the inevitable typos, pointing out problem areas, commenting and generally helping me polish things.

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Date:2012-09-15 22:34
Subject:Life with Paul and Ben

Lately the boys have taken to making sushi, an idea I applaud both because it's tasty and because I don't have to make dinner that night; they just call me when it's ready. They copied down Jenny's recipe instructions and have followed them to the letter. After you've cooked the rice and added the vinegar and sugar, you're supposed to fan the rice to help it cool off. Not having a fan, but being creative twenty-somethings, they hit on the idea of using the blades of Ben's remote-controlled helicopter as a fan for the rice. It works great. The toy has now been dubbed the SushiCopter.

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Date:2012-09-13 17:43
Subject:OMG melons!

Hidden amid a sea of leaves, the cantaloupes are coming on strong.

I've dabbled at growing melons a few times before, but they've always turned out to be smaller than they should have been, and most haven't actually ripened completely. So this year, when I didn't plant out the melon starts until the first of August, I didn't hold my breath expecting a successful crop; I simply figured if they turn out, fine, and if they don't, at least it was worth a try. However, after a slow beginning, the vines started to go crazy, filling most of the bed with overgrowth and--yes--fruit. I've been watching them grow, but was still surprised when Aaron looked at one cantaloupe closely the other day and determined that it was, in fact, ripe. Since then we've harvested five more. And they're great--some of the best I've ever had, full-sized and with sweet flavor without the heavy, over-ripe taste you sometimes get. Yay!

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Date:2012-09-03 08:10
Subject:Fruit is in the air

It's that season again. I can ride my trike through the neighborhood, and whereas a couple of weeks ago I could smell warm blackberries in the sun, now I smell apples. Trees are bending under the weight of their loads, fruit is coloring... even in Barb's yard, mostly abandoned, I discovered sweet, tasty clusters of grapes for the first time where generally they're all mildewed and shriveled. In my yard, my first little Bartlett pears are waiting to be picked--nine fat little fruits suspended like ornaments on a very fragile, staked-up tree--and the huge load of apples on the old Golden Delicious at the back of the yard are getting bigger and bigger.

As you can see, we've been canning peaches bought from a local farm, and will be doing another batch in a few days, as soon as the ones I bought yesterday soften up a bit. They're Suncrest, our favorite canning peach, and the result will be like nothing available in the grocery store. I also finally decided to try making pickles. I've done some water-bath-processed ones that will store in the canning closet for later in the year, and some refrigerator pickles which are supposed to be good for six months stored in the fridge. Now I'm just crossing my fingers that I'll get enough tomatoes off my tomato plants to make the kind of ultra-tasty canned tomatoes I ended up with last year.

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Date:2012-08-25 22:16
Subject:Happy Birthday, sinkwriter!

One of my favorite birthday cards ever, Tortenwurfmaschine by Gerhard Gluck

Somewhere along about 2005 or so, I received an e-mail from someone who was reading my Sanctuary series. Another 'Phile, a mutual friend, had recced it to her, and my new reader wanted me to know she was really enjoying it. I'd long since lost my way within the XF fic project I'd been trying to write, the show had been off the air for several years, and I frankly despaired of ever maintaining the 'umph' it would take to make it to the Sanctuary sequel as I'd originally planned. But this reader, who turned out to be sinkwriter, started sending me feedback on what she was reading. And not just ordinary feedback, but pages and pages on each chapter. We got into cool, in-depth discussions about characters, their arcs, etc. and soon my creative cauldron had refilled sufficiently that I was able to work on an edit of the story that I'd planned on doing for quite some time. If it weren't for sinkwriter, fic would be a shrinking image in my rear view mirror by now, and I wouldn't be--finally--working away on the fic project that's been floating around in my head for the last dozen years.

Of course, as often happens within fandoms, e-mail discussions about fannish things soon give way to more personal topics, and in the intervening years sinkwriter and I have become fast friends. She's gone through some difficult RL times these past few years, but it's been inspirational to see her hang in there and bounce back. And be the cheery, helpful, observant and intelligent person that she is. Happy Birthday, Sherry. Here's to a year of inspiration, new horizons and joy. Nobody deserves it more. :-)

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Date:2012-08-21 17:07
Subject:I can feel it coming in the air...

Whimsical clouds last night, with my matilija poppies in the foreground

Last week finally gave us the full force of summer, with temps just touching 100 degrees. This week, things have changed. Growing up in California, I learned to sniff out the very thin indicators of fall coming on--a slight freshness in the morning air, a deeper blue to the sky, and the rare leaf turning color. So even though we have real autumns here in Oregon, my dialed-in instincts have already started to detect the signs of fall on its way. Mornings are distinctly cooler. One of the first things I hear when waking up are the overflights of Canada geese, who have returned in force from their summer in Alaska. A few rogue red maples have already turned color. The days are still warm, and I'm crossing my fingers for enough warm weather to ripen my melons and winter squash, but these are the days that whisper to you that you should take advantage--soak up the sun that's suddenly changed from feeling oppressive to seeming luxurious in its impending scarcity, eat the last berries before there aren't any more, make a trek out of town and enjoy the woods and water before the cold gray of fall comes, windows close, and pellet stoves and fireplaces are lit once more.

More...Collapse )

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Date:2012-08-06 23:13
Subject:My cup runneth over

Fruits and veggies are beginning to ripen here. I've had three big tomatoes, a cucumber, carrots and quite a bit of zucchini. The melons I planted late have taken hold and have spread so far that even though the three planting hills were spaced pretty far apart, they've all grown into one giant mass of greenery, and some of the melons are the size of tennis balls--up from the size of large grapes in only about three days. But one of the bonuses this year is what you can see above.

The blackberry clusters dangling down over the lilacs and other bushes along the east side of the yard are starting to ripen, so I go out every morning and pick whichever ones are ripe. Most go right into the freezer, but today I made oatmeal blackberry muffins. Yum.

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