Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Baby

The miracle of being a Nana. X2. The first time around was fabulous, and quite interesting from the other side of the stirrups. Emotions ran high, exhaustion set in, awe and wonder sprang forth with joy as baby Boy made his appearance. Too amazing.

Again. Even with the previous experience and the current juggling of care for the Boy as Sister made her splash (literally) in the world, nothing could compare to the excitement of finally meeting her face to face. She would be late, as her mother is always late. Named. Expected and longed for.

But a week overdue seems like seconds when I hold that precious baby Girl. Minuscule fingers and toes, bum and pointy head.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's a...Shade Tracker?

Feelin' it...summer time hot. Not the bad hot where a person could melt from lack of shade. But close enough (especially if you are in the late 40's and hitting a certain life stage...).

So I just put on one of my super special sleeveless tank tops, and voila, I am the Shade Tracker. Super due to excellent colors and comfort. Special because they are cool and sleeveless.

Wearing a colorful tank, I survive the sun. My path around the house follows the travels of the sun.

Par example: Early morning, east facing window shades are all closed or open slightly for light. The west facing windows are wide open. If there is a cool breeze, the windows are open for fresh air. Otherwise, everything is shut up tight to lock out the heat, keep in the cool. The zip lock of cool. Keeps things fresh.

The routine flip flops in the afternoon. As the thermometer shows more red, the pavement heats up, and unwatered plants start wilting, I open blinds on the east side of the house and then close the western blinds. Ceiling fans begin spinning and the ice tea is poured.

My favorite invention to deal with the sun rays is what I've created for the back patio. This area gets blasted with the late afternoon heat and sun, which is much worse than the morning sunshine. Three bamboo gardening poles, six metal rings, six large hooks, rubber bands, four light colored curtains, and four lengths of canvas tape are my materials.

Bamboo poles slide through the rings, which hang on the hooks. Curtains attach by way of fabric loops. Rubber bands figure eight over the hooks, rings, and poles for stability.

In the shade, outdoor room dividers are neatly tied open. But once Mr. Sun heads over the top of the house, off come the ties, and shade providing curtains are spread out to block the worst of the heat from my now shady patio.

That's what I'm talking about. The Shade Tracker foils the sun. Again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Squirrel Part 2

There is was again! I saw it as I was returning from my coffee run. The furry little scoundrel was sitting by the side of the road at the top of the hill, preparing to run out into my path.

I doggedly checked all my options for squirrel avoidance - rear view mirror, side mirror, front window, sides, ditch...ready for anything.

And then I got right up to it. It froze in place and I breathed a sigh of relief.

That's when I saw it stayed frozen.

It was a rock.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Big Bushy Tailed Quail?

There I was, just driving along on the narrow street heading home from morning coffee and reading several chapters in a book necessary for a course I'm taking.

It was a dark and stormy night...

Just kidding.

I was approaching the narrowest, vertically challenged and notoriously known area for quail and close calls with other vehicles. I'm always on alert for quail because I think they are exceptionally cute and noisy. And I don't want to hit one. I don't like the rear view of flying feathers.

Oh, there's one. Nope, it was a dove. Oops! There's one popping out onto the roadway exactly when I was cornered by a close following vehicle and another approaching up the top of the hill from the other side. No room for maneuvering around the cute little bird. Drats, Batman! I don't want to hit it!

Then it flicked its' big bushy tail. What? Bushy tail and quail don't usually go together. The quail dropped down to its' front paws??? and scampered back into the underbrush.

Ahhhh. A big bushy tailed gray squirrel also lives in the quail rampant area. Whew. Flashbacks to those insurance commercials where the squirrels hysterically plan to cause automotive accidents by staging in the center of the road...

I think I heard it snicker at me as I narrowly avoided the cars, the ruts, the bushes and trees, and the big bushy tailed squirrel.

I'll be on the look-out for you, Mr. Squirrel. You and your big fluffy tail and schemes of demise for my car.

Big bushy tailed quail. Not.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Natural Selection, Quantrell Style

I've had it.

Planted two varieties of raspberries - only two pots worth, but two of them. One looked very healthy, displaying vibrant greens and lush growth. The other had slightly browned leaves on the bottom and seemed more like I was taking a chance when I purchased it. I planned to experiment and find out which was the best producer. I love raspberries. The more the merrier.

The eastern plant, Willamette Raspberry (Rubus Willamette) looked great. High hopes for this one. Did I mention it had thorns? The western plant, Joan J. Raspberry (Rubus Joan J.) did not exhibit the potential for growth and berry abundance. Miss Joan did not have any thorns, which I found odd, but was happy at the prospect of no scratches come harvest time.

Mid-August, and I'm about ready to perform my own version of natural selection! The scraggly, browned leaved western plan, Miss Joan J., is covered in blooms, picked fruit buds, and ripening raspberries! I love this plant! I would like several more like this one, brown leaves, no thorns, and all.

(Miss Joan J.)

Good old Willamette Raspberry is worthless! The only thing it has grown has been MORE thorns and long canes filled with beautiful leaves. NOT ONE flower OR hint of a raspberry. Nothing. So, Mr. Willamette, I'll give you until spring. If there is no sign of something for me to eat, you are gone. Compost-ville for you. Hasta la vista, baby. Thorns, pretty leaves, the whole works. Dug up and tossed out.

(Mr. Willamette)

That's my time line. I'm selecting the variety that does what it's supposed too. Forget the time, energy, water and work for the lazy plant. I keep telling it, "You have until maybe May, beginning of June, and I better see some fruit, or you are out of here!"

It's not working so far, the threats, but maybe after a nice lie in over winter, Mr. Willamette will consider the compost bin...and get busy. Otherwise, it's several more of Miss Joan J. coming to live in my yard.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Necessity of Outdoors

Always loved being outside and interacting with nature. A class I'm taking right now agrees with my thoughts and feelings about the natural world. Kids need that time outside exploring, building, running, rolling, climbing, throwing, digging, playing...How else will they learn to appreciate and protect our world? Where else do they interact with science-y concepts? When will they spend time noticing the complexity and elaborateness of God's creation?

Even two-year-olds enjoy stuff outside. The grandson much prefers to go 'side (outside) to anything else. If there is water, sand, dirt, grass, trees, he is in the middle of it. Sure, a wheeled vehicle can accompany him. But it needs to be 'side.

So I'm veto-ing TV time and electronic games. My grandbabies get to go 'side and get their hands messy. And their knees, pants, elbows, faces. Sorry mommy. That's what washers and bandaids are for.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Rehearsal

A wedding at Ft. Simcoe. Fab-u-lous dahling, fab-u-lous.

First, the rehearsal dinner (the fastest on record, due to the swarming of yellow jackets).

The happy, planning couple with the minister, dear ole' dad.

No idea what he's saying, or why he's pointing at me.

Giving her away...

I can't take this anymore!

Rehearsing. More rehearsing.

Still rehearsing.

Are we done yet?

Done yet?


Next, the big day.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stir Fried Garden

Another delicious meal, compliments of my garden, God (the Grower), a few grocery store items, and leftovers from a BBQ. Oh, what to do?

Stir Fried Garden Beans & Zucchini

1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
10 or so small yellow tomatoes
1/4 of an onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c. fresh green beans, whole
1 leftover BBQ'd sausage, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
Crushed peppers (to taste)

Add a few T. of olive oil to a saute' pan. Saute' onion and sausage. Add green beans when other is hot. Let beans begin to turn cooked green and add squash/zucchini. Let cook almost all the way (not mushy). Add tomatoes the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Sprinkle with black pepper and crushed peppers. Eat warm. (We ate ours with multi-grain pepper jack cheese quesadillas).

C'est bon!