Fence, etc.

January 31, 2006

The guys finally came by today to install the new fence in our back yard. I think it looks absolutely lovely. I can’t wait to start laying out the garden that will go behind it.

In the picture below, Scout was just finishing up her initial inspection of the workmanship.

Scout fence

While I was outside, I decided it was time for portraits of the kids. Here they are:

This is Scout. She is a rat terrier. Emphasis on the “rat” part. In addition to being a home security specialist, Scout is an experienced exterminator, demolition expert, and all-around holy terror. I wouldn’t wish her on my worst enemy, but I wouldn’t trade her for anything, either.

Evil One

This is Jason, our retired racing greyhound. Greyhounds are gentle, stately creatures, beautiful and sensitive and loving. They are capable of reaching speeds of 45 mph, but most of the time, they move at the same pace as your average three-toed sloth.

Jason

Songdog is our crazy collie mix. We wanted another dog. We were looking for a lap dog we could take along on road trips. Song wandered into the driveway and adopted us. So now we have a 50-pound lap dog. We think he’s mostly smooth-coated collie, but he appears to have a bit of heeler and maybe a dash of Belgian Malinois mixed in.

Song spent part of this evening doing his very best impression of those anti-drug commercials from the ’80s. You know:

This is your collie.

Song

This is your collie on drugs.

Song on acid

Any questions?


Coming up

January 31, 2006

I have some flowers coming up in the front bed. I didn’t get a picture of them today, because I was in a hurry and had to get to work, but I definitely see some kind of bulb plant peeking up through the dirt in one corner. I’m guessing they’re grape hyacinths. I planted a bunch of bulbs and seeds and things out there last year, but the grape hyacinths were about all that came up.

That’s OK. I love grape hyacinths.

I saw some kind of big bird of prey — probably a hawk, but it was moving a little too fast for me to see it clearly — fly across the road in front of me today. I wish I’d gotten a better look. It was pretty.

Not much else happening. I might work on my Gatorade bottle terrarium project tomorrow night. It’s almost February. Still a little early to start tomatoes, but not too bad. We’ll see how this goes.

Emily


Gorgeous weather

January 29, 2006

Today was absolutely beautiful. I spent most of it indoors, because I was working on some stuff for the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, but I did spend a few minutes outside, cleaning up the yard.

I saw a crow fly into a tree as I was standing in the parking lot, talking to a friend after church this morning. That’s the second crow I’ve seen in two days. I saw one yesterday at the Round Barn in Arcadia. I also saw a flock of cardinals and a junco in Arcadia. Juncos are so cute. I just love them.

I shot this picture on the way back from Edmond yesterday, when my friends and I stopped for dinner at the Rock Cafe. I have taken many pictures of that sign, but the lighting and the colors were so perfect last night that I just couldn’t resist getting one more, this time with that gorgeous Maxfield Parrish sky in the background:

Rock Cafe sign

In Edmond, we saw this striking sculpture, which depicts several of the steps in folding a paper crane:

Crane sculpture

I have a flock of paper cranes taped around the edges of my computer monitor, and another flock hanging from a string in my bedroom, so that sculpture just stopped me in my tracks. Absolutely lovely.

The sculpture is at the Fine Arts Institute in Edmond. You can learn to fold a paper crane — and find out what they represent — here.

Emily

“I will write peace on your wings
and you will fly all over the world.”
– Sadako Sasaki


Rain!

January 28, 2006

I got a wake-up call this morning from Suzanne, who told me to stay in bed, because it was raining this morning. Normally, we’d just jog in the rain and not worry about it, but Suzanne is getting over a cold and didn’t want to push her luck, so I just took her advice and slept in a little bit.

This is what I saw when I finally got up:

These tchotchkes are hanging in a south-facing window. See how gray the sky is?

Butterfly

Prism

This is what the sky looked like through the pergola:

Sky

Did these lichens grow on the woodpile overnight? I don’t remember seeing them before. They’re pretty. I wish I could cultivate lichens, but I read something somewhere that says there’s really no way to do it.

Lichens

The sparrows didn’t mind the rain:

Sparrows

I love the way the raindrops looked on my garlic plants. The leaves really capture the water.

Garlic in the rain

Garlic in the rain

BTW, I did not Photoshop the color on any of these images. I love how the rain just makes the colors more intense.

I hope you’re having a beautiful Saturday.

Emily

“You will keep me safe, and you will keep me warm, and rain will make the flowers grow.”
– Eponine


Ask the Hippie, Vol. 1, Issue 1

January 27, 2006

I’ve been looking at my page stats and noticing that people are surfing in here while searching for topics that may or may not actually be covered here. They’re Googling various search terms, and the search engines are sending them here based on combinations of random words scattered across this blog.

A few people (the guy looking for “hot hippie chicks,” for instance ;)) find exactly what they are looking for. But I’m afraid some of these folks are sorely disappointed when they surf in here, only to find that I have no “hippie trucker girl photos” or instructions on how to “get rid of red chicks” here. (Those are actual search terms people have used to find me, BTW.)

I do, however, find that some of these folks are looking for information about questions to which I can supply answers.

In the interest of serving those readers, I have decided to start a weekly feature here called “Ask the Hippie,” in which I will attempt to supply answers to those burning questions that drive people to Google in search of enlightenment. I make no guarantees as to the veracity of the answers, which are, like the wisdom of the late-night psychics on cable, “for entertainment purposes only.”

Let the entertainment begin.

Q. Where can I buy catbrier plants? (Inspired by the search term “buy catbrier plants.”)

A. I have never seen catbrier plants for sale. And based on my own experience with catbrier plants, I have no idea why anyone would want to buy them. But if you are within driving distance of Red Fork, Oklahoma, I can make you a good deal on all the catbriers you care to dig up….

Q. Where can I buy hippie bedding? (Search term: “Hippie bedding.”)

A. Try Tie-Dyes of Tulsa. The owner will dye anything you want to bring in, as long as it’s made of natural fibers. Bring your sheets. Bring your blankets. Bring your pillowcases. She’ll hippiefy all of ‘em for you. She can even tie-dye a big pink heart on your PJ’s for Valentine’s Day.

Q. Where can I buy tahini in Tulsa? (Search term: “tahini in tulsa.”)

A. Wild Oats.

Q. What do hippie chicks dig? (Search term: “what hippie chicks dig.”)

A. Organic gardening, Birkenstocks, broomstick skirts, Red Zinger tea, nature, animals (especially the cute and fuzzy variety), fuel-efficient cars, patchouli incense, old Volvos, and New Mexico skies. This particular hippie chick also digs Sean Connery and Sam Elliott (yowza!) … but I think that’s more of a chick thing than a hippie thing.

If you have a question for “Ask the Hippie,” e-mail it to sundayjohn66 at mac dot com. I may answer it in a future post.

Emily


Sparrows

January 27, 2006

I’m still waiting for the fence guys to finish up so I can start prepping the garden for this year’s planting season. I’ll be glad when they get done. I want to see how it’s going to look. I hope they make the gate look pretty. We’re having it custom-built, because the company that made the fencing itself doesn’t make gates. I don’t really understand the reasoning behind that, but I guess it made sense to somebody.

I fed the worms some cucumber and tomato scraps while I was making a tahini salad this evening. They should be happy with that. I poked around in the bin tonight and found them squirming around like crazy under all their bedding and food. They look pretty healthy.

We’ve got tons of sparrows around here right now. They were playing on the neighbor’s roof when I left for work this morning. A friend of mine told me she hates sparrows because they are mean — she said in her yard, they raid other birds’ nests and kill the babies for no apparent reason. My sparrows are either nicer than hers, or else they’re just sneakier. Or maybe I just haven’t seen any baby birds on the ground because the neighbors’ cats eat them before I see them.

In any case, the sparrows on Quimby’s roof this morning were awfully cute. Somehow I just can’t reconcile their cute little faces with my friend’s tales of vicious avian serial killers.

Emily


Route 66 information

January 26, 2006

As I’ve probably mentioned on here before, I do a LOT of Route 66 volunteer work. A big chunk of that work involves answering questions that are e-mailed to me by people planning vacations on Route 66. Because I am not very organized, I tend to forget to save the e-mails I send, which means that every time somebody asks me a question like, “Where are some good places to visit on Route 66?” — which is a simple question with a 2,448-mile-long answer — I waste a lot of time reinventing the wheel.

The offseason is a good time for me to pull together answers to some of the more popular questions and put them on one of my Web sites. That way, when vacation season gets closer, and the questions start coming in, I can say, “Here’s a link that should answer most of your questions” instead of wasting hours rewriting the same e-mail over and over because I was too stupid to save a copy.

I’m not finished, but I’ve made a dent in the project. I made changes and updates to these pages on my Route 66 Motels site:

Links

Places to see

Places to eat

Stay tuned; I’m planning to make more updates and improvements as I get time. Eventually, I’ll add a Route 66 FAQ page that puts this all in the form of questions, with links to the answers, and upload it to all my Web sites.

Emily


Black gold dreams

January 25, 2006

There wasn’t much going on in the great outdoors today, unless you count the metal posts growing out of the back yard. The guys from Aaron Fence finally came out to start installing the fence to keep the dogs out of the garden. They set the posts in concrete today. I’ll post pictures once they install the wire.

I can’t wait. Once the fence is in, I can start a new thermophilic compost pile. I finally gave up on our last one, because the only thing I put in there that the dogs didn’t pull out and eat was a big bowl of tabasco peppers that spoiled before I got around to canning them.

I’m really looking forward to starting a new pile. What I think I’m going to do is rip out all the dead branches and things from last year’s garden and then kind of mentally divide the whole area into four-foot squares. I’ll turn the pile back and forth between two squares for a week, then shift it over a couple of squares the next week, and just kind of move it around like that every week until planting season. I think it will be really good for the garden if I do that, because the whole area will be fertilized with the finished compost that sifts out of the pile and the compost tea that percolates through it each time I water it.

I need to find a source for horse manure to get the pile warmed up and off to a good start. I know where I can find an endless supply of that commodity, but I don’t know if I can afford the shipping…. ;)

Emily


Plant update

January 24, 2006

Remember the cactus I divided and transplanted a couple of weeks ago? It’s growing and thriving. Take a look:

Cactusdigs1

Cactusdigs2

Just for reference, those pots are about three times the size of the one the whole cactus was in before I transplanted it.

The little bitty cactus seedlings aren’t doing so well — they don’t seem to like their new digs at all — and the sprouts in the terrarium have gotten leggy and wilted on me, but the poppy sprouts I planted in a champagne flute have gotten much bigger since the last update:

Poppy sprouts

Oh, and the worms are thriving. Fat and sassy and doing fine in the aspen shavings … although they still haven’t touched that lettuce. I don’t blame them. It’s iceberg, which isn’t my favorite, either. Maybe I should have doused it in ranch dressing to make it taste better. ;)
Emily

P.S.: It is 23 days until the Cubbies’ pitchers and catchers report to spring training.


Counting my blessings

January 23, 2006

I have lots of blessings to count this evening. Here are some of them:

1. Birds. On the way out of the office today, I saw a half-dozen starlings sitting on a wire in the parking lot. They were calling to each other in strange little voices. Then, about a quarter-mile from home, I pulled up to a stop sign and heard about a zillion birds singing their hearts out. I don’t know where they were. I looked all around but couldn’t see them; I guess they were all hiding in the trees nearby, chattering madly. Their little peeping and chirping was so cute, I had to roll down the window and shut off the stereo just so I could hear it better.

2. Spring. As I pulled into the driveway, I saw a robin on my neighbor’s fence. It made me think of my grandma. When I was little — and I mean REALLY little, like maybe three years old — Grandma and I sat on the front stoop of her apartment building and watched my dad and my grandpa doing something or other — moving furniture or something — while a robin supervised the goings-on from its perch in the maple tree high above us. Grandma kept saying, “Hello, Mr. Robin!” and Mr. Robin would reply, “Pert!” I laughed and laughed. Grandma told my mom about it, and I laughed even harder when she said, “Pert!” like the robin. I don’t know why I thought that was so funny, but I did … and my laughter made Grandma laugh, too.

3. Ron. And mushrooms. When I got home from work, Ron made me dinner — a big plate of sauteed mushrooms and a baked potato. Yummy. He makes the best mushrooms.

4. My new jacket. I ran the Oklahoma Marathon a couple of months ago. Everybody who finished got a commemorative Tyvek jacket with the marathon logo on the front and the names of all the finishers printed on the back. Here are a couple of pictures of the jacket:

Jacket1

jacket2

I like it. I like that it has my name on it, and I like that I earned it. I’ll like it even more when I’m out running in it early next Saturday morning with Suzanne. Those runs are OK once we get going, but they’re awfully cold at the beginning, and an ultralight jacket is just what I need to keep warm.

What blessings are you counting today?

Emily


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