Archive for the ‘Gardening’ category


August 26, 2014

I invested a lot of time and money and attention and big hopes in my tomato garden this year,  and it looked like it was all worth it!


Those tomatoes tasted as good as they look!

Actually, my back deck tomato garden was a two-man job.  Son invested a lot of time and ingenuity into the tomato plants too.   He created a sprinkler system on a timer so that when I had to be traveling so much this summer,  the tomato plants would still get watered.

It was a Tomato Garden of Eden on my deck.    It looked all summer like a “paradise” of full lush vegetation, all promising to produce this fruit.

And then –  I had an overnight surprise:


At least it seemed like overnight –


I had noticed yesterday when I did my harvesting that the tomato plants looked thinner.    Well, it is late summer, I thought,  and the leaves on some of the trees are just beginning to turn color.

But as I learned and researched and inspected more closely —


— I saw the telltale signs of Late Blight.    Brownish-gray spots and a soggy, wilted brown leaf.    This is a destructive fungus, rapidly destroying tomato plants  (and other food crop from the nightshade family.)

So . . . Paradise Lost  (with apologies to John Milton)  –


“Paradise”  and a whole lot of tomatoes.   There is some discussion about whether tomatoes from these plants are safe to eat.    It is unanimous that one should not can these tomatoes,  but they may (or may not) be safe to eat — and if you want to eat them, you must make sure there are no discolored areas on the tomato,  because a weakened, diseased tomato has a higher pH  and is likely host to some very nasty bacteria.

I’ve often wondered about the Great Potato Famine in northern Europe and Ireland of the  mid-19th century.    The potato is also in the nightshade family,  like tomatoes.    I wondered about that Famine because it’s always said that the farmers  across Europe came out to their fields one day to find the Blight had infected all their crop.   Really?   That fast?



The fungus spreads into the food, making it turn black, just as the potatoes in the fields at the start of the Great Potato Famine were described.

Now,  you probably know,  if you visit here once in a while,  that I take history very, very seriously,  and I take my religion very seriously.   Although the Great Potato Famine was a horrendous historical event, and although it resulted in a great movement of legal immigrants into our country,  many of them hard-working,  religious,  and very glad to be in America,  and whose descendants have contributed greatly to this nation,  although we know all that —  do we know how and why  that Famine begin?

1846.     There are other historic facts concerning this Famine too, and it began in  northern France.***

1846 is when the warning was given.

la salette

It was given here in this beautiful countryside in northern France.  Two shepherd children came across a “beautiful lady”  who was weeping and had an aura of such great sadness about her that they asked her what was wrong.

. . . The end of the story is that she knew that a terrible judgment (punishment)  was about to fall on the people of northern Europe because they had stopped paying homage to God  (chiefly evidenced by treating Sundays as though they were just any other da; y and by swearing, bad language,  profanity,  and blasphemies using the holy name of God.)    When a population ceases to pay homage to God,  then the dam breaks, the floodgates are opened to disrespecting other human beings, manifested by selfishness,   violence, sexual immorality, and all other woes that we see in today’s world.

Two Great Commandments:   “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength…”    And:     “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”       (That is, with self-respect,  dignity,  and your religion in place, then you will be able to rightly love and respect and cherish the person standing next to you.    We’re not told to “love humanity,”  but to love the person you see right next to you, in your home, your work, when you shop,  when you drive….)

Well, this message wasn’t exactly welcomed.    Or obeyed.

The Blight was already forming in the mid-19th century, and for the next five or six years life was very, very hard for most Europeans.   Millions  died.


In this present time,  every year,   many people remember this event, and the reason for it.     These are pilgrims,  not tourists.

I feel obliged to tell you that this Blight is still in existence, becoming more and more resistant to whatever we use to keep it at bay.

And scattered here and there, all over the news,  there are acknowledgements of other “natural”  disasters ready to strike:    crop failures,  plagues,  big earthquakes,  comet strikes. . . .     But no more ‘beautiful lady”   to bring us back to God.

I think she knows we will likely not listen.

Bar wavy

***    You can read more if you Google in search terms for La Salette, apparition,  prophecy.     The two young children consistently told the same story throughout their lives, even though they did not see each other as adults;  however, the girl  has possibly embellished her story in her later years, so the Church is cautious about some of the more lurid  prophecies which seem to speak of increasing immorality and wickedness in our times, right up to the top of the hierarchy of the Church.     Or maybe this was a true prophecy.   Just be cautious. 



June 5, 2014

I suppose there is no point, really, to this blog posting.    It just presents what is becoming an annual summer quandary, and it all begins with physics:

SAMSUNGPhysics is so beautiful!    Even if it doesn’t result in beautiful machines to create anti-matter as at CERN, in the above picture,  just the equations are so beautifully eloquent in their precision and balance.    When we open up the atom and attempt to harness the power of the electrons flying outward at incomprehensible speeds,  we can build beautiful machines like this submarine and its multicolored “control” panel.     Unfortunately,  something went wrong,  and all that beautiful power became rather unforgiving,  nearly cooking to death several dozen sailors.    Oh, that was three years ago.  We’re just reading about it now.


I’m thinking dark thoughts amidst all this “beauty.”    I saw an interview with a scientist at CERN who was explaining that the small amount of anti-matter that is generated in their labs was perfectly safe.  He smiled and  said,  “I wouldn’t be sitting here calmly talking to you if I thought there was any danger.”     Everyone smiles.     But  they have bigger plans for anti-matter generation now,  and a great many of their scientists are questioning the wisdom of it.

And then certainly Professor Albert Einstein had some beautiful, eloquent thoughts and certainly he and others created some “beautiful” equations…   but when he heard what was being planned,  he wrote to the authorities and published letters begging them to stop creating what his equations had made possible.     But the atom bomb went forth,  and so did the nuclear power plants.   As Einstein is quoted as saying:  “That’s a h*** of a way to boil water.”

Suicidal, I would say.

So that brings me to my summer quandary and the unforgiving nature of the atomic world.     Ice walls, cement shrouds, and kitty litter has not proven effective in protecting us from the destructive forces that have been unleashed.       (Kitty litter, you might ask?   Just do a search for WIPP, kitty litter, and resulting explosions….  ongoing.   The authorities asked a task force to find out how they can stop this ongoing disaster.    Their not-so-reassuring response is they can maybe  get this process to stop if they find a way to cover it up, but covering it up will take a minimum of four years…if they can find an effective way to do it. )

Meanwhile,  weather happens.   Jet streams flow on.    Rain is delivered.   Contaminated rain is delivered onto my back deck.


SAMSUNG Just about three times “normal”  near my deck railings.

So I wondered about the nearby tomato plants.   I do so love the taste of real tomatoes.


I stayed out there a long time,  in the drizzle,  hoping to find a more, well, hopeful range of readings.


Nope.    90 – 130  Counts Per minute.    I checked the Internet charts for our area.    The readings there were the same.

Beauty – and hope –  yet so unforgiving.



Poor Kodiak bears.   Poor 12-year-olds in northern Japan.    Poor babies.    Poor starfish.    Poor anchovies.   Poor tuna.   Poor salmon.    Poor whales.      Poor sea lions.  Poor polar bears.   Those poor butterflies. . . .


March 27, 2014

March.  Halfway through Lent.  Sad to think of all our sins.

 purple bar

It snowed today.   Again.   (Didn’t I write that a few days ago?)   Winter is having a hard time letting go of us, but soon Spring will be here.  I’m already having thoughts of two of my favorite activities:  gardening and traveling.   They are somewhat mutually exclusive, though.  You have to be home to take care of your garden.

But I think I know which will win out this year, which will take more of my time, because there is a very big problem with outdoor gardening:

CHart  ChemTrail CO MPONENTS

It is a sorrow of life today, that we have poisoned our air and our soil.  This chart shows with what and how much.    Doesn’t matter where this scientific sampling was taken.  It’s all over the place.   The big farming corporations are doing something about it – they have invented a seed that can grow in soils that are high in aluminum.  These artificially manufactured seeds will still grow — while the plant is taking up the aluminum.  Too bad humans are damaged when they ingest aluminum.

Where does the aluminum and the other immune-system destroying substances come from?   Well, sometimes I can step right outside my door and take photos like this from my front porch.

Chemtrail grid bldg

Sometimes they’re stripes, but this is going to be a sort of grid pattern.  I’ve seen neater ones.  I’ve even seen great curves and circles.     (These are not “flightpaths.”)    Sometimes I zoom in and take a picture of the airplanes doing it,  but they’re always just painted white.  Including the windows.  And they have no identifying numbers or letters (which is illegal, but nevertheless…)

I saw some of these when I was flying one day.  I looked out my airplane window and saw these trails close up –  they were giant loops, like a Slinky stretched out, only about thirty or forty feet tall.    That’s the way they come out of the nozzles on the planes that are spraying the chemicals on us.

Sometimes the chemicals just fall in great “curtains.”

I found some close-up photos of these planes in action.


Good people have “gone down”  trying to fight these things.   Just remember all the chemicals in that chart that are routinely found within these “curtains.”


It’s so sad,  but we can’t stop them.  Our Rulers are international.


So I think I know what I’ll be doing more of this summer.   Why would I grow a garden outdoors?

Sadly,  I’ve taken out some of the words for this posting.


Not to attract their attention, you know.


September 25, 2013

This is a posting about  my garden.   Really.   Any resemblance to our nation’s political situation is purely….intentiional.

We started out so well!

SAMSUNGThese are pumpkin leaves with a pretty good beginning.   HIgh hopes and optimism – and much care thinking about “future generations”   That is,  Cooper’s coming!   Our first and only grandson is coming for a visit this week.  I’ve known about this “end of September” visit for a long time, and so I began to prepare a surprise for him:  I’d grow pumpkins!   And then,  at 2 3/4 years old he will see where pumpkins come from!

But soon a problem began to manifest itself.


In spite of tender loving care (and “good feelings”) and a nice bed of straw,  white spots developed on the leaves.  I showed it to some friends, but no one had much to say.   I stayed loyal and attentive and optimistic;  a little uncomfortable about this new development, but I didn’t know what to do about it.

I built “strong defenses”  for the pumpkin plants – protecting them from attack from without:  i.e., deer and raccoons and rabbits.


The pumpkins found a way to escape.

Turns out no deer or raccoon or rabbit ever launched an attack.    I should have been looking within, at conditions within the fence, and specifically at the soil, the land, the location from which the leaves were growing.

The pumpkin plants were rotting from the bottom leaves upward.   New leaves and orange flowers are all right at the end of the vine,  but there is a spreading white-spot rot that is corrupting the plants from the ground up.    And they are dying.

It’s not attacks from without but corruption from within that kills a nation.  I mean a garden .   (The white spots turn leaves a sickly gray,  much as the sickly “red” of politics spreads from nation to nation.)

So I called on some help from Son, the scientist,  the pharmacist.   If anyone knows diseases, a pharmacist should!

He got to work.   Test tubes.  Chemicals.  Soil samples.  Charts….


He discovered two things.   One, the soil itself was malnourished.   I fertilized once.   Once is not enough.

And the second thing is that I needed to be doing a lot of other things for the pumpkins because the world they live in is “corrupted.”    Eventually,  Son and i noticed that the surrounding leaves of the trees and bushes also had white spots on them.   Not all the plants.   Not all surrounding plants were diseased,  but enough to spread to the pumpkins plants I cared about.


  That’s a maple sapling.

Son and I took a walk around our neighborhood, looking closely at our neighbors’ trees and shrubbery.  We inspected all the leaves that we could, and discovered that our whole neighborhood,  this “world”   that our garden was growing in,  was full of these white spots.

The disease is called white spot powder mildew.   Something like that.      There are things we could have done to keep our garden clean and strong,  but we didn’t know it in time.   It’s too late.    We have lost this pumpkin crop.

If we had known right at the beginning. . . .      If we had taken measures to stop the rot. . . .   If we had been vigilant and worked hard. . . .

If only we had known where we were heading. . . .


September 20, 2013

A light, easy posting today.

There’s been a little interlude here in my postings.   I think I didn’t feel well.  My immune system is precarious, at best,  quite overtaxed,  fighting something big, I think.    I notice some improvement when I take care of myself but that’s  very hard work.    Before I get back to any “serious”  random thoughts here,  I’ll just muse a little bit about the medicine that God gives us to grow stronger.


Color.   Our “medicine”  starts with color.  Red is nice.


Warmed, plumped, pureed raspberries.    (It’s possible to prepare your berries without seeds.)

So,  fruit.   Of all colors.  And then a salad…once or twice a day.   Start with some good, “meaty” tomatoes to add on top of some “greens.”


These look almost like watermelon pieces.  They are dense and packed with flavor.    But you can’t get them from grocery stores very often.


Looking back over this past summer,  there was a lot of work that went into these tomatoes.  They are growing in small, homemade containers on my deck.   Convenient.  They don’t take up much room.  The containers were cheap!   (cardboard boxes and plastic bags – make sure the “container” drains well in the bottom)

Peppers do well in containers too.


Again,  hard work to get them set up and growing, but so firm and crisp and tasty.   Nutritious, I hope.

This all adds up to the once or twice daily salads.  I don’t get tired of salads  because –  well, which one would you be talking about?  There is an endless number of combinations, an endless variety of salads.

And a trip to the (container) herb gardens for flavor for the salads:

SAMSUNGJust. . .  choose.   Choose whatever smells good to you that day.   All herbs taste good and I believe they are all medicinal in one way or the other.  They just don’t taste like “medicine” !

Then just wash them off, and snip them over your salad bowl:


I think I see chives and basil and parsley in that handful.

Well, that’s it.   A  portion of my diet that actually works to recharge my batteries and get the strength flowing again.

Recommended for all human bodies.





(13th SUNDAY p.p.) PLEASURES! Celestial and Terrestrial

August 18, 2013

Live deliberately !   Go ahead, make your day!   Or, as the Romans used to say:  Fit via vi !!!!

11 gloriesToday is Sunday and it’s a good day to practice such things.   I did the first and foremost important duty of a created being:  gave honor and worship to the Creator.   The Celestial Pleasures were not my goal,  but He was there…..  Oh, my,  He was….

And because, in Christendom,  we are taught that this is also a day for rest, renewal, and re-creation, I deliberately chose to enjoy some terrestrial pleasures too.   After all, they are a “pledge and a promise” of our everlasting Rest.

(I am a teacher.  I write this by way of example only.  You fill in the blanks with your own – licit – pleasures.)  I chose some rather ordinary pleasures today:

Bison burgers!


Burger.    I live alone, after all.

And vegetables!   (For the burger, of course.)


Dining outdoors in the company of many little hummingbirds and my growing tomatoes, the deer, the herons, the  fat little brown animals that rummage among the weeds. . . .


Then the pleasure of a little healthy competition:


That’s Jimmy Johnson in  there, #48.

Here’s the track today,   right in our backyard, almost, and where Son and his friend enjoyed a day in the sun – and the noise of roaring motors.


A little Rollerblading,   a little reading,   and a little herb gardening.  (I don’t know how to grow herbs, but I put them where I wanted them, and they seemed to know what to do next.)


There you go.   It’s not so hard to be grateful to God for little pleasures.

Now you go and make Sundays special days.  Fit via vi !

11 glories

And now, there’s still a little time left for this Sunday.   There is time for me to return to my “celestial pleasures,”  more time with the Creator.    From today’s Offertory prayer:   “In thee, O Lord, have I hoped.  I said,  Thou art my God, my times are in thy hands.”  


August 12, 2013

There was a fine rain this morning, soft and gentle.   I don’t mind being out in the rain, so I didn’t mind filling the bird feeders on my deck.

But I “know the score.”   I know the numbers in my area, because I’ve been checking them for a couple of years.    Something made me check them again this morning.   In the rain.   Because of the rain.

Because rain “cleans”   the atmosphere.

SAMSUNGOoops, got my foot in there.

122.   That’s my radiation meter;  its a good one and it’s calibrated correctly.   Everyday, normal, background radiation is about 30 CPM.   Maybe a range of 25 – 35.        We  are 400% of normal today.  4 times the acceptable, safe limit.

I wondered about inside my house,  like even where I slept last night:

SAMSUNG32 CPM.   (Counts Per Minute.)    I’m okay indoors.

But then I use a pretty big air purifier.  A Honeywell TrueHEPA something something something,  I forget the numbers.  The filter inside is about 40 – 60 CPM, so I guess it’s doing its job….

But I worry about these guys who are stuck outside:


And I wonder about these, not yet ripe:


I was pretty happy to find out I could grow them on my deck in “homemade”  containers, but I left them out on the deck all summer.   I know I can wash them off when I bring them in,  but how do I wash the “unwanted”  contents inside  each of their cells?

Counts Per Minute.   Beta radiation.    It’s only harmful if you ingest it….or absorb it through your skin.

You are checking from my column on the right?   It’s the category of links called “Radiation News.”   It’s been there for two years, long before our “news” media discovered last week that “Fukushima is big trouble.”

No, we don’t know how to stop the radiation spewing out of the damaged reactors.   No one knows what to do.


May 26, 2013

I wrote about fighting “dragons” in the last post.  I do hope you’ve been able  to recognize  your own dragons and, most especially,  the dragons of others.    We don’t talk about them much;  we shouldn’t;  but we should know them well so that we do good work in our lives and “fight the good fight.”

I’m escaping some “dragons” of my own, temporarily, because getting away,  regrouping,  revitalizing your efforts is important too.


So….just draw a line from somewhere in the northern midwest (also known here is “The Far North”)   and take it all the way to the High Sierras of California.    I’ve completed the first leg of my journey, but more about that later.

I left a time of great stress.   A few of  my friends said I was “burned out.”    I didn’t know, but it makes sense.   I was strained and snappy.     Lots of stress, tension, problems  and,  as it will sometimes,  the difficulty of everyday living came down like unstoppable rain — or like the pollen in the air.   Ha!

SAMSUNGI was sweeping my driveway one day, not too long ago, and usually I’m just sweeping up rocks and twigs and debris from my crumbling asphalt driveway.   But I couldn’t help noticing that line dividing where I had swept and where I hadn’t.    That thick yellowish dust is pollen!     The trees have been especially busy this year, enthusiastically spreading their pollen around, enough so that sometimes,  when the sun is low, the air looks foggy.

And we’re sneezing and coughing and itching and feeling very, very tired.    So many things coming at you at once like that can be overwhelming.     We’re only human.

Whether it’s troubles or pollen, we can be overstressed.

“One man’s beauty is another man’s debris.”

All that pollen made me think of trees and of how little I know about trees.  I seem to have a mental block about learning the names of trees.   I can go “oak,”  and “maple”  and…lilacs, if they’re blooming,   but beyond that I usually call them “big tree,”  “nice tree,”   or “weed tree.”     So I took out my little book of trees with pictures and diagrams,  little explanations — and names.

One kind of tree that is apparently abundant in my yard develops clever little “flowers” (so they’re designated scientifically) that form small strings of tiny blossoms 4 – 6 inches long.    There was an attractive little diagram to illustrate these strings of “flowers.”

Which then rain down on us –


And looking like great clumps of debris sometimes a foot in diameter.     And they have to be dealt with, otherwise they form heavy, damp clumps that stain and kill other vegetation.    Not a broom, but a rake, for scratching and gathering  –


So you know me. . .   there’s a lesson here:    Whether it’s pollen or “tree flowers”  or the many, many little problems of everyday living,  we’ve got to deal with them or they’ll “climp up” and overwhelm us.

So that’s why I’m out here in Iowa today – part way to California – far away from the debris of my life and maybe getting a little perspective on things.

It’s Sunday today.    I’ll let Our Dear Lord in on the process.    After all,   what comes my way is His doing, because He knows what’s best for the development of my soul.

Who am I to call His “flowers”  my debris?!!!




April 30, 2013

Son has brought over some intriguing vegetable seeds,  and I’ve been reading and collecting articles,  planning,   putting a lot of pressure on myself about a summer garden.

Soil hands

It began to feel like “pressure” because I guess I’m not quite up to it yet, haven’t quite recovered all my strength,  and also because I’m going to have to travel off and on in the early summer —  not a good time to be leave a baby garden all by itself.

I believe in growing my own food.    I believe in lots and lots of homegrown vegetables and berries and herbs.     I already have some garlic coming up because it had to be planted last Fall.    But I’m not good at gardening.    I gave Hubbie many merry moments as I brought to him my harvests — scant,  miniature, or non-existent.   He had great fun talking about my cherry tomato sized potatoes!     We had some odd-shaped green peppers too, but they tasted really good.

No.    This year I’m going to leave most of the gardening to the experts..       We have  good Farmers’ Markets around here and  plenty of Amish who don’t use chemicals to grow their food.     Dollar for dollar I’ll probably come out a little ahead, buying just a portion of the crop I’d need each week.     And garlic goes well with just about anything I can bring home from a Farmers’ Market!






January 12, 2013

Remember all those last minute outdoor things you wished you had gotten to before winter fell?

Like picking up sticks on your lawn, and raking those last leaves, and planting some daffodil  bulbs for the spring, and cleaning up areas for more planting in the spring, and washing your cars…….?   Well, I did that today.   All of that.    Our weatherman gave us a summer day today, 58 degrees in the Far North in January!


Makes quite a tall brush pile – ready for the fireplace, if our Rulers let us use them this year  (you have heard about the new EPA regulations, haven’t you??) –  and the lawn now looks nice.

Found a lot of debris to clean up and then planted some crocuses and daffodils near the little garden boy…..


And St. Joseph will have some daffodils and bright red tulips nearby in the spring — if I did this right.


I may just be feeding moles and squirrels,  but the weatherman gave me another chance to try my luck with flowers.

I am inordinately proud of this space:


I don’t know why,  it just was quite a job to clean it out, and take out all the dead sticks and limbs, except for this one.    This space has not been cleaned out SINCE WE BOUGHT THE HOUSE….(a very long time ago).    It’s going to have daffodils in the spring too.    Maybe.


Notice the little brook in the back.   I didn’t have to use any headphones and MP3 players.   That little brook babbles all day and all night and makes a most comfortable, soothing background sound.

When I was done with shoveling, raking, digging, cutting, and trimming,  I really needed to clean up.   Somehow my cars beat me to it.  The Big Red Car had gotten itself salty and dirty during these past few weeks.


Compare front door, back door;    I like the shine.  It’s for Hubbie.    It’s his car.

I even took “Baby” out of the garage.   She hasn’t been out since……well, since the first snowflake fell.    The roads get so  muddy and dirty in the winter, you know.


She wasn’t dirty,  but she does get dusty in the garage.     Some day I’ll get over the “new car syndrome.”

I avoided the news today.    I avoided the Internet.   I avoided most electronic noise (until the football games started!!)

There was such peace of mind doing little everyday things, things you’d never take the time to write about.


July 4, 2012

That was a heavy, serious last posting, red with the Precious Blood…Let’s change colors:

Thank you, my friend, for your telephone instructions last night about What To Do With a Whole Bag of Lemons  (besides using a couple for ice water….and watching the rest slowly turn moldy….)     You slice them, freeze them, and bag the frozen slices for storage in the freezer and later use.   You grate them into Lemon Zest…freeze that too.   Boil the leftover lemon parts, which I used to call “garbage,”  and add a little sugar and — voila! —  lemon syrup for making lemonade.

I’ll follow your instruction for freezing my herbs in olive oil — when I get around to picking them out of my garden.

So….what’s that….yellow,  green….then BLUE !

As in Blue Splotches . . .

(I did that.)

(I did that too.)

That was my favorite backyard little bench.

 I had an algae problem in our backyard pond.    Have.   Had, I hope.   I’ve notice lots of algae this year, and along with the hot, humid weather,  our fish have a lot less oxygen.  I haven’t seen our goldfish back there in a week or two, and I thought they might need a little human help —  cleaning up their living quarters, so to speak.   But….without Hubbie around for advice — and his skill and muscles —  I kind of muddled through and chose hopefully the best remedy –  a deep blue-yellow dye for fish ponds that will absorb the light rays that algae normally use for photosynthesis, thereby starving them, or suffocating them, rather than the fish.

The idea was easy.   Getting the deep blue-yellow dye INTO the pond was not easy.    My arms weren’t long enough, my muscles weren’t strong enough.  I found that out when I tried to sling the liquid dye into the pond at twenty-foot intervals.

So I’ve now dyed my entire pond a deep teal blue.   And, yes, more splotches along the back there too.    Still haven’t seen any goldfish.  I’m a little worried that when they finally surface I’ll discover that I’ve dyed them BLUE.    And then there are my turtles, swimming around now with only the very tip of their nostrils above the water surface.   I wonder what I’ve done to them.

But I have a new outdoor job, now:  watering the pond.

I borrowed that metal support from my tomoato plants and rigged up the hose into a kind of a fountain.  I’m hoping that will add a little oxygen into the pond too — and disperse the teal blue dye a little faster.

I’m hoping Hubbie is looking down on me with kind thoughts.

Thought of my own Mama too.    “When Mama tells you not to play outside in your good clothes…..Don’t!”     Just.   Dont.

I don’t understand how that dye got all over the place.    Indoors, kitchen floor, cabinets, sink, my dish towels — everything seemed to explode with blue splotches.   Not everything cleaned up very well.

Let’s see…back to red.

My raspberries are doing nicely, not quite ripe yet.   But they seem to have invited another type of bright red berry to live with them.  I don’t know what that is but they seem to get along together.

One more summer issue –  I guess it can be called a purple issue –

Around the big tree are purple-hosta-flowers-to-be.    This is the only group that hasn’t been eaten by the deer yet, and here’s the remedy:  You put up some stakes and make a barrier of those thin Christmas ribbons that you use when you wrap presents (the kind you take a pair of scissors and curl the ribbon…. )   Deer hate  that kind of ribbon, and it worked last year.  I ran out of ribbon for this summer.  An oversight on my part.  I wasn’t thinking of Christmas supplies for my yardwork.

So I substituted thin strips of what used to be a plastic garbage bag and tied them to string.    They flap very easily in a light breeze.   If I understand the farmers around here correctly,  it’s the uneven, sudden flapping of the ribbon or these strips that the deer don’t like.    Or maybe the way the faint moonlight of night reflects off the uneven surface of the ribbons or strips.

I’ve hung on to Hubbie’s favorite hosta plants so far!




June 19, 2012

What’s going on FOR FUN in The Spruce Tunnel today?

Here are the Leaves.  Much to my surprise, they sit there, being edible:

And here is the City –

An aerial view of “my city.”    I lived just out of range on this photo, a few blocks further than the bottom of the picture, near Wrigley Field.    That’s Lake Michigan and beautiful Grant Park along the left side.   One of those buildings down there was my first school.    I think we had a few floors of a fifteen story building.  Seems funny to think of that now.

In fairness,  sometime during elementary school we moved out of the city, off the right side of the photo, by a few miles to the “near west” suburbs,  so I actually “grew up”   along the edge of the prairie too….

But the city stayed in me.    I saw my first living cow in a museum.   “The Museum of Science and Industry.”   I know where chicks come from too;   they come out of egg shells that wiggle and shake on warm trays, and then a little beak makes a tiny hole in the shell, and after more wiggling and shaking,  the egg shell cracks and the little chick rolls out and stands up and looks like a real live little yellow chick.

Even now, all that doesn’t come together naturally in my mind.   City.  Museums.   Food.     The prairie has stayed in me too, though, and  I can always take a prairie view of things.

Here’s where my Leaves came from.    I’m growing  “lettuce.”   It seems to like my house and grows wildly in that square pot.   The leaves are a little reddish, though, and it doesn’t form a tight little ball, so you can’t call it iceberg lettuce, but it tastes real good.    It just seems like a funny idea to eat leaves that are growing out of the….dirt.

But that’s what we do.

And I’m going to do more and more of it, not because I’m “going green,”  but because this stuff tastes so good, and because I can trust what goes into the soil and what does or doesn’t happen to the food, and it feels like there is something natural and healthy about it.

In fact, since I’ve begun to eat more and more from the produce section of my local health food store, I’m astonished to discover that I don’t really like the kind of food I used to eat.    I’m not sure why it works that way,  but my “body” has taken over my food choices.

I’m still trying to put all that together.

Our bodies were created a certain way.   The planet we were made from has food that is fuel and healing for our bodies.     You can’t walk away from reality, and get away with it.     I’m getting more and more grateful for the reality of it all.


June 9, 2012

Been busy these last three days. . . .

Busy with classes, busy with gardening.     The right amount of free time, the right weather, the right timing, it all came together – finally! –  this week.     It’s so late to do gardening now that I had lots of weeds to get rid of.

Seems like I’m  the only one who has to do my weeding with a shovel.

I got a chance to use my favorite garden tool too.   When Son gave me this for my birthday, I thought it was the best thing I  had ever seen.  I think I remember comparing it to a Viking weapon!

This thing plus shovel and hoe and rake and broom  (yes, I cleaned up some of the dirt with a broom – don’t ask) —  I was kicking up a lot of dust and pollen.  I don’t usually have “allergies,”  but my voice is hoarse, now, and I’m coughing a little, and the inside of my chest feels “itchy.”

So many microscopic little things out there.  How strange that we can only see a small part of what’s “there.”     I like what I’m doing, though, because I will be able to see the difference my work makes.   Here is tomorrow’s work, waiting for me:

It all seems so normal.    Normal life, like maybe my own Mom could have had a few decades ago.   Normal life, like we all had until recently.

Now we have only Illusions of normalcy.    As my work ended one day, I took one last picture of the evening.     I like this time of the day, when the sun goes down, things are seen through a dark-azure lens, the birds sing soft night songs, and the earth seems to quiet down….

But here is my last photo of the day –

The weatherman said we had “cloudless skies” today.    He was right about “cloudless”  but the skies weren’t clear blue, as normal.  They were milky, blotchy whitish-blue.     The jets or drones were still busy spraying out the chemtrails onto us, raining down the usual barium, aluminum, and other invisible substances that are toxic to life.    It just reminded me that things aren’t really “normal” anymore.

I like the work I was doing today.  Flowers make things look pretty.

But I’m not sure what to do with my vegetable plants.   Tomatoes, beans, peas, peppers, and lettuce.   Lettuce.   I don’t know if I should plant them, outdoors,   under these skies.    I know we’re not supposed to eat “broad-leafed” salad-type vegetables.   Late last summer Germany was warning its pregnant women to not eat salads because the radiation measured too high.  It’s much worse now.

You are reading the Websites on the right-hand column, under “FUKUSHIMA,” right?    At the very least, enenews will keep you informed.      The water that our tuna and seaweed live in, the grass that our dairy cattle feed on, the farmland that our berries and vegetables grow on — all full of ra – dio – ac –  tive  part* icles.      And the winds and our rainwater brings it down on our heads.

They used to say it was “twice normal,”  or “ten times normal,”  or a hundred times normal.   But now, whether you use becquerels or curies or sieverts or milisieverts or “counts-per-minute,  they are measuring in terms of 10,000 times,  100,000 times,  millions of times normal.    Unprecedented and unimaginable.   Without a way to stop it.

And that’s why I wanted to plant my garden, flowers and vegetables, just to have the Illusion of Normal.   Because I can’t see anything different;  and no one is talking about it, anyway.

Every day; no heat, no light, just invisible –  spewing out over North America and beyond…..


May 27, 2012

Lying low this weekend.    I needed a “retreat.”

Wasn’t being lazy, though:

Learned to love  tools this weekend – anything that’s sharp and strong and cuts and pokes and whiffs things away.

My favorite –

Kept me real busy these last couple of days.   Anything that grows on trees was not safe!    Anything that grows…like twigs and  branches and vines and  leaves … and spider webs and nests…

If it was UP – and I could reach it –  it’s now DOWN.    Brush piles of all sizes, every ten feet.

Good news is  —  Hubbie will be proud that our yard is not being overgrown like some scene out of “Life After People.”     I think I added about a quarter of an acre to our property.

Bad news  is —  I forgot to think about what to do with all those brush piles.


Does this come under the Category of “Gardening”?


August 10, 2011

It starts here, with happy bushes:

Then you find your clumps, ready for picking:

Then you collect the luscious things:

And even though they’re good enough to eat as is,  you can “do things” to them for your friends:

Raspberries can decorate a whole lot of things!

Thanks, Book Club,  for the Julia Child book discussion tonight.   It was inspiring!!!     And my table?   It was “just raspberries.”

Thanks be to God that the fruits we must eat for our health are so delicious!!

Deo gratias.



August 1, 2011

On my little “side trip” to Wisconsin I saw many of these:

In the middle of the vast northern pine forests filled with thick underbrush, I saw many “stands” of these tall, straight trees.    In a wilderness of wild  trees all jammed and jumbled up together — there were these neat and tidy trees.

Like they had been planted there on purpose.

Well, as I’ve written here before, I had my cousin with me for the drive into Wisconsin, my cousin who lives way out in that wilderness among the bountiful berries, apple trees, and syrup maples during the day and the bears on her porch at night.   She knows so much about living in the Far North.

And indeed, she had an explanation.

These are called School Trees, or a School Forest.   They were planted by school children, together, as a school project, for the purpose of fund-raising.    It’s a garden, really.   It’s a garden that grows a Renewable Crop – lumber!    When the trees mature, they are cut and sold for lumber.

The forest has been tilled and tended, the school has earned a little money through the work of  its students, and the children –   think about it!!!     They were in elementary school when they planted the small seedlings;   they were young adults when their crop was harvested.    What does that teach people, young and old alike, about the way nature works, about the speed of life,about  patience, the passing of time, and the reward that comes eventually by doing a good thing!

As I traveled the roads of the Far North I saw many of these out my window;  maybe two or three dozen of these logging trucks.    The logs had been harvested from many stands of timber all over these northern forests.

And then the timber that is hauled away leaves room for a new crop of seedlings to take root and grow into tall trees – the crop is renewed, and we can make things like houses and beautiful tables and chairs and wooden salad bowls and “natural” toys for our children to play with. . . .

Trees.   A renewable crop.


July 18, 2011

There was only one this year:

I was delighted to see it.   I loved it.

But I am filled with a deep melancholy.

It is the only rose that bloomed in my rose garden.

Having had only one this year has given me the need to look at it over and over again.   It lifted my heart to God in thanksgiving for its beauty and for me being created with the capacity to enjoy beauty.

Such beauty amidst so much sadness.



July 12, 2011

Summer evenings.

Last night, after a couple hours in the garden,   I turned around and saw this:

I enjoy “playing in the dirt”  this summer.    Working with vegetable plants that will be my food and pretty flowers is an added bonus.      But it’s work.   It’s toil.   You need a good shower and a rest afterwards.

Our Dear Lord says:  Work, for the night is coming  “when no man can work.”   (John 9:4)

And then, for some, will come cleansing in the Light,  Glory ….. and rest.

Big   “Bonus.”



July 10, 2011

They oughta make a law against . . .

…selling things at the gardening store that are TOO HEAVY for a person to carry home!

I cheerfully bought lots of things for the garden this evening, including a very, very large bag of good soil to give some of the plants a head start in the “desert dust”   that makes up my yard.     The huge bag easily slipped off the store shelf into my waiting cart.

I just didn’t think about “slipping it ” up  out of that cart, and up into the back of Hubbie’s SUV.

Never mind.  I just…finally did it.

I got all those plants and gardening things packed into the wheelbarrow and distributed,  but I think I’ll think twice about my own capabilities next time.

There is a little “tug” on my memory from earlier today…..   It’s from today’s Gospel Reading.     It’s nice to remember that Jesus selected Peter’s boat to do His teaching from.    It’s nice to know Jesus had a “private” message for Peter –  “Go back out into the waters, set out into the Deep;   draw in many fish.”

After Peter’s initial reluctance, based upon his everyday, material experience,  he did set out “into the Deep”  and Jesus was able to demonstrate  something spiritual by way of a miracle.    The nets of Peter’s boat couldn’t quite contain all the fish they had caught!     Peter called for help, and with the assistance of his qualified friends,  the fish were brought in.

(Seems like someone else had a hard time lifting all the weight he had to. . . . )

It’s not a new Gardening Law that was needed;   it’s a whole new Law of the New Covenant.


July 9, 2011

I finally did it!

A few years ago, after learning how dire our country’s economic circumstances are,  I encouraged Hubbie to bring home to us the old Push Mower that he had left at his mother’s home.    You know…….you never know about the future.    If we didn’t have enough gas for our power mower or if we couldn’t afford repairs or a replacement,  we’d still have grass growing tall.   We might have to invest in a neighborhood pet goat!

Hubbie assured me this  had been a good mower in its time,  well made and sturdy.   It wouldn’t break or fall apart or need repairs.    Or gasoline.   And it doesn’t make loud noises!

See what nice rows it makes!    We are having a bit of a drought this month, and although most of the grass is short and dried up, there were two patches  that were getting quite long.   It took a little more work than I thought.   Push, push, push in the 90 degree weather – but it was such a novelty!     Such a new thing,  I didn’t quite know what to think, so I kept going.

A neighbor drove by…pulled up into my driveway.  He wasn’t smiling.   So I came over to him and said, “Look what I found!”     Then he smiled a bit as I told him all about the Push Mower;  and then, as he left,  he said, “Well, don’t overdo it.”

“Overdo it.”   That was the phrase I was trying to think of.

If the economy ever goes bad,  I won’t need a goat anymore.   Just a little elbow grease.