Friday, January 30, 2009

What do you do with a cat like that?

Life is just so hard for a cat.  Eat.  Sleep.  Contemplate the meaning of it all while lying on the piano.

Rusty is a little bent out of shape because Slammy and I were followed home from our walk by a dog.  Rusty got all fluffy and puffy and upset.  Serves him right, he deserves a lot worse for what he did to Coconut. It's a wonder we don't throw him into a box and mail it to Timbuktu.  But that wouldn't be very nice, what did Timbuktu ever do to us?

It's been over a month now, since our beloved Coconut died.  We sure enjoyed him while he was here.  He was a good friend.  I'm sorry we didn't get to take him back to his home and set him free.  He earned it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Sun is Back

It was -11 degrees last night. The house was going, Bang! Pop! I was hoping it wasn't a pipe. But we have pex, so not likely. More likely the cells in the wood were exploding because the roof is soaked.

I noticed this morning that the light has changed. It's much brighter, back to normal. Normal for me, I consider the dark days here like something out of the Twilight Zone. And that's exactly how I feel, until the sun returns. Like a zombie out of the TZ. Or perhaps a phantom (that's right, I know about my nickname, you ingrates. See if I ever host another slumber party for you!)

I don't know how people here can stand it year after year! It's like that excellent book, which I read this winter, appropriately, The City of Ember, (thanks to Janeywan, for recommending it). Those poor people down there, they didn't realize they could get out of that dark hole. Am I like those people? Stuck in the dark, when the light is right up above? Except in this case it's below. I could be in Arizona or California in a few days by car, or a few hours by plane. Go go go! But then I'd have to come back...which would be a total huge tremendous bummer, causing a massive humongous gigantic plunge into a depression so deep, I'll be cursing my time in the sun. So I'd better just stay here and enjoy cold sunny days and the (sssllllloooooooooooooooowwwwwwww) coming of spring.

My beautiful bouquet

Just what makes that little old ant...

The precious balls Sharky, one of our few remaining pets.Slammy took me out for a walk yesterday and that raised my spirits considerably. She has promised to be my personal trainer. Vitamin D supplements help too, to brighten the mood. The daily recommended amount has shot way up. If you can't have the real thing, then you just have to fake it.

Speaking of faking it, have y'all seen The Secret on DVD? It's a great pick me up as well, and a challenge to your imaginative powers. I just saw it last week. I've heard the same concept in different form, but always enjoy hearing it again. I'm a firm believer in our power to manifest whatever it is we want. And in feeling good. Not that I'm naturally inclined to practice it, but I'm working on it with a new fervor. Why not feel good? My programming seems to make me suspicious of joy. Time to throw out that program.

We saw August Rush this week also, which I was fearing would be a hopelessly corny and sad tragedy. But it was really a happy little allegory about manifesting what you want, so that's kind of weird. Funny how they came up in the Netflix queue at the same time...

Right now I'm busy manifesting my new swimming pool, so I'll check in later and let you know how that's coming along.

Until then, it's 15 degrees and sunny at 1:00 pm.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thinking about summer

It was summer once, wasn't it?

I've been enjoying a book I picked up at the library called Natural Landscapes, how to design and plant a garden in tune with the landscape, by John Brookes.
The bee balm, yarrow, coreopsis, sage, lavender, mullein, and daisies in July.
I love meadows full of wildflowers and herb gardens that sprawl all over the place, and that is just what's in this book. I never had the energy or patience for a well manicured and organized garden. Besides, they look so boring. Gardens should be full of life and buzzing with activity, and bursting at the seams!
So far, I've had a hard time making things as lush and healthy as the gardens in this book. I think I've figured out a key ingredient though. It's called water. Yep, we are lacking it. Brookes lives in England, where they have to worry more about drainage, than drought.
Look at this poor hard baked "lawn". I want to rototill the whole thing and plant a meadow of wildflowers...(and just look at our dull looking house! it should be painted a new color, bright white or a dark brown or gold, anything but khaki!)

... how 'bout a field of sunflowers, wouldn't that be amazing? Hubby would be horrified.
But how would I keep it moist?

John Brookes likes to use a method that I have only recently discovered as the secret to water retention here. It is so obvious I can't believe I didn't do it a long time ago. It's rocks; as a planting medium, and a mulch. We have a ton of them and last year we filled in a retaining wall with rocks and I planted herbs in it. Well, guess what grew like mad? Shoulda known. Our rock pathways have always grown the healthiest weeds you've ever seen. Herbs love rocks too, and do much better under them, than under a bark mulch. Rocks! Duh!

Let the rock collecting begin! soon as all this snow melts...


Black-capped Chickadee

Steller's Jay Cedar Waxwing

One thing that makes the dark days of winter a little better are the birds that visit.
Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees are here all year, as long as we have sunflower seeds. I love these quick, energetic little birds. It's hard not to smile when watching them.
The Steller's Jays don't visit very often, they were much more common in California. When you see just one loner, it's amazing how striking they are. I've always thought they are the best looking of the jays.
This morning I saw Cedar Waxwings for the first time, visiting the Crabapple. People with Mountain Ash trees see them a lot, but until now we haven't had anything they like to eat. I'm very happy they came. Watering that tree all summer has finally paid off.
We have fog this week, but no snow. There is an air stagnation alert. Good thing we don't live in the city, where it's not just fog, but smog.
Winter is dragging on, as always. But we're on the back side of it now, with February around the corner. I'd rather be on this side, than back in November, ugh, November, what a horrible month. Or October, blech! don't get me started on October, and don't even mention December!
It's 31 degrees and foggy at 11:30 am.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


You weren't planning on going anywhere, were you?

The J crew came to the rescue and tackled it, just in case we needed more mint chocolate chip ice cream in a hurry.
Another avalanche: Snow from the roof of the house.
This is the front porch after J shoveled. When the snow kept coming and coming, we got lots of new cracks on the walls and ceiling, and ominous noises were coming from the roof. Some of us were spooked and decided to sleep downstairs until the roof was cleared of snow, while others (okay, it was just one of us), were unperturbed. We have many debates in our house about such matters, and let me just remind folks that it is not the pessimist's house that collapses under the weight of four feet of snow, but the optimist's.
Despite all that hard work, the roof still sprung a leak above my closet, where ice got under the shingles. Getting ice off of a roof is a tricky task. Some try to melt it off with a blow torch. J used a hammer to dislodge it. We will have to deal with roof repairs in the spring. Oh winter.

The weather is wild, and everyone is exasperated. Roofs are collapsing, and snow shovels are breaking from constant use, and good luck finding a new one. The chorus around here is, "so much for global warming!" But to the contrary, I see this strange weather as an indication of something out of whack. Of course I keep my mouth shut. Because I'm a good girl. And a big chicken, braaak, brraaaack!

The bird feeder - this is what our house must have felt like under all that snow.

The tractor is still in the shop.

After weeks of snow, now we have a dramatic twist - the pineapple express is here, from Hawaii! Rain and howling wind hammer the house at night, keeping me awake. I like it, it's a nice alternative to the white death blanket. The blanket is receding, which is the good news. The bad news is that it's leaving an ice rink and slush in its wake. The driveway is very tricky, I think I may have killed the car trying to navigate the mountains and valleys. Oh, fun!

And we all thought that last year was crazy. I don't know what the snowfall total for our area is, but it's well over 6 feet for Spokane, so I imagine we've had 8 feet or more!

The kids have had several snow days. They went back today, which is why I have time to write this. What surprises will the weather bring us next?
This all makes me think of that wonderful book by Arnold Lobel, Owl at Home. "You must go, Winter! shouted Owl. Go away, right now!" I believe it is time for some tear-water tea.