Now, where did I leave that?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Of Luck and Life

Yeti is turning out to be, as Linda said, a dream dog.  She may be a collie/Aussie shepherd mix, but her temperment appears to be very much that of the calmer, less intensely workaholic collie.  She sleeps on the floor in our bedroom at night, not disturbing us, and not making a fuss when one or the other of us needs to get up briefly in the middle of the night.  We take her for long walks, but each day we can see her behaving a bit better on the leash--even this morning when we spied a young buck dashing across the road right in front of us, she didn't bark and while she'd have gladly given chase, she responded to my redirection.  This afternoon Linda took her out in the yard--off the leash at last! Linda settled down among the coneflowers to watch her romp, but there was no romping.  There was flopping down in the grass and looking around calmly.  We may have indeed lucked out with our Yeti...or, when the cool weather arrives, we may find her inner shepherd emerges and wears us out....
Work....not so much luck there; I need the current project to be done so I can move on mentally. Missed my sweater knitting class because I needed to be at work tonight.  This is not terrible; I confess to having only accomplished about two inches of actual sweater (beyond the three inches of ribbing) thus far, even though I knit each evening I was in Missouri. We're off our evening routines since a certain furry being entered our lives, and it'll take awhile to find our rhythms. But still, I had intended to go to class and knit away whilst Claudia explained things, and it's unfortunate that work interfered. Last night was sweet twilight slipped in the back door, I watered the garden beds, sneaking peeks at Linda and Yeti hanging out on the porch, watching the bats hurrying out for the night's feasting.  And Tuesday night we were graced by magically good fortune in the guise of a hummingbird moth!  These are fascinating, imagination-stirring creatures, and I've longed to see one in our yard.  Many years ago I visited the gardens at Boscobel as a prelude to seeing a performance of Shakespeare (as an aside, if one has never seen a performance of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, on the grounds of Boscobel overlooking the river, one has missed an exquisite experience), and the gardens were kissed by dozens of these fairy-like beings.  I was entranced then, so you can well imagine how lucky I felt when Linda spied one tasting the cleomes, just inches away.  I tried taking photos, but haven't downloaded them yet. 
Luck is extending to the gardens as well; once the tomatoes start really ripening, we'll be buried alive in them, based on the sheer volume of green promises!  In the meantime, the Farmer's Market is taking on a rosy glow as tomatoes start appearing.  Linda tells me the peaches are wonderful this year, and I'm still enjoying the sweet apricots; this week I suspect plums will make their way home with us.  So life is (mostly) feeling pretty damn lucky.....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Copycat Baby

This morning, while taking Yeti for an early morning walk, I was blessed by the Moon, just a sigh past Full, resting in a pink-blue sky.  It reminded me of a glorious sunrise cruise Linda and I took a couple of years ago on Lake Millinocket in Maine.  A blog I follow regularly, Mental Mohair, includes a Moon Phase feature, which I refer to often.  So with a nod to that site in thanks for the inspiration--and apologies for copying--I've added the Moon Phase gadget to my blog in hopes you'll enjoy it and refer to it often as much as I do.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Yeti has already turned out to be full of surprises.  She's affectionate, sweet, gentle, and unexpectedly well-behaved.  Even the barking we were advised about has turned out to be far less of an issue than we'd feared.  It's there, and the dogs across the street are definitely inspiration for Yeti's own orations, but she's barely barked at all today.  She's currently stretched out on her bed here in the office, and we're looking forward to a bit of a ramble later.  Sadly, Dottie is taking this pretty badly; we'd hoped that, having grown up with assorted raccoon orphans that Linda fostered each Spring for many years, Dottie would take Yeti in stride, but she's a tad unhappy.  The others are keeping a low profile, so the jury is out, and of course no one has met anyone except through a screened door.  Yeti is interested in the girls, but after some well-mannered, staying-put, perky-eared curiosity, her attention wanders elsewhere.
We're getting used to the smell of dog, and have thoroughly enjoyed the beginnings of gettingto know each other.  Tomorrow we pick up our usual schedules, while figuring out a routine that works well for is never, EVER dull here.....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Yeti Has Landed

We were surprised and pleased to have Yeti greet us at the shelter as if we were old acquaintances.  The trip home was uneventful, and after a couple hours of barking and fidgeting (both understandable), she's had an unexpectedly calm afternoon.  After dinner for all of us, we're planning what will be the first of thousands of long walks....but I wanted to share a couple of photos first:


It's been twenty-two years since I last had to think about baby-proofing....but we're in a frenzy of activity here, putting away saws and organic fertilizer, looking at the debris of two very busy people living who always have multiple projects underway (and project-attention-deficit), whether it be landscaping and gardening, or painting or beekeeping or spinning, and asking ourselves "is this safe?  will she chew this, taste that?".  Yeti isn't a puppy, which is both easier and harder.  And we're bringing this shaggy, furry dog to our one-air-conditioner-home on a day with 100+ heat index forecasted. Feeling pretty nervous--will she like us? Will she be happy? Will she be too much for us given her breed? Will the cats freak out and run away? But this all happened in such a way that we're kind of feeling it was meant to be.  So we'll get back to our preparations, and in a few hours will be walking in the door with our new family member.

We're Off to See the Yeti

Or, What We Did This Weekend.....We have a boatload to do in a short time, so this is a quickie.  Someone I know came into my office last week wanting to show me the Columbia-Greene Humane Society's website photo of the dog she was planning to adopt.  As we scrolled through looking for this person's chosen companion, one particular dog caught my eye, and through the evening I kept thinking about her; showed her picture to Linda and, well, not-very-long-story later, after spending lots of time researching, and meeting her, taking her for a walk, hanging out with her, Linda and I held hands and took a flying leap off the cliff.....we are bringing our dog home this afternoon!  We'd been discussing getting a dog for more than a year, although that was usually in reference to a puppy. But....she was brought into the shelter a month ago by someone who said she was 'found', but she clearly isn't a stray.  She appears well-trained and well-behaved, a beautiful collie/Australian shepherd mix with one brown eye and one blue.  Yes, we know.....we know all about the need for huge amounts of exercise (guess we'll both be goosing up that weight loss with long brisk dog walks and play times), and that she may try to herd the cats, and that both breeds are extremely intelligent, loyal and loving.  We know she has a "speaking habit" which will require patience and firmness and training so we stay sane.  Her shelter-appointed name is Yeti and after much deliberation, last night we had name tag printed with that name.  So we're now (or will be this afternoon) owners of one of those elusive, perhaps mythological creature.  MUCH more to follow....including photos!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Because I Can

Posting from the Albany Airport on a Sunday morning....and it tickles me that I can write a blog entry from here (hey, one needs to be able to find pleasure and amusement in the little things!). Heading to Missouri on business...not the most fun one can have. Until I was 43, had been on airplanes twice in my life, at 18 for a trip to Florida, and when my older son turned 3, because he loved planes and we took him on a little charter flight. Then in 2004 I met Linda, who lived 300 miles away in Baltimore. There ensued 21 months of flying back and forth, and before long I felt like a veteran flyer. On the one hand, it's easy to be laissez-faire about it all, to sigh about the inconveniences of security checkpoints where one's toothpaste is presumed to be a lethal weapon, to know that paying a few extra dollars is worth it when you get first access to overhead bins, to recognize the gate attendants. On the other hand, what a miraculous thing air travel is. I woke in our home at the foot of the Catskills (after a glorious storm at 2 am!) and will sleep in St. Louis tonight. I'll fly over rivers and farms, cities and woods. I'll admire layers of roving-like cloud and my fingers will itch to spin it. I'll imagine how wonderful and exciting it would be to have Linda beside me, flying to some destination we'd never been. And in three days I'll do it all in reverse, flying home to my beloved, to the comfortable familiarity of home. How amazing is that? A hundred years ago no one could have imagined such a thing being such a small matter....but then, a hundred years ago, no one imagined words flying from one place to another nearly as fast as the speed of thought. It's an astonishing, magical world....
An addendum, as I now sit in my third airport of the day, awaiting a two-hour shuttlebus trip to the hotel:  air travel is full of contradictions.  There is aggravation; it should be illegal to wear perfume/cologne/after shave, or to miss a shower, before embarking on close quarters travel.  There should be free earplugs for passengers not purposely flying with crying, screaming children.  But there is also mystery and imaginings....who are these people sharing this moment in time?  Why are there no people in ANY of the bizarrely, extremely blue swimming pools in Tampa?  Are all those tiny cars carrying people heading to church on a Sunday morning?  Or to stores and family gatherings?  Are all cemetaries as peaceful and pretty from  the air as the ones in St. Louis?  What joys and sorrows will all those people in the shadows of the clouds so far below us experience today?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Aforementioned Coneflowers

Some photos Linda took yesterday:

One of Linda's bees found treasure. Those little yellow 'balloons' on her legs are the pollen she's collected to bring home to the hive.

Yesterday morning was perfect for gathering Queen Anne's Lace and coneflowers to bring inside.  In the background you can see the green tulle protecting the grapes from their mortal enemy, the Japanese beetles.  Linda is one smart cookie! (Helen says the Greeks
have been doing this forever, but it was new to us)

Not just for honeybees....

Who would have thought a honeybee
and a flower could be a work of art?

You Know It's Summer

When the "crunchy bugs" start their chatter.  Yeah, that's what I always called them until I finally discovered they're cicadas (they probably are crunchy, if one were so inclined as to check it out).  Not a fan of the bugs or that sound, but hey--if I were a female cicada, I might be swooning as some young, studly cicada sang his crunchy lovesong.  The other Summer bug call--which seems to heighten the hotter the weather--sounds like heavy duty electrical wires humming.  There will be silence, then all at once a humming that builds to a crescendo and abruptly plummets off into silence, until it begins again.  Does anyone know what those insects are?
You also know it's Summer when at 6:30 in the morning, the yard is shrouded in mist, the kind of foggy mist that happens when the moisture has nowhere to go, so it embraces the trees, drapes itself around the tomatoes, hugs the coneflowers and petunias so their colors are glowing runway lights for the birds. The catbirds, wrens and assorted other neighborhood birds use the mist as cover for a game of Marco-Polo, calling to each other, ducking in and out of the ornamental quince (except for the dashing cardinal who perched on a green arbor post in all his scarlet glory).  Amid the love songs and bluejay calls, I listen to the droplets sliding off the gutters and table umbrella and admire their simple, transformational beauty as they ring tomato cages and the insinuate themselves into the green tulle protecting the grapes from Japanese beetles.You know it's going to be a hot day, but for just a little while, before the sun tops the hill behind the house and melts the gossamer web, it's still cool....the coffee steam clings to the moisture in the air and its scent lingers, a welcome and comforting stranger mingling with the spice of petunias and tang of mint.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Boundary Issues

My beeloved honey needs to set some clearcut boundaries pretty darn quickly. I absolutely support her beekeeping efforts--how awesome that in her way she's literally helping to save the planet! And it's fantastic that she truly loves the bees, and seems to have an almost spiritual connection to them and the work--the calling--of beekeeping. HOWEVER....I am not amused that they periodically come a callin', buzzing at the front door to ask if she can come out and play, or even worse, as just happened, wandering INSIDE the house! Yes indeedy, I looked up from my work (no, haven't made it upstairs yet, even though brilliantly turquoise fleece is calling my name) to see a honeybee on the decidedly wrong side (as in, MY side) of the screen door. There's a garden bed FILLED with yarrow and echinacea 100 feet away...does the plantless office really seem like the place to be if one is a bee? I think not!


We braved the elements to hit the Hudson Farmers' Market this morning (okay, so the rain had stopped, and since the humidity this week has caused us to begin to grow gills anyway, there wasn't alot of valor involved); I was all business, list in hand, shopping with a purpose and avoiding the temptations of cheeses and pies.  Linda took a couple of photos with her cell phone (we invariably forget the camera when we mean to bring it, and always remember it when there's absolutely nothing to inspire a shutterbug):

Fog and Thistle Farm's table
(note the lovely--and last--bunch of carrots, now in our crisper awaiting their addition to a Sesame-Ginger Pasta Salad)

Alas, I didn't catch this vendor's name,
but they were selling pure sunshine....
'Swampy' also describes my state of mind this week.  Work is a tad overwhelming at the moment; one might think Summer would be a quiet time, but this year it's anything but as I've taken on a couple of major projects, both very fact, I'm taking a break from some tedious-but-necessary work-related endeavors (brought the work home) to post this.  A gorgeous yellow butterfly has just found the purple echinaceas...a little shaft of light kissing each flowerhead.  Last night we got to watch a hummingbird trying to get lucky; did you know that the male hummingbird will fly in a swooping, swinging, pendulum-like pattern as part of the courtship ritual?  It's astonishing to watch.  This fellow wasn't exactly in it for the long haul, suspending his dance after just a few swoops, so I'm not sure how that all worked out for him.  The petunias on the porch rail--fully visible from my office chair--are glowingly neon hot pink and purple in the hazy gray day, and everything looks just a wee bit fresher from today's rain.  I'm itching to toss aside my work....really, it COULD mostly wait till the work week begins....and head upstairs to cooler, drier climes and do some long overdue carding and spinning.  I suspect that surrendering to that urge is the antidote to mental bogginess...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gooseberries and Garlic Scapes

We've gleefully resumed our Saturday morning ritual after a Winter hiatus:  wandering the Hudson Farmers' Market.  Last week's treasures included a gloriously abundant potted hyancinth bean and a sweetly 'vintage' (if flowers can have a vintage look) black-eyed Susan vine from Running Creek Farm; we believe the variety is called Blushing Susie, and we were instantly smitten.  Today we returned from our foraging laden with a favorite of ours-- Twin Maples' Hudson Red cheese, a semi-soft, creamily tangy cheese worth driving for, garlic scapes--and a profoundly sinful, anti-Weight Watchers Garlic Scape Pesto recipe, some of which is now tucked away in the freezer for some cold Winter night--from Scarecrow Farm, basil from Red Oak Farm--one of our favorite vendors from last year (lots of reasonably priced organic produce in beautiful shape), and gooseberries from Don Baker Farm.  Had never tried gooseberries....most intriguing!  They remind me of Concord grapes because they have a sweet bite followed by a tart finish.  The Farmers' Market was bustling, and tables were heavy with goodness, including beets, snap peas, cucumbers, garlic, kale, lettuces, summer squashes, currants and sour cherries.  There are some new vendors this year, and one can come home with a wide selection of pies and breads, homemade soap, cut flowers and plants, along with eggs, grassfed beef, free range chicken, wool, jams, honey....It's an embarrassment of riches, all locally grown.  We'll likely stop by most Saturday mornings right through the Fall, and on the way home, we pop by Egger Brothers' farm stand, where the selection is abundant and often JUST-picked (as in, we see the produce arriving in the back of pickup trucks fresh from the fields/orchards) and the prices are excellent. While we're too lazy to be true locavores, there's is something body-and-soul nourishing in deciding what's for dinner based on what's freshly harvested within 20 miles of home. 
Afterwards, we stopped by the Catskill Farmers' Market, now on Main Street in the village.  Truthfully, there are more artisans than farms represented, but the move to Main Street this year seems to be a popular choice.  For sure it's brought us there twice more already than we would have gone were it still at Catskill Point.  While the Point was a pretty location, and sheltered from rain, this new location creates a welcoming, intimate, hometown feeling, and as still-newcomers to the area, that's greatly appreciated. They've set up a little cafe area in the center, and it tickled us to sit there on a warm, sunny, Summer Saturday morning sipping coffee, watching the blueberry-pancake-eating contest, saying hello to people, and admiring the annual Cat display.  We found ourselves just grinning with that life-is-good kind of feeling.