Monday, June 24, 2013


I'm having the kind of week where I would rather just sit and stare into space than get any work done.

What can I blame that on?

Sun spots?

I have lists of things that need to be done. And I skim down those lists looking for the items that require the shortest commitment of time or energy. But I've already done all of those.

When I don't have time to work on my own things, I promise myself I will jump into them as soon as I get a spare minute. But first, I need to fill the bird feeders...or sweep the sidewalk...or check if there are any ripe blueberries.

No, really, as soon as I empty the compost pot and give the cats fresh water and maybe I should check for peapods to pick...

Right after that, I'm sure I'll have time to write, but I'd better check my email and...

Monday, June 17, 2013

How I learned to hate dogs...or is it their owners?

When I was a kid I loved dogs. I read all the Albert Payson Terhune books. I had plans to own a farm and raise dogs. I don't fear dogs, despite being bitten twice. But man...they really can be a bother.

First problem - "Oh he won't hurt you!" says the man or woman who lets their dog run free on the jogging path. Despite my best efforts, a dog that probably outweighs me jumps up at me. I get scratches my arms and I have mud all over my clothes. I was on lunch break. Now I have to go back to work with muddy paw prints on my clothes.

Second problem - I don't want to spend the entire time I am speaking to you trying to keep your dog's snout out of my crotch! Yes, dogs do that. No I don't think it's normal. I find it embarrassing and a total violation of my personal space. How would you feel if I walked into the room and grabbed you there? Sheesh.

Third problem - Make them stop barking! I am surrounded by dogs in my neighborhood. One neighbor has a barky poodle. He ties the dog outside for a while, a couple of times a day. The minute the dog comes out until he goes back in, he barks constantly. Sometimes it's 7am on a Sunday morning.

My side yard matches up with 2 backyards around the corner, so I have 4 dogs over there. Every time I walk into the backyard the dogs bark at me. If I'm weeding the garden, picking strawberries or just having a cup of tea on the patio - they bark. Yesterday, the entire time I was mowing the lawn back there at least one dog was barking at me. I feel invaded. I can't enjoy a quiet moment in my own yard because these dogs are barking at me.

I have met well behaved dogs that leave me alone. I give their owners a lot of credit for training their dogs. But unfortunately that's the minority. So I continue to snap at dog owners who feel it's perfectly all right for their animal to jump on me, sniff me and bark at me. They look at me mystified that I do not enjoy the attention their beloved pet is bestowing on me.

And rumors circulate that Alice hates dogs.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A walk in the park

I've been trying to start some new and healthier habits, like walking regularly. I am a list-maker. I have a planning sheet for the week. I put down all the things I need to do and all the things I want to do. The wants usually get left in the dust of the needs.

This week I have been making more realistic lists. Which means a lot of things actually got done! Like walking in the park.

I am lucky to live in a town that has great parks. One of my favorite is right on the river. It has a well used and well maintained walking trail. There are a series of parks along the river. They are sort of linked. Unfortunately there's a space in the middle that isn't a park,  yet. It used to be a junkyard. It's in the remediation stage. Eventually the parks will all be linked up.

Today I managed to get in the car and drive to the park. It shouldn't be hard...but somehow it rarely happens. Something always comes up - work or a garden problem or some other deadline that jumps the list of priorities. Today walking was my priority.

We've had way too much rain lately. The river was high and muddy. But all that rain made the park especially lush. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. The sun was hot, but there was a lovely cool breeze. All in all, a very pleasant walk. Hope I can work that into a regular schedule.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Garden Report

We got home in time to seen the whole yard in bloom - peonies, poppies, roses, was amazing. And what a welcome home. I ran right out and picked this bouquet.

The yard absolutely reeks of honeysuckle. So much that it's giving me a headache.

I didn't hack it back last year. It's like some great wooly beast on the fence. Unfortunately it has infiltrated too many beds and I've got my work cut out for me.

The strawberries were ready to be picked! I've been out twice since I picked these, another couple of baskets each time. This year I will be able to freeze a bunch. Rose made a lovely crumble over the weekend.

The sour cherries are starting to turn red. Got them netted yesterday. The blueberries are plumping up. I hope to get nets on them this weekend. The blackberries are just flowering. The grapes are flowering also. But I have plenty of time to invent a net frame for them. I don't think they'll be ready til late August.

All the radishes bolted, but other than that the vegetable garden looks fine. Peapods are forming, I harvested a handful yesterday. Shell peas are just starting to fill their pods. Tomatoes are flowering.

I had odds and ends of beans in my seed bins, so I put them all together. If they all come up, I'll have wax, purple, Romano and possibly a lima or 2. The rabbit ate a bunch. I replaced those with favorite.

The grass and weeds are out of control on the hill. Once I get the vegetables weeded and mulched I can tackle the ornamentals. I am using Neem on the roses this year. Seems to be helping with aphids and blackspot.

Got my hands full, but I'm full of energy this year, so I expect to whip it all into shape at some point!

Monday, June 3, 2013

France was fabulous!

I stayed in a centuries old farmhouse in the French equivalent of Kansas...only much cooler.

The trip was enhanced by excellent traveling companions and an interpreter. I ate too much and laughed a lot and came home totally refreshed. For two weeks I was out of my own ruts and tossed to the winds. Lots of things shook loose in the process and I return to my writing with new impressions and experiences.

Walking through huge walled courtyards, palaces and chateaus I saw manicured gardens and ancient stone walls covered with lichens and moss. We traveled down narrow streets that once saw men on horseback and carriages passing. Lovely.

Even a friendly lizard or two.

I'm sure this will all surface somehow in my writing. It's so good to go out and see new thing and places and people. But I have to say after all the going and seeing, it's good to get home. Even if the old ruts don't fit anymore...I needed to try new ones!