The other day I was with a friend when our conversation came around to my 8 years from He** living on a farm. I shared a few nightmare experiences. I must confess this current heat wave has muddled my brain, so I thought why not reshare one of those episodes. Here it is:
It was the most terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, very forgettable farm folly.
It all began when I was informed there was a goat on the hill behind our house. Said goat, named Hermione Gingold, would need to have a bucket of water hauled up to her daily. Guess who was the designated water hauler? You are right. Not long after Hermione’s arrival a metaphysical phenomenon occurred. Before you could say feta cheese, that lonely goat turned into 21 of the bearded, cloven-hoofed critters. These goats didn’t just mill about, grazing and occasionally bleating. Nope. They were prolific milk producers. Thank goodness I never had to milk them.
Nevertheless, something had to be done with a seemingly endless supply of goat milk. As if I had nothing better to do than take care of a toddler, can all manner of fruits and vegetables and, oh yes, hold down a teaching job, I became the designated disposer of the milk. Some of it went to families whose children were allergic to cow’s milk. The pigs were given as much milk as possible before it crossed the line of cruelty to animals. . The rest filled up our bath tub.
Drastic action had to be taken PDQ.
Predictably, I was the one assigned to make - wait for it – goat cheese! My initial response was *^#>%*!!! While continually muttering under my breath, I gathered up the necessary equipment, which included a book on how to make goat cheese, a large kettle, a thermometer, rennet, cheese cloth and a bottle of banana brandy. Banana brandy? So glad you asked.
Truth be told, I was never much of an imbiber, except for an occasional glass of wine with dinner. Banana brandy materialized when I was charged with the task of planting 8 rows of potatoes on a plot of land the size of an NBA basketball court. No exaggeration. That insane story is for another day.
What I discovered from the great potato caper was banana brandy had mystical powers. Consequently, I kept some around for potential crisis management. Making goat cheese was definitely a crisis in need of management. The brandy doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome. (Would have been great if it did.) It gets you through the process which is what matters.
At the end of the day there was cheese. Lots of cheese. Sadly, it was unfit for human, or inhuman consumption even for those with the least discerning palates or the fewest possible number of functioning taste buds.
The aftermath of this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad experience was that for more years then I care to specify, I have not been able to get within 10 feet of anything that comes from a goat.
Comments are welcomed.
It is the middle of July, yet there is already talk of a glut of zucchini. Is there not always a glut of zucchini? You know there is, especially when you spy people sneaking zucchini onto neighbors' porches in the dark of night. I have written a couple of times about my nightmare encounters with zucchini in the past, but I just can’t help myself. I have to add my 2 cents yet again.
There is a surprising lot of info on the problems and best growing conditions. Really? I am convinced these squashes gone skinny do very well left to their own devices. In fact, if left to their own devices they could likely envelop the entire planet. Despite my disrelish for , zucchini, I did find a couple of interesting items I will share.
First, zucchini doesn’t even come from the homeland of all other squashes, that homeland being the Americas. Instead, it is a hybrid, created by Italians near Milan in the late 19th century. They named their new squash ‘little squash’ (zucca squash, ino little) and its syntax has been corrupted so that the plural form, zucchini, is now singular in our countries.
Second, you are going to love this, especially if you are running out of ideas for use or disposal. Most people harvest zucchini when they are about eight inches long, but if you leave them alone you can grow a formidable weapon of about three feet long and of a baseball bat’s circumference. In Montana a few years ago, a woman actually fought off a bear with a foot-long zucchini, giving it a hefty wallop on the nose which sent the bear howling. Who needs bear spray when you have zucchini !
In case you wondered about the caveat to beware of the 8th of August, here is the reason. August 8 is National Zucchini Day. You now have 3 weeks to barricade your property or take whatever precautions you deem necessary to fend off forays from generous zucchini growers. Good luck.
Comments are welcomed.
In the wee hours of the morning all of the cell service, internet, phone and some cable service went out. This massive outage affected customers across all of Canada and even those overseas with roaming service. Businesses, ATM’s and air travellers were affected as well. How does this happen with Rogers, one of the largest tech companies and digital providers with tentacles reaching into other businesses and continual price hikes? Over 12 hours later most of the services were restored, but they still don’t know the cause. I can hardly wait to hear what they come up with. Should be interesting. Maybe even scary.
I must say I intentionally divvied up my internet, TV, cable and phone services among 3 different providers in case of such a possibility. Extremely grateful to have done so as it was all systems go for me.
What this brings to mind is life in the pre-digital age. Perhaps you may recall that era, too. Makes one wonder how we managed so beautifully with only one land line per household. I was most fortunate to be allowed to have an extension phone in my room during my teen years. It got me through some hard times. The one downside was having a bratty younger brother who would occasionally pick up the main phone and try to listen to my conversations.
Of course, there are upsides and downsides to both eras. What I miss most is the more face to face communication and connection from pre-digital times. While we can cherish the memories of and appreciate what was good for us in the past, life is still all about change; how adaptable and flexible we are, how we can embrace the upsides and move away from the downsides when they come along. Perhaps the next time technology tanks, we might find a friend, go for a coffee, take a walk together, etc. and simply enjoy connecting.
Above all, hold tight to your sense of humor. After all, a sense of humor gives us the ability to shift perspective and be flexible. Flexibility is the ability to not get bent out of shape.
Comments are welcome.
What is the “other season? Tis the season of the bugs. How can we avoid them short of wearing a HAZMAT suit? There was an article in a recent Farmers Almanac newsletter offering recipes for homemade bug repellents. Without further ado, here is a reprint I hope you will find useful. Or at least interesting.
Know Thy Enemy
As soon as we step outside, bugs have a way of finding us. Some use the carbon dioxide that we exhale to locate us, others go by scent, body heat, vibrations, or even the colors we wear. For example, deerflies are attracted to CO2, warmth, motion, and dark colors. One way to make yourself less attractive to insects is to avoid using fragrant soaps, lotions, perfume, hairspray, or aftershave. Instead, use scents that block their receptors, making you harder to find.
Here are four simple homemade bug sprays you can make using essential oils, based on your scent preference:
No essential oils on-hand? Use dried or fresh herbs instead. If you can make tea, you can make these concoctions. Keep them in the fridge for a cooling spray.
Here are two herbal recipes:
Note: If you ever think you are too small to make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in the room.
Comments are welcome.
I was having one of those bummer kind of days. Trying a number of strategies to snap me out of it flopped. Fortunately, I finally turned to gratitude. As you are no doubt aware, so much has been written about the benefits of gratitude including several of my posts along the way. The bottom line is that gratitude works. It benefits us in innumerable ways. For today, however, I would just like to share this beautiful video. Trust me, it is worth 6 minutes of your time.
A Grateful Day
The narrator is Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Dominican monk. You can find several of his talks on gratitude and happiness on You Tube. One of my favorite quotes of his that has helped me a lot is, “We can’t be grateful for everything, but in a single moment we can be grateful for something.”
Comments are welcome.
I was skimming through some weekly newsletters from Angela Duckworth, a psychologist, author and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. This one caught my attention. It gave me pause to consider my interactions with others. Especially in terms of what kind of a listener I am. Do I fully listen? Do I allow the other person to fully express whatever is on their mind? When I ask a question, do I really want to hear their answer? I believe that for the most part the answers to those questions are yes. To be honest, there are times I have caught myself drifting. We all probably are a little guilty of that. My intent is to fully listen and look at each interaction as an opportunity to get better. Following is Angela’s article.
“It’s hard to know how someone feels unless you ask...and listen. In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic, The Little Prince, there’s a scene where the prince is lying in the grass, weeping. He’s just come to the realization that the rose to whom he had been entirely devoted—whose beauty he assumed was unique in the universe—is just one of thousands of roses, each one like the next.
Then a fox comes by. “I’m feeling so sad,” the prince says to the fox. And the fox listens. He does not try to convince the prince that he should be happy. He does not run away. Before they part, the fox tells the prince:
“Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
Don’t assume that the people in your life are fine. Don’t assume that what you see is all there is to know.
Do ask “How are you feeling?” and then—without judging, interrupting, or correcting—listen.”
Along with the major holidays and major days of recognition, each month has some weird and wacky celebratory days. Even though we are just about half way through June, I thought I would list some of the standouts of the month. I’m starting with June 3 as the first 2 days weren’t very exciting. In fact I am selecting my highlights of the month and not every day.
June 3 -National Doughnut Day
- Repeat Day (Did you say Repeat Day?)
June 4 – Old Maids Day
June 5 – World Environment Day (Necessary)
June 7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
- VCR Day (Seriously?)
June 8 – Best Friends Day
June 9 – Donald Duck Day (Donald says, “Life is too short to be serious all the time, so if you can’t laugh at yourself then call me…I’ll laugh at you, for you.”)
June 15 – National Prune Day
- Smile Power
June 17 – Eat Your Vegetables Day (And I thought that was supposed to be every day. Oh Well.)
June 18 - International Panic Day (Yikes! What’s going to happen?)
- International Picnic Day (Forget panic. Let’s just picnic It should reduce the panic unless someone forgets the food.)
June 19 – World Sauntering Day
June 22 – World Eclair Day. (Yum yum)
- International Rain Forest Day (So important.)
June 23 – Let It Go Day
- National Pink Day (Huh?)
June 25 – National Onion Day (Don’t cry. It’s ok)
June 26 – Forgiveness Day (We ought to be open to this every day.)
June 29 - Hug Holiday (This might be the best one. We all need a hug now and then.)
“There is great suffering in the world. Our society is suffering. The planet is suffering. Families are suffering. And this is in addition to the personal suffering in our own lives. It’s important for us to be aware of this suffering and not turn away from it.
But it’s truly important to ground ourselves in the love and beauty of the world. Love and beauty are also real. They provide light in response to the darkness. It’s easy to see darkness from a distance, but we often have to look up close to see love and beauty. When we make love and beauty the foundation of our lives it nourishes our spirit and helps us cope with the suffering we encounter. When we are sucked into the great sadness of the world we become part of that sadness. So how do we resist all the sadness around us? We resist it by grounding our life in the love and beauty of the world.”
If you ground your life in love, you cultivate and celebrate love. You share your loving impulses with the world and you recognize them in others as well. It becomes one of your guiding themes that can keep your life grounded, as can the search for and appreciation of beauty.
These themes can keep us busy and keep us sane, even during crazy-making, heart-breaking times. They can keep us connected to other truths that are also real and important and that deserve our attention. We can inhabit a more robust world and access a broader pallet of color if we ground our lives in love and beauty.” From the Todo Institute by Greg and Linda Krech
Comments are welcome.
It seems to be that time, which I experience periodically, when a need for a muse becomes apparent. The last time the writing well went dry I did quite the search for a muse. I checked Amazon, Craig’s list, the many corners of the internet. Nada. I suppose I could put an ad in newspapers’ classifieds.
Early in the new year I purchased a small, honey-colored teddy bear from Lemon & Lavender. I was certain he came infused with fairy dust as do most items in that boutique. I thought he might become my live-in muse. As it turned out, Teddy seemed to be content to sit around looking cute and snuggly. I sit around looking glum and wanting.
I guess I was looking pathetic enough that Teddy took pity on me. He decided to spill the tea on his residence before Lemon and Lavender. Here’s what I learned.
Teddy’s homeland is called Amity Woods. Geographically speaking, Amity Woods is primarily forest lands. There are areas of wild flower meadows, rolling hills and the occasional stream. Further description of the landscape, while quite awe inspiring, is not relevant.
Since the beginning of the known history of Amity Woods, it was learned that numerous fairies oversee all of the flora and spirits oversee all of the fauna.
He really had me with the mention of fairies and spirits. However, Teddy decided he needed a nap and we would have to take this up at some other unspecified time. Thanks a lot. I was really hoping to get the goods on his besties like the hedgehog, the wild turkey, the moose, the squirrel, the possum and the pair of skunks. Nope. Nothing.
What does a person have to do to get a muse? Really. I reckon I will pack it in for now. Hope you all have a great week. BTW, if anyone learns of an out of work muse, let me know . Thanks.
Comments are welcome.
I've decided I’ve been too serious lately. Life has been too serious and disturbing lately. I figured it was time to lighten things up. Below are several one-liners that I hope will bring some smiles to your day as it has mine.
Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with a slow Internet connection to see who they really are.
When life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic.
I spent a lot of time, money, and effort childproofing my house … but the kids still get in.
Why did the rooster cross the road? To prove he wasn’t a chicken.
I used to believe that all things must pass—until I got stuck behind a school bus.
The CEO of IKEA was elected Prime Minister in Sweden. He should have his cabinet together by the end of the weekend.
The severity of the itch is proportional to the reach.
The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
If everything is coming your way, you are in the wrong lane.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don’t have film.
Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
Comments are welcomed.