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My vision is to create a business from my garden, so that I can afford to leave my job, have the garden as income, and paint and write. I also want my customers to read the story of my garden, look at pictures, and get an idea of the process of the work of the garden.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

My husband told me that I had gotten the name of the movie wrong, and it is "The Swimming Pool." Actually, there is a movie called "The Swimmer," and I had even seen that name in a review of "The Swimming Pool." It's always good to have someone reading behind you on your work.

Still no Pete. I just loved that cat. He was sweet and sexy. Our baby chicks are both roosters, we think. Another dilemma. We only need one, now we have four.

Going to the doctor tomorrow to see if I still have the Lyme's disease. Although I am feeling a bit better, but still low energy. A coworker gave me a copy of Long Day's Journey Into Night, and I started to read it on my lunch hour the other day. It is very interesting to read a play, I think. It forces me to act the parts in my mind, even with different voices, and even with imagining physicality. When we were in Doylestown the other night, we went into two bookstores to see if we could find it, but no luck. So, it did come to me.

Someone is giving us a load of firewood. Seasoned applewood. It's quite a ways away, but we can do a two vehicle journey, minivan and pickup truck and get a whole lot at once. We need to get it within the next four weeks, as she is putting her house up for sale, and needs to clear out the yard.

Have to really start the fall garden this weekend. I already have winter squash, pumpkins, and celeriac growing, kale, collards, brussels sprouts, too. But I need to start the winter lettuce, arugula, bok choi, tat tsoi, more broccoli raab, and I seeded more beets last weekend. Also need to seed turnips.

Also need to seed more sweet basil for the summer, and direct seed more beans. Can't seem to get back to the strawberries, maybe this weekend.

Monday, July 28, 2003

I finally got Freeman's site on my page. Freeman is a man who has been sober over 50 years, and wrote a book about his experiences.

Back at work, not feeling great. Suggested by two people at the meeting this morning to go to the doctor, maybe the Lyme's disease is still around. I prefer to think it is because of all the medication I had to take, and have been drinking Vitamin C powder mixed in water this morning, hoping to jump start my immune system. What do I know. I'll call the doctor.

We went to see "The Swimmer" on Saturday night in Doylestown. Michel couldn't let go of the age-old friction between the British and the French, saying that he felt the Brits acted like colonialists in the movie. I understand what he is saying, I feel that often the movies that are set in an exotic locale are about the white hero that saves the day. And the locals get bit parts. I think that is what he was feeling about the movie, though I explained to him my feeling was the British woman was healed by France, the sensuality of the place, and the people. He couldn't get beyond his resentment, but the movie stayed with me. He felt, "so what. A story about a writer, that's all. Who writes a story". I like the transformational thing of places, surrounds, encounters. I am glad I saw the movie.

Pete still has not shown his face. I am sad about this. Have been thinking about getting another kitten.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Going to see "The Swimmer" tonight. Yay. Hope it changes my antibiotic-fried energy.

We sent our rate-reduction package off to the mortgage company. In my true non-trusting way, I am expecting them to say that we are denied since we didn't sign the rider clause that was in it. I called them on Thursday to tell them that they had made a mistake and that we do not belong to an association that collects dues, like a townhouse or gated community, whatever. She said, "don't worry, I will make a note of it in the record." Weeee shall seeee. I wouldn't be surprised that with the rates going back up, they might not be so happy to give us the reduction at a lower rate, as we are locked in for this deal. We shall see.

Hot hot hot weather. Did a lot last night, and early this morning. Had to go to notary and then couldn't find a UPS place that was open. Finally went home and called them and they picked it up. With an extra ten dollar charge to the mortgage company.

Can't remember the last movie we went to see. Could have been "Eight Women."

Friday, July 25, 2003

Pete has not been seen since we have been back from Maine. We are concerned that there has been foul play. Pete is one of our barn cats, or rather, chicken coop cats, and he, along with Repeat, patroll the environs to keep the rodent population down. They have done a bang-up job for the last three years. Pete is also our favorite, a shiny, black and grey striped boy, with broad shoulders and lean body, and a most beguiling manner. He is extraordinarily affectionate for an outdoor cat, and we love him dearly. Recently we have noticed strange things happening in the chicken coop where we keep the bucket of dry cat food that they can eat from whenever they want. First there was a raccoon in that corridor to the coop, who had located the cat food. Then once recently, Michel saw an orange cat emerge from the coop, a stranger to us. And when we came back from Maine, I went into the hallway of the coop, and the food bucket was spilled over onto the floor--something our cats have never done. And that had happened once before, after the appearance of the raccoon.

I don't like to talk about the raccoon--it was a messy scene, and we thought it was dead. But he crawled off under a shed, and lay there for a few days, while we fretted about what to do with it. Michel had called a few agencies that deal with wild animals, and they were of no help. But they did threaten us with a 10,000 dollar fine if we we caught bringing wild animals (groundhogs) in a have-a-heart trap and letting them go over the bridge in New Jersey, which we have done before, just releasing them along the railroad tracks in a wooded area. The raccoon disappeared soon after, and we thought it had been scared off, hopefully never to return. It was the third one creeping around the chicken coop in three years.

Now Pete is gone, and this morning Repeat was also nowhere to be found. She was here yesterday, and is usually waiting for her canned cat food in the early morning. Sometimes they do not show up for a day or two, but this is almost a week, and nothing but chaos in the chicken coop hallway. Troubling.
Pete was also acting funny before we went away, and we were keeping an eye one him. He was coughing up a fit one day on the front porch, and we became alarmed, but he seemed to be all right soon after, so we just forgot about it. Hairball, or something like that.

I am off the antibiotics for the tick bite, though my eye is still a little red. It was a sensitive area, though, so maybe that is part of it. I feel really sluggish, and hope that that is the result of the antibiotic, and soon I will recover from it, I hope. Maybe it's just the summer blahs that I get from seven months of hard work before and after I go to my job, just wanting a vacation. We need to work on getting the table set up.

I am almost out of jam, and will go looking for fruit at other farm stands this weekend, maybe apricots. I have a yen for making some apricot jam. I can also make raspberry jam from the berries I froze over the last couple of weeks.

Don't know why the tomatoes are so slow. Very few are turning to ripen. Even the ones in the greenhouse. Salad is still good, need to seed some more. I am excited about all the pumpkins that are forming in my little patch. Michel cut down the buckwheat, and now I want to form rows for my strawberries. I want to clean up the old patch, and start a new one where the buckwheat was. I am going to use black plastic for the rows, and put the plants in them, to cut down on weeds for next year. I also want to work on my flowers this weekend, for me.

We have to get our refinancing package back to the mortgage company by Monday, so this afternoon it's up to the notary so we can finish it and send it off. They put in some rider that is wrong, and I called them, and they said just cross it off, and I am a bit concerned that they will use that as an excuse to cancel the reduction. Well, I'm going to stop worrying right now, because I can't control what they do. I did take the action when I saw it, so I need to let it go. The meeting theme was on the Serenity Prayer this morning, so it is still fresh in my mind.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

We took a vacation from the garden and went to Maine for four days. When we got back, it was as if we had never weeded ambitiously last week. And the zucchini plants had fairly large bats growing under the leaves, and the cucumbers had enough to harvest yesterday for the first time. I also noticed baby pumpkins growing. And the baby chicks are looming over their mothers, who no longer want to help them find food and shoo them away when they approach.

Maine was, like always, impossibly beautiful. We stayed at a dog-friendly motel, steps from a horse farm with beautiful salt-marsh trails on which to take the dog, who runs like a banshee, unfettered by leash, and without another creature in sight. She runs and runs up and down the long clover paths to the causeway up ahead where the tide comes in to give her a place to swim.

The beach at the end of the short road is magnificent. Although no dogs are allowed, and husband foregoes going there, I have enjoyed visiting this beach for three years now, even if the flies are biting. The last two years it was low tide in the afternoon, with a long flat expanse of beach heading out to the horizon. This year the tide was up, and it seemed as a result more crowded, but I was so happy to be there, at the ocean, with the wild sky.

Most of the time we spent with my family, wich had its own rewards. My stepmother's son created a lobster bake for us, with sweet steamer clams and sweet corn, along with the fresh lobster he acquired from a former student of his who lobster fishes with his Dad. Then it's off to Big Daddy's every night for homemade ice cream. But it is the flora of Maine that I find so compelling. Everything seems to bloom at once, not parceled out like our springtime here in Pennsylvania. And there is a wildness to it all there, and the air is breezy and cool. I hope someday to 1) spend a bigger chunk of time there and 2) to explore more of the state than the southern portion where we have family. So, while the joy of a trip is leveled by a sense of longing, I saw that my work was to make myself appreciate the moment, while acknowledging the longing that being there stirs up.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Odd things in my life. When I was in my early twenties, and living a wild and crazy life, one of my habitations was with another young woman, Liz, with whom I had once worked at Bloomingdale's, and who ended up throwing me out of the apartment (I never signed the lease), because her fiancee made a play for me and she accused me of lying and trying to sabotage her relationship. My life was pretty out-of-control in those days, and a lot of things happened in a short space of time. One thing that happened was: I got sick with a flu-type of illness, and actually persuaded a doctor to make a house call. That was around 1970, and it was unusual even for that time, although I remember when I was a little kid, we had the doctor come to the house a lot, mainly for me, because I suffered from terrible ear infections.

Anyway, I was a patient of one doctor, and he was not available. I had been having acute anxiety attacks in those years, mainly due to drinking, though I didn't know it at the time. I started to see this one doctor, who was prescribing tranquilizers for me, which just made everything worse. On this particular day I called, and was too sick to go out, and I had a flu-kind of illness. The doctor wasn't able to come, but this other doctor who was an associate did show up, a tall, dark, handsome Rock Hudson-type. I don't remember ever seeing him before, so I don't recall that he shared the doctor's suite with him. But he came to the apartment that I was sharing with Liz. He examined me, wrote a prescription, and left. I got a bill, and I sent him a check.

Next thing I know, in the Daily News, this Rock Hudson-type doctor is arrested and hauled off to jail for murder. Apparently, he was involved with his secretary, or assistant, and for whatever reason known only to them, he murdered her. I took out my checkbook to see what his name was, and I swear, this nearly killed me, the date on the check was the same day that she was murdered. It made the little hairs on the back of my neck do, well, you know.

I don't know why I thought of that today, but there it is.

I continued my search for Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. Oh, I talked to my boss yesterday afternoon, and he said that at the library, while I was talking to him, and there was a man hovering nearby, the man said to him after I left, "What does she want to read Long Day's Journey Into Night for? It's such a depressing play. What does she want to read a play for, anyway? Plays aren't supposed to be read! They're supposed to be acted!

Anyway, I walked over the bridge to New Hope to Farley's to see if they had a copy. Nope. Not there. I know I could purchase it on Amazon.com, but this is becoming kind of interesting that I can't find it. I have plenty to read for the trip to Maine, and plenty of O'Neill to read, so I think instead of buying it, I will just let it come to me. How's that. If I am meant to read it, I will find it. I won't go out of my way, necessarily, but I will look for it, and only then will I read it.

Went to half a meeting this morning. I can't get up at 5:30 now, it's not light enough. Even when the alarm goes off, I seem to have to get up with the daylight. And I needed to put together my deliveries for two clients before I went off to the meeting.

Now before we go to Maine, I want to get some more flats planted. I cancelled deliveries for tomorrow, as there is not enough time. When we come back, we will figure out the farm stand table. I also want to seed some more zucchini plants, and more cucumber plants. The ones I have now will undoubtedly get killed off, as I see too many cucumber beetles in the flowers every day. I am not going to spray--I don't feel right about it. Anyhow, a book I looked at said that succession planting is the best way, but this time I will keep the plants covered until they flower. I should be able to get some produce from the new plants in September, if I plant tonight.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I went to the library at lunch on a search for O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, thinking that they might have it, and the clerk was extremely helpful, but we were both amazed that it wasn't there. And there were three large volumes of the Works of Eugene O'Neill, and it wasn't in any of those. I saw my boss at the library in the sale book section, he with an armful of books. I never know what to do when I see my boss in another context--slip past him out the door pretending not to see him? Or going up and making my presence known. I think that lunchtime is sacred, and wouldn't want to break his revery, but, I also didn't want to pretend anything. So I went up to him and said a few pleasantries.

I realized last night my own joke on me. Reading the Emperor Jones, while indulging in my own grandiose fantasies--a perfect combination.

My coworker Matt said he might have it at home--and he is going to check tonight. I won't expect this to occur, as he left not feeling well, so I may have to seek out a bookstore to see if I can find a copy. Or not. Meanwhile I have the eight and a half other O'Neill plays to read this week and on my way to Maine. I have to read in the car when my husband is driving, or I freak out. My reflexes are faster than his and if I see a car two cars ahead put on their brakes, my foot is already to the floor, and he (my husband) is still barrelling along oblivious to the fact that he needs to put his foot on the brake. And I tend to make these gasping noises as he drives and we are dive-bombed by other cars all over the place. It drives him crazy, and if I have my nose glued to a book or other reading matter, I can more or less tune out the world. I need something big to carry me through eight hours of road travel up and eight hours of road travel back. He says he wants me to drive as well, and I enjoy driving sometimes, like to work, and locally, but I don't know how I feel about long distance driving. He says it's only fair, and he is right, but it makes me nervous.

I was thinking about my aunt Jean this morning--mainly because I think I am starting to look like her. She was married to my uncle Frank, and they lived in a house that we all called the "shack." Their house was always a bit shocking to me when I was a child, because I never knew anyone at that time who lived in semi-squalor like they did. Maybe semi-squalor is too strong a word. Anyway, now I live in a house that was owned by poor people, and they never fixed anything up. When we moved in, we didn't even know if the furnace could be made to work, an old coal furnace, and it was in November! My husband and I are hopeless romantics, and we were looking for an old stone house. Well, we found one. And every square inch of this house needs work. We have managed to fix up the upstairs to a more or less manageable state, though there is lots of room for improvement. But the downstairs is in varying states of semi-squalor. The living room is filled with rubble on one side, as Michel is working on the stone walls in his spare time (of which there is precious little). The kitchen ceiling has been half-painted, and we don't pay any attention to the floors at all, because they are hopelessly dulled by years of people traipsing over them. The one constant that people said when they came to see us after we moved in was: "You've got a lot of work to do!"

Words that I hated to hear, because, first of all, I don't want a lot of work to do, and second, I thought that maybe they knew something we didn't. I thought it would take a couple of years, and we would have it all done. Never mind I don't have any home depot type of skills, and never had any inclination to learn any. No, I just went outside to build myself a garden, and I have been there ever since. Every year since we moved, we have started a big project. Two years ago it was "take the plaster ceiling down in the living room." Last year it was, "remove all the plaster from the living room walls."

Now, Michel is fixing up half of the long building that is the chicken coop, which luckily is separated by a corridor into two sections, so the chickens can still live peacably in one section and we can inhabit the other. He is creating studios for the two of us, and we both have the "fictional finalism" of getting back to our painting. And he always does a nice job, and these studios are beautiful, sort of. The space is nice, light and airy, and painted they are good painting spaces.

So I think I am turning into my Aunt Jean. She always hung out wearing undershirts and no bra, and she was pretty large to begin with. Her teeth were a bit on the British side, if you know what I mean. She was so unlike my Aunt Sue who lived in the house next door, who was always beautifully put together, and smelled good. Well, when I came in the house this morning after harvesting, I knew I only had ten minutes to get ready for work. So the shower had to go, the ironing had to go, and needless to say, I'm glad we are experiencing "summer casual" dress this summer, because I can point to that as an excuse for my poor grooming habits. But at least I always put lipstick on before I walk through the door. Still, I think I am morphing into Aunt Jean. She was a character, as were the rest of her family living in that shack of a house.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Went to a morning meeting--everyone was sharing on the experience of dealing with loved ones dying. It was quite moving, and since it was on the third step, it reminded me to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand God.

Which is what I needed to hear, as my delusions of grandeur had taken over my mind this weekend. Here's the crazy process. Driving home on Friday, I heard on the Philly NPR station an article about Eugene O'Neill. It was basically talking about the new production in New York with Vanessa Redgrave, among other luminaries, and also about O'Neill's life, his children, his father, his writing. I was overcome with the desire to read Long Day's Journey, as I realized I had never read O'Neill, that I could remember. Drama was not much a part of my reading. I searched in the attic where we still have boxes and boxes of books, a lot of literature, both Michel's and mine. I couldn't find Long Day's Journey, but I did come up with O'Neill--9 Plays. In the hotter part of the day, after lunch, and when I am trying to stay out of the garden, I took the book with me to the hammock, now my favorite place to read. I read The Emperor Jones, and started in on The Hairy Ape. Then I decided that I had missed my calling, I should have been a playwright. I think the introduction, which talked about O'Neill's inability to be with more than two or three people at a time, stirred something in me. I have always been afraid of dialogue, and thought that only extroverts, who are good at talking with others, could write dialogue. Not an introvert such as I, who (though I am better now) have always been tongue-tied in groups of people, and not very witty anyhow. Whenever I have tried to write dialogue, it is too hard and I give up. Now here is a shining example of someone who seems to be an introvert, and who is a master of dialogue. Perhaps I could learn, after all. Anyway, I am lying in the hammock, fantasizing about being a playwright, when the impossibility of my life overwhelms me. Not only do I have a full-time job, and a part-time one that takes all the rest of my time, save for the recent few hours I have been putting into the hammock, but there is no way out that I could see whereby I could find the time to do anything else. So I started to get depressed, and feeling trapped. Luckily, at the meeting this morning, I remembered my story, through listening to others, and also remembered that I don't have to figure it out. Just accept what is for now. I have a job that I basically like, and the garden is another evolving process that might become a source of real income. For today, I don't need to be a playwright, I just need to do what is in front of me, and find some more time to read good literature. The meeting was a big relief, and help me to remember some of my necessary things--I don't have to be in charge of my life, one day at a time, I can do my life, I do have gratitude for everything I have right now, and everything that has gone before this.

You see, I forget every day, and my ego tells me I am not enough. Not enough this, not enough that.

As far as the garden goes, delivered to a customer today, and planted more salad greens last night, as well as basil. Picked green beans last night, and need to get a few more things planted before Friday, as we are taking the dog and going to Maine to see my Dad. Last night I cooked up some more red currants to make jelly with, but the jelly-making will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow.

Got invited to a gathering this weekend, but we are going to Maine. Too bad, would have liked to have gone. My co-worker might have Long Day's Journey that I could borrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Spoke up at a meeting this morning, to try and change my energy. I have been in a torpor, probably due to antibiotics. Also have been extremely busy at work this past week, deadlines, deadlines.

I did get a little planting done last night, and was happy with the lettuce seedlings--how strong they looked. It had just rained, so the soil was damp enough that I could just put in the seedlings and not worry about watering well. And it seemed to have rained later last night, which is a good thing for all the plants.

Michel sprayed Pyrethrin/Rotenone on the zucchini, cucumber and squash plants, and melons yesterday after I saw lots of cucumber beetles on the plants. That is the first time I have ever sprayed a pesticide, and even though it is organically approved, I don't like to do it. The key to plant health is in the soil, and planting the plant in the right place. So I have to keep working on the soil, putting organic matter in it--such as cow manure in the fall, shredded leaf mulch, and using green manure cover crops. Other than the cucumber beetles, the plants look really healthy, color is good (well, the eggplants are also in that area, and they got hit by flea beetles, which love them. But they still look better than other times I have grown eggplants and the flea beetles just made their leaves look like lace. Last year I kept Ree-may on the eggplants all season until they flowered, and the plants did very well. But I ran out of reemay this year, and decided not to spend to get more. Recently though, I found another swath and will use that for the fall garden, as my remaining reemay is already spoken for.

One of my clients forgot about the delivery yesterday, and I saw her today, and she still wants delivery, but we will make it for next week. Everything got sold at work, or elsewhere.

We are picking raspberries and freezing them. They freeze really well on cookie sheets in the freezer then I put them in bags to make jam later when I have the time and the temp is cooler. We are starting to pick filet green beans, and I will store them in the frig until I get enough to give to my customers. The potatoes are beautiful, although the plants of the early red look like they are dying, don't know why. But we will pull most of them this week, and the potatoes themselves are really good. We also pulled some of the Carola potato--those plants look much better, and Michel cooked them up in lard for homefries, and they were absolutely delicious. I am not sure lard is that good for us, but the meal was delish.

Next week zucchinis and basil will be ready, and cucumbers not far behind. Some of the pepper plants in the greenhouse are giving the long banana peppers, and I thought I had planted the bell peppers there, hope I had the right seeds.

Wish I could shake this torpor. I love that word, though. torpor. Hope I'm using it right. One and a half weeks to go on the antibiotics. My eye is still red and sometimes bothers me. But that could also be some allergies with all the pollen floating around.

The painting studios are looking better, Michel got a door that a neighbor was throwing out, and made a table for me. This same neighbor threw out another door just like it last year, and Michel had stored it in the barn and made a table for himself out of that one. He wants to bring the sofa from the living room over to the studio, so he can finish working in the living room. We have stone walls that we took the ruined plaster off of, and he is working on those walls, as well as needing to fix the wood stove. I don't mind that we are moving our living room into the studio, as the sofa should just be thrown out, even with a slipcover it looks pretty bad. And when the living room is finished, we can look around for a replacement sofa. He also brought a tv set into his studio. I don't mind that either, but just asked for an agreement, that if we anyone is using their studio and minds having noise coming from a tv or radio, that that person has the right to request noises off.

I love the space in the studios. We couldn't make good studio space in the barn, it's too dark, cold. If we had the resources to put into the barn someday, it will be a beautiful space, but for now the chicken coop is a much better studio. Cleaned out and painted, it looks and feels airy and full of light. It's easier to put additional windows in the coop than in the barn. The barn has water, though. So we need to consider that, but working on drawings, or paintings on a smaller scale, I can wash my brushes in the house.

Michel said that one of the older chickens died yesterday. No discernable reason, except for old age, he said. I told him I want to get 10 more next spring, and I will look into getting a brooder for the babies, rather than keeping them in the house, which I hated after the first week. Also they get so big so fast, that keeping them in a big cardboard box proves unmanageable. Heh, last year, we kept adding boxes, so that they lived in a warren of taped-together cardboard boxes. They create so much dust! But if we have a brooder in the coop, we need to patch all rodent holes really well.

Also for next year, want to expand current bushes, and get at least one more gooseberry bush. This weekend, I will look for strawberry runners in the patch, and put them in pots, and then ask Michel to mow the patch right down, and plant a cover crop. It's time to move the patch, so we don't get disease in it. Also i want to plant them on black plastic rows to keep the weeds down, the combination of weeds and rain left me sad about the strawberries this year.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Again too busy. Maybe tonight at home, since it is raining.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Would like to write something and post, but I'm at work and have been too busy, and have to go home to harvest, so I won't have any time at home to post. Catch up with me later.

Monday, July 07, 2003

I didn't get near the computer this weekend, too much to do. Mainly watering. It's been dry, for a couple of weeks now. I don't have an irrigation system, but we do have springs that we have hoses hooked up to, so I have running water without needing electricity, for part of the garden--the part that's downhill from the springs.

The parts that are uphill from the springs are another story. Here's where Permaculture comes in. We are trying to solve the water problem, and Permaculture says to utilize your resources. We are planning gutters on the barn and chicken coop, and the roof mass should capture enough water for all our needs, and we need to figure out how to store it. This water will be used for watering the garden, watering the chickens, and also for our studio needs (chicken coop conversion into art studios). This is a long-term project, coming after getting oil heat in the house, and a few other necessary projects we have put off too long.

But for now, I watered, watered, watered all weekend. Lugging containers of water so every plant got its dose for the week. I don't mind doing this, as it gives me the time to pay attention to each plant. I noticed cucumber beetles on my zucchini plants this morning. I have to spray them with rotenone/pyrethrum mix soon, and I hate to do that, even if it is approved by organic certification people. It's just one of the dilemmas you encounter. It is not bug-specific, so it might kill earthworms or beneficials as well. Or, I could plant some more seeds, in another place, and keep those covered until they flower. I will think on that today.

So I watered and weeded. Made a delivery this morning, and got a bunch of money from a client who was gone for two weeks, although she wanted me to keep delivering for her husband (who doesn't really do vegetables without her, I think).

Rest of weekend--made red current jelly--have a client who wants it all, but I am keeping some for us, to use as gifts. Didn't do anything with the gooseberries, may just forget about them this year--they got a fungus on a lot of the berries due to all the rain we had in June, and I haven't had the time to pick through them to find any not affected. I love gooseberry jam, but now the raspberries are coming fast and furious, and we have to pick them every day, and I want to make jam with them.

I still need to plant for summer lettuce, bok choi, broccoli raab, tat tsoi, basil, and soon for the fall garden. I found some more ree-may in the barn, a good piece that will help keep the bugs at bay for part of the fall garden.

My flowers look terrible, again, they got the short end of the stick, and they show it. Can't help it, too much to do.

We had fun last night laughing about the new house across the street. We love the guy, he built it himself, very nice person. But it is SO BIG, and now it dominates the landscape, and we are trying to plan ways to visually keep it out of our consciousness. So we (my husband, his daughter, her husband, who came by on their way back to NY) laughed and laughed at some of the ideas to keep the house hidden from us. One suggestion--hang laundry (sheets) between the barn and the garage. Or put a semi-tracter trainer in the driveway, or build a billboard with a painting of a house that looks just like their house facing them, and a trompe l'oil garden scene facing us. Or hang a beaded curtain. If you have any suggestion, please post them, we will appreciate the laugh.

My husband and I were invited to an outdoor sit-down pretty formal dinner party yesterday at a neighbors beautiful home. They have a very private place, and a gorgeous swimming pool. The tables were situated in a walled courtyard. It was a nice party. I actually even sort of knew someone else there, aside from the hostess, her husband and son. Ate too much, digestive system not happy last night. But they remembered we don't drink, and had non-alcoholic champaigne so we could participate in the toasts. They had fish roe on blinis, grilled chicken, a mouth-watering ham, different side dishes, cake, and the best coffee. It lasted the whole afternoon, and I know I have grown from being a terminally shy person, self-conscious as hell, to a point where I am fairly comfortable talking with strangers.

Still have to stay out of the sun pretty much, still on antibiotics. Talked with someone at the party who had kept guinea hens at one point, and they said that they indeed do keep the ticks at bay, but they can also distroy a garden. Can't fence the garden either, if we get them, as they will just fly up and over. So I don't think guinea hens are a solution. Any tick experience?

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Today is the last day before the long weekend--and I am waiting for someone to tell us we can go home early. but it's 4:47 and that ain't gonna happen, so I figured I'd post some stuff. I am going to be hanging around in town and meet someone to go to a women's AA meeting this evening, so I won't be home until after dark. They will have FOOD at the place before the meeting, and that's always exciting.

I got an email from a client saying how much she liked the peas I delivered to her this week along with the other veggies. I will have to pull up the rest of the peas this weekend, as I didn't get to that before. I have a bag in the frig to shell for us. I have been eating them raw for lunches.

Another client gave me a 100 dollar bill this week when I gave her her produce, and she said that that will be for the next few weeks, and so I am holding this 100 dollar bill in my little notebook/wallet-type leather thing I have. I love money! I especially love that my produce makes money! Of course, with all the work I do starting in December for this garden, I am afraid to work out my REAL wage, or costs, and my husband is putting in time as well.

Need to call my sister--she was operated on yesterday, and my brother told me she wouldn't be able to talk until tonight.

Weekend plans--spend time in hammock. Plant more beans, seed more lettuce, make jam, go to party, go to someone's downsizing (divorce) sale with my 100 dollar bill.

Clean up my food act. Spend some time getting studio ready.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Haven't been posting much--maybe I'm running out of steam. At least I got some interactive feature installed on my site. And went to WebMonkey to try to learn some ways to make my page look better, but gave up after endless tutorials that weren't what I was looking for.

We will set up a table for the farmstand this weekend! Michel bought a market umbrella last weekend, and we will try just a table with the umbrella coming through a hole in the table. I will only put out jam this weekend, as nothing is ready to harvest. Tonight I will cook up the red currents, so I can make red current jelly. We got a nice crop of currents. They look so beautiful, all massed in bowls and baskets. I have a customer who says she will buy all of it. But I think I will make a half a dozen jars for her and keep the rest for us. Also have gooseberries to make jam with, which is my favorite of all. And the raspberries are starting to turn red.

I dug up some potatoes last night, the yield is still small, but I wanted to give one of my customers some, they are so delicious. I'm in a funny period, where lots of stuff is over, and other stuff isn't ready. I think beans will be coming in next. I pulled up most of the pea plants last night, and will pull up the rest tonight after work. I have been eating some of them raw for lunch a few times. Soon I will have zucchini, basil, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, raspberries, and can put in some herbs like chamomile, thyme--have already put in some cilantro to my deliveries, along with flat-leaf parsley. Will still have swiss chard, parsley, hopefully some beets, kale, collards, broccoli raab. Enough to give a good variety, along with the staple of salad greens.

My dream is to bake the baguettes as well. But maybe not for this year. They are really good. Don't know how to market them yet or how to keep them, where to get the paper bread bags.

Still plagued by ticks, got bit on my hand the other night. But now that I am on antibiotics, I presume I am safe.

Our baby chicks are as big as their mothers at six weeks.
Yaaay! It worked. So if anyone wants to leave me a post on my weblog, just click on the Comment links below. I will try to refine things later. But for now I managed to paste in the code right.
I am trying to add stuff to the site. I e-mailed someone on her weblog and asked her how to get stuff on my site, and she sent me back a very nice response with some websites whereby I could get stuff to add. So right now I am trying to paste in some code so people can leave their messages on my site. Do I read all the instructions? Noooo. So it probably won't work. If it doesn't I will try to read the instructions.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Talked to my Dad last night. he wanted my sister's hospital phone number so he could call her. I thought it was still recorded on the phone, but unfortunately, it had been deleted. So I don't have her number, either. I told him to call my brother, that he had talked to her, and he probably has it.

We stayed up late last night watching a video, an older movie with Julie Andrews called Tamarind Seed. With Omar Sharif. It was such a dated movie, seventies, I think, and not very good. Somber Julie Andrews, sugary, sweet-faced Omar. The music was the most dramatic part of the movie, cold war stuff. Someone here at work brings in tons of videos of old movies, and I usually take a bunch. Whoever tapes them from TNT or Showtime, or HBO, catalogues them so meticulously. I bring them for Michel, and usually don't stay up to watch. I need the early evening to be in the garden. But last night I sat up, just to stay up late and watch tv, being undisciplined, when I usually fall into bed by 9:30. Well, I did get a flat of lettuce plants planted last night between 8 and 9. And a few more melon plants, which are way too late. I had wanted a good melon crop, but the weather wasn't with me, and we probably won't get any until late September, if at all. So I knew planting them was an exercise in futility. But I did it anyway, rather than just throw them out.

Got up this morning and sat out on the porch drinking coffee. A perfect morning, sunny and cool, and our place looking like heaven. I am aching to buy so many plants, but all that will have to wait. Will try to learn about propagating plants this year, in order to save money and get what we want.

Brought some salad greens in for a coworker this morning, and was reminded by another coworker that I was going to bring in some for him. No memory of that conversation. Losing my memory. Maybe that's the beginning of bliss. Maybe it's the drinking of my youth.

Someday I will tell everyone my story. Like I do when I qualify at a meeting. It's one of the most important parts of who I am, and no one knows it outside of AA. Who's reading this weblog? Where will it go? Is it safe to write stuff? Should I even care about that? It's a challenge to write, not knowing who's reading, to be descreet enough, and still be honest and true. I've read blogs that talk in a critical way about things, and that can be amusing to read. I know my blog is not meant to be amusing, and is to be a record of my garden. But I want to talk about the things that infuse my life, and my wonder and pain about things as well. My life is a miracle. It's so different today from what my inner landscape was in my late teens early twenties. Before I got sober. And it's so different now from the first decades of sobriety.

I have to say that the single most significant event of my life was when I walked into AA and got sober at age 26. It has framed everything that has happened before that and since, and was the first miracle I ever experienced. And I am still amazed that I got sober, because I didn't think I was an alcoholic, just that my life was a mess. What made me stay, when to call myself an alcoholic seemed too over-the-top, and I didn't want to believe it.

I stayed because the people were talking about feelings in a way that I desperately wanted to hear, because they were talking about me, my inner life, my own feelings, that I didn't understand nor could I articulate. It seemed more important than the label, alcoholic.

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