Monday, October 3, 2011

The standoff.

And now we're into October. The leaves are beginning to turn, and temperatures are starting to drop indoors and out.

Speaking of drop, if I catch the little tree rat that keeps digging up my geranium, I'm gonna drop-kick him into the bushes across the street. I give you corn, you creep! Stay out of my plants!

Anyhow, the falling temps. Since we live in a house of hardwood floors, it's time to break out the socks and slippers. And sweaters and blankets. It's kind of a competition around our neighborhood. "Did you turn on the heater yet?"

It's funny how that one little phrase can be such a source of pride or humiliation. Admitting to turning up the heat before January is apparently like confessing that you like ketchup on your kittens or something. A shameful thing. On the other hand, you score big if you can point to the thermostat with a shivering blue finger and announce, "Yep, still off!"

In my opinion, if you can't hear the radio over the chattering of your teeth, it's time to crank up the thermostat. Some like it hot. Do you?

Monday, September 12, 2011

About spiders...

I'd be a poor sort of gardener if I didn't appreciate the need for spiders. After all, they eat bugs and keep the backyard ecosystem in balance. That being said, I think spiders have their place, and I definitely believe that they should remain there.

I don't freak out just because a spider shows up in a odd corner of the house. There was the time I found a brown recluse in my clothes, but that was justifiable homicide. Most of the time, I figure that a spider minding his own business in the rafters will do me the favor of keeping my yarn stash safe from moths. Live and let live, right?

Spiders in the yard are always to be encouraged. Go for it, little dudes! Eat the mosquitoes and flies!

The only problem with arachnid leniency is that spiders are hard to train. Many of them insist on building their webs any old where, often with disastrous results. This weekend was a prime example.

The space between two trees looked like a fine spot to spin a web. Unfortunately, some fool put a sidewalk there first. Heading up that sidewalk in the darkness was, you guessed it, me. I walked face-first into a net that would have done the Starkist fleet proud.

It was occupied.

I can look back on the incident now and be glad that it was too dark for anybody to see my "DEAR GOD, GET IT OFF ME!!" dance. At the time, I was too busy dealing with eight legs running laps around my neck to show gratitude. I stopped short of beating myself senseless and stomped into the house.

I swear I heard crickets giggling...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Suffering Succotash. And Carrots, And Potatoes, And...

On the plus side, there's the fact that the AC didn't break until the heat wave did. Humidity or no (and we have plenty), one hundred twelve degrees is just freakin' HOT. So, when I came home from work to find a dead air conditioner, I was fully prepared to weep and sweat.

Trying to sleep while the in-house temps are above ninety is... doubleplusungood.

Today, the repair dude arrived. With the rain.

This is my dilemma. Shall I be disgruntled at the prospect of waiting another day to pay a massive bill, since no one in their right mind would do electrical repair under a huge maple tree in a thunderstorm? Or should I take my coffee onto the porch and enjoy the cool breeze and less-crispy lawn?

Mother Nature doesn't always play nice, but at least she seems to be cutting me some slack today.

How was your weekend?

Monday, July 11, 2011

In which I get new ears.

My sweaty spouse clumped his way up the porch steps and peeked around the door. "Well, everything's pretty much dead, but we got some corn. Oh, and here's some tomatoes!" He handed me one large yellow and one medium red tomato. I eyed the thumbprint-sized gouge in the yellow tomato.

"I see something's been enjoying this one already."

"Well, yeah. But you can cut that part off, right?"

Larry is convinced that if we'd intended to raise weeds, we would instead have thriving vegetables. As it stands now, the lack of water has ensured a lack of bountiful harvest. But hey, several dollars' worth of organic veggies is a great return on a few cents' worth of seeds. We're not complaining.

We took our day's harvest home. My contribution to the produce effort was about to begin. I filled the big pot with water and set it to boil before turning to the ears waiting in the sink. After wrestling with and swearing at the trash can (When, oh WHEN will they make a 14-gallon bag to fit in my 13-gallon trash can? Just an extra inch of fold over would be nice.), I started shucking the corn.

I was pretty gleeful at this point, stopping just short of yelling, "Wow! It looks like real corn!" I nearly did a happy dance. Whilst peeling the seventh ear, I looked under my thumb and DID do a dance. I also came close to dislocating my elbow as I hastily returned said ear to the sink.

"Hey, this one's occupied! I'm gonna give it to the squirrels."

The water finally achieved boil and the corn was blanched. Into a zipper bag, suck out the air, toss it in the freezer. Our first corn. Bask with me in this moment of quiet triumph, sharing a bond with our global ancestors who taught us the secrets of storing food for an uncertain future.

That's nice. Now pass the butter.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Green Monday: grow the love!

Hey, looky what I got from Marian Allen!

After a brief pause to bask in my newfound glory...

...ah, that was nice. Anyhow, now I must meet certain obligations that come with this award. First, the thanks. Marian, if I had the gas money, I would drive to your house and make a chocolate flan cake just for you. It has a caramel glaze and uses seven free-range eggs.

Now I'm supposed to tell seven random facts about myself. This should be easy. Most of my life has been fairly random.

1. I was once named "Joke Teller of the Week" at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas.

2. I can write with both hands at once. Now if I only had twice as many paychecks to sign...

3. My absolute favorite pasta dish is Shrimp Alfredo with broccoli.

4. I firmly believe that life is too short to drink bad coffee.

5. The only shopping that I really enjoy is in yarn or book stores.

6. I am not the shortest person in my family.

7. My closet is full of theater costumes. And yarn.

Now then, it's time to pass it on. The number of recipients seems to be chosen at random, so I'll pick four because there's a dreidel on the couch and it has four sides. First up, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Alex is an author and dedicated blogger who never fails to return visits. He also has some very stylish blue binary code on his page.

Next up, we have N. R. Williams. Hey, anybody who writes a book featuring a gal with a magic flute is definitely deserving of a style award. And the book itself is much cooler than my one-line synopsis. Go and peek; she has excerpts available.

Can't pass out style awards without giving one to Stephen Tremp. Speaking as someone with a wardrobe consisting of jeans and t-shirts, I am properly impresse d by a guy who can wear a suit and smile. And he can write!

Cool and groovy person number four shall be... Peggy Frezon! Writing about and on behalf of pets, Peggy has a knack for bringing out the warmth and humor in a given situation. Plus, she's got a really cute dog.

There you have it! Flippancy aside, these four folks (and Marian, too) have the talent for making you feel something when you read their words. They also know a whole raft of other really interesting people, so don't be shy about visiting their blogs and perusing their reading lists. As for me, I'd better go peruse the garden. We got about ten drops of rain, which means the weeds are sure to be on the move.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weird Wednesday: snails!

According to Speed of Animals, a typical garden snail (Helix aspersa) travels at the blistering pace of .1 kilometer per hour, or .062 mph.

I guess nobody told him about the cake in the kitchen.