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One cat just leads to another.

–Ernest Hemingway

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*Yogi Goaty Goodness*

I’m not making this  up.

It’s something that exists in the world now.

Just….LOOK!!

yoga goatsNosowitz, D. (August 29, 2016). Goat Yoga: It’s Yoga with Goats. Modern Farmer. Online

 

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And within the course of a week life went abruptly from this

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 to this

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My pickle journey began on a crisp January day this year. I was flipping though Annie’s Heirloom Seed Catalogue, while fantasizing about warm weather and all the stuff I wanted to grow in the garden.

Me: “Hey! We could grow corn and make our own popcorn!!”

El-D Squidward: “No.  The deer will eat it.”

Me: “Then we need to plant enough for the deer to eat too! What could be better than homegrown popcorn!?”

El-D Squidward: “Being dead…or anything else.” (ok, maybe he didn’t say that part exactly, but the sentiment was expressed in the look he gave me.)

I continued flipping pages in the catalogue and came to the page with cucumbers.  Homemade pickles! I kept this thought to myself, lest I be told a plague of cucumber-eating locust were expected this year.

I pondered pickles for few months, then ordered the seeds for Boston Pickling Cucumbers.  The date was March 24th.

I planted them on May 6th. Little fuzzy plants began pulling themselves out of the ground a few weeks later.hanging on

 

El-D saw them coming up and built them a fancy trellis.  On May 11th it occurred to me that  I really needed to be growing dill if I was going to make pickles, so I planted some.

As the cucumber blossoms started turning into fruit, I realized  that this pickle thing might acutally happen.  The search for recipes began in earnest. I watched the Good Eats episode on pickle making as part of my research because Alton Brown is THE MAN.

cucumber 2016

After painstaking research, I finally decided on  Curbstone Valley Farm’s Classic Dill Pickle recipe.  Four stores later, I had managed to acquire almost all the ingredients.  (Where the heck does one find juniper berries??).

Today, pickle preparation began. Today alone was a 5 hour labor of love.

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I have the scalded skin to show for it.  Seven months after the pickle idea popped into my head, I have this…

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<cue angels singing here>

 

 

Sing it with me y’all!

…and now I only have three weeks to wait.  This batch will be ready August 2. *sigh*

This is us, this is love, this is where I’m home.

Emeli Sandé

We’ve been on staycation for the last week. It’s all my fault. How can anyone be expected to vacate when the moonflower is unfurling all her Love across the fence? I mean really!

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the moonflower leaves sweet Valentines

I can’t possibly tear myself away from this. Someone must remain present to witness it all.

 

Time tending the garden must be subtracted from time in transit, from time absorbed by electronic screens, and from time preparing agendas and itineraries.

Planning a vacation sounds like work in comparison when there is a Magic Queendom just outside the doorstep…

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a squash blossom forest

 

…amusing sights abound at every turn.

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this from a tiny seed dropped in the dirt!

 

Ants parade around accompanied by birdsong bands. A lizard mama skitters away-quiet as a whispered secret-when the hiding place for her glowing eggs is suddenly revealed to a startled human female, who quickly restores their cover.

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Over the course of the week, we did venture a short distance from home. Just around the corner is an enchanted land where fairies frolic and gnomes make homes.

Sherry's fairies

And just a little further out, though still remaining firmly rooted in the City of Kings,  there was another garden to visit.

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El-D commands the sea creatures

 

And that is what I did on my summer staycation.

 

 

 

 

 

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roses & arugula intermingle

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cucumbers bloom

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blackberries ripen

Buried beneath warm blankets, in the quiet shifting shadows just before sunrise, there arises an urgent need to share…

Me: Ostriches look like they have a lot of pent up anger with no adequate means to express it.

Him: That’s what you’re thinking?

 

Back in July we got a couple of new hens.

Hobbit (left) was named for the feathered feet.  Chicken Little (right) was named for her catastrophic reactions to treats being dropped on her head.  By “treats” I mean spinach stems or strawberry caps – nothing at all that should cause a concussion or “end of the world” behavior.   Hobbit would *always* be the first to snatch up the treat. This would instantly send Chicken Little into “the sky is falling” mode, in which she would chase Hobbit around the cage in a panic, all the while peeping frantically. Hobbit wouldn’t even eat the snack at first, preferring instead to run around with it taunting Chicken Little.  If I dropped another treat in for Chicken Little, Hobbit would drop the first treat, snatch up the second treat and take off running with it.  Rather than taking Hobbit’s discarded treat, Chicken Little would act like it didn’t exist at all and continue her incessant peeping and chasing.

The silly little birds grew and grew and it quickly became evident that they were nothing like the dignified Myrtle, Pearl, and Gertrude, or even crazy Freebird. These two chicks were friendly and more than a little nuts. They’d practically jump in our pockets each time we opened the door to their cage.

At some point Chicken Little stopped growing, but Hobbit kept getting bigger and then began developing iridescent greenish black feathers like a peacock.  I was in denial for a long time even though the evidence was before my eyes.  The day after Christmas when we opened the back door to let Moon Pie out for her morning routine, our little Hobbit announced to the world his manhood with a “COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!!”

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Hobbit demanding a close-up and Chicken Little in the background

The morning could hardly be described as “dawning.” It emerged warm, dark, and drizzly. The garden was a fragrant sauna and the ducks were quacking their delight over it all.  Star-shaped mushrooms had sprung up delicate, translucent, and otherworldly. I picked rain-washed basil, then stole time to tie it off and hang it over the doorways.  The fragrant leaves dangle low enough to anoint El-D’s forehead as he passes through each threshold. He shall be thoroughly seasoned in the next four weeks as the bundles dry. The whole house smells good enough to eat.

The fall semester has begun.  With loins girded I returned to the fray. It’s my fourth year of this. There are two thousand and two hundred children on the roster. By mid-morning I was surrounded on all sides by two-year-olds.  Things were going surprisingly well all things considered. Right before lunch screaming and tears erupted when a little one objected to my intrusion. Tensions were mounting on all sides. This human, just under three feet tall, had me near defeated when my friend and colleague snatched up a nearby puppet and launched into the most wildly entertaining impromptu song and puppet show I have ever witnessed. Devoid of all adult-like dignity, her performance was so brilliant and hysterical it stopped the two year old in his tracks mid-wail. Victory! It was the sort of inspired moment, so vivid and well-lived, that makes the heart unbelievably glad.

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