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“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis Carroll,
November was exceedingly strange. Here are a few pictures I’ve taken this month of things that happened.
There was this…
(I was waiting on a friend in the car when the bear showed up seemingly unaccompanied.)
(The dino was my contribution to a SoKaN event for #901 Rocks – a delightfully fun community craft movement taking the city by storm. These are some of the other SoKaNers’ painted rocks…)
[And finally, coming home fr0m this mad, funny, heartbreaking, and beautiful world to retreat (not to be confused with retweet) and recharge.]
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.
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.
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.
I have the scalded skin to show for it. Seven months after the pickle idea popped into my head, I have this…
<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.
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!
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…
…amusing sights abound at every turn.
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.
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.
And just a little further out, though still remaining firmly rooted in the City of Kings, there was another garden to visit.
And that is what I did on my summer staycation.
For the last six years, the ladies of Shimmy Mob Memphis have joined women across the world in danced to raise funds and awareness for local women’s and children’s shelters to help end domestic violence.
We invite you to join us this Saturday, May 21, 2016 for a fundraiser show and silent auction at Club 152 on Beale Street at 7 p.m. Admission is $15. Proceeds go to the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County.
There will be presentations about the Family Safety Center and a silent auction with lovely items on the auction block.
(Bring cash or a check for the auction!)
Please join us for a fun and sparkly evening in support of a great cause!
Shimmy Mob Memphis was a success!
We have until May 31 to raise $180.50 needed to reach our goal of $2000. Donations may be made online at fundly.com/shimmy-mob-memphis
On May 10, 2014 Memphis dancers united across groups and differences in support of the Shimmy Mob cause – to raise funds and awareness for women’s and children’s shelters. This year the Memphis team supported the mission of the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County, an organization that provides counseling and support services for families affected by domestic abuse and educational services to the community to prevent domestic violence.
To support the cause, please make a donation through: ShimmyMobMemphis until May 31, 2014 or directly through the Family Safety Center’s website (see link above).
Skattur has a new garden art creation: Mushroom Sitters.
As you can see, they are freakin’ adorable.
You can find these little guys and their friends TOMORROW
Skattur will be there 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
I’ll be there floating around there somewhere probably being a pizza snob
(Nobody makes a better pie than El-D).
This event is sure to be a blast!
Here’s where it’s at:
3873 U.S 61
Tunica MS. 38676
It’s that time again…
You may pay what you can OR bring something(s) from their wish list:
Items for shelter:
Umbrellas, Batteries (All sizes), Flashlights, Pots and pans, Cooking/eating utensils, Tool set, Blankets, Towels (bath and face), Twin sheet sets, Pillows, Twin mattress covers, Standard pillow covers, Dish towels, Dining room chairs, Microwave, Refrigerator, Chest freezer, Living room set (sofa, love seat and chair), Toilet tissue, Paper towels, Facial tissue, Dish washing liquid, Cleaning supplies, Bleach, Light bulbs, Laundry detergent, Irons
Items for women:
Handbags, Wallets, Jewelry. Watches, Perfume, Gowns/pajamas, Slippers, Robes, Hosiery, Socks, New panties (all sizes especially plus sizes), New bras (all sizes especially plus sizes), Perm kits (African-American hair texture), Hair coloring, Feminine hygiene products, Journals, Day planners, Disposable cameras, Phone cards, Movies (VHS) for adults (Non-violent content), tooth paste, Bubble bath, *Subscription to Commercial Appeal
Items for children:
Toys (for all ages), Books (for all ages) (English & Spanish Languages), Dolls, Cars and trucks, “Dress up” jewelry/clothing, Video games, Children’s videos (English & Spanish Languages), Footballs/basketballs, Portable cassette/compact disc players, Child seats (for the car), School uniforms, Backpacks, Diapers (all sizes), Baby wipes, New sippy cups/pacifiers/bottles, New children’s underwear (all sizes), New socks (all sizes), Slippers, Robes, Pajamas, Strollers, Potty Seats
Canned meat (tuna, salmon, etc.), Canned vegetables (corn, peas, etc.), Dry goods (beans, etc.), Sugar, Juice boxes
Notebooks, Pencils, Crayons, Folders, Pencil Sharpeners, Pencil Box, Backpacks, White Loose leaf paper, Rulers, Dictionaries, Calculators, Lunchboxes, Small assignment notebooks.
I can’t unsee it.
Hiram, our only boy duck that had manners, was taken out by a hungry raptor.
I was headed to work when I met the brazen beast near my car in the midst of his macabre meal. At first sight I was so captivated by the hawk’s beauty and proximity that it was all I could see. I didn’t process the life being extinguished beneath his talon. And then, all at once I did, as the flood of life’s drama rushed in – the hunger, the struggle, and the sacrifice of one life for another.
Sacrifice. When I was a child, the word conjured terrifying Biblical images of a world that made no sense: Abraham binding his son Isaac, slaughtered lambs, and gruesome crucifixions. Such interesting tales told to Sunday school children.
Over the years, my understanding of the concept has deepened. When I became a vegetarian I began practicing what the word meant in action: “to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.” I gave up my taste for flesh so that another life might go on for awhile longer.
My current lesson comes in noun form, “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”
Within the linguistic roots of the word sacrifice is the word sacred. That tangle of meanings is there for good reason. The life and death of one thing is contained within the seed of another. Everything must eventually give way for what comes next in Life’s yearning for itself.
This brings me to the topic of the Japanese beetles. The scarabs are pretty; their shells are an iridescent mix of greens and golds. However, they don’t belong here. These interlopers have been fornicating all over the roses and eating up the petals and leaves. Last season I came to the conclusion that while they’re pretty, they don’t smell nearly as good as the flowers, so I poisoned them. Then I questioned myself about the ethics of a vegetarian destryoing a happy bug’s life — and about poisoning the air, ground, and plants with hazardous chemicals. Skattur suggested I pick the bugs off, pack them in a box, and ship them back to Japan. I entertained this fantastic idea briefly, then I decided to pick them off and feed them to the ducks, who seem quite satisfied with this exotic delicacy.
The first harvest of the season comes at the heels of all this sacrificial obeisance.
I managed to pick about a dozen blueberries before the bushes became just another elaborate system for feeding winged-things.
We have also managed to salvage some lettuce, radishes, and a few raspberries, which made a pretty salad.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
Well hello there Mr. Tree.
Was I looking at you,
or were you looking at me?
A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.
— John Muir