Rainy State Garden

I started late, but it’s paying off.  My only real self-critique involves cramming a little too much into a compact gardening space, but damn they’re turning out pretty even if they are all elbow to leafy elbow.

Red leaf lettuce, Sugar Snap peas, Nantes carrots, Soleil pole beans, bunching onions and green leaf lettuce in the above picture.

The local farmer’s market is a pretty modest affair, but there is an organic tomato grower selling starts that I can’t resist.  I currently have nine different types of cherry tomatoes just waiting for some sunshine to thrive.  Overkill you ask?  Perhaps.  But I prefer to think of it as an awesome salad/stir fry/snack just waiting to happen.

Best garden helper ever:

Thoughtfully weeding dandelions for me:

Pandora is facilitating my current folk music kick and I’m feeling introspective and mid-afternoon drowsy.  Weather permitting we’ll be paddling Lake Merrill or boarding on the coast this weekend.  And of course, honoring the all important 4th of July ritual of burning meat on the BBQ.  July 5th marks the beginning of Oregon summer so here’s to sunshine, good beer and outdoor enthusiasm of all stripes.

Bug Trails

Ruminating on a potential trip to Costa Rica in the next year or two got me to thinking about the kinds of critters I might encounter down there.  Sloths, beetles, spiders… and eventually this curiosity led me to the exotic and horrific botfly, which can lay its larvae in human hosts via a mosquito intermediary.  This is an internet research rabbit hole that you soooooo do not want to fall into.  It does not lead to Wonderland.  More like evil insect overlord wormy colonization land.  But now I know more about venomous Costa Rican spiders and botfly removal with vasoline than I ever did before.  Cheers…  I guess?

I just dispatched a 1.5″ centipede to a watery afterlife and I’ve seen more praying mantids out here than I can count.  Who needs Costa Rica when I’ve got ground squirrels and quail and urban deer running around?

Hopefully all above mentioned fauna will leave my newly planted garden the hell alone.  The inside plants are doing fine, mostly basil and red currant tomatoes, but I have some serious doubts about the outside garden.  Matt noted this morning we’re on our 19th straight day of rain and I can feel it in my bones.  The weather has to cough up some sunshine eventually, and then, no doubt, I’ll be complaining about the stifling heat.  The plants could use some light.  And maybe some warmth to go with it?  Must run outside to enjoy momentary sunbreak, my leafy green tendrils are hungry for it.

Workday Weekends

I whined and grumped and moaned about giving up my Sundays to work.  I’m still trying to figure out how I can get out of working that sliver of weekend all summer.  The silver lining is that I can take off on glorious weekdays to drive places like this:

Cape Meares

With Mom as my copilot and the dog in the back, how could this not be an awesome way to spend a Tuesday?  The Pelican Brewery in Pacific City provided some stellar lunch and we rounded out the afternoon scoping out good campsites at Cape Lookout and enjoying a wine tasting at the Blue Heron in Tillamook.

The Three Capes Scenic Loop in Tillamook County has some of the best the Oregon Coast can offer.  It’s set back from the main highway so it’s easy to feel like you’re in on a secret.  A secret very clearly marked by road signs, but hey, we’re talking spirit rather than letter here.  Sand Lake for the ATV enthusiast, or for the pure weirdness of seeing dunes in a coastal forest:

The drive loops from Tillamook out to Cape Meares, south to Cape Lookout and finally past Sand Lake and into Pacific City with Cape Kiwanda easily visible from the public beach access by the brewery.

Cape Kiwanda

There’s a lighthouse, plenty of places to hike, good camping, stunning views and great places to eat at the end of the loop.  And when you get to take a weekday to enjoy it, it feels like you’re getting away with something.

Back at work today, it’s been pouring.  I’ve had to execute two freakishly large spiders and try to exorcise the electrical demon living in my work dump truck.  I swear there is a poltergeist in that machine.  Later there’s a birthday to be celebrated at the Rogue and finally a little indulgence of my newest crafty fixation: origami bonsai.  My sister accused me of being a nut when I described (maybe with a tinge of mania) the wonder of folding flowers out of paper.  But they’re pretty, dammit.  I figure as long as it’s entertaining, long live the craft distraction du jour.  And yes, as I’ve admitted before, I have the attention span of a goldfish.

Weather Event

Spring came down with a vengeance and dumped 1/4″ hail stones yesterday afternoon.  I was glad that me, the dog and the baby plants were all tucked safely inside.

We're going to need a better umbrella...

Since I can’t be outside, I’ve been spending more of my time indoors reading.  Our weekend in Seattle included a trip to Half Price Books where I gleefully stocked up on more non-fiction.  For some reason I’ve been crushing on Enlightenment-era history of science books.  I don’t know why.  Highlights include:

Age of Wonder — A well-woven string of mini-biographies and research histories surrounding the players and personages at the Royal Society at the dawn of a voracious scientific era in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Jewel House — Elizabethan London and the nascent Scientific Revolution.

The Mapmaker’s Wife — The first 2/3 of the book deals with a once highly contentious question:  what is the true shape of the earth?  Then details the French expedition sent to Ecuador in the 1730’s to measure degrees of longitude and latitude at the equator.  The last third becomes a survival story of a woman alone in the Amazon jungle.

Next up:

The Lost City of Z — Given that I just finished another Amazon survival story above, I thought I’d stick with the theme and follow British explorer Percy Fawcett in his search for El Dorado in 1925.  My guess is that the expedition does not end well.

I love to see what other people are buying in the express lane at the grocery.  As if those three to six items can be distilled into a picture of the individual purchasing them.  What does this apple/pack of tampons/mechanical pencil say about me as a person?  The bookstore works the same way.  I had to laugh when I saw Matt’s biography of Nikola Tesla/Secrets of Free Masonry/Cults/historical life of Jesus Christ.  Sure, I put two of those books in his hands but all together they make such a great picture.  My stack was more of the same.  Oh, the siren call of half price research opportunities.

At this rate we’re going to need another bookcase to hold our treasures.

Chicken Envy

Due at least in part to my move to a semi-rural area I think I’m beginning to go native.  I drive a giant tractor and run deliveries in a small dump truck.  I subscribed to Mother Earth Magazine.  I finally own a sweet touring kayak and if it would ever stop freaking raining the put-in is only five minutes from my house.

I have bold intentions for four raised garden beds in my front yard.  Given that I have access to a tractor I thought, hey, why not regrade the front yard and start from scratch with a nice flat surface?  This is more difficult to do than I expected.  I really only managed to smash the big clumps of grass flat and scrape a big pile of crap onto the driveway.

“I like what you’ve done with the yard,” says Matt.

It may not be pretty, but those garden beds are happening.  Fennel, basil, wax beans, pole beans, red currant tomatoes, chives, kale, cucumbers, and maybe if I’m very, very lucky even a hybrid watermelon or two.  I have a huge deck that is begging for extra plants and herbs in planter boxes.  That’s my planned stage two.  And then there’s this awesome outdoor grill/oven/griddle that I have the schematics for but probably won’t build until I have a little more permanency, or a lot of time and building materials on my hands.

Which brings me to my chicken envy.  Julia, I covet your chickens.  Even though stock is a huge time and care commitment.  And I can just buy eggs at the grocery store.  And I’m not sure I could ever bring myself to personally off a chicken in the name of dinner.  I’ve no plans on turning chicken thief in the night, but I thought I’d own up to something I feel secretly competitive about.  Not that it’s a race or anything…

Soon (hopefully) the cold rain will be on it’s way out to make room for some serious springtime.  What mischief are you up to this weekend?

Commence Blogging

I think five months of radio silence is a sufficient time of transition, no?  Adventures have been had.  New friends have been made.  New projects started, some old projects abandoned, some finally finished for good.

I’m rural living once again and holy crap, I’ve got time on my hands to spare out here.  Fall demands baking and knitting and movie watching on the couch.   On my computer.  Which is less than ideal but a helluva lot cheaper than a new TV. 

I have been to the coast and the mountains and the river.  I bought a wetsuit took up boogie boarding in the frigid Pacific Ocean.  Books, trashy and otherwise, have been consumed by the dozen in the past couple of months.  Camping, hiking and feasting took up my summer, along with some good visits with very old friends.  The transition continues, but I’m looking forward to sharing what I’m up to again.

Adieu, Frayed Yarn.

Hi.  After writing a blog break-up note to Hillory and receiving her blessings, I have moved to my own wordpress blog with a funny name:

Visit Bebe Yaga

I have moved my posts over there; everything is intact.  Just in two different places now.

Excited for new directions.  I have some great things to post.  Thanks for reading, and thanks to Hil.  See you over there….

Morgen