An accidental gardener

I must admit, I am not a control freak gardener. For instance, I have a huge crop of different greens in the garden right now because I allow the lettuces to go to seed in July and August. I let all those plants reseed themselves where they wish. That way, I don’t have to worry about getting out there in April’s inclement, mucky weather to plant lettuce and the greens get an early start despite me. True, they come up all over the garden and I have no control if they land in the tulips or mint, but there is plenty of lettuce out there to feed my family and several others. We’ve already had salad a few times from the young leaf lettuce and this year’s season has been off to a cold start.

I have no concept of rows. I didn’t start out to be a haphazard gardener but it all rather took me over, not the way it’s supposed to be – me-big-gardener over the garden. The shade issue and the clay soil had something to do with the development of our relationship of grower and growees. I have hauled in so much top soil and dug in so much compost to fill this back yard at least 4 times. And, we have a large back yard. There is only so much one can do with clay soil and I certainly don’t want to cut down all the big trees. So, I plant whatever grows best there and I don’t sweat the other stuff. My organic farmer friend supplies us with all the peppers and tomatoes we can eat. (Sometimes we even get sweet corn.) In turn, I can provide Jane with rhubarb, raspberries from the sunniest place by the fence, and my moral / financial support.

It’s just as well. I cannot imagine myself out there lining string along rows in order to plant straight, nifty lines of beans and beets. I tried carrots once or twice but they ended up gnarled and grotesque – like someone was attempting a weird, genetic experiment with Klingons. Why swim against the flow, not that I can swim that well anyway but why fight the very nature of …. nature? It wants to grow wild, then let it! I do put my foot down on weeds. I weed like crazy and pull the wild geranium, dig out the grass. The piles of weeds are impressive. My accidental garden looks pretty good right now, if I don’t say so myself. There’s no structure nor any theme, but it’s mine and filled with all my favorites. Ah, it’s Just a little…. what the Germans would call: Ungekämmt.

Photo is of the Sweet Woodruff near the back step.

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” Martin Buber

Sky Watchers

This photo was taken from our little 17 foot Venture sailboat on Flathead lake just a few evenings ago. The rain had gone and the sky was a deep, evening blue. Read an account of our first sail below titled: My crazy parents. This next shot was taken near Plains, MT close to a Big Horn Sheep reserve on the Clark Fork River west of us. Heavy skies prevailed that day. There are Big Horns up there on that cliff, but hidden from view. I saw seven of these wild sheep through the binoculars. See more Sky Watch Friday pictures at Tom’s place. Click on the photos for a larger view.

My crazy parents

What have they wrangled me into now?

Sunday evening we had a break in the rain and launched our new, old sailboat from the Big Arm dock. The set up time: we only took about 30 minutes to rig since the two guys had practiced it in our front yard multiple times. The Lake was very calm but there was a light breeze (just right for beginners) so we sailed out about 300 yards from the boat launch and then we pretty much came to a halt. Becalmed with slack lines won’t get you any distance on the water. I got a lot of practice in with the tiller trying to maneuver Seashell into a position so she would catch maybe a little wind. My efforts were to no avail and the guys had to row us back to the launch shortly after the sun went down. The proverbial breeze of evening never danced across the bay as I promised them it would. Just wait, it will rise! Oh well. It was a serene view from the water however and I’ll be posting one of those photos tomorrow.

Notes from a woman with a bad cold

I’ve been down with a real, knock-down, drag out bout of seasonal allergies which I think now has morphed into something else. Everything around here is in bloom. My brain has been lost in a great cloud of tissue dust. It’s the worse cold I’ve ever had. Of course, every cold I get is the worst – while I’m having it. And, women really suffer with these things so much more than do men. We experience discomfort so much more intensely. Contrary to what this entry from the Urban Dictionary states. All joking aside (oh yes, the above paragraph was in jest) I am a bit behind right now even though I have attempted to continue in my daily functions. (Dang, where is my hankie? Remember how your grandmother used to put her hankie up her sleeve because many of the dresses she wore didn’t have pockets? I do not, repeat, do not DO that.)

Today is a bit better so here are a couple cool things: If you are not following this already then please check out NASA’s saga of Phoenix landing on Mars. I have no idea how much the MSM is updating this amazing voyage, since we don’t get any TV whatsoever. (Our valley is so hard to get any kind of reception in, including cell service and radio stations.) Anyway, I think it is really fantastic when they come out with photos such as these. Inhabit this, they say? Wow, that seems rather optimistic. Shouldn’t we work on making things better on this planet first? Still, I find these Mars missions very exciting and the photos are always superb.

Further, I have posted quite a few photos which we have taken near or at the National Bison Range over the past 2 years. Here is a recent photo. The Bison Range is only just a skip down the road and over the hill. On May 23 it marked and is celebrating 100 years since Teddy Roosevelt penned the reserve into existence. The original herd of 40 animals was moved onto the range in 1909 from a private herd raised and owned by Alicia Conrad. Some of that herd actually originated from a local family here in the valley.

“Charles Conrad’s widow, Alicia, had managed to keep her husband’s herd going despite his death in 1902, at the age of 52. She agreed to sell 34 bison to the American Bison Society, which would stock the new wildlife refuge.”

“The largest mammal native to the North American continent, an estimated 40 million of them roamed in massive herds of thousands between Mexico and central Canada when our nation was founded. While an estimated 40 million once roamed North America, over-harvesting drove the bison to near-extinction by 1900.”

Now the NBR keeps the herd around 350-400 animals and they are culled each Fall during the annual round-up. Both of our boys have attended those events as day trips from the school and they have always remarked at how large the older bulls are! Massive. Other herds remain all over the US and in Canada too, some herds much larger than on the preserve and some of these are commercial herds selling bison meat as a leaner, healthier alternative to beef. Most of the local area restaurants serve Bison Burgers, although I don’t care much for them– that’s just eating a little too close to home on the Bison Range.

Reflections via OSI

giant fern-laced cliffs

the sea glistens back sunlight

dark clouds gathering


I bend to gather

a fallen Plumeria

pink rain soaked blossoms

first Hawaiian spring flowers

reflect a dazzled blue sky.


the mirror of love

is a bright sun of each day

my small hand in yours


I consider light

reflected off the blue sea

the shadows of palms.

Read other reflections of these poets’ hands at One Single Impression.

Mermaid tales

Probably one thing a person shouldn’t waste their time on, especially given all the pressing issues this spring like war, earthquakes, and high food prices, is get all bent out of shape about Mermaid breasts. Now, I can think of other reasons to find fault with Starbucks – like they need to start using more fair trade or organic coffee when they buy from suppliers – but honestly, someone actually is putting energy into this campaign because they noticed Starbucks is using an ages old mermaid image for their logo! aieeeee. Cover the children’s eyes when you drink that coffee! How many times have I told you? Honestly. What’s with the air down there in San Diego anyway? I think personally these people are all hyped out on crazy pills, or too much caffeine. Oh boy, now they’ve cut themselves off of a fresh supply and can you imagine their headache-induced attitude when they get up in the morning? oooch. Those darn mermaids have created so much trouble down through the ages. Better firmly tell those mermaids the next time you are down on the pier: Get a bra on; better yet – a parka! You trying to catch a cold or give us all a heart attack?

On the more uplifting side of life and all its creative mystery, here is a story about a woman from New Zealand who has new tail fins to help her swim. Given she is a double amputee I think this is amazing. She loves to swim and she’s good at it. Now she really gets to move fast in the water and become a true mermaid. “The keen swimmer is to be fitted with the “mermaid-style” tail made by the same special effects team behind blockbuster Lord of the Rings and King Kong. ”

Just wow.

Sky Watchers

I have enjoyed posting current Sky Watch photos the last few weeks but our weather is not permitting any kind of photography today unless it would be underwater photos you are wanting. It is persistently raining, which is a very, very good thing – believe me! So, in honor of Sky Watchers I am posting a photo of a place which is near to hearts on the Olympic Peninsula. This was taken last June. I won’t tell you which beach because it’s a secret. We call it: Secret Cove and you can only get there when the tide is out. Way out. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into bliss. Go to our host Tom’s blog for more amazing Skies.

Also, quote for the day: Don’t get your knickers in a knot. Nothing is solved and it just makes you walk funny. ~Kathryn Carpenter

Sea Stones

Here is another close-up on a varied scale of the Pacific ocean shore in Washington State. You can see some rocks which have been broken off of larger sandstone boulders, still bearing the evidence of our little friend the Piddock clam. That’s the creature responsible for all the rock drilling! You can learn about these boring clams here. This particular Piddock lives for about eight years and never stops burrowing. We have seen some impressive rock work on the open beach shore especially at low tide. It might be sandstone and somewhat soft, but these are still rocks. A clam can bore a lot of stone in eight years, grain by grain. Some of these clams can live out of the mud and water for quite a long time.

Holes of mystery

Since no one deciphered my last mystery photo I wanted to give you all another clue.  This one is very similar except on a smaller scale and closer up. The same materials and forces are involved.  Please click on photo for a better view.

holes of mystery