Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Summer Garden

Ahhhh, summer has arrived. It's hot outside! How lovely! Until about 11:30, then it's just hot. After one day of real heat (it was 33.9 C/93F) today, we have caved. We will be shopping for an air conditioner tomorrow. It was at one point this after 95.7 inside. We are quite comfy with 85, but 95 is a bit more summer than we are prepared to cope with.

It probably wouldn't have gotten so warm inside but James came to warn us that he was spraying the trees to try and stave off an aphid infestation. We closed the trailer, packed a squealing, fighting Salvador into the truck and headed for the park by the river. Salvador moaned and squalled the entire five minute trip, and was scarely better once we were spread a quilt on the grass and settled in the shade. He panted and complained the entire time, as if being tortured.

After an hour we came home, and opened everything up, but by the the trailer was a little oven. It was too hot to cook and too hot even to be hungry. Tony had a slice of bread. I had a glass of soy milk. If it continues maybe we'll lose weight!

We ate our dinner at the picnic table last night, while Salvador lay in the grass enjoying the kind of bliss you rarely see other than in animals and small children. He took a real shine to the last folks parked in the spot beside us. If they weren't outside he would go to their door, knock with his paw and demand entrance!

He enjoyed a nap in their closet, and when he was ready to come home they carried him back as if he were King. Which he is of course.

He was confused when his friends moved on after a month and a new camper pulled in. He wanted to go visit them too, but they weren't cat people. No invitations to sleep in their closet, or even on their bike rack.

I went around day before yesterday and took flower pictures, which you may have noticed I am sharing with you. The poppies are about three feet tall and so brilliantly red that I think the pixels frizzled. The petunias are in my planters, the peonies are in a flower bed up front. There are lots more, but only so many per post.

Enjoy your walk through our flower garden!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The First 42 Years...

...have been an adventure. Forty-two years ago on a Thursday morning in Cook County Courthouse, Chicago Illinois, my dearly beloved and I were wed. We'd intended to be married the next Saturday, but the minister called to say that he would not be available. We went to the courthouse to get the license and decided we'd come back to the courthouse on Saturday to be married, but the clerk warned us that there would be a long wait on Saturday, and hinted that the judge was available right then.

So, with no to-do we exchanged our vows before a judge, and left the building to walk along the Chicago River to the car we'd borrowed to make the trip from the suburbs to the city. Tony asked if I felt married, and I said no.

We had to be at work at 2:30 and we didn't have any food in our new apartment, so we went grocery shopping. (We always say we spent our honeymoon at the Jewell Tea Grocery.) We rushed to the apartment, put the groceries away, and hurried to work. An inauspicious start to a long and happy partnership.

We have had a wonderful life together. We are wealthy in all that matters. We have wonderful children, and love each other with a depth we could not even begin to imagine the day we wed. Today we got the following message from our younger son Zak and his wife Mandy.

Hello My Dears,

The public domain has been much on my mind much as of late. My thoughts before drifting off to sleep are often on the debt owed to the future for the gifts bestowed by the past.

Today, it will have been 42 years that the two of you have been one - a gift to each other and to those who share your life with you.

The gifts that you have bestowed on us are many and, of them all, the gifts of being loved and of being able to love is by far the greatest.

Today, of all days, we hope that you are well and that you feel how much we love you both.

Zak & Mandy

p.s. Speaking of the public domain, here is a lovely illustration by Dulac from an English adaption of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The poem that goes with the illustration is well-known:

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness -
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

.. but another of Omar's quattrains serves just as well:

Yes, Loved One, when the Laughing Spring is blowing,
With Thee beside me and the Cup o’erflowing,
I pass the day upon this Waving Meadow,
And dream the while, no thought on Heaven bestowing.

On to the adventures of the next 42 years!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Great Trek

Great Minds are asking, "Why aren't you writin' in yer blog, eh?"

Well two reasons, the first of which is that Blogger has been borked and Safari (MAC) users haven't been able to post for several days. The second reason - Did I say we were moving? I must have at some point. We were temporarily overwhelmed with moving. But we have now moved and resettled. We will forever call it The Great Trek.

The fact that we moved a total of about 60 feet doesn't diminish the fact that it was a move, and that we had to pack every loose item in the entire place, secure the cupboards and fridge, take down the TV, DVD player, CD player, router, modem, computers, and anything else that could become an unguided missile during movement.

The Internet connection had to be moved, which took three trips from the ISP. They were terrific, though we may not be as enthusiastic when we see their bill. The propane company had to come pick up the "pig" we rented through the winter. Sewer and electric lines had to be unhitched and stowed. Jacks, tow bars, chocks. The list seemed endless. But a week ago last Thursday Gary came to move us and by noon we were in our new spot and set up.

This spot is a bit of a pig in a poke. It's short, very awkwardly placed and difficult to get into. Gary could only pull us in so far with the truck. He then got a cable, went across to the other side of the hedge and winched us into position with the cable.

But, having said that, it's a lovely spot, with a large green lawn, four big cherry trees and a 10 foot tall hedgerow of cedar trees to the west. We have a lovely seating area, where we can take a book or the newspaper and read or simply enjoy the view. It's not nearly as exposed as our former site, and the grass is so much more pleasant than the gravel pad we'd sat on since last August.

I had already bought flower pots and once we were unpacked I went to the greenhouse about 600 feet down the highway and bought a bunch of flowering plants. Now we have a row of flower pots down the side of the Tinpalace. The fragrance is heavenly around sundown.

Tuesday we went to town and picked up our "Rubbermaid" garden shed. It's more of a glorified box than a shed, since it's only two feet deep and three feet high. But it will be a handy spot for my sewing machine and fabric, and odds and ends we want easy access to. It's tidy looking, which is what counts. Wednesday we emptied out the truck, moved the items we need to be able to get to easily into the shed, sorted out the stuff from the truck, threw away some and packed the rest into storage containers. Much tidier.

The bird feeder was moved, and the birds are slowing figuring out that the seed is here, and not there. But the majority are still scratching around in our old site, looking for a stray seed they may have missed. I guess they don't call them bird-brains for nothing.

Salvador is going wild. There's a cat next door. His name is Norman. Norman looks almost exactly like Salvador, except that he's half Sal's size. But the incomprehensible thing is that Norman is allowed to roam freely, which Salvador can't understand at all. He now thinks that he should be allowed to roam freely as well, which is not going to happen. Sal dashes from window to window, keeping an eye on Norman, bubbling with frustration. Sal is only allowed off-leash while we are in the yard with him, and if he puts a foot outside the boundary, back on the leash he goes. It's a cruel world for kitties who are held prisoner in their own homes!

The weather is perfect and we are living the life of Riley.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

No Yellow Bird Day

I haven't seen the goldfinches in three or four days. They were at the feeder almost non-stop for two days then they disappeared. I suspect they were calorie-loading for the final leg of their journey north, where they will nest. I miss those bright yellow visitors, but I have pictures, and they will surely be back next spring.

What can one do? Write ad nauseam about the beauties of spring in the Okanagan until the tender reader wants to puke? Well, sure! Nothing like a good envy-induced barf to clear winter from the soul. (insert smiley face here)

It rained off an on yesterday, at times just pouring like you were standing under an open tap, other times it was a gentle mist. Cat was not impressed by the wet grass, but we did get a walk in while it was not pouring.

We had thunder and some impressive lightening but about an hour before sunset we had a break in the clouds, brilliant sun and a lovely rainbow.

It was a busy day. For two people purporting to be trying to live simply we seem to have to shop a lot. But a feller's gotta eat, and there are always a few things to pick up here and there. Enough to just wear you out by the time you get home.

Today is sunny and cloudy in turns but so far no rampant precipitation. Cat had a good long walk. He's a riot. Take one step toward the front of the trailer and he about breaks his neck getting to the door. Pats his leash, which hangs on a hook by the door, inserts claws into screen door and moans like he's dying. No mistaking what he wants. He's an excellent communicator.

No profound thoughts to share today. Oh but I did make a lovely soup, and I will share the recipe. I've started feeding the cat a raw food diet, which involves mixing a special enzyme and nutritional supplement powder to raw ground chicken. I use 200 grams of chicken to mix up four days worth of food for him, and we eat the rest, usually another 150 - 200 grams. This is how I used our portion of the ground chicken last week.

I call it:
Thai Chicken Soup

1 tbs oil
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
1 chicken breast cut into small pieces, or 200 grams ground chicken
2 small potatoes peeled and diced
2 carrots peeled and diced
1 tbs coconut cream (Indian foods section, comes in small packets about the size of a box of matches but half as thick. You could use 1/2 cup coconut milk as a sub)
1/2 tsp green chili chutney paste
salt to taste

Saute onion in olive oil, add chicken, potato and carrot, saute until chicken is no longer pink. Add water to cover ingredients, bring to boil, add coconut cream and green chili paste. Simmer until vegies are tender. Salt to taste. Makes two large servings.