Saturday, May 31

the last of May - bring on month #6

Another week has passed on Whidbey Island. Another week on Lavender Wind Farm. Another week of spring. The days are finally warming up, the sun is less bashful than it has been for months. The bees, hummingbirds, slugs and snails are fat and content with the new green shoots and colorful flowers that insist on occupying every inch of ground space. The garden is getting quite 'bushy', in fact, some of the plants that were started from tiny seeds are massive - dense with edible foliage.

This past week I've been sharing space with Dean and Suzie and their two grandsons (twins of 6). The boys have spent lots of energy "helping" the adults. Helping with weeding, planting, shoveling, and surprisingly, even washing dishes (of which they insisted on washing today's breakfast dishes all by themselves).

The march to summer solstice has begun. Each night the sun moves further north along the horizon as it sets. By 10:00 the last streaks of light from the setting sun can still be seen lingering over the water. Dinner has been pushed further and further back as the sun is stalling before finally disappearing behind the Olympic Peninsula. And, as expected, dawn is breaking quite early. I wake to the singing of the songbirds as early as 4:30 some mornings. And if I dare to sleep-in until 7:30 or 8:00 it is as light as noonday!

I didn't try to save any birds this week, but I did manage to bury the latter half of a rabbit that I found under the fir tree. Must have been the leftovers from a hawk or an eagle. Nasty!

please try not to be jealous of my delicious looking lettuce, spinach, and other random greensthe bees have been pollinating, tirelesslymaking the days count is my main job

Tuesday, May 20

wonderful words

I remember the first time I picked up a book of quotable quotes from Mindy's bookshelf. As a teacher, I was constantly trying to think of little ways to improve my classroom's environment. Make it feel safe, full of energy, and if I got lucky, somewhat inspiring. As I perused through the book I found myself laughing out loud, nodding in agreement, and at times being moved by the words in print. Not long after that first introduction into the world of words, I began using a "quote of the day" as a discussion prompt in my science classroom. The students ate it up, some would even write the quotes down in their notebooks. It became routine, one of those routines where if I forgot to start class with the quote, I would get three or four students urgently reminding me of my grievous error.

So here I am years removed from my science classroom and still sitting down with a book of quotes. Still laughing, still nodding in agreement, and at times being moved. To give you a picture of what I mean, I've chosen a few special ones for the readers of this blog.
  • a laughing quote: "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side-saddle." - Rita Mae Brown
  • a nodding quote: "The world is not conclusion. A sequel stands beyond - invisible, as music - but positive, as sound." - Emily Dickinson
  • a moving quote: "I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." - Diane Ackerman

Sunday, May 18

my short-lived job as a bird rescuer

I discovered a small sparrow sitting in the grass today as I was pushing a wheelbarrow full of blackberry roots down to the burn pile. It obviously was distressed since it wasn't where birds are supposed to be (in trees, in the air, in nests), and it wasn't even using its wee little legs to hop around. So I bent down and scooped up the little bird. It released one short, staccato chirp just to let me know that it wasn't on the same page with me in my bird rescue plan. I really didn't have a plan, but I knew it couldn't just sit in the lawn out in the open.
I placed it on a mound under the big Douglas Fir tree on the edge of the property. It would be sheltered there and have a better chance of surviving, I imagined. Feeling downright kindhearted, I continued on with my yard work; weeding, watering, digging.
Hours passed and I didn't give the little bird the slightest thought. But as I was coiling up the hose by the side of the house there was the bird again, in the middle of the lawn. For a moment I thought it was another bird, but as I approached it, I recognized it as the bird I had rescued earlier in the day. It had successfully "un-rescued" itself into the great wide open. Crazy little bugger.
I, again, knelt down and gently lifted it up and placed it under the fir tree (what I thought to be a perfect little recuperation habitat for the little guy). I grabbed my camera to take a picture of it so I could remember the little bird that I rescued...twice. As I bent down to snap a picture Bailey aroused from her lounging in the shade and wandered over, curious as to what I was doing. I could tell she was interested so I told her to stay back, but I wasn't really too worried. Bailey is the kind of dog who ignores rabbits and birds, and barely acknowledges people. So much for having her keep the rabbits out of the yard.
She inched a little closer and sniffed at the little bird who was attempting to hop along, but was more or less falling head first each time it hopped. And then in a flash the bird was gone and Bailey was backing up quickly. I was horrified! From beneath Bailey's closed lips I could see a wing protruding. I commanded Bailey to "drop it"! But we all know how well she does that. Instead she shifted the position of the bird in her mouth, and the wing that was hanging out, disappeared. A minute later, and a few chomps, and that was it for the little bird.
I have, without hesitation, fired myself as a bird rescuer. I can not imagine what could be a worse offense in bird rescue than allowing and watching the gruesome and untimely death of a defenseless and not to mention, injured bird.

Saturday, May 17

life with bailey

Bailey has been a fun addition to 307 Spyglass Dr. She rescues me from talking to myself, is a good reminder to take a break from yard work to throw a ball or two, and enjoys running erands with me.

Her glances and doggy gestures speak volumes, I'm just not sure what she is saying. Sometimes when she wants to come inside she won't drop her tennis ball on the step. I won't let that slimy toy cross the threshold so it becomes a battle between her and I. She is stubborn, but surprise Bailey, I'm stubborn too. So far it plays out the same every time and it goes like this:

"Bailey, drop the ball!"

She looks at me quickly with her playful doggy eyes and immediately looks away. The ball remains in her mouth.
"Bailey, drop the ball!!"
She doesn't look at me this time, just stands there with her head down, stubbornly holding the ball.

"I'm not letting you in until you drop the ball."
Not a movement from her, ball tightly grasped in between her canines.

I proceed to shut the door in her face. Leaving her outside until she drops the ball. I glance out every few minutes to see if she is ready to come in. Ball firmly between her jaws. Quick glance my way, then head down.

It usually takes 5 - 10 minutes of waiting before I hear the ball hit the ground. I open the door, she prances in as if it was her idea to drop the ball.

I'm pretty sure it is a good thing that I am not a mother. My children would hate me, I can be a stubborn cuss.

the stuff bunnies' dreams are made of

That's right folks, everything green and leafy in this picture came from my garden!

Check this out. I harvested some purple mustard greens from the garden, sauteed in olive oil, garlic, pepper and salt. A tasty compliment to my chicken breast in cranberry sauce. Also picked some baby red lettuce leaves and some Japanese mizuna greens for a fresh salad. A little homemade blackberry vinagrette dressing to top it off and life seems that much better.

Gardening...ahhh...this is the good part! Makes the weeding, watering, soil preparation worth it!

Saturday, May 10

have you ever driven a scootcar?

I would consider myself a person with a high degree of self-constraint when it comes to spending money on entertainment. Maybe self-constraint is the sugar coated way to hide the ugliness of the more accurate description of the fact that I am more or less "cheap". Nonetheless if you spend enough time with me, it will become quite clear that it is a rarity that I will self-indulge in forms of entertainment that I would deem "unnecessary" or "costly".

With that preface; I found myself on Orcas Island in the beautiful San Juan Islands, north of Whidbey and south of Canada, staring at a contraption known to the general public as a scootcar. I had never seen a scootcar before, but there it was parked outside a little shop, surrounded by mopeds, and sticking out like a dandelion in a green lawn. It took ten minutes or so for Amber and I to be talked into renting this little vehicle, while Dan rented a moped for a quick tour of the island. Wedged in there shoulder to shoulder, Amber and I navigated the scootcar along the roadside, barreling along at 30mph and sometimes 40mph on the downhill.

The scootcar is a glorified moped, it has three wheels and two training wheels to steady the vehicle as it turns. The windshield is kept dry by one wiper, but the driver and passenger are expected to wear rain gear (I'm guessing) if it is wet, due to the lack of a roof. Two seat belts and a roll bar are the safety checks in this little matchbox car. And that is pretty much the whole of the description. Well, besides the mini-trunk which worked well to hold a few handbags and nothing more.

It was hilarious, ridiculous, and worth the expense.

Bailey, the farm dog

Amber and Dan have made their way across the country to Whidbey Island. They sold their house a few months ago back in Wisconsin and have been slowly progressing this direction in order to shove off from Seattle for a whirlwind tour of the globe that will begin with a flight to Lima, Peru on Tuesday. I've been grateful for their company this week and part of last and will miss them while they travel for the next few months. They are doing me a wonderful favor by allowing me to dog-sit their Golden Retriever, Bailey, while they are experiencing life abroad. I'm pretty stoked about having a companion for the summer, and have even got the okay from my boss, Sarah, for Bailey to be the new Lavender Wind Farm dog. How great is that?

Friday, May 2

good-bye April

April has passed me by in a whirlwind. I've had company, I've been company, I've made bread, I've broken bread, I've been taught lessons, I've applied lessons, I've stayed put, and I've been on the move. I'm not counting the days, I'm making the days count. This is my life.

Since my last blog post I've (in no particular order):
  • eaten or shared all of the radishes in my garden
  • planted beans, more peas, strawberries and asparagus
  • picked up a part-time yard work job ($20/hour)
  • been to Bozeman and back
  • buried a rabbit
  • been defeated at Settlers of Catan four consecutive times
  • shared my homemade granola with a Chinese-Canadian couple (they didn't like it...too sweet)

Below are a hodge podge photo gallery of what I've seen lately.

These azalea blossoms were being pelted by hail in late April.

Last night of April treated me with a stunning display of light and shadow.Stacy and Mare discovered a rabbit nest under a lavender plant at the farm.Not a bad view at work, eh?
Tugboat passes by Bush Point.