Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Garden---A delightful Surprise

Most of the things growing in the garden are known to be there and that includes the space squash I murdered without remorse. In truth, there are other items in there that get offed by me as well, like weeds, even though I have been know to eat Lamb's Quarters and Purslain---of course that killed them. We do not eat the bugs as a rule, or at least knowingly.

This morning I did grab a big hand full of red raspberries and casually tossed the lot in my mouth. Didn't take too long to realize that in among the fruit was obviously a stink bug. I swallowed it feeling the berry flavor would prevail---and it did. The potato bugs get drowned humanly and are not good for eating due to the juice of the nightshade.

Ya, there is the rabbit and he is still alive and still marauding the pathetic broccoli, and of course there are the grubs and worms, and centipedes, cabbage butterflies. Oh hell, the place is crawling with life. But now and then, there is a visitor of note and it is not the local crack head pilfering my cabbage--we don't really have them (the crack heads).

What I did find was this incredible dragonfly just resting, and maybe exercising on a Chaco Canyon Bean. He, or I guess it could have been a she, was warming up his wings by high speed fluttering as if he was the Spirit of St. Louis. He appeared to have no interest in actually flying but rather just chilling in the evening air. He was notably fresh in that there was not a single blemish to be seen. It was if he were only moments out of the water and getting ready for his maiden flight. The water is half mile off so it would seem he was just resting waiting to eat mosquitoes in our backyard.

What I really like about this tiny, four inch helicopter was the coloration. Very dynamic with what looked like an eye behind his head. Clearly it is not, in that he has a big set up front. The other "eye" is apparently for decoration that possibly attracts a mate---I'm sure it is not there just to entertain me---which it did. The wings are transparent, maybe to avoid being seen. I saw him and and had to marvel at the contents of the garden but I am easily entertained.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Garden---The not-so-subtle Invader

Every year there are volunteers in the beloved garden and once in a while one of them is worth keeping. I spot the shoots coming up and out of the kindness of my heart I say, "Go for it, but you better make something worth eating or say, a flower worth admiring".

Like last year, there was a rather large amount of youthful squash seedlings spattered about the garden. What I started doing is thinning, so they were not up tight against each other or other known goodies. I was fairly ruthless because last year the bulk of them turned out to be space gourds, those are the odd ones that look like space saucers. They are worthless in my estimation except to some homemaker who finds them cute in a cornucopian arrangement. I think they suck and are best used to throw at stray dogs, drunks, punk rockers or any combination of the aforementioned.

The biggest problem with squash/pumpkin/gourd plants is that they take up large portions of real estate. The leaves are the size of basketballs and the tentacles choke even rabbits (I like that) but also climb all over everything. The damn things can grow a foot a day. To top it off, they add confusion to the display, the ambiance and general organization of our efforts.

So this year I laid down an ultimatum. Either you come up with a recognizable, useful fruit or you are out of here, compost, toilet paper, rotting mulch, the dirt nap.

So we went away for 4 days to be lighthouse keepers and on our return, two plants were starting to show cosmic fruit (not much of it) and each vine had extended out over ten feet in five directions. I mean, Jesus, like get a life. You were not put on this earth to engulf a man's garden.

With no hesitation, remorse, or guilt I murdered the damn things, dragged them out on the asphalt and stomped on them shouting, "Don't you and your people ever do that again." The garden is now a better place. The intruders from outer space are gone. No more aliens.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Big Al is Gone

A few weeks ago we heard that Big Al had died. We heard it on the old hippy grapevine. That's the system where the word just goes out from one old friend of the road to another. When I hear these things, the news of someone going away, it is, to me, a mark on time. It is not that it is so unusual, I guess. After all he was probably 60 now, but we were once young sitting on a bench out in the wild west dreaming of a different world where life was a touch slower, maybe not so materialistic, maybe more relaxed and more tied into just being friends and grasping every bit of life that presented itself.

It does not seem that long ago, just out of school, growing a little defiant hair, wearing some ratty, but very cheap cloths and generally just grooving. This was the Wisconsin band sitting on a bench in front of our old pottery shop in Elizabeth Colorado, the same bench that to this day sits in my Wisconsin backyard, but this is 2011 and that was 1973.

Big Al, along with members of the tribe, one day found themselves in need of beer, so they set off to the beverage shop in the Crowmobile, a broken down ghetto cruiser. On arrival the shot gun side door would not open, probably due to some previous contact with some hard object, so Al in his inventiveness decided to crawl out the window to secure the beer supply. In his haste, he flopped to the ground and broke his arm. Not shaken, he still obtained beer before going to fetch a cast. The act was seen as a true sign of commitment, camaraderie and dedication to a cause. It was a beautiful thing.

We are now all gray and noticeably older, those of us still kicking. In looking at Big Al it would be nice to think that the revelations of the seventies had carried over and we have become a more sustainable group of people but it would appear little has really been gained.

The world population has probably come close to doubling, more people want to consume more stuff, the air has warmed (remember After the Gold Rush and "Having mother nature on the run in the nineteen seventies"?) it is hard to see were we have gained.

But many of us are still out there and while Big Al is fading away, I like to think that the dream of the seventies has still a glimmer of hope. God Speed Big Al.

Midsummer Garden---Not a Dream

So far so good. Last year it was too wet at the wrong time and some of our favorites rotted in the soil and brought on thoughts of the potato famine. This year we are off to a kicking start and only have had to use the stored rain water on two occasions but if there is no rain in the next day or two during this 98 degree heat, it will, one more time, have to come out.

I use the solar power to run a small 12 volt pump for that purpose but found that it is better to put a car battery right next to the pump because if the battery is in the shop, some 60 ft away, the loss of power is too much. 12 volt is not a cure all because the cost of copper wire is profound. Just a little tip. It does mean, that in my age, I have to tote the 50 Lb beast of a marine battery from charger to pump.

The tomatoes are 4.5 feet tall, the peppers 24 inches, the potatoes strong and only modestly being attacked by the lousy beetles. Ann picked the last batch and I quietly drowned them wishing birds like them but nightshade juice is not a popular bird refreshment, might as well drink hemlock juice.

Ann has been active weeding and has a knack of doing a scorched earth treatment for weeds unlike myself who is more random. It seems Ann likes to plop herself down in a row and just work that area. Do note wine in hand. This is a weeding aid. Of course, this is after 6:00 weeding, so it it is legal but it does tie up one hand so she is only paid half time.

What it comes down to, is we are on track, we are puffed up like a couple of toads all full of ourselves over this years efforts---part of it is the salvaged hay we secured earlier. Feeling good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Entertaiment-----Ya gotta love it.

Entertainment comes in many forms and some times it ain't what one might think. I just happened that Liz & Jim at the Tomorrow River Gallery like to put on Kitchen concerts and they are not afraid to take a few chances for the pure fun of it---sure as hell ain't for the big bucks.

So this last week we got a rather hasty announcement that an act by the unusual name of Duckmandu was going to be in town. Well, I have to admit this seemed an obscure bizzar handle, but he was rumored to have been spotted at Burning Man out in the dessert walking around playing his accordion and singing the work of none other than The Dead Kennedys. Oh, he was heavily recommended by Tuna (dude with gas supply).

He was in town ready to knock them dead. We thought, "What the hell. This is America. If a guy can play in the wasteland for the oddball event called Burning Man while the world slides by in confusion, then why not grab a beverage and settle in for some entertainment. "

At first, eyes were lifted as this nerdy looking dude tickled the keys on the classical accordion while singing some punk ditty. He skillfully ran through a dazzling variety of tunes, some almost having the feel of a Bach fugue. We found ourselves lifted and amused, almost lost in a surreal world of incongruities and nonsense, but still fascinated by this minstrel from California. We grinned in bewilderment, realizing here, in this one horse town, was an avant garde performer not totally different than what one might find in some distant very hip city, maybe not even of this age or from our form of sanity.

The finale turned out to include a duzzy with a 2 foot flame shooting from his duck hat while he pounded out one of the Kennedy's big hits. Liz, still not knowing what the hell was going on, briefly saw her gallery in flames and with an expression taken from The Scream threw her arms up in disbelief, Sweet Jesus, what a time. Ya gotta love this place.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Mulberry---The Sleeper

Years ago folks would go "All around the Mulberry bush" and then all fall down or something. (Maybe they were intoxicated.) It was a tree and I remember as a human larva eating the berries but only directly from the tree and not in anything else like pies. They were tasty, abundant, maybe a touch messy, easy to pick but of little interest to the homemaker.

I seem also to remember that they were, at another level, despised because berry eating birds and animals relished them and once consumed, the dark purple berries passed through the consumer's inards and then ended up being deposited on various human items, like automobiles and the fresh drying wash on the line. They left an unwelcomed stain and certainly led to the murder of many trees. As a kid it was like whoopee-do, but then I didn't do the wash nor did we ever clean our cars. I am not sure anybody did as vehicles were largely just to get around not impress any local chicks----at least not our cars.

It never really occurred to me that Mulberries might be used for human consumption. Maybe some folks thought persons might make fecal deposits on items of value. I don't really know as I was not in that habit---but others were weird---Ed Gein was only a few miles away. The Mulberries just weren't used.

A couple of years ago, a local wine maker, probably jellies as well, gave me notice that he had a tree full of ripe ones and all we had to do was shake the tree and the berries ( along with various crawling insects) would drop in great mass on to a sheet spread under the tree. From there the berries could be used for things.

Turned out that it is difficult to separated the berries form the stems, so jam was out unless one wants a "stemy" jam. However, it was found they can be used to make jelly and, of course, wine.

Thrilled by this knowledge, I planted a volunteer in the front yard because I felt compassion for its sorry ass being in a bad location. Well, low and behold, this year the manicured tree has presented a nice crop, maybe a gallon, of fat berries---all being frozen for future wine and jelly.

So while the neighbors may be in dismay over their stained cars, the Robin living in the tree is delighted to the nines and we have a new sustainable crop.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Irish Flute---If we could just get it to play

I know, you are saying "This sure as hell is not one of Wright's usual diatribes on the nature of milkweed". You are right.

We have this flute and it is a beautiful sight to be hold. However, presently it will take a magician to play it---even though it is improving. I thought I might hook up an antique engine to it!

What we did is go on the good old Internet that Al Gore invented to see if we could find a solution to our musical problems. We received a ton of information from around the world and as a result tried a number of manipulations that might bring discovery to the problem---like sucking on the flute to find leaks. Your saying, "That sucks." Hey that is the way to see if it leaks, but it doesn't leak.

The web site shiff and fipple proved filled with flute loving folks who wanted everything from descriptions to photographs---the last one I couldn't provide so in an act of desperation, I am referring them to this site to see the flute.

So here is a set of flute pictures taken after Ann was able to force out Cooley's Reel only a few minutes ago. Still is a lot of work. It seems that the plug on the end can be moved about and by moving it more toward the end it started to improve. In this shot the end is rather pulled out and not in a normal position---just messing around. The picture of the barrel portion is not here because it is boring and it is in perfect condition---unlike me with artificial joints and cortisone injections. I am still beautiful.

What I am hoping is that in a few days we will have The Musical Priest and Morpath's Rant, even though I am still concerned she will pass out trying to play to speed. But, you know, she has to toughen up if she wants to drink Central Waters beer and play tunes.