Wednesday, October 31, 2007

little gobblins, witches, turtles and princesses

a lovely evening filled with miniature visions of creatures of all sorts; princesses and teddy bears, skunks and turtles. each and every one cute as a button. and good big brothers and sisters helping out the little littles ones. there were pleases and thank you's all around. happy halloween creatures of the night. wonder if any of them will sleep sound, too many treats to be excited about.

aggitated stimulus

i feel a weakness
driven by a fire inside
an unstable vulnerability
seductive deep though not foreign
surprisingly familiar

a place where senses reign
and balance of wit and wisdom retreat
mirror reflected being interior

vicious fierce energy
a truth beyond all truths

misty hallows eve - odd friends beneath the moonlit sky

there could not be a better morning weather condition leading forward to all hallows eve. the mask of the mist gives all creatures cloak in which to hide.

i look forward to all the little creature visits this evening. i enjoy this eve of creativity. there are many smiles in my future.

be safe, be kind and be generous.
the little creatures are good creatures.

and speaking of little creatures, i had a most amazing sighting last night. i drove up to the house near around 11pm to find a skunk and a very large opossum traveling together in the front yard in the direction of the east garden. they were truly side by side, clearly traveling as a team. i could not hold back my joyful laughter. i stopped the car, turned the headlights off and simply watched the two nose around the cabbage and collard babies, consider the lettuce plot and turn their noses up to the onion patch. i had thought that the free tilling service i'd been receiving in the garden was gratis of a few of the local cats who also like to hang in the garden. i stand corrected. i have been giving credit to the wrong folk.

the two spent a good 15 -20 minutes in the garden then moved on around the north side of the house toward the northwest sweet potatoe patch and the compost pile. i wanted to follow. i desperately wanted to follow but i have several motion activated lights out back that, if activated, might scare them away. some folk may want creatures of this sort to move on but not me. especially a pair of good buddies. i do hope they continue to come around. and i wonder if this skunk is the same skunk from last fall or if it is a descendant of last year's skunk fellow. either way, i give them full welcome. they have yet to eat the garden. they do enjoy poking around but then again, so do i.

it's good to see friends out together in peace enjoying an evening walk beneath the moon in a garden of hope. this garden, my home and my tiny ecological circle surrounding is slowly becoming all i'd ever hoped it to be. the adventure toward happiness is a good one. i think i'll stick to this path for a bit.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

honesty matters

a recent interchange with another has led to a revelation. a revelation that was, in truth, recognized earlier than this current day. the revelation pointed directly to possible disappointment. a disappointment that, if handled differently might have been avoided.

there's a streak in me, at times like these, that hopes, given the chance, a person might make a choice to be a better self. truth is, that same person, has the choice to choose a path other than good and the odds are a slim 50/50 act high/act low. so somewhere down the path of life people are going to disappoint you.

it's at that point then that you too have to choose what to do. and your choices are also from paths high and paths low. it's in these moments you find the truth of who you might be and who you will be while you pass through. will you look at the act of failure and loss with head held high? will you lead yourself toward revenge and further darker pain? will you make yourself a victim and crumble? or will you look at yourself with honest eyes, take the lesson, focus forward and leave the cloaking shadow of the disappointment lie on the path behind you?

let it lie on the path my friends. do not invest your energy in the negative. be honest, accept the life event. it is what it is, it has happened, you were part of it, and you have the power to step away from it. embrace your power. focus forward. honesty is such a tough element sometimes but it's one that matters deeply to the quality of your being. sacrifice your honesty, and risk losing sight of the path toward good completely.

i do believe in good. and i also believe that there are folks who want to do good, are trying to do good but have yet to find the courage to be the want. they may fear the change. and there are those who may find pleasure disappointing others. it's not for you to say what they are. you can only control who you are. give folks a chance but also remain clear enough in mind to have the sight and the courage to walk forward and away if the chance given is refused.

life is still good and all things pass with time.


sometimes you think folks are good and true
and sometimes, you're wrong

Monday, October 29, 2007

garden tube - row cover structure revealed

a few shots of the garden hoop structures ready for their tufbell covers. i used 20 1/2" pvc pipes full length. i anchored them with 1' length pieces of rebar. i pounded the rebar 6" into the ground then slipped the pvc pipe over the top.

what is tufbell? it's a season extender poly vinyl rowcover. it should arrive this week. with tufbell you can turn each and every one of your garden beds into mini greenhouses*. (*temps allowing) once i've got it cut and set out i'll take a few more pics. for now...

the following is from the peaceful valley farm and garden supply online catalog.
  • A floating rowcover of unprecedented strength and durability, made of high-tech, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). PVA has unique absorption properties which allow moisture to freeze within the rowcover fibers and form a protective shield, like an igloo, over the crop. PVA is also breathable (35% permeable), allowing crop ventilation during the day. Water right through it, without need for removal. Tufbell increases air and soil temperature by 5-10°F and leaf temperature by 2-6°, yet does not overheat in 90° weather. It allows 92-95% light transmittance. It can be "floated" on the crop, or laid on hoops or frames. The double-thick material is reinforced with nylon threads every 1" to prevent tears. It is additionally reinforced every meter (39") in all directions. Pieces can be sewn together with nylon thread to make a larger piece. Washable, easily repaired, anti-static, as well as chemical and light stable, Tufbell lasts for many years and is the most durable rowcover on the market; material will shrink about 5% over time.
sound like a dream? we'll find out soon. sounds good and i've read about folks who have used tufbell for over 5 years now and have yet come upon the need to replace their supply. that's good press in my universe.
and here are a few of the cabbage and the collard babies. they seem to be settling in well. can you tell who is who or which is which?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

hippychick's kick-spicy tomatoe sauce

it's a beautiful 70+ degree breezy day. mr. t has been enjoying the view from the porches, napping here, chatting with other cat-kind there, and at times running furiously from one to the other. i think the old man is a bit tuckered out, he's looking pretty settled, at least for a bit anyway. no promises. i know he can turn the engines on at a moment's notice.

it's this kind of weather that makes the being outside a small bit of perfection. the sunlight, the breeze and the wispy aire, who could want for more? i'm tempted to keep working but i've got to get myself ready for an evening mentorship commitment.

here's where we landed today:
  • hooped all raised beds on the east side of the house
    • just waiting now for the tufbell to arrive
    • more on this later
  • picked up another 1/2 bushel of pecans
    • lots of little ones out there yet to be had
  • watered the sweet potatoe patch in good
    • i had disturbed it yesterday checking the size of the tubers
    • not ready yet
  • put up 5 quarts of tomatoe sauce
    • found a great deal on tomatoes at a local vendor
    • see recipe below
  • picked up the halloween treats for the kiddos
  • cleaned up wind fallen branches and such

kick-spicy tomatoe sauce
this batch made 5 quarts
  • ingredients
    • 20 chopped plum tomatoes - (local organic)
      • slow roasted w/1/2 cup olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary
      • @ 300 degrees (f) for 1 hour 15 minutes
    • 2 cups okra (frozen, organic home grown)
    • 2 green peppers chopped (organic home grown)
    • 1 onion (local organic)
    • 8 cloves organic garlic
    • basil - 1 good handful (organic home grown)
    • 2 dried and smoked chipolte peppers chopped and powdered
      • i whirr it in my coffee grinder to do the job
    • oregano - 1 good handful (organic home grown)
    • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
    • 1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup organic brown sugar or 1/4 cup local honey
    • 2 cups water
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • how to:
    • wash all veggies good and drain
    • chop tomatoes (i like my sauce chunky - chop them to a size you like best)
    • line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil
    • add 1/2 cup of olive oil to tomatoes, toss
      • or divide tomatoes to two cookie sheets and pour 1/4 cup olive oil over each pan
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • roast in the oven at 300˚f for 1 hour 30 minutes
      • check on them only once
      • move them around a bit (it's o.k. if they begin to break up a bit)
    • chop all remaining veggies and place in a large pot
      • one big enough for everything to fit in
    • add the remaining cup of olive oil
    • saute all veggies for 10 minutes on medium heat
    • add the cider vinegar and brown sugar or honey
      • let the mixture rest until the tomatoes are finished roasting
    • once the tomatoes are completely roasted, add them all to the pot making sure to include all the goodness in the juices on the pan
    • add the 2 cups water
    • add the fresh basil, rosemary and oregano chopped to your liking
    • add the ground smoked chipolte pepper
    • slow stew this mixture for an hour on medium low
    • stir the pot every 20 minutes, lower the heat if the mix sticks to the bottom of the pot
    • after an hour, turn off the heat, cover the pot and let sit for another 1/2 hour
    • you're done!
if you're good, you'll be able to store it away for later but i assure you, it will be awful tempting to gobble up right away. no matter your choice, enjoy!

pecans & the good bug blend

well it's amazing how quickly some seeds will not only sprout up but kick right in to it's new digs. the good bug blend from peaceful valley farms has quickly shown me it's preference for it's home. it seems to be happier in a partly shady area, which might just mean a place with a bit more moisture as anything in the sun sun dries faster around here. but i'm not sure that it is just about the moisture, i see the areas with partial sun part of the day, sun later in the day areas (west-side) doing much better and further along in growth than the east side bits. the east side is sprouting but does not show the leaf growth you see in the above photo of some of the west side folk.

the greens and the nasturtiums are first to rise. i see evidence of the dills ,carrots and other such plant babies following behind by a week or so. regardless, it looks great. i'm pleased and now reticent to mow for a bit which should not really pose a problem since this is the time of year when grass growth slows down. i'm looking forward to see the types of creatures, insects and bugs the growth attracts. any good bug is good for the fall/winter garden and if it helps to keep them coming back year round so much for the better. so far (knock on wood) the cabbage, collards, kale family has been clear of nibblers. i won't spray so let's see how it goes. i've got an interesting combination of growth in the garden, crucifers, onions, garlic, peppers, lettuce, chards, etc. i wonder if the the sheer size of the onion and garlic beds will deter the not so good bugs.

hey even the bad bugs are good for something. they might be some one's next meal! can't knock them out completely. and i want to make sure that my toad, lizard lizard and snake pals have what they need to be happy at home.

speaking of snakes, there were a pair in the compost pile yesterday when i was out there building layer upon layer. i try to leave a bit of finished compost behind for the inoculation of good micro-organisms and worm eggs into the new batch of compost. it takes great will power on my part to do so but i find it's a great way to get a new pile cooking. anyway, there i was digging and in one shovel full popped up snake #1; a beautiful gleaming brown and white fellow, small and buzzed from his sudden relocation. he was not the scarey type, more the cute type. well a few shovel fulls later i came upon a second. i made efforts this time to place he or she in the same area that i had placed the first. they were at the very bottom of the older compost snug as bugs. let's hope they like the new pile as much as the first.

the pecans continue to fall from the heights. the trees are loaded beyond what i thought their gifting might be. i'll get out there today and pick up what i can. it looks like the trees will continue to bear for another few weeks. there are branches still holding on to a good harvest of nuts yet.

click on the photo for a much larger version. the nuts themselves are quite beautiful. i love the combinations of fall colors.

what i've really got to do is get myself in the nut cracking mode. i have got get nuts out of the shells ready for thanksgiving stuffing and pies, salads, sides etc. and maybe today some banana, pecan, butternut squash muffins. mmm. yeah! gotta do that!

the last big thing to get settled this weekend is the big limb that is just too close to the roof. it needs trimming and i've been thinking about climbing up on the roof myself to see how much i am able to trim before calling in the troops. this stubborn streak of mine is growing. why not do it myself? hmm? i don't have a problem with heights. well we'll see. just need to get the ladder out and then do some monkey climbing - with tools in hand - no problem right!?#*

Saturday, October 27, 2007

hang your laundry it's beautiful

never thought a bed cover could be so beautiful did ya?

all you gotta do is let nature have her way.

farmer's market festival today!

hey there! welcome saturday. the town farmer's market festival begins at 10am today. you know i'll be stopping by.

it's 9:15am now and already so much has been accomplished. i rose with the sun with a full list of tasks that i'm eager to tackle. this is what's already complete or in the works.
  • laundry
    • clothes, sheets, blankets and area rugs - check!
  • dishes
    • washed and put away - check!
  • cooking
    • slow roasted butternut squash in the oven now
    • linguine with homegrown/canned tomatoe sauce and homegrown/made pesto
      • ah but the tomato sauce reserves are getting low (sad)
      • enjoy it while it lasts, excellent lunch for the week - check!
    • fall batch of pesto
      • mixing up the last bits before it gets to chilly for my basil babies

still have to sweep up, run a vacuum over the big rugs, collect more pecans from the yard, dig up some of the sweet potatoes, get the garden hoops set for the cooler weather (which we are experiencing unusually early this year... huh?) and clean up the garage a bit. then i've got to shell the dried lima beans and cow peas and give a turn to the compost pile. sounds like a great day to me! what's on your list?

ah today might be a great bread baking day as well. mmm i can smell it now.

i wonder if there will be any good goods at the farmers market that might deserve a buy. i've got my radar focused on the up and coming pumpkin sale. they usually drop in price right after halloween festivities take place. it's at that time that i'll snag a few more and put those up for later use. pumpkin is just so good for you all around. the flesh, the seeds the whole baby, you really can't lose and once they are on sale, it's a bargain meal. they are great in soups, breads, as a side, in pies, you name it. i like to make pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin gnocchi myself. gotta stop, i'm making myself hungry.

one thing i hope to arrange today is the holiday turkey. there are folks at our market that raise really great birds. i'll stand in line for however long it takes to gain one of their fair foul.

have to start thinking about the fall/winter knitting. i have a sweater that needs finishing, that will be first on the list. then who knows. i'd like to try felting this year. haven't ever done that before, at least on purpose (ha ha!). i have i admit shrunk a few woolens to little creature size in my day but never with any planned intention. so i understand the concept now it's about creative control. i may go hit the consignment stores today for a project i have in mind. what is it? well you'll just have to wait and see. check back soon, i'll keep you posted.

Afternoon update:

Bonus today! cleaned up the back garden a bit and while doing so scored a small harvest of jerusalem artichokes. i know what i'm having for dinner. (the orange guy - that's a baby sweet potatoe, the boys are not ready for digging after all. no matter, they'll be worth the wait.)

scores from the farmers market: 2 pints of local honey and 2 small fillets from a local cattle farm. everything else from home. no reason to visit the grocery this week. you have no idea how good it feels to say that! or do you?

no turkey this week. fingers crossed for next week.

pesto results: 2 quarts and 4 pints - not bad!

obstacle of the day: the washer decided to burn the belt out. gotta get her fixed. hey not a biggy. nothing a beer can't take care of anyway. know what i'm sayin'?

have a great day folks. recycle, reuse, re-imagine!

Friday, October 26, 2007

an extraordinary hunter's moon!

ah the blessed moon
nocturnal heaven

not often would one wishe for traffic grind to remain in state stasis. tonight i wished so. tonight i was witness to the rise of a hunter's moon.

she appeared on horizon near to 7:00pm. her size was beyond that which i had ever seen. glowing in the softest palest amber of color. her crevasses, craters and crust in perfect contrast. her glow was not of heat but of a nature of soft understanding. had one not known she was to rise so brilliant she would have slipped by on silent careful foot. she is not proud tonight, she is beautiful. tonight she floats in grace.

hunters moon

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

little leafy creatures find a new home

tomorrow morning the baby salad seedlings gain their own space in the garden. i think i might be more excited than they. actually there are quite a few leafy creatures about to claim new ground. i'll click a few pix once everyone is happily settled.

  • green globe artichokes (2 shoots i've been nursing through adolescence)
  • collards (love um' love um')
  • baby cabbages
  • dinosaur kale
  • red lettuce (2 types)
  • red mesclun greens
  • spinach
  • leeks little baby ones
  • bronze dill
  • flat leaf parsley
  • red garlic

dropping in some seeds too
  • red chard
  • green mache'
  • watermelon radish
  • carrots
  • cilantro
it's going to be a party. and then my friends comes the reality all gardener keepers hate. the darn garden will be full up. there won't be a spec of space available for anything else. and how do we all respond to that statement?

"well we'll see about that."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

exposing the good road food

a week back i praised my good fortune in the mining of many a good and good for you road food. i expose the sources of my fortunes. they may be few but they are great in gift.

best pb&j w/the best bread - panera bread
good pb & j - potbelly's
kickin' grilled cheese - panera bread
excellent veggie sandwich - potbelly's
excellent sandwich selection - cosi's

best chicken noodle soup - panera bread
good chicken noodle soup - potbelly's
best lentil soup - cosi's

excellent salad selection all around - panera bread
the greek salad rocks!
best pick your own fixin's salad - cosi's

bestest bread! - panera bread
sorry no competition here - done and done

(for me it's oatmeal)
best a.m. oatmeal - kashi simply vanilla
good a.m. oatmeal - marriott residence inn

sleep, shower and power:
comfortable stay w/free breakfast and fruit all day - marriott residence inn
good gym and shower power - marriott residence inn

run and play:
best running route in bethesda, md - the capital crescent trail (do it!)

brew babies:
hey! and if you are in bethesda, try the barking dog. beer peeps are happy peeps.

that's it folks, keep it simple, eat simple, play simple and be HAPPY!

back in the swing

back home, hanging with my catdog mr. t and off and running in the schooling department. all elements converge in one day, energy is high, temps are cool and i'm a happy creature. woke this morning to super crisp air, outside down to 54 degrees of happiness. i was out the door before the a.m. java (unheard of!), marched directly to the garage for the garden tools. into the ground went the onion starts, into the ground went the garlic cloves, into the ground went the fennel and beet and carrot seeds from the gardener walking about in pajamas. then a walk about the yard. a couple of crunches under the feet alert the creeper that the pecans are ready for harvest. march back into the garage, hands on the bushel basket, garden tools out of hand, back to the yard in the stooped position. one hour later, a bushel of pecans and a slight increase in the breath. time to go inside, day's work work has got to start.

coffee coffee ice and milk.
off she goes.

a return to the schooling and the students that she loves. they tired, worn and doubtful of their fullness of potential. a test of endurance, maybe their first. a test that pays for life. endurance is that something you never expected to need so much as you learn you do in your older life. without endurance i would have wilted by now but not me folks. i'm a power flower.

and now back at home to a welcome home cooked meal. butternut squash from the garden. wild salmon from the sea. i will share what i've got with mr. t.

and so it goes. it goes goodly.

Monday, October 22, 2007

some folk get it and some do not

the past few days have been trying. a series of events overlapping, family, social, physical; all needing clear thinking and all needing time at once. the only option was to make a choice own it and hope that the way in which you attempted to strike balance might play out for the positive. well this time yes and no. yes family, yes physical, not so much with the social affair. i guess if any one of the three were to suffer, it should be the social affair. so maybe all worked out just as it should have.

the family event kept me from running in san fransisco which was a bit of a bummer but that said not even close to the importance of the family event. family first. check! san fransisco will be there next year and there are many more runs to come. there is one outside my door each and every morning. in fact there is a run in san antonio in the very near future. i'm ready, physically, just gotta get there. no problem.

the family event and the social affair mixed and mingled in an odd timing sort of way. the coming out of the social affair is still lumpy. actually it's pretty k-funk'd. who knows really what happened there. oh well. better off i guess. the universe said no go and so no go.

the day though has been great. up and down early on then up and up and up as the day progressed. i swear the universe can feel when things are k-funky, when the soul aches and if you are good and/or searching for the good, the positive and the clear path forward, you get it. i cannot remember the last time i was able to speak with so many of my friends, current, past and new acquaintances simply out of the blue. the phones calls just kept coming in and the voices were most welcome. i was able to celebrate in their joy, hear about their most recent accomplishments and/or challenges and just chill inside someone else's world for a while. it was perfect.

so it goes... some folks understand the power of communication and some folks do not. bless those who do. you have no idea. you really made my day.

like mic says

you can't always get what you want
you can't always get what you want
you can't always get what you want
but if you try sometime
you just might find
you get what you need

alright now

that's how it goes. if an intensity enters your life and then soon exits. you have to look at it like this. there is a blessing in the knowing that you still have the capability to feel deeply. i am thankful for that.

on the other hand, damn!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

all at once

the more time i spend on this planet the more deeply i believe that we are defined not by our words but by our actions, our compassion toward humanity, our collaboration on small daily miracles, the intensity at which we live our lives and the passion we infuse our life and daily actions with. i believe in practicing a life of great integrity, of thoughtful humility and daily grace. i am a student and struggle daily toward the lessons of thoughtful humility and grace.

recently, i've been blessed with a lovely few days with a new friend. we've shared ideas and conversations regarding elements bigger and broader than our own existence. we have shared philosophic musings, questions of the universe, sarcasm and simple jokes; from one extreme to the other. all at once, in one person, the gamut fully unexpected and completely appreciated.

and now we part. each to our own tasks ahead. no remorse, no worry, only feelings of happiness for the sharing of the time we were given.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the truth is the way

tell the truth.

salt on my skin

i'm at the point now where i'm getting into runs that just go on and on and on. the mental state is strong, the body prepped for the challenge and me the self enjoying the ride. i think i'm at the point of addiction yet again. i'm hooked on the afterglow of which it's length of effect is directly related to the length of the run. it's that smooth, relaxed state where the universe seems to slow and where stress has no place.

today, after sitting with the glow for a bit i noticed little crystalline sparkles on my legs and arms. i thought first that possibly my skin was a bit dry. not so, rather i was salt covered, reflecting rays of sun in the tiny crystals resting on my body.

must have been a good run i thought forgetting for the moment exactly the length or the time of this days run. the salt now had my attention. i decided to let the salt set at least until the shower. the sunlight felt warm and my concentration shifted.

two hours plus today. the run.
and a glow

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

the impossible possible

the following may be an odd item to post for some. for me it is an occurrence that many have wondered would ever occur, many including myself.

i am here to report that today, october 16. 2007, i at 39 years of age feel comfortable in the body given me. the impossible (thought by myself of course) has become possible.

thanks the gods.

confucius questions: could this comfort be a symptom of the running of many miles?

sun shines through crispy fall days

a couple of good life events have shown face today. beauty in the form of crispy fall days, warm and welcome sunlight breaking through clouds and a bit of courage from a small place enacted upon by surprise.

funny how in life, those things you appreciate most are given and taken away most frequently. or is it because you appreciate them most you notice most the varying proximity of those items to self. distance makes the heart grow fonder. well, yes, sometimes. other times distance might bring clarity to a muddled mind or others distance brings only more distance. the world is not so simple to provide only the single result of "fonder". i'm off track.

distance in my case with true crispy fall days certainly makes my heart more fond of those days when given the chance to experience them again. you see in texas, autumn days just don't feel the same. though here i am in maryland in the fall and the days are perfection.

how did the universe arrange my placement here, at this time? several friends of mine believe that if you ask the universe for a something, really put it out there then it will come to you. careful what you wish for, the universe is mighty powerful. the gods in the universe have been kind to me in the provision of crispy fall days, two weeks full of them. wish granted.

autumn/fall is my favorite time of the year. the quality of the air, the color of the sunlight, the angle of the sun in relationship to the axis of the earth, the activity of the animals in preparation for winter and the smells of nature and trees as they begin to drop their leaves. once again the sculpted structure of our trees are revealed and oh the shadows they provide when the sun in low and rising or mid height and falling late in day.

for me autumn is the season of love. as the days cool, hand holding makes evident the warmth two persons can share, coffee and tea become more pleasurable and provide reason to join with another for conversation, people touch more in cool weather and are revived by the chilly motivation to move and play. the colors of autumn are of the earth, grounded and deep. the textures of autumn are many, chilly fingertips, more sensitive to touch than those heated and hot. and the clarity of the air is most fantastic, breathing in takes on new dimension. autumn is home to me.

i spoke of courage too. small bits of it. this small bit of courage is in the company of clarity, truthfulness, sincerity and optimism without the company of shame, fear or regret. the act is truly a simple one and quite possibly nothing of note for many but for me a great mountain and one i've kept silent more often than not. i shared without expectation an admiration for another.

if that sounds small to you then you're not yet aware of the intensity at which i live my life. i may and do express admiration to my friends and family frequently. i express my admiration of act and deed to those i live and work with. rarely do i share an admiration that may risk the balance of the heart.

this time though was different and i think i know why. i believe that i'm in a place where being alone is more than ok. in fact it's often my preference. there are times though when another person stands out from the crowd and often, i the coward that i am fail to share with them my observation of their gleaming qualities. i have decided that it's no longer acceptable to do so. regardless of the outcome, i vow to share with persons my admiration of their special qualities.

maybe the sharing will make their day. maybe the sharing will inspire them to concentrate on the positive. maybe the sharing will allow them to share with another an admiration they have observed and maybe the sharing will bring more love into the world. who knows. if given without expectation, anything is possible. if tied to expectation, then the sharing is not truly sharing but rather a means to an end and may sour quickly. i've had that experience more than enough times. no thank you.

give freely and reap great joy. give freely and reap great joy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

the perfect run

got up this morning and decided that today's run was going to be whatever it wanted to be. it was perfect. i felt great. i was at pace. my posture felt smooth and my mind was clear as a bell. i can't ask for more.

Friday, October 12, 2007

training, tired, but still going

this always happens, it's just 9 days away from a run in san fransisco and i'm feeling dead on my feet. still i get out there every morning and do my miles. granted now that we're so close to the race the miles are tapered but the collected effects of training are in full force. my body aches, my feet fit a bit oddly in some of my shoes, my hips ache, my back is achy, i yawn constantly and sometimes i zone out without even realizing it. it's days like these when I fantasize about afternoon naps.

it's important to remind myself that the race is a piece of cake relative to all the training which keeps the spirits up. so for all you runners who's race (really more appropriately - the run) is just around the corner, don't lose heart. trust the taper, eat right, sleep more than i do and have a great time on race day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

hippychick's inspirational mom

there is something to be said for receiving the out of the blue phone call from your mom and hearing how proud she is of you, of your communication techniques in blog format and your ability to creatively communicate about matters that matter to you and maybe to others in an inspirational way. but most important to me was hearing about her happiness, surprise and feeling of joy in her own discovering by reading a bit more about my outlook on life and living. that means a lot to me.

you see no matter how much you share with your family, they don't always get a clear glimpse inside to the things you really believe in. those heart to heart conversations might feel awkward, or time may not permit or they just don't seem to flow in the conversation at hand. whatever the case, i'm thankful my mom gets to learn more about me in whatever way that comes about. things happen for a reason. maybe blogs happen for a reason too.

i'm lucky. i have been blessed with an amazing family. we all get along, we all support one another, we all believe that being good breeds goodness, we all accept each other's flaws, we all celebrate one another and we all work very hard at whatever it is we are doing at the time. and to some extent we all have an excellent ability to perform unexpected acts of courage more frequently than most of us realize.

my folks have been married for as long as i've been in this world. i don't know two people who understand a relationship better than they. my only sibling is now married and they too, i believe, have what it takes to love for a very long time. we don't come from money, we come from hard working simple folk who valued family and character and consistent actions that match their beliefs.

be kind and kindness will follow. and then there are times that kindness will not follow but be kind anyway as long as you are able. best to identify a wolf when it comes and then act as you must but beware of seeing a wolf when fear leads your eyes to that vision. fear must be overcome before clarity of vision might be trusted. and be prepared to be wrong and be prepared to be gracious when something you thought you really wanted does not come your way. in the end that thing you thought you really wanted, you did not need. what you need will always be there. a family full of love, understanding, patience and a belief in your being deeper and greater than you ever could imagine.

when you think about happiness in these terms and the truth is, we are often so distracted by other voices and/or other vices that we often lose site of the simple terms. as i said, i'm lucky and i thank the gods or whatever forces placed us in this universe for my luck. my goal is to not screw it up.

sounds like a sermon folks. i don't mean to preach. i'm just sharing how good it feels when your mom calls and says she's proud of you. it brings up a lot of good feelings, it activates moments of reflection and it inspires me to keep living the values of goodness and hard work.

everybody is different. and it should be so. hey call your family - let them know you appreciate them. you never know how a single voice over the phone can change a person's day. my mom changed mine and i bet you bucks she had no idea how much it means to me. she might someday soon, if she ever reads this. love you too mom.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

food on the road- kickin' back to childhood favorites

it's kind of funny to discover what you choose to eat when you're on the road. as of late, i've been opting for old childhood standbys. simple stuffs like chicken noodle soup which i find particularly good and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which can pair up with almost anything and can easily become extra fancy if you've got access to an apple, a banana or some raisins. i love a good salad, best in my universe if it includes feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and black olives.

just this morning i walked past the sausage, potatoes and egg/veggie concoction directly to the oatmeal. there it was plain old oatmeal; but after reaching in with the spoon to check the consistency (which was perfect - not lumpy - not a full solid mass - slightly runny) i noticed sitting next to the pot were several bowls containing bits of the following: chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, raisins and organic brown sugar. Wow! i thought, here i am on the road in a fairly well know hotel chain and i can enjoy a healthy (true to life) healthy breakfast. rock on!

so i dug in. i opted for the smaller cup of soup type bowl, oatmeal, walnuts, blueberries and a spoon of organic brown sugar. off to the beverage area: 2% milk - check! apple juice - check! and a cup of coffee - check! excellent. hmm and a bowl of bananas and apples just sitting pretty. i know what i'll be having for snacks today. this could be the best travel food options to date. the best part is that this breakfast comes complimentary with my room each and every day. so really all i need to worry about is a small lunch and a light dinner since i'll travel with an apple and a banana each day.

for those of you who do not travel much and have the daily luxury of eating at home you may not understand the importance of good on the road food. and to be sure folks, i consider eating at home a luxury due to the fact that home is a place where you always know what is in your food and often in my case, exactly where your food came from. on the road, one is often faced with the option of fast food, fast food or the local food mart at a gas station for options - not good. so i'm thrilled to be where i am and with such options as a hearty helping of oat meal.

the better news is that i've already scoped out the local for the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the greek salad and the chicken noodle soup. i think this trip, eating will not only be fun but the foods will be simple satisfying and good for me. and i hope i hope i hope there will be no weight gain. all you on the roaders know the perils of that sad fact - not this time i say! but that discussion is for yet another day.

happy travels!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

new day new place new challenge

well it's less than 14 days away from the nike woman's marathon and 1/2 marathon. this year i'm running the half. it will be my first distance with serious elevation. that's ok. i'll manage. add the fact that i'm now out of town on a gig for 11 days working 16-18 hour days. now that's crazy. managing these next 11 days will be the real challenge.

how to
  • get the job done
  • eat right over the long hours
  • get enough sleep
  • get out there and put in some miles in my faithful brooks shoes
  • keep up a blog
  • keep in touch with family
  • keep in touch with students
  • the list goes on
  • not freak out about the upcoming race
    • well that's already in check
    • i'm allset to accept a finish rather than a p.r.
      • this one will be about fun
hey tell me how you do it. i know there are a lot of folks who freelance and/or travel lots. and how about those who put in super long hours out of town when making your own lunch is a different ball of wax.

i'm looking for your input.

let's hope my back holds up. i brought my ben gay patches. ahh ben gay patches, they are a wonderful thing. for the wearer anyway. gotta go, the gig calls.

Monday, October 8, 2007

october 15 is blog action day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day?
One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.

In its inaugural year, Blog Action Day will be co-ordinating bloggers to tackle the issue of the environment.

What Each Blogger Will Do

Bloggers can participate on Blog Action Day in one of two ways:

  1. Publish a post on their blog which relates to an issue of their own choice pertaining to the environment.

  2. Commit to donating their day’s advertising earnings to an environmental charity of their choice. There is a list of "official" Blog Action Day charities on the site, however bloggers are also free to choose an alternate environmental charity to donate to if they wish.

And that’s it.

this is worth checking out folks. and check this out too, make me

birdies recycle too

i awoke this morning to a great chattering of birds outside the bedroom window. somehow i knew what all the talk was about. in fact, i had been waiting to see if this very event would occur.

the chatter, now quite active and quick in tempo, seemed to be in the nature of either a great negotiation or a serious exclamatory statement of property no longer available on market. you see there is a beautifully built bird's nest in a small tree just next to the house. it is perfectly protected from rain and intruders of the larger size. it's shape is that of a perfect bowl and it's just above the northeast bit of the organic veggie garden. i too, if a bird, would fall in love with the nest at first sight. in bird land, it's a great place to raise your kiddos. my guess is that they were making a serious exclamatory statement of property no longer available on the market.

a small pair of brown finches have laid claim to the nest. i never knew they had so much song in them. they are really belting it out. i don't think that there is another pair who will succeed in convincing them to move elsewhere. not even mr. t the supercat bug removerator. he too is getting all caught up in the chatter and chattering back. his hair is up and fluffed. the tail whipping along the floor and ears at full attention. these two finches have the entire neighborhood involved. it's quite humorous to me, and very dear. this is how i hoped my home would be; accepted and welcoming to all in the neighborhood. so far so good.

you see birdies recycle too and quite the activists they are; as they should be. as we should be...

we had a light rain last night, must have been light as i did not hear a thing. or then again, maybe i finally slept well being as tired as i've been. maybe a combo. i usually know when it rains in that the house has a metal roof. i personally love the sound of rain. i find it a comfort. no matter, the garden is in good form. it's overcast yet this morning, the bees are out, the garden wasps are out, and a few hummingbirds are out making the best of the flowers that still open without the coaxing of the sun.

i saw a few toads and lizards this morning too along with the many many spiders we have this year due the late spring rains. all this to me, is a great sign, that folks are happy, well cared for and that the garden and home surroundings are properly providing for their needs. pretty soon it will be time to clean out the bird feeders and fill them up. for now i think there is plenty of natural options for the birdies.

took a short break from the typing to trim the superbugremoverator's nails. he's the only fellow that i know who will sit quietly in my lap and purr like a motor during nail trimming time. i'm thankful for that. it's good to know he trust's me. or maybe he's just a cat fellow who would really dig kitty pedicures. and now he's off again to chatter with the local creature folk. "can't spend too much time preening in the morning, mom, that's when most of the action is".

take a good look out your door and windows. who's living near you? what can you do to make your place creature friendly. and look inside too, what can you do to make your environment more friendly, more of a home, more simple? small efforts often make the biggest impact. sometimes the just becoming aware is the best change of all. maybe you'll start a small compost pile today or maybe you'll recycle more than you once have or maybe you'll start a small window garden (herbs are always sweet for the smelling). believe me, every effort matters and makes a difference. and if you never have, it's a lovely time observing natural folk out of doors. all i know is that it makes me cheery. try it, why not eih?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

art opening, casual conversation, quite ride home, stars in the sky

pleasant friend filled evening, with casual conversation, an unstuffy art opening, star gazing at an outdoor pub and a slow ride home; i'd have to say last night was quite nice. it's not often that i drive into austin-town on a saturday night but a good friend had an art opening at her new studio and i could not pass the occasion up.

the studio is lovely. tucked away on a small side street in a neighborhood area. the house is a 1938 home, some of the walls stripped to the support beams and others finished. three painters, a friend of mine being one of the three, are renting the house, teaching painting and drawing in the house and hold gallery events there as well. they have a big yard in the back, quite big actually and a useful kitchen in the rear of the house. they all had some great work on the walls and tables around the place and many of the folks coming and going to and from the opening were familiar faces. it was nice and they, the artists, seemed very much at home. go doghouse studio go. and thank you for the invite. what a pleasure.

this morning started a bit later than usual. 7:09am and you know what, i'm not feeling an ounce of guilt about that. i've been working hard and my body has been calling out for some rest for a while now which i have not provided. too much to do. and my unexplainable feelings of guilt when i just sit and rest. can't explain that, it's just always been with me. lately though my back aches have increased. the source is in the lower left side. my spine is where i store my tension. i think it's time to see a masseuse. it's not a luxury item i spend money on very often. and frankly at this point i don't really feel that it would be a luxury event but more of a therapeutic assist. it's really getting bad and i've got a half marathon to run in san fransisco several weeks from now.

anyway, i rose , mixed up my iced coffee, set out fresh water and food for my loving companion mr. t., the superkitty and got to the task of cooking up some mixed oats for breakfast. mixed in , i include the old style stone cut oats, whole oats, flax ,bran and several bits of chopped nuts and usually a few raisins or other dried fruit bits. i cook the oat mix in 50/50 water and evaporated skim milk. i love the creamy texture the evaporated milk adds to the mix. and if i've got it in the house, a good tablespoon of organic brown sugar.

by the time i finished breakfast i noticed the sky was in an overcast state. perfect for planting seeds i thought! check the weather for the remainder of the month, what's coming, is it possible to put the beet and carrot seeds in?
yup, it looks good for beets and carrots. so out i went, popped into the garage, picked up the necessary tools, peeled back the layers of clipped grass and pine needle mulch, carved out a few troughs and dropped in the precious seeds. covered them lightly and replaced the mulch materials. then once all seeds were set i walked over the rain barrels and began to tap them for the first drink these seeds would share in the hippychick garden of happiness.

after that i fetched the last few days of tossed veggie bits ready for composting. i decided to place them directly into the garden, this time at the foot of the sweet peppers. so i dug the whole, dropped them in (ploP!) and covered them once again with soil and mulch. they too got a drink of rainwater just to get the compost action started full swing.

now i'm back inside, feeling tight in the back and sleepy. i think it might be a day of reading. house cleaning here and there and lower impact chores. this could just be a collective bit of exhaustion, who knows. all i do know is that the back acheyness is daily present.

eih eih eih, up and adam. or maybe just maybe, i should give my body either a bit more of sleep or the gift of a nap. take care of your body folks, it's the only one you've got.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

veggie garden clean up

once i got the good bug blend broadcasted (see previous post) and the sprinklers going to water it in, i started on the garden.
the live oaks are now dropping acorns left and right and although the squirrels are doing their best, it may take them a while to get up to speed so i had sweeping up to do along the garden edge. in addition, i trimmed back the marigolds that had gone to seed. they'll bloom again in several weeks and show the garden with beauty once again. there are still a good number of flowers for the bees, butterflies and such to visit. speaking of bees, the garden was chock full of them this morning. that's a great sign, where there are bees, there are other beneficial insects and that can only be good for an organic garden. i have allowed the basil to go to flower and the bees love it. the basil season is soon to pass so i'll be collecting a good lot of the leaves today for a big big batch of shelly's pesto. mmmmm. i can taste it already.

the baby dill and baby cilantro plants are showing their first true leaves today and i've been blessed with a few volunteer nasturtium plants around the garden border. they'll be helpful to attract good bugs, tasty to eat and beautiful to look at. the baby lettuce and cabbage seedlings are doing great. the kentucky wonder and the lima beans are climbing all over the place. the cucumbers are setting heavy. looks like we'll get a good harvest for some fall pickles. that will be fun. the borage volunteers are coming up all over. the bees are going to love that once they get a bit larger and flower and how lovely the flowers are in drinks and salads.

the sweetpotato vines are beginning to show a bit of dying off. that just means that it's getting close to harvest time. i think another two weeks or so before it's really time to dig up the whole lot. wonder what will go in that area next. maybe additional greens.
hey! here's a great sweetpotato article i read in the nytimes today. check it out. photo is by Kalim A. Bhatti for The New York Times

next on the list is the turning of the compost pile. it's really cooking and although i add to it each week, it's really breaking down quickly. that's good news! just this morning i've plopped the carved out pumpkins from last week's party in the pile. they were the pumpkins that i served soup from. i left them out for the week to see if any garden creatures would take advantage of them. ultimately the answer has been yes, but they are also full of fruit flies so i thought best to move them to compost land. they'll keep the pile cooking real good.

and after the watering and turning of the compost, i may give the garden a good garlic spray. the mosquito population is surging again and being a mosquito magnet makes garden and yard work quite uncomfortable. the garlic spray seems to work wonders. i've just got to make sure we're not expecting any later night rains. the garlic spray works best when there are dry days on either side of the spraying. we'll see, i may wait on the garlic spray.

and i could, plant some beets and carrots if i wanted to. some folk say october is a good time for that but it's been unusually hot so i wonder if it's better to wait. i remember planting beets early last year led to the first crop bolting. i don't want that again. i'll look at the weather trend and then make a plan.

ok well i've got to get back out there! enjoy your weekend. happy days from hippychick!

side note: i'm still concerned about the squirrels, i just don't see the numbers of them that i have in the past.

planting for the good bugs today

got up early this morning to broadcast several pounds of peaceful valley farm and garden supply's mix of good bug blend and low growing good bug blend. here is their description of the blend, how it should be planted, and just what type of seeds are in the mix.

Beneficial insects are a natural army of pest control allies and it is important to provide them with suitable living conditions if you expect their help. In order to reproduce, beneficial insects need nectar and pollen. If they do not find these in your field (and they are very particular. Ñot just any flowers will not suffice), they will leave and may not return. We pioneered these seed mixes for beneficial insect habitat. We designed our mix to include plants which are proven hosts to specific wild as well as introduced beneficials, such as predatory mites and wasps, ladybugs, lacewings, syrphids, tachnids, predacious beetles and many more. Good Bug Blend has been field-proven for over a decade in large and small scale growing areas. Since the mix blooms nearly year round, Good Bug Blend should be planted in areas which can go a little wild, such as field borders, ditchbanks, fence rows, etc. Generally, you need to plant only 1-5% of your land with this mix for good results. Drill or broadcast seed at 10-15 lb/acre (1 lb/1,000 sq ft) in any but the coldest months of the year. Large scale growers: if you are planting in fall, add vetch at 5 lb/acre. If you are planting in spring, add 10 lb of buckwheat and 10 lb of cowpeas/acre. (See Cover Crop Seed section). Blooms begin 45-90 days after planting and will continue for years. Our mix contains crimson, rose and sweet clovers, subclovers, alfalfas, gypsophila, eriogonum fasiculatum, white alyssum, nasturtium, yarrow, carrot, dill, daikon, celery, radish, fennel, caraway, chervil, coriander, and more.

the sprinklers are going outside so as to water the blend into the lawn and surrounding garden areas. this is the time of the year when the grass growth actually slows down. i hope i'll be able to let a good portion of the lawn go for a while to allow the seed to establish. i'm not so concerned with the surrounding garden areas or under the fruit trees. i'll just let those areas be. i'm thankful for a mix of seed that not only will do so much good but may actually look quite beautiful once in flower. just look at the above list. i don't see how you could lose.

ok beneficial buggies - COME AND GET IIIIIIIIIIT!
thanks again peaceful valley farm.

Friday, October 5, 2007

pretty pretty morning

oh what a beautiful morning. the song rings true in my head and maybe as i wander the yard and garden a few of the sing song bars escape the mind and are sung aloud. each morning truly feels like a gift on days like today.

baby cucumbers mid growth on the vine

flowers in pink, gold and orange

and the blooms that call out to bees and butterflies for their attentions.

all so lovely, all patiently waiting for their bit of sunshine and all signaling new life is within our reach. oh what a beautiful feeling... go ahead you finish the rest. "everything is coming...mmm mmm"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

two busy bees

bees bees bees bees

i could not resist sharing these images of two hard workin' bees.
one a big ole bummble type.

the other smaller is stature. ah the wonders of nature. i could watch them all day.
the bees love the texas sage and are always welcome in the hippychick garden!

you can click on the photos for a closer view

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

rooster gonna get some booty

got my roo roo a lady friend.
i can feel the roo roo henny hen hen love in the air already.

gotta give it up folks
he is so pretty he's gotta score.
she ain't bad either.

booty booty chicken love!
love is grand.

quaint quiet morning

it's beautiful today. cool crisp air, brilliant golden sunshine, a slight breeze and so far pretty quiet. i could hear the bees buzzing around the basil and sage flowers as I watered. i could hear when grasshoppers took flight and in the distance the high school marching band's early morning routine practice. everyone got a drink. the days have been quite dry and although rain has been forecast, not a drop has fallen, at least in these parts.

the pine straw mulch has been distributed. the 6 bails did a good job but did not get near to covering the whole of the garden beds (flower's, veggies and trees). i think it's going to take about 6 more bails to get there, possibly more. i prefer the pine straw to wood mulch in that it's lighter in weight, it's quite pretty in the right environment and it does n0t eat up as much nitrogen in it's own breakdown/compost process as wood chips would. i don't worry too much about acidifying the soil. up to now, in my own experience with pine straw and in reading a few reports, results show that most soils do just fine with pine straw.

so quiet day. let's hope it stays so (no more snakes in cars) at least for one day. there's always more excitement to come. i guess i should be prepared for anything. besides, that is what makes life exciting, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

snake in my car oh my! oh my! oh my!

got a big surprise this morning on the way into work. about 20 minutes into my 40 minute drive i noticed some movement next to me on the passenger's seat side. knowing i had all the windows down, as i much prefer a good driving breeze over a.c. any day, i figured something in my bag was just catching a bit of air current. i nearly hopped out of the car when i realized i had a SNAKE in the seat next to me!

oh my gosh! i squealed like a high pitched pig, nearly jumped out of my seat until i gained a very slight bit of my brain back and reminded myself it would be best not to cause or get into an accident on the freeway while i try to figure this out.

i don't know much about snakes but by it's looks, i surmised that it was not of the viper family; thank the gods above! still i was freaking out! really really freaking out. i decided to put the a.c. thinking, "it's a reptile right, they like the warmth, the ac might drive it under the seat" oh but do i really want a snake under the seat? so i decided where i would pull over - the austin feed store Callahans'. i figured there's got to be some beefy cowboy picking up goods this morning who might laugh at my foolish fear of snakes and help me out. i was more than willing to feign humiliation for the relief of the snake removal, though i wanted to be sure the beefy cowboy would not try to kill the snake. just because i'm afraid of the thing does not mean that it deserves to die. not at all actually! i'd just like to be a bit further away from it. i've not yet ever considered the career of snake taxi up to now and i was not ready at this time to consider the job further.

well i got myself pulled over safely. but rather than the snake being repelled by the a.c. it went and got itself up on the dashboard. ohhh! i was really freaking, it was heading my way. i parked the car, jumped out, hopped around and screamed (just a bit) and then chilled out (pulse still racing i must admit) and tried to figure, what next.

i waited a bit for the beefy cowboy. no cowboy. no cowboy. no cowboy!
this was it. i had to get the snake out on my own.
ok breathe breathe breathe ok ok ok ok ok
just do it!

by this time the snake had actually decided to wander a bit and was under the drivers seat. i had to move the seat forward to catch site of it and in one quick move, don't ask me where i got the guts to do this, i reached in and grabbed it behind the head. oh man i wanted to close my eyes but i also did not want to get bit.

damn! i got it! now what?
i placed the snake down next to the car and watched it struggle on the pavement.
in a matter of seconds i felt really bad for the fellow and got some of my papers out and helped scoot the fellow toward and into the grass. at that moment i think i began breathing again.

everything happens for a reason right? that's how i approach life anyway. i figure the little fellow was living in the pine mulch i picked up last night, got free transport to my town but preferred austin so decided to stay put in the car until the return transport was ready. and then when he knew his stop was coming, made his presence known so as to trigger the dropping off event. well maybe that's how it goes in some alternate reality. could be cool if snakes thought that much.

i'm now doing a bit of research to find out what kind of snake it was. and maybe just maybe that is why this happened. i'm suppose to learn more about texas snakes. sure could help if this ever happens again. i'll be back to let you know what type of snake i think it was once i learn a bit more.

til' then. i might consider using a pickup rather than a wagon for the transport of hay and pine mulch. separate quarters you know what i mean?

ah ha! i think i found him. a rough earth snake. click on the name for more info. here is another link, kind of cute actually. three referenced sites is a charm,

photo is located at and taken by gary nafis

Monday, October 1, 2007

and the exhaustion hits - boom down for the count!

ah but i wish i could go down for the count. it's mid-afternoon and the day still requires much of my attentions as do my students. it's now about endurance, focus and the nearest iced coffee.

and from the brilliance of wikipedia the following:
iced coffee is a cold variant of the normally hot beverage coffee.

uh yeah! wow. what would we do without wikipedia?
hmmm ponder that one.

Just gotta say...

there's nothing like waking up to clean house after a day long gathering. it's really worth the extra effort to get things put away, washed up and spiffy. this way, one's following days may continue on forward rather than pull one back again to the unfinished task. i guess that could be said for most tasks.

finish what you start now.
you'll be more free to make tomorrow what you wish.
have a great week folks!

finish a task, check it off the list and feel great!