Thursday, October 22, 2009

Winternights comes!

A couple of observations from the past two days...

Autumn is tinged with melancholy,
A sweet good bye to summers end,
as to a friend
you know you’ll see again.


Falling leaves tuck us into bed,
Billowing piles and crazy quilt lawns
Evoke the comfort of winter nights
Burrowed in down and tucked, with love,
In cozy flannel and woolen hospitality.

Monday, October 19, 2009

a week in pictures

The last harvest of herbs. Upper left to lower left: oregano on top of sage, thyme, winter savory and chives. Upper right, yarrow. Lower right, Greek oregano.

dried leeks

Leek flower bud

Leek flower bud cross section

Leek bulb reproduction

Leek bulb reproduction: you can see the bulblet was indeed attached to the larger bulb. Leeks are related to lilies, garlic and onions so this type of reproduction should not surprise me, I guess, but I had not seen it before. Less than 10% showed bulblets.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

saying no

I just officially dropped out of doggie training class. For now, at least... I am hoping that I can at least audit the last few classes at some future date. Timing of the classes, and finding time to work with the pup, just were not even close to optimal.. they were just not happening.

It was hard to just shoot off the email without explanation other than reassurance that I was not an unhappy customer. But I think I am going to have to learn to do this, and to learn to make more "maybe" commitments as time rolls on.

You see, my specialty through the years has been "no matter what" commitments... it happens or I MAKE it happen. But things change and that isn't working now.

It might very well have something to do with working 3 jobs. Might have something to do with two of them being client/customer driven (and there I am not willing to give up the "no matter what" commitment; that's just how I do business!) And then there is my getting back to a seasonal /agricultural lifestyle. This has proven to be a thorn in the side of my interactions with the larger community before, when folks don't understand that "there is a time to sow and a time to reap" isn't just metaphor.

And add on top of that, a partner whose health is waning, steadily and significantly -- despite finally having decent medical care. It may not sound like much, but this time last year, he could sit at the computer all day long, doing research, playing WOW or the like and could rouse sufficient energy to do household and other tasks as needed. A year before that, even the task of laying carpet in our small office reception area (which, by the way, was a bear and a half of a job!) was just one of the tasks he did during the day. Yes, he complained of the pain... but he could do it.

Now, he gets winded just walking to the garage; cannot stay awake during the day and even with naps cannot summon the energy, strength or endurance to do much. Putting away the dishes is a major job (though he can still do it at some point during the day) He often says that he used to be "a planner and a do-er" but now can be neither, and that is pretty much dead on. His thinking is affected sufficiently that he must pick and choose times in which he has sufficient clarity to plan out a simple project like designing a replacement for the back steps. One's afternoon's work (with my help) got the boards for the sides cut to size. Assembly of the sides will also need my help, as will cutting and attaching the steps.

So, not only must I deal with the psychological aspects of his decline, there is little that must be done here on he ol' homestead that my hands don't end up having to touch.

And meanwhile, there are still leeks (25') and Brussels sprouts (100') and carrots and beets (just a few) remaining in the garden, as well as all the tall stuff which must be whacked down with the scythe, perennials that much be mulched (with SOMETHING... I wonder if I can still get some of that mulch hay and where the $ is coming from to buy it...)

And while I never thought I was much of a "schedule" person, I am finding that K's total lack of schedule... of falling asleep randomly... being awake randomly... is throwing me for a loop. Just simple stuff like eating.. if I make enough for 2, and it is not something that can "hold" will it be waste? If I make enough for one, chances are about the time I sit down to eat, he's awake! And I do try to keep him eating healthy, trying to buy good stuff and not empty calorie junk, it is hard to keep grab and eat food around that is good for a diabetic.

Sorry about the whine... sometimes it just helps to write as I try to figure out the balance point here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On marriage, contracts and separation of church and state

I don't generally delve into the realm of politics, for several reasons. The most notable of these is that most folks have their minds made up and no amount of discussion will change their position.

However, with the furor that is going on in my home state of Maine as conservatives attempt to overturn our newly enacted right for couples to marry, regardless of gender, and having had a conversation with one of my daughters regarding similar legal controversies in Utah over extending civil rights to folks regardless of sexual orientation and belief system, I am going to jump into the fray.

Be forwarned, I am likely to be so far out in left field as to be totally out of the arena, if not my mind.

For many, many years I have wondered how we can, as a country, say that we separate church and state and yet have the grey area in the law that is marriage -- a rite of churches -- that is also a legal status. As I understand it, marriage became a state matter long ago, as a way of further controlling the peasants and the flow of property. In those days, in Europe, there was also an established State church... and the mixing of Church and State politics was the norm.

That was then... this is now... and it is my opinion that the institution of Marriage should be relegated to the individual churches where it belongs. If a church chooses to marry a couple -- and the couple wishes to partake of this particular sacrament, so be it.

But this should have no bearing on anything beyond the communities of faith... not on who inherits what, not on who pays for what, not on taxes, nor insurance nor any of the other doings the involve the affairs of state. For that, there are contracts. We enter into contracts for buying and renting stuff, for saying who gets what after we die and heck, we even enter into contracts to say who gets what when we separate from a union. Why, then, need there be more than a contract (which could be written any number of ways) to spell out the rights and responsabilities of those who choose to pair-bond? It would be the responsibility of the two parties to negotiate fair and equitable terms which they could agree to... including sharing or separation of finances, responsibility for child care and expenses, and so on.

This would of course require a revamping of the income tax system (which in itself would be a good thing!) and adjustments to other contracts such as for insurance. Anyone of the age of adulthood, who is able to enter into a contractual relationship, could choose to execute this contract with anyone else of suitable age.

They might also choose to participate in a church sacrament, but that would have no bearing on their contractual relationship.

And we would be able place legal issues in a legal arena and spiritual issues on the shoulders of the faith community, where they belong.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I was recently interviewed (by email) regarding my hex work; the interview has been posted online.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What I have been up to...

We have been enjoying autumn colors... this was the view on the way to Dover-Foxcroft for K's counseling meeting. Shot from the hill in Charleston, ME looking north. And after that appointment we went hunting covered bridges we had seen, so as to be able to share the locations with a friend down east in Maine.

This is Low's Bridge, Willimantic, ME (a ways past Dover-Foxcroft) Google map

I found this one "accidentally" on my first vacation to Maine. One could not drive over it then. Who would have expected it to be in my new home town! Robeyville Covered Bridge in Corinth, ME google map

And last night's project result... I moved all this lumber, which we had ordered from a small lumberyard, into the garage so as to be out of the rain today. This represents my back steps and deck (front, boards lengthwise to camera) and the dog fence (boards in back, stacked 4 deep -- this bit is an order of "cull wood" that cost md $40!). My muscles are stiff today from moving all this!