July 27, 2010

Today I clipped herbs and dehydrated them in a solar dehydrator I rigged up from a mixing bowl and an antique wire-mesh colander. I then went to work and didn’t check them until evening, where I found all but the thyme burnt to a crisp. So…erm…I think tomorrow I’ll bake cookies in that thing instead. And I’ll check on them after an hour instead of after eight.

I’m resuming blogging with more yammering about the usual things I yammer about on the internet – birds, gardens. Nature stuff. Safe topics, apolitical (to a point – I’m into permaculture and stuff like that gets political pretty quick) and impersonal. The impersonality isn’t so much image control as it is borne of an overall peacefulness with what I am doing with my life right now – i.e. lack of drama that makes for exciting blog posts. I work a lot. When I have time, I write. I do not socialize much, but this year has been better for the social life than recent years – the idea of socializing doesn’t paralyze me like it did, so the quietude is welcome rather than enforced by anxiety. Overall, I’m a lot more comfortable with where I am, even though it’s where I’ve been for four years and nothing outwardly has really changed. Only my perspective.

The chickadees absorbed my life for a month as they nested right outside our front door, and then one day they fledged and I missed it, and now I only see them when they come around for sunflower seeds. Soon they’ll move closer to the house as fall comes, and they’ll get back to their routine of taking sunflower seeds from our hands and cheering us on with their feistiness – seeing a tiny two ounce bird bitchslap a steller’s jay is hilarious. Those poor steller’s jays. They never know what hit them.

Yesterday morning the scrub jay brought his baby over for peanuts – first time this season. It’s late for them, but I was so glad to see the little gray guy bouncing around, following his dad to see what he’d buried in the pots in my deck (answer: peanuts!). I’m totally guessing at sexes, btw. I recognized the first year’s mama as a girl for the first two years, and the baby as a boy, and after the mama didn’t come around anymore I’ve just pretended all of them are boys because they’re pushy and they fly into my house and land on my furniture and give me the side-eye if I happen to leave the door open. It’s rather wonderful, actually. Magical. I know it’s simple cause and effect: we offer food, they like food. We don’t threaten them. But this is the fourth generation of scrub jays to be brought by their parents to our door and taught how to take peanuts from our fingers (to deter the steller’s jays, who desperately want to join in but are simply too skittish to be handfed) and there is something truly golden about that kind of trust. It’s why I mention them so often – they’re nearly constant companions. When we sit outside and don’t offer peanuts, they sit nearby, fluffing themselves up and napping. Very cozy.

The deck garden has been a marvelous success this year. I harvested about a pound and a half of snow peas and a half pound of baby carrots from the earthbox, then replanted with roma tomatoes and cucumbers (forgetting that those two should not be planted together. They’re doing alright but we’ll see). The herbs are going nuts. The thimbleberry is terribly unhappy with all the sun and heat, but I’m afraid to move it because it won’t get watered if I plant it in the backyard (we are extremely conservative with our water usage, especially for irrigation, and we generally let the backyard fend for itself). The pansies and violas are happy, the succulents are returning from their frozen torpor – keeping in mind that our last snow was exactly two months ago – and overall I couldn’t be happier. Decent strawberry crop too. Not enough for jam, but enough for daily snacks for a couple of weeks in June. I’ve been very happy that our daily water usage stands solid at around 10 gallons per day – 5 gallons of water per person, and about 2 of those daily gallons are irrigation for our garden and some of our less drought-tolerant perennials (i.e., Mom’s plants).

After I posted my sad little post about the Blue Room in March or April, Josh became sort of driven to finish that room out and unpack it, so we have a library again! And it’s just brilliant. We scored a gorgeous desk for $20 from a secondhand shop in town, and our book purchasing skyrocketed with many trips to the local used bookstore. Also, we hit B&N a few times and once again experienced the joy of buying an anticipated hardback on its release day. Having that room finished and available has been amazing for my overall outlook – it makes me feel more settled in our home (even though I still keep tabs on available farms) and since it’s a computer free room – the only one in the house – it’s truly restful to go in and look at all our books and sit at the desk and look out into the bowl of green that is our little woodland garden and think thoughts that aren’t mechanized. It makes this place really feel like a creative space. Room for thoughts and ideas, space to try them out.

Last week some friends came over and we shared food and music and wine and that totally hit the spot. Next week we’re having a reading at {open} and I’m hoping for more of the same – friends and laughter. If you’re in the LA area (or attending SCBWI) come by Open at 7pm on Monday August 2nd for readings from a few YA authors and general hilarity as we hang out and enjoy snacks and try to impress each other with our interesting word usements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *