Tonight’s blue moon turns out to be a good analogy for the frequency of my posts here in the past couple of months. An exaggeration, sure (as that analogy almost always is), but it has been a while. Good intentions went by the wayside as summer finally hit full swing and the days of sunlight and warmth began. By the time I make it inside each evening I’m usually squeezed for time for the inside chores and turning on the computer doesn’t even happen most weeknight evenings. That’s changing a bit now as the days grow shorter (sob!) and it’s full dark by 9:00, though after spending eight hours in front of one at the day job, there isn’t much appeal to boot up at home. Not when there are balls to toss, gardens to weed, eggs to collect, sheep to tend, and even a moment or two of relaxing on the deck with a glass of wine and a book (if only Farley would let me…).
I took a new position at the day job – a lateral move, technically, to a new department – and I’ve been busy, with overtime hours to prove it. The work is similar, but with a lot more of what I’m good at: editing, formatting, word processing. I like it a lot, and it’s good to be busy and even needed. It kind of took me by surprise, and while I’m enjoying the work and staying busy all day, I also long for a little more down time. The eternal dilemma (for some of us) of time vs. money. I’m at a point in life where the time is more valuable than the green stuff (though that’s been true for me pretty much my whole life) so it will be a trick to see how this plays into the coming months, when the newness has worn off and I’m up to speed with the routine tasks. Right now it doesn’t leave much time for growing my own business, or writing at all. The one thing I do carve out time for is my down time – the do nothing, lazy Sunday morning stuff, where I sit in bed reading with a cup of tea while the dogs sleep off their breakfasts next to me. I still feel mildly guilty when I spend a day accomplishing little more than soaking up the sun and puttering around the house and yard. I know it’s essential to my well being though – mentally as well as physically – and recharging like this is necessary.
Even so, I’ve managed to accomplish a few things over the summer, with more on the docket. I’m finally getting around to painting the interior walls. Some of them. Soon. So far I’ve only purchased the paint, but with the holiday weekend I’m hoping to get the entry and part of the living room painted in the next couple of days. And I’m hoping I like the colors I’ve picked, once they’re on the wall and dry. I painted my front door (exterior) a couple of weekends ago and am still not sure if I like it. It was black before, which always looked kind of odd and even a little creepy/ominous to me. The house is painted a pale yellow with white trim, and the black door was the only thing black. Even the back door is white. I thought I’d go with something vibrant, a green or a blue – my favorite colors – in a style similar to those great colored doors you see on row houses in Europe. After weeks of indecision, and paint chips taped by the door to see how they looked on the yellow and in every lighting, I settled on Monterrey Bay Teal, not too light, not too dark, and a rich mixture of the dark blue-green color I’m drawn to. I guess I like the color, though next to the pale yellow it looks a wee bit 1980s/1990s teal. That awful decor theme that was so popular (and I didn’t like even then) – the mauve and teal, with geese graphics as the animal du jour (usually with a mauve or teal bow around their neck, and often wearing an apron). Maybe it’s just me. Or maybe it’s time to paint the outside of my little house, too. Ha!
The garden is finally hitting a bit of a stride. It’s been a less than stellar year, with germination issues, dog and sheep issues, and lots of insect issues. I grew different varieties of carrots this year, and either that or the late germination has avoided the rust fly maggots that attacked last year’s crop. The carrots are gorgeous, but not nearly as tasty for raw eating as last year’s, so I’ll be making lots of my nummy carrot soup. I already made one vat of it (double recipe) and not much made it to the freezer. I missed it, so made up for lost time and ate so much I should be orange. mmm. More this weekend for sure! The kale crop has been so-so. It’s definitely not as vigorous as last year, and with more pests (aphids and cabbage worms) to contend with. The volunteer plants – a variety I didn’t grow last year, and seedlings coming up in places I didn’t sow any seeds – are strongest. I’m not sure where they came from; I didn’t have any kale even go to seed last year (thinking of some kind of hybrid), so it’s kind of strange. As with all volunteer plants though, they’re hearty and vigorous, relatively speaking. The volunteer cucumber plants sprouted weeks after the ones I purposely planted, but are thriving and outproducing the intentionals (same variety, as far as I can tell). I’ve already harvested 10 pounds of potatoes from the volunteer plants that sprouted. The mice or meadow voles enjoyed them too, with all of the largest eaten and damaged beyond salvaging. I’m not sure if they’re digging their own tunnels or repurposing mole tunnels (I have a very active mole in the garden – part of the reason many of the plants aren’t as vigorous as they should be: their roots are high and dry half the time, as the mole tunnels under everything looking for worms).
The sheep are well, and the lambs gorgeous with their fluffy first fleeces. I’m planning to shear them this month…maybe. They’re all so cute and fluffy now I almost hate to shear them, and I’m still half on the fence with it for this and other reasons, but am afraid if I wait until March I’ll end up with the same problem as last year – too much crap in the fleece and matting issues. Their little fleeces are beautiful right now, though Pebbles’ daughter, the adorable and super friendly little Minnie, has plenty of junk in her black fleece. She is dog-like in her friendliness and enjoys attention. As I scratch her chin and pet her, I find cleavers seeds galore, and bits of leaves and blackberry vine, etc. Her brother, Fergus, is much the same. Of Cinnamon’s twins, one is definitely friendly, though she’s loyal to her freaky mom and sister, too. She will almost come up for petting on her own, and often pushes in with Minnie and Fergus, though contact is brief. It’s definitely a case of nature over nurture, as her inclination is to be bold and friendly, unlike her mother and sister who are both on high alert and ready to bolt if I even look at them for more than a passing glance. I wish I could tell them apart, but other than temperament I can’t find any noticeable (to me) distinguishing marks or conformation.