sabrinamari: (Default)
We caught Crabby on Sunday and released him in the Watchung reservation. It pains me to think of it: he was so scared that he kept slamming himself into the sides of the Havahart cage until he had scraped alot of skin off his sensitive nose and the raw pink flesh showed underneath.

I hate that he suffered so much. I hope he's OK. I miss seeing him and I'm worried that he's suffering, scared and alone in a new and strange place.

I hate that I was responsible for this.

Gardening is less exciting because it makes me think of how miserable Crabby was until we were able to get him to the reservation. He had to spend some hours in the cage because I was in the mini-van traveling home from Pema. When I got home, we transported him and released him right away, but his suffering is on my mind.

I am going to sprinkle groundhog repellant all over the lawn to try and keep other groundhogs away so we don't have to do this again. Just because a trap is designed to be humane doesn't mean it keeps the trapped animal from suffering.

Pema told several important stories about living with the suffering you have caused over the weekend: she has had the privilege of working with soldiers who were posted in Iraq, and their stories of suffering are both profound and terrible. She was able to offer them some comfort and wisdom, and what she said was really useful, but I don't have the heart to post any of it now.

I will post this material sometime later, under a cut, because it is really, really painful and I want people to be able to avoid reading it if they're feeling emotionally shaky.

May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of all happiness, and may they avoid suffering and the root of all suffering.
sabrinamari: (Flowering Sabrina)
Crabby the groundhog has been climbing up the large containers and hopping from them into the fenced garden.

So far, he's bitten the heads off of the yellow squash and two tomatoes (Cherokee Purple and Yellow Pear), munched up two chamomile plants, eaten all the lettuce and flattened the Swiss chard with his cute little butt.

We have a Havahart trap set up. I hope Michael can catch him today. My tomatoes are shaking with fear.

I will miss Crabby, but in the Watchung reservation, he can be happy and so can my tomatoes.
sabrinamari: (Default)
Hey, did you know that the Garden State lets you acquire home composters for a fraction of their retail cost?

I bought 2 very large home composters for $40. Seriously. And the county dropped them off in my front yard and told me to write them a check and send it sometime *after* they were delivered. Sheesh!

Read more... )
Live in another state? Don't buy a composter at full price unless you check out your local recycling and sanitation offices first!
sabrinamari: (Default)
Today was a success in many ways: another draft of my article mailed out, bullet points for an important meeting too, and....

a few hours swimming in compost and garden soil as well! Yay!

I pulled out all the weeds last week or so, and added compost to a third of the garden today.

The main bed is shaped like a giant Yin symbol...it is only missing its white brother Yang.

The deep, dark compost smells and feels wonderful, and I mixed it in with a garden spade, watered and put clear 4 ml. plastic down over it to warm the soil.

Read more... )
A good site for buying unusual seeds:

http://www.kitchengardenseeds.com/about.html

Seeds I bought today:

Read more... )

Happy...
sabrinamari: (Default)
I talked to my brother today for a nice medium longish chat----HURRAY!
I saw a picture of Bast being happy and snuggly at his place today---HURRAY!
I talked to my dad for a long, long time today---HURRAY!
And there is sun.
And there is a garden space roped out.
And there are various good things: organic dirt, many organic fertilizers, peat pots, covered roasting pans to put them all in, and seeds. Really interesting seeds:

Read more... )

I am going to plant twining morning glories all over our fences and mailbox posts. I will take what was beautiful from my past life and bring it into the present joyfully.

I found Trent-sized gardening tools with bug-faced shafts and bright orange hoe, shovel, trowel and cultivator heads. Gardening tool makers please take note: it is very difficult to lose a bright orange gardening tool after you lay it down in the grass. Make more of these, please. I would also enjoy bright fuschia gardening tools, which would have similar properties.

Later, I hope there will be there will be a garden photo LJ gallery with small children wielding tools, sexy bodybuilding gardeners and verdant vines.

I embrace my new blessings with vim and vigor.

HURRAY!
sabrinamari: (Default)
Yesterday I did 0 dissertation revision. I am overcome with dread and revulsion at the idea of doing it. Still, it has to be done. Hating the prospect doesn't make the necessity go away, so now I need to do all the weekend diss work today. OK.

To make it better, I have another new crock-pot recipe happening and I feel good physically. Also, my work area is set up such that I can take meditation breaks to work with my anxiety around it. Chances are good that my negative feelings will subside once I start working. Sigh.

I also emptied both 30-gallon potato drums yesterday, and harvested about a cup and a half of baby potatoes from them both. It was a spectacular failure of mammoth proportions. It was such a monumental potato disaster that I found myself laughing in disbelief with Ken as we emptied the huge containers. I have some thoughts about what went wrong, but I'll need to do some research to confirm or disprove my suspicions. It was unbelievable exercise, at least. Note to self: rethink planting potato drums on the second floor balcony next year.

As Ken reminded me, every failure teaches you one more method by which NOT to do something---in this case, grow potatoes.

Ok, off to shower and sit with George's laptop and my anxiety.
sabrinamari: (Default)
Listening to some great Brazilian muic and feeling much, much better!

Yesterday I felt slow, tired and weak all day, but I took down 3 tomato containers anyway. I just did it reeeeaaaallly sloooooowly. Disassembling tomato trees is quite daunting, even when they've collapsed and shrunk due to excess fruit and fungus. Hauling away the dirt is hard, too.

I harvested about 15 quarts of cherry tomatoes: 5 ripe, 5 soon-to-be-ripe and 10 green.

And yes, it IS possible to make pasta sauce from cherry tomatoes (is that seedmoon squealing in outrage?). I am just reducing it like mad and tolerating the tomato skins. Well, I added portobellos, at least.

Today: I'm saving 2 of the tomato tree containers and just pulling off the worst leaves. I'll get the p[lace ready for mom and dad, and maybe even read a little bit. Dan is coming over to grab my extra Roman Chair this afternoon---I am so glad it's going to a good home where it will be loved and used---and work out in my basement gym on the elliptical trainer.

At the end of the month, I am going to paint my gym light lime green. Hurray!

I am happy. I have a gym and now I really get to focus on using it. The squat rack is beautiful!

Contented.
sabrinamari: (Default)
Sarah and Dan took excellent care of my garden while we were gone. The house is barely visible under the massive growth that wreaths around every square inch of space. The tomato trees are now over 10 feet. The pepers are covered, and I have a sea of basil. The squash and cucumber plants are massive. I have more chammomile than I can harvest in 30 minutes of work.

The morning glories have engulfed one of the small tomato plants and two flowering trees and are reaching for the outdoor patio umbrella top. The grounds are fragrant with the scent of jasmine blossoms, blossoms that are staring down the barrel of greedy, advancing morning glory tendrils.

I wish I could stay home and finish the revisions outside in my garden!
sabrinamari: (Default)
Damn. I'm out of twine. Because I am leaving town for a week on Saturday morning, this is a problem. The tomatoes are now all higher than I can reach on my tiptoes, stretching up, and I have to tie them together firmly before I go or they will collapse during the 10 days that I am gone. Rats.

It looks like all the tomatoes will ripen while I am out of town. damn.

Good News

Jul. 8th, 2004 05:53 pm
sabrinamari: (Default)
I just picked my first ripe tomatoes: 2 Supersweet cherry tomatoes and 2 Sungold cherry tomatoes. I ate them all.
sabrinamari: (Default)
Thinking quicklly, Ken grabbed a large bundle of twine. "You hold it," he said," and I'll try to tie it to the stake." "OK," I replied, "But hurry! I can't hold this mass of stems for very long without losing a major branch somewhere!"

As he began grabbing and tying, it became clear that the massive tomato beast was far, far too canny for such a conventional approach. Cleverly disguising itself as a much smaller plant, it had grown long arms over the balconey itself, snaking along the underside of the roof and reaching its blossom-laden tendrils out to the sky on one side while crawling along the inner walls and attempting to enter the building on the other. As I pushed its mighty branches away from the edge of the rail, Ken wove in and out of the tree, pulling together stems as thick as a toddler's arm, attaching one to another and eventually twinging the whole structure to its neighbor's stake.

"What happened to the stake holding up this plant?" he shouted to me over the rustling and groaning of leaves. "See that red metal corkscrew shaped rod?" I asked, pointing to an almost invisible slim rod utterly engaulfed by a mass of green. "The catalogue said that it was a good alternative to regular stakes. See, it's shaped like a corkscrew to better support the main stem."

Ken could only shake his head enigmatically. The metal rod that had seemed to tower above me so optimistically when I pulled it out of its box had been left behind by verdant growth so long ago that its hapless top was only dimly visible underneath the thick foliage. The tops of the tomato tree had become so far-reaching that the currant-red lightning rod stood dwarfed---isolated---amongst the sea of green that was the center of the plant. "We'll just have to tie it to the stake holding up the tomato next to it," Ken said, as he staunchly continued his daunting task.

When finally we stepped back from the structure, encircled by suicidal tiny green tomatos, we were confronted by another sad reality. The tree had exceeded the height of the balconey by so many inches that its tops STILL lay bent along the underside of the roof, with no place to tie them and nowhere else to go. And yes, these ends were covered in blossoms, blossoms that with good fortune would become tomatos, further weighing down the plant.

We stood, silent and filled with foreboding, and took in the scene before us. My mind racing swiftly , I remembered a quote from "How To Grow World Record Tomatoes: A Guinness Champion Reveals His All-Organic Techniques" by Charles H. Wilber. "Healthy tomatoes can grow up to 2 inches a day," the text had declared. Shuddering, I gazed at the future disaster standing before me.

"Wait a minute," said Ken, with a look of sudden enlightenment. "Do you have any hooks?" he demanded. "Ummm, no, I don't think so," I said, uncomprehending. "Run downstairs and look in the toolbox," he urged. "Bring up any hooks that you find." "Well, alright," I replied, still in the dark. Within five minutes I returned, hauling two full toolboxes. "I didn't know exactly what you would need," I explained, as I set them both on the futon.

Laughing, Ken began looking through the metal boxes. Suddenly, crowing with delight, he pulled out a handful of brass hooks. "Here's our solution," he called out to me. "We'll screw these into the ceiling and tie the branches directly to them!" Standing on the chair next to the beast, he proceeded to install three brass hooks. Once this had been done, I assisted him in stitching together the skyward branches, attaching them to the hooks themselves. Afterwards, oozing with relief, we hugged each other in sheer victorious joy.

"Thank you, thank you! " I cried. "What would I have done without your help?" "Oh, it's nothing," Ken said modestly. "You'll just have to come out here next weekend and do it again. And have you looked at the other tomatoes?" he inquired. "They probably need some tying up, too."

NEXT WEEK: Fighting the beast's feet of clay: copper sulfide spray vs. the rising foliage fungus
sabrinamari: (Default)
Just as we were about to step out for a July 4th jaunt, Ken glanced at the small balconey. "What happened to the tomato?" He said. "What do you mean, what happened to the tomato?" I asked. He jerked his chin over in the direction of the balconey. Following his gesture, I looked out to see a gigantic collapsed tomato tree, dangling limply and dangerously in two places. "Oh my god," I said, "it collapsed while trying to crawl under the roof of the balcony and cram itself into the bedroom. It must have been headed for our room..." Quickly, we scrambled over to the fallen mammoth.

It was so thick and huge that the collapse had failed to snap its mighty stems. I grabbed its gargantuan branches and held it up in my arms, engulfed by the sheer mass of green stems, leaves and tiny green tomatoes it had produced. "'What are we going to do?" I cried in near desperation.

TO BE CONTINUED.
sabrinamari: (avatar)
Loved the slug party at Patrick's and feel much better about life after laughing so much.

Yesterday wasn't as diss productive as I'd hoped; it was more about contemplation and processing. But that's cool.

The tomatos are are HUGE...really huge. Much taller than I am. The spinach is also huge, but still tender, and thank the gods that most of the lettuce did not come up. I'd be awash in organic lettuce. I have a ton of cilantro, a ton of Swiss chard, and according to the books, my blossoming potato plants indicate that I can now reach down and harvest some tubers. I just can't seem to lure any of my local friends over to help me harvest it and share in the goodies(hint, hint).

Wow. I had no idea that horticulture meant gigantic plants. It's all about staking, and supporting these lovely giants. What am I gonna do with all this organic produce? I am too successful for my own good and I just have to eat more vegetables every day or I will drown in produce. It's a good kind of problem to have, though. I need to get Ken to bring home the digital camera so can take some photos of humongous organically grown container plants and post them somewhere.

In other news, Ken will be going to Iceland next month. He'll be doing a photo excursion/seminar with 2 of the world's most well known large format art photographers. He came home unsure of whether or not go and I said,"If you do not go, you ae crazy. What are you waiting for? call them back and book it immediately!" When world class artist/teachers of the genre you love offer to take you to Iceland with them to take museum-quality photos, you say yes.

Fortunately, he is saying yes. And I think he is gonna be a really happy man in a few years. It's the best possible thing.

OK, off to a conference I care very little about. Damn, I want to stay home, garden and write.
sabrinamari: (photo)
OK, it's been an amazing two weeks: FSG was the beginning of more new connections, more new growth and more reinforced confidence tha I ever imagined it could be. It confirmed what I already know: I need to be teaching/speaking/writing in every aspect of my life. I'll be happiest in a career in which I do these things most of the time. The Priest/ess Track at FSG that I designed and taught was wildly successful, and the person who loved it the most was me. Cat and Geo are going to help me expand the 6-class/ritual track even more next year, much to my delight.

Braided Stream is about to pass into a new, inactive phase when K or S finally move, leaving only two of us in the area, and I will begin the process of building a new grove. We will begin planning the transition this coming week. Since I've worked only with Neophytes and above for many years now, this represents a major switch in approach.

I think there will be tremendous change in all other aspects of my life as well. And I'm optimistic, even though I'm pretty sure some of the shifting around will hurt. I feel more like myself than I've ever felt, like myself with pieces of old, badly-fitting costume personality falling off. It's a relief.

Still, there's plenty of wrap up to do and I have to log at least 25-35 more hours on the diss to have it ready for mail out to the committee on August 2 as planned. Today is my return to the laptop (thank you, Geo) after 2 weeks of blessed freedom. I'll be working on the last part of the Treatment Universe chapter, talking about the ways in which the women in my sample used CAM (Complementary and Alternative medicine) and drew on what Kleinman would call Folk Sector practitioners. It shouldn't be too bad. Ten minutes after I start I'll be engrossed. Why do I always dread starting s much?

I'll water the container garden with seaweed extract and then get started. If successful, I'll finish roughing out the section today. My rewards for being good will be: 1. a cardio and lower body workout 2. watching the first part of Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" (thank you, Cat).

Off we go!

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