Tuesday, June 29, 2021


 It's been hot here.


I said I'd post more pictures of my garden here, so here they are:

 I didn't run these through any filters to enrich the colors or make the contrasts pop.  They're just taken straight off my phone (I know, right?  FirstNations using the camera function on her phone!!) and stuck up here.  This is what the light was like in the middle of the day, and...there ya go.

I haven't taken any pictures this month because of the heatwave. 

Yeah, I'm particular about how I want my garden to look.  In weather like this, I have not been able to mow because that would fucking kill my yard.  The longer the grass and other forbs get during this time of the year, the more moisture is held close to the soil and the better it is for everything with deep roots, like my specimen trees and shrubs.  Maybe I should get over myself.  It looks tatty as hell, but everyone in town is seeing it, and if they can take it, I'd imagine you can too.  (IDV, if you  make ONE comment about the buttercup in my lawn, I'll tell the world about Broom and The Noodle Incident, bud, so watch yo' mouth.)

Mowing the grass is...kinda not a big deal at the moment, since it isn't really going nuts, it's just getting buttercup (you heard me, IDV) and white clover.  I could make it all look respectable by going around the edges of the borders with a weed whacker. Now, is my ancient ass actually going to get up early and do that shit in the cool of the morning? Fuck no.  So SUFFER.  

Suffice it to say that once these bullshit high temps have passed I'll be taking new pictures.  So imagine:  rosa 'Sunsplash' in exuberant blossom, like a Mardi Gras float, all ruffles and hip-shaking!  Imagine rosa 'The Fairy' as an igloo of the purest driven snow, big enough for a family of three!  Imagine my 'toped and formed Camperdown Elm as a study in geometric framework overgrown by careless green leaves!  The calendula in all its yellow and orange brashness filling in all the places where the early bulbs have quietly lain down to sleep over until the spring of next year!  The sheer rampaging, skyward climb of my clematis 'Jackmanii' with three perfect, late, daring blossoms of clematis 'Nelly Moser' peeking through  here and there to upset it's purple dominance!

All my daylilies have come up pale, save for the few I have in the shade and damp.  They're healthy, and I've pushed the evening watering, but perhaps it's a response to the grand scheme of things - they don't want to tempt their frail pollinators out of mid-day rest.  In the evening their blue and white tones shine all the brighter, and the insects teem around them, sometimes dripping in living rivulets of buzzing wings and eagerness from the centers of the blossoms, the bumblebees robbing each other of their pollen gather.

My *ahem* Shasta Daisies are having a banner year.  This is particularly poignant given the fact that I have been forbidden by the Biker from *ahem* utilizing the crop for it's intended purpose. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudanum  )

Everything has blossomed a month early.  I've been spot watering the plants that have shown stress, and this has paid off, although it meant me staying up until midnight and later so I could water deeply.  I imagine the late night partiers driving past, seeing me squatting next to the beds, aiming a stream of water through the root level of the plantings, and thinking "I really need to quit smoking crack.  Did I just see a fat old hobbit lady pissing straight out like a goddamn racehorse back there?  Do I have a brain tumor?  What the actual fuck?  Did you see that?  Maybe we should just never speak of this again."

The struggle, as they say, is real, though.  I've had damage to two valuable evergreens because of wind burn, and saving those plants means you have to hammer the water into the drip line all around the margin of that plant in order for its roots to access enough moisture to transfer to the parts most distant from the trunk and combat the effect of the hot, dry wind.  So I'm out there with the hose going at 'firefighter' velocity ramming the water into my clay soil - 

Digression follows.

- and yes, I mulched heavily and thoroughly this spring, but wind evaporation is a thing.  That nice loose lagoonage turns into little hard feathers in the heat, and the clay soil (yes, heavily amended over the years but give me a fuckin' break already I live four feet below sea level in what was once a shallow lake and clay is ionic and is gonna slip and slide through everything come winter, rain, and the movements of the earth) dries hard and cracks.  Those cracks can sever roots.  This is the shit you have to put up with on clay soil.  So when I water in, I make sure to flood all that lagoonage into the gaps in the soil so that SHIT DON'T DIE Y'ALL.  This is the part about ornamental gardening that most 'snippity snip' garden sites don't mention, so read it here and take heed.  It's a goddamn battle out there.  An ornamental garden is a crop.    The same struggles you face in food farming are no different than the ones you face with any planting, particularly a display garden made up of large perennial borders (mine.)


So I'm out there with the hose going at 'firefighter' velocity ramming the water into my clay soil at freaking midnight and I don't give a fuck. It's what you have to do.  I do it in men's clothing.  A wife beater, cargoes and Crocs.  Yes. I am repping for the Bi Folk in the dead of the night in my charming rural idyll.

Oddly, all my roses are loving this heat. and that's odd given I have Star roses and Weeks roses, both of which lines are known to drop leaves and languish and bitch and scream and get black spot during hot weather.  I attribute this to the fact that I fed and watered twice weekly throughout the spring.  Even my shrubs and miniatures are happy (Weeks and Star) and even the ultra miniatures are going great guns, and I don't even know who bred those or what the hell their lineage is because I bought them outside of supermarkets and all the tags said was 'Super Mini'.  (Try looking that shit up online.  I dare ya.)  

The one miniature I prize is 'Coffee Bean' which I have front and center here at the Rancho.  It's a Weeks Rose, and its normal sized counterpart is 'Hot Chocolate' which I also have, and is also a Weeks Rose.  Both are losing their minds, flourishing, stealing cars, robbing old ladies, eating dogs and writing bad checks.  Now, Weeks roses are notorious for having a really insipid 'cotton candy' fragrance.  Not so 'Hot Chocolate' or 'Coffee Bean.'  You get a true rose aroma, not rich but true.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.

All my dwarf bulb lilies have gone off and are finished now, a month ahead of time.  Again, it's the unnaturally high temps that brought them on.  They did look lovely, and they held their own and weren't in any way harmed; they just blossomed early.  Like the daylililies, they came on paler than usual.

My tall bulb lilies are beginning to open.  Media Orange came on first.  Next came 'Saracen Red' which is fighting my Rosa Mundi for it's star turn.   There is a species of orange bulb lily that's grown for it's edible bulb in the Orient - of course I have it - and it's coming on now, in profusion!  Imagine your average tall tiger lily.  Now imagine it perfectly in proportion, only a foot tall.  That's this edible species, and it's an absolute delight.

The tigerlilies are beginning to develop buds.  I expect to see the first of them any day now.  Some are six feet tall!  They are the harbingers of Midsummer, and for me they always hold a little yearning, a little poignance, because they mark the turning of the season.  High Midsummer blossoms.  In the fall, the bulbils that form in the leaf axils will feed the field mice.

That's about it, really.  We've had company, we've had parties, we've had naked babies laughing and sitting in the tickly grass, we've made new acquaintances and I've squirted a lot of little kids with the hose.  There's been fireworks and friendly tweakers and good  music and excellent beer.  Summer has been the antidote to last winter, and I feel like my soul can rise up again and carry on.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Patination and Leprosy

I am a history freak.  The older and weirder the better.  My three favorite things are

1. Leprosy/plague

2. Bog bodies and water burials

3. Ancient manuscripts.

Man, bring that shit ON.

Two books that changed my life, out of many, are the Lindisfarne Gospel and 'Civilization and Disease'.  

Yes. I know how to party.

In my travels through YouTube I found something I've heard about but never seen anything much in detail to explore:  The water burials of the New World.

Now the water burials of the Old World?  I am all over that shit.  Jam some sharpened hazel wickets through that dead sonofabitch and wham him/her down into the mud on the bottom of that pond there.  Why?  BECAUSE.

And that's the only reason I've been able to glean from the sources I've been able to find so far.  Why in God's name pollute a known supply of water with a dead person?  The same people who would scoop a dead dog or what have you out of a backwater would hammer some poor dead bastard into the very bottom of a pond, with or without offerings, and then continue to cheerfully use that source for drinking water.

Human stupidity fascinates me.


Back years ago, it was the Lindisfarne Gospels that inspired me to take a calligraphy class, and to continue to practice it over the years.  Now Miss Scarlet has surpassed me in talent and sureness of hand, but I keep my hand in; I still make up my own alphabets and mix my own ink.  The best recipe I've found so far is - seriously - egg white, instant coffee, and a little Elmers glue - just a dot - and a little water until you have a nice flow. 

 It is astounding how long instant coffee lasts as an ink.  And it's the most lovely brown, or black, or tan - it already looks aged.  The egg white and glue stabilize the color.  I have things I've drawn and written from years ago that still look fresh.  Of course they aren't hanging on the wall in full sunlight either, but I used a wash of the same recipe, heavily diluted, to coat the collage of Civil War era sheet music that I used to paper my dining room wall with, and it's remained stable for over fifteen years.  Of course once it was all dry I coated it with a mixture of spar varnish with a smidge of instant coffee, and that probably had a lot to do with it.  Still, lovers of patina take note.  If you want the recipe and the method, just ask.


Two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse came to visit me yesterday because they were going to be going off to Lake Chelan for the next four days and wanted to - and I quote 'Say goodbye to my garden.'

I melted.

I lead them around on a quick tour - now that Flaming June is past, July is struggling to hold her own against record high temperatures, so I've been watering in the gloaming.  Things are holding up bravely, and it looks good out there. These two little guys just roamed around wondering at all the plants that were taller than them, smelling leaves, asking what was what, looking at all the different birds who have decided to make my garden their home, marvelling at the butterflies and all the different types of bee, and trying to sneak things into their mouths.

The older of the brothers rode off on his bike, and I was going indoors when I heard the sound of sandals slapping behind me, and turned to find the littlest one following me around.

"Well what are you still doing here?" I asked.

"I had to say goodbye to your garden because, because I'm going to miss it," he said.  "I'm going to be in Chelan for four days.  We get to stay in a bunkhouse."

Now I knew immediately where he was talking about.  It's a place called Dry Falls, and it's a really nice place, like an oasis in the desert, with tall, tall reedbeds and long docks, paddle boats and swimming.  The reason it's called 'Dry Falls' is because, back in the Mezecrejurrassic period it had been a vast, vast semicircular falls, draining into a huge lake and from there into the waterway that would become the Whatever It's Called river.  Now, it's a low place surrounded by sharp mesas on three sides, punishingly hot, but with the coldwater seep there to cool off in, and the long, rock-shaded evenings to take the sting off the long dry days.  It's a place that the Biker and I have visited, and while it's not an exciting location, it's very serene, and the sky at night is it's own definition, defying all description of beauty and wonder.

But this little dude, maybe in second grade, came to say goodbye to my garden.  And when I finally herded him off, he turned around and said 'Thank you!"

"Thank you for what?" I laughed.

"Thank you for your garden!" he said.

Kids, that right there, those five words, that's the meaning of my life.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Warning: Not a Happy Romp Through The Mens Underwear Department

 Everybody has pet peeves in their relationships.

I have two.  They're minor.  I know they're minor.  But they bug the everlasting shit out of me!

1. If I give the Biker a bit of good advice about something - doesn't matter what, and it's never the same thing, never happens according to a schedule, just out of nowhere - he will talk over me and talk over me until I shut up;  ignore what I said, continue on his merry way, make the mistake that I tried to advise him would in fact happen, and then have the unmitigated nerve to get pissed off at me as though I'd planned it.

2. If I happen to mention that I like a movie or video or a piece of music that he hasn't seen or heard first, he will immediately say "Oh, I don't like that."

"Have you seen it?"

"I just don't like things like that."

"This is just like (other things he likes) though."

"I just said I don't like it.  That's it." And he'll be miffy about it.

Say six months or so go by.  I walk into the room and the Biker is enthusiastically enjoying the very thing I tried to tell him about earlier.  I will advise him of this fact.

"I never said I didn't like it," he'll maintain, and then scramble for a way to re-word what he said on the occasion to make it seem as though I'd simply misunderstood him.

These incidents used to cause huge screaming fights, back when I gave a fuck who won or lost that kind of fight.  Now, I just let it stand.  Just drop the mic. Agree to disagree.

This gets a  little Dickensian now.

Back when I was a kid, I was branded a liar.  And there were certain sadistic members of my family who used to glory in the power they held over me by changing the facts of any matter, big or small, consequential or trivial, from one day to the next.  Make the funny monkey angry!  What an idiot!  What a laugh!  Look at her cry!

There was one person in particular who had several damn good reasons for wanting me silent.  This person had it in for me.  This person was an adult.  This was a person who would go behind my back and tell my friends parents, even my friends, that I couldn't be trusted, and to just, you know, take everything I said with a little ol' grain of salt. Big twinkly "Kids, huh? Whaddya gonna do?" grin. 

First and worst among my imagined sins, I, as an adopted infant, had failed to save this persons marriage or to provide this person with fulfilment.  This adult was a compulsive shoplifter, a slip-and-fall artist, a credit scammer, a bringer of false lawsuits,  had emptied out my trust account as well as my savings account, and...had a few, lets say, favorite little games and private proclivities when it came to exploiting my youth and innocence.

For years, if you wanted to make me instantly enraged, and I mean angry enough to cause property damage, you accused me of lying, or that what I remembered had simply never happened. I used to jack people up against walls and get violent, too.  One glance. Watch out.

It still angers me.  But now I am 61.  I also have Prozac, valium, beer, and my own money.  The power dynamic has shifted.  I have certainty now.  And to forestall those people who like to play fast and loose with my certainly, I keep records here and there.  

Sometimes, I'll say something, and just get that feeling "you know, this is going to get turned around on me..." and I will write that event down.  Nine times out of ten it's nothing, but it makes me feel better to have it recorded, like giving a little kid a hug of reassurance that everything will be OK.  Sometimes, there really IS a monster in the closet.

This sounds paranoid.  It's been played as paranoia too.  And here's what happened when that shit was tried:  I knew what I knew.  As hard as my adversary tried to sneak and slither and slide and twist the facts of the event, I had solid documentation.  (So much for my ex-husbands protestations of innocence, the psychotic little fuck.)

Now oddly enough, I learned this method of being my own advocate and backing myself up from, of all the unlikely places, Scientology.

My ex-husband is a staff member of the "church."  He wrangled me in, yet I was nobody's fool, and just kind of kept my own counsel and stood around in amazement that all these seemingly average people believed in such utter, utter horseshit.  I was there to keep my marriage together, and then realized that the marriage was just as big a steaming pile of shit as the "church" and it's dogma was, and left.  Toodle-oo!  Easiest escape from the "church" ever.  I just walked out the front door and never went back.

Scientology is big on collecting and maintaining personal records and then grinding those records into the faces of people who try to fuck with them.  There is a huge segment of the "church" dedicated to drawing the most personal information out of their 'parishioners,' tabulating it, backing it up, and saving it in different locations.  I saw this method work on members of the public who had gone in, ostensibly for counselling, but when they had grown skeptical and began to question, had all the information they had divulged in private sessions brought out and laid in front of them, with attorneys present.  After all, it was a 'church'.  There was never any promise of confidentiality made.  And that was your voice on tape, your words on paper, your image and your voice on the film they'd taken of you; timestamped, with witnesses.

It worked. Oh holy God did it work.

It's one of the reasons that I started blogging.  I wanted the stories that I remembered about my past in a place where they weren't secret any more, in a place where I could go back and read about a particular event and know that I'd remembered that event correctly.  It's been a Godsend on a number of occasions.  One of them recent.

If I am wrong about any particular thing, then I apologize.  No skin off me.  I learned something. I was wrong, and I got straightened out for free.  Life isn't always that merciful.  I accept it with gratitude.

The hardest thing to let go of is gloating.  

Man, gloating is (actually a really sucky thing to do and improves nothing) a blast and I love it.  It's a personality flaw.  I try not to give in. So what I do is go into the bathroom, close the door, and then quietly jump up and down and celebrate and do my victory dance in front of the mirror until the feeling passes.  Then I flush the toilet, wash my hands, and emerge radiating decorum and maturity.

This is on a good day, understand.  On a bad day?  Oh man, it's stupid.  I'm really hoping I'll outgrow this shit eventually.

But I WAS right!

Monday, June 21, 2021

I Want To Ride My Bicycle, I Want To Ride My Bike

 On our travels we came across a stone stock, vitange Schwinn Collegiate three-speed and bought it for thirty bucks.  My husband figured he would be the one to ride it, but as it turns out, he has Rotating Vibrationals and does not belong on anything except shoes. (Think of the headrush you get sometimes when you stand up too fast, and up the intensity by ten.  This is a thing that happens to him. I cannot for the life of me remember what it's called, so it's been Rotating Von bar-martials, Reverbing Falls, and basically means that he'll get about five steps away from the chair he'd been sitting in for over an hour and suddenly collapse in a heap of Bikerage.)

This means that the perfection that is a mans vintage Schwinn is all MINE.

These were fantastic bikes.  The slender bar frame means it responds to a twitch of the handlebars or the hips, a surprisingly nimble and light bike coming from the Schwinn Tank Factory.  

Today for some God-unbeknownst reason I decided to hop on that sapsucker and take it for a spin.

Man, the thrill is still there.

I was able to ride that thing all over town, like nothing, like flying. Effortlessly.  Oh, it needs some adjustment of the handlebars and the seat, but it has the 'flick' shift, and this blue dream goes along and ignores the state of the road. Like I said, adjustments need to be made, but after more years than I can remember offhand, I'm on a Schwinn again, and it's a quality Schwinn, made for commuting, and it's like riding a dragonfly. You skim over the pavement.  It was 80f today (Hot, for my UK buds) and I didn't even crack a sweat, children!  And the sheer joy of being back on a bicycle again - !

When I was in grade school, I was cursed with a vast, horrifying Columbia bike.  Nowadays the fucking thing would be worth upwards of  $1500.00, but at the time it was embarrassing and ugly and it got stolen a lot and vandalized because it was so very uncool.  It was my albatross.

It was also the thing that built up my muscles and bones while I was still growing, manouvering that heavy, leaden, ugly beast around.  I probably owe my current state of osteo-health to that bastard of a bike, that horrible embarrassment of a klunker, a thing so heavy that once I got it up to speed the pedal brakes would shriek.  And when it was stolen, that's how I could tell where it was in the neighborhood, come to that.

God that bike embarrassed me, and I was not a popular kid to begin with.  I can't count the times I found it lying in a field, or on a dirt hill, the air let out of the tires, the handlebars turned around, and have to walk it back home.  I'll skip the Dickensian shit and just say that I took the blame for what other kids did to that bike.  Every single time.  Even when someone grabbed it out of my hands, or crashed into me and knocked me to the ground and took it.  The fucking thing always ended up back in our garage, and I always ended up riding it to school every day, and having to park it down at the very end of the rack.

So much for that.  

For Christmas, when I was 13, I was given a boys (I insisted) ten-speed Schwinn. The thing was just as heavy as my Columbia, but it had the right look.  Add ramhorn handlebars and a generator headlight and suddenly, I was acceptable.  I was also 13, and went to school five miles away from my house, so it was very, very seldom indeed that I rode the thing to school.  But it never got stolen, and I was never ragged for owning it.  I could park it in the rack and other kids would park their bikes next to it.  That thing was all right.

It went to another owner when I moved out and into Portland.  Back then, Portland Oregon was not a bike friendly city, and it was just taking up space in my apartment, serving no purpose.

Boy, today, on that bike, it felt So Right.  And where I live is dead level, too.  I have a basket for it; I can actually ride it to places and do errands with it, and I'm planning on doing that.

Man, like flying.  Just like flying. Like no time has passed at all.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Wages Of Being A Dork

 I love fireworks.  I mean I LOVE fireworks. Any and all fireworks, from paper poppers (not a party cracker  but a little tissue paper thingie that you can throw at people to be annoying, and when it hits them there is a tiny little explosion) to military grade reports and everything in between.  Hell, give me a sparkler to run around with and I am a happy bunny ffs.

This is pretty much me right here.

Yesterday was Sumas Community Day, which kicks off a couple of months of rodeos, horse shows, baseball tournaments, greased pig scrambles and mutton busting.  It all begins with a car Show and Shine, and a little community parade which is, frankly, adorable, and consists of decorated tractors and fire engines, vintage farm equipment, people in convertibles and people dressed up as Heaven knows what, or just whole families wandering along waving, come one, come all. 

 Most of the drivers carry huge bags of candy and shower the audience with the stuff if the little kids make that "toot toot" gesture that looks like a power salute.  The drivers will blow their horns, run the sirens, rev the engine, and the kids get bonked in the head with lollipops and everyone loves it.  Fun fact:  more farm equipment than you'd expect have horns!  Like harvesters!  I guess...there are places in the world where this kind of thing is necessary.  And that old steam powered farm equipment will take the shingles off the roof when they cut loose with the steam whistles, man.

In the evening around 10:30 there is a fireworks display in the sports arena.  We here at Rancho FirstNations have the best seat in the house right from our front porch, and I have a nice old park bench set up for sittin' and sippin', and we just 'lax back and watch.

Well, the Biker does.  I stand up and scream like a madwoman after every particularly impressive burst.

I will also shout "SET SOMETHING ON FIRE" when there is too long a lag between displays, and other helpful advice, like "PULL YOUR THUMB OUT!" and my personal favorite "COME ON YA CHEAP BASTARDS, IS THAT IT??"

Now I am not the only person in town by a damn stretch who is doing this, so I don't feel like the Lone Idiot.  This year there were people standing on their roofs, and lots of kids out running around town with sparklers and bottle rockets, and they all had something to say, loudly, as did their parents.  And you can hear the crowd at the sports grounds cheering like Romans watching an elephant eat a Christian.  It's a fantastic time, and yeah, you do feel like a community after all that.  We're still small enough for that, thank God.

This morning I am croaking like a toad.  My voice is shot.  I pride myself on my 'Sustained Yee-Oo! Of Approval', a sound that comes right up from my toes and impresses everyone who hears it with how cool I am and how much they want to be just like me when they grow up.  You can literally hear it all over town, I've been told.  This makes me very proud.  It also makes me talk funny the next day.

This year the City display did not last for the usual 45 minutes.  We had to set up fireworks display donation sites in all the stores, and between that and Covid the city could only afford 15 minutes, and it was bought locally in standard 'Big Display' cartons that you purchase on one of the NA reserves nearby and then smuggle out.  Luckily, the farmers just down the road (and just out of city limits) laid down a couple grand and bought five Big Display cartons, along with a couple of big reports and a 'Special', which is that huge, final, rooty-toot firework that just dazzles and amazes you, and so Christmas was saved!   We got our full 45 minutes, and it was really, really cool.



Our little towns' claims to fame are twofold. 

1. The flavor of our drinking water - this is no lie.  It's actually up on our 'Welcome to Sumas' signs (Voted Best Tasting Water 2000)  although what that standard is and who they're comparing it with, like Flint, Michigan or the bottom of a flooded mine I do not know, but apparently our Mayor thinks this is a big draw.  

2. Our rodeo events and horse shows.  We're part of the amateur rodeo circuit, and so the horse and bull riding is particularly raw.  I've never attended.  The Biker attended once because he knew one of the riders, and he lasted long enough to see the dude get thrown, then split.  Not a big fan of blood sport here at Rancho FirstNations.  Not even the kid events, like mutton busting and greased pig scrambles.  It's just crude amusement at the expense of someone else's (or some animals') discomfort.

I have no idea what the horse events consist of, because I am uninterested in horses.  I am in the minority.  The whole town turns out for them, and people come in from all over the map to compete in, I don't know, dressage or roping or whatever the hell you do.  Maybe they dress them in costumes or something.  Maybe it's a Ponyplay event.  If so, my decision to stay home is particularly sound, because ew.

All during those events the town is inundated with tall, thin old men with serious spinal issues, wearing checkered shirts with pearl snap buttons, belt buckles the size of salad plates, Wranglers, and cowboy hats.  Their wives are either vast, fat things with legs wrapped in ace bandages, or sunburnt twists of pepperoni, and really repping for their 'All country all the time' thing with red-check shirts, red bandanas,  ponytails and high-heeled cowboy boots - it's a thing that's hard to describe to a non-American. Think of it as the highly feminized version of what their husbands are wearing, and add a gold crucifix necklace.  

       Imagine this lady, only she's sixty, super suntanned, and that dress covers her knees.

No matter what they're dressed like, they spend money like crazy, and everyone benefits.  They all stay in immense travel busses on the grounds and they do whatever they do.  

Come nightfall, the ladies all settle in with the Bible, or maybe 50 Shades of Grey, and their husbands come into town and just chuck down the booze at the local (outdoors-mountain-hunting themed) bar like they'll never make booze again.  And those old tore up cowpokes get to partying some hard out in the beer garden, too.  They don't drink no Ketel One or Blue Agave or cinnamon flavored Jack - they drink Man Booze.  The Famous Grouse.  Canadian Club. Johnny Walker. I mean damn, do they drink that shit.  And then they'll walk on back to the grounds, right down the middle of the street, playing up, and that's how it goes for a couple of weeks.  It is a real, 21st century rootin' tootin' sure nuff Old West Town.  No matter the fact it was founded on gold and not cows - it roots, and it toots, and guns are fired, and rotgut is consumed, and the womenfolk hold down the homestead.

And I do garden tours!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Shaking Things UP

 I have been having a terrible problem with boredom for the past few months.  It's chemical, and it's caused by a drug called Quietipine (sp?) which yes, will keep you from having a psychotic  break, but only because it makes you so sleepy and dull and uninspired that you can't muster up the ambition to do anything florid.  At least, if you're me. Your results may vary.

It played it's part, and it helped, and now I'm off it and the difference is remarkable.  Now, I can get through the day and remain interested and engaged.  Under the influence of Quietipine, every day around 10:AM to 1:PM I would fall into a hopeless pit filled with 'You  might as well end it, things are hopeless and it won't change.'

Knowing that's not true helps.  

Knowing that's not true over a period of almost a year? Well. That fortitude begins to erode.  

You know that every day you will lose at least two hours to anxiety and despair, or to lying in a dark room to cut stimuli to an absolute minimum while you chant 'One relax, two relax, three relax, four relax...." and remember to give yourself that 'compassionate forgiveness' you're supposed to give yourself when those intrusive thoughts interrupt your little mantra.  That shit is an effort.  Your mind wants to stay in tandem with your emotions, and your emotions are driven by chemical reactions to stimuli, and when that stimuli is dulled, your higher mind, the one that knows better and sees that nothing is really wrong in your world, loses ground, inch by inch.

Well.  Enough of that shit.  

I'm off the Quietipine and suddenly I have ideas and strategies and my mind is not full of mud.  

The first thing I did was to change up my entertainment choices.  

I grew up a horror fan. The gorier and freakier the better.  (Anyone remember 'Phantasm'?  Yeah, I thought that was pretty awesome.  Stupid, I mean I'm not entirely without taste, but that was the road I travelled.  H.R.Gigers' "Alien" had me in transports of delight.)  Once I had my first child I could not do horror any more.  No way, shape or form.  Not true crime, not CSI, not nuttin'. 

That's changed, come to find out.

I decided to treat myself to a late night double feature (Frank and Rocky, Brad and Janet....) of Alien Takeover horror and Supernatural horror. (What ever happened to Fae Wray?)


The Biker went to bed and I was on Netflix.

Here are a few conclusions I've come to in my quest for decent modern horror.

1. The Brits do horror like nobody's business.  They have the best fake blood, the best camera angles, the best actors and the strangest, most messed-up stories.  They know when to show you the monster, and how much of the monster, and when to hide the fucker. They don't rely on jump-scares. They know that the horror that is only partially seen is scarier than the monster that lumbers through the whole damn film, every scale and drop of mucus detailed lovingly. 

2. Anything that relies on hallucinations isn't worth your time.  It's like the cheat "and then the little boy fell out of bed and woke up."  It's lazy storytelling and plays the viewer for a fool.

3. Brits have a real thing about barf, parasites and being cocooned. I don't know why this is.  Ask your mother.

4. A shitty, unhappy ending only works if you've been coerced into sympathizing, even a little bit, with the monster.  Otherwise it's just abusing your audience, who are there, after all, to be entertained, not sent into a weeklong drug and drink binge. 

5. Stephen King, for the most part, really hates his audience.

6. If it's Spanish, pass.

7. If it's Japanese...well, that's a matter of personal taste.  I tend to find Japanese horror distancing.  It is, however, gorgeously crafted stuff.

8. Unless you are H. R. Giger, you cannot make a monster that will provide the same fright/shock/horror value every time it's shown.  And H. R. Giger, sadly, has passed.  Keep that monster in the shadows, partially obscured, seen in glimpses.

9. Possession is an overworked trope and it makes me yawn.

10. Everybody knows five minutes into any given film that stars teenage protagonists exactly what's going to happen, to whom, why, and when. Add some humor, add a twist, like Cabin In the Woods, that's OK, that's entertaining.  But personally, I have a hard time sympathizing with teenager-horror.  ("Let's hide in the abandoned abbatoir!  Sure!  And what the hell, let's get high, wander off from the group, make a lot of noise, and fuck.  It's just a high risk situation, after all!')

I am thrilled that I can once again watch horror movies and stay at a personal remove from the action.  Just a hairs' breadth, that's all it takes, and I lacked that for years.  Man, I am making up for lost time. 

The best one I've seen recently is 'The Ritual'.  It moves, it gives you just enough story, and you're guessing right up until the last scene.  Excellently done.

The most perplexing has been 'Apostle'.  I mean, watch the thing, it's a gorefest and it's excellently icky, but there are so many loose ends that if it were a sweater you wouldn't be allowed to wear it out in public. Plus the protagonist, acting as a spy in the plot, is the skeeziest, most suspicious-looking human being I've ever seen.  If he walked into a store I owned I'd have him followed by security.  

So there you go.  Stay up late some night with a good friend, or a good pillow to scream into, and get your socks rocked.    Dare ya!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Infamy! Infamy!


You know, you spend a damn week indoors for the most part, waiting out the rain, sitting on your dead ass listening to your husbands car videos and dicking with your computer, and then it all fucking hits in the space of an hour, BAM-

-I get a bill saying I owe 311.00 for a doctors appointment that consisted of me spending fifteen minutes chatting!  Chatting! With my endocrinologist.  Oh, our insurance paid 45.00 of that.

-This same bill informs me that I am two months in arrears.  TRY SENDING THE BILL IN THE MAIL SO I'LL RECEIVE THE MOTHERFUCKER, how about.  Great!  Just GREAT!  I had an impeccable credit rating.  I paid the whole thing down tout de suite and came back home glowering. Then:

-I finally get in touch with my old psychiatrist (The beloved Dr. Thang Do, who can do no wrong) who is retiring, and find that a. He and his lovely wife are moving to Hawaii FOREVER because he is retiring, and b. he will not refill my Adderall scrip because he c. wants to wean me off another medication so that d. when I am transferred to the care of his successor, she won't geek out when she sees that I've been given both downers and an upper.  

I only use the Adderall in very, very limited amounts at infrequent intervals, when I'm faced with a lot of grown up activities and issues and need the focus.  I take a pediatric dose, in fact.  I understand completely where he is coming from.  It took he and I several years to build up a relationship where he felt comfortable leaving me to pick and choose what additives and preservatives I needed to get through life, and I'll have to build up the same kind of thing with his successor.  but....AGGGGH.  Then,

-I had to call and make a preliminary appointment with his successor, which cannot be done with one simple phone call.  Oh no.  I have to talk to her, then go online, with both computer and phone at the ready, and open an account on Patients Portal, where all the paperwork and general office bullshit is handled, and


I cannot describe the gyrations and horror I went through trying to get an account opened on this fucking 'streamlined, time saving, simple and accurate' piece of shit lame ass slow claggy glitchwad of a portal.  So, I...

-Had to call Patients Portals helpline.

-Cue more horseshit.  Luckily, after a rocky start where our phones decided whether or not they needed to use a condom,  I reached a very patient, kind and competent young man with a voice that could melt sheet steel and a lovely way of expressing himself, and together we mucked our way through the swamp of poor website design and slow servers and bad code that is Patients Portal and finally, finally, I was able to establish an account, and I only shouted 'FUCK' seven times.  The poor guy was laughing so hard by the end that I felt we'd established a real rapport.

Sermon follows.     

I always make it known to help center personnel that I understand that they are not the authors of my disgruntlement, and try to be mannerly and kind to those poor kids while explaining that I am 61 and have no patience with this crap.  And I always, always go out of my way to praise them to the skies when the deed is finally accomplished, because those calls really are monitored by their supervisors - I used to do call center work, and I know.  If some poor kid gets my drama on the line and can manage to drag me through all the barbed wire and landmines to a solution, you BET I praise that kid to the skies by the name they give me so they'll get a good review.  You should do the same.  I've been a call center terminal.  It's thankless.  You're the flack catcher. Be kind to your call center friends! 'Cause a duck may be somebody's mother! Be kind to your friends in the swamp! Where the weather is very, very, domp! You may think that this is the end!  Well it is!    

-On top of all this, MY H.R. GIGER 'ALIEN' T SHIRT HAS NOT ARRIVED.  


I paid bigtime for that fucker and it's like they're still picking the goddamn cotton out in the field or something.  I WANT MY H.R. GIGER 'ALIEN' SHIRT!  It's been a damn month.  They've already asked me online for feedback, and children?  I GAVE THEM FEEDBACK.  I held my electric guitar right up next to those stacks, cranked it up to eleven, and set it on fire. Oh, they got some damn feedback.  I'm expecting a check.  Will I ever see it?  Who's to say?  It's only 30.00 fuckin' dollars, RIGHT????

-Interwoven with all this kerfuffle is the sad fact that my cell phone and I don't get along At All.  And all during this kerfuffle my cell phone played an integral role, because nothing can be simple any more. You can't just pick up a phone and talk to a person and then things happen and you get a letter and it's all done.  No.  I won't even go into the sheer aggravation and dislike that exists between myself and the little wafer of dodgy technology that everything in the fucking 21st century seems to hinge upon.  It's TRAGIC.

-I went to bed early last night after a heavy meal that dropped me like a stunned rabbit. I woke up and went out into the living room to watch a little comedy, get right, wait to get sleepy again, when all of a sudden I heard a sound which was for all the world as though someone had slit open a ten pound bag of rice and slung it against my windows.  I ran to look out the front door and it was raining hayrakes and pitchforks, just straight down from the skies, and it was as tepid and dank as the locker room at the YWCA.  I stood on the front porch and could not see across the street.

A little rain is good.  A little more is fine.  A whole metric shitload in the middle of late Spring is not so good.  I had to go out and mow the lawn this afternoon because I swear that rain drew the grass up out of the ground like a snakecharmers' flute.  Yes, Mr. Inexplicable DeVice can laugh; I had buttercups all over hells half acre out there.  Not now, of course.  Oh hail no.  

-If I go and use the hose bib at the back of the house, I get dive bombed by a white crowned sparrow who has established a nest in the pink lonicera nearby.  If I open my front room window, I get called shitty names by a white crowned sparrow who is building a nest in the clematis jackmanii growing right alongside that window.  If I walk under my weeping alder, I get called a commie pinko fag by the white crowned sparrow who has nested in it's canopy and brooks no invaders.  

That made trimming that alder back a real adventure.  Man, that was one pissed off tiny birdie.  I trim my weepers on the Vitruvian rule:  Muk is the measure of all things.  It's not like I'm cloud pruning and disrupting shit.  These are just agitated little over-caffeinated birds who need to shut up. 

-I have a house sparrow building a nest in my campsis radicans, the one that leans on my shed.  It might actually have a clue and leave me alone. Then again, it might be partying with the hummingbirds, crowned sparrows and hornets and take an attitude. Cocaine is a hell of a drug. Only dopes take dope.  Just say no.

-I have a mole the size of a cock-sucking Tonka truck tunneling underneath my back yard.  This thing throws up hills the size of Vesuvius and has cut channels from the back fence to my house.  I stick the hose down it's tunnels and blast the fucker?  It just comes up somewhere else.  It's been a while since I had anything bigger than a vole out here, and I am considering evil solutions.

No. Do no attempt to save me from myself, gentle reader. This is MY GARDEN.  It may be a sweet wee fuzzy rodent with paddly paws and a cute pointy nosie, but the fucker must die before it finds a girlfriend.

Infamy!  Infamy! They all got it in fa' me!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

A Visit From The Four Horsemen

                                        Rancho FirstNations, still repping for Uncle Joe.

 It is a lovely, warm, rainy day here, and we've been lolling around holding down the furniture for the better part of the day.  

This is the best kind of rain - warm, a little breeze, just the air moving.  

The worst thing that can happen to the garden this time of the year is a fog - still, stale and rank. Mildew spreads over the leaves of plants like frost and can only be stopped, not prevented.  But in a gentle rain, all the parts of the plants are washed off, the dust carried away, and no soil is splashed up.  All the smells of the garden gather together, shaken out by the droplets falling on the petals, and the breeze carries them into the house, and I swear to God it smells like honey and roses, and it's rich and warm and wonderful,  outside and inside my house.  What a fantastic lazy day.

The rain has also brought on my calendulas, and they are doing their part, filling in the gaps that the aquilegia are leaving as they go to seed, the saturated orange so close to the ground that it tempers the overwhelming greenness of the rest of the gardens' foliage.  The japanese mugwort and the needle-lace artemesia is coming in tall and silver too, and that takes away another bit of the dominance of green so that what I have is not just a sheet of green with dots of color, but every color.  It is downright gaudy out there, and I love it.

Pulling for the team is Campanula Glomerata.  (You can see it in the picture above, that line of bright blue flowers in the middle there.) It comes up with a fuzzy stem and leaf, and the blossoms are the loveliest shade of gentian blue you can imagine - and it spreads by stolons.  You get a globe of glorious blue atop a sturdy stem, and if you deadhead that once the petals wither, another globe of bell-shaped blossoms will grow out of the next whorl of leaves further on down the stem.  I use it as a margin in some places and as a filler in others.  The great thing about it is that if you don't like where it is, you can yank it right out of the ground, no fighting, no digging -  pop off the blossom and plant it in another location - and in a week it will have seated itself and will be throwing out blossoms, just that easy.

Just beginning to blossom is Primula Missouriensis.  I use it the same way I use Campanula Glomerata. It is the same height, and has the same growth habit - spreads by stolons, masses like a champ, can be transplanted effortlessly.  It, however, comes up with a shiny green leaf, it has a bright vermillion flower bud, and it's saturated Pantone yellow blossoms form a corona.   Like the C. Glomerata, once the blossoms fade, you pop them off and another one blooms on the next whorl of leaves on down the stem.  This is an astounding plant to use around the bare ankles of a deep pink or orange rose.  I have it standing guard around the base of 'Pink Fairy' and also 'Cinco de Mayo' - where it really, really shines as a combination planting.  'Cinco' has a deep green, shiny leaf too, and the sexy orange and apricot, diamond-dusted blossoms just love that rich yellow and those vermillion buds.


I had a visit from the Four Horsemen of the  Apocalypse yesterday (four little boys who are obsessed with my garden.)  I was apprised of their arrival by one of the shouting 'LOOK AT THIS!' about fifty times - which I ignored because little boys.  I looked up when he said "HEY MRS. FIRSTNATIONS LOOK AT THIS!" and then I had to come over and see what was in his hand.

"ITS A DEAD BIRD HEAD!" he shouted, unnecessarily.

And it was a dead bird head.  Hemisected.  Like a knicknack from Ed Geins house.  Half an empty cranial cavity like a bowl, one empty eye socket and half a long upper beak.  

You don't see that every day.

"Honey, never ever pick up dead animals," I said to him. "Dead birds have a really bad disease called salmonella that can make you throw up for a whole week. Please drop that and run go wash your hands right now," I said, being a grandma.

Well, he ran off, I went back to pulling out hogweed, and suddenly I have four little boys in my garden.  They all have questions.  Is this the same thing as that?  Where did this come from?  What are these kind of bees? and I said "OK now.  I'm going to cut each one of you a nice bouquet to take home to your mom, OK?" very cheerfully.  "You have to take turns, but you get to pick out the flowers!"

This worked Like A Charm.  Four mannerly little savages trooped around with me and picked out flowers for their Mom Bouquet (I had to explain the meaning of the word 'bouquet' ) and then  I told them "Run home quick now and tell your mom to put these in a glass of water so they'll last!"  And off the streaked, and into the house I ran, and cracked a beer, and planted my ass on the sofa. 

Until I heard a noise in the back yard, and looked out the kitchen window, and saw a very little boy standing in my garden shed yelling "MRS. FIRSTNATIONS?" unnecessarily because it's a small shed and I'm a stocky lady.  (And I was wearing a bright blue and scarlet 'Skynet Labs Cybernetic Development Team' t-shirt.)

"Honey, you can't just run into my yard like this," I said, leading him out of the shed.  "If you don't see me, you have to come to the front door and knock and ask for Mrs. FirstNations, OK?"

"OK," he yelled.  "MRS. FIRSTNATIONS?"

"What, honey?" I asked.


"No hon, I'm sorry, I'm going inside to rest now.  You go play with your buddies now.  I'll see you later," I said, leading him out of the yard again.  "Bye!"

And on the way back to join his buddies, he picked up the damn dead bird head again.

Friday, June 11, 2021


 The nice man from the insulation company came by and gave us a wonderful cheap estimate!  I am so surprised - and stoked!  Maybe this won't be as painful as I thought?  But we still have the plumbing and electrical inspections left to pay for, and God, I know for a fact that the electricity in this joint is janky as hell.  Maybe the plumbing is fine. I know it needs heat tape and tube wrap. That's not horrible.  But the wiring in this place will probably scare the poor inspector shitless and we'll have to pay for his counselling on top of everything else.

One jokes.  Still, in the words of the Bard, "FUUUUUUUUUUUCK."

I went into the attic today, headlamp on, flashlight at the ready, and discovered that the debris problem isn't that big of a deal.  It's just that I absolutely cannot do a damn thing to alleviate the issue. Why?  Because I have lung problems, and our attic is a goddamn biohazard site.  

There are two starling nests the size of exploded hay bales, massive drifts of rat shit old and new, and dust, dust, dust from living in farm country and having no insulation and plenty of gaps for the wind and whatever it carries to blow right on in.  It's like this:  If I had gone up into my attic at high noon on a sunny day?  I would not have needed the headlight or the flashlight.

It's the rats that piss me off the worst. That is a direct result of the animal hoarders who used to live next door.  All those tame and semi-tamed rats of theirs moved right on in to every house on the block after that house went up in flames, and I more than resent that.  I keep a tight goddamn house, and to see all that where it had not been prior to the Rat People moving out...?  Damn. I was really shocked. God help the Rat Person who comes back to the old neighborhood to visit. I will beat that persons ass with an aluminum baseball bat and call up a tattooist buddy of mine to scribe 'SKANKY RAT BASTARD' into his/her forehead.  Nasty, vile, horrible, screwed up, gross, disrespectful and creepy.  To think that I used to try and be a good neighbor to those fuckers and they were maintaining a goddamn Vat Of Plague one city lot away from my fucking kitchen!!!!

I had live traps that I  put up in the attic to catch a raccoon last year.  Apparently, I caught two raccoons.  And apparently, by the horribly suggestive evidence, those raccoons were.... fuck it. They croaked and were eaten by rats.*  

And shit out by rats.  

All the way around every single trap. 

 I found a few scraps of hair.  

So good news - the raccoons didn't lie up there dead and putrefying.  Bad news - their carcasses were eaten by what looks like a whole lotta rats. Right down to the bones. They just pulled the things out through the cages.  And that is fucked UP.

It would be kinda cool if I was 13.  But I am 61 and it is not cool.  It is gross. But this is what happens when you not only live in farm country, but you live in farm country in a pre-statehood house that has no insulation, AND you had animal hoarders living next door for 21 years.

Plus I found a dessicated bat.  It was hanging from the peak of the roof, and I shone my light on it and thought "Aw, poor batty." I like bats.  They are helpful animals.  So being an idiot, I poked at it with a stick I was carrying to swoosh away all the cobwebs, and the bat turned into something like cigarette ashes and fluttered to the ground.

I left the attic at this point.  The prospect of inhaling dessicated bat fragments did not appeal to me in any way, shape or manner.  I'm just weird like that. Snorting bat frag = no.

We may have to hire someone to go up there and clean out the fuckin' attic.  Now could the Biker do this?  Yes, at risk of life and limb.  He is built for comfort, not for speed. And he is 61 too. I don't want him up there in hantavirus central, hell no.

Those dollar signs, they just keep on stacking up.

*Or the rats...no, I won't go there. But probably.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Hoist By Me Own Petard, ARRR

 Well, it happened, kats and kittens!  I got my insulation wish!

Unfortunately it comes with a couple of stumbling blocks I had not foreseen.

1. We may or may not still be running old 'knob and tube' cloth wrapped wiring.  And we may or may not be running it in scattered locations all over the fucking house.  This means that an electrician will have to come out and assess the situation, which means mucho dineros, which means I'm getting That Look from the Biker.

2. There is a sizeable pile of general shit up in the attic that I've been working toward the access hatch for years.  See, long ago when refrigerators roamed the earth in herds, this house caught on fire AND had a tree fall on it.  Rather than huck out all the debris, a lot of what got torn off just got left lying up there between the fuckin' rafters. And after years of additions of dubious code quality, that crap got pushed out toward the eaves, where you have to lie on your back in all the dust and dessicated starlings and old mud dauber nests and hook it out.  It's at one end of the house.  It has to be hauled through a maze of old rafters for old roofs that are no longer in place to the main access hatch, which is where? At the other end of the house!


There's old bricks from when this placed had a fireplace, and there's old plaster from when this place was fully plastered, and broken boards and just shit.  And the insulation dudes do not clean this shit out for you!  No they do not!  You  have to do this! 

I just went up in the attic.  Our house is the shape of a really stubby capital letter 'T'.  See that T?  The debris is at the bottom of the T.  I have to hook it out and drag it through a place where there are old rafters that are no longer being used, which is right around the intersection of the crossbar and the base, and then around that right angled corner, out the hatch and straight down INTO MY RODGERSEIA AND GIANT HOSTA 'SUM AND SUBSTANCE.'

3. Our plumbing is probably scary.  And our plumbing needs to be heat-taped.  This means that we will need to have a plumber inspect our plumbing.  This caused the Biker to give me That Look as well.

I figured shit, the insulation dudes will go up there, they'll scope out the situation, clear up all the debris, shoot in some insulation, check the walls to see which ones are balloon framed and which ones have fire stops, get it in all the nooks and crannies, down in those inside walls, make it nice and snug but NO. They drill some holes, they shoot in the crud, they stop up the holes, they leave. WITH A LARGE CHECK.

I am pretty peeved by this for a number of reasons.  It's too late to bitch now, but this is looking more and more like 'polishing a turd' than it is 'being snug next winter.'

If we sell out, yeah, we get a nice chunk of change.  And then we spend the rest of our lives in a shitty little apartment, with no yard, paying rent and utilities, because while land is in demand, rent is sky fucking high out here in Washington State, and The Fourth Corner, where we live, is one of the most expensive places to buy or rent in the United States right now.  That leaves moving to a cheaper state. And moving to a cheaper state, which, "Hello stress my old friend, I've come to talk to you again, because a vision softly creeping, shit on my head and pissed on my car while I was sleeping...."

The only way I'm going to make it through another uninsulated winter in this house is if I get myself an opioid habit.  Or if I can be put into an induced coma and hibernate it out, because last winter almost did for me.  I am not joking.  Last winter was almost as frightening and stressful as getting a divorce was, and that shit sucked.


Meanwhile, the Biker is getting nothing but job interviews and job offers.  People here are crying for employees and nobody wants to work because they're laxin' back on their unemployment benefits, and these small businesses hit by Covid need workers and can't get them.  The Biker is holding out for a job with good benefits, and in this current job market he can actually do that, given his resume', which is astounding.  So there's a whole 'nother bunch of what ifs.

I guess we wait for the estimates and then go from there.  


Tuesday, June 8, 2021


 OK holy shit.  How did I NOT know there was a 'Bi' flag back in 1998 until now? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?   

I have been craving a...badge!  Or something! For fucking years!

 I got labelled 'lipstick lesbian in the closet' or 'straight with a kink' for too goddamn many years and it pissed me off that everyone seemed to just shove us Bi people to the side like "Oh, you pass, you have no problems, get over it."  And like it or not, that was the subtext in far, far too many opinions.  

I don't have to provide proof of suffering to gain my crown, and I don't have to ask for my crown either. I goddamn well will TAKE THAT FUCKER and I did, and I've worn it, and been out, and people think I sold out by marrying a man, and fuck them.  I married who I fell in love with.  I'd leave him for Salma Hayak or Jaime Lee Curtis for a nickle, but there you go.  Been gettin' the dick for years and enjoying every minute of it.  And I hate to break it to some of you, but dick?  Smell just like sugar.  Salty, too.

My yard, as I'd planned, is now a full on Gay Pride flag.  Do I have pictures?  No I do not have pictures, but I will take some and post them because things has changed, children.  This is Flaming June (in more ways than one!) out in the garden, when all the real show-stoppers raise their heads and spread their wings.  If you could stand in my yard and smell the roses, the honeysuckle, the irises and the lemon balm you would be enchanted.  I'd provide you with the cock-a-tail of your choice (with a tip of the wig to Mistress Maddie) and then you'd be enchanted and drunk, and you could wander around being sentimental and shit.  It would be awesome.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Drone Surveillance

 Today has been the longest day in recorded history.  Sunday, man, and rainy, and glum, the Biker and I just sitting here reading with a music channel playing....GAAAH I hate being bored.

Yesterday we had a party, just a couple of people, and as we were sitting outside someone kept buzzing us with a drone, one of the expensive ones with a movable camera, and we obliged the operator by holding up our beers and flipping it off.  This of course brought the damn thing back over another seven times, to record the old people misbehaving.  We'll be having a party next weekend, and there has been talk of wrist rockets.  Watch this space. (Shit, everybody else is.)

My garden has absolutely exploded with color.  I live in the middle of a floral Gay Pride flag.  This is what my grandmothers generation called 'Flaming June', the first burst of real color all over the garden, while the early risers sink back and let the roses and other showstoppers take the stage.

I planted the last three 'brought in' plants last week - three little perennial flowers (Two lobelia x speciosas Red Rocket and one Anise Hyssop) in a tall bucket that I mixed up a drainage medium for - I like to spotlight plants like this - and a Carolina Reaper chili.  Oh yeah!

The whole Carolina Reaper chili plant is so spicy that you can't work with it without gloves!  All the parts are full of capsaicin, even the roots!  And the fruit tops out at 1,569,300 motherfucking Scovilles!  I cannot wait!!!!  

I grew bird peppers one year and they had a flavor like pineapple and immanent death.  Harbaneros are delicious and sweet, almost floral.  There's a Yugoslavian pepper out there called a Goats' Horn that tastes like a mild green bell pepper and Satanism.  Years ago the Bikers' cousin grew those, and I showed off and ate a bunch of them out of hand and was immediately awesome and cool (we were at a redneck beach party and everyone on the bay thought I was The Shizz.)

I gave in this year and grew two tomato plants:  Improved Early Girl and Black Prince, which is a selection you should try if you like a sweet tomato.  The fruit is on the smaller, saladette side.  It has a distinct red  wine flavor, too.  If you've ever had a Cherokee Purple tomato, you are familiar with that super rich, concentrated tomato flavor.  Black Prince has that, only sweeter, and you don't have to wait until the last gasp of summer to reward your efforts.

I don't can, because when I can, the jars explode and fill my kitchen with botulism and broken glass.  So I freeze.  I have a huge upright deep freeze right in the kitchen so we can work out of it, and it's full of all the stuff I've grown in my garden.  What I like about freezing is 1. Nothing explodes, and 2. Whatever you've frozen thaws out and tastes as fresh as the day it was picked.  We spent cash dollars on the thing to get quality, so if the power goes out, nothing inside the thing even notices.  It's paid for itself so many times over it's stupid.

I also have a dehydrator and that thing sees more use than you'd think.  Instead of using tomato paste, I dehydrate sheets of cooked, spiced and puree'd tomato until it's like cardboard, break it into pieces and seal it in jars.  You drop a chunk in, it melts, things taste good, you win, no can to pitch.  I do the same thing when I make my own garlic powder - I puree raw garlic, which I have in stupid abundance because it grows wild here - and then I BAKE it in the oven on low for an hour and half, stirring it until it goes from white to a medium tan color, and then I spread it out and dehydrate that in sheets.  Once that's dried, I run it through the food processor and then through a coffee bean grinder, and it is HEAVEN. 

I've already given armloads of raw garlic away.  Everyone where the Biker works is vampire proofed thanks to me.  If you guys lived closer you would be vampire proofed too.  So, let's get on that, shall we?  I'll let you shoot down my neighbors' drone with my wrist rocket!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021


Rancho FirstNations open house daily visitors:

Terribly Clueless Young Starling, who stands on my front doorsill and looks into my house all agog.  Maybe I need to vacuum more.  Maybe I don't want starlings in my house.  TCU starling has no clue and does not care.

Clinically Depressed Black Kitty, who just ambles through, comes up to collect pets and scratchies, and then ambles on out again.  CDBK walks wherever the hell CDBK wants to walk, and sounds like a small elephant clomping around.  This is a solid boned kitty.

Random Hummingbirds Who Live In My Salix Contorta just buzz on through.  They might take a rip through different rooms just to check things out, which is disconcerting when you're sitting on the toilet and they buzz around in the bathroom, but they're transient. Got important things to do. Not lost. Not panicking. Chill out.

Swallows Who Think They Can Build A Nest In My Shed will come blasting in and just Indy 500 around the joint like maniacs.  Don't ask me why.  They're  gonna try to build a nest in my shed and I'm gonna not let that happen because there's nothing like a bird in the face when you're walking into your shed not expecting a bird in the face.

New Pet Teenager just walks on in and says Hi!  This is totally OK.  Today she wanted to tell me that she'd had a panic attack while she was in school, but was ostensibly looking for a chore to do.  What we did was cull spent roses into a bowl that she took home to make into fairy perfume.  I can not tell you how this healed my heart and fed my soul.  She took home about a gallon of rose petals (and a few scented black iris) and it was just magic.  I taught her how to cull a flower and how to pick a blossom. Both of our grandmothers were named 'Rose'.  I had panic attacks in school too.  I sent her home with so many  rose petals that you could smell them on the breeze as she walked away.

Chica the Staffie is full of joy and wants to spread the love.  She dances through the house and the yard, and Neighborhood Crackhead gets a little confused, and I lead her on out by her harness.  She's like a really buffed out two year old kid who never says 'No!' and doesn't try to stick shit in the light sockets.

Giant Freakin' Hummingbird Moths are just what they sound like.  They are seriously nearly identical to real hummingbirds, down to the sound their wings make, but they have these fat, fuzzy, mothy bodies and they come in once the sun has gone behind the hills.  This freaks me right the fuck out.  All you can do is herd them along with a buggerwhapper until they figure out where the open door or window is.

Giant Fucking Hornets are hatching right now.  The queen pupates in the soil over winter, and once the soil warms up and there's been a couple of rains, a huge fucking fat queen hornet the size of a Sigorsky will come buzzing in to inspect your house for nesting sites.  They die.  I blame France.

Bumblebee Queens have just woke up in the dirt, dug their way out of the soil and have no fucking clue whatsoever.  They are huge, fat, furry and confused.  I catch them in a cup with a magazine postcard for a lid and let them go outside.  They are my buddies. They are native pollinators. They will fall asleep inside deep flowers when the sun sets, and in the morning you can tip them out into your hand, and the warmth of your body will wake them up slowly.  They walk around in your palm and then spread their little wings and buzz away.

City of Sumas Employees, usually the utility dude or the police, will just stick their heads in and say 'Hello?' very loudly, as though we aren't sitting here in front of the television like elephant seals. The Utility Dude lets us know that something, like water, electricity or gas, is going  to be turned off.  The police usually just want to take a look around and tell you that they're checking up on 'kids in the neighborhood' which is bullshit, but this is a town on an international border and you have to expect that crap.  They know more about us than our doctors do.

Random Small Children will poke their heads in and say "Hello?"

"Hi there," we'll say.

"Have you seen David?"

"No, sweetheart."

"OK, Hi," they'll say. "We're looking for David. He wasn't supposed to go farther than the light pole but he did and now we have to look for him.  OK Hi."  And then they leave.  I don't know what the repeated 'Hi' thing is about, but it beats "We're here recruiting for the Klan" and we have grandkids, so it's all cool.

I say Mr. Rogers never had it this good.