Tag Archives: cats

Fin.

It’s been awhile since I last posted.


And for quite a while I’ve felt a bit hesitant about sharing.


Life continues to unfold in both familiar and unpredictable ways.


My WordPress account came up for renewal, and I decided (or maybe the decision decided me?) to not renew my blog.


Other facets of my life are calling.


I enjoy looking back 6 months, and considering the possibility of 6 months from now…


In 6 months, this now emerging sunflower (providing it thrives & survives the season, sets seed, and I can get to it before birds do) will be, once again, a powerful and humble seed.


I wanted to thank anyone and everyone who read this blog, and for those who followed this blog.

I hope it offered some benefit.


It meant a lot to me, and I’m aware that all time is precious, and so I thank you for using your time this way.


Wishing you all good things.


A few things.

Hey folks. 

I know it’s been a while.


Last time I posted was in Autumn.

And I happened to be in a ‘Verizon zone’ and was able to post from my phone.


An Autumnal moment in the cathedral. I admit to rarely taking the time to walk around the farm to visit everybody. 

‘Everybody’ being all the babies, all the seeds I happened to have the good fortune to touch and plant some time before.

All the plant-beings in the cathedral I planted.

I write that to remind myself, because I find that I forget. And start to doubt my doing any things of benefit.


Although it’s raining as I poke at my little phonefacekeyboard, this photo was taken after the first big snowfall on November 22nd.

We got more snow during that snowfall than the entire last Winter.


I’ve housesat for various kitties…


Some who love their kale…


Some who like their space…


Some who look very sweet, but are like the The Oatmeal’s whiskey cat.

I’m very grateful for the cozy homes, for the use of laundry, for the connections over the years.


And as I watch the miles tick on, I’m ever grateful I was able to purchase a car back in 2001 that is still running.

Many miles gone by, many years… learning to drive standard in hilly Ithaca was humbling, and driving out to California cemented the training.

It’s been over 10 1/2 years since returning to Ithaca.



There’ve been many jobs.

After one of my employers was suddenly let go after a downsizing, I was laid off this past summer soon after moving.


It really knocked me out of orbit. Seeding (and cats. and family. and friends.) was one of the few things that helped keep me (sorta) steady.

(That’s me, btw. It was taken by one of the on-farm interns & he shared the photo with me.)

And that’s Sebastian, the ginger tabby with the tiny meow and a huge purr.


I applied to a LOT of jobs. 

Some of which I was qualified for, some not.

Eventually I picked up part-time work with a friend who grows sprouts.


These usually live outside in a greenhouse, but there was below-freezing temperatures, so inside they came, where they got ‘a little leggy’.

Still just as tasty, though.


It seems to be a good fit. 

It’s mostly behind the scenes, and all three of us get along, and it’s pretty mellow while all the work gets done.

The above photo is along my most favorite (and to my mind, most beautiful) road in the county back in October.


I’ve been trying to ‘get behind myself’, and so despite all the inner-critical-voices/chorus, I had cards printed up of some of my artwork…


I worked with a woman-owned printing company in town, purchased 100% post-consumer content recycled envelopes…


Found some nice glassine sleeves (which were probably meant for candy…) to protect each card & envelope pairing…


And with some freely offered new (recycled content!) food containers & paper, made up some packages to sell at the credit union’s holiday craft fair.

I didn’t take a photo of the table with all the cards, unfortunately.

But to my surprise & delight, with an email and two Facebook postings about the event, a whole bunch of friends came out to support my work.

I was really blown away by all the visits & support.

I’ve never really had faith in the artwork that comes through me.

But I started to question: what if I just trusted it… let it be what it is…


It’s far too easy to compare myself to classmates who have work at The Whitney, or The MOMA. Or places like that.

The art that comes through me simply isn’t like that.


I’ll admit, I still think of leaving. Of moving somewhere else. Try to find a place where the rent isn’t so high. Or where I don’t have to run into people who aren’t really friends anymore because I said something or did something that upset them.


I’ve thought of moving to go back to school… maybe for biology… or phytotemediation… but that takes a lot of math & chemistry. Which I basically suck at.

And the truth is, i love seeds.


Maybe that knee-jerk reaction will always be to move, to run.

Aversion is so my go-to habit.

I’m so grateful for the friends who are still my friends despite my (very) imperfect ways.


I wish I was perfect, but I’m not.

I’m trying to befriend myself, with all of my imperfections.

This year I’m going to try to drop the whole trying-to-be-perfect thing. It wasn’t such a conscious thing, and I’m not succeeding at it anyhow, and the attempts at it seems to just create more tension inside.

A sort of letting-go practice. Or allowing. Or awareness, I suppose.


To quote my Yaya, “who needs it?”

Anyhow.

I know I’m leaving out a lot, but engh. It’s okay.


This is one of the cards that didn’t make the cut. But it’ll become mail to someone.

Wishing you gentleness and steadiness, a sturdy ballast for all to come.

Thanks for reading, for your encouragement, and for whatever acts of creativity you can get behind yourself for.

(Or with. Goodness I was never good at grammar…)


Wishing you all well.

May the planets smile kindly on you all through 2017.


Cats & lessons & moving & hiding.


This is Luna.

She’s one of the animals I look after sometimes. An ancient kitty, she loves to sit on my lap & be brushed, and is quite fond of taking over the pillow by the middle of the night.


This is Sophie. It was quite warm the week I stayed with her & her sister, Izzy. 


Warm & humid.

Before this stretch with Sophie & Izzy, I had the good fortune to be with Nemo for a while in July.

This was taken before the recent rains…


On very hot days, she’d hop into a ceramic dish for a nap.

Before this, I was at another house, with two kitties. (No photos that time…)

Basically I was not living in my apartment for the entire month of July.

But I was there a lot, packing. Everything. I just moved.

Thanks to my friends, who helped out in so many ways, to support this past move.

Schlepping boxes, sanding patches, dropping off stuff at resale stores, bringing blueberries & pop, bringing good cheer, texting, offering emotional support over the phone & in person… I really could feel the net of people… & their support.


These follows are older than me, but when together, are like 9 year olds. Another friend (I didn’t catch a photo of her) held the reigns & called the shots to keep things going.

They were a huge help on a very hot day driving boxes from my apartment of 2 & 1/2 years to the next landing place.


Packing selfie.

Basically if I was there on my own, I’d listen to music or a podcast & pack & pack & pack after work before heading back to whichever place I was housesitting at.


Thank the gods for all these friends & all these cats in my life.

Because the day I got there, the day I would officially “move in”, there was a distinct sinking feeling in my heart & my gut.


It was the very same feeling when I crossed the California state line back in 2002.

Something akin to: o no. What did I do?

A sort of “wrong” feeling. Like I had made a mistake.


I get this feeling when I’m driving somewhere & I know I’m lost, that I’m going the wrong way.

It’s the same feeling. 

Driving, though, I can just turn around, get off at an exit, go a different route.

Moving, and renting, & having signed a lease, a binding agreement, the stakes are higher, the consequence greater, especially since I sunk my savings into making it happen. (Rent is expensive in these parts…)


I’m haunted by my decision.

Reflecting on how I only saw what I was looking for, & overlooking the aspects of the place which were, um, funky.


I really thought it was a place I could settle into for a while.

But it turned out the landlord forgot to mention one piece of information which would have changed my decision to apply for this apartment.

Mice. 


She says she mentioned it. I said, um, no you didn’t.

“You could get a cat. That’s what the former tenant did.”

And yes, sure, I love cats. 

But I’m not in the position where I can be with (my own) cat at this point of my life.


Clearly a misunderstanding occurred, to the point where she offered to let me out of the lease.

Now, aside from not having the money to rent a different place (including a security deposit), to simply to FIND a place in this town that was both affordable AND in less than a month and with no back-up alternate place to go (not to mention all of my belongings) was, well, it just seemed impossible.

And, quite frankly, I didn’t have the energy or the will to even try. Just moving that last week of July following the entire month of packing every day & cleaning both places while working just wore me out.


I haven’t blogged about it, because I’ve been feeling pretty bad about myself & my decision, & my life at the moment.

Yes, it’s a privilege to move with all of my belongings. Yes, I am currently employed. Yes, I am rich in community.

And

It still feels bad. I feel bad. Ashamed. Stupid. And then it globs into all the choices I’ve made in my past from places of fear & I just send myself into a sort of spiral.


So I’ve been kind of hiding out in shame & embarrassment that extends beyond this one decision & situation.

Even though had I been given all the information I would have made a different choice.


Luna’s like: “stop being so hard on yourself”

The landlord isn’t going to do anything about the mice.

I’m in a year lease.

I’m buying a *%#^ton of steel wool to shove into any cracks & holes, and screwing welded wire over the really wide gaps.

And I’m telling myself that I’m living in a cabin. For a year.

(Thank you, Amy-la, for that.)


And at the recommendation of my wise sister, & then a friend, I’m going to look at what I appreciate about this place, AND what really doesn’t work for me, and apply that to my decision regarding any future places.

So.

I appreciate that I can heat with wood. I enjoy stacking wood. 

The woodstove was one of the four things I saw and said ‘yes’ to.

Wood stove, separate structure (that is, no one above or below or attached to the side), quiet, & a place to garden.

All really great things.


But just focusing on those four things is like stepping into a relationship with someone just because they have a mouth & a hand to hold & a, well you get the idea.

I tend to overlook the whole picture.

*sigh*

Living and learning here.


On a brighter note, despite the severe drought we’ve been experiencing, the hickory trees are quite abundant in nuts this year.


Mockernut & Bitternut hickory droppings from a very tall canopy & signs of critter munching.

O the critters.

Wishing you all well on this night.

Wishing you gentleness & ease.


Happy Anniversary.

That’s a Spring Beauty from a couple weeks ago.

It’s Spring Ephemeral season. That brief stretch when the forest floors have light and some warmth & these lovely beings emerge, bloom, fade, and sinense as the leaves in the high canopy unfurl and gather light from the Sun.

A woods walk was in order.


Miraculous, and thankfully perennial.

Spring Beauty and Blue Cohosh.

(Blue Cohosh sticks around for longer, but emerges with the others)


In an earlier stage of life, Blue Cohosh shows up a gorgeous deep dusty plum color, shifting to green.

(I wish my vocabulary for the various greens was extensive & specific… I’ll need to work on that.)


Hello, Hepatica.

Notice the three-lobed leaf from the previous season… Three lobes corresponding to the three lobes of the liver.


You can see this season’s leaves, fuzzy & unfolding in its time.


Dutchman’s Breeches.

Such adorable blossoms. They are nearly exclusively pollinated by bumblebees. 


Double (flying) Dutchman’s Breeches?… Anyone else play jacks as a child? My sister taught me how to play when I was 8 or 9 years old. Double Flying Dutchman was one of the most challenging levels.

(Thanks M!)


Trillium.

Only a few were blooming the day I went for this walk in Late April. Many were in bloom the following week (on a phone-less walk).


I just love this plum-green stage in the Blue Cohosh plant…


This is not Oni, my cat of 10 1/2 years. (He’s all spirit kitty now.)

Please say hello to Nemo. Who could be Oni’s distant cousin.

Fortunately I was able to be with Nemo for a stretch of time in March.


(Black kitties is da best.)

So today is my tenth year since returning to Ithaca, after four years away, with my cat, Oni.

Happy Anniversary!

11 & 1/2 years is the longest I’ve lived anywhere as an adult (if you count the time before I left…)


It’s my fourth season with Nook & Cranny Farm.


Spring shares just began this past Sunday, May 1st.

It caught me by surprise. I’m in my own little seeding & transplanting world most of the time I’m there.


For me, the season began in February, seeding Alliums.

Shallots, Onions, Leeks, Scallions.


And greens, after being transplanted into high tunnels, were harvested just days ago.


Infant spinach that now waits for me to sauté with last season’s garlic. Tonight, after work.


Another image from February. We tried a new method to keep track of the many Allium trays.

I don’t have an image of the trays in their current green stage, but they’ve began to be transplanted last week. Tonight they’ll complete the rest of the trays.

This method was too complicated, and spray painting edges of the trays will likely be next season’s method.


I hope to blog a bit more this season & dye paper again. It’s been a while.

We’ll see how things unfold.

Till then, happy anniversary day & wishing you all a joyous, long slow spring.


Harvest & seeding day at Nook & Cranny (take 2).

  
Can you see the hot?

It was warm this past Sunday. 

I tried to post on Monday, but there are many photos & my phone dropped the thread & so none of it was saved…

  
Sooooo, Take 2.

It was the second to last day of seeding for the 2015 season, & Sebastian was holding down the Yin.

During a pause while filling trays, I asked Bob if he could let me know before the cover-plastic was unrolled so I could take a photo of the boxes…  
 He asked if instead I’d take photos of the boxes as they were filled up through the day…

 Seriously, I have the cushy job.

I’ll try to keep the small & large boxes in order (I’ll be more methodical next time)

Above, the top box is the large, their tomato box comes later.

the bottom box (the one with the 1/2 peck box of tomatoes) is the small.

Back to the seeding…  
24 trays in all

10 Spinach, 4 Sylvetta Arugula, 4 Lettuce, 2 Red Pac Choi, 2 Red Mustard, 2 Mizuna.

   
 
“The Nusery”

   
 
The ones outside a little further along.

All these greens will head to the hoop houses & high tunnels in time.

  
Chard drip-draining before being set into boxes.

   
 
Small on top, Large below.

  
Bob sets leeks into the Large boxes.

 “Shining the zucchini” with a cloth, removing any stuck on stuff from the field.

   
 
Small on top, large on bottom.

  
I’ve tried three times to load a short video of Garrett’s hands washing carrots, but WP on my phone keeps crashing.

Suffice it to say that Bob intends to invest in a rotating drum spray method for next season. Garrett is super fast on the sprayer, but I guess the rotating drum is a faster way.

  
Into the box they go.

 Edamame happy dance!

Those were seeded in early June & here they are!!
One of the workers generously gave me a mounded quart full. One of the many benefits of working here.    

 
Here are two “smalls”

Bob knows details about each CSA member regarding any vegetables they may need to avoid…

So every now and again, some of the boxes will have slightly different contents.

   
   
You’d never know there was a lot of vegetable action going on underneath this layer of leafy greens.

    
Large boxes with tomatoes on top, a final sweep of vegetable droppings, plastic comes over, & Bob sets out Brussels Sprout tops at the “extras” area.

   
 Mmmm. Basil.

 
Week 14 ready for pick-up.

Did I mention it was hot?

It was SO hot & all the workers were amazing & lunch was a time of great delight & welcomed rest.  

Blessings on Late Summer.


Seeding day at Nook & Cranny farm.

The hillside has that Late Summer yellow tinge…  
It was also a harvest day today for the upcoming markets on Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday.

Lots of planting was occurring as well.

There’s always a lot going on at the farm.

  
Fortunate me, I was joined by Other for most of the day.

  
Much to do. Last couple weeks for seeding. 24 trays today.

12 Spinach, 4 Raab, 2 Mustard, 4 Red Pac Choi, 2 Mizuna.

  
Winter greens beginning.

It’s getting full in the barn!

  
(From yesterday’s CSA pick-up)

  
One of the workers commented today how it must be neat to have touched nearly every vegetable grown on the farm.

  
I think about that when I’m in the kitchen, preparing my vegetables to eat.

  
Well, I didn’t touch every seed, but I did touch most of them.

  
I guess I’m mostly proud & awed by the alliums… As they were seeded in the bitter cold days of February.

And here the onions today! They did well, & are drying down nicely.

  
The Winter Squash crop didn’t fare so well, as the bed location was flooded during the rainy spells, unfortunately.

  
At least there’s some that made it this far.

& thank goodness for the other farms in the area!

  
Babies all grown up!


Penelope & House sitting, & a Passionflower blossom.

  
This is Penelope.

She was given to me back in 1995 by my Shiatsu mentor, Nini.

She presents the major meridians used in acupuncture, acupressure, & Shiatsu.

  
Penelope’s usually the first belonging-thing that I put up whenever I move.

I’ve moved a lot in my adult life.

No doubt, less than some, & more than others.

  
Though I’m still house sitting, I went home yesterday before work to water the plants & collect my mail…

The Passionflower bud was closed – & I thought that I had missed it blooming, as they only open for a day and a half… And never more than two days.

Passionflower, indeed.

  
It’s a mixed blessing, house sitting.

I enjoy it. For a number of reasons.

The quiet, the solitude, the animals…

   
 

It’s a bit disorienting, when returning home… 

Maybe because another place has “become home”…?

I don’t really know.

Transition days are usually “raw days” where I always feel a bit off-kilter & vulnerable.

  

I was completely surprised when looking over at Penelope & the bud, about 20 minutes after watering the plants…

To see the bud had opened into its gorgeous blossom.

  
I got to them see how quickly my mind went to disappointment.

But it had happened before… 

That is, a bud had formed… I’d gone off to house sit… Then returned home & I’d missed the blossom.

(Que disappointment violas…)

  
And I had been watching the tendril grow towards Penelope & seen the bud as it grew…

Yesterday, there was disappointment & swirl. There was surprise & delight. Then I got to watch the habitual mind patterns.

Getting to know “the field of weeds” so-to-speak.

Getting to know my very own mind-meadow.

  
I wonder what will happen today?