Category Archives: Uncategorized

Games I Played in School

It was a bore, most of the time.

My family runs to genius & I was (supposed to be) next…
Already blew my social scene in high school by rightaway quick the beginning of freshman year, spelling down the co-captain of the football team.
What more was there to lose?

Although a fidgety type I had been thoroly shamed into a semblance of composure by my avidly social-climbing mother…

So. Looking around the classroom for something to occupy myself:
Here’s Charlie Crowley across the aisle.
Going thru– shall I put it delicately?– an even more difficult adolescence than I, and mentally a halfstep behind whatever was happening in class.
Mrs. Soper droned on… was it History? or English? No matter… suddenly, in Charlie Crowley A LIGHT WENT OUT!
Maybe it was really more a shift in brain waves– but he was broadcasting a subliminal amount of confusion.

Quickly I cast my mind over the recent few sentences from Mrs. S.
Aha… a possible HOLE in her dialog!
Quickly I composed a sentence and RAISED MY HAND!

Raising yr hand in school, you might remember, made one something of a TARGET– the Stupid Question (and at that age, ANY question is stupid) reveals you as a dummie!!!
But hey, I had brownie points, everyone KNEW I was so damn smart as to be something of a social pariah. I could certainly afford risking a stupid question against my mammoth Smarts account…

Mrs. Soper is delighted– someone is actually ALIVE out there!!
She bustles into a response, I am eyeing Charlie discreetly… SUCCESS! he has slumped an inch in RELIEF…
Sometimes I’d hafta ask 2 or 3 times to pull him back into the classroom.

There. I have REVEALED A SECRET. You are the first, & the ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS…
Please don’t tell Charlie


I wish you’d left in summer

This mother’s heart dies back a little every fall

If you’d left when all was blossoming & burgeoning

I don’t think I would have felt your leaving

not even half as much at all.


The sound of your guitar at midnight

Simple chords that showed a young man’s heart

where tenderness lay waiting to be wakened…

There’s nothing now but silence in the dark.

But I’ll not miss the moody swings of temper

that left you brooding silent here for days

Nor the greasy tools upon the kitchen counter

and a handprint on the towel stays and stays.


It’s the sunny boy beneath that bears remembring

Blowing candles on his cake when he was 5–

and singing in a storm-swayed leafy treetop

My heart will keep those memories alive.



My last marriage was a 3-way relationship.  My husband brought his best buddy, mentor and solace with him.  This guy was no particular friend of mine, but I saw the benefits my husband gained from his presence, and could find nothing that suited as well.  Maybe you’ve run into him yourself– a Mr. Jack Daniels?  My husband also considered him a form of high-octane fuel, who would allow him to work unceasingly for days at a time at his beloved obsessive profession, fine woodworking.

One year of a sudden, Mr. Daniels no longer was of service.  He left.  And in his wake, left untied threads, unsorted closets, and scars from some degree of physical abuse. The most disconcerting were various aspects of my husband that had perforce been shielded from the light of day for some decades.  In face of this we decided it wisest to take some space– how about the desert for space?  and perfect for the metaphysical geologist R had become on the side, memorizing the periodic table and starting a nice collexion of mineral specimens.

R had a blind Ford van, brand new since shortly before we’d met.  With time he had built it into a self-contained Traveling Shell.  I’d joke that if the world came to an end, he could orbit indefinitely with just the addition of some oxygen tanks… So with the other member of his support team Ichamani, a fawning longhaired German Shepherd,  and some survey maps of various abandoned mines, he left too.

I got occasional fonecalls from here & there in a vast and sparsely occupied American SouthWest.

He’d spent time with an elderly pair of rockhounds, Rattlesnake Jack & wife.  The ol’ guy had gone outside and put a bullet in his head to end his extreme discomfort from various ailments.

He met a gay pair with a geode mine on the Mexican border, which they visited  with semi-auto’s in hand.  One had written THE authoritative text on the formation of geodes and was courted heavily by German geologists as result.  The 3 of them were planning to head for Colorado at the behest of the head of Mines in the U.S.– teenagers were damaging themselves falling into abandoned mines, their parents were suing the government, who in response was having the mines capped with concrete, a shortsighted and rotten solution.  Help was needed at the national conference to head this off  (alas, one of the partners took seriously ill, & R did not have the experience/knowledge to attend alone).

He spent the night in the yard of  a woman who lived in a neighborhood of shacks on the outskirts of a city, using 1 or 2 gallons of water a day– she insisted he park where he would be relatively safer from potshotters shooting up his van in the wee small ones.

He spent an afternoon sitting on a curb by the highway with the local sheriff– one of many who stopped him.  (After they got over the long hair, they were all relieved to hear he was packing– dangerous territory that close to Mexico.)  He sharpened the sheriff’s knife while the sheriff told him of large encampments out in the desert of foreign soldiers who did not speak a word of English, there for the potential crowd control of Americans, as our own troops would not fire upon fellow citizens.

He found a large serpentine rock full of crystal vugs,  studded with fool’s gold & guarded by a sleepy rattlesnake.  Breaking the rock into smaller pieces he carried it to the van while the rattlesnake watched.  Pieces of that still hang around the place…

His tiny notebook of pencilled notations bears witness to one adventure after another, on a near-daily basis.

A couple months into the trip, at a restaurant in Corona NM was posted on the wall a listing of remote campsites in the vicinity.  He picked one and headed out.  The road was steep & rough, at times giving question to making it back out again, and it ended near the peak of ______ Mtn at a camp apparently frequented by hunters from the look of moose bones scattered widely around.  Since it was too high for cactus & therefore thorn-free for dog feet, Ichamani happily wandered about collecting  the best of the bones.

On toward sunset a Volkswagen bus labored into camp. The couple within, although dressed in city clothes, professed to be looking for primitive camping that night, but refused R’s invitation saying there were other sites they could use and not disturb his solitude.  They proceeded to stay a while, adroitly questioning him in an odd sort of way, like census takers or interviewers he said later.  We still wonder what they were about….

After they left he and Ichamani curled up to sleep in the van, only to be disturbed by a terrific engine racket some hours later.  R’s first thought was that it was the refrigeration unit on an 18-wheeler– until he remembered the condition of the road on the way up!  A brilliant light was burning in through the windshield.  Suddenly there was a loud whooshing, and the light rapidly faded away.  R’s hand was halfway to the pistol under his pillow, and the dog had jumped on top of him in fright when another light flashed from the other side of the van– there had been 2 vehicles!  He grabbed Ichamani and then suddenly became frozen, unable to move.  The ceiling of the van began to shimmer, turned transparent and disappeared as he and the dog rose in the air and were drawn through.  He remembered thinking ‘This could not be good for my body!’

R came to some hours later, back on the bed.  Ichamani was lying unconscious trembling on the floor of the van.

After a sleepless night he drove down the mountain at first light.

I got a fonecall from the next town–” HEADING HOME! I think I was abducted–”

At home:  R was in denial.  He’d mention some aspect of the experience, then say it hadn’t really happened.  He started packing again, and sleeping with a gun nearby for the first time since we left East LA.  Various spears & clubs appeared discreetly stationed by various gates around the property.  We discovered on his left shin a new small lump that slid away when touched.

This went on for some 6 months, until he remembered that as a small child he’d come downstairs in the middle of the night and become immobilized by little grey men under the dining room table.  I’m all like, HONEY!  you HAFTA go see Hazel!

She’s a local massage therapist who was frequently abducted as a child– could always tell ‘they’ were nearby because she found herself going around the house locking doors and windows.  It did no good, as they’d haul her off anyways– and tell her, ‘Now, get back in your body!  You agreed to this, remember?’

R came back after a 3 1/2 hour appointment, aglow and excited.  He had recalled the whole experience.

He’d been taken up into a huge mother ship, to a roomful of examining tables upon which were a large variety of beings.  Two short individuals were in charge of him.  They had the standard ET almond face, a tiny slit of a mouth, inconsequential nose but instead of the large black eyes we see in many renditions, just little dotty eyes.  Between the two flowed a constant soft jabbery & unintelligible conversation.  They gave him an injection in the finger he’d damaged with a tablesaw, and then he was led to an office where a lizard in a highly decorated military uniform waited.

The officer scolded him for bringing the dog along, and for ‘damaging his vehicle’.  He was commended for taking good care of me & told that of the 2 of us, I was the important one even though I was not under their ‘jurisdiction’, but under another group.  (I must admit to having some trouble with this information.)

So there we were.

From that time ’til some 8 years hence, R had NO TROUBLES with his kidneys.  When his doctor heard about this several years ago, she actually suggested he go back down to the mountain… an idea R did not comfortably entertain!  There is great fear & anxiety tied in with this sort of experience.

Since R passed, I have often wondered about that small lump on his shin.  Had I remembered it at the time, would I have had the gall to ‘harvest’ it before his body went off to the crematorium?  (sorry if that sounds cold or weird.  I regularly sewed this man back together after small construxion accidents– better ‘n coming up with $100/stitch,  that  being my major skill set & all… & he would not be using that body any more.)

The world is a larger and wierder place than those in charge are willing to let on.



1st Harvest

Okay… I can almost see that picture in your mind: Ayala stepping out of a (currently imaginary) greenhouse warmed by our local stallion’s stable droppings, with an armload of bounteous beautiful red VINE-RIPENED TOMATOES…

Scratch that!!!!!!

Actually, I just went under the rosebushes and snipped some chives for a (storebought) salad~~

So much for the first of April!
But hey… these very fresh very green GREENS hold the entire summer’s promise in their chlorophyllic aroma. Very intense! And prolific. Next, they get snipped into scrambled eggs– our blessed hens never stopped laying this winter! Love those gals.

Yuh, all enthusiasm aside, it’ll be midApril before I put in the peas and potatoes, and end May before I even THINK of setting out tomatoes. This is one cold little hollow up here at a mere 1,000 feet. The arctic kiwis used to bud out during the February thaw, but even they are more cautious these years– I see slight swellings along their vines but it’ll be a while yet before they trust their new leaves to the variable spring weather.

Meanwhile I’ll be picking up some of the last bareroot bargain fruit trees at Farmer’s Market this Saturday. The 3 small meadows that we live on in the midst of this 16-acre burgeoning old-growth forest certainly DON’T need any more trees making shade… so I’m getting all dwarf and semidwarfs. Still a nook and a cranny here & there to tuck them away, and the lure of our own FRUIT is such a draw…

We’ve been buzzed by HUMMINGBIRDS for a couple weeks now, although the mason bees are more cautious and won’t venture out ’til the Oregon grape blooms. And we’re hassled by robins, towhees and thrushes who LOVE to kick leaf mulch all over the place… now along with housekeeping I keep a rake by the front door to restore my borders twice daily!

With such promise in the air it’s real hard to restrain myself: must, just MUST soak a few sweetpeas seeds, though… never can tell, might be the againth case of delusion, but if we have an accidental early spring I couldn’t bear to be left behind!

Is It Spring Yet????

dear Grange Gardener!!
Well, these days I’ve been gardening instead of writing about it. Actually, I was hibernating from Christmas to Candlemas (around Groundhog’s Day) getting over the Holiday Rush. Theoretically, around Thanksgiving my garden should look as it does now– however, my business is huge in the early winter, just when I had ought to ‘ve been doing what I’m doing now: preparing the beds for a long sleep. NONETHELESS! while dashing back and forth from my market booth in town I was surreptitiously gathering up quantities of LEAVES from along Eugene streets. Can’t BELIEVE folks giving this stuff away, it’s pure instant topsoil!!! My heavy clay soils gobble everything I can put on top. The humus kind of thins out the mineral content so as the plants can get to it. (Ever try drinking concentrated orange juice?? That’s what life tastes like for a little plant trying to survive on clay.)

I did acknowledge Wintertime by renting Werner Herzog’s movie, Antarctica. That filmmaker asks some nutsoid and irrelevant questions, but thankfully his voice does not dent the deep white frozen silence of that continent! which he captures so well… What was of parenthetical interest was the little cabin used by the antarctic explorer Shackleton . The camera panned across a cabinet of canned goods– beef stew, various vegetables, minced collops— MINCED COLLOPS???? This woman raced for the dictionary: “collops: small lumps of meat’. Aha!! A perfect name for those odd formations we develop around our hips &c. upon reaching menopause, dontcha think?? Collops. Part of my ever-increasing elliptical vocabulary now.

Have you seen a robin yet? One showed up here about 10 days ago… his song in the evening put me in hurry-up mode: spring is due! I hear there’s a website where birds can be identified by their songs.

So. Back to the garden… here’s a recipe for the health and improvement of blueberry bushes. Organically. Something that should reach a broad audience– fwd it to other friendly gardeners, it needs broad public issue! And you could pin a paper copy to the garden shed door. We ALL should be indulged by blueberrys the size of a nickel, dontcha think?

after a phone conversation with
Master Gardener John Parrott
late spring 2004

All additives will be taken up by the plant’s root system
and are therefore sprinkled around the plant out to the dripline –
where water would drip off the outermost leaves—
which is also as far as the roots extend outward.

No matter how much a blueberry bush is fertilized, it cannot use any nutrients unless the soil is ACID.
Soil could be jumpstarted towards acidity in the fall with an application of sulfur, like a light dusting of snow… when you begin to see yellow on the ground, stop dusting it.
Sulfur, however, is not well regarded by most soil organisms and should be considered a radical, one-time event.
What works the very best is GRAPE POMACE—leftovers from the winemaking process. If you have a vintner friend, arrive for their next pressing in a pickup truck. If not, buy it processed by the large sack.

The root system of blueberry bushes is very shallow. They spread out just beneath the surface of the soil. For this reason, keep all weeds or other plantings from under the bushes. They will steal nutrients from your crop! Fewer berries!!
Also for the same reason, do not scratch around in the soil under your bushes, not even with the highest of motivations (like thinking to mix in the nutrients following). Blueberry bushes have DIED after such ministrations!

Beneath each bush sprinkle a pint each of:
Soft rock phosphate
Cottonseed meal
Kelp, and if you can afford,
Alfalfa meal.
Now sprinkle on a lot of grape pomace, enough to turn the soil purple.
Top these with a couple inches of nicely rotted compost.
The final layer is another couple inches of sawdust and/or wood shavings. Just be sure that cedar is NOT among the woods providing this mulch! Blueberries HATE CEDAR !!!
If your bushes are planted beneath cedar trees,
stop everything and transplant them almost anywhere else.

Blueberries require frequent waterings in hot dry weather. If the soil beneath them is dried out, that means their roots are likely to be, also– which means the blueberries will become small and wrinkled.

As the seasons pass, hearty applications of compost and sawdust could build up well above the crown of the bush. Not healthy. Moderate, please, to avoid rot and smothering.

So there’s for the berry bushes….

Sunshine?!! Back outside to finish pruning. This is a DIFFICULT PROCESS for me– trees are so much slower than I am!! I’m muttering to each branch while contemplating where exactly to shorten it. Then we send up prayers for NO COLD RAIN while the blossoms are out– in this cold little hollow, it’s a rare year when the fruit crop survives spring showers!

I’m hoping the weather’ll be soaking wet for the next month or 2. Otherwise we’ll all be reading up on dry farming, and gardening in desert conditions!!

Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon

Grange Gardener!
Well, isn’t the season winding down, though? And I am winding up my garden hoses.

Thought of you on the Harvest Moon in September, wasn’t it beautifully enhanced by smoke in the atmosphere? Southern California firesmoke drifts all the way up here. Distress in one place leads to beauty in another… every stick has 2 ends, how like Life, what?

There was frost for the againth time here in Hermit Hollow, and some handwashables left on the clothesline overnight have a rubbery crunch…. picked all the tomatoes about 10 days ago, ha ha! smart me… now they’ve finished ripening and are heading into the freezer. Better plant more next year– the bounty from a bumper crop a couplefew years ago is ‘most used up now.

So how was your harvest? A rough year for us, with the late discovery of that cute little rabbit who had devoured all/most of the seedlings I set out, what a puzzle that was!– definitely not slug damage, but in 20 years here, no previous rabbits!! My housecat Jazman used to bring them in occasionally, and am I missing her now!! Hardly got any beans, lettuce or peas thanks to that longeared little dickens… but these days, lettuce thrives up on the deck in some big pots. The dog’s territory.
Meanwhile, the little rabbit stumbled into a HavaHart trap and is now a mile or 2 down the road reestablishing theirself…

The corn, the corn!! I planted in late May, really late for Ms. JumptheGun here, but even I was impressed by the lateness & coldness of Spring ’08… craftily had carried my corn seedflats into the bathtub room every overnight and managed to convince ’em to sprout… to no avail!! Temperatures in the garden were most discouraging for them. You’ll recall I was planning a Corn Feast for our family reunion midJuly… then when that deadline passed, we could’ve held a neighborhood CornFest for August… but even today the poor little ears are still too young to leave their mothers!! The sheep will be glad of them, though.

Given these exaggerated geographical gardening conditions I’m smart enough to never try growing cantalopes (again)… but I’m ‘specially delighted with butternut squash. They always come through, even when pumpkins are lagging ‘way behind. Bless their pearshaped selves… a dozen in the draft closet will become imitation punkin pies for the Holidays.

So we are grateful for blueberrys, raspberrys (they’re still producing madly, but not sweet, not tasty, & succumbing to black fungus spots), a bumper crop of little Arctic kiwis, and grapes, GRAPES!! The muscat grapevines have buried the carved cedar guardians by the driveway. Not QUITE as sweet as they could be, not quite smokey-flavored yet. but still DEE-LISH. Maybe I can propagate some next spring if you’re interested. They make the BEST sparkling wine– Moscato, even more elating than champagne.

Now I did want to bring up another harvest, in line with October’s Hunter Moon… the matter of animals.

On a well-rounded homestead there are animals as well as plant life. This fiber fanatic has a few angora rabbits and some Shetland sheep grazing our small meadows (and fertilizing the place). We also have a flock of hens, charming girls who will soon be allowed out to ransack the spent garden for bad bugs and small sprouting weeds…

We regard these beings as companionable. They certainly all have personalities and intelligence– and since reading Craig Childs’ essay on ravens in his latest book I have been unable to regard any life form as less sentient than I– check him out, I’d lend you my copy! We take delight in their daily antics and solicit their attentions.

At one point we were raising angora rabbits. We had this previous agreement with the mother: those unsuitable for fiber would be put in the freezer. (If you put out your feelers, you can tell if matters are copacetic with animals.) She was okay with this, and we were respectful in our procedure– it was actually a ceremony, with smudging and dare I say Last Rites, thanking the little guy for their stay with us and their contribution to our wellbeing.
Some days, we just didn’t feel up to all this and would postpone until the atmosphere shifted. It really was an impactful event.

Butchering is a edifying job, once you get your surgical objectivity lined up: bodies are quite tidy and well-engineered. We’d package ’em up neatly and leave ’em in the freezer ’til we’d forgotten their names.

Nowadays I have only buck rabbits so as I can let them out all together to romp on the pasture. The females are territorial and fight among themselves, whilst the bucks just hump each other. Make love not war.

Then there’s this matter of BALANCE: on any well-run, well-rounded small homestead comes the problem of death, being responsible for both ends of the Lives we have taken on…
One of the young Shetland sheep turned out to be a HOGJAWS. Viewed from behind, she was quite the blimp on those toothpick Shetland legs! We often witnessed her getting butted broadsides out of the hay. I was about to go get another dozen bales from John Downing to make it thru the winter!! Plus, the whole flock had gotten edgy– rude & pushy when I came out with the feed.
So. We’ve put away sheep here before, but with Richard feeling all puny I bustled her into the dog kennel and drove down to Mohawk Valley Meats. For a slaughterhouse I find their attitude… courteous.
Loaded the sheep into a holding pen, moved the truck and returned to say farewells. She walked over to my extended hand, nuzzled her nose into it and looked me straight in the eye… unexpectedly.
This is the 4th time I’ve made this journey with an animal, and usually they are too distracted by the new surroundings to remember me. It was as if this one had seen the Big Picture and relieved me of any personal blame for it. What a little queen. When smitten by the hand of Fate, may I be that gracious!

And you, dear Neighbor-may you be walkin’ on sunshine, these beautiful late autumn days!

A Shetland-Type Shawl

A shawl so fine it could pass through a wedding ring… the stuff of faerie tales, and the defining characteristic of a true Shetland shawl! 

Actually, though, I’ve seen it done:  my sons’ sitter, Missy Moses, had a little round Scottish grandmother with a cedar chest that held just such a shawl, gossamer-light, of purely white homespun superfine yarn.  She pulled off her wedding ring (maybe a size 4),  grabbed the shawl any old which way and pulled it easily right through… what a treasure!

I came up with a variation on this Tradition some score of years ago after knitting one for Baby Son #3…

 As ephemerous as it is, there’s a goodly bit of WARMTH to it! I’ve worn one completely threadbare, and had been often stopped on the street by those wishing to admire it.

Being as knitting has been such a gift to me, and I have such an overwhelming debt to the Universe & Life in general, let me in turn offer these instructions to you as a small return for favors rendered:
Here y’are, make one! Wear it!  Stay warm from both the shawl and the admiring glances!
First some background details.
Shetland sheep go into a shedding mode, and if you run your fingers over their backs you can gather the loose fibers (it’s called roo-ing). The fibers are pointed on both ends, rather than blunted on one end from the shearing, and spin a very fine yarn. That, plus the lack of casting-off, is what allows the spinning of such a fine yarn that the ensuing shawl be passable thru a small ring.

Here’s the traditional way of going about knitting a Shetland shawl: the center is garter stitch, with a wide lace border and a smaller lace edging, all executed without binding off or assembly, and by picking up stitches along completed edges and heading off in different direxions.

Now looky here:  this is all very well and good, but I’m living my life on a shorter fuse… given the compression of Time in this tech-based culture, let’s work this shawl concept on a different scale:

First, it’ll be triangular. Those big square ones are worn folded… seems a waste of effort when the display is cut in half!

Next, let’s work it ALL in ALL garter stitch:  then we’ll have a 2-sided shawl. 

And let’s use brushed mohair yarn in splendid variegated colorways… a couple years ago during a break from instructing at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival I was ECSTATIC to find gorgeous and affordable skeins– The colors took my breath away!!  The yarn is from

Pat & Steve Harder

It’s a very fine yarn.  You’d have a floating shawl.  The yarn is also very slippery… although this shawl is knitted all in garterstitch, the slipperiness (and the headspace of it all) might make it a bit much for a beginner. Wooden needles would put the knitter at a definite advantage as they grab the yarn a bit.
The shawl uses 400 yds of whatever yarn. This one pictured is knitted from her colorway ‘Fiesta’.

Here’s what we’ll be doing:
The body of the shawl is a long triangle in garterstitch (just knitting).

Along the 2 triangle sides, stitches are then picked up and worked in a lace stripe pattern, with occasional increases at the centerpoint to keep it lying flat. Yes, the increases do disturb the pattern and you get to figure out how to keep it marching along… you can see this occurring in the foto above.

When this lace section is completed, the stitches are worked off sideways into a narrow lace edging.

So.  You’ll need the following needles: dp’s are okay, or circular—
#10 1/2 for shawl triangle,
#8 for lace stripe section
#6 for lace edging

Instead of buying dp’s,howa bout making your own???  Saves BIG BUCKS… I bring my needle gauge to the home lumber store and try out their selexion of dowels, score with a razor blade and snap them, then sharpen with a pencil sharpener.  I also remember to buy some 200- grit sandpaper there, to polish ’em off… 49-cent sets of exotic hardwood needles!  My kind of price…

(Now BEWARE!  The following instruxions are not for Blind Followers… someday when that elusive commodity ‘SPARE TIME’ shows itself again, I’ll write all this up in great detail, and charge you the Big Bucks for a copy… meanwhile, email me if you get hung up and I’ll see if my time can afford figuring out a solution for ya…)

Using your 10 1/2 needles,
Cast on 3 sts.  K 3 rows.  At the beginning of the 4th row, increase 1 st.  Mark this st with a safetypin or a yarn ‘flag’.  Every 4th row, inc 1 st
on this edge only, until there are 36 sts.
K 3 more rows. 
At the beginning of the next row, K2tog.  Move your marker to that row halfway between the last inc and the 1st dec.  This is the apex of the triangle, and the centerpoint of the shawl.
Now continue to dec 1 st every 4th row, back down to 3 sts.
End with yarn on the triangle side of the shawl.

Okay, now for the lace stripe part of the shawl body:
You’ve already got 3 sts on your needles…
Pick up a total of about 300 sts along the 2 sides of the shawl where all the decreasing and increasing occurred. That’ll be about one for every row. 
Yes!  Leave that marker/yarn flag RIGHT THERE in the middle…
And pick up 3 sts on the 3 you cast on at the beginning.

Now here’s the lace stripe pattern, a repeat of 6 sts and refreshingly simple for such a nice effect:

Row 1:  K1, K2 together, yarn over, K1, yarn over, K2 together.  Repeat to end of row…
Row 2:  knit.
That’s all there is to it…
Knit 2 rows to establish the pattern.
Now!  Get out 2 short lengths of another yarn and knot them into loops for markers….
At the end of each lace row hereafter, STOP 6 sts short of the end, put your loop in there and TURN AROUND.  Head back the other way, and stop 6 sts short of that end of the shawl, putting in the other loop to mark where you turn.
Continue in this manner until you end up at the middle 6 (or so) sts.

Because the lace is worked off 2 sides that sit at an angle to each other, it’s necessary to increase now and then to keep the shawl lying flat:
So, at the same time that you knit 6 sts shorter every row: every 6 rows, inc 1 st each side of the ribbing closest to the centerpoint. I do this by just not knitting 2 together on each side of the single garter stitch.
After you increase like this a few times, you’ll have enough extra stitches to form a new pattern element.  It almost happens by itself…This is where YOU get to figure out how!

So here we are, having completed with knocking off 6 sts at the end of every row,at the centerpoint of the lace stripe section: congratulations!

Knit on over to the corner of the shawl.

Now we’re gonna turn 90 degrees and work toward the other corner of the shawl with a narrow lace edging. Here’s the pattern for that:

Cast on 7 sts.
K back to shawl body, k(last cast-on st and 1st shawl st) tog.
Row 1: k3 YOx2 K2tog k2.
Row 2: K4 p1 k2 k2tog
Row 3: K (8sts)
Row 4: K (7sts) to last st k2tog (yes, one from lace border, and one from shawl: this is how we attach the lace to the bottom edge of the shawl).
Row 5: K2 (YOx2, k2tog)x2 k2
Row 6: K4 p1 k2 p1 k1 k2tog
Row 7: K
Row 8: bind off 3 sts loosely, k to last st k3 tog (yes, 2 shawl sts).
Repeat from row #1 ’til you get to the other end of the triangle.

Yay, you’re DONE!!
Rinse it, roll in towel and walk dry.
Now, to get the shawl looking REALLY GOOD, we’ll block it out–
Find an unused bed or carpet and get a whole handful of pins.
Tack the 3 corners down, eyeballing shawl for symmetry, and pull on every one of those wretched lace points, and pin in place. It’ll be dry soon, and then you’re out and about all swingy and fancy!

Gardening for the Againth Time

dear Grange Gardener GirlFriend!

 Thought of you often over the summer, especially as I herded grandsons away from my meager pea patch, which they were intent on feeding to my angora rabbits… YES!! I DID manage to scrounge a couple handfuls outta there for myself, although it took 3 REPLANTINGS to get any…

AND… now I think the culprit has been identified:  a darling wild bunny who sits on our tiny front lawn and watches us thru the window on BunnyVision, streaks away at the slightest movement– a likely suspect indeed!  All the lettuce is on the front porch in pots to survive his presence, along with the 4th batch of peas, now well past seedling stage.  Gonna fence ’em off  this time with a ring of hardware cloth!!

Those of us gardeners who stretch out our gardening kinks at Grange yoga sessions often receive the fringe benefits of FLOWERS from Roger Walsh’s garden– he’s living on Robin Koken’s old place just down the road from us at the 18-mile marker.  You can see he’s got the place all duded up, and I guess his glads’ve been falling over in these August rains— he brings bucketsful to yoga.  I can get them to stick around for near 2 weeks with judicious plucking of spent blooms and concomitant shortening of stems… our entry features a marvellous tall vase, a triumphant work of #4 Son the Potter, although I’ve been hard pressed to find flowers tall enough to suit it until Roger’s glads came along.  A splendid way to greet visitors!

We were talking about the Prolonging of Bloom Life after yoga last week, and I recalled a paragraph in Gerald Durrell’s My Family & Other Animals… he’s the naturalist kid brother of famed author Lawrence Durrell, Alexandria Quartet.  His tutor’s mother kept her house full of flowers.  She apparently had some secret ‘in’ with the Flower Devas, and had been informed of  what the different species required for greatest longevity… I copied her list into my Family Recipes & Secret Potions volume to keep for a moment just like this:  here y’are~~

ROSES:  aspirin

CHRYSANTHEMUMS:  drachma (what’s THAT?? 

 Hum now, the dictionary says ‘a copper/nickel coin of modern Greece;

the older ones were silver…)

Yet More Gardening Blather

The body of this entry is directed to agricultural efforts/failures… but I did want you to know I survived Black Sheep Gathering without buying ALL the wool there… and that I DO INDEED have in my Drafts file the instrux for a Shetland-type shawl, be right with you on that, it’s a fun one!!– AND my Webmistress troubleshot this site so as now I can probably even get fotos up!!

So here goes about the garden:

Gardener GirlFriend!!

I got up REALLY EARLY this morning for a garden tour and only got one slug!!  On a marigold, of course, their favorite food… I also look under piles of weeds gathered but not composted yet– cool and damp, usually a favorite habitat.  Nobody home this morning.

Best slug solution so far is: BRUTALITY!!!  Snicking in half with clippers dedicated to that task, they get kinda GUMMY… disgusting but FINAL.  I sprinkle a product called ‘Sluggo’ around, gingerly, as each slug has only to eat ONE of these tiny iron phosphate pellets to die of excessive belly ache… I’m amazed to see 10# sacks for sale!!  Somebody out there must have a serious problem, I feel so much better now, taking 3 years to use up a pint shaker can!  Besides the stuff is not toxic, yay, I’m still organic out here.

So, on to the whining and handwringing… well, my peas made it well over the top of their designated support!!  only to get cut off at the bottom by who knows who… a third of the plants are ALL WILTY, with their flowers all saggy, totally disconnected from their roots.  A suspicious HOLE lurks nearby… who moved in???

And the strawberries– after years of plants that produced major runner systems I am finally down to several that actually BEAR FRUIT… Richard spotted that the 3 pairs of robins spending the spring here are helping themselves to the forming berries, well before ripening!!!  So what am I spozed to do, stage a war on ROBINS??  I wouldn’t mind if they ate them but they leave berry halves scattered all over, flagrant WASTE…

And the CORN.  It doesn’t germinate, sez the back of the pkg, until soil temp’s above 60 degrees… so I tricked it into coming up by putting its flat in the bathtub overnight… worked great… until I transplanted… then it STOPPED DEAD for a couple weeks; now the plants are looking bushy but still short.  Our nights in this hollow are CHILLY!!  I planted a lot with our midJuly Family Gathering in mind… hum now.  I may be inundated with a whole lotta corn about midAugust, as things are working out this year… be alert for notice of a CORN party!!  I’ll need some help dealing with any sort of harvest, the robins and their offspring’ll be long gone by then!

The roses have started blooming, when they finish I’ll try rooting several.  Old varieties– Jackson & Perkins roses are too refined for my acid forest soil and kick off immediately– I’ll let you know if they take, they’ll be for sharing.  Beautiful smelly peach, pink and magenta!

Now I’m gonna be good and get into produxion.  With any luck, there’ll be time to get back outside and transplant everything on the porch before yoga, maybe even get the dill and carrots going…  All I need is an extra week to pop onto my calendar, then all will be totally in hand over here!!

Local Girl Makes Good!

Ayala, honored

22 April
PRESS RELEASE Contact: Mary Ann Meyers 741-6000, x147 For Immediate Release Paula Gourley 682-4374
May is Older Americans Month – Honoring Older Americans Active in the Arts

Nationally designated as Older Americans Month, this May the Lane County Coalition of Senior Programs honors six inspiring artists over 60 years of age, who are active in the arts. As photographers,musicians, composers, fibre artists, watercolorists, and educators, these individuals exhibit vitality, mastery and creative energy, while making valuable contributions to our community through their gifts of artistic expression.
Ayala Talpai of Marcola, highly creative, has done pioneering work in the fiber arts
using tiny felting needles which she describes as “the perfect tool for translating
my visions into physical realms. Not only do they allow me infinite latitude
in correcting errors and engineering changes, but also I get to work with the most
engaging, approachable, compliant, affordable art material I’ve yet to encounter.
Besides, wool seems to have an inherent sense of humor… how serious can one
get with this stuff?? It’s lightweight, and lends itself so easily to levity.”

A member of the Eugene Saturday Market since 1991, Ayala’s business is conducted
as Scurvy Louts – Clothier to the Barbarian Hordes. All original designs
by the dynamic artist, her work includes clothing, dolls and decorative items
for the home and person. A teacher and artist mentor, she has written, illustrated and
published two instructional workbooks, The Felting Needle – From Factory to Fantasy, The Felting Needle – Further Fantasies, and The Key to Dream House, a bedtime story/coloring book.

She teaches workshops in needlefelting, fiber and felting at venues around the world.

In addition to her fibre artistry, Ayala raised five sons, along with her wasband, in a 10-man tent in the woods without electricity or running water. She serves on the Board of the Eugene Saturday Market, and is an ordained Sister in the Church of the Open Forest, under the wing of the International Association of Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards. She performs marriages, Blessing Ways, wakes, and ceremonies for other life passages. Ayala lives her philosophy of “opportunity” and “discovery”, merging her artistry into her household and surroundings, a habit of folk artists the world over.

The six inspirational Older American artists/musicians will be recognized in a public reception at Willamalane Adult Activity Center in Springfield on Thursday, May 29th from 4 – 6 p.m. At this event, the Lane Coalition of Senior Programs will unveil a specially-designed poster, “Lane County Honors Older Americans – Active
in the Arts,” featuring a photo of each of the honorees.

There will be photo opportunities at the event. Contact Mary Ann Meyers (741-6000, x 147) or Paula Marie Gourley (682-4374) for biographical information on the honorees, or to arrange an interview.

The Lane County Coalition of Senior Programs is a collaborative of 12 area agencies serving older adults.  They include Senior & Disabled Services, Senior Connections, the Senior Meals Program, American Red Cross, Campbell Senior Center, Cascade Health Solutions, OASIS, RSVP of Lane County, River Road Parks and Recreation District, Senior Companion Program, Viking Sal Senior Center, and Willamalane Adult Activity Center.