One dragon of many...

Dancing elves...

Portrait of Jazman the holy terror...

A collection of curly tuques...

 

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.

WHERE Has She Been????!!

Well HI.  It’s surely been a while since the last time… and here’s why:  late this winter,  my Sweety Pye allowed as how the way he was feeling, he felt like he’d be sticking around for awhile… I was SO RELIEVED I fell asleep and SLEPT for a couple months!!!  Had a lot of STRESS to get over.  Yuh…

In case you missed the past couple years’ high drama, my husband’s kidneys had basically flatlined.  The doctors threw up their hands and sent him off with a couple of palliatives… but we were handed some majorly ‘woo-woo” alternatives by our magical healer friends,  and now he has,  from mainstream medicine’s viewpoint, experienced a ‘spontaneous regeneration’ and is busy living happily ever after!!! 

I even put myself on that program:  being as since he is recently back from the dead, the whole show here still rests on me and I better be able to keep on juggling… 

Results have been quite…INTRIGUING.  I am finding many small surface changes, tips on an iceberg… stuff deeply within must be getting its trip together!!  What a blessing.  We are so very blessed.  In all ways. Dear one… if ever you are faced with catastrophic illness, or wish to prevent such an eventuality, there ARE noninvasive and permanently effective treatments available.  Do feel free to contact me about the solutions we have found, however we may be of service. 

So… I kind of pulled in my flaps there for awhile, concentrated on local stuff and what was directly in front of my nose… got appointed as Flora on the AGRICULTURE Committee-of–one by the local Grange.  Only have personal gardening experience under my belt, gained at great personal expense from whatever land where I’m living, quite subjective but have been writing about that for entertainment’s sake  and for whatever use it might be. 

The last few of these chatty little missives are below  (sorree!!!  missing the first one or 2 due to having deleted my Sent folder awhile back in some fit of obsessive tidying up…).  The writings  were based around my continuingly failing efforts to get some edible-pod peas up & at ’em…

couple weeks after the previous (lost) email: 

dear Neighbor!

In my life there are 2 Opposing Forces: 

the draw of the garden

&

anything else I’m spozed to be doing…

Praise be for this rainy morning!  It keeps me inside working on Saturday Mkt inventory– perhaps running a nursery instead of a fiber factory would solve this conflict!!

And with this dismal weekend forecast, praise be that I had the good sense to capitulate to yesterday’s sun, & painted the new chickenhouse… one step closer to moving the chickens behind the yurt, where they can tear up the ground as they see fit… this fall I’ll move them elsewhere and plant the winter garden on Newly Tilled, weedfree soil!  And maybe gather all the leftover windows for a small and MOUSEPROOF greenhouse to sprout spring seeds earlier…

I also managed to get some WallaWalla onion starts and a few greening garlic cloves out of the kitchen into a bed under an old-growth collard, which has survived its 2nd winter.

In this lifetime I’ve been exposed to Gardening in the mode of  Organic Gardening magazine, Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamics & companion planting, Alan Chadwick’s double-dig French intensive method, Michelle Small Wright, her pendulum & plant devas, Ruth Stout who mulches heavily with straw, planting by moon sign etc. etc… but my Words to Live by come from a successful commercial organic gardener in No. CA, who allows as how in his business the best time of all to plant is

WHEN HE HAS TIME TO…

I’m going with that.

But what about pruning?  The 2 appletrees in our lower meadow haven’t budded out yet, and I see that that ol’ guy farther down the valley at 4 Corners is right now whacking at his graceful old trees that bear heavily every year, and have been shaped for greater ease in picking… am I gonna be too late for the AGAINTH year to prune my own??

PEA BULLETIN:  I pried one out of its eggshell planter a moment ago, and lo!  a tiny ROOT is nosing out…

Wish us SUN!! and WARMTH!!! for the first park block Markets… Sorry to miss your companionship at the Grange, another conflict…


13 April 2008:  FLUNK!! 

Well, so much for planting peas in darling eggshells thereby incorporating calcium into the soil, and other apparently worthy side effects…

In the first place I hadn’t checked the expiration date on my seed packet, and scored only THREE sprouts… whose shells I duly scrunched and planted outside  (while replanting their sister shells with fresh seed…)   Just checked on the Outsiders.  Their roots are… nonexistent!!!!  Previous pea transplants from flats always trailed unmanageably enthusiastic roots. Poor dears.  I emptied them out and stuck them right into the dirt, gonna put the rest of the pea seeds, now thoroughly soaked at least, in the great outside garden too.  So much for Cleverness!!  Now we’ll see if they survive our All-Seeing Robins.  I’m outta here to visit #2 Son & Family, these peas have 12 days ’til I get back to show their stuff…

Say, have you come across gardening books by Jerry Baker?  Some ol’ guy (whoa, better watch that designation, folks are beginning to think of ME in that category…) some EXPERIENCED guy whose books have alliterative subtitles like How to Have Terrific Trees, Perfect Pots, Veritable Vegetables, Fantastic Flowers, etc.  He mixes up all this stuff out of the kitchen for fertilizer, like instant tea, baby shampoo, Coca-Cola, green peppers, etc.  I’m stumbling along, trying to translate into my NPK basic gardener formula (N=nitrogen for leaf, P=potassium for fruit, K=phosphorus for roots, correct me if I mixed that all up)… most of his recipes are a mystery yet sound somehow feasible…  and will become my next atypical experiments!!  Now that eggshells have failed me as planters…

I just hate leaving home any time because so much goes on in the great outofdoors as soon as I ‘m gone… but I do (begrudgingly) wish you Favorable & Inviting Gardening Weather…

Catch up with you in a couple weeks! 

Save me a couple Great Plants from the Grange sale!!

6 May 2008:  ONGOING PEA PROJECTHi there!!!  I’m back from travelling!!  and have found that spring continued right on without me, well!!!… Got over jetlag enough to chase the lawnmower around– REALLY NEEDED to do this before leaving but it was just too wet.  Some trimming around beds now and we’ll be looking all sharp, not shaggy~~So.  About the PEAS, that continuing saga:  I craftily planted a flatful before leaving, and, craftier yet, left them in the bathtub: no slugs!

no birds!!

no frostbite!!!

But… forgot to tell Richard to move ’em outside when they were an inch or so high… came home to find them ALL STRAGGLY…. after a few days on the front porch, howeevah, they look ready for transplanting thisafternoon.  Good thing, too, for I need their flat for the next batches of seeds (the Territorial order arrived also while I was away), and I AM PLANTING THISAFTERNOON REGARDLESS:

not looking at what sign the moon is in

nor its quarter

not even step on a crack ‘n’ break yer mother’s back…

It’s midMay, and THE TIME IS NOW!!

 Julia stopped by with one of those amazing porchpotsful of begonias & other exhuberant trailing plants (have you got one?? no front entry should be without, they are dropdead GORGEOUS!!!)  and I took the occasion to consult with her about my renegade appletrees.  She says to get right in there and whack the sucker growth outta their tops, it’ll discourage further such behavior.  Hum now… I did totally shock and kill a bearing Italian plum by pruning too severely at the end of one April… but those suckers, now a couplefew years old, are JUST WHAT I NEED to mend some willow porch furniture… Looks like I’ll be taking out a dozen at least for my own purposes!  We’ll see how they do.

One thing I noticed with gratitude is:  the few slugs spotted on the rhubarb & other delectables are REALLY SMALL nowadays!  This means: it got cold enough to freeze the big daddies this winter, YAY!!, so now I just hafta contend with a new hatching… being smaller, they are less devastating.

Vigilance!

Not so much green thumbs as green knees, from getting down there to trim lawn borders…

Sorry to’ve missed the plant sale, here I am with tiger lily starts all over the place, want any?  Could bring to Grange for Yoga Thursday morning, or when else meet up with you?


 

 26 May 2008:

Well!!!  My poor scrawny peas have bravely hiked themselves up and are contemplating a trip up the fencewire hoop I provided for their greater ease in harvesting, yay perseverance…  Donna Heath swirled by my booth at Market a couple weeks ago with some 6paks of tall & sturdy  Professional Pea Starts: I’m feeling rather SNIFFISH about that, struggling along here in do-it-yourself mode…I also stuck in a round of fresh seeds in the garden itself, and they have reluctantly shown themselves about an inch ago.  Everyone human and seed appears to be having some trouble figuring out the weather this spring!!

At least the slugs’re small this year, the cold mustve done in all those grandfathers from last summer.  I AM still besieged, though– now by small critters sneaking onto the porch at night to snack on sunflower sprouts.  They got ALL of the ones I brought back from an elementary school sale in Oslo, in a dear little packet laboriously embellished with  cursive 2nd grade writing:  ” 5 Seeds from the Heart of a Child”.  MY heart’s broken!!  But ‘foreign food’ seems attractive to all diners…

FINALLY got the pasture fence tight against rabbits, and my angoras’ve been out for a few romps already.  Wish you’d’ve seen them, it’d’ve warmed the cockles of your heart!  At first they’re a little out of shape from a long wet winter, but soon they become quite spry. We were delighted to acquire some folding fence from Jewel Hoback’s yard sale, and craftily surround their unsuspecting little selves when night approaches.

I have all males.  Had some females when we had a breeding program, but they’re so territorial– they’d fight each other when out together.  The males just chase around humping each other… I’m totally behind ‘Make Love Not War’.

We have lots of cherries setting up this year (I’m sure the robins have noticed!!! and the squirrels, who like them any size, for their pits) but the plums, blooming early, don’t look so abundant.  Gonna check the apples, we might after 20-odd years, be in luck this time!!  We accidentally drowned 5 pollinators in the raingauge, so dismaying in these times:  apparently the thinning ozone layer has damaged their eyes, and they have trouble both locating the flowers and then finding their way back home.  How utterly sad.

Now!  One more bed to finish weeding, then the mulch pile gets spread all over everything, leaving me room to clean the sheepfold.  After that, get the new chicken yard going so as those girls can tear up yet ANOTHER garden bed (what am I THINKING??? this domesticated meadow is TOO LARGE for one burdened woman already…) and then it’s on to the log splitter, what fun!  It’s my Tonka now, all the sons are off seeking their own futures…

Wishing you: friable soils.  Fertile seeds.  Occasional summer showers!

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em

Yesterday I hauled about 9 barrowsful of molehills offa my front pasture, probably another couple to go– but wait!! apparently the moles went DEEPER to avoid last night’s low temperatures, now I’ve got NEW hills atop previously cleared locations… DEFINITELY 2 more barrowsful.  >>SIGH!!<< 

Moles were here to greet us when we moved in 18 years ago.  The soil’s perfect for burrows, about 38% clay: that means when the guy from Ag Extension comes out and picks up a handful of your garden dirt, he can widge it out between his fingers 19 times before the widge falls over.  I spent YEARS hauling stable cleanings, and pilfered leaves ahead of street sweepers in Eugene, to help loosen up this mineral-rich soil so as the plants could get to it.  Gardening was a duckndodge with the moles, Townsend’s moles, moreover, who not only tunneled and mounded all over but felled 3-year-old fruit trees by eating off all their roots– we’d attempt to straighten a listing tree and actually pull it up with ease!!!!

This was WAR.

 The trapper next door came over and showed my husband a trick or 2— we caught ONE mole in a trap and went out triumphantly to purchase more traps, but hey!!!  word had apparently spread thru the entire mole population and we never caught nary another one.

Smoke bombs were spectacular but whoa, they DESTROYED all organisms in the soil.  Not cool.

Sticking Wrigley’s JuicyFruit Gumsticks down the tunnels seemed somehow sophomoric.

Michelle from Perelandra Gardens back East said to just get in touch with the moles and ask them to move elsewhere.

This seemed worth trying on the morning I discovered ALL my peas had been pulled underground.

I sat down in the middle of the garden with the intention of getting in touch with the Mole King.

Me (propitiatively):  “Uh, Sir, could you kindly move your people over there into the woods, or at least SHARE?  I’d be willing to go half-&-half…”

Mole Potentate (dripping with disdain):  “FUCK YOU!!” 

Oh.

So… We’d been ‘putting up with them’– planting in LARGE containers, squashing small mounds underfoot and pretending they were never there, gritting our teeth at occasional destruction, gathering the tailings with resentful smugness to mix for potting soil.

Until yesterday.

It took me a couple-few hours to clear the front pasture of all those mounds.  Gives one the time to settle in and contemplate matters… If you use a trowel to swipe the mounds onto a dustpan, it’s pretty efficient.  The grass underneath was just WAITING for me to come along and let it out to continue growing… and occasional mounds even had small gifties top center!  I collected a tumbled yellow jasper, a red jasper, two rusty bottlecaps and an unidentifiable piece of plastic trash.

Got to thinking about these little guys…  I always SAY  I  honor the unassailable wisdom of Mother Nature…  What about moles?? Here before me, hard at work… hard at work AERATING MY 38% CLAY SOIL with their little tunnels, that’s what!!!!!  Doing their natural best to improve matters for all things great and small.

My attitude did a 180: now I’m ‘way busy with gratitude, thanking them and blessing them (and collecting their tailings (and gifts) for human purposes).

Could’ve named this blog entry “Live & Let Live” just as well…

New Year Spiral

The first of these blogs were written on Sunday nights, an exercise intended at ‘putting the week away’.  That regime lasted for a few weeks only!!!

 Now here we are at the beginning of yet another year, having apparently travelled along Time’s Spiral back to the same area, but on a different level.

One of my 2 Newyear’s Resolutions is:  Sunday is Family Day.

 This involves:

 foning up relations who didn’t surface during the week;

inviting spirit family over for supper;

cleaning up the house for that occasion, a habit I developed in preparation for visits from my dear now-departed Mom.  LOVE HAVING AN EXCUSE!! Of course the more often one does that, the less effort it takes, and I LOVE a clean house (almost any other activity tends to take precedence, though…)

You’re part of my Family, darlin’, even if just by virtue of running your eyes over these words. 

Welcome!

Now here’s a New Year gift:  my most favorite thing to do with CHOCOLATE.

*** the ***

ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE

COOKY!!

 Melt 1 T. butter over low heat; 

add 8 oz. semisweet chocolate,

& melt that too.

Chocolate is delicate!!

Stand there and guard from burning

while you beat up:

2 eggs

¾ c. granulated sugar

YES!  For several minutes: 

This will give the baked cookys

an interesting surface,

like cracked patent leather. 

Stir the above 2 batches together.

Add ¾ c. chopped nuts

½ t. vanilla extract

pinch salt

¼ t. cinnamon

¼ c. flour

¼ t. baking powder 

Form by tspnsful

onto greased baking sheet

(they spread,

so give ‘em each some space). 

Bake at 325 degrees x 6 minutes.

Underbake!

And let set a couple minutes

 before removing. 

Best if devoured

 within the next 48 hrs.

Catching Up with the New Year…

GirlFriend!!  (But yes, I’m well aware that some guys check out these postings~~ this salutation signifies Chat Mode, is all.)

Happiest of New Years, whichever celebration might be your chosen launching point into the next cycle… myself, I feel the return of the Sun in my bones, hard to deny that indicator!

For the rest of the time, HIBERNATING.  It’s been a too-busy Holiday Market season, barely kept my booth in stock– this, on top of 1 1/2 yrs’ expecting my Sweetie to drop his body maybe daily… exhausted!!!  My knitting sits neglected for the time being.  Now that’s pretty exhausted for this twitchy one!!!

Exhausted, but resting easy:  we’ve run thru mainstream medicine and skimmed off 1/4 doses of their offerings, at least the ones that Richard didn’t have allergic reactions to.  Palliatives only, every one…   for actual HEALING, we’ve both been on massive doses of vitamins & minerals, he’s lookin’ GOOD, and now we’ve moved into the really woo-woo areas of frequency-treated waters, shamanism, psychological laundry-sorting & -folding, and the prayers of so many friends and even unknowns… to my mind and eye, with the least invasive and most effective results:  WE ARE SEEING IMPROVEMENTS.  Wouldja believe… and Death had hovered so near,  for so long!   Maybe I’m talking ‘WAY ahead of myself, but Goddess!!  inherited difficulties are fading!  I at least want to keep this guy around for our 25th wedding anniversary– that’d be another 3 years– and we have some bottles left of his favorite shampoo that’s gone out of make, he’s GOTTA stick around ’til THAT’s used up… 

When Life & Death bump shoulders like this, one tends to throw overboard anything unnecessary or irrelevant in order to stay afloat.  Basically, all that matters is:  loving each other.  We’ve been gifted with that  Simplicity.  Boyoboy, I’m totally intending to live like this forever:  every step a blessing, every breath a prayer. 

That is my New Year Wish for you, darlin’– that you could find this grace as well.  Is it possible, without passing thru such darkness beforehand? 

Letter Launching a Granddaughter

My dear!   

Congratulations on Graduating, the beginning of your long voyage into the deeper waters of the World, with Extended Family gathered on shore  in case of whirling vortexes, sleeper waves, sand bars…
And this letter is to stand in for my physical presence near you, darling.
.
Your parents asked for a bit of a discourse on Honesty, an alluring opportunity to sound wiser than I am… Honesty is  truly a lofty virtue & 2nd only to Love on my list of Most Desired Personal Characteristics… but I’m opting out to present  DILIGENCE, a peasant and blue-collar virtue that’s let’s say more Hands On, a daily dirt-under-the-nails way of dealing with the physical universe where our spirit manifests for everyone to see.

I know you’re already acquainted with this virtue of diligence– “meticulous care”, the dictionary says.  Swimming 8,000 metres a day!!! with Perfect Form:  that’s our diligent girl.

Shortly after Richard and I got together, he came up with Diligence Woodwork & Design as our business name.   If every step could be a blessing, and every breath a prayer, that is the one word which says it all, encompassing a way of life…  My vocation, avocation and vacation are also all the same thing:  MAKING STUFF.  I’d wish this for everyone:  it’s a lifestyle of pure joy. Diligently, everything becomes subject to meticulous care, bringing the Divine into all we do. 

Enough of  pontificating!!! and on to Benediction:  Enter your life, Darling, with a graceful swan dive, surface without ripples and butterfly beautifully towards alluring dreams.
We wave you on and blow kisses after you–
 

Reprieve/Respite

Ta-DAH!!  It’s yet another beautiful morning in Paradise, how could anyone be so lucky here in this dual dimension, where the other end of the stick is  pretty ghastly…  Praise be for such blessings! 

I’m calling on the Goddess these days.  I took up swearing as a teenager (in the ’50’s, that was a pretty mild venture compared to the range of potty mouth currently bandied about!)  because my mother was so set against it  (hooray for Mom!  her stonewall convictions have also led to more serendipitous stuff, like my career, we’ll discuss that some other time…)  Nowadays I’m more sensitive to those touchy about what appears to be ‘taking the name of God in vain’. 

The Goddess is an entirely different matter.  I know her.  She’s a far greater extension of me:  as Woman, she’s vitally interested in relationships and communication; as Mother, she’s always got an ear open for her children.  She LOVES to be called upon!  She LOVES to be consulted, to be involved!  She LOVES me however I am!  It is not possible therefore to take her name in vain. 

So given all the handwringing you’ve put up with from me recently, I’m so happy to tell you… that I’m so happy!!  We’ve got things prettywell sorted out and stabilized over here:  established that Richard’s condition is a result of a mix:  toxic physical and social environment growing up on Chicago’s South Side, familial genetic tendencies toward kidney disorder and overproduction of acid crystals. 

I’ve sorted out HIS JOURNEY from MY JOURNEY and OUR JOURNEY. 

 We hauled him off to an old doctor who understands nutrition to the point of being shunned by MediCare and having had his license pulled by the AMA (he got it back– probably was curing cancer or some other such heresy) (both events are feathers in his cap, from my radical viewpoint!)   ANYways, we’ve managed to alleviate several daunting symptoms, and with a tiny dab of this and that pharmaceutical, Richard is more nearly comfortable and functioning.  Miracles!  Earlier this summer I didn’t see how he could bear sticking around, just too miserable in his body. 

 Chatter chatter chatter, see what happens when I’m RELIEVED??

So I’m resting comfortably in the arms of my Greater Mother, tossing blessings from her lap like cracker crumbs… and tucking in for an eventual winter… dodging some serious RAIN, racing out in the dry spells to get some large felts shuffled together,  hauling in the pumpkins and squash to cohabit with wool sacks in the pantry– remember my barricade of projects??  Gotta get my inventory back up for the Holiday Markets, sold out at the Taos Wool Festival–  and we just SHEARED YET AGAIN, every 8 months I’m smothered in fleece willy-nilly.  Here’s the result I guess of a Great Year for Hay:  the fleeces are carrying MORE COLOR!!  Weird… aren’t they spozed to FADE with age??  The sheep are lookin’ good. 

And you too, mdear… may you be looking good as well, buffered nicely for the impending cold weather, and cosy in the lap of the Goddess.

Funk/Perfection

Here’s a definition–

FUNK:

hot rather than cool

committed rather than disengaged

bizarre rather than formal

it is sensuous

frequently quite ugly and ungainly

symbolic in content

evocative in feeling

This is from Peter Selz, referring to a musical style, but I found it quoted in a book Whole Cloth  borrowed from my dear deceased Nancy Chappell (to her heirs:  still reading!  returning eventually!)

Okay.,. now, coming at this topic from another angle I gotta tell ya that I started life as a Perfectionist.  I think this affliction befalls the daughters of distant fathers (or worse than distant….) In an effort to be LOVED, there occurs an introversion, the searching out of any fault, failing or loose thread that would cause the little girl to be rejected yet again.  And of course anything done must be done beyond mortal efforts.

This is a rough path to walk– involves much ripping out and ripping up, wretched crying and self-flagellation… the other end of that stick is, one gets to be pretty good at one’s endeavors.  Anything I do well I attribute to this early exacting training I laid upon my own self in an effort to be acceptable to my dad (who, it turns out, was off licking his own wounds and therewith oblivious to the suffering of others).

Enough angst… I’ve burned it all up in the bright light of epiphanies, moments when a few more pieces fell into place and everything was right in the world.

So anyways I did everything as perfectly as possible until I was about 45 and had a brief Retrospective of my work– laid it all out on the sofa, everything I could find from everso long ago ’til right then– and was struck by the MENTALNESS of it all.  A frozen sort of quality.  An undesirable quality, not at all what I was wishing to convey.

At that moment clicked in a conversation I’d had long before, with Judy Duboff, one of those old friends I’ve rediscovered recently– she’s a potter.  We were driving I specifically remember down Freestone Hill to the old hotel at the bottom where she was sort of camped out with her wasband and little baby… and we were discussing how our minds worked.

She allowed as how when she started a pot, she had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what it would be.  A teacup? A pitcher??  No idea.

This was utterly bizarre to me.  Before beginning ANYthing, I’d have ALL, I mean EVERY SINGLE DETAIL, worked out in advance.  Totally pictured in my mind.

Then she revealed that in between moments, her mind was totally blank– like in between stations on the radio dial.  Fuzz. 

MY mind, by contrast, was always in high gear compiling shopping lists, conjugating French verbs, figuring out the 13’s multiplication table  (in  3rd grade, Miss Simpson only took us up to the 10’s),  or having imaginary conversations with past or future people.

I love this girl Judy Duboff.  She is like a ripe piece of fruit, with a generous and marvellously curvy derriere, who wore lace bikinis and eyeshadow while I was a stressed-out and overworked young mother with no time even for my own fingernails.  What she said that day on that ride had stuck with me for DECADES… right up to that moment of surveying my work spread out on Richard Xerna’s sofa.

Something snapped then.  Since then, I have no longer been the boss of my art, but the servant of it.  I am solicitous with my materials– how best could they be utilized, do they still want to be what we started making together, do they want to just SIT alone for awhile and regroup?  Considerations like that.  Except for occasional dry spaces, this is A LOT more fun of an approach than the power-tripping from before.  Lots of surprises, most of ’em better ‘n what I’d thought of.  That space created by backing off from the materials gives Goddess Knows What an open invitation to appear.  Delight!

And maybe that definition of Funk fits better.  We all know of First Peoples who leave mistakes in their work so as not to challenge the Creator, in Whose sphere alone is Perfection properly at home… I take their good example and do not tempt the gods by trespassing!

Except in the matter of Love.  I do wish to convey to you perfect, untarnished, warm and shining and pure Love… if it didn’t come across as such just now, don’t despair, I’m keeping on practicing!

These Times…

Dear One….

Nowadays I am living over a lake of grief.  The waters are dark and still– however,  I know they are warm, and strange as it might seem, somehow comforting…

Most times I paddle around easily, but any event in daily life that causes a wave is likely to dump me in:  I’d be chatting along with someone and maybe something is just said or an image passes by that tips the boat– throat tightens, voice is stopped, and tears spill out of my eyes.  Oops!!  Often there isn’t any obvious connexion to the Coming Event at Hand (my husband’s gradual decline and inevitable leave-taking) and the wave just overtakes me… 

The Oregon coast is prone to the Sneaker Wave phenomenon and so am I. 

Production is the basis of morale, and I am catching myself with far Far FAR too many projects stacked up all around like some sort of moat:  nothing can reach me if I can hardly reach my sewing machine over the piles of garments cut out!!  Wool of course is a natural insulator.  Praise be for my wool habit!

The logsplitter is an especial friend in this way– bolts of firewood surround the 2 of us and a couple hours flies by.  (Earphones are an added bonus.)  And there is the satisfaction of empty space in the woodshed growing smaller as the True Wealth of Winter Firewood builds up.

Here’s another good analogy to how Life passes these days:  like a bandaid being pulled off slowly.  Counting up, I see that I’m moving into Life #5 in this body… yet another radical change in the offing!  And, really, no way to predict or anticipate, only this moment and maybe next week. 

I’ve started the Vest Pocket List– of folks who have said, Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.  What blessings!  The list is substantial.  Now, what’s the likelihood that this woman, who has spent her life on Outflow, could actually ASK for anything????  when Time is the only remedy for pain (isn’t it?)