Friday, October 31, 2008

Betsy's House

She saw it coming out of the corner of her eye and ducked. His aim and delivery was predictable. A grunt preceded the windup. He bellowed as the tin plate went sailing across the kitchen. It bounced off the kitchen cupboards and clattered to the floor spilling food along its entire path. It was easier to just stand there and wait. He punched her less and it was over sooner if he didn’t have to chase her.

Your food is tasteless enough, he shouted. Why do I have to eat this crap off of bent metal saucers? You are the lousiest thing that has ever happened to me. The least you could do is cook decent food.

All the breakable dishes are gone, she quietly said.

He grabbed her arm hard and pulled her close enough to slap her twice hard across the face. Clean up this mess bitch. I’m going out to get me some supper. This place better be spotless when I get back.

It was always the same. It didn’t matter what she cooked, how she cooked it or what she served it on, he found fault, no matter what.

She was still a young women. They had only been married for nine years. Looking at the life that stretched ahead of her was unbearable. What had happened to him to make him turn so mean?

He came home late. Drunk. There is a box out in the wagon for you. I brought you something. Go get it, he slurred.

She didn’t need to go get it to know what it was. She put on her shawl and went out into the dark night. In the back of the wagon was a small box. It was heavy for a small package and clinked a little when she picked it up. She came inside and placed the box on the kitchen table and went to back to the book she was reading.

You didn’t open what I brought you. Open the box, damn it! I’m trying to be nice to you.

She got back up and went into the kitchen for a knife. She held it steady for a moment, grasped tightly in the palm of her hand. The twine around the box sliced instantly with the slightest pull of the sharp knife. Inside was a set of glazed clay dishes, four each of dinner plates, side plates and bowls. How many sets of new dishes had he brought home by now? She had lost count. The rubbish heap out back glittered with a colorful sea of shards.

Now maybe you can try and cook a decent supper for a change. I bought you some good dishes to use.

This was the last box of new dishes she was going to put up with. It was time to put an end to this. I’m going to bed, she said, not much louder than a whisper. Goodnight.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The PIA Porch Roof

Snow lingers on the shady side of the scenic highway. I am sure glad the resident gardeners picked the opposite side of the road some 35 years ago when they bought the land for the garden of their dreams. Every little bit of sun shine helps when it struggles to reach 50 degrees.

The sunny utility meadow is now froze and gone to seed. The trees and shrubs, their leaves green or in their fall color, have shown a mixed bag of reaction to the recent sub cool temperatures. It appears, as a passing observation, to be largely variable by species more than the fall preparedness of the leaves. Some things froze. Some things didn't.

The roof for the front porch has been obstinate in revealing itself. All those complex angles have been difficult to coax out of the lumber in a cold wind with cold fingers. Today it relented and began to move at a pace to show some progress. The steps for the porch will come in on the side. Another little detail to deal with.

Off in the distance on a hillside protected from the gale force winds of winter storms, a touch of fall hangs in. Last weekend was probably peak time for leaf peeping. The wind and the snow at the beginning of the week has brought us to the other side.

The asian greens, lettuce, beets, radish-that are too far gone, sugar snap peas-that refused to climb and the turnips look just fine. Hiding in the ground are more bags of potatoes.

A fall vegetable garden survives the first onslaught of winter right out there in the open. I think this would qualify as extending the gardening season just a bit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Finally Frozen

I'd have to say the gardening season is officially over.

What wasn't frozen is. What takes time to freeze will be frozen.

The weather diagnosis is for lows in the mid twenties for the next three days. It will be interesting to see how the beets, turnips, lettuce, sugar snap peas and asian greens fare. What will happen to the potatoes still in the ground? Will they get tastier or turn to mush? Soon I might even feel compelled to clean up the remnants of this years roadside vegetable garden and get it ready for another load of fresh from the trimmer's truck, wood chip mulch.

Another layer of insulation was added to the top of the Spot's abode. They seem oblivious to the cold and quite content. I spied spotlet #1 eating some kitten chow. It is time to take some of the stress of feeding off of Spot.

A pleasant two inches of snow fell from a cold and windy sky. It is visible as a snow covered mountain where there is no fall colored forest to hide it.

Now the wind can stop blowing and all will be well.

The First Winter Snow

Is Here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here It Comes

Will everything be different tomorrow?

It was a sunny, cold and windy day.

Low grey clouds moved in on the steady wind towards the end of the day.

Spot and the spotlets were introduced to their new improved house positioned out of the wind. They decided to move in around sunset when it became obvious it wasn't going to get any warmer or less windy.

Frigid fingers managed to get a couple more boards attached to the front wall of the cozy cabin that show the outline of the roof for the covered front porch.

Today it was a very cold fall.

Out on the horizon a new world is coming.

It's snowing!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stalking The Wild Potato

The leaves on the ground grow thicker with each passing day, but pockets of fall are still to be found in the forest. It must take several rip roaring winds to strip the trees totally bare.

Strangely, pockets of summer still lurk in a few places. It must have germinated this spring and was determined to bloom before the time was up. The garden sighs back into the earth. It is slowly being covered in a protective blanket, hiding itself for the oncoming winter.

A protective cover for the entrance of the cozy cabin continues to take form. It too will shield the inhabitants from the full force of winter, a safe place to land in or launch into the icy world to come.

Before the first really big freeze, the kind where the ground considers solidifying, the first batch of potatoes was dug. I think I planted these around the first of August. This is the harvest from just one small section, about six starts. There are three more patches of potatoes that can be dug before the ground really gets hard. I think they will be safe there for a few more weeks.

I went after the wild thing, spotlet #2, impatient for his cooperation. I found their hiding place in a stack of lumber under the resident gardener's house where a tunnel was created beneath some sheets of plywood.

Lifting the lid and peaking in, we see one angelic puss and one that looks a bit leery.

I may upgrade their accommodations again tomorrow with a bigger box with a roof and big front door that may offer just a bit more warmth. My previous attempt was rejected and they planted themselves on the roof. Spot did not want to go inside.

Fall is headed into history, but this year I may see a light snow mixed with the late fall foliage.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


A rip roaring wind preceded a much needed rain and knocked a good bit of fall right out of the trees. Fall will have to start over if it can. Now there are whispers of flakes that may come falling from the sky come Monday and Tuesday. The sky might start spitting white spots when it gets real cold, for real. No more hovering just above freezing and alleged highs of 60 degrees.

This isn't a freeze drill anymore. Any tender young things that need to come in need to be dealt with. Some things are a bit hard to get a hold of though. The new cat Spot was not pleased when she was brought inside and tried to get out through the windows. Food and good ear rubs have kept her around and with time, she will now look inside an open door.

The cold rain may have forced her paw just a bit more. Spot has spotlets. She brought them to a box I set out for her under the house, out of the wind and rain, a place for her to stay warmer and dry.

Spotlet #1 is the mellow one. It is well on its way to adjusting to petting and holding without bolting. Spotlet #2, a black and white number, is still a raging mini furball of claws, hissing and running for the hills. Its photo-op will have to come on another day.

I think there are just two spotlets?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another View

I stopped along the side of the road about two thirds of the way up the mountain at one of the few places with an actual shoulder. This is what I saw.

A cow pasture crosses the road and there is an open spot in the forest.

A very short road lined with remnants of fence leads to a gate and the upper half of the pasture.

If you didn't know it was there, it wouldn't look like there was a place to pull off the road. I stopped for fall.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Electric

A light shines in the forest,

While the beginnings of a covered front porch take shape on the cozy cabin.

One small problem though, the four posts ended up all different heights and we have to make a second try to get them right. Something went awry in the measuring or the ciphering. Construction is a continuous act of problem solving.

After you're done looking at the cozy cabin, look down the open cut in the trees, the utility easement. On the right at the top of the last rise, a bright glowing light appears in the evenings on sunny days.

While I was clinging to the roof for the last week working to complete the living room roof joining the loft wall, someone else was inside stringing wires. The electric is being roughed in.

The roof meanwhile is almost done. All that is left to complete is the fastening of the four end pieces of the ridgecap that were left off to be able to lift the roof with a crane. Almost there!

I went to have a closer look at the Electric Tree when we were done figuring out we messed up the posts for the covered front porch this evening. This is closer to the tree.

It is really much more dramatic looking down the dark tunnel of the utility easement. This is zooming in all the way back from the cozy cabin. The sun hits it just right to light it up like it is plugged into the utility lines.

The rest of the forest shines too, if not quite as brightly.

An electric blue sky and cool, cold air covered the mountains for another day.

Hopefully some substantial rain is headed our way.

The two odd shaped, fixed glass windows for the loft wall were ordered and will be here next week.

Before the first snow it should be 100% dry.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hamamelis virginiana

I may have just missed it last year. It was after all, my first fall up here. There was a lot to look at and a lot going on.

Even this late in the game after our first timid spotty frost there are plants still valiantly blooming. It was the same last year. Every last effort is made to procreate. Add in the brilliant fall leaves and it is possible to miss something with a more subtle nature.

Today I saw it, Hamamelis virginiana blooming much earlier than I had expected.

I had seen over the course of the summer that it was loaded with buds, but I was a planning for an early winter bloom when the world was more of a blank canvas. Last year the only one that bloomed that I saw was a nearby, more tree like one further into the forest. After much searching, remember I have no memory, I found it was blooming in mid November. You would think I might remember it. It was in the same post where I named my garden. Almost a year later I still like the name Ku'ulei 'Aina.

Well the others are blooming now in mid October. Hamamelis virginiana is a deciduous native shrub to small tree. It has toothed shallowly lobed leaves with an oblique base. The leaves have a distinct appearance to me. It seems the seed pods if it has any, are of the the exploding propulsion form of distribution.

The patchy frost nailed the tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, ( I can harvest them now ) remaining corn ( I got some of it) and the pole beans that had stopped producing weeks ago and the Knockout Roses keep on keeping on.

It is definately the end of the summer growing season, but I have beets, turnips, lettuce, sugar snap peas and a type of asian green still to eat through the fall.

There was talk of some snow this weekend, but I think it's just wishful thinking.

I am not done with fall.

The Electric Tree

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Far And Near

Near And Far