Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The end of an era.


The Smith Kids

They always were a close family.  Right to the end.  My mother, Kit (Kathryn), her sister, Josie (Joan) and brother Jim all passed away within the last three months.  Mom went first - probably because she was oldest and always first - Josie went early last week and my uncle Jim passed away a few days later.  It has been a sobering time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Salad, anyone?


This bad boy was in my vegetable box at my favorite farm's share table.  It measures 20" across!  Good grief!  It is now taking up a quarter of my fridge and I am busy researching salad recipes.  

Update on the next phase project - after a disappointing meeting with the local estate appraiser/auctioneer, we now have to sell/donate most of the parental furnishings ourselves.  Connie and I had a powwow yesterday and photographed everything, then sat down and tried to come up with fair prices and OBRO alternatives.  I am doing the posting and front work, and Connie will do the showing.  Why is it that all the interesting 'jobs' that one can add to their resume, come when one doesn't need a resume?

Meanwhile, my container garden is doing better than any in-ground garden I've planted in the last five years.  I may have found my gardening niche!

Monday, June 27, 2022

The dumpster has landed and other equally exciting news.

 It's amazing how short a week actually is, when you are under pressure to clean out a house, yard, barn, sheds, etc. in seven days.  A neighbor (who bought the farm that was once home to my Jersey cow, Jasmine) had started a roll-off dumpster business, so I tapped him.  We also put a dumpster at mom's to deal with the PAPER and all of the 30+ years of "stuff".  Luckily (not), we haven't had to deal with rain.  At all.  Ever.  Apparently, all storms have gone west, north and south of us.  I am once again very happy to have my rain barrel.

The heat has ramped up the growth in my assorted and numerous containers.




Black cherry tomatoes

Some big tomato

Banana peppers

My tiny cilantro plant has morphed into a cilantro tree, as they do, the parsley is rampant, as is the thyme and oregano.  The rosemary is holding her own in a corner of the purple planter.

I have been restocking my free pile on a daily basis, but it is getting a bit onerous, as people insist that they need to me list everything available.  I do not have the time or inclination to do so.  There is a real frenzy for canning jars - I have given away at least five dozen and there are many, many more to go.  Apparently, an intervention was needed some time ago.

In non-moving news, this year's spring Assist (across the road) List was way longer than years past.  I am sure that it's due to my fairly non-stop driving at all hours of the day and the bliss of retirement.  It stands at:  12 turtle assists (11 red eared sliders and 1 small-thank goodness-snapping turtle); 4 adult geese assists across the main thoroughfare, 5 goose family assists across same, and one hair-raising gosling assist across the same damn road that could have gone badly.  Jr. was separated from his family and there was a lot of 60 mph+ traffic.  There weren't enough breaks in the flow to safely herd him across, so I managed to catch him and darted (okay, not exactly darted - havent done that in years - but I did achieve a fairly fast shuffle) to the other side, where I was attacked by his irate parents.  Harumph.  All I got for my trouble was goose poo down my shirt and a case of the wheezes. goose.

Not many specifics on the move, other than I am hoping to clear out everything I am not taking by the end of July.  Serendipity stepped in when my friend, Rosie, said that she was buying a house and needed to furnish it.  Yaaasss!  In a nutshell, I am moving from my little farm out in the sticks, to a house that is almost three times as big as this one, in an... xburb of a town in southern VT.  While the house is large, the land is small and I will have neighbors I can see for the first time in 16 years.  I will be bringing my container garden with me since there is not enough light for a garden at mom's, and the deck is huge.  The plans, at present, include getting the house ready for sale over the winter and then starting a hunt for a piece of property in the general area, where Connie and I will build our little tiny house complex.  Fingers crossed.  Of course, this is not an ideal time to move into a large house that is heated with fuel oil.  I see many layers of sweaters in our near future.

Peanut is not impressed with
the news of living in sweaters

Thursday, June 2, 2022

I may have gotten a little carried away.


Realizing that I may be leaving my garden when it is in full production, has propelled me into putting 99% of it in containers.  Just a few, I said.  Just the basics, I said.  Above is the 'herb garden'.  Lovely.  My deck now looks like this:

And that is only a sample.  I have, at last count, 27 containers.  It's a good thing I have friends with trucks.  I did put five tomatoes, spring peas and kohlrabi into the actual garden.  I also have lots of flowers planted just because.  Then, three days ago, I was looking out the front door, drinking in all the green-ness and saw THREE rabbits on the wrong side of the electric net fencing - that is, inside.  I shooed them out and realized they scampered - unimpeded - through the netting.  After a lot of trouble shooting, the problem seems to be that the outside electrical outlet is kaput.  I rummaged through my garden stuff and came up with a full bag of dried blood meal (ugh).  However, desperate times and all.  I sprinkled it liberally around the inside perimeter of the fence and crossed my fingers.  Day two saw no damage.  Day three saw the disappearance of all my kohlrabis.  I put row cloth on the peas and am going to have to put up a temporary fence inside my fence until I can replace the outlet.  If it would stop raining, I might get a chance.  

Weatherwise, we seem to have jumped past May, June and July and have landed in August.  Hot, hot, hot and humid, humid, humid.  My least favorite weather.

At least I don't have fur.  I will say that the hot weather, liberally interspersed with the numerous thunderstorms has made everything grow like mad.  And how is this for a thing of beauty:

This is the azalea that grows next to my friend, Zirel's front deck.  When I came up the driveway to pick her up, I almost drove into the woods, I was so bedazzled.  Nature is a wonderful thing.

Sunday, May 22, 2022



What is that saying?  The only thing constant is change?  My little family is gearing up for a big one.  Due to lots of factors, The Sisters have decided that we should move north to the parental house in Vermont.  There is much to be done in order to get it ready to sell and we did not want to leave it vacant (even though my sister lives two houses away - another plus!).  As you can see, Officer Peanut is practicing neighborhood watch.  We had the occasion to stay overnight (sans Slimmie) and it was quite the experience.  If Slimmie wasn't such a siren in the car, we could ease our entire pack into the move, but it would be too traumatizing for all of us.

That said, I still have to deal with clearing out my house and selling it - and it's totally skewed my gardening efforts.  I opted for containers - I don't want to leave vege behind.  There is no set date at this point, but it will probably be towards the end of the summer.  With gas prices rising with no end in sight, I will not miss all of the driving.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Lots of this and lots of that.


As spring seems to refuse to assert herself, I doggedly keep starting seeds and accumulating plants.  My lemon tree looks longingly out of the window, wondering if she'll ever feel the soft breezes through her leaves (me, too).  All my window sills are full.  My dining room table is carpeted in green sprouts.  I've turned off the furnace and added a few dozen fleece blankets to the dog beds.  I refuse to turn the heat on past April 30.

After last October, when I discovered a tick a week for four weeks attached to various parts of my body.  I find myself hesitating when having to venture off the deck.  It's amazing that something so small can strike fear into something so large (damn pandemic pounds...)

My favorite farm store has opened.  My sister is experiencing an open schedule and freedom to do what she wants, when she wants, for the first time in seven years.  We are beginning to organize the parental home, although we can't get further in than the garage.  It doesn't seem right.  This is not too much of a problem, as the garage is full of 35+ years of flotsam - Dad saved everything.  We are starting at the bottom and then moving up.

Meanwhile, I am still finding myself getting the wellies on to go out and shut the chicken coop.  Of all the crew, I miss the chickens the most.  I do get to go and visit them and they are living the chicken dream, bless their hearts.

I am wading into the territory of estate lawyers.  I am the executor of my parents' will, so...hi ho.  Luckily, the house was deeded to my sisters and me, so it should (fingers crossed) be less involved.

Connie and I made our way to the Peace Pagoda, one of 3 (or 4?) in the United States.  Sunday was the Flower Festival, celebrating the birth of Buddha.  It was a glorious day and just what we needed.

P.S.  It finally happened.  I overheard a conversation where the ratio of words to "like" was, like, 1:1.  I was so fascinated and mesmerized by hearing "like" every other word, that I couldn't really tell you what was being said.  Like.  You know?

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Mom. 1923-2022. Still not long enough.

What a beauty.

 Mom passed on to her next adventure on April 9th.  It was both expected and a shock.  The three of us are feeling rather untethered from reality at the moment, but we are so very lucky to have had so much time with her and to have so many wonderful memories.  And to have each other.

My favorite photo of the two of us.
Wish I could remember why we were laughing.