Friday, July 23, 2010


There's a new guy on The Farm, and he's so cute one can't help but kiss his sweet snout and long, soft ears. Paco, brother of our beloved Rufus, arrived in OH two weeks ago after a long trip from his native Utah. Joe and his friend, Frank, made a whirlwind trip across country to pick him up and bring him back to live here in canine paradise. He's captured our hearts and filled a huge void left by the passing of Annie, Molly, and Ruf last year.

Paco's a pretty mellow fellow, but with each day, Joe and I witness his growing sense of confidence and exploration as he ventures around the yard and field. He's made the field walk twice now, without whimpering or asking to be carried. That's a lot for a little guy whose legs are probably only 4" long, whose butt catches up with his head when he runs, and who trips on his ears and wipes out at any given moment.

Guided by his nose, Paco's already discovered the joy of finding a morsel of cat food. And, he's also discovered that felines can be a bit grumpy with a little guy who wants to play all the time. As with Rufus, Clousseau's pretty tolerant. Bud thinks Paco's OK, and Hendrix really doesn't seem to concerned about a puppy's presence. Cato and Spirit whap him without a second thought. (I really think three white cats confuse Paco as to who will play and who won't.) The orange cats can take him or leave him, and Loonis....well, we all know her attitude about anything that invades her space... Paco's just another item in the long list of things that make her barf.

Content to play with an old sock, a leafy branch, or his Boodha Banana toy, Paco loves life. Just as a child, each day brings new milestones - climbing the steps to the porch, rolling down the hill in the side yard, barking for the first time. And boy, oh boy, does he have sharp little teeth and a baby's bladder - Paco, the puddler!

He's fun...he's funny....he's a connection with an innocence and joy about which we humans frequently need a reminder. I'm grateful for him every day for that reminder!

Welcome, to The Farm, Paco!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


In contrast to last week when I slept with two quilts on the bed, the last three days have been brutally hot and humid - - so uncomfortable that all one wants to do is nothing. It's too hot to get out in the garden; too hot to mow the grass (that's not growing anyway); too hot to do much more than nap all day like the cats. With temps in the upper 90's and humidity at about 95%, finding relief becomes quite a challenge. One really feels sorry for the folks that lived "in the olden days" without fans and air conditioning!

The gosh awful heat, however, can't put a halt to good vibration at The Farm. Oh no! We don't let the heat get us down here. The discomfort of our sticky, sweaty bodies cannot hold a candle to the joy that radiates in our heart when The Farm family comes home for a visit.
Here's the scoop:

1. Lori's home for a couple of weeks from Maui and brings The Farm the gift of her beauty and laughter. She and her sister, Whitney, along with Ann and Juliette (age 2) visited for a good while yesterday morning. Juliette's excitement about going to Grandma Huck's to see the "moo cows" made my heart happy.
2. Unfortunately, Dana had to come home for her maternal grandmother's funeral. Fortunately, that means that The Farm family got to spend some time with Wendy (age 1 1/2/). Grandma T. loves Wendy, and when given the chance to play, many of Eliza's old toys come out of the box and back to life with Wendy.
3. Clark and Charlie Buelow, Jack (age 4) and Lucy (age 2) spent a night with us on the 4th. Jack and Grandma T. rode the tractor for hours while Lucy babbled incessantly, pontificating on life in her own language.
4. Caroline and Joe stayed overnight on their way to a craft show the evening after the Buelows left. Six other friends came over for dinner to see them.....Caroline and I took a walk around The Farm while the Joes hung out, and we cooked up some really good food. Seeing Caroline always refreshes me and reminds me of the blessings of decades of friendship.
5. Eliza's home after a month's stay with her dad !!! Graduation, senior trip, work, preparation for college, hanging out with friends, etc. have filled her summer days with fun and anticipation of new beginnings in Cincinnati. And her Farm Mom's delighted Eliza's back at home for a while....Days with her around are quickly passing...University of Cincinnati, here she comes!!
6. Joe has officially begun his trek to Utah to pick up Paco, Rufus's brother from this year's litter. He and I have cleaned out the basement of the barn and made Paco and any other doggie on the way here a Hilton-esque dog lot. Fresh grass, cool and clean concrete floors, a state of the art doghouse (no WiFi, alas), and chain link fencing await our new Farm resident. Oh how happy we are!
7. From a distance we sense Samuel, Bobbi, and Bella's presence. Farm Mom is applying blatant pressure on the three to get their "tushes" home for a few days. Don't know if that's going to happen or not, but if it does, we'll be really, really happy.
8. Despite the heat and certainly encouraged by Joe's consistent watering, the gardens thrive. Cukes, zukes, and good lettuce are on the table....Yummy

Three hummingbirds hovering outside the window remind me that it's feeding time, so I'll venture out in the 8:00 PM humidity and get a move on. Feeling really at peace and grateful for all that's good in our world here at The Farm.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Sunflower blossom (This one is open now)

Beet leaf - Great in salads as I thin out the beets...Beautifully veined in the
afternoon summer sun.

"Maters" - Can't ripen soon enough


Yellow lily from the Boone Farmer's Market~2nd summer in bloom and already
needs to be divided....
Rose of Sharon - Sam moved this bush to the side yard over a decade ago, and it's been covered
with honeysuckle until this year. I chopped for the honeysuckle vine for hours to uncovere
this beautiful bush.

Angel wing begonia blooms from a plant that's over 75 years old.

Another Boone lily from the Farmer's of my favorite places in Boone.


Afternoon Matinee
(June 27, 2010)
From the driveway patio,
I have the best seat in the house,
for I am the only one witnessing the scenes
on the screen in front of me:
Mr. Mockingbird on top of the telephone pole,
graciously sharing an afternoon concert, or sermon perhaps, that I take in
while the rest of the world seems oblivious to his (incessant) chirping.
("Pretty bird, pretty bird, pretty a bird, be a bird, be a bird....
and an occasional "SQUAWK" when he comes to an emotional moment.
I've counted about 20 different songs in his afternoon repertoire.)
As hummingbirds whiz about in all directions
and cats snooze at my feet,
our cow neighbors come into view in the upper field -
slowly, steadily, patiently making their
way back toward the barn down the lane.
I listen to the grinding of their teeth
as they chew their cud
and hear an occasional bovine belch,
indicating satisfaction with the field's fare.
There's a rhythm and drone to their
yanking the grass out of the ground
and subsequent chomping.
One pees; another poops.
Not one seems bothered by anything.
Occasionally, a mom will look up to see if
her calf's close by, shifting a glance my
way to check out this zany human
who's peering at her through her
(I think cows are beautiful and interesting...not nearly so dumb
as some people think. The hair at the base of their ears is as
soft as cotton.)
As the breeze picks up a bit,
rustling the leaves and swaying the treetops,
one mama realizes her baby's not in sight.
She bellows loudly...once, twice, three times...
followed by anticipation of a response.
There's a brief silence.....and then,
from behind the pines,
I hear a cry of relief from the little one who's
heard his mom's voice and can discern her location.
(I remember when Samuel
responded to my calls one afternoon when
he was little and had lost his way in the back woods.)
Running frantically,
the less-than-week-old brown calf comes
stumbling across the field....
He's definitely out of breath.
(The rest of the herd has stopped, as well,
to make sure he's OK.)
I totally understand what's taking
place....I've have felt Mama Cow's
momentary panic....and I've
felt her relief at having her calf
back at her side. I've witnessed the release of fear on his face
when a little one realizes he's OK...)
A happy ending before I drift off
for an afternoon nap.


(Since posting photos has become such a frustration, I'll throw in a couple of my journal entries for good measure....Disclaimer: I don't pretend to be a poet or a writer.....just like to record my thoughts and put enough details of my surroundings on paper to conjure up memories and sensations months later...)

In The Side Yard
Warm, afternoon sun
Deflected a bit by the crabapple branches above.
I sit in my new, comfy lawn chair, savoring
the gentle breeze that neutralizes the heat a bit.
Soft low notes from the wind chimes
allow me to enjoy music brought on by the breeze.
I love their deep, mellow tones.
My lilies are in bloom
across the driveway. All sorts of finches
have devoured another tube of nyger seed
hanging from the chestnut trees near the lilies..
The little birds' splashes of yellow and cranberry complement
the color of my flower gardens.
Kwan Yin smiles serenely from her sandstone block perch,
and she awaits the soft mulch from the chestnut blooms
to be swept around the ferns that thrive in the shade around her.
Butterflies flock to the my K-Mart butterfly bush.
It's surpassed me in height.
The tomatillos thrive in my new planting spot, and
Grandma Shook's dahlia's pushing toward its first blossom.
The intoxicating scent of the brugmansia flowers on the south side of my room
combined with the sweet smell of the lilies outside my bathroom
entice me into a sexy snooze in my lawn chair.
I'm home. It's summer. And there's peace, sweet peace
here at The Farm.
(June 24, 2010)


Now that June has flown by, I realize Namasté has been idle for over a month. In a nutshell (and for the annals of farm history), here's the list of happenings:

1. Eliza graduated in the top twenty of her class late in May. Petie, Myra, and Samuel all came home, and we got to spend almost a week together in celebration of Eliza's exit from Warren High School. A good time all around....senior awards night, the actual graduation celebration, and then Eliza's graduation party here at The Farm....perfect weather, a perfect ceremony, a perfect fiesta in her honor. I think Eliza was most pleased.....and so was I !!

2. A week and a half later, I hurried through exams and headed off to Cincinnati for my annual summer work with the ETS AP Reading. Surrounded by over 1,000 Spanish professors, I worked full days, spent time with close friends, networked with many, many folks for whom I have high regard as colleagues, and play a bit in Cincinnati.....another rainy Reds game, nice walks along the river, and our annual dinner at Bootsy's with a cochinillo prepared Cuban-style.

3. Since I've been home, I've spent a good deal of time working on the Evergreen Arts & Humanities work for Washington State Community College....It takes me away from the farm on some days, but I've managed to balance my time at home with my time away.

4. The garden and our flowers are THRIVING! Potter Joe and Farm Mom have been farming away, and the results of our labors are reflected in huge tomatillo plants, scads of onions, lettuce, squash, cukes, and tomaters. The garden's just beginning to come in. Give it another two weeks, and canning and freezing will be a daily event here. Lilies, coneflowers, nasturiums, butterfly bushes, zinnias, sunflowers add splashes of color all over the farm.....And the Farm Mom couldn't be happier.

5. A new bassett hound, Paco, will be arriving at the farm in a little over 10 days. Joe will drive to Utah to pick up one of Rufus's brothers.....(new litter / same parents)...and we can hardly wait.

6. I'm beginning to move into relaxation after a very stressful year at work.....Every day my gratitude for The Farm grows to a deeper level, as I can feel peace and tranquility embracing me on every side. I feel like I'm on v-cation (as Eliza used to say) at my home.....I don't have to leave to find peace, and I love that feeling.

7. Farm family updates:
a. Lori's coming home tomorrow, I believe !!!!
b. Brett and Betsy should be home soon.
c. Joe leaves for Utah next week for a whirlwind trip to pick up Paco.
d. Eliza returns to The Farm from her dad's on Saturday.
e. Samuel's signed a lease for a new apartment and will be moving in July to a safer neighborhood in DC.
f. Andrew leaves July 31st for Susaki City in Japan for a year's teaching with the JET program.
g. We're keeping our fingers crossed that Bobbi and Isabella will come home in August for a few days.
h. I'm looking forward to a possible trip to Miami for a few days in August OR I'm going to try to see if Laida will come this way.

(NOTE: My dinosaur computer is being really grouchy about posting photos, so until I get a new computer, Namasté, might be lacking in visuals.)