I’ve been quiet lately. I haven’t felt the urge to express myself in words. It’s partly that I don’t feel like getting on the computer after spending so much time at work and in class on the computer, which makes it tough to do homework. It’s partly that I’m depressed with a resurgence of grief over Squirt and scared shitless by the prospects of the election. And angry that voters in this country are so shallow. I’d like to kick Sarah Palin right in the butt and send her home crying and apologizing for being such a lying egomaniac. A female Bush a heartbeat from the presidency. Sheesh.

When I’m not on the computer, I’ve been escaping with novels. Right now I’m finishing Native Son, perhaps not the best selection for my current mood, but I understand why it is such an important book. When I can’t take that, I’ve been reading The Golden Compass. I loved the movie. I have dozens of books from my obsessive mining of the free shelves at Ed McKays. Some of them have gone to a box for soldiers in Iraq that my office at work are sending every month. Some of them I’ll actually read, and some of them I pick up to use for collage and altered books. I tend to go for the old books and old encyclopedias. I’ve always had a fascination for encyclopedias.

My latest score was a 1914 Zane Grey hardback. I’ve picked up older childrens’ classics too, my favorites as well as some that somehow I must have missed, which seems impossible considering the way I sped through piles of books as a kid. The librarian on the bookmobile told my mother that she was having trouble coming up with new books for me. I didn’t read Robert Louis Stevenson, so I have a copy of Kidnapped. Also the Swiss Family Robinson. I found a copy of my absolute bible as a woods-roaming, hide-out building kid – My Side of the Mountain. I’ve found some interesting odd adult books too, such as the story of Boxcar Bertha.

I became fascinated with Iris Murdoch after seeing the movie Iris, and read a couple of her novels this summer. Not light reading at all, but I enjoy the depth of her thoughts about what it means to be good.

I got too anxious over my art class. Missing that one class got me started with the wrong focus and I couldn’t get turned around. My instructor said that I was way too stressed over it and that I might have to accept that my project was not going to look the way I want it to. So I’m taking a few days to unwind about it.

The tomatoes seem to be pretty much done except for a Brandywine that got a late start and some cherry tomatoes. Most of the Romas that ripened in the last month were split badly. I was able to use them but didn’t feel good about canning them so I’ve eaten a lot of good sauce and I canned the best ones and froze some of the rest. And I’ve eaten a lot of Cherokee Purple sandwiches! I dried the last batch of Principe Borghese along with some sliced peaches from the farmers’ market this week.

Now the focus is on field peas and butterbeans, which seem to be hitting their peak now. I hope to have enough to freeze a few bags for the winter. I have a second small crop of Golden Rocky wax beans. My green beans did not like the spot where I planted them in the spring. I’ve got maybe a cup of Jacob’s Cattle dried beans, part of which I’ll save for seed and the other part I’ll cook.

I’m saving seeds of Choppee okra too, by letting several of the pods grow out. Choppee is on the RAFT, and these plants came from a seed saver in CFSA. The small okra pods are so good cooked with field peas and butterbeans. I froze some, this time blanching them briefly and freezing them uncovered on a tray before bagging them. I hope that will improve the quality of the frozen ones.

This weekend I’m focusing on cleaning house and finishing moving the pavers to the gazebo. This has been rough on me physically, so I’m taking a long time with it. For some reason, moving them with the wheelbarrow makes my hip hurt. Moving them one at a time makes my elbow hurt. I can’t win! But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the gazebo is starting to look good. I decided to rename it my playhouse.

And my new iBook? Hate it. I was right about Macs. They make no sense. At least it has a good battery, so I’ll use it for a big, overpriced iPod.