Back Forty, butterbeans, coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, dyeing, Nature printing, Permaculture, Slow Food, whining

Sunday morning coffee pot post

mama-Laurie-1963 or so

Time for another long rambling post. Guess I’ll make a second pot of coffee.

It is hot and humid this weekend, with highs in the 90s. Anyone who is not in denial about climate change is not surprised about any freakish weather. I understand those who feel helpless and just can’t bear thinking about the future for their children. I wish that they’d try to face it, but I get it. It makes me very depressed also. What I can’t understand is those who flat out deny that it is happening because of human activity and that we don’t have to make any changes to our lifestyles to slow our journey toward the cliff ahead, whether it is because they worship money or political parties, or because they have opted out of critical thinking out of sheer mental laziness.

Well, isn’t that a cheery way to start a post on Mother’s Day? It’s not my favorite day. It’s also a day that I am glad that I made the decision not to bring any more children into this world. I definitely appreciate the hard work that most parents, especially mothers, do all of their lives. I know that I couldn’t have done it if I had wanted to, and I hail those feminists who came before me who worked so hard to ensure that I had a choice, unlike my own mother.

Believe me, I hold back a WHOLE LOT when I write on this blog these days. Mainly because I’m tired of complaining and politics in general.

I’ve been working hard this week to get the garden planted. Now I have the area along the fence to plant, and Sandy and I have decided to use the greenhouse frame as a support to grow trombincino squash on. I took off the greenhouse cover and pulled up the landscape fabric yesterday. My only concern is that this area doesn’t get enough sun now that the trees have leafed out, but I’m going to try it anyway. I used to plant in this area back when the entire Back Forty was in food production. In the meantime, I’m going to put down cardboard and landscape fabric in another sunnier area to prepare for moving the greenhouse later this year.

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The Jacob’s Cattle beans germinated well. Not so much for the saved Henderson bush lima beans, but they were a bit old. I’ll replant in the blank spots. These were planted around the outer edge of the bed.

I planted a lot of green beans. A “yard-long” bean and “Brio” bush beans that I got from the Greensboro Permaculture Guild seed swap in the middle of the bean-shaped bed – really, how could I not fill this bed with beans? A few leeks down the center between Roma tomatoes. Pat Bush’s heirloom “beautiful” beans, which are more like crowder peas, and Kentucky Wonder snap beans in pots around the fig tree, which we nearly butchered in late winter. It is coming back though. I need to keep it small.

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The herb and lettuce seeds don’t seem to be germinating in the area that did not get dug up. I’m thinking that ants may have carried off the seeds. There are lots of ants, and I am afraid that they are being pushed (and eventually will be replaced) by fire ants into our lot. Fire ants are definitely nearby.

Yesterday I bought some more mints, a French tarragon plant, and a pack of Sugar Baby watermelon seedlings, because why not? They were a quarter a piece and if it doesn’t work out, so be it. Two went into big pots, and I’m going to find a few spots for the others.

Suddenly the back faucet doesn’t leak. The front faucet, which I have been bitching about being cut off under the house where I cannot crawl, works. I KNOW that the back faucet leaked, and Sandy says he didn’t fix it. I am not so sure about the front faucet, but I haven’t had a plumber under there for a few years, so could I have been using it all this time instead of hauling the hose and watering cans back and forth?

Have I lost my mind? Really? I have slipped into that middle-aged worry that I am developing Alzheimer’s. It runs rampant in my genes. It is my greatest fear.

I ordered an animal deterrent for the groundhog problem that is a motion detector that hooks up to the hose and sends out a surprise blast of water when set off. Then Sandy reminded me that since the faucet leaked it was not a good idea to leave it on. So I canceled the order and was going to call a plumber tomorrow. Now it seems that I won’t have to. I wonder if Justin fixed it and didn’t tell me? I guess I’ll reorder the groundhog thingie.

Yesterday I clipped vines and stray trees from along the fence and I really missed him. We ran out of time (and my budget) for him to do several things that we planned. He should have a newborn son by now, so he won’t be available for a few weeks.

Tomorrow I will have my sixth adjustment at the chiropractor, and I’ve reached the phase that I am tired of it and wondering whether I am chucking my travel and hired help money down a black hole. He gave me some suggestions for how to manage my hip pain for those long drives and flights. Since I have a long drive coming up on Thursday, I’ll give it a try but honestly, he wasn’t very encouraging about me being able to prevent all my pain. Sitting for more than an hour aggravates that compressed disc and radiates pain out to my hips. The pain source is in my back, not my hips, and that was confirmed by my orthopedic doctor. So that has not improved my mood. You always like to think that you’ll get better, or healed completely. It’s part of accepting the aging process.

Anyway, I did a little eucalyptus bundle experiment with some leaves I found out back. They may be too old. I soaked them and wrapped some iron/vinegar mordanted cotton cloth and silk thread around sticks and a stone, then steamed them for an hour or so. I’ll unwrap them this afternoon when I spend some creative time with a friend. I should leave them wrapped longer, but I’m not that patient right now. Maybe I’ll do a few bundles and let them sit while I am gone for my long weekend coming up.

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We are so proud of our friend Gerald Wong, who walked his talk and ran for Congress in the Democratic primary this week. He got lots of votes despite having to work out of the area (he is an over-the-road trucker) and not taking donations. My friend Zha K was a warrior for him here at home, going to events as a surrogate and doing research. We celebrated election night on the Wongs’ back deck on Tuesday night.

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I am going to take a Sabbath today. I enjoy working in the garden and planting but it’s time to rest.

agoraphobia, depression/anxiety, whining

I think of all the things I want to write about constantly, thinking that I’ll start doing it after this, after that, and then I don’t do it. Then the words float away, buried by the debris in my anxious brain, or pushed away by mindless game playing that absorb my thoughts lest they go to dark places. I do this to myself. It’s the same reason I don’t get art done.

It’s a pattern for me to get depressed after my last trip west for the year, without any trip planned to keep my INTJ cells active. This coming year I’m sure that I’ll go somewhere for a retreat, maybe to the HGA (Handweavers Guild of America) Convergence in Reno in July. I’d love to take one of the ATA (American Tapestry Alliance) three-day workshops. However, I’ve never been able to get into one, even when I set an alarm to register online at the very moment registration begins, because donors to the organization get to register a month early and the workshops fill up. If I was to donate $125 before Oct. 17, I’d get a shot but I’m feeling the squeeze of medical bills and household repairs that I need to hire someone for. Then I might not get in the class anyway and I’d be out the money. And I’d have to make a firm decision about going to Reno before Oct. 17. Ay yi yi. This is the kind of thing that makes my chest hurt. So maybe I’ll try to register for one of the classes again on Nov. 17 without the extra donation. If I get in, then Fate has decreed that I should go.

Fortunately there are lots of book arts classes that are in driving distance and don’t cost so much. I’m getting involved with the Triangle Book Arts group, which has its meetings in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill and are about an hour’s drive away. Tomorrow morning I’m going to a mark-making workshop at the Chapel Hill Public Library and it will be my first meeting with this group.

Have I mentioned that my agoraphobia now has no problem with hopping on a plane to fly thousands of miles away, but rears its head at a car trip by myself more than 15 minutes away? Mental illness has no logic. This is the kind of thing that slips up on me. I have to push through this. Boo, panic disorder! Go away!

Then I’m going to join this TBA group again the following Saturday in Durham to play with creating a panel for a collaborative accordion style book that will hang at the ReFuse show in January.

I’ve got all kinds of ideas for this panel BUT I realize that right now it might be best for me to just pull out a bunch of collage materials and found objects and then follow my nose.

And I’m working on appreciating Greensboro and North Carolina. I know it’s a case of the “grass being greener on the other side of the hill.” I realize that Greensboro is actually a great place to live, and that North Carolina is a beautiful state. I’m trying to see it with new eyes instead of the eyes of someone who has lived in the state for 56 years and in Greensboro for 38 of those years, never anywhere else.

So I’m going for a hike on one of the lake trails on Sunday.

But all I really want to do when I get home from work is play computer games, read, and sleep. I gotta snap out of it, but it’s not so easy when I want to be kind to myself too. Like right now, I’m gonna have a real hard time not laying down on the bed, much less even thinking about cooking dinner. Last night I ate some crackers and went to bed at 7 p.m. I don’t know how people with children manage.

You’ve probably guessed that I’m having a hard time with thinking about politics, natural disasters, and personal worries.

Oh yeah, my gallbladder surgery is scheduled for October 5. Trying REALLY hard not to think about that, except for keeping my diet fairly low-fat. My neck is much better, and I’m getting a home traction device soon that should help a lot.

Okay, that’s enough whining. I’ll write about my gardening plans and more substantive subjects later.

augggghhhh, whatever, whining

The Apocalypse!!!

All eyes on the East Coast are on Hurricane Irma, while Texas is still underwater and the West is on fire.

Climate change deniers confuse and disgust me. I’m a person who depends on logic, and this kind of nonsense wouldn’t sit well with me even if it didn’t mean the destruction of our planet as we know it. The worship of money in this country causes such mental dysfunction that even the fate of the children and grandchildren doesn’t get through the psychological walls of the brainwashed.

I resigned myself quite a while back that it’s too late to do anything meaningful on a large scale now. You can say that’s pessimistic or selfish. I say it’s being realistic, and I don’t much care what other people think about my attitude. So I do what I can in my small corner of the world to make things better in the time we have left, thank God I decided not to have children, and hope like hell that I don’t get reincarnated. I support without criticism whatever anybody is trying to do to improve or save our land, water, air and soil, because all the money in the world will not save us if we don’t save them. The great work is being done without the idea of being rewarded for it.

And there’s the social catastrophe in the United States. You can’t even have a civil discussion here on any controversial subject without getting attacked, even from those who agree with you. Nobody’s listening to each other. There are kneejerk reactions to everything according to whatever filter that person is using. People believe insane things that are based on bullshit propaganda and celebrity tweets. I am very glad that I am a political independent, but no one seems to be immune to this sickness. That’s the way I feel today, and why I won’t address social issues here. It might change by tomorrow. I’m distressed right now.

The current forecast is for Irma to skirt the east coast of Florida and make landfall in Georgia or the southern South Carolina coast and come up through the Carolinas. I feel like we are ready here. We haven’t had any real damage from a hurricane since Fran here in Greensboro, but North Carolina has had more than its share of flooding. Floyd drowned eastern North Carolina. Hugo proved that even 200 miles inland is not immune to serious damage. Matthew submerged the little towns along the Lumber River where I grew up last October.

The states in the West that I fell in love with and hoped to migrate to for our retirement are burning up. Oregon has had much more intense heat waves that we have had in North Carolina this year. Glacier National Park is burning. The Columbia River Gorge is burning. People can’t breathe because of the smoke.

I am concerned that we plan to fly to Colorado for a few days next Wednesday, as we try to do every year to visit my aunt and cousin and celebrate my cousin’s birthday. Right now it looks like that plan is still on track, thank goodness.

But I don’t count on anything. It’s a crazy world, and nothing surprises me anymore.

augggghhhh, Back Forty, butterbeans, critters, whining

Catching up

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The front yard container garden has been producing tomatoes, despite its propensity to dry out every day and some blossom end rot. I should have remembered to put epsom salts in the holes when I planted these. The peppers are really unhappy. A few of the plants’ miseries have finally been put to an end, due to an early invasion of aphids that I didn’t control when I was traveling. I made chili with ground bison and tomatoes and peppers from this garden last night. Even the Romas that had blossom end rot were fine – I chopped off the ends. The Beefy Boys, which Sandy picked out, are a hit. Very sweet and dense, the right exact size for two sandwiches. Even when they split, they patched up just fine.

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Butterbeans are here. I hope to have enough for a little taste for everyone when I go to see my sister and brother-in-law at Lake Waccamaw this weekend. We have also eaten a few green beans. That patch did not germinate well at all, but I combine them with potatoes as they get big enough to pick and they taste good. The celery is ready but I haven’t tried it yet. The broccoli is all leaves. The woodchuck has been enjoying munching on that.

Also, the semi-shady spot next to my steps seems to be a great place for lettuce and parsley.

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My big trips are over for the year while we pay off credit cards and concentrate on home for a while. I wish that I didn’t bunch them up together, but May-July are the best times for me to take off from work, and flights are much cheaper before June. I’m lucky that I get so much time off at this job – it is one of the reasons I love it here so much. However, it does come at the expense of regular pay raises.

I came back from Portland with a raging case of food poisoning – certainly the worst I have ever had. Once my fever came down to the point that I could think straight and use Google, I played Dr. House and self-diagnosed myself with e coli from the cherries from the farmers market that I munched on from Sunday to Thursday, which I forgot to wash. I chose not to go to the doctor, although I had my husband on alert that I might have to go to the ER or urgent care. From what I read, you just had to stay hydrated and suffer through it, and doctors couldn’t do that much for you. So my lesson was learned. I will never be cavalier about eating raw unwashed food again, especially food that has been handled by the public.

I spent another week getting my stomach back to accepting normal foods and healing from the muscle aches. Now I’ve turned my attention back to healing my neck and shoulder, which, in the words of my massage therapist, is all “cranked up.” She recommended that I see a different therapist who specializes in pain management, and I’ll go to her this afternoon. On Tuesday morning I went to my regular GP for my six-month blood-letting and she prescribed me muscle relaxants, which haven’t kicked in yet. Gawd. What a mess. It’s hard to get anything done when I’m in this kind of pain. Heat helps, but in mid-July I’m not eager to curl up with a heating pad or use a patch.

I want to weave and dye and weed and plant and do a lot of things that keep me from healing, and I’ve been too stubborn to stop with the yard work. I can’t stand to see the weeds and vines take over. My worst fear is that I won’t get better. In that case, I have to find a way to keep doing the things that I need to do. Stopping permanently is not an option, but I may have to stop for a while longer.

There is some good news. The new chiropractor I saw in June fixed my lower back and hip problem! Hooray!

Anyway, I hope to start posting more art-related photos and topics here very soon. Please bear with me!

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Diego and Pablocito have been enjoying the front porch. They stay there until we make them come in, most of the time. Diego often enjoys the swing, but they have to share the cat tree. It’s fun watching them watch the birds and squirrels. You should have seen Pablocito when the woodchuck ran by. The expression on his face was priceless.

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art, book arts, fiber art, tapestry, Tapestry Weavers South, weaving, whining, Wonderfulness

Tapestry Weavers South Show, plus a general update

BonVoyageOutsideCovers

It’s been a busy time, but after this week I should have more time to devote to this blog as well as my artistic pursuits. I work at a university and graduation is tomorrow.

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Since I last wrote, I made a travel journal for a friend who is retiring from the University, I began weaving on “Cathedral” again, and the 20th Anniversary Show of Tapestry Weavers South opened Tuesday night at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center.

It is incredibly impressive for an unjuried show. Member weavers from Florida to Virginia to Oklahoma participated. I submitted “Labyrinth at Healing Ground” and here are a few other photos – I will upload the rest to my Flickr account. It was hard to choose because there is so much goodness in this show. What an honor it is to share a gallery with the artists of Tapestry Weavers South!

Labyrinth at Healing Ground

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

TWS 20th Anniversary Show

Also since I last wrote, the anti-inflammatory meds have started to kick in and I am feeling better and sleeping a little more. One reason I am not happy about the meds is that this is a time of year when there is a lot of celebrating, not to mention STRESS, and I am supposed to limit my alcohol intake. People, I love a beer or two at the end of the day, and I love to try different brews. Yes, I am one of those beer hipsters. Untappd has become one of my favorite apps. Plus, hello, vacation time? It is coming soon! So it is good and bad. It is good that I should be able to walk without pain, not so good that I will have to go to a great craft brewery area and be careful about drinking. I will take lots of Tums, believe me, because I can’t see me having this kind of self-control.

With less than two weeks to go until our big trip out West, I am not actually present in the moment most of the time. Anticipation is coursing through my veins.

The nice thing is that I will have a house-sitter who the cats are used to and they love her. There will be no worry over my critters, except for what the little hellions might do to Susanne. She set up a lot of her studio here last month and has been hosting a few classes here until she gets moved to her new place.

I have a very busy day on Saturday. First the Deep Roots Market annual owners’ meeting (which I feel obligated to attend after the Julia Sugarbaker style rant I delivered to the Board of Directors nearly a year ago), then LEE SMITH, one of my very favorite authors will be at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, and then I have an appointment with my massage therapist late that afternoon. In between I’ll be getting the kitchen ready for the guy who Sandy hired to paint on Sunday. I have a feeling that I will disappear to my studio space at the church that day.