Monthly Archives: September 2012

Unintentional hiatus…

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I had a very busy weekend last. Staying up until 3:30 am Saturday night helping iDJ with, well, being a DJ – for a double 21st in a pub, no less – was tiring, especially with all the raw fresh testosterone that was liberally flung about when the ‘never a bother, nice boys’ got into fight after fight.

Sunday was the All-Ireland GAA final, and my county was one of the runners. The underdog. I’ve linked to Peternal to show a bit of the support we had here, but it was MAD, MAD I TELL YOU. They painted the white stripes and words on the roads red and green for Mayo. Every business and home on the main street had something red and green or outright supporting our lads.

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The Sam Maguire Cup at my workplace – but sadly won’t be back for a while…next year?

Not going to the pub to watch the match was not a choice… even with work on Monday looming large. We met up with Peternal and settled in, and – I know, this is hard to believe – I was the only one of age in the pub, and the only of our group of three, who held off on having a drink until after 5 pm. When the game was over. And Mayo had lost to Donegal. Well played, Donegal – at least it wasn’t Dublin or Kerry!

But after that? It was like Paddy’s Day. Imagine if Mayo had won!!! We drank in…1,2,3,4, FIVE pubs before heading to the takeout for dinner after midnight. And no, that’s never one drink per pub. Not even for our slow-drinking Canadian.

Monday = ouch.

Monday night = watching a movie and eating early and going to bed on time.

Tuesday = I don’t want to even look at the 60+ emails with blog updates, comments, etc that have piled up since Saturday eve.

Because I’m also reading Game of Thrones. Sorry, folks… I needed a break! Sorry if I’m only today getting around to reading your posts, and usually only hitting ‘like.’ I also am making an experimental dinner and we had an electrician call around to fix the hot water heater – which has been dead since my last shower – which was on the 16th.

Aren’t you glad blogs don’t have Smell-o-Vision?

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My Elvis Sighting

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I’ve been reminded of a story from my life that is fun to tell – I hope I can do it justice in writing – this tale, up until today, has only been an oral story.

When I was 30, I was engaged to someone. I also worked in an office, doing distinctly non-officey things. I was a diamond and precious-gem sorter. The work was interesting and educational, but the atmosphere and the owners were terrible. I met the wonderful Socks at at that job, so I would never choose to delete it from my history. The fiancée was a horrible mistake that thankfully never necessitated extraction by legal means.

Short story: I got fired, and I left him. I’d be glad to tell the long stories if you want me to.

Before I left the man, and after I lost the job, I decided I was entirely sick to death of working in an office. Also, with a big ol’ track record of two firings in a row, I didn’t figure I had much hope in the land of phones and desks and computers for a while. So, as I was scouring the adverts in the paper I expanded my usual search parameters. I’d do just about anything; but as you do, I kept an eye open for the things that actually sounded good.

So, I rang to apply for a job at a horse farm. Mucking out stalls, cutting the pastures, etc.

I had at that point maybe five months cumulative lifetime experience with taking care of horses. And I was 30, not too out of shape, but not physically fit either. Not a chance, thinks I.

Somehow I got phone-approval by the owner of the farm and I was told to come out and meet the barn manager for an on-site interview.

Just ask for Elvis, the Barn Manager, he told me.

Whoo, boy, thinks I. No way am I going to pull one over on a professional horse-guy named Elvis who actually manages a barn full of what I had been told were very, very, valuable racehorses. Not a chance. I’m not experienced, I’m not terribly young anymore, and I’ve sat behind a desk most of my life. Fuck it, says I, all I can do is try, right?

So I show up, on time of course (all those office interviews drill that into you quite well). And… Oh my. It’s 20 acres of private property, with an electric buzz-in gate, and a house I that I soon learned was worth 2 million and a barn worth 1mil, and an artificial stream that started near the house and ran gently down to a Koi pond and then a lake. It was beautiful, and perfect, and I was so out of my league!

I wasn’t backing out, but my hopes had totally gone when I saw the fancy gate and the perfectly fenced pastures. Still, I was going to meet someone actually named Elvis! At least I’d have a good story about failed job hunting.

Five seconds after parking and walking up to the barn, my possible story got way more interesting. Elvis came out to meet me; complete with cowboy boots, Wrangler jeans, proper cowboy hat, and a blue bandanna around his throat.

Elvis was a black man.

I blinked back my presuppositions based on his name – it never occurred to me that anyone who wasn’t white and from Nashville would name a child Elvis – and I smiled and said I was there to interview for the job of Farm Hand.

Elvis asked a few questions which I answered honestly – nope, I had no clue how to train horses for anything. Nope, never driven a tractor. Nope, no experience with horses injured on the track, or ones about to give birth, or weanlings or yearlings. Nope, nope, nope.

Oh well, thinks I. It was worth it, I tried, and I really like this guy – he’s the real deal, the first cowboy I ever met (he told me he was a former bare-back rodeo rider!), and I’m glad I had a stereotype I didn’t even know that I owned broken so completely and utterly.

Then he told me to go and meet some of the horses, who were still in their stalls awaiting the morning turn-out. Hell, ya! I am so not getting the job, but at least I get to meet some horsies!

He directed me to the first stall in the barn by the door and asked me what I thought of the young filly inside. She came up, stuck her head out, and we had a good old conversation. Me being a bit shy with her, as I really didn’t know where horses liked to be touched, scratched, etc. She was really sweet and put up with my fumbling, however.

When I turned away, Elvis told me I was hired. My jaw must have hit the straw, because he explained why. It seems that this particular horse had a huge fear of everyone, and no one could approach her at all, at all! She was way too old for that attitude, and now she would be ‘my horse’ to gentle for the track.

I spoke Horse, apparently! It was a dream come true, and I worked there all that year and the next summer, too.

But that’s another story.

Growing Thing

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I ran into the house few minutes ago. “Come see! Come see! Better put on shoes, it’s damp out.”

Fabulous hubby, iDJ, didn’t stop for shoes but did grab his iPhone.

“It’s over here, in the corner, you probably won’t get a picture,” says I.

I showed him a gourd I’ve managed to grow. As he was taking a pic, I was blathering away about how I didn’t know if it was a pumpkin or a courgette (zucchini). I lose track of these things, he knows well. I also was telling him how I figured out how to stop gourds from rotting on the vine – it’s called blossom-end rot and if you just manage to keep an eye out for baby fruit after the bloom has faded, you can scrape off the mushy flower with a fingernail and voila! it doesn’t get all icky and decide to die. Hey, I had to Google that one, it was killin me to have a fruit and then, suddenly, a ball of mush.

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It’s still small and unidentifiable – I’m guessing it’s a courgette based on two things – I think that’s what I planted there, and pumpkin usually comes from the vine rather than right at the heart of the plant.

Look at all the other female flower ready to bloom! I might have more, yet – and there is another small one at the back that you can’t see.

Wish me luck!

Let’s talk about dogs

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Right, so – iDJ and I just had a serious conversation about getting the dog ‘fixed’.

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Who, me?

She’s my first female dog, and I did NOT expect a dog’s heat to be so disgusting. She bleeds everywhere for two weeks. It’s horrible. Luckily we have no carpet, so clean up isn’t too hard – if I could be bothered to do it. Last time she was in heat, I found blood spattered all over the lower half of the front door. Two weeks after she was all done. Ew, ew, ewwwww. There’s only so much a Magic Sponge can do, you know? And putting her in his old ratty boxers, with her tail out of the flies, just means we have to change her undies a few times a day and chase her around to put them back on when she slips out of them.

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Oh yes, sooo great for everyone! Now, fair play to Neeks, she does not mind wearing people clothes at all, and never fights this indignity. But she sneaks out of her dog-jocks in her sleep, or when waiting for one of us to come home, or…okay, all the time. But she doesn’t do it on purpose at least.

See…it’s bad to leave her ‘broken,’ aka unfixed. She can get an infection from repeated heats without pregnancy. I don’t want to risk that, and we’ve risked it too long as we’ve been too broke to fix what’s broke.

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Since I got a pay rise at work a few months ago, we’ve recovered a tiny bit and first on my list once we got some ‘wiggle room’ is to get Herself spayed.

And now it seems it’s a plan.

Hope we don’t have to dig the Cone of Shame back out of the attic…

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Harvesting garden goodies and some brotherly lurve

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Good morning! How’s this for a change – me doing a post before noon and I’m totally sober! Usually two of the three things go together: morning and sober. I think attempting to blog before noon might be a first.

Today I’m not even hung over, not a little. I am, however, juiced up on coffee and stuck indoors as the weather is absolute shite. It was bearable outside yesterday so despite a pretty good case of ‘one too many the night before,’ I got a lot of tidying-up done in the garden. Empty pots put away, icky soil and mint that can’t ever, ever, go into my compost bin thrown out, carrots, beets and garlic pulled, monster tomato plants trimmed of dead bits. I’m pleased with the garlic. It’s “oops garlic.” Oops garlic is garlic that you bought in the store and forgot about/didn’t use fast enough, and the next time you look at it, it’s all shrivelled with a massive green spike coming out of it. Oops! I plant it. This year it grew really well for me:

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I might give up on beets next year. Or try another variety. Or actually look up what I’m doing wrong. The beet roots on mine are all too tiny. Easy to grow but… meh. Not worth the effort to peel the little things.

I also think they mixed up my carrot seed with something out of a grimoire:

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These aren’t carrots, they’re Mandrake Root. Oh well, the dog will eat them anyhow. I hope she doesn’t turn into a zombie-dog or werewolf. Hmm, maybe I do – things have been a bit boring around here lately.

So, I promised I’d mention the boys in my next post! Which is now this post. And it is now after noon, by the way. Oops!

I caught the guys in a big cuddle-fest Thursday morning, and for once Lokii’s little black face is clearly visible. So hard to get a shot of him that isn’t anything but big blue eyes in a flat-black wedge.

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Lokii looks happy and interested, Spot looks like he’s got murder on his mind. Let’s try to reverse that, shall we?

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Not so much. Lokii just isn’t capable of looking grumpy. Glad to be able to share his giant schnozz with you this morning afternoon.

Live! Nude! Plant sex organs!

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Pssst. Hey. C’mere. I gots sommat you might like to see! Shhh, not so loud! You wanna bring the heat down on us? These are young ones, spread for your pleasure! Not even a year old!

*_*

Ewww, I just made myself a bit sick with that, sorry. A joke too far, clearly! I think it was the use of ‘spread’ that was too much. But open, or ripe, or fertile would have been just as bad…

In any case, I have more plant pictures. And yes, they are mostly of their sexual organs: usually called flowers by sane people. Plants just have much, much more attractive ‘bits’ than mammals do. I own a mirror, and know how to use Google. Trust me, the plants are way better at ‘pretty.’

And it’s a good thing, as evidenced by the plethora of bees I’ve had this weekend. I was so glad to have them back – I’ve not seen any since spring. They aren’t impressed with the rudbeckia, it being a northern American plant, but they love the lobelia and the devil’s-bit scabious I dug out of the ground by the railway tracks two years ago.

I didn’t take any pics of the bees. That would really be pushing the boundaries of plant porn: inter-class sex. I’d get this post banned, even if I do rate my own blog XXX so the kiddies won’t be offended when I say ‘cuss words.’ (I’ll never be Freshly Pressed because of this, ho-hum.)

So! Who wants to see plant bits? I do, I do!

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Rudbeckia! As I’ve said, I’ve never grown this before. As predicted, hubby loves it! I also didn’t realise it is the ‘black-eyed-Susan’ I’ve heard of all my life. I also didn’t know there’s like a bazillion varieties. Most of mine look like the above, but some look like this:

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I’m happy with them! The blooms last weeks, yay! And they are sure to last after the rest of my babies die off from chill and wind.

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My white and purple calla lilies – they only seem get started just when the afore-mentioned wind and rain sets in.

I’m not too upset about the lack of flowers, the spotted foliage is amazing. Like the skin of a salamander or an alien being.

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Speaking of aliens, this is a macro shot of the finished cosmos flowers I snipped off, to encourage more blooms. I was going to compost this, until the shiny, waxy surface caught my eye and made me look closer. Doesn’t look real, does it? Too perfect, too veiny, and too strange. The seed heads are only about the size of a thumbnail. Neat!

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This is why I have trouble trimming plants. Deadheading feels like beheading when I find such unexpected glories.

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This is the one surviving raspberry plant, grown from seed this year. It’s teeny-tiny, but it was so tiny up until now I couldn’t even take a pic. The other five plants didn’t make it. I learned that berry seeds need high heat for a while before they will germinate. About the same amount of heat they’d get passing through an animal’s digestive tract. Duh! That’s a trial-and error education, by the way.
Please ignore the moss growing on my soil.

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Lastly, my hot mess of flowers. This pic is the only reason I started this post – last weekend! You might recall this planter from a previous post, when I’d nearly forgotten what was in it. My how they’ve grown, despite taking a header off the kitchen windowsill two days after that post! I had to move them to the ugly location here (maybe next year we’ll paint that wall. I wanted to do a mural – maybe a beach scene). There’s a coleus from seed in that shot too – two years old, I overwintered it indoors and it was fine.

Right, this has been the most labour-intensive post ever. I couldn’t get the photos right. Too big or too small, in the wrong place, or adding in a hyperlink I never asked for. I give up! Yes, of course I have more pics…