Saturday, May 20, 2006

this post brought to you by the letter 'Y'

A meme: Ten words with Y and what they mean to me.

1. whY I garden? I am sunburned. My lawnmower just crapped a spark plug wire. My raised beds are falling apart, my hands are swollen and my back hurts. My penstemon has crown rot and my rosa multiflora chinensis is unhappy for some stupid spoiled brat reason. The weeds are thriving and I lost my sandwort v.'Cherry Pie.' The grass is growing too fast. The Cupressus Leylandii is a giant monster beast seconded only by my tam junipers. The Noble fir is sulking. POOP.

2. Yellow
This is the color of the sun, which I could stand to see a lot more of in my life. I have seasonal affective disorder, among numerous other things, and I have to fight like a rabid weasel just to stay awake during the winter, and to stay in a positive mind space too. Thats why I started this get me through the last part of winter without going on a shooting spree.

3. Yolanda
This is a name I am glad is not mine. It sounds like something you spread on toast.

4. Yiff
A sound I never, never want to hear. A web search you should never, never do. This is a realm of the sexual that lies right outside my limits of tolerance. Not because it's dirty, but because it's just dorkier than fuck.

5. Yogurt
I know how to make my own yogurt. Do you?
Yogurt is also a main ingredient in my amazing homemade bread recipe that I made up all by myself because I am clever like that.

6. Yawn
I do a lot of this in the winter. I go to bed around 7pm and sleep until someone wakes me up. Then I nap around noontime. I know; its terrible. But I can put myself to sleep with a form of self-hypnosis and choose my dreams and even do lucid dreaming and problem solving; and thats pretty cool.

7. Yale
I don't think I would have had a very good time there. Also one of the dorkier looking heraldic beasts ( but it beats the breast spurting milk all to hell. Hey, look it up.)

8. Yelm
A town here in Washington where J.Z. Knight lives, the dipshit broad who has suckered some very rich people into believing she channels Ramtha, a 3000 yr. old warrior spirit. BWAHAHAHAHAHAH! Yeah, right. She has a horse barn near the main highway that has french windows, gauze curtains and a freaking chandelier in it. Because horses appreciate fine Swarovski crystal.

9. Yegg
A yegg is a criminal. I do not like criminals; they suck. See #8.

10. Yarrow
I grow a variety of yarrow; v. 'Paprika'. Unless I lost that over the winter too. Dammit. Apparently the dried stalks of yarrow were numbered and used to cast the I Ching. R. Crumb, an artist I love and hate, used to submit material to a comic called 'Yarrowstalks.' It must have choked him.

Wanna be a part of the self-replicating thought form thingy? (ie the modern equivalent of the chain letter) let me know in your comments and I'll assign you a letter. I know, I know, that's not how it's supposed to work; I'm supposed to 'tag' you and shit, but how rude; like you don't have a life? So, you know, if you wanna play (and avoid getting cancer or having your business fail because your REFUSED) lemmie know. 'K?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sponge Green Lives Thrice!

Yesterday as I was finishing my gardening the Avon lady came by and gave me a chance to sit down and talk. She always brings me five or six different catalogues and they're always full of products I never use, but the woman herself is so likeable that I usually get a little something...anyway, for her part I think she just uses selling cosmetics as an excuse to go out and visit. I traded her two garden plants for a botle of Avon Volumizing shampoo. Thus we keep the alternative economy alive here in rural America.

People around town have been dropping hints lately about my annual plant sale. Which is a sale of perennial plants that I have, you know, once a year. I kind of wonder where they all were last year when exactly ONE person showed up? DESPITE my papering the town with signs AND telling all the local gossip ladies. Well, ha on them. Stupid bastards. That one person who showed up took away 3/4 of my stock for 25 cents on the dollar. Her poor husband kept rolling his eyes at me as he sweated and puffed back and forth to their motorhome, loaded down with foliage. I got rid of plants, she was glad; I was glad, and it's all profit. The pots are free and the plants are seedlings or divisions of things I already own. Why be greedy? I hate to throw a perfectly lively plant into the compost. So some nice lady got the beginnings of a very nice perennial border for an insane low price and I had money I didn't have before she pulled up.

We'll see what happens this year. I just finished freshening my stock for this years sale. I'm working a month late, but the good weather ought to bring them along nicely. They all look so good!

If I was placed in the position of having to choose just one gardening task to specialize in, this would be it. Maintaining potted stock is like the entire gardening experience distilled, minus the heavy digging (and being attacked by hummingbirds high on testosterone.) A perennial plant relies most of all on its root system and crown. Plants in containers quickly become root bound and must periodically be lifted. Those with a system of cable-like roots must be shaken free of most of the medium and the roots themselves cut away, sometimes at their length, sometimes by volume, like taking away a wedge of cake. These are the plants that will strangle themselves as the roots circle round and round looking for medium and eventually constrict their own nutrient uptake. Perennials that form fiberous systems-think of fibrefil batting, for example- are shaken to loosen the structure and then sliced down the length of the root ball, placed into a larger pot and then re-packed with fresh meduim, taking care to spread the root ball apart and press medium into the cut.

During al this hacking and gouging, you get to see the entire plant. I like to examine its various parts closely, and this is better done with something that isn't the size of a small car. You trim away old dead growth and prune for shape. You learn more about each plant as a whole, rather than relying on pictures in a book, and in this way you develop a 'feel' for each individual plant in it's seasons much more fully than you would otherwise.

I make my own medium, and this is another favorite job. I use my own compost, and my own garden soil. Now turning compost is a bitch, and sifting compost is tedious and dusty, but the end product outweighs the toil. It is beautiful stuff, and it smells WONDERFUL, like autumn. I remember carting out a wheelbarrow load to show my husband in the garage one day, shouldering my way through a pile of bikers, going 'Oh my God! You have GOT to look at this! This is bioactive as fuck! It's incredible!' and by God, they all agreed. Hint: it's amazing how you can get through a packed room if you're pushing a wheelbarrow full of squirming compost in front of you.

So, by making my own medium, I can tailor drainage and richness levels for the pot depending on the specific plant. Once in the ground, plants seem to find their own balance given a particular biome, but in pots it's best to take some pains. They aren't designed to be confined at that high a temperature, and they aren't meant to take all of their moisture and food from the public water supply. Even the healthiest perennial in a pot (unless it's a succulent) is already under a certain amount of stress, which means uptake of nutrients will increase, which means more water in the main.

And see, you thought I was just a scroungy broad pulling weeds.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

that one shitheel

At every job I have ever had, in every group it has been my misfortune to have belonged to, there is THAT ONE SHITHEEL.
This is the person who is directly responsible for bringing down the tone of the entire establishment by virtue of being a complete and utter twat. They are not only incompetent, they are jumping up and down incompetent AND they are fice. They are possessed of unnatural powers...deadly like the plague, dangerous like toenails caught in the rug, rip roaringly annoying, like fat adolescent girls who think they're vampires. Yet for some reason management never seems to be able to ferret them out. They are to businesses what icebergs are to the White Star Line. They chase off good staff with the determination of tracking hounds. They dampen the morale of everyone around them by being sneaky, spying, whining, thieving tattletale mutant ninja cheesesteaks who deserve to be humped for all eternity in Hell by the wheezing, wart covered Daemon Saliva Poodle. Or the Boner Chihuahua. Either one.

I was lurking at another blog (Everything is Electric) when the lovely hostess there mentioned having an enemies list. Now since one of my fondest secret desires
has been to emulate Richard Milhous Nixon, I thought "An enemies list! What a wonderful idea. But who goes at the top? Who is number one?"

Who indeed.

Do I have a specific person in mind? Yes, and no. Yes, The Shitheel travels under many names, but is actually a single, evil aetheric entity that moves from body to body, using it's host for awhile and then casting them away....considerably richer.

The Shitheel never gets caught. Never. They rape and pillage their way merrily through the workplace minefield you and I must gingerly navigate every day with nary a thought and never a consequence. The Shitheel can sit reception wearing nothing but an adult diaper and a paper chef hat, one finger rootling up his nose. The boss? May as well be blind. The Shitheel can lay out an tarp on the rug and proceeds to dismantle a vital bit of office machinery, like, say, the computer mainframe, and the boss? will just step over him. (really happened) But should our Shitheel not get his copies back quickly enough? The ensuing book throwing, screeching, foaming scene will pass completely unnoticed by management, despite the scissors in the wall and the broken window next to The Shitheels' desk (yep).
Whoops! The Shitheel has taken it into his head to go on a rampage. First stop, the bosses office; where he treats his larruping love chicken to a quick spank while he goes through the bosses' desk looking for cocaine (really happened) Then, he proceeds to the employee locker room where he masturbates again standing in the middle of the ladies shower (really happened) Lets say he then continues on to the front of the house, where he greets customers with a damp, suspicious smelling handshake and throws an arm around their shoulders, treating them to a steaming bowl of armpit (really happened) And calls them 'Bucko' (really happened). And shoplifts in front of them (*sigh* yeah.)

Fucker gets a RAISE.

That is the unholy power of THAT ONE SHITHEEL.

Golden Bat Sorcery At Work

It's pretty good to be alive lately.
Springtime is springing here springily. It's eighty degrees-unseasonably hot, for those of you thinking in celsius. Everything has opened into bloom at the same time instead of in its' usual monthly procession, which is quite pretty to see. The starlings are reproducing as though they were living on a diet of viagra and raw oysters. I am sitting next to my kitchen window at Command Central and I can hear them in their multitudes shrilling their strange, buzzy flock identity song...just as I wrote that, a barn swallow flew into my kitchen and fluttered around in circles! I guess I don't pass muster; he flew back outside.

This is a very, very old home and has been added to many times, and that has left lots of inviting nooks and crannies for bee nests and bird nests and plant seeds to grow. The starlings have staked out our attic and defend it against all comers. Now I like birds and I encourage them, but dammit, starlings are kind of a nuisance after awhile. They crap three-quarters again the amount they actually eat, and they do it on our cars. They shrill and shrill and shrill to the point you want to run around outside yelling 'Shut up already!' At least if it ever comes to that point I won't have to worry about what the neibors will think being they're nuttier than a goddamn family of crack squirrels theirownselves. Maybe we can get together and make an outing of it.

With an eye towards rousting them out, (the starlings) I've been up in the attic to have a look at the situation. The access door is in the 1800's section, from back when this was a single room cabin, and you have to clamber through each decade up to the sixties to get to the part where the starlings are. Unfortunately as it turns out the nest is a mat of hay and chicken feathers about the size of a crib mattress, with one small baseball-sized cup in the middle of it. This is added to enthusiastically every year. The starlings regularly fledge from four to six not-very-bright young from this conglomeration of crap. The ones who don't quite meet the demands of nature are scattered between the rafters in little mummified piles. So aside from busting a hole through one of the outside walls, theres no way thing's thing is going to be shifted. Looks like we have upstairs neibors. Neibors whose children regularly become lost and wander around in my attic and die.

Now that sounds rather sad, I know, but the hard reality is that a young starling is the dumbest damn animal on Gods' green earth...putting aside Fundamentalists, farm turkeys and Republicans for the moment. This is kind of a shame because they are also rather endearing little chickens, walking awkwardly around on the lawn bumping into each other and getting lost in the grass, playing with cigarette butts and following after mom in a tripping, bumbling crowd. That they are also more attractive then the stumpy, greasy looking adults is probably what keeps them fed.

While I was watering the beds yesterday I accidentally watered a starling child who had become lost in the vinca. He fluttered awkwardly away for all the world like Woodstock the yellow birdie from the Peanuts cartoon. He wandered under the garbage can; he wandered under the car. He tried to eat a rock out of the driveway. He wandered into the field next door, tripping and waddling, and I'm pretty certain he made one of the neibors' cats a nice lunch.

Another young couple new to the neiborhood are the ravens who took over an old crows nest in an alder. Not crows, now, but ravens. The wedge shaped tail, in flight, and the cornute beak with the nose whiskers are diagnostic...and I had to put in the time watching carefully to make this out because the two of them are on the small side. This is probably their first year.
The husband, the larger of the two, is terribly curious about everything that goes on over here and lurks around keeping an eye on me as I garden. Sometimes he'll perch in a tree near me and say 'mom? mom! mo-om...' in a soft, conversational tone, or just whistle a few soft notes. He has a lot to say, too. Now, I mean this in a very literal sense. It sounds like a human voice. Like a person, one with a bad, bad cold, is speaking to you in a confidential tone. Then you look up startled and there's this bird the size of a banty rooster looking at you in frank curiosity from a nearby limb, and it's really disconcerting.

They are not good neibors, by the reckoning of the other birds. They steal the unfledged young from the nests and leave them to bake like ugly dumplings on the roof of my metal garden shed. In the evening the young couple alight to dine at their leisure atop Chez Garden Shed, audibly pulling apart the now- tenderized wad of goop and feeding each other romantically, making low whistles and soft, hollow clacking noises to each other as they watch me puttering around in the backyard . Yes, I am the floor show... the sweaty broad turning compost into her raised beds. I guess that's fine. Better that than dinner.