Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Several years ago it was necessary for me to walk with crutches for weeks.
Perhaps others have learned the love/hate relationship one can have with crutches.

Susan Bruso, 2000

Firm calluses on the palms of both hands
Colorful rashes in the pits of both arms
Amazing development of your biceps and pecs
And finally alignment of those thoracic discs
Carrying newspaper and mail upstairs to the kitchen
Dropping both while clinging to railing and crutches
Bathrobe with thermos-sized pockets for coffee
Basket sledding down stairs full of family laundry
A spiral staircase leads to your doctor appointment
And a handicap bathroom with a door you can't open
Slippery soda is splashed on the floor in the mall
And escalators beg for a "911" call
Frustrated at your present condition?
Depressed by the nasty affliction?
Break or sprain, stitch or strain,
Try crutch therapy to ease the pain
"Short Toss" or "Slam Down" depending on muscle
As the crutch hits the ground so will the hassle
"Car Scratch and Dent" is especially soothing
(If it's someone else's car you are using)
The "Long Hurl" takes courage and pride
It's always best done alone and outside
Remember when using this mode of relief
You have to crawl over to pick up the bleep.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Home Garden, Small Farm, Commercial Food Production

Sharon Astyk posted a great piece on the small farm vs. the federal government.

A while ago I found myself out of work. The first time out of a job since I turned sixteen. What a relief! A paid vacation! When signing up for unemployment benefits, I read a notice on the bulletin board describing an Entrepreneurial Training class still taking applicants. OK, I'll do that. Now what business should I choose to start, really start?

For years I sold homemade pies to co-workers and friends for holidays or special occasions. I canned a wild blueberry pie filling. Perhaps that could go commercial...WILDBLUESbysus was born...on paper anyway. Completed the whole business plan, five-year projected financials, even a verbal presentation to classmates and state representatives.
Then I found a job at the hospital.

The regulations were so costly that startup of a "baby" food processing business was out of the question for me. Food prep seminars, rental of a commercial kitchen, food ingredient analysis, proper labelling and packaging, art work, marketing, Bioterriorism Act registration, etc.
Read Sharon's post to see how regulation effects the small farm.

Friday, June 19, 2009

100th Post

The largest question on my mind many slugs will a nine inch pie tin full of cheap beer hold? I used to think all worms (except the earthworm) claimed The Most Disgusting Living Thing title. Slugs oozed to the bottom of the loathsome list this spring. With rain, and cool, and wood mulch, the slug samples every leaf, flower, and fruit in my garden. This morning as I picked slugs off plants with my two-stick tweezers, I held back the urge to gag. The slime and goo proved too much for me when I plopped great-great grandpa/grandma into the beer bowl. Time to wash my hands...with detergent, possibly bleach...ugh.
Dave now calls me, "Slugger".

June 19th -- on my mind

Mom's birthday. She would have been 85 this year but died of breast cancer at 57.
MRI this morning. Checking my lower back for source of pain in knees and legs. After removal of a tumor from my left thigh along with a couple hamstring muscles a few years ago, there are several possibilities for source of pain.
Dave's quartet. They sing for one of their largest audiences tonight. The guys look so pretty with their new ties.

Jennifer driving down from Maine. I'm waiting for the phone call asking us to pick her up somewhere between here and there with broken down vehicle...
Bing cherries. Possibly the most satisfying food ever created is now here in the markets. Sweet Bing cherries and tree ripened mangos what more could anyone want?
New Steps. The process goes on...nice, huh?

Sun finally broke through the rain clouds. What a glorious day!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Earlier this spring we spotted a lone bumblebee cruising our yard. She disappeared into a hole in the ground. We were pleased she was at home with us. We'd see her off and on making her rounds. Of course we weren't sure if every sighting was the same bumblebee. When the rhododendrons bloomed we found out. Three bumbles on the same bush!!

One afternoon while sitting on our little porch discussing the several wasp hives that were under construction overhead, a giant bumblebee with a totally black abdomen flew in and challenged the wasps. Quite impressive. A few days later I found a little sawdust on the porch steps. Not a big deal. We have been cutting a lot of wood lately. But this was fresh and reappeared each time I swept it away. Then the huge bumble flew in and entered a hole just her size in the edge of the board over the steps! And....and the wasps are gone!!

Most of my life I've considered all insects as pests except the honey bee, oh, and the occasional spider that ate their insect neighbors. For the past couple years the lack of insects has caught my attention. At first, pleasantly. Then I feared spiders were taking over the world. Now the incredible variety of these specialized tiny creatures fascinates me. My house is still off limits to ants, mosquitos, and biting flies. And I will escort spiders to the door. But the amazing color, complexity, variety, and specification of the insect population has me in awe, again, of Our Creator.

Check out this website to see Bumblebees in your neighborhood

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Joined the brand new Massachusetts Local Food coop...First pick up tomorrow...Goat milk laundry soap...Echinacea plant

Dave's quartet in town to sing...Prepare dinner for all...Fresh strawberry pie with whipped cream...Mac and cheese made with sharp cheddar and sweet onions...Tossed green salad...Lightly sauted broccoli...Dinner rolls and butter
Hands dirty from digging in the dirt...planting sweet potatoes...Distributing mulch to diminish the pile and reopen alternate access to our yard...Mulch new rhubarb and asparagus...Moving rocks away from planting border in front yard...Demolition of front steps (chipmunk condo)...New front door
Dave and Peter cut down another tree...Hung up on power lines...Now a huge brush pile...Avalanche of stacked wood...More talk of getting our own wood chipper
Painful knees...Xrays...Ice...Pressure points...Rest...Exercise bike

Bumble Bees...Baby Bumble Bees...Big Black Bumble Bees

Work...Laugh...Read...Sudoku...Pray...Thankful for family and friends and HOPE