Sunday, July 31, 2005

Who knew Kale could be so pretty? Posted by Picasa

Carrots and Kale

Garden is producing lots of food now. Below are some pics.

The carrots are the biggest I've ever grown! I used to always try to grow carrots in Albany, but with the clay soil, it never worked. This soil is looser and they grow well here. But we can't grow squash because of squash borer grubs. Every garden is so different.

Anyway, I let them get a little too big, but I'm proud of these carrots. We had some for dinner and they were so good. The variety is my favorite: Touchon.

The kale came out great too. We've been eating it for weeks, but no matter how much we eat, it seems there is a never ending supply. It's so nutritious. Dave came up with a good recipe for it. He frys it in sesame oil and sprinkles it with sesame seeds. It's easy and quick and really good that way. You have to remove the tough stalks before you cook it. I like to add a splash of apple cider vinegar at the table.

It's so gratifying to plant something from seed, tend it, and then eat it. I don't know why, it just makes me feel so happy to be able to do that. It's so meaningful to me, on a spiritual level. It's like taking in my environment, the land around me. I can't imagine being without a garden again in my life. I hope even as an old, old lady I'll be gardening someday.

Even food from the local farmers market is not as alive as food right from my own garden. It's more than just the nutritional content. It's like, I have a relationship with these plants. It makes a difference, somehow.

This food is alive, it's full of life. I can feel it. In the winter, I become so depressed because the food is so dead. I live in a climate where we either have to preserve the food or import it for many months each year, and it's just not the same. Food from far away seems utterly dead by the time it gets here. We can survive on it, but not thrive. It's lacking something vital.

I will blanche and freeze some of the carrots and kale for the winter. They will seem more alive to me then frozen vegetables from the supermarket, and will help my spirit stay alive through the winter. I feel grateful for that. I hate to waste any of our garden produce. To throw away excess supermarket food is bad enough, but to let any of our garden food go to waste would feel so much more wrong, somehow.

Carrots -- I just picked and washed them. Don't they look yum?  Posted by Picasa

Holy Jesus that's a Big Carrot! Posted by Picasa

carrot sticks Posted by Picasa

Kale! Posted by Picasa

cut off the stalks! Posted by Picasa

cooked kale Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Mulching in Place

Don't have much time to write, just wanted to tell you about my new gardening technique which I've been doing all day... Mulching in place. I love it! It's so obvious. Why didn't I ever think of it before? And it totally goes with my no-till gardening philosophy. I read about it here:

If you are a gardener, try it! :-)

BTW: Birdie is doing great, starting to fly a bit. Looks just like a real sparrow now, all feathered out.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Social Cycles...

Do you ever feel like so many things in life go in cycles?

At times I feel bombarded with social invitations, people calling on the phone, asking us to do fun stuff. I like the people, and I like to do fun stuff, and sometimes I find it hard to say "no" so I get a little overwhelmed with no free quiet time.

At those times, I feel like I can do no wrong as far as other people are concerned. I get away with bad behavior, and people are still loving and forgiving. I make new friends easily and I find much in common with many. People go out of their way to do nice thoughtful things for me and I'm very grateful and appreciative. I try to do the same in return. I feel like everything falls into place and there are coincidences linking all around me.

Well, this is not one of those times.

I'm afraid I might be heading towards the opposite of that cycle, in which I seem to have conflicts with people that arise out of seemingly innocuous circumstances. Forces align that are not in my favor, and if I make a mistake, however small, you can be sure it will snowball and people will not be forgiving. Random strangers are grumpy and rude. People I work with flip out at me in outrageous ways. My friends don't seem to be calling as often, or they are preoccupied with their own complicated situations. I become a little paranoid, which just adds to the whole thing.

Now I know you are thinking: "Yeah, duh! It probably has something to do with the way YOU are acting! Examine yourself and find out why this is". Well, I swear, I'm acting the same as I always do!!!! Really! I'm not perfect, but who is?

What seems to be happening is that people around me are acting like assholes for their own reasons, and choose me as a target, or perhaps as catalyst for their crazy crap. I know this sounds implausible, but it's true! :-)

And I bet you're thinking: "Suuuuuure.... it has nothing to do with you.... right. " OK, maybe I'm giving off a hostile vibe and I don't know it? Or I have a "kick me" sign on my back?

But honestly, I think I'm keeping my head and responding very calmly, confidently and rationally to some people who are behaving irrationally. I feel proud of myself for staying in control when these things happen, but I also feel worried that I'm entering a social "downcycle" in which I need to be alert because this stuff is bound to keep happening for awhile. So.....(deep breath) I must remain calm and not add fuel to the fire.

I'm now afraid that by writing this, I will alienate all of my readers and they will think I'm a loser and shun me! So, tell me the truth, do you think this stuff about social cycles is all in my head? Do you have social cycles like this, or is it just me?

New Banner?

Katiedid of "Seldom Nice Nowdays" came up with the idea to create a banner for me from a picture I posted the other day. Now I have to figure out how to get it up there! :-)

Anyway, isn't it cool?

banner Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I think it's actually a girl.  Posted by Picasa

Cute Little Invasive Species...

Well, in researching my little sparrow friend I found some information that changes the way I look at our whole project.

I have come across some articles on the web suggesting that it is best to kill house sparrows or at least discourage them from nesting because they kill bluebirds and other native birds. Here is an example of an article that presents this point of veiw:

I wouldn't kill it, but -- from a conservationist's standpoint I can see why they do it. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, personally.

I'm attached to this little bird. Still, now that I have learned this it makes me question why I saved it in the first place, and if I would do it again.

Sometimes people do the wrong things for the right reasons. Just because it seems like a "good deed" and you have good intentions doesn't mean the overall long term consequences will be for the best.

Nature is complex. Humans are complex too. We have this nurturing instinct towards helpless things, but what if I am successful in releasing this bird (who would have died otherwise) and it mates and produces many, many more sparrows over the course of it's life -- And some of them grow up to kill bluebird babies or take over bluebird nests. Have I done a good deed? It's hard to say. I guess I just find it confusing.

The older I get, the more I find situations to be like some Socratic dialogue about the meaning of basic concepts! :-)

Cheep!! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Looking more like a sparrow every day! Posted by Picasa

Getting lots of feathers! Posted by Picasa

Buddy in his cage Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


You know how I said a few weeks ago that I wanted to start buying free trade/organic/shade grown etc. coffee? Well I have been putting it off, because I was afraid to give up my favorite, beloved Luzianne .

BUT, when I was in Washington I loved the coffee they served. It was so delicious! I looked into it and I just ordered a bunch of it. Pura Vida "Organic Cafe Kilimanjaro". Very dark roast and very strong, but smooth and yummy.

They have this thing where you can get it delivered to your door on a regular basis. I chose monthly.

I also ordered some ground chicory, because adding chicory makes coffee so much yummier.

Can't wait till it comes.

Things I've Learned and Things I Still Don't Know...

Dave had a Dr's appointment so I've got Buddy here at work with me this morning. I need to feed him in 10 minutes.

Things I've Learned About This Baby Bird:

I think it's a sparrow.

I think it's about 9 days old.

It needs a diet high in protein, as it's parents would have fed it insects. Estimated protein in an insect diet is 33%.

"Exact" baby bird formula that I found in the petstore is 22% protein. Also, Buddy does NOT like it and won't eat it. He hides his head when I try to give it to him!

He also does not like, and doesn't seem to be able to digest dry dog food mixed with applesauce in a blender (a recipe for wild baby bird food I found online). He threw up some weird stuff when I fed him this and also had some really weird poops and seemed unhappy.

He is also not a fan of hard boiled egg yolk.

He likes (and can easily digest) canned cat food but it is only 10% protein.

Thus, I am mixing baby bird formula with with some (human) baby food in beef flavor. The beef baby food is 60% protein, which is too much. I add it to the baby bird formula. Problem solved.

Things I Still Don't Know:

Imprinting... Is there any way to prevent it? Should I try to handle him as little as possible so he has a chance of release, or is it too late and I should try to get him to bond with us and treat him as a pet?

I've read that a single baby bird will imprint on humans at this age, no matter what. If he had another baby bird with him, he'd have a better chance of thinking of himself as a bird, and thus a better chance of survival in the wild. But since he's the only one, we are his only social contact and he will start to think of himself as a human.

This is a problem because he won't learn bird behavior and he won't be accepted by his own species. Also, if we let him go he may see humans as "friends", and land on random human heads/shoulders. While I might find this totally cool, many people would be scared of this and swat at the bird, injuring or killing it. I guess this is a pretty common scenario among birds who have been raised by humans.

I don't know! Anyway, before I came to work this morning I put him in a small birdcage on the deck outside, right next to the birdfeeders. I watched him as I ate my breakfast. A whole bunch of birds were coming and going at the birdfeeder, and he could see them. They didn't pay much attention to him though. But I think at least he can see them flying, here bird songs and also, if we do release him, he will learn that he can get food at the birdfeeder! :-)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Birdie Update.

The little bird is doing much better today! He/ she? is more active, moving around, asking for food, and seems more "awake".

Yesterday it seemed more lethargic and it wouldn't open it's beak to eat. Now it peeps and opens it's mouth wide whenever it sees us. I have changed it's food a bit, which seems to agree with it better. It's having more normal looking bowel movements too.

I think it was scared of us. I was leaving it alone as much as possible, hoping that it would not "imprint" on me. I want to release it when it grows up. But then I realized that it seemed afraid and depressed. Like any baby, it needs love and comfort, and by paying more attention to it, talking to it and holding it, it seems happier and healthier. I don't know if this means we now have a pet sparrow, but at least it's alive.

Yay for my husband Dave, who is taking care of it all day while I'm working. :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Cute!! Posted by Picasa

what a big mouth! Posted by Picasa

birdie sleeping Posted by Picasa

Baby bird

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is? Or have any advice about taking care of baby birds? We found this one had fallen out of it's nest. We borrowed our neighbor's extention ladder to try to put it back in the nest but it wasn't tall enough. I tried to climb up anyway with the baby bird, only to discover that there was a wasp's nest right below it, so I quickly climbed back down as the wasps were swarming me. Luckily I didn't get stung.

Anyway, we are feeding this little guy every 40 minutes with catfood. I also found an empty nest in a mock-orange bush that I have put him in. I think it might be a starling? I'm not sure. I called a bunch of wildlife rehabilitators but they haven't called me back.

Sure is cute.

minnows in a bucket Posted by Picasa

fern Posted by Picasa

darning needle 7 Posted by Picasa

darning needle 6 Posted by Picasa

Darning needles

Darning needles and dragonflies abound on our property, due to the creek. They eat an amazing number of insects. The also seem very friendly. Often, when I was a kid swimming at my grandparents lakehouse, dragonflies and darning needles would land on me when I was swimming. I think they can bite, but I've never been bitten and I'm not afraid of them. I'm always happy to see them. The irridescent colors are so beautiful and they are all so different.

Today was such an idyllic day. Danny had a friend visiting and they were having a ball catching minnows. I sat on a lawnchair with my feet in the water, reading a book about mushrooms. the whole time these playful black and metallic green darning needles were dancing around me. They kept landing on me. I took some pictures. They are so friendly. :-)

darning needle 5 Posted by Picasa

darning needle 4 Posted by Picasa

darning needle 3 Posted by Picasa

darning needle 2 Posted by Picasa

Darning needle1 Posted by Picasa