McMaster Carr and other helpers

I am taking a break this noon while my pain killers take hold.  It is yard clean-up day week.  Let me introduce you to McMaster Carr who has helped me in my job.

Thank you McMaster Carr for this neat bundle of fire starting paper.
Thank you McMaster Carr for this neat bundle of fire starting paper.

McMaster Carr is a company that makes and sells virtually everything that other things are made from – every little tube, bolt, bushing, wheel, piece of metal, plastic, rubber or glass that you can think of.  Every year they send out this huge, six inch thick catalog, of which I have three.  I use them for various purposes, most having to do with how well they weight things down.  But today I discovered that they make excellent fire starters.  I have enough paper to start my recreational fires (I have to call them that – explain later) for the rest of my life and probably the first few years of eternity.  Fires are an important part of my clean up, or at least they are fun.

I started yesterday and quickly got overwhelmed with all that had to be trimmed and taken out of the way before I could even mow in the oneacrewoods.  Things got a little out of hand, you might say, over the summer.  But I did make a little bit of progress and  decided to adjust my attitude.  I’ll not be overwhelmed, I’ll just work at it real hard for a week and then it will be winter and most things will go dormant, I hope.  I can do this.

This is awful.
This is awful.
This is awful too.
This is awful too.
This is trying to get better, but it's still awful.
This is trying to get better, but it’s still awful.

I’ve pretty much stopped trying to grow food, unless you count the pineapples that I grow for the unnamed animal who eats most of them. And I’ve kind of stopped trying to grow anything ornamental, unless it volunteers.  I can keep completely busy just deciding what I will not allow to grow and removing it. Really, that’s all I do now is take things out and burn them.  Now you know why fires are so important.

God knew what he was doing when he put the first people in a garden.  There aren’t many things as satisfying as takiing something as beautiful as nature, and then organizing and cleaning it up a bit.  Nature can go a certain distance toward keeping herself beautiful and there are some fine examples of that in the oneacrewoods, but it’s often every plant for itself and that can get wicked.  Someone, me, has to be in charge and keep peace between them.  God called it “dressing and keeping” – good description.

Here is an example of a plant that arranges itself in such a lovely way...
Here is an example of a plant that arranges itself in such a lovely way…

My other helpers are various rusting implements, bought at garage sales and held together with duct tape, several tarps that I use to pull debris from one place to another, and my Toro mower (the one piece of equipment that I brag about here). Without this stuff, well, we don’t need to go to that dark place…

This year I’m going to take pictures after I’m done and hope I can see how much better the yard looks. I have to add that a couple weeks ago when I was outside on the driveway an oak tree threw a fairly large limb at me and barely missed. I’m just saying, I sometimes wonder if plants have a different perspective on my activities.  But, I’m not ready to call it war yet.

This is what I do to tree limbs that don't stay put, grrr!
This is what I do to tree limbs that don’t stay put, grrr!

Getting My Mind off Pain in the Rain

Seriously, stop.
Seriously, stop.

Stop. I mean stop doing what you’ve always done, the way you’ve always done it. If you do, you will see different things, different behaviors – and even if you see the same old things, you will see them differently because of the change you have made. We are placed in this world of seemingly endless variety for a reason. Variety and change, they refresh us, stimulate creativity and new thought, and well, just make life fun.

Today it’s gray and rainy, not the kind of day that you think “hey, it’s time to go out for a walk and get all wet”. But I needed a walk pretty badly. I made the mistake of attempting a workout video with Dr. J (who is half my age) over the weekend. Who knew that 25 minutes of half-hearted exercise could produce such pain? I picked up an umbrella and headed out. I’m glad I did. I saw all this.

there's something comforting about a soft, gentle, rain. It's just water...
there’s something comforting about a soft, gentle, rain. It’s just water…
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Against the grayness, colors go crazy. They “POP”!
You see colorful surprises everywhere
You see colorful surprises everywhere
Even white is... whiter?
Even white is… whiter?
Green is greener.
Green is greener.
Awesome is even more awesome.
Awesome is even more awesome.
Awesome
Awesome
My aunt's front porch, awesome.
My aunt’s front porch, awesome.
mounds of flowers, yeah, awesome
mounds of flowers, yeah, awesome
love it
love it
I love color.
I love color.
So go take a walk outside, even if it's raining (or snowing). See things differently. Just sayin'.
So go take a walk outside, even if it’s raining (or snowing). See things differently. Just sayin’.

The Hidden Forest

It’s right in the midst of a city and thousands go past it every day without even seeing it.  It’s Schmitz Park in West Seattle and it’s one of the first places I walk when I visit my daughter.  One of the entrances to this park is on the hillside above her house.  The wide path passes under major streets as they descend to the waterfront.  At other points it is high above the city looking out over the sound.  But most of it is in the midst of an old growth forest full of clear springs, lush vegetation and towering trees.  A lot of the paths are well traveled and I meet a lot of others walking their dogs or on bikes.  Gradually the paths narrow and get steeper, and less maintained.  Trees fall across the path and are left there, either because they are too difficult to remove or because they are intended to be a natural barrier.  When Charlie the dog is with me, I have to lift him over some of the log jams, and the climb makes us both breathless.  If we are persistent we come out on top of the ridge overlooking Alki Beach, almost in someone’s back yard.  Then we take the easy way down, on the streets where the view is not obscured and we also have beautiful yards and gardens to look at.  Take a virtual walk through this beautiful place with me…

Enter the park with a bit of history.
Enter the park with a bit of history.
Trees soon cover the path with shade and silhouettes
Trees soon cover the path with shade and silhouettes

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Beautiful greenness everywhereee
Beautiful greenness everywhereee
The ground is usually damp with seepage from the many springs and books.
The ground is usually damp with seepage from the many springs and books.
Old growth of several different kinds of trees can be seen...
Old growth of several different kinds of trees can be seen…
Towering is a word that comes to mind often
Towering is a word that comes to mind often
And then there are the fallen.
And then there are the fallen.
and even they spur the imagination.
and even they spur the imagination.
A hobitt tree
A hobitt tree
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The path gets almost obscured and very vertical…
And emerges here... outside the forest in a residential neighborhood clinging to the side of a ridge.
And emerges here… outside the forest in a residential neighborhood clinging to the side of a ridge.
A whole different knd of beauty is on display all the way to sea level.
A whole different knd of beauty is on display all the way to sea level.

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Over the top, literally...
Over the top, literally…

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Esther took my picture
Esther took my picture
and I took hers.
and I took hers.

The Approach of Summer

In one direction we have this...
In one direction we have this…
and in the other direction something different approaches.
and in the other direction something different approaches.

The rains have started to come in the afternoon. I am trying to get a walk in between showers because I’ve been stationary for several days – I just need to get out.

It is more than beautiful everywhere I look because it’s all been washed and refreshed.  Little jewels of water sit on all the big leaves.  There are at least a hundred different shades of green and they all seem to vibrate, glow.

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resurrection fern coming to life
resurrection fern coming to life

This is a stunningly complex and gorgeous world.  We need to look at it and let it say what it has to say.  It’s not randomly beautiful.  It’s that way on purpose.  We’ve been given a gift and it makes me feel… well, loved I guess.  Just sayin’.

Today’s Marvel, Sunday January 18, 2015

There are times when I feel so glued to the screen. When both of “my devices” are busy notifying, flashing messages and asking for my attention, it begins to feel like I can’t get enough.  I get almost obsessed with staying in touch.  Time to get outside and touch some real things.

Even though it’s Florida and we hardly ever get a freeze, I like to bring my orchids in for the winter. Every couple weeks I take them back out and spray them down, give them a good drink.  That’s what I did today. I was surprised how many of them have bloom stalks that will soon be flowers, in addition to those already blooming.  Taking care of my plants is part of the joy of having them – it is SO an antidote to computer paralysis.  They are a dose of fresh beauty right from the hand of God.

Here are my beauties, and the marvel of the day is at the end.  I think he lives there permanently.

just look at their cute faces...
just look at their cute faces…
these deep purple ones are some of my favorites
these deep purple ones are some of my favorites
Their thick healthy roots really anchor them
Their thick healthy roots really anchor them
...and my little marvel.
…and my little marvel.

Oh Look!

We were just walking along, talking more than looking where we were going because we were both very familiar with the street.  Then my walking buddy said “oh look, this guy feeds the parrots”.  She knew the guy and had been aware of his birding hobby.  It had started small and grown exponentially to three feedings per day for hundreds of birds.

they are larger than  most parakeets, more parrot sized.
they are larger than most parakeets, more parrot sized.

We were only a few feet away from the bird feeder in his yard which was draped, top and all sides, with large bright green birds with black feathered heads.  They were taking turns, in what seemed like family groups, coming to the feeder and then retreating to surrounding trees and electric lines.  I started looking around to see other groups of the same bird in all directions until I was amazed at their numbers.

“How does he afford this? Sunflower seeds aren’t that cheap?” My friend didn’t know.  I wondered if the easy food hadn’t figured into their increasing numbers.  I hadn’t seen the parrots anywhere else and yet they must live somewhere when they weren’t here.  How did they know to come at certain times? What made them so orderly?  I walked close and took pictures and it didn’t seem to bother them.

Later the man who did the feeding rode past on his bike.  He had seen me taking pictures and we already had a bond over our bird excitement. I asked him if the noise they made bothered the neighbors.

“Not as much as when the crows come and chase them away,” he laughed. Black hooded parakeets, that’s what he said they were.

I couldn’t quit thinking about how unusual it was to see that kind of animal/bird gathering, not an everyday experience for me.  I could have walked past and not paid attention, but thankfully this time I noticed and enjoyed and decided to share this little gift with y’all.  Just sayin’.

Black hooded parakeets having breakfast.
Black hooded parakeets having breakfast.

Today’s Pleasant Thoughts

wpid-20141110_153711.jpgThe everyday, mundane things are special to me.  Sometimes I hesitate to write about them, as if I have to write to entertain others and of course, these simple things would not be entertaining.  But I do write about them because to me it is a miracle that I can see the ordinary, hear voices that are dear to me, organize thoughts, feel gratitude, and appreciation welling up inside, and write.  That these marks on paper can mean anything is a miracle.  We are so marvelously made. 

My Mom’s freezer is full of cookies for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The property tax bills just came, but we have escrow accounts!  What a relief.

My client graduated to rehab and is doing very well.

My car is clean inside and out (for a change).

I’m going to get rid of the bougainvillea bush that never looks beautiful and tries to stab me every time i come near.  Gonna cut the thing down.

I don’t have to cook, there are leftovers, good ones.

It is not snowing here. It is beautiful here. It will be snowing in Wisconsin when we go for Thanksgiving. It will be beautiful there too.

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For some reason I feel relaxed and not stressed out. I’m not going to question it.

I’m not in charge of anything (but I have plenty to do).

So good to get a phone call from a voice I know and love. I don’t want to forget how my people sound.

At it’s low November position, the sun lights things up like no other time of year. Love, love, love to look.

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the light…
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the glowing light…
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ah, the light!
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the light.

Being Home, Being Restored

I love to travel. I love to be home.  Even though there is a lot here to be responsible for, and when I’m gone nature does it’s thing pretty much unchecked (the husband did mow the lawn) it is still a place that restores me. It begs me to take part, to pull a weed, pick up a few fallen branches, smell the mint and the rosemary, touch a mossy rock, marvel at a single strand of spider silk floating from somewhere to who knows where, hold my ears when the cicadas get all fired up. At some point there will come colder weather and it will change, but for now it is still the hot, humid, green glory of summer. Nature is more than amazing, it is God’s gift showing his thoughfulness, his love of beauty and drama, his attention to detail, his desire to nurture and uplift, his power to take down and start anew

If you need a spot of beauty in your day, come take a morning walk with me through the Oneacrewoods.

one of many paths
one of many paths

shapes, colors, texture, variety for our eyes to see
shapes, colors, texture, variety for our eyes to see

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