Friday, March 30, 2012

Dragonfly Helicopter

She was about five, living in a little cracker box house with her mother, two sisters, sometimes a father and Susie their kitty with a box of her kittens. The louvered windows let in way too much cold and bugs and the asphalt tile floors had to be scattered with braided rugs and other rugs to keep their feet from freezing during the mild, but cold enough winters of Southern California. The three little girls all had big fluffy slippers and flowered terry cloth housecoats too; and when they got into bed they had big puffs to pull up over the sheets and other blankets so that they could cocoon their little bodies in their own body heat, the louvered windows hovering on the wall above the bunk-bed, seeping in cold air and bugs.
She loved to be outside playing with her sisters, or alone, riding her bicycle around the neighborhood. The lane they lived on was a dirt road and from rain and driving it often had ruts. It was a little rough to ride over for a fairly inexperienced bike rider, but brave she was; so she commissioned herself to go up there and back down again and then even turn into their own little gravel road that four houses, all the same, lined two sides of. The gravel was hard to get much traction on and was a temptation to fall, but it was also a way to learn to pump the pedals faster to stay upright, as all bike riders eventually learn if they pursue it past their fears.
The bicycle was not very big, but the training wheels were off and it was total independence to fly around at the speed of what she could pedal, with no one holding her up and no safety net training wheels with which to suspend her disbelief that she was actually flying alone.
In her memory, she thinks she had spectators, but in reality, she may very well have been on a lone expedition that memorable day the dragonfly started to chase her...
She thought it was a helicopter, hovering above her head as she bolted off on her little bicycle screaming, the rush of adrenaline darting to her feet to make her pedal what she thought was fast enough to fly as if she were a helicopter too. She couldn't seem to get away fast enough and kept screaming as she pumped those pedals ever and ever faster, the gravel beneath her wheels suspending her ability to pump quite fast enough to escape in a timely manner.
She had been being so brave, traveling up and down the rutted road and gravel drive and the thought that anyone could see her screaming and fleeing a bug flying over her head was utter embarrassment.
When she thinks about that story now, she thinks her sisters were ahead of her but it may be just that she wished they were. She and her little sister hoot over thinking about it and remember a time when they were a little bit older and riding a bigger bike together, with both of their feet on the pedals.
They had gone up to the schoolyard near their home and had gotten mad at an older boy and knocked over his bike. Well when he came running after them, his long arms stretching out to catch them, the adrenaline kicked in and with both of their feet on the pedals they really did feel like they were flying at helicopter speed. His long arms kept missing them as they sped off together in more unison than they had ever known. It was a wonderful bonding moment. They'll remember that moment forever now and laugh, guttural laughs to think about it and remember those wonderful times in the neighborhood with bikes and buddies playing all around..
For years later she would dream of a giant chasing her and as the giants arm kept coming down around her she would be lifting off while pedaling and getting ever and ever higher, missing the monster giant's arm reach.  She dreamed that dream a lot, but finally it stopped recurring. Had she finally learned to fly?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sometimes I Miss California

My sisters are both in Texas now, but we all grew up in California.
This picture is in the late 50's in a house we rented. Our father was with us there, at least from time to time. The details are vague. He was a military man, so was off on detail here and there much of the time; but I believe he was taking the picture here. 
The "Stoop" we are all sitting on seemed like a mountain to us then. We would climb up on it and jump off thinking we were extremely brave and daring.

Last year, very close to this time, I went out to stay with my high school friend of over 40 years. We were hoping we had the where-with-all to start a business together.
I stayed in a little "shed" that her husband had built.

Little Red-Haired Girl and Stevie Weevie were there with me. Stevie was probably in the house on the bed in the room with the boy because she really liked him because he threw her ball for her, a lot. LRHG stayed close to me as usual. She doesn't care a thing about ball. Food, did you say FOOD!

At night, I would get on my computer and investigate things and watch Free Speech TV (dish 9415) or write on one of my blogs and send emails.

During the day, if my friend wasn't working, she and I would go out and look for buildings, talk to real estate agents and talk, talk, talk. Think, think, think. Figure, figure, figure. Her husband thought we were arguing. We knew better. After all, we have managed to survive forty something years as friends.

On the days that she worked, the Girls and I piled into the car and went all over together. They helped me look for buildings and kept my hopes and spirits up.
Saturdays, I went to the Farmer's Market with my friend. She set up her booth for Nouveau Wreath and I looked around to see what other vendors were up to; especially the sewing ladies.
We spent some time having fun too. We went to the beach and ate at the restaurant on the pier. We went to some of her favorite hot spots for businesses she like and thinks are good examples and models for our own ideas.

On the way home, the girls and I stopped at all my childhood haunts. 
I walked up and down the street up to my mother's old home and then up to the water station where neighborhood kids hung out and then came back again.
She rented the house on a big property that used to be a farm. The barns were rented by a local rancher and he housed some of his Mexican worker there in trailers here and there. They had farm animals too, way down on this end.

None of them spoke English, but we managed to communicate well enough.
Tony became a great friend, helping with this and that. He had a great garden of tomatoes and all kinds of things along this fence were once were also grape vines full of grapes.
Chickens ran the yard and they had a blue heeler, Bandit, who, very often wouldn't let me out of my car. I'd have to honk and get someone to help.
The horizontal window is above the kitchen sink. On days I went out because I was sad or there to help, I would go out and garden in the dirt under it. In those days, there were lots of plants there. The fence came all the way out to the road and there was a great deal of privacy. The new owners have taken everything out for convenience of maintenance, I suppose. But I would feel all better, digging in her dirt and knowing that she was up there in the kitchen cooking, probably a meatloaf, to make me happy.

On the days that my mother was sad, (she spent five years clinically depressed then miraculously popped out of it), I would often take her for a drive somewhere and we would stop and have a hamburger. She always wanted me to take her by "Comer Avenue", were she remembered as magical days; when my father was still around, and with all their little girls.
This is the same house as the beginning picture. I guess the stoops we jumped off of are now holding the roof of the patio up.
She would just want to drive by.
I guess I get that from her.
Sometimes I miss California.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

The day was beautiful, all the way through from beginning to end... weather, scenery, pace and company..

The color just the right proportion..Tertiary colors, (a triadic color scheme); purple green and orange.
Little babies on all of the fruit trees..I think this is the peach...

Beautiful trees, the sun coming through their leaves..
Chris, cross...a high wire act...
Little Red-Haired Girl, still a ragamuffin, following me here to there and back again...(she reminds me of Atreyu in Neverending Story)...

Hemmed three pair of pants...who ever said "you'll never need math"?!...
And then received three more to mend...
Little Red-Haired Girl, got really in her groove...
More blue skies...
The little tomato sprouts went outside for a drench of bright light...

Saturday again. There's no place like home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Partly Staged, Rosemary and Time

It was a work day today. Tongue in cheek I say that because when I go to My Favorite Lady's house, we play at working.
At some point, she said, "This is what you like to do, isn't it."
I said, "I could do this all day every day and not get tired." (Except for achy, breaky bones and body afterwards, anyway).

We started out playing make-up. She had had me bring her an eyebrow pencil and as girls will be girls, I said, "You have to try this lipstick, it stays on all day."

So we primped for a minute or two...and she decided in the meantime that what she wanted me to do this day was to move all of the furniture around....
(only my favorite thing to do!!)

While I, (Peripatetic Designer), started scoping things out (staging), and taking all the knick knacks off of all the surfaces, and piling them in a heap on the sofa, and moving the sofa to the center of the room so I could vacuum, and move the wall unit to the wall where the sofa had been and....
My Favorite Lady felt especially pretty so went to get her fur coat to play a little dress-up...

Movie star pose...

I did a load of laundry between and we talked about everything under the sun, (we couldn't even quit talking while the vacuum was running; we just talked over it)...
Girls just wanna have fun...
We have a lot to do, but we got a lot done.

I was laying out pictures on the floor thinking of how to place them on the big, open wall now, but we decided we had done as much as we could in a day.

Well, we got it partly staged and a lot decided for where to pick up from on my next trip out. (fix this grammar, will you?)
Time in a day, there is only so much of it and it is much better to be having fun, it doesn't feel like work at all... I only wish I'd had my furniture skids along for the ride, but I've done many years of moving furniture without them before I knew of their miraculous moving capabilities. Oh, well! Next time....

Upon leaving...more of my favorite blue skies and wide open spaces.
I'm a lucky, happy girl having way too much fun for a job.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Storm Warning, Feels Like A Heavy Rain

As promised; the temperature dropped, the wind raked and the limb that has been trying to make its way to the ground for years, finally found success.
I shoved it over the fence. It was starting to leaf out.
The best part is that it fell right in the dirt on the parkway and missed anything of value, people and pets included.
The sad part is that my beloved shade tree is diminishing. It really should be made into firewood; but I'm gonna try to hang in for as long as possible. It is so pretty and such lovely shade in the summer.
The limb could be touched from the sidewalk.
It was just a matter of time.

They say we may get snow tomorrow. Some people say it won't get this far south. Either way, the weather is always a surprise and I'm starting to be able to intuit the timing of planting things.

Good thing the tomatoes are just starting to pop their little cotyledons out of the peat pods in the ice cube tray on my stove.

And good thing my friend who is an ornamental horticulturist and Alta Vista Garden board member sent me the link where I found great information about getting my soil in better condition to allow them to thrive once they get past their baby stage.

Storm Warning...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday, In The Park

There were two more fruit trees that needed a dose of fish emulsion fertilizer.
I'm heating the water now to shower the smell out of my nostrils. It embeds itself forever wherever it splashes and has been following me around all day. The plants that got a splash said, "Ah, what a lovely smell."

Earlier this year before LRHG hung up her fur coat
After feeding Little Red-Haired Girl, myself and Orphan Annie Whitesocks, I donned a pair of latex disposable gloves, took tin pale in hand and went "Easter egg" hunting, (pooper scooper duty).
Little RHG has been following OAW to stealth out her drop spots and has been beating me to the punch. I know. She cannot tell a lie. Huff, huff....ewe! Stinky face. EWE!!! I have tried putting OAW's litter boxes up in the back of the bed of my old truck where she lollygags around all day,
but nooooo, she has to go wherever I have freshly tilled the dirt.
So, I am trying to out cat the cat. Out dog the dog. Chicken wire everywhere.

The two leaf bins above were tackled after the Easter egg hunt and fish emulsion. They have been sitting for quite some time, one longer than the other.
The older one was heavy with moisture. It was hard to pull the wire off. Once I managed to pull it off and turn it over, the leaves on the bottom were perfect for mulch in the bed I built a few months back. It's been full of sandy soil and not conducive to planting.
I pitch forked and shoveled it into the trash bin and dragged it over to the planter. (the wheelbarrow was embedded in my web of building materials, too far away and too much trouble to get to.)
I moved the empty wire round over to the corner near the road where there are missing fence slats thinking once I plant it with something, it will cover the bare spot.
I re-loaded all the dry, under-composted leaves from the top of that bin to its bottom and then went to tackle the second bin.
It fell apart in layers. I took the dry leaves over to the first bin, the grassy mesh I layered on the bottom of the second bin and then I put the not-completely-composted other leaves on the top of the first bin because it is bigger and can have more new leaves added. The nearly-composted leaves from the second bin, I put on the top of the second bin and watered them both to a spongy saturation.

I forgot to distribute the ash, but there is always tomorrow.

I did give several plants a little of the heavy mulch, rich and ready...

But most of it went to the planter. Then I threw more dirt on top, raked it around and watered it in.
Now for a nitrogen fixing cover crop. Any suggestions for hot, hot Arizona?
The little trees that will be a wood

The little leafy stems in the picture above are some of the trees I mentioned that sprout up everywhere here like weeds. I let them have their way as I envision myself living in a wood someday. The only ones that don't survive are the ones directly in a walking path. Even those I try to sidestep.
Anyway, it was a wonderful, achy, breaky my back, Saturday in my Park day.
I didn't water much as we are expecting a big, big storm tomorrow. Did I say snow? Can't tell by these pictures. That's the desert for you.