Sunday, August 31, 2014

Inky, Pinky. Ponky

Yes, August does have thirty one days. It's September, April, June and November that have thirty days, because all the rest have thirty one days, except for February alone, which has but  twenty eight days clear and twenty nine in each leap year. May well be that something with rhyme is an option for a Compost Naming Sentence. With just seven words, that might not be easy to achieve. Perhaps I should have fourteen Compost Piles.

I've always liked, "Inky-Pinky-Ponky, Daddy Bought a Donkey. Donkey Died, Daddy Cried. Inky-Pinky-Ponky."  It's simple, it's straight forward, it has an element of tragedy, it has a certain cynicism. you can almost hear the shrug, but more important it's easy to remember. There are no far flung ideas, there are no Turkey Vultures and Goddesses. There's just a Donkey dying, an upset father and what must be a truly obnoxious and uncaring child of some sort

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Elemental Essence, Groundhogs and Compost Pile Naming

The Rabbit of Usk called my attention to Halibut's End Story, and despite the critical role a Compost Naming Sentence might sometimes play in the mental health of a Gardener, he will lean toward obedience when the Rabbit calls. Otherwise there can be huffing and padding about. And too there was a dispute with a Groundhog, that did indeed go on a bit because he wasn't an Evening or Morning Groundhog, he was a Midday Groundhog and Midday Groundhogs will only communicate when Sun is high and when temperatures are something like five hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

Nor is a Good Gardener the proper material for the Special Air Service, he is not a Navy Seal, or an Urban Attack Police Officer. His ability to multitask is limited to one thought at a time, and when temperatures are something like seven hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit that one thought will take its time. However, a Good Gardener will also take notes, he will carry a pencil and paper around with him, and jot down the odd random comment as an aid memoire. So all is not lost, the Compost Naming Sentence has what we Gardeners call an "elemental essence." Which to the layman, might be better defined as a "long way to go."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Turkey Vulture and the Compost Pile Naming Process

Quite a number of years ago, there was a big wind that took out trees and caused considerable trepidation. The wind was I believe called a Derecho. It  interrupted the electric for a considerable period of time, but this wasn't a winter wind, it was a hot weather summer wind and it came with an aggressive warm rain. In the aftermath, a Turkey Vulture, which I myself thought was kind of a young Turkey Vulture, because he had a sort of puppy look, had somehow got himself so confused he was perched on the then Compost Pile and appeared to have no intention of leaving. Naturally I thought him injured and in need of sustenance. I ran through the possibilities. Without the electric, and always a good chance the generator would fail, the content of the refrigerator was at risk, and I knew of a package containing six sage and pork sausages that a young Turkey Vulture in a difficult circumstance might appreciate. There was of course debate, the well was out, it was incredibly hot, helicopters flying over head surveying damage, and this was long before Saint Teresa made her appearance, so there was a great deal of digging of holes and that sort of activity.

It's a survivalist attitude which I guess begins to dominate, so I gave consideration to possibly giving our Turkey Vulture just one sage and pork sausage. It also occurred to me that probably in their search for food, Turkey Vulture follow scent. Their choice of food, I argued, in order to touch their taste buds with the confidence of wholesomeness had to look and smell disgusting. A sage and pork sausage I decided would not match this criteria unless it had first been subjected to several days in the sun, so that fly and fly maggot might reduce it to a suitable condition, and I decided the Compost Pile environment a perfect place for such a transformation. I tossed the sausage onto the then Compost Pile, it landed comfortably close to the Turkey Vulture, who eyed it suspiciously. Odd thing about sage and pork sausages that are produced by the corporate world is their ability to hold their own against all comers. Three days later the Turkey Vulture was gone but the sage and pork sausage was still there and quite untransformed by its experience. Either way, given my own current preoccupation with the Compost Pile Naming Sentence, and the more recent appearance of another Turkey Vulture on and around the Compost Piles, I have to think that the community of Turkey Vulture are attempting to contribute to the process.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Turkey Vulture on Compost Pile Number Five

The one bit of news that supersedes the return of an internet connection, is a Turkey Vulture. I spotted him first actually in the particular Compost Pile that somehow or other will eventually be named around the idea of a 'mean girl' and which currently has the totally inadequate name of "Compost Pile Number Five." He gave me a shock, and with Turkey Vultures much of life seems to be an on going ordeal, so it was difficult to tell whether or not I gave him a shock.  It did seem a little to me as though  my sudden appearance with blue wheel barrow caused him more irritation than the visceral fleeing response that gripped my own being.

You sort of creep around a little after confrontation with a Turkey Vulture on a Compost Pile. There's a great deal of sniffing and peering, and poking the undergrowth, because Turkey Vultures when not roosting or chewing on some bit of something that might have been dead a while, generally don't trouble themselves with the difficult business of landing on the ground and taking off from the ground unless there is rotting food involved. I couldn't smell anything, which doesn't  mean much what with humidity and the bloom off an August Algal Crust. Then in the morning he was there on the top of the electric pole, staring down at Compost Piles, and Turkey Vultures when close, are very, very, very big flying creatures. Have to think some one is trying to add a contribution to the naming of Compost Piles, and the terrible thing is I have a theory about it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Me, Girl Names, Saint Teresa and Compost Piles

Not certain the extent to which my own name should appear in a Compost Naming Sentence. Not a big fan of ownership, despite the intense reaction I have to trespass by others upon what I think of as my own territory suggesting otherwise. So it's possible my own idea of ownership, might for example include a particular parking spot at the Post Office.

And it's also possible that I have a dualism around the idea of ownership that is very irrational and totally unsupportable. And it's also possible that because I have committed to girl names for Compost Piles, putting  my own name in front of a transitive verb that's any where near girl names is something Saint Teresa might think of as a downhill into one of the few words in the English language that has two Y's in it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mockingbirds and a Compost Naming Sentence

Cedar Mockingbirds, who have finally returned from their Mockingbird Conference and funny hat wearing competitions, have added their zest and opinion to the problem of Compost Pile Naming. Mind you it's nice to see them still together, because often unspeakable errors are made during conference time. Hearts and voices sometimes stray. Yet what the Cedar Mockingbird contribution to the Compost Pile Naming Sentence might be is difficult to determine. They are still unpacking, or whatever it is Mockingbirds do when they return from their most frivolous month.

And it would have been very wrong of me to have dived much further into a Compost Pile Naming sentence without their contribution. My excuse would have been a feeble one. Every year when Mockingbirds leave, I kind of find myself thinking I'll never see them again. It's an anxiety, I guess, but it hardly represents an expression of loyalty on my part. Even if they were to never return again, I should maintain some memorial to them. And too in Compost piles there are the ghosts of plants, that sometimes yearn for another chance at sunshine. The sprouting seed of volunteer Tomato, the Melon and Cantaloupe, the Hubbard Squash.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Number Five

The fifth Compost Pile from the east, might well be a good enough description to locate it. However such a description totally lacks any kind of an imagination and would probably upset both Saint Teresa and the Goddess of Mirth, Iambe. Neither of which would be a wise thing for a Gardener to do. But the fifth Compost Pile from the east, has developed a combination of inputs into her name, and these inputs must be taken into consideration when considering the word in the sentence, from the first letter of which the fifth Compost Pile from the east may derive one or other of her many possible names.

The Virginia correspondent has suggested the number five reminds them of a "mean girl."  There are many possible interpretations for why this might be, some of them strange, but the only reason to decently observe this peculiar insight into the number five is the charm of the idea and the lasting impression it has made on the Compost Pile Pollinator. It's therefore necessary, if the Compost Pile Naming Sentence is to be lasting, for there to be some sense of  the number five to figure in the first letter of the word in the sentence that will reference the fifth Compost Pile from the east. So I wonder, what letter of the alphabet most represents "mean girl."  And here, while "H" might well do it, I'm seriously considering "R" and "M." Because of all the Rogers and Mikes I have known I've only ever had a liking for one of them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The word "His" in Compost Naming Sentences

There's been some debate about whether the Seven Word Compost Naming Sentence can contain the word "His." It's singular, it's possessive, it's masculine. And, despite the French who will insist a Compost Pile, or Tas De Compost, is  masculine, Compost Piles are actually feminine. And whether you agree with me or not with respect to the gender of Compost Piles, there might well be hours, even years of argument and mental stress if the word "His" does appear in the Seven Word Compost Naming Sentence.  The word "pollinator," however might be acceptable, because through bitter experience, I have discovered that Compost Piles require regular attention.

And I'll give you an example of the sorts of stress and argument that accrue to and  then build around an ill considered word in something like a Compost Naming Sentence.  The Goddess Isis had her origin in Ancient Egypt, in the course of time she spread through the minds of  the Roman and Greek world as the perfect mother, friend to the downtrodden and to sinners as well as the powerful. She had an ear for sorrow and sadness. She gave comfort, she was stalwart, she was patient and she wouldn't just say "oh for god's sake pull yourself together, cover the women, grow unattractive beards, wear black and start killing people for no good reason."

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Fourth Letter of Seven Letters

One of the things about Compost Piles is that each has a developing character, which endures through and beyond seasons, then haunts imagination through wintertime and continues on through the years. So when The Friend Who Lives Too Far Away comes up with a name that so suits the character of a particular Compost Pile, then the first letter of the fourth word in the order of the Compost Pile Location Sentence is fixed. It's written in stone. It becomes commandment, around which all else must flow. 

You understand Saint Teresa is down there, her heart golden, her thoughts pure, her nine Quails and there are other mysteries from this co-founder of the Barefoot Carmelites that so imbue that part of my world, I would build a Henge to the gabble of words if I was able to.  The Friend Who Lives Too Far Away, suggested the name Iambe.  The name sings loud, calls like a siren, because amongst the Ancient Greeks, Iambe is the goddess of Jest, Mirth and Satire. And the fourth Compost Pile from either the East or the West is just that.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Compost Pile Naming

With respect to the feminine nature of Compost Piles. On the one hand I am very aware of the possibility of insult, and yet on the other hand, it's a somewhat intimate relationship I have with Compost Piles and frankly I'd rather dig around in girls than in boys. So there.

Perhaps more extraordinary is a correspondent from Virginia, which is a state in the United States, who informs me, they give gender and personality to numbers.  The number 5, is a "mean girl."  A burden to some, perhaps. A joy to others. Harriet, Hatty or maybe Hilda.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Compost Pile Naming

Itzel, not Ivy, but perhaps Isabella is heavily shaded. She's back there in the corner, she's very woody, so she'll probably out last me. Her character is best described as, acceptance. Into her embrace go the roots of those things which are unwanted by the pickier heathens that surround her.

She's a sort of cathedral in my mind, a stalwart, a worshiper of permanence, a  voice in a wilderness of change. I can think of her and feel comforted merely by the knowledge of her presence.  And she has a good view of Saint Teresa of Avila, which is just as well because Ingrid, Isolde or Isis knows all, and will sometimes look at me funny. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Seven Word Sentence

I have come to think there's a young Indigo Bunting being fed by a proud parent in the wilder shrubs by one of the Compost Piles. I'd tell you which Compost Pile, but naming of Compost Piles is still in process. The more creative of my own pair has determined a solution to the problem which I believe owes its genesis to the work of scientists engaged in the study of memory.

The Artist's solution begins with an easily remembered sentence containing seven words. The first letter of each of those words in the sentence from left to right represents the first letter of a Christian name which corresponds to each of the seven Compost Piles as they stand from west to east.  So all we have to do is remember one seven word sentence and the problem is solved.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


The Big Moon has not been that present at its rise, owing to clouds. Then around two o'clock in the morning, the clouds seem to vanish, and the big moon casts shadows in the room where I sleep.

 Curtains properly closed, I hear you say. Which is all very well if you can remember to properly close the curtains prior to getting into bed. Some of us seem to have lost that ability.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Compost Pile Naming.

Those of us who might be a little obsessed with Compost will now be talking about Seven Piles. Kind of like Seven Pillars of Wisdom, because as they currently stand, these Compost Piles are not so much in various stages of maturity, each represents a learning experience.

 The problem seems to be what to name each of the Seven Piles, and here the sad fact is that unless a Gardener has developed an intimacy with each of  his Compost Pile it's very difficult to come up with names that others might grasp. Nor will I be giving them numbers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Semi-colons and Elections

A spinning mind is an active mind. That said, a spinning mind, because it is spinning, just goes round and round, and this has to stop because in us mammals a spinning mind is the poorly named 'vegetative state.'  A condition of isolation and trust me, plants are never isolated.

And here, it's a spinning mind that holds fast to it's political objection to the semi-colon, the colon and number of other marks of punctuation. And hard though it might be,  I just have to accept the election has been held and the other side won.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Yea Though

A time comes when it might be necessary to recall the discussions I have had with myself on the nature of structure.  The French School, from something like the 1970's, while tempting hasn't actually resulted in a form for the Rabbit of Usk. The damned thing is just all over the place, and in another four or five years, if I continue with the French School, not much will have changed.

One option is to Potlatch. A ceremony that frees the mind to start again. Sadly the Rabbit of Usk is now a tyrant in my imagination, and he will not permit me to do so. And for this, I must  blame my own frailties, my own weakness and reach once again for the Book Of Psalms.  And in the Psalms the only two words of comfort I can find are, "Yea though..."

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Unholy air, but as someone keeps telling me, "It is August." Three days of sparse sun between huge dark clouds, intermittent rain, some of it very heavy, has raised humidity, and what with a windless-ness, the conditions are ripe for the sorts of Pox that rot things, cause slime and other altered states.  Down by the Compost there is joy and jubilation, and clusters of extraordinarily happy Flies.

Interesting too,  is the behavior of Chipping and Field Sparrow.  I have seen them around Compost indulge what must be a Flycatcher Fantasy.  They don't quite have the agility in the air of something like a Phoebe or a Gnat Catcher, but they are gallant and determined. And what with the Paleo Cultist Cardinal butchering the Butterfly, times are strange out there.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


 I'd have to argue that if a person was sufficiently competent to hold in his mind the distinction between a tble and tsp, and was somehow able to also recall from his memory what a rolling boil looked like rather than have to hunt around the bluer biblical passages and 'call me Ahab' then it's very possible that he might have been able to achieve Jelly.

 And it's the case too that if a person hadn't tasted Honey for maybe a couple of years he might be persuaded that 'Corncob Syrup' had the potential to taste like Honey. It does have a Honey-like flavor as opposed to a Marmite-like flavor and it'll probably be very nice in a hot Bread Pudding under the ice cream.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Not certain of the value of what they call a Corncob. Which is the hard woody central core of a Maize ear.  There's a great deal of this core and it kind of looks useful, and I guess there are a whole lot of things to be done with it.  I'm told that if you want to make a pipe out of a Corncob, you have to let the Corncob dry for two years, and then it needs to be carved and lacquered, and the bit you pull smoke from is made of Pine, apparently. So that's all rather patient work, and the result is probably not good for you anyway.

Corncobs I feel very confident can be used as fuel for the Outdoor Stove, if they are left to dry long enough and are not carried off by bandits. But The Artist, who has a great deal more experience of these things than I, and who is a wealth of confusing and obviously technical expressions around the Maize plant, reckons that once the Corncob has been milked, it can be boiled up, the liquid reduced and the result is a thickening agent which if added to equal parts of sugar will produce a jelly that tastes like Honey. I guess, in due course and after some experimentation.......

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cardinals, Wrens and Velvet Ants

I believe all feathered creatures except Cardinals have finished with producing another generation for this year. The Barn Wren, a Carolina Wren, fledged two chicks just the other day. The one chick a little smaller than the other, and the larger chic had a tremendous beak and very big feet compared to flight feathers and tail.

Boy Velvet Ants are in a bit of a swarm as they hunt down wingless Girl Velvet Ants. And I have yet to see a Girl Velvet Ant, so good luck to them. And I have to say that Boy Velvet Ants are not gracious or elegant flyers, and they can be kind of scary because they pretty much land on anything that moves.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Paleo Cultist

There's an unattached boy Cardinal who must have chosen to follow some kind of Paleo Cult. Not for him the abundance of flower and grass seeds. He's on a Butterfly and Raspberry diet, the bastard. Nor is he that adept at butchering Butterfly. Have to think there is a chance that he is just a little nervous of them, because there's a great deal of fluttering around by the Cardinal, much pouncing and beating the poor Butterfly to death. He doesn't eat Butterfly wings, and he prefers white and yellow Butterfly, which is actually OK by me, because it's always been an idea of mine that white and yellow Butterfly go for the Crucifers and Chenopods when choosing sites for their Caterpillar.

I had to look one of those words up. The crucifers are Mustards through Cabbages. The wonderful sounding Chenopods are I am afraid to say Beets, into whose family Chard has been assigned. And there is someone who has a small black and remarkably wily Caterpillar in somebody else's nice straight rows of Chard. Chenopod as far as I can see comes from a Greek or Latin word for Goose, and the 'pod' part is from 'podium.' Podium comes from a Greek word for 'foot.' But Podium can also mean 'soapbox.'  So obviously Chard is in the 'Goose Soapbox' Family. And it all must kind of make sense to the Paleo Cultist Cardinal, who this year at least is quite unattached to any kind of girl Cardinal and he spends a great many hours in the electric line telling us all about it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quite Right Too

It's Tuesday, it's August and thank goodness for the well adjusted. They'll have all sorts of useful and positive comments to make, so I suppose I too must thrill to my own status of reasonably well adjusted and follow suit.

 I will say this, Mockingbirds have the right idea. They have been gone for view for some weeks, but if you peer into thickets you can sometimes find them apparently in some kind of suspended animation.

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4th

This is the day, one hundred years ago, when Britain entered the European Crisis by declaring war on Germany following Germany's unsatisfactory response to a British Ultimatum that Belgium should remain neutral. On the Western Front following the First Battle of Ypres in October and November of 1914, the German General Von Falkenhayn, realized the stalemate, and told his masters that the only solution to stalemate would be a diplomatic solution.  His prescience was ignored, because leaders are usually testosterone driven Dickheads with the attention span of Fruit Fly.

The War became a war of attrition on the Western Front, and it was really a question of who had more men to send to their deaths in the trenches while maintaining sufficient stability at home, which Germany was unable to do, and it was this failure that resulted in an Armistice of 1918.  The British Army remained a volunteer force until January of 1916. By the end of the war the age of conscription in Britain had been raised to 51,  the average age of a battalion commander was 28, a Pilot in the Royal Flying Corps while at the Front  had an average life expectancy of around two weeks. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Young Foucault

Little Foucault Lizards in the Compost Piles. They are just charming. Miniature creatures, exactly like the adult, and they too think they are great, battering around in that enthusiastic way, and quite oblivious to the possibility of being gobbled up by someone. I imagine it's the shine and sparkle in the tail that gives them such confidence. The back Porch Foucault Lizard lost his or her tail about six weeks ago to a culprit unknown. It had all grown back by about three weeks ago.

I'm very aware how my own species is increasingly besotted by shiny things that have color and sparkle and newness. I've always thought of it as a kind of sickness amongst us, but at least the Foucault Lizard in the long path they have travelled to this moment in time have used it to their advantage. It's always the tail of the Foucault Lizard you see first, and I guess it would be the same with an unknown culprit, but the Foucault Lizard is quite able to manage without it for three or four weeks. And I guess you have to lose it a few times before you become grown up and wary

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Old Men Beans

I believe I have frozen the last Bean for 2014. There will be more Beans this year, but they will not be frozen, and next year around Bean planting time, I will endeavor to recall three things. The first is that there are sometimes more Beans in the Vegetable Garden than a person can reasonably expected to eat in a twelve month period.  The second is that an early summer mind is quite incapable of grasping the value of thinning Bean plants. And the third thing that I must try to recall is that a Bush Beans should be carefully picked daily from the middle of June through the month of July, otherwise you get bad tempered Old Men Beans.

To put it in people terms, the perfect Bean to my mind is in something like its twenties. Four inches at most. The green at this age of a Bean is youthful, without being cradle robbing, and there is a vitality to the Bean, a sort of stubbornness which  makes it reluctant to accept cruel separation from the parent plant. As they get older, sometimes just one day older, the younger Bean will begin to look around and develop an attitude, a middle aged bulge, and this attitude probably makes them perfect for the torture of canning. Unfortunately the Canned Bean has a smell and flavor to it that brings on an angst in your correspondent. Some knife and fork memory, I guess.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Luyken and Lutch-ien

The Laurel hedge, easier to call them Cherry Laurels, although they are a cultivar of Cherry Laurel called "Otto Luyken," after Otto Luyken a German Gardener, and I have always pronounced his name "Lutch-ien" because that's how I first heard it pronounced by an English Gardener who is certainly gone now, unless he's about a hundred a forty, but who planted more Potato than I can ever hope to.  Either way, the Cherry Laurel hedge had a bad winter, and is still struggling a little with die-back, which is what happens to plants when parts of them decide they no longer wish to participate. It was the same with Buddleia. So no shortage of bits of wood for the Outdoor Stove.

 The trouble with Cherry Laurel as fuel for the outdoor stove is twofold. The first, it has a very high ash content, which might make it good for glazes and all that ho-ha, add it to clay and you might get some serious fluxing. The other problem with Cherry Laurel is what I am going to call  "Aromatic Exuberance." It's a killer on the nose, goes right through the nose hairs into the sinus, and there it promotes a discord which goes down to the ears and effects balance amongst those of us who are prone to a tinnitus that follows being bonked on the head once too often while in formative years. The first five to thirty five years. As for the pronunciation of "Luyken", you can tell a lot about a person from how they react to "Lutch-ien."