Friday, June 30, 2017

Zucchini

 I'll admit to it. I have tweeted. Not recently, you understand. Immediately grasped how addictive it can be for an older person. Like mash potato and mayonnaise or ice cream, I imagine. Even today I get the regular email expressing concern around my apparent inability to grasp or explore the fantastic new features that constantly flow from the conniving minds behind Twitter.

My own view is this. Twitter should be regarded as a pusher, one of those individuals who hangs around street corners, wears expensive shoes, dreams of climbing the greasy pole to great wealth or fame, and pretends to look innocent. Twitter users should be subject to mandatory sentences of "Twenty Hours of hand grating Zucchini per Tweet."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Advertising

Your political activist missed a perfect opportunity for one of his characters to make a point about an advertiser on Sean Hannity's daily infomercial for the Radical Right, call Sean the President's Dachshund if you wish to. The advertiser in question is ancestry dot com. In this game I play the role of Hector, a get off my lawn, back to the stone age, elderly gentleman who has a flare for racist remarks, some of which are distasteful and many of which cannot be permitted in polite company. Hector also suffers from a visceral reaction to anyone who might not be a Republican voter, sadly we more liberal minded send ghost fingers down his spine, give him the creeps.

Following a heated dispute with a young college bound nephew, Hector, who had seen the ancestry dot com advert on Sean's nightly television program, decided to delve into his own origins. Imagine his feelings when the results of his genetic test for which he spent 99 hard earned dollars finally arrived through the US Mail. The results for Hector were of course all part of the Clinton Pelosi plot to turn western civilization over to cabal of Frenchmen and as a result Hector developed some very deep suspicions around Sean's other advertisers, one of which is the car maker called Subaru. The shame of it, there's one parked outside.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bush Beans

First harvest of a Bush Bean is most satisfying. Soft in a snappy way, delicate and unblemished. A person gets a sense of purpose, of putting food by. Then by about the second handful of Bush Beans a person begins to understand why picking Bush Beans really requires that agility of circus performer. Most of it is done bent double in full sun. At the end of the first row a person is ready to take a blood oath never to plant Bush Beans again, join the camaraderie of Pole Bean people, with their strings, and stones hanging from strings, and a plethora of contraptions designed to not fall over in gusty winds.

But there is one thing. Picking Bush Beans is very good for building the grit and determination often missing in a gardener's character. I put it right up there with jumping out of airplanes, climbing Mount Everest, and understanding how to do your own taxes. And if you think I'm exaggerating a little there's something else. One of the most central features of a gardener's anatomy is his or her back. Through the course of the non Bush Bean picking season, the back does indeed become idle, the muscles do the muscle equivalent of smoking cigarettes to keep from thinking too much and picking Bush Beans straightens them up. This means that by the end Bean season a person's back is about thirty years younger.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gerontocracy

A person gets on in age, starts yelling things like "What does a Southerner know about Chard?"  It comes to all of us eventually, a desperate attempt to straighten the circle. "When I was your age I walked an hour to work!" It was five miles, give or take. So no wonder some of us have less sympathy for the current crop. Mind you I totally understand what it's like to be on the receiving end of a similar sense of disappointment from the gerontocracy.

The average age of US Senators is 61. There are 100 of them. 27 of them are over 70 years old. 8 of them are over 80 years old. Just 13 of them are under 50 years old. But in the end I'd like to mention a senator called Orin Hatch. He's 83 years old, he's been a senator for over 40 years, he's from Utah and he has seven children. His net worth is something like 5 million dollars. The 43 year old Junior Senator from Utah, a rosy cheeked young male called Mike Lee, has a net worth of 16 thousand dollars. Give him time, I guess.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Larva

From tiny yellow eggs the young of Ladybirds emerge and as they find food they look increasingly bad tempered and crotchety. There's no other description for them. I have read that some have described this larval phase in the Ladybird as "alligator like." I don't see it myself, but they do have these little sometimes reddish spikes on a black segmented body with lots of legs and they do have a certain predatory aspect to their appearance that suggest a creature that enjoys hunting down live food or anything that looks as though it could be alive. Nor is there the remotest similarity of appearance between the adult Ladybird and the larva. The larva look like pests of the very worst kind, the sort of creature that inspire horror movies. The adult on the other hand looks charming, diligent and well behaved.

Then the larval Ladybird suddenly decides to turn into a sort of orangey yellow glob or pupa that can sometimes be seen under leaves. From this pupa the Ladybird emerges. He or she is yellow, the carapace is soft but quickly hardens, turns red with the traditional black spots. Currently in the vegetable garden there are many, many Ladybirds enduring their crotchety phase. Round here of course most adult Ladybirds find their way into and spend their winter in the room where I sleep. This can sometimes be a little awkward because in their wintering phase some of the more restless in their number can get all worked up around an electric light bulb. However I will make the claim that wintering with Ladybirds is infinitely preferable to wintering with Stinkbug.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Stuff

My own evening meal was boiled Potato, boiled Chard, fried Oyster Mushroom, onion and garlic, garnished with Cherry Tomato. The Girl Cat enjoyed Special Diet something or other which was mashed with Trout and Catfish to cheer it up a little. Her desert was the ear of a young Rabbit and the head of a Shrew. For my desert I had white bread, the chunky kind, with some kind of well past sell by date chocolate spread. No doubt about it she and I live the life, we communicate through an empathy, or if you prefer I do as I am asked and I sulk in a noble sort of way when I have a point to make.

But beyond this place where I live there's all kinds of stuff happening. Most of it entirely beyond comprehension and all of it open to interpretation. Some of us might well have wasted the last forty odd years attempting to define civilization yet the recent occupation of government offices by brave people in wheel chairs pretty much sums the circumstance of politics as it appears in the current era. There will of course be a pompous ass call to remember Plato as we potter backwards into a future. But there might well be Christian Soldier work removing wheel chair ramps, jailing the sick, isolating the poor in exchange for supper or a bandage or maybe a washing machine.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

160 Fahrenheit

Anticipating a "Rain Event" as these things are increasingly called following some kind of brain freeze in the minds of those who spend most of their waking hours forecasting weather. "Blessed Release from Tribulation" works better for a gardener and gives him a chance to sit back, stare at the wall and contemplate the glory day of a Compost Pile that recently achieved a temperature of 156 degrees of Fahrenheit, which is getting on for 69 degrees Celsius. Sadly there is no recording or wire tap or digital representation or sacred testament to this truly incredible and huge milestone in the life of a Compost Pile devotee, so you're just going to have to take my word for it. 

There's a chance that not many people are interested in Compost Piles, so without wishing to sweat the details it is the case that should a Compost Pile achieve a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or 70 degrees Celsius good practice is to dived the pile and give it a jolly good watering. It seems cruel I know, but unlike you and I the tiny creatures that cause Compost Piles to heat have no access to scientific data and they will continue the heating process until life for them becomes untenable, in high heat they whither, become uncomfortable and apparently die. Mind you if these little creatures did have access to the data odds are they'd carry on regardless and invent air conditioning. Yes indeed, as an owner of Compost Pile Thermometer  I am like God. All I really need now is a shiny Red Pickup Truck with tinted windows, that can belch black smoke and has big fat wheels.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Donuts

To celebrate the Planet's Tilt, that irrational wobble which requires those of us who live north or south of the tropics to endure seasons, your correspondent risked death from heat exhaustion in order to complete "The Roof."  It was heroic, a few minor injuries, and I might walk with a limp for the remainder of my days, but these things are as nothing when compared to the sense of closure when that last self tapping screw bites into the metal and finds home in wood. It's guttering for water collection next. Thrilling, I know.

Getting off a scalding roof can be tricky for the more elderly roofer who might be feeling just a little dizzy and can't see very well because of the sweat in his eyes, but there's a sort of Jihadist fatalism that takes over when temperatures soar toward hellish regions, so just hold on and hope for the best. Then a person can hobble back to his kitchen, pop his head under a running faucet, and shiver a little. The entire process resolves the problem of purpose, no hard thinking is required and the reward is something like half a dozen of those Raspberry jam filled donuts which are always worth a trip into town even if they do make you belch deep fried dough for a couple of days.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bunnies

The Girl Cat is adept around slaughtering the cute little Bunny type Rabbits. There have been so many I've lost touch with the body count. I use the word slaughter loosely, the reality of the Bunny's death is probably more aptly described as some kind of agonizing medieval ritual. Sadly with the Artist away it's a ritual that occurs up the stairs in the room where I sleep, a hallowed ground in my view, rudely interrupted in the early hours by what I can only describe as the dying bleat of a lamb. But the Girl Cat seems to enjoy herself, regards it as an opportunity to toughen me up, get me ready for the front line at somewhere like Stalingrad. It's an exhausting experience for me.

Mind you, all very well the Girl Cat being cavalier and showing off her handling of the Bunny type Rabbit inside the domicile, it's when we confront the Big Rabbits outdoors that she looks to me for support. My presence gives her a sense of security, otherwise I suspect she's just a tad nervous, pretends not to care that there's a Giant of the Rabbit world nibbling the ornamentals not much more then ten feet away from her. I am of course a complete gentleman, I don't do things like sneer, or call her a sissy, some of those Big Rabbits are larger than she is, and they do look death before dishonor mean. Instead I politely suggest to her that we advance slowly in unison and when the Big Rabbit runs, we run after it. It's actually rather fun.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Measurement

Five days of Day Lilly Weather. For those in doubt, Day Lilly Weather is on a par with big fluffy clouds that cast moving shadows across the land, a blue sky and just hint of a dry north breeze. Not something to sneer at even if it does send fungus to scatter spores, fill the air with a sneezing pox that seems to encourage invisible biting creatures that feed upon red blotchy gardeners. But I don't come here to moan and groan, I come here to boast and talk about how wonderful the gift of life can be when daunting projects come to that point when a person can say "It's time for roofing."

And here I'm uniquely qualified to say that accurate measuring, and some kind of orderly plan stands tall against ram-jam behaviors that include prayer, wishful-ness and hope. The most recent measurement suggest that I will have to reduce the length of the metal roofing panels by not just a tiny bit, but by 14 inches. Nor is cutting 16 metal roofing panels the equal of a day at the spar. It's noisy, it's dangerous, it aggravates the Girl Cat and there's always a chance of cutting the panels too short. It's the sort of thing that would defeat those lesser mortals who are unfamiliar with self recrimination, renting sack-cloth and howling at the moon.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Theory Part Three, Process


Once joined into a unity, it's the building of  "Nerves with Ganglia" that enable communication between the individual cells within a Slime Mold in more complex ways. To the question why would individual cells seek unity, the argument suggests it was a series of accidents that resulted in advantages around such things as food gathering and reproduction. The plan was and is survival in an incomprehensible environment. Have to wonder at the color of the Dog Vomit Slime Mold, bright yellow and fairly disgusting in texture, not something a gardener is anxious to find himself scrapping off the sole of his boot.

In time the Slime Mold may well develop ever more capacities each one of them acquired by accident and judged by each capacities contribution to Slime Mold success rather than its failure. And yet, even if the Slime Mold were to one day open a bank, it would still be a collection of cells, some more specialized than others. And all of those cells would contain memories of simpler times when objectives and purpose were more immediate, more obvious, well written into parts of the Slime Mold that despite the passing of generations linger in a less contemplative yet very determined way.  Interesting to consider, whence comes the Question Why. Or is it there already, lurking, primal and full of hope.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Theory Part Two, Slime Molds

My own understandings are often premised by the assumption that my mind is not capable of retaining large amounts of information. Nor am I one to be taken in by popularizing the work of experts in their field who following years of study will say something like Eukaryote in the same way I might say Banana Sandwich. This means my understanding of Slime Molds is slightly above Kindergarten level. All the same, I am the owner of sufficient hubris to insist that a Slime Mold is a bunch of single celled creatures, each capable of earning an independent living and who occasionally come together to form a unity able to produce behaviors that reflect muscles and nerves with ganglia, or brains.  Not Einstein Brains, but small "b" brains.

The Dog Vomit Slime Mold is bright yellow. Their community has spent many years in the vicinity of the Compost Piles where I live. A most peaceful part of the world, sometimes set to alarm by the more nomadic, it's home to the big Salamander, and that little blue tailed Lizard and rather than bore you with the details I'll say that sometime soon the Dog Vomit Slime Mold will gather to enter their conference, form shape, move around a little, produce their "nerves with ganglia" and there might even be a debate around the wisdom of choosing the color yellow as their symbol of fruiting, which when land dries they'll do over a period of several days. A reflection of what it is to be alive, you might say, but more likely the analogy of us people as Slime Molds falls foul of our own sense of being. There again we people can be sensitive to implied insults.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Theory Part One, Outrage

D Day in 1944, but in the world of Compost Piles there's a strong chance the new pile could over-heat. It's at 125F and rising. Luckily it's raining which somehow eases the tension. And I guess we all have our own relationships with the world of thermometers. A brief glimpse of the headlines suggests the UK is under siege, all doors are locked, streets are empty children blubbering as they prepare for a lifetime of therapy following Post Traumatic Stress, and indeed the foundations of liberty have themselves been challenged as an aberration to the new order of things by the Rabbit eyed Political Class. So who's winning?

My own understanding of towns like London and Manchester does not include an idea that people who live there are so far divorced from the Savannah they turn to rubber when a couple of nutcases run rough shod over the niceties.  Outrage certainly, but I've seen outrage following an Umpire's decision at the Marylebone Cricket Club. Manchester United has never actually achieved a victory on the football field without bribery and cheating and I say this as an angelic City supporter. But it's possible I suppose that this was a long time ago and fed as we all are by the diet of Madison Avenue and the shopping list of must haves we become lonely when it's our turn to visit the confessional or the voting booth in the hope of determining an honest savior. Going to talk about Slime Molds tomorrow.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Home

Your correspondent has returned, he ran around, wagged his tail, checked the temperature of his Compost Pile which was 105F, greeted The Artist, admired the vegetables, looked around anxiously for those little things he might not have noticed. It was soothing, and in the category of civil I'd like to think he achieved at least a "plus" for effort in the eyes of others, which under all circumstances is a great deal better than an F.

The boast about leaving home for those extended periods of time that include not sleeping in your own bed is supposed to have something to do with broadening the mind by developing an understanding of the world beyond as a place of magic and wonder. Aware of my own negative and anti-facebook views in this area, I've decided the secret to travel is to pretend you're from a distant galaxy and you're merely a visitor to planet Earth. Lacks a sharing commitment? The answer yes..