Category Archives: Izzy & Sophie

Penelope & House sitting, & a Passionflower blossom.

  
This is Penelope.

She was given to me back in 1995 by my Shiatsu mentor, Nini.

She presents the major meridians used in acupuncture, acupressure, & Shiatsu.

  
Penelope’s usually the first belonging-thing that I put up whenever I move.

I’ve moved a lot in my adult life.

No doubt, less than some, & more than others.

  
Though I’m still house sitting, I went home yesterday before work to water the plants & collect my mail…

The Passionflower bud was closed – & I thought that I had missed it blooming, as they only open for a day and a half… And never more than two days.

Passionflower, indeed.

  
It’s a mixed blessing, house sitting.

I enjoy it. For a number of reasons.

The quiet, the solitude, the animals…

   
 

It’s a bit disorienting, when returning home… 

Maybe because another place has “become home”…?

I don’t really know.

Transition days are usually “raw days” where I always feel a bit off-kilter & vulnerable.

  

I was completely surprised when looking over at Penelope & the bud, about 20 minutes after watering the plants…

To see the bud had opened into its gorgeous blossom.

  
I got to them see how quickly my mind went to disappointment.

But it had happened before… 

That is, a bud had formed… I’d gone off to house sit… Then returned home & I’d missed the blossom.

(Que disappointment violas…)

  
And I had been watching the tendril grow towards Penelope & seen the bud as it grew…

Yesterday, there was disappointment & swirl. There was surprise & delight. Then I got to watch the habitual mind patterns.

Getting to know “the field of weeds” so-to-speak.

Getting to know my very own mind-meadow.

  
I wonder what will happen today?


Shoofins.

   
 
This is my favorite place to housesit.

I get to be with sister Shoofins*, Sophie & Izzy.

  
Sophie is sweet. And also a bad-ass. Note the pillow. Apropos.

* Shoofins is a word coined by their Humans. I believe it’s plural for Shoofin. Which either is specific to Sophie & Izzy, or may be a way to refer to cats. I’m not sure, & will need to confer with the creators of the word upon their return.


Knowing, not knowing, & sensing things.

  
 I have no idea of the endless number of things that I don’t know.

  
Like the number of stars in the country sky on a clear moonless night…

Or the number of waves in the ocean…

That sort of uncountable number.

Unfathomable.

Immeasurable.

  
And

There are some things I’m coming to know.

  
For example, It’s impossible to anticipate all outcomes.

  
And, I tend to forget what I learn.

  
And, I need reminders.

  
That the practice of being patient, especially with myself, is a worthy effort.

  
(Thanks for the photo, Jenny-la.)

  
& Knowing my mind-eddies or pitfalls is helpful, so as not to become discouraged & give-up when they arise.

  
That every choice has a consequence. Sometimes it’s feel-good-ish, sometimes it’s ego-scraping. Either way is an opportunity for benefit.

  
& That a flower, with the help from a honeybee, warmth from the sun, & rain to nourish the soil, can eventually become a pea is a Miraculous Thing.

  
Of course, there are other things

But these are the things on my mind…

As I sense a shift in my life

  
Maybe a shift/choice, that’s been brewing for a long while.

  
It’s time for an effort to be made to head back to school.

  
A big step for me, as it will require much effort as I challenge a lot of old beliefs I’ve had about my level of intelligence, & scholastic abilities.

  
But I sense it to be the best next step in my life, & find energy coming into me when I focus there.

 I don’t know how it will go

  
As I move towards getting a degree in mental health counseling, with a focus on grief & end-of-life issues.

 There are many steps yet to take in the application process.

  
But I’m game to journey that proverbial “thousand miles” & begin.

  
More to come.

  


Izzy head bonks.

Head bonks with Izzy are full-on.


late night ramble on farmish things, emotions-n-stuff, grumps about humans, & the joy of cats.

This past Sunday was the first harvest day at Nook & Cranny

  
Greens, greens, greens 

Spinach, lettuce mix, broccoli raab, arugula, & mustard greens

All from the three smaller hoop houses

  
(And eggs from the many hens)

  
While harvest went throughout the morning into the early afternoon, I seeded & transplanted in the greenhouse

   
 

Basil coming up nicely… 

 

It was a bit overcast & chilly outside, but cozy inside the greenhouse

Soon it will be too warm for me in there & so I’ll do the seeding outside

  
This was from the past Friday when it snowed a bit

The farm slowly is unfolding it’s shape as each new bed is tilled & planted

(I didn’t take many photos again, because there were 25 trays to seed, others to move, & 100 eggplant plants to be transplanted)

Say that three times fast:

…Eggplant plants to be transplanted…

  

(Thankfully this photo was NOT taken at the farm)

Sweet earthy groundhog looking for its breakfast this morning

  
I went across the road to where my garlic was planted to see if it was coming up… And it is!

  
Hello! 

 

Here’s the lovely nearby pond

(From the evening before)

Showing water’s amazing reflective capacity

  
I’ve been marveling at water lately.

It can be a mirror at times, clear at times, and obscuring at times.

And sometimes all at the same time! …depending on ones position relative to the body of water

 
(A vernal pond from last month after a freeze)

I was recently on a walk & passed a parent & child walking in the opposite direction

We were all passing a (thawed) vernal pond at the same time

I overheard the child say “ewwww that water is gross” & then the parent agreed with that sentiment…

I felt saddened by what had just transpired… In my view, it was a missed opportunity to open a narrow opinion

Vernal ponds are teeming with life… Frogs & peepers & insects…

*sigh*

  
But I guess I get sad easily.

I feel sad when great trees are cut down, even if they could pose a threat 

  
Critter activity!

  
I don’t know what was going on today in the world, but it seemed that many people were driving aggressively.

Ultimate example:

I was driving past an elementary school (where the limit drops from 45 to 35 during school hours) and a sporty sports car passed me, crossing a double yellow line.

OMG people…?!?!

What is all the hurry about?

Could we all try to slow down a little bit…?!?

  
Thank goodness for Izzy.

(Thank you Jenny, for the photo)

Nighty night all.


Flowers & cats: what’s in your self-care kit?

part of my self-care kit

Is going for walks

Sometimes without my phone

& sometimes with – then I can capture images to add to my kit

  

Spring, for most of my life, has been a challenging time

  

Hello, Crocus!

But going for walks in it, & noticing the small changes is helpful

  

I’m always grateful for a slow-coming spring

As it has been this year

  

Please say hello to Scilla siberica

  

It is not native to Siberia

But to Southwestern Russia, the Caucasus, & Turkey

Blue flowers are some of my favorites.

  

Cats, too, (especially Shoofins) are part of my kit.

Here is Sophie being Small.

  

& here is Izzy making a beeline for my oatmeal 

  

(Successful cat trapping by Jenny)

  

And then there are stripes.

What is it about stripes?

I do love finding stripes in the natural world

  

As well as unique messages…

  

Blessings on the simple things

  

May you find beauty & joy in the small things on this very Spring day

May you come to know what stirs a sense of kindness in you

  

Wishing you in touch with your sense of wonder.


Worrying, taking time, & kitties.

Yesterday’s work day began later than usual

For one thing, I had an appointment to keep in the morning.  

And when I see things like this, I feel compelled to pause & laugh & take a photo to send to a loved one

You know, Share the delight 

   

I’m a fan of moving slower

& not a fan of rushing

(Though zippy-doodle will at times occur…)

  

By the time I arrived at the farm

The weekly seeding was nearly done

– Attended to by four capable hands.

As their workday soon ended, mine just began.

So I set to transplanting two flats of broccoli & early cabbage

  

As I worked, I began to notice myself in a state of worry.

familiar weather, worry.

The worry du jour was about the amount of time I take to do things.

In particular, at the farm

  

I try to be efficient, and find that I do get into a groove once I get going & practice the method necessary for the task at hand.

A system that works for this body is found & my movements become more effortless

  

Granted, when I pause to get more soil or more pots or go to pee, a photo might be taken…

– Like this early Spring view from just outside the greenhouse.

(Aaaaand all the following photos…)

Although I’ve received a blessing & go-ahead to take photos here at the farm through the day, a habitual groove of thinking gets going…

  

So I paid attention to the broken record spin of worry that was playing in my mind, 

and by paying attention, 

could see/feel that consequently, 

my breathing became shallow & I stopped seeing what was in front of my eyes

Like being blinded by an internal sandstorm of worry  So to remedy this, here was the practice du jour:

Whenever my mind went from an awareness of things at hand 

to the thinking & spinning mind of worry, 

I would keep taking deep breaths, and really turn my attention to what I was doing & feeling, 

Instead of the loud thoughts in my head

Returning, returning, returning.

Being able to distinguish between awareness & thinking feels like a big step for me.  

Take notice of the slightly yellowing seed leaves (or cotyledons) on the cabbage seedlings (below & above)

“Pleeeease pot me up!!!”

When roots find their way to the far edges of their potting soil world, it’s either time to pot up (transplant into a larger container) or transplant into soil out in the bigger world.

  

Since two seeds germinated in this cell, & both plants are healthy, they are gently pried apart

  

And set into larger pots which have some fresh potting soil in the bottom

  

Then more fresh potting soil is added up to where the cotyledons attach to the stem

And gently pressed down to settle in the plant a bit, but not so much that it compacts the soil

  

Once a tray is filled, it is watered under a fine spray of water

Which further settles the soil around the roots – and allows for the contact roots and soil want together.

75 Broccoli plants & 80 Early Cabbage plants were potted up.

155 plants in all.

It took me 3 hours to do that.

  

Izzy was intrigued by my hands after coming (housesitting) home from work

And she didn’t mind that it took me three hours to transplant 155 plants.

Bob seems to be patient & tolerant of my pace, but I still sometimes question if I really “fit” at the farm.

*Plagued by Doubt*

– no doubt, triggered by a mere (yet impactful) comparing thought.

  

A friend said to me today, “cats are unapologetically themselves”.

Even plants grow at the pace that they grow.

At the farm, moving at such a slower pace than all the others, it takes an amount of mind-effort to not apologize for myself.

To honor the animal that I am & just do my work.

A part of me thinks: o there’s something wrong, maybe I should leave, try to find a place where I fit in better.

  

But maybe the lesson is right here, to practice “standing inside myself”, and to learn something from just this.

Not become caught up in my own tangle of comparing my relative snailing pace, to just let that wild-bird-thought fly through.

I guess if I trust the wisdom of the unfolding of my life, & attempt to keep my eyes open to what is right here, I’ll get the opportunity to learn whatever it is I’m supposed to learn.

 

These are the steps where I slipped as I rushed down them one snow-covered-icy morning in February 2012 which shifted my life

This being one of the numerous incidents where I’ve thought privately or said out loud “but it wasn’t supposed to be like this”

But really, who am I to argue reality or try to control such things…?

I’m trying to integrate the unfolding of things, trying to relax…

I’ll finish this post with a poem by Marie Howe

The Gate

I had no idea that the gate I would step through 
to finally enter this world 

would be the space my brother’s body made. He was 
a little taller than me: a young man 

but grown, himself by then, 
done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet, 

rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold 
and running water. 

This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me. 
And I’d say, What? 

And he’d say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich. 
And I’d say, What? 

And he’d say, This, sort of looking around. 
  
Maybe this will be the memorized poem for 2015…
Wishing you all a good night
& a happy Spring


A few photos from Nook & Cranny, & kitties.

i’ve begun to split seeding time into two days

  

Littles getting big!

It’s nice to have two days to get the seeding work done

There’s a lot to do & on Sunday’s I can now help with transplanting the babies into the ground

Which happened yesterday into the third hoop house 

Alas, it was a go-go-go day, with two of us seeding, so I didn’t take any photos.

I will remedy this on future Sundays.

  

Lettuces, Kale, Raab, & Mustard were transplanted.

Radish & more lettuce was direct seeded.

In the fourth hoop-house, which I call the Cathedral, are the young pigs & laying hens.

  

I only snapped one photo

Because they kept hopping up & out & I was trying to herd them back inside…

It’s Spring & they are ready to be out & about.

Thankfully they hop back up & into the Cathedral.

It’s an enormous space, with a beautiful shaped roof pitch

I’ll get a photo next time I’m at the farm.

So, instead of more farmish photos, here are a few recent sharings of Sophie & Izzy

(Thanks Jenny!)

  

  

There’s still quite a bit of snow out of town, only mounds here & there in town

But Spring shows its signs & makes its presence known

  

Winter Aconite

Sweet & cheery

Blessings on the day


Weather, some walks, Kitties, & Sunday seeding.

Waking each day in one mood or another  

I try to begin each day with a thanks-for-this-day feeling in my heart

Then step into the day.

Today began uneventfully.

  

Then

Upon putting away a photo of my elder…

(which I had set out for her yortzeit last week, but yesterday & today kept getting the strong push to put it back where it usually sits)

…i found a letter from the person I was beginning to love this time last year.

There was a photo of the two of us, a note from his last visit, & just seeing the handwriting triggered a squinchy feeling in my chest.

  

And just like that 

The weather changed

Right before my morning sit.

  

I didn’t know what to do with the letter, so I set it down & covered it with an image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

I didn’t want to sit with that weather, with those feelings. I didn’t want to feel what had arisen

  

Lately, I keep hearing Jack Nicholson’s voice from the movie A Few Good Men barking “you can’t handle the truth”

Which feels like a meanness, but I’m trying to just notice that critical voice (which may well be true)

  

I was glad to get to work, to focus on other things, like chopping vegetables & listening to podcasts on my headphones.

  

This is from a walk the other day to the lower end of the lake.

  

And this is from a walk today after work

On the Western side & towards the upper end of the lake

  

It’s good for me to remember that weather changes.

Just as the feelings came & went by the end of this morning’s sit  

Grief continues to visit & can feel very intense at times, still.

I don’t yet understand why – I’m just trying to make room for its passing through.

  

I haven’t wanted to write much about it

I think I’ve been ashamed of it, wanting to hide its lingering presence.

  

Thank goodness for kitties.

Here’s Sophie  

(All photos of Sophie & Izzy are from Jenny)

  

Here’s Izzy  

  

I love to receive these photos

They do brighten my day

As does visiting the babies

  

They are getting so big

  

This past Sunday the greens & brassicas went into the hoop houses 

  

(Please note the rolled up balls of remay towards the back of the photo…)

But first they waited in the barn as the hoop house soil was readied further 

  

In order for me to do more seeding, the alliums had to wait outside for a spell until all the many trays of greens had a suitable place to sit in the hoop houses

  

This photo makes me smile

The dances done, working things out, imperfectly, but workable.

   

(It’s in the 20’s outside, and warmed to the 30s that day, but relatively warm in the hoop house)

This is the first hoop house in process

And this is what happens when I walk into the greenhouse

 

Steamy

(It becomes even warmer when the sun shines…)

 

  

Joining me in the greenhouse was a small flock of Barred Rock chicks!

  

Peeping & chirping & napping

  

I really enjoyed their company

   

 

The usual Sunday spring seeding… Beets, Raab, Spinach, Lettuce, Cabbage, Scallions, Chard, Kale, Broccoli, Mustard, Brussel’s Sprouts.

  

27 trays in all

Then I went to see the hoop house action

  

The view from the first hoop house towards the long hoop house

  

Steam rises from the cold water on the  warmed soil inside

  

Here’s that wall of remay balls…

  

And the barn-dwelling kitties

  

Hello, Sebastian.

  

Hello, Other.

  

Hello, Nook & Cranny Farm.

On my walk today after work, despite not being able to hike the trail due to icy conditions…

 

There are signs of Spring

  

Swollen fuzzy buds

  

I feel a sadness when a great old tree is cut down

  

Over 140 years old…

  

There’s snow on the ground, but basically it was one huge ice sheet underneath

  

Wishing you patience & kindness with all of your weathers

Blessings on the day.

  


Winter, seedlings, ancient dogs, cats, & critter poop.

O Winter…



I’m so glad you were here.

In your gentleness, in your intensity, I’m glad you were here.



Your quiet beauty touches me so



And with the weather being what it’s been, I see you disappearing.

People are looking forward to Spring.

I will look forward to your return after the warm seasons.



This past Sunday, the warming weather & light brings on the seedlings



Well, that and the propane heater…



Many, many babies!



even some of the onions have begun to peek out of the soil.



Each week, more seeding is done.

About 40 trays this past Sunday





Including 8 trays of Spinach

The Spinach seeds remind me of Lupine seeds.

Which I first saw while living in the Mojave Desert.

I’d sit outside with Oni, my cat, sitting on my lap – he’d nap, & I’d collect prickly seeds (in a futile attempt to eradicate them from the yard) while the Lupines, at a certain time of the year, would quietly pop their pods, scattering their speckled seeds.



A little more grey, more flat, & speckled… Would be closer to Lupine. These seeds are Spinach.

Lots and lots of Spinach to come.



This dog is ancient.

His name is Bentley.

Who is nearly 100 or more in dog years. He loves his walks, especially in Winter, and dog biscuits.



We usually walk side by side in a fast clip, but since I had my phone/camera that day, I was lagging behind



And when I stopped to snap a photo, he stopped & looked back, as if to say: what the hell are you doing it’s walk time



Very serious, joyful business: walks.

He rolls & lays in the snow

Which always makes me laugh out loud in sympathetic joy



he sticks close as I peel off my coat & scarf… Then he gets a couple small biscuits 



This is the face after cookies, but showing his “cute ears face” because I’m a sucker, & he’s ancient, and to sort of quote Marcel the Shell, “it’s all about snoozin’ & treats” & he knows I’ll give him one more.



Champion napper.





Today I got to see Sophie & Izzy

(Photos by Jenny from the previous week)

Sophie is beautiful, no matter how ridiculous…

& Izzy wary & awakened by Sophie who may want to usurp the kitty bed…



It felt so good to be outside today



Walking a path back & forth, back & forth



Stacking wood

One of my favorite activities



Home was found

With two entry/exit ways burrowed into the snow bank



And poop

Keeping the inside tidy…



It was towards the middle top of this image…

I wrecked somebody’s bathroom.



The forsythia buds are swelling.

Farewell Winter. Thank you, I love you, please come back in October or November for another long visit…?