Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Sunday, June 23, 2013


CooI it is summer.  I love summer.  I am happy and feeling good.  My back is a deep mahogany, colored and darkened from hours weeding the veggie garden.  All I can say is  we have very fertile soil.  All that work tilling composted chicken manure and yard/kitchen compost into the gardens.  The weeds are thick and luscious.  The big bunny has been hanging around noshing his way through the tilled and newly sprouted weed garden.  I am planning on using an herbicide to knock back the weeds before the garden making begins.  This next week I will cut the green bamboo down in the soon to be garden, and then make a couple of applications of herbicide the area so that when the garden making begins the space will be easier to work with.  We have very very fertile soil.  I guess it might sound like a lot of work, but really, I have a kitchen compost maker and a yard compost pile.  I would produce more usable compost quicker if I turned it.  But I don't and yet at least once a year I can harvest compost for the gardens and use almost no added fertilizer or pesticide products.  Now in another month I am singing a different tune.  I am planning on using a liquid fertilizer on all the gardens in the yard this week.  Not a heavy application, no just a little shot of nutrition to keep young growing healthy plants healthy.  I will continue to spread compost as it is available during the year, but life is not spent entirely in the garden. " A library and a small piece of land to have a garden makes a happy life."  I am not sure who said that or something close to it, but it is one of my favorite sayings, and has been my entire life.  I used to have a Sunday comic from the paper about that saying, and I loved it.  I have no idea where I put that.  Maybe I will find it again sometime, maybe.

I weed about 3 - 6 feet wide in the garden and then I rake up leaves and pine straw from the front yard and take it back composting it deep and thick in the garden.  The plants seem to like it so far.  It has been raining everyday, and so far that has been helping and a good thing.  That is one of the reasons I am planning on fertilizing.  The gardens are getting so much water and still many, many hours of sunshine each day.  I think some of the veggie garden gets up to 12 hours of sunlight each day.  Other parts of the garden may only be getting 6-8 hours of sunlight each day.  So lots of sun and lots of rain, the plants are a little stressed from so much growth so I am trying to get the veggie garden weeded and mulched before any fertilizer applications.  The weeds don't need any help at all.  My gardens look happy and maybe that is just me.  But summer means vacations and reading and travel and so we are scheduling our summer/fall calendar.

We will take the boat over to the east coast to visit Hobbi who lives in Holly Hills, with her hubby, Col. Bill.  It will be fun to watch fire works from the boat.  Then Christopher will be here for a couple of weeks and then we will be heading up the Eastern Seaboard to visit friends and to spend some time with the grandsons.  While we are in the NJ/NY area Vicki will fly in and meet me at the airport and we will fly to England and Scotland for a couple weeks.  We are going to take it slow visiting London, Bath, Avery, Castle Comb, Stone Henge, Edinburgh and Glenngary in Scotland.  If it works out we will get to see Hadrian's  wall.  That is a lot to do, but some of those places are all together on one tour out of Bath, Max's Tours.  It is going to be wonderful.  Vicki and I have planned on this for years.  It is coming true this year when I am feeling strong and healthy and physically capable of walking, walking, walking, climbing, running, walking and more walking.  If you go to Scotland from England on a train, usually running is involved, from previous experiences, and nothing in Scotland is flat, so there is lots of climbing, and there is so much for Vicki and I to see and time to walk and talk together, it will be wonderful.

After I get back from my 2 week jaunt across the pond I will meet up with Bug in NY and we are hoping to drive up to CT for a couple of days to visit Susan and Jim and then maybe, maybe somewhere in all this coming and going to NY I want to go to the Rose Planetarium at the NY Museum of Natural History.  This is the planetarium that my favorite Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson.  By the way, if that man ran for the presidency, I would send him a dollar and put a sign in my yard and vote for him.  Anyway, I have always wanted to go to the museum and the Rose Planetarium.  My Mother grew up in NY and spent many Saturdays of her life at the museum.  So, I guess if I had a bucket list, this would be on it.  Like my secret garden.  But instead of having a bucket list, I prefer to just go ahead and live the opportunities that I am able to find.  So after we get back from the Eastern Seaboard, and after Labor Day and the kids across the country are back in school, Bug and I are going to ride the black cherry bike with the trailer up to Milwaukee to the Harley Plant.  It is the 110th anniversary of Harley.  We will come home stopping at other biker museums and points of interest that we find on our way.  That should put us back home for late September where we will stay for a while, except for Biketoberfest and maybe a music festival that draws our attention.

We have been working so hard here at the house.  I weed the veggie garden and take a couple of breaks during the morning picking up some of the other needed garden tasks.  These are usually way more fun then weeding, so I enjoy the break.  Then we take a break and do a little work around the house, or laundry, etc. those little things we all must do, and have something to eat.  Then back outside to work in the barn.  I do a little work in the cleaning and organizing of the barn, but right now I am busy reupholstering my Mother's couch.  I have no idea if this was her couch first or if my grandmother had it before her.  But as I am redoing it I have found no less then 7 layers of material.  A hideous pink that was the last material used.  I don't even know what kind of man made material it is.  Ugh, just gave me the willies.  Below that was the late 70s harvest gold/orange/brown/rust burlap.  Yep, burlap.  It is beautiful burlap, soft compared to what you normally think of as burlap.  And it was strong and stood up well to lots of grubby children crawling and tumbling over it, but it was still burlap.  I remember she had got it for a really good deal.  My mother could turn burlap into an attractive late 1970s sofa for pennies and as I moved backward into time removing layer upon layer I realized how wonderful this was.  Here was my Mother and quite possibly my grandmother's handiness.  They could come up with material, some of it quite beautiful, much of it quite trendy and dated, but it was quality material.  And I remember my Mother doing all the labor of re upholstery and sewing of cushions herself, and my grandmother was the same cut of cloth, and her was they handiwork.  Nails hammered in, staples hidden in material.  I carefully put as much of the layers back in place, even including the hideous pink faux pax, and started stapling and hammering, measuring and cutting, stacking and organizing material, thread, Velcro, my first layer in the history of this sofa.  It is a simple, but very heavy maple couch.  Each arm rest is carved maple and the vertical support that holds up the arm rest has 3 carved maple leaves.  I tried to look it up on the Internet but could not find it, and really it doesn't matter.  I love this couch because it is part of my entire life.  Now it is in my hands to live with it and take care of it.  Adding my layer or layers and then passing it on to the next person who loves it.  The carpet in the living room is blue.  I have a geometric carpet on top of that one.  The top carpet is blues, browns and creams so I am doing the couch in a grayish blue brushed denim for the underside and a washed denim blue for the cushions.  The back cushion will have the washed denim on the front and sides and the grayish blue on the back.  Same as the cushions on the couch, one side of each color.  So why am I using two colors?  Well the gray material was $1.50 yard.  It also grabs other materials so I thought as a back for the cushions etc., this is a win-win for me.  The washed denim is that comfortable tough and soft combination.  I am using antiqued daisy nail heads and the colors look great against the maple wood.  I hope to finish it this coming week. 

Friday we were out and working in the yard and barn when we had to run a few errands to complete projects.  The rain came in and we spent a quiet Summer Solstice with a glass of wine and a plate of cheese and crackers.  Saturday dawned hot and humid and promising of another afternoon of rain.  So I worked weeding in the garden and Bug tried to get rid of the junk on my computer slowing it down and causing it to stutter and freeze.  After a couple hours of that he was ready to get out of the house.  I was ready to get out of garden.  I now sweat.  Not just perspire, no, I have gone from powder dry to sweating like a horse.  Pigs, don't sweat, they wallow (that's for you Jan), but horses sweat, and now, well, so do I.  But enough sweating and we showered, jumped in the toy and headed to town.  Amanda and Falcon had given us a gift certificate for our wedding to Lofty Pursuits.  They also made a donation in our name to the Jefferson County Humane Shelter.  A perfect present!!!  Anyway, so we made a point this time to go to Lofty Pursuits, rather then it being another stop on our list.  It is a perfect place.  A toy store, an old fashioned ice cream store with knowledgeable soda jerks and ice cream flavors like "zagnut", "chocolate chile", and "Guinness".  Then on top of all this childhood joy there are these two guys making hard candy, the kind where they mold the different colors and stretch it out to make a design inside each little piece of candy.  The people swarmed in and out, watching the candy making, standing in line for ice cream sundaes in glass bowls and leaving the kids to wander the few shelves of toys to entertain themselves. 
Bug had never been to Market Square.  I guess mostly because we do not normally go into town on the weekends.  We usually do our running into town during the week when most of the population is at work.  We left the toy/ice cream shop and wandered around market square.  There is a shoe repair shop.  We both have boots that need a little TLC at a shoe cobbler.  There is a dry cleaner, Chinese food, Cuban food, French food, a liquor store and cigar humidor.  An antique store that completely overwhelms me, and of course, the beautiful market square farmer's market on Saturday's.  This shopping area also has entertainment most Saturdays.  It might be a dance school recital or martial arts demonstration, or maybe kids doing gymnastics.  We noshed for lunch at Gordo's Cuban cuisine then returned for ice cream.  We visited Goodwill's and then headed south to Wakulla County.  We are still looking for a place down there.  We have a  spot we can take one of the campers to, but we are looking around to see if there is something else there.  We are getting to know the area down there better and it is such a lovely place to take a ride.  We were riding home when we came around a corner and there stood two beautiful female turkeys, tall and regal with shimmering bronze feathers.  Riding down around St. Marks we had seen lots of egrets and herons and other water birds, but these turkeys were so unexpected and wonderful.  Not much further down the road then a large black creature lumbered out of the woods and stood up on the side of the road.  It was a Florida Black Bear.  I have lived here my whole life and have never ever seen one of these in the wild.  It loped across Hwy 98 and disappeared into the woods on the other side of the road before we could get a photo on the phone.  But that is okay, sometimes trying to save a moment you can loose it.  And I would not want to loose my first ever time to see a beautiful black,  shiny, huge Florida black bear.  His bear face seemed so foreign to me as he turned to face the car.  And yet, it was real and perfect.  Ah nature!

This morning we got up early and got on the black cherry Harley and headed north.  We took back ways over to Lake Park.  Lake Park is where Bug was living when we met.  We cruised along the mostly vacant roads, swerving along this curve and then the next.  Up and down the gentle hills that roll in the land where Florida and Georgia meet. Swamps and streams, cypress trees in the low areas and hills of hardwoods all alive and deep green of summer.  The sounds of frogs and insects blare out as we slip through the cool wet areas and then the songs of meadow and forest birds as the sunshine peeps through.  It was a beautiful ride.  We visited some of Bug's old hang outs and enjoyed time out just being together.  When we were having wings at the Da Ragen Cajun we saw a radar glowing yellow, red and orange.  So we put on our rain coats and headed home.  We drove most of way home in rain.  We have a windshield and other protection, but it is a small windshield, great for warm weather, not so great as a rain screen.  I am in the back, so I also have Bug helping to block the rain, but by the time we got home we were both soaked through.  Ah, nature!!!  It wasn't so much fun for Bug, but we got home, wet, but fine. 

It has been a very busy and positive week, and now a lovely weekend, filled with nature, enjoyable, and well, not as enjoyable.  I have lots of projects lined up this week.  I am ready to be done with my two big projects, weeding the veggie garden and the couch.  I strong and healthy.  My mind is still easier confused, and stress like any decision is still pretty difficult, but I am getting things done, feeling more like myself and feeling stronger in general.  I love summer and I spent the solstice in the yard.  Life is good.  And big bunny, one of the bunnies that originally came from my domestic bunnies is almost like a pet these days.  Beautiful big bunny.  Nature is pretty amazing.


  1. I am so happy that y ou are feeling so well and fulfilled, its great to read of all your adventures, and what you are planning to do- Just feeling how happy you are in your words, well done, and many many more months like that !!

  2. Jack and I have been out of town, so I haven't had an opportunity to read your entry until today. Miss you like crazy, happily envious of your trip with Vicki (I love Max's tours and will always be grateful you put us onto them!), and just so happy things are going well and you and Bug are having fun.
    Love to you both, Jan