Sunday, August 29, 2010

When it rains, it pours zucchini's.

Last year we had a total fail crop of Zucch's, so of course this year we are bombarded. AND, of course, they are all ready at the same time. Note to self: stagger planting. But the fact is, the growing season is so short around here that you really just can't do much staggering. Unless, perhaps, with the help of a nice bottle of tequila. Ahem. As of right now, I have 4 zucchini's in my house. That doesn't sound too hard to manage, right? ... but these are not the kind you would find in the store. You see, I've had a terrorist attack of grass that obscures everything, and so these 4 'chini's are 10 - 14 inches long, and, I kid you not, one is FIVE inches in diameter.

And so I've been being far more vigilant about hunting out the boogers, and there are 8 more in the garden ready to go. These ones are at least not past your standard supermarket size... yet. And I love the suckers, fried up in butter and eggs, grated and mixed with bread crumbs and eggs to make patties, (don't forget, we get a dozen eggs a day up here on hurricane knob), roasted in the oven with sliced onion, tomatoes from the garden, drizzled with olive oil and dashed with salt and pepper... but seriously, I can't keep up. And I can't give 'em away either, 'cause everyone else with a garden ( and that's a lot of folks up here) has the same problem. You can't freeze them, and maybe you could dry them like apricots but honestly that sounds kinda grody. And what would you DO with dried zucchini anyway?

Well, while I work on this dilemna, my investigation has continued into the mysterious garden visitor and sampler / destroyer of catnip. I collected several tufts of fur which I could immediately tell did not belong to Pheonix, for every single one of his furs has 4 stripes of color, black at the tip, white at the body, some cream and brown in between. If I had a microscope I could, very gently of course, collect samples from Miss Q and Genevieve. Inspector Hermitgrrl, the dually talented forensic biologist and detective, solving garden crimes, being flown from New York to Seattle and everywhere in between, bringing answers and closure to botanical lovers everywhere. But, alas.

However, the undamaged portion of the bush has been un- flattening itself, reaching up with the fierce hope of survival inherant in all living things. Which is a dang good thing, not just for the kitties to rejoice, but the BEES. Catnip has these clumps of lavender flowers that, when you look reeeeeeal close, look like clusters of tiny orchids maybe an eigth or even a sixteenth of an inch in height each. And when you look that close, you can see that they are not just lavender, but have spots of black and yellow, smaller than a pin head. Beautiful. And the bees LOVE them, and I love the bees. I haven't seen many this year, which is actually quite terrifying, because I know that bee populations in general are in trouble, and did you know that humans have not found a way to replicate what bees do? Which means, if bees decline, pollination declines, and that means food supplies for not just us but all critters decline. And obviously, if food supplies dwindle, who knows what could happen? Famine? Wars over food? I tell ya, thoughts like that are a lot scarier than wondering what strange creature was in my garden the other night. I really think this info should be making headlines across the globe- which is funny, 'cause I can't stand to read the news anymore.

'Course, living in a red state doesn't help my desire to pick up a newspaper, though I guess most people get their news online or (shudder) television these days. Now, dangit, I hate to leave things on a negative note; that makes me just as bad as the papers! So, let's see... There is a beautiful lightning storm right now, blessedly cooling my house from 90 degrees to 78 and dropping! Yay! And I harvested a bunch of Larkspur and lettuce seeds today. I love saving my own seeds, in fact, every productive corn stalk and pea vine in my garden I grew from dried kernals and peas I saved last year! How cool is that!!! I also get fresh seeds, too, wouldn't want to end up with some kinda inbred pea and corn famine! And I have 33 zinnias blooming now; red, purple, five shades of pink, cream... gorgeous!

So, sorry about all the busy bee business, HEEHEE I had to write that, think of pretty flowers!!!! Gather wildflowers out on a walk, I did the other day and it's as lovely a bouqet as you could buy at any store.

Happiness to all, Hermitgrrl.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Mystery of the Catnip Bush

It was a dark and stormy night... just kidding! Actually it was a beautiful moonlit night yesterday, and I went and played with my kitties in it. I also slacked and left my garden gate open (doh!). When I went for my usual garden check of the day, I immediately noticed the catnip bush. The thing is huge, easily five feet wide and 4 feet tall, beautiful, lush, thick. But today, it was... broken. Beaten and broken and trampled down, like maybe a deer thought it would be a nice place to sleep. However, if it had been a deer, there would have been a lot of feasting taking place as well (boogers). The only thing touched was this bush, and by the size of the wreckage it had to be something dog sized. At least. My cats, sure they nibble here and there, but there is no way they could have caused this level of destruction.

LOL in fact right now Genevieve is horking down on the plate of leaves I trimmed from all the broken branches and set out to dry to save. 'Nother side note ( you know by now I'm famous for my digressions) the shop I'm getting my new tires from has an office kitty. I would never have expected these two gruff, burly, grease covered guys to have an office cat, but this orange tom is the most beat up scruffy thing I've seen so maybe they all just fit together. And I mean that in a nice way!! And I love love love it when anyone is a cat lover, obviously, but for some reason it seems even more touching when it's burly men. So when I get my tires I'm going to bring a little bag of catnip for their kitty- he might not be into it, some cats are, some are not, but what the hey. Lol just hope they don't think I'm bringing them a bag of pot or something hahaha!!! That would be funny!

OK, so back to my poor mangled bush. It was broken, obviously slept in or rolled in or both. Now, all 4 dogs up here on hurricane knob, as we call it (windy season is a beeyatch I tell ya!) have been in the garden, and never have taken any interest in the catnip. Besides, they are in at night. So it wasn't dogs, because it would have happened long before this. And it wasn't a deer, because a deer would have eaten a lot of other things, or maybe even left poo to rub it in my face that haha neener neener we got in your garden! So... what was it? Honestly, that kind of damage... to big for even a bobcat. So maybe there is some other animal that likes catnip? Maybe a javelina? I cannot imagine that a cougar was that close to my house, though a bear did walk right by my front door before. And thus I am completely baffled. A bonafide mystery right in my own back yard. Well, front yard, but that's not how the saying goes. Perhaps I shall google catnip and see if animals other than felines love it. Still, though, the thought that something as big as a dog was out there... creepy. But don't worry, Inspector Hermitgrrl will be on the case.

OOOH, an update on a previous subject: The beautiful yet terrifying caterpillar gave me crazy nightmares. It had also stopped moving and I was horrified that I might have killed it. Maybe captivity was no good for it, and even if they scare me it doesn't mean I want them to DIE. For both our sakes it had to leave the premises. So I carefully placed the twig it was hanging from in a safe (read: I never go there) part of the garden. Two days later I went to look and see if it's poor shriveled corpse was there, or if maybe, hopefully, it had woken from it's stupor and wandered off along it's way to continue nom nomming my garden. And guess what. omg the excitement. THERE WAS A BEAUTIFUL CHRYSALIS!!!!!!!!!! YAY! Yes photo documentation is underway and no Hermitgrrl still has not got her rear in gear to upload photos. I have like 600!!!!! That's a lot of work, ya know. Plus I lost my favorite photo application when my hard drive crashed last year. Am I the best excuse maker or what? Actually, nope. Trying to only say nice things about myself these days. "I am a busy woman and I will get to it when I can." So there. Heehee ;)

Love to all, Hermitgrrl of the Mountains.

Friday, August 20, 2010

zombies vs. caterpillars

I, the girl who finds caterpillars second in terror only to zombies, am now not only hosting but feeding one. That's right. Grilling my brains upon the barbie, served with a side of corn. Okay ewwwwww that grossed even me out. I found a caterpillar in my garden yesterday that is- dare I say it? I suppose I must; it is beautiful. Yes the slacker nature paparazzi took pics and no she has not uploaded them. But slacker nature girl is HOSTING A CATERPILLAR. IN HER OWN HOME. Shudder. Even through it's beauty it grosses me out. Or should I say, even through my shallow phobia it's beauty shines?

Well. I believe it to be a swallowtail larvae eeeew even that word grosses me out. (Tangent: this guy in highschool called me larvae. Ah the joys of youthful kindness. Ahem. Back to the scoop.) Let us call it a swallowtail baby. Yes, much better. The baby butterfly is about 3 inches long and maybe... 1/3 inch in diameter? (I will stop mentioning this but one last time I must say that even writing this causes me to shudder ew ew ew yuck ok I done now.) So this baby is vividly striped black and green, with every other black stripe bearing orange triangles. And it has a penchant for dill. That's where I found it; it had devoured an entire stalk and was eyeballing another close by. I had just settled the lizard into my garden- did I mention the lizard I created a temporary terrarium for?- and when I saw this baby butterfly I found my next occupant.

Seriously, I couldn't leave it in the garden. Because then it would have went about its merry business of life and not only eaten forbidden fruits but it most likely would be hidden, never to be seen again. Which means, scary cater- er, baby butterfly hiding in my garden. Waiting to jump out at me and eat my brains o m g. Okay, breathe. And I couldn't fling it over the fence like I do when finding grubs and screaming 'cause that'd be very rude and possibly harmful to the poor nasty baby. Grubs are bad. Worms are good, I relocate them gently. Wow, I'm like a total insect racist.

Anyway, we shall see what this baby grows into and whether or not it will escape it's confines and eat my brains while I sleep. I'll let you know. Or, If I don't, call the zombie squad and have my town quarantined. Either way, it should be interesting.

Monday, August 16, 2010


P.S. the P being "pre" instead of "post": "john" is a pseudonym. I swear.

I've been thinking about my past today. It's hard for me, for some reason I don't remember much. I've heard that some people remember the past better than others, some live in the now, and some cannot think about anything but the future, and so miss the now.

Random tangent: did you know you can actually hear shooting stars? Meteorites really, and I saw and heard one. Sounded like a jet- not a plane, a jet. I have pretty decent hearing; the other day a truck pulled up our driveway, I did not see it, but I knew it was a truck by sound and I knew when it had to reverse because of our gate; I could hear the change in engine sound.

Anyhoo, so I found some journals from when I was 22. I was living in an RV for 200 dollars a month, that was on such a slanted hill that you could not put a glass of water on the table because it would slide off. The inside fridge didn't work, so there was a mini frat kid type fridge outside. Heck, at least I had electricity. Plumbing, not so much. No oven or stove- microwave and barbecue were my means of cooking. And I had a car thank goodness; my old Camero Z28. Man I loved that thing. And I had a job- good for me. At one point I went 8 months working six days a week, no 2 day weekends, no vacations, but I'm not saying that to complain. It's just interesting to me how I lived nearly ten years ago. Lol hope I'm not boring anyone who reads this. I don't really even know what the point of this story is. I think it's for me, to remember and record the past. I don't know if I was happy, but I think it was an adventure for sure.

The next place I rented, the first real apartment I ever had, was $650 a month for a teeny tiny rat hole with mildewed curtains and a 9 by 10 foot bedroom. Across the street was a bar/restaurant that dumped all their glass bottles in the metal dumpster at 1am. Ever so restful- funny thing is, by day I delivered their mail. This time I didn't have a car- I sold my dying Camero to a guy for 1 dollar, because he said he would bring it back to life and appreciate it. Actually, he dumped it in gangville where it was stripped, towed, and impounded, costing me over a thousand bucks because tho he promised to take care of the paperwork because of the sweet 1 dollar deal, but he never actually went to the DMV, so it was still in my name.

So for 7 ish months I walked to work, luckily it was close enough to do so. Lol one time I stopped at a stop sign. On foot. Talk about having the rules drilled into you good. Heck, I was a professional driver with no personal vehicle. That is dang funny. But that apartment, it's hard to even describe the accessories. The "kitchen" was about 4 by 9 feet and I swear that sink came from 1950. Again, I'm honestly not complaining, just trying to piece together my past. The place also came with a small school desk, ones you can find by the millions in high schools across the country. At least, back in 1996, lol I haven't seen the inside of a HS since then, maybe they've upgraded the standard desk. This desk was sans chair, but I had a funky one from the thrift store, and I found a nook in the bedroom to set up my computer. The tiny living room also hosted the fridge; the kitchen was way too small to hold one. Funnily, the bathroom was big and modern and new. And you could hear every word of the people in the adjoining apartment, which rather embarrassed me whenever I, ahem, had to use it. (They were rather horrid to their children, which I could also hear through that wall.)

I was fairly poor then; John didn't have a job half the time. I remember once, when I only had one pair of shoes with a hole in the toe and 2 dollars in my wallet, and John gave 20 dollars to our friend. He'd give anyone the shirt off his back, which is honorable, but I wished that, as the fiance, I'd come first. Back then, I kept track of every cent, hell, I still have the records. They are kinda funny and kinda fascinating, a kind of portrait of back then. And back then, my records proved that I covered Johns ass. Sorry, trying to tell my story straight with little bitterness. But here's an example, straight from said records:

Monday April 7 2003
$298.00 cash
-$100 to bank
$198.00 (bank:-$66.85+$100=$33.15)
-$18.00 me n John gas (this was obviously a couple years later, when we had a car again) [john $9.00]
-$4.18 me and john hs(have no idea what hs stands for lol) [john 2.09]
-$37.80 me n john bookcase [john $18.90]
-$3.71 me n john hs [john $1.85]

Tuesday april 8th
-$65.00 jeep tow

Wednesday april 9th
-$2.90 taco bell (lol)
-$17.00 me n john laundry [john 8.50]
-$8.00 to john
-$10.00 me n john grocery [john $5.00]

Etc. I have books and books of this stuff. It really pissed John off that, in his words, "he had a tab". He always said he'd do for me what I did for him, monetarily, but in 8 years never proved that point. In the end, I figured as long as he kept the house clean and ran the errands, he could just stay unemployed. I'd be the bread winner, he'd be the stay at home hubby. I'd given up on having an equally employed partner long before. Heck, I loved him. He was still my best friend, though he never put me before his other friends.

I applogize. I wanted this to be a happy, cheerful, uplifting blog when I started it, but I want to be real now. All the bad things I've gone through this year have changed me. It's hard to put up a false front. I want to be honest, and life certainly has it's downs as well as ups. There is good that has come out of these latest downs, though. Family. Family that I don't feel that I ever really appreciated before has been here for me. My god, the love I feel for my grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, parents, cousins, friends even... it's overwhelming. Like I didn't even realize how much love existed that was aimed at me. I'm a lucky SOB to say the least. I know that. And that knowledge makes me feel guilty for many a reason. Like how dare I feel sad when I have all these wonderful people? I have a car, a home, food, and most of all, love. Love that, by the way, I'd like to return three fold. Huge hugs to everyone. And please pardon my reminiscences, I'm trying to figure out life. And speaking of life, thank you god, goddess, or whatever great spirit or divinity there is for this grey day. It's been so dang hot lately, 90 degrees usually, and my AC is busted. It is a pleasant 79 now and I am LOVIN' it.

I should go enjoy my garden, the zinnias are finally blooming and heehee in my windowsill a jalepeno is growing! Life moves forward. And I will, too. Just might be a longer journey than I expected in this fast paced world.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

this life

Nothing interesting to post, I'm afraid. No pretty pictures. A lil' bit o' news. Picked the classes I'm going to take this fall: Biology and math. Got a flat tire when I was off roading the other day, and I was worried I'd torn the tire bad from a sharp stick or something, but it turned out to be a nail- a nail so long it pierced my tire twice! An entry and exit wound. I'm bummed to admit that it took me almost 40 minutes to change my tire. I used to be able to do it in 15 mins or less.. but its been a few years since I've changed a tire. That's a good excuse, right? Plus I broke a nail and it bled like crazy so I think I earned my 40 mins. And hey, at least I have a real spare, not one of those mickey mouse tiny things I had for my Camaro.

Praying for rain; for some reason this curve of mountain ridge gets skipped all the time. I could really go for some cool weather- cool meaning low 70's.

Life is safe up here on the mountain, but I've had some pretty bad anxiety attacks lately. My peeps, kitties included, and my garden, nature, and the stars help a lot. Saw an awesome shooting star last night. Should have wished on it: that everyone I love be happy. Lol well there's always 11:11 o'clock for wishes too, and you can pray whenever you want so I'd just like to wish everyone the fullest life of goodness this world has to offer. 'Kay, that grammar/ sentence seems wrong somehow, but ill be in school in a couple weeks; I'll worry about it then :)

Photos will be along SOMEDAY... 'till then, love to all.