Tuesday, July 31, 2007


To be said at the front door on the eve of Lughnasadh

Lady of the land, open the door,
Lord of the forest, come you in.
Let there be welcome to the bountiful compassion,
Let there be welcome to the Autumn of the year.
In fruit and grain you are traveling,
In ferment and bread you will arrive.
May the blessed time of Lughnasadh
Nourish the soul of all beings,
Bringing love and healing of all hurts.
From the heights to the depths,
From the depths to the heights,
To the wounds of every soul.

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The last of oriental lilies are starting to bloom. This one is absolutley, blindingly white with a lighter green foliage. This particular one is as tall as me this year. Taller, actually. Very impressive.

I wanted to get some shots before the hot weather hits later this week and they get totally toasted.


I mentioned in my earlier entry that I’ve seldom felt the sacred inside a building. It’s happened a few times, usually around Christmas. The church mom attends, and where my name still is registered as a member, is a beautiful, old building. It has the stone, the windows, the organ, everything you’d expect from a sanctuary. But, it doesn’t “move” me.

I’ve never visited one of the old European Cathedrals. And I’ll be honest. If I did, I’m not sure if my sense of wonder would be spiritual or sheer amazement over what determined craftsmen could create with T square, plumb line, hammers, chisels, and time.

Perhaps it’s because I’m not the most social person on the planet. And neither side of my family is exactly noted for reaching out socially. And I think I got a double dose from both sides. (rueful shrug) More than a few of my relatives have not only marched to a different drummer, they never made it to the parade.

The church started as the people. Where ever the believers were, that was where the church could be found. Buildings were a place of shelter, a place where the church could meet, share food and fellowship. Somehow the definition changed. The church became the building and being physically present proved you were a loyal member. And somehow, not reliably planting your seat in a pew at the defined times proved that you weren’t.

There was a period starting during the great, near forced conversions in Western Europe, up until the early 1800’s in some places where you came to church or paid a fine, or worse. It was the late 1600’s before a head of the house could hold a prayer meeting in his own house without the local sheriff making an appearance. And teachings that were meant to liberate the soul became tools to enslave not only our bodies, but our spirits.

The Puritans in New England certainly required attendance. You came or you better have a good reason for not being there. It wasn’t enough to believe, you had to be seen to believe. And Who was it Who said that it was better to pray in private than on the street corners?

I was raised too good a Protestant to believe that any mortal can stand between my soul and the source of Creation. And perhaps, inadvertently, too good a heretic to believe that there is only one path to that source. And perhaps, I find as much joy in the journey as in the destination. May be life is a series of destinations. You no sooner reach one that you realize it's a way station and there's another one just over the horizon.

Tonight is the eve of Lughnasa. The beginning of Celtic Autumn. The season of the harvest, of gathering in, of preparation for the dark time of the year. But, even as the days grow shorter and the time of cold and want comes for many, we know the light will return. It’s a promise, you see.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


As I was getting ready to get out of the car after going to the store this morning I spotted a hummingbird checking out out the flowers near the house. Ended up checking out the fire cracker fuschia. They like fuschia's and gladiolas in our yard. It was one of the larger hummers that lives in the area year round.

And while I was taking pictures a pair of tiny hummers spent a few moments playing tag in the dogwood. One even perched for a few seconds, then took off following the other to the yard across the street. There are chickadees calling back and forth on and off all day this summer. This is new. In the mornings you can hear a woodpecker on the hill once in awhile. A small flight of geese flew overhead on the way from the McKenzie to the Willamette just south of here.

I don't get to church very often. It's a rare thing for me to sense the sacred when I'm inside a building. Standing in the middle of our flowers watching the tiny hummers flit back and forth for a few moments was about as sacred as it gets.


I'm not sure how long it's been since I posted this shot from 2003. Mid August, the grass is gone and we've just planted the first lavender. It's those little plants in the middle of the bark mulch.

And where we are now.

Looking towards the south. We have blue oat grass, a little white alyssum to the left, the bloomed out but still green ground cover geranimus to the right, the remaining lavender, the bumbles love it so we'll wait to trim it even if it'sbeginning to be past it's prime.

Looking towards the house, to the east. The yellow and pale pink potentilla, ground cover strawberries, cone flowers and volunteer lavenders with lilies, lilies in the back ground. Given time and a few generations ground cover strawberries start acting like regular strawberries, only with smaller berries. They taste really good, even if they are smaller than the others. And the red blossoms are beautiful.

Our three cone flowers. We've had the lavender ones for several years. And they've been in various spots in the yard. I think this will be the final home for awhile. Got the yellow ones last year and the little burgandy one this spring. Interesting how mother nature is a wonderful color coordinator. I can hardly wait until the little burgandy gets a few years to develop. The color combination will be spectacular.

And another shot of the most spectacular, extravagant flowers we have in our yard right now. Those stargazer lilies. I  can't imagine actually using these colors in combination to decorate anything. One wall in room perhaps. Any more would be overwhelming.


Saturday, July 28, 2007


I've noticed that the black eyed susans like to follow the sun. We live on the east side of a hill so the last light sets behind the hill. When you look out the windows at night the susans appear to be looking towards the house. A little like little kids who'd like to come in and visit for awhile. Ok, I have an over active imagination. So sue me. :-)

Another star gazer shot. This is after this corner had been watered this afternoon. We have three of them, this is the third  and most spectacular year.


Ok, mom, where are the feathers?


The stargazer lilies started to open this week. They're quite close to the front steps so you can smell their heady scent even on a cool morning.

White, several shades of pink, greens and burnt orange. I'm not sure the color combination would work anywhere but here. This leaves the white Casablancas at the last to bloom. And they're as tall as me this year.

Funny, the lily buds look just like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. I keep expecting to hear a burp as I go by. LOL

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


This is from my favorite starry website, Astronomy Picture of the Day. This is an enhanced composite shot of a cluster of galaxies in the constellation Hercules. The majority of the cluster is approximately 500 million lightyears away and 4 million light years across. When the light from many of these stars started for earth there wasn't much life on the land but the oceans were crowded with corals, molluscs, trilobites and the like. No fish, no insects, a very different earth.

This shot has so many different, wonderful things to see I broke it down into four setions. Please bear with me.

This section is great for the two spirals that appear to be merging. Hard to tell if they are, or if one is just behind the other. Our galaxy and Andromeda might look like they were merging from that far away.

Loads of spiral galaxies in various poses. And what looks like a giant yin/yang symbol in the cosmos. Oh, and the gem of a face on spiral near the yin/yang.

Upper left hand corner, two more that may be merging or just look that way because they are reletively close together. And what looks like a barred galaxy. If it's a spiral, the arms are very faint.

And the last quarter. A lot of galaxies. The one large one that is either a globular galaxy or one that tried to become a spiral and didn't make it. The bright blues in this enhanced shot are areas of star birth. So many stars, so many possibilities.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


A shot of the little hidcote lavender combinded with a succulent ground cover that we planted last fall. It seems very happy in its new home. It must be, it's growing by leaps and bounds. And we're looking forward to being able to pick some of it up and move it to other spots.

The same shot with a texture effect added. Makes it look almost three D. Very pretty.


I didn't spot the lady bug until after I downloaded the picture from my camera. Yes, it's more than a little fuzzy, but I took this little piece straight out of the larger shot without down sizing first. I didn't want to lose my lady.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Imagine if you could really see something like this through your window when you turn off the lights. The poem is another of those wonderful haikus. The picture is from the Hubble Telescope archives. It's a supernova remnant in Cassieopeia. The information on the website didn't specify if the shot was enhanced or how. If it is the natural colors then rainbows don't just happen on earth.

Monday, July 9, 2007


Thanks for the suggestion, Cin. This is the bottom of that bread bowl. I can definitely make out the Stoneware Co. part. The first name "looks" like Nelsenn, Nelstenn, something like that. Has anyone seen anything like this?


The picture is from my favorite astronomy website. The galaxy cataloged under NGC 1365. The poem is from The Little Book of Zen. The image this poem creates is so beautiful. Imagine, "drinking" stars.


I took a vacation day today so we could do some extra things this weekend. And got to do most of them. We surprised ourselves and got both arbors in this morning. Happy dances all around. The white blur on the side is the shasta daisies. Of course I was taking this shot about 11:30 in full sun so what can you expect? So now we can get that back area on the south side cleaned up. If we can get it cultivated, the odd blocks moved out and bark down that will be a big improvement. And a good start on next year.

We  did make it up to the rose gardens yesterday and found what we wanted. This is a shot from the Heirloom Roses website.

It's a Cecile Brunner. It comes either as a shrub rose or an enthusiastic climber. A very enthusiastic climber.It's going on the north (house) side of the arbor. It's supposed to reach its full size within three years. And it's supposed to bloom all season. Full size means it will go over the arbor and the trellis. there is a yellow climber on the other side. So between the two roses the arbor and trellis to should make a nice privacy screen for the back.

Happy dance, happy dance. :-)

Saturday, July 7, 2007


This is my favorite bowl for making bread.

Kind of homely isn't it? It was my grandmothers and she probably got it from her mother. How old is it? Darned if I know. It's older than I am, anyway.

It's solid, it's got thick walls, the bottom is flat so you can start kneading while the dough is still in the bowl, and it holds the warmth while the dough rises. It's an old friend and there isn't a glitzy atom in it. Kind of like me, actually. The non glitzy part at least.

There is a company name on the bottom but I haven't been able to make out what it is.

Has anyone seen stoneware like this?


We started changing the yard back in 2003. Early August  actually. Sheesh, the fourth anniversary of this roller coaster ride is almost here. Anyway, ever since we started mom has wanted to put an arbor SOMEWHERE IN THIS YARD, DARN IT.

And we finally did it. Hands clapping, assorted sounds of joy. Smiles all around.

Anyway, getting that puppy where she ought to be required a little creativity. There used to be a gate in that open space. The posts are sunk in concrete, they aren't going anywhere and they aren't parallel. It took a little finageling, but it's in. The stones in the center will look better when some steppables have been planted to fill in the spaces. There will be a rambler rose planted between the arbor and the house. This will cover a multitude of peeling red wood stain sins. We've gotten a couple of slightly smaller trellises to match these

They are a little shorter than these two, but the same style. There will be one on each side of the arbor. There's a yellow climbing rose on the side away from the house. It can climb the trellis or join the rambler on the arbor.

Gee, mom we did it. Took a week and some imagination, but we done did it. (please excuse the grammar)

Thursday, July 5, 2007


One of the oldest  and best of the Haikus was written Matsuo Basho in the seventeenth century. The translation closest to the Japanese runs something like;

Old dark pond

        Jumping frog,


The poems that work the best describe something that you are familiar with. If you've seen old, sun dappled ponds surrounded with mossy rocks and nodding ferns you can see and "hear" the poem. And I do mean "see and hear" the poem


Bandit loves to lay on her back. She is the first cat I've every seen that does this. Of course when she does it, she gets more attention. So hey go with what works.

She does look like she's smiling, doesn't she?

We generally eat in the living room. Nice comfortable recliners, buffet style menu. Ten or fifteen minutes after the silver ware quits hitting the plates the cats start to show up. They try to act casual, but the message starts to come through louder and louder. "When's dinner.?"

Just hangin' around. Acting casual. No hurry. Are you heading for the kitchen any time soon?

Sunday, July 1, 2007


One good thing about moving the bookcases is that you find little treasures you forgot you had. This is from a little volume on Zen that has a section of haikus. So many of these little poems don't really travel well between cultures. But, some do.

Where there are humans

     You will find flies,

          And Bhuddas.

                    Kobayashi Issa


Flowers in the planter barrel.


One of our early lilies.