Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Thursday, June 1, 2023


As has been noted by some, Mark got the message. He didn't appreciate that phone call, then I drove it home. He is suitably humbled and will do as I have asked, put the cleanup as a priority over lopping saplings. He's a good man, but a deeply stubborn man. Aesthetics mean nothing to him, especially when he's on his own mission. He has always been the garden weeder because he is very adept at it. He can clear weeds about five times faster than I can. Yesterday he weeded the iris in front of the veranda and the plantings in front of the rest of the house. There is a large flower bed in this area, as well. He said he would do that one today. 

Mark has also committed to cutting up and removing as much of the tree as he can with his chainsaw. He said that will be most of the tree and he will do it this weekend. He has client work he needs to do, the 15th of a month is always one deadline or another. He committed to removing the falling down arena fence after that is done. The neighbor did me a favor, Mark didn't like it and he saw, because of the call, what I have been telling him is real. That, combined with formidable me showing up, was enough to get him to cooperate. I told him I'd make a rhubarb pie. When it's done. As far as the lawn, Bill has been gone. The have a small RV which is not there, so they went camping. Mark will ask for the use of his mower when Bill gets back. Honestly, the tree and weeds in the flowers bothers me the most.

The iris and peonies are blooming. It's a riot of color. I need to thin phlox, that pretty flower is so invasive it's choking out three of the flower beds. The positive is weeds don't stand a chance! We are well above normal in temperature, at least what use to be normal. It will be 90F today and in that range into next week. Also very humid. I had to turn the air conditioner on last night. In May! Being so hot and humid at the time of year where we normally have spring weather is unhelpful.

I will end with the thought that the entitled neighbor actually performed a service. Getting angry, at Mark, cleared my funk and gave Mark a wakeup call. Listen to the aware one in the family!

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

A Come to Sandra Conversation

We have a neighbor who was a professional baseball player. He bought land and built a house 15-20 years ago. We don't interact with him, or is it he doesn't interact with us? He called me about a dozen years ago, wanting to buy my land. Very friendly. There is a large brick house down the hill  from my west pasture that butts up to my land that he was wanting to buy. But only with my land included. Nope. He couldn't understand why I wouldn't sell the bulk of my property, which is all fenced pasture land. I asked him where he thought my horses would go? When he realized he wasn't getting what he wanted I never heard from him again. Fast forward to yesterday. My phone rings, don't recognize the number. Then Mark's phone rings with the same number. Then I get a voice mail. He's back. Said he saw a large tree down in the yard and to call him. I don't like him much after that first interaction  and I can let it show in my voice a little too easily, so Mark called him and I listened. Just what I thought. Saw the tree, assumed it hit the house. No, it was felled last winter and there hasn't been time to cut it up. Oh. So, you know the properties that have been sold around here lately? Yep. So, the tree didn't damage the house, are you living in the house? (I told Mark the place looks abandoned). Have you thought about selling? Nope. He approached it a couple more times and then the conversation ended.

He looked at a place he sees as abandoned and was looking to pick it up on the cheap, put a little into and sell for a lot. Mark got a talking to after that. I know it's a lot and we are dependent on another person, but I want this cleaned up. Long grass, a falling down fence, a huge tree laying in front of the house and to top it off... mailbox that had been hit by a plow and is well-tilted forward. Mark gets focused on one thing and can't be moved from it. Lopping saplings. Necessary but there needs to be room for someone else's priorities. To his credit, he looked sheepish. Now let's see how this plays out. He doesn't want to ask the son for help. We will see. I did come out of my stupor!!

Other than this, all is well. 

Monday, May 29, 2023


Memorial Day. June right around the corner. Where has the time gone? My paternal grandparents had three sons in WWII, in the Navy, Army and Air Force. They all came home, which seems something of a miracle. The Air Force son was also in Korea, as was the youngest son, Navy. Everyone came home.

Nothing much happening. Mark is still engaged in the Battle of Trees and Vines. He is losing. I'm still engaged in the Battle of Ennui. I'm also losing. We are in for about ten days of hot weather, which certainly doesn't help either of us in our battles. We have both become extremely heat intolerant. So is Keetah, so we make quite the threesome. 

We did get the grill working and I made a spatchcocked chicken on it yesterday. A rack of ribs will happen today, just for the two of us. I think a potato salad would be good, too.

These fine fellows have had their time acclimating to grass and are now on pasture all day. They are happy about that and so am I. A much smaller hay bill for a few months. Another sign of summer.

I got a pot of flowers in froggy so the pots on the deck are done. We got the veranda furniture out yesterday and I'm slowly cleaning the screened porch after the winter. We store the veranda furniture in there over winter. It's also a cat haven. I tried sitting on the back deck yesterday but was driven inside by a swarm of mosquitos. The trials of my life.

Anyway, today is a day for remembrance of those gone. It was also traditionally the day that told Minnesotans it's probably safe to plant a garden. For many it's a day to picnic or BBQ with friends and family. Happy Day to all, whatever you do.

Friday, May 26, 2023



We went to Fleet Farm this morning for grain, cat food and softener salt, I made a detour to the garden center. I really liked this bright, vibrant pink. Bonus; the hanging baskets are on sale. I got flowers for the urn planters that are on either side of the barn door and a couple more geraniums to fill in the enormous box planter in front of the barn. It's been four years since I planted down there. I need to paint the planter. I picked up a few more herbs and flowers to fill in some other planters. I will need to go online for my trumpet vine. I have enough to busy me this afternoon.

Otherwise, it's sunny and nice at the moment. It's supposed to reach the 80s and be like that for the rest of this month. Keetah and I are heat intolerant. Bill hasn't looked at my mower yet, sigh. Big sigh. Maybe, a big maybe, I can get Mark to mow around the flower beds with the push mower. The trials and tribulations......

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Orange and in Charge

The daily dose of kitty cuteness.

 He blends in with the packaging. Since I am a person who shops online there is never a shortage of boxes for Gatto.

We have a sunny, breezy day, perfect for the horses. For me, too. Mark feels good, he felt better by yesterday late afternoon. He's decided to water the potted plants. There are some drawbacks to a high energy, nervous person, but this isn't one of them. We are going to put the new grill to use today. It has a searing burner which I am anxious to try. I am the griller in the family, I know it tends to be seen as a male job. Not here.

The geraniums are waiting on me, I said I'd plant them days ago. A cool day with a good breeze leaves me no excuse. Tally-Ho, off to the planter I go. Ciao

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Bits of Nothing

Queen for Life
Not for a Day

The iPhone camera can take a photo in darkness and make it usable. It's a bit grainy, still, it amazes me.

We got our Covid booster yesterday. I have a slightly sore arm. Mark has flu-like symptoms. He asked me how it feels to be the strong one in the family. Very funny. His answer to not feeling well? Might as well go clean the barn.

Bill still has my mower. The lawn is just as bad as it had been when I mowed the one and only time. Bill cannot be pushed, I call it Bill Time. So, I wait, quietly impatient.  It is a nice day, sunny and mild. Perfect for mowing....

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Sweet and Sorrow

Since Gatto burst onto the scene, the Prima Donna of our lives has been shunted to the sidelines. Gatto does pay for that, she enjoys smacking him around. Her hiss sounds like a snake.

The iris fascinated my little girl.

Moving in for a closer inspection.

You don't see my feet on the table, right?

hmmmm, it's the same on this side

Brat Cat spent a considerable amount of time on iris inspection. She looks good in yellow. Frieda is the only Tortie I have had. Or, I should say, has me. The description of the personality is no lie.

Matthew sent me a text yesterday about his Aunt Sally. She died in her sleep yesterday afternoon. The universe has acquired a force of nature.

Monday, May 22, 2023

How My Garden Grows


We got a lot done yesterday. Mark tells me I am walking better. You couldn't prove it by me, but he says I am. So I'll take it. Today will be planting the veranda pots. I called it that once and now Mark insists that is what it is. So, we have a veranda. We also have a large flower box in front of the barn which is completely engulfed in weeds that I will need to clear out before I get the geraniums in it. I stopped buying them years ago because they got way too expensive, for me. I found them on sale at a good price, so my flower box will have its old standard once again. We will going out to buy grain and cat food this week and I will check out the garden center for whatever I feel I want (need) to finish up. There is an enormous amount of weeding to do, but Mark, who is a champion weeder, is busy being a world-class sapling lopper. I never was much with the weeding, even when I was in shape to do it. 

I got all the herb pots planted, the flower seeds sowed and the eggplants put in their large pots. I also planted a couple of summer squash seeds I found I had. My sad looking palm is squished between two pots to keep if from blowing over. I need to go through the shed to find a sturdy pot to set it into. Hopefully it will revive itself.

That's about all there is to report. Off I go to plant petunias.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Cycle of Life

My son got some sad news last week. He has another family through his bio-dad, my first husband. His aunt from this family has congestive heart disease and is in hospice with very little time left. He said she isn't conscious but seems peaceful. I always liked her. She was a force of nature. Actually, I liked them all, there were eight kids and his mother, who was probably the kindest person I ever knew. Sally was the rock in this family. I was divorced in 1976, so my contact with them pretty much stopped then, but I have fond memories of a welcoming group of people. My first husband was a good guy, just terribly addicted to drugs and alcohol. Matthew says he is falling apart, Sally did a lot to take care of him. I guess he's hitting the bottle hard. It's tragic all around. 

On to a lighter topic....we did get most of the plants planted. Mark has office work to do this morning but will give me his undivided attention after lunch, replenishing the soil in my eggplant tubs and some flower pots so I can plant. I found I can sit on the stool, that was used as a mounting block, for weeding, which is a huge help. The past three years of neglect have done a number on the plants by the barn. It sure did feel good to accomplish something, even something as small as this.

I have four large water troughs I use for planting. There is a lilac bush near them, so I picked myself a shaggy bouquet. I planted the bushes almost thirty years ago.

This photo is just because I like the vibrant color of the vegetables as I sautéed them for soup. I'd made vegetable stock on Friday and vegetable soup for lunch yesterday. They look so fresh in the pot!

It's a lovely day, bright sunshine and mild temperatures. I'm looking forward to finishing the planting, at least for now. I know I'll be adding more. I really want a trumpet vine to replace a dead clematis but I haven't found any. I may need to buy online. My grandma had a glorious trumpet vine trellised on the front of her house. My grandma meant everything to me and that plant represents her in my memory. This year. I'll find and plant one this year.

Let us enjoy the day and maybe a memory or two.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Sunshine. No Lollipops

There is a strange resemblance between the American Gothic couple and Mark and Sandra. Much closer to reality than Ma and Pa Kettle on the farm, Boud!

So the couple of old farm hermits went out yesterday morning to buy a new grill. The old one bit the dust and hadn't been replaced. I also bought annuals for some immediate color. I plan to use the old seeds I found at my mother's for most of the flowers. It's a lovely day, just the thing for getting out to dig in the dirt and composted manure. The things that float my boat, yep....American Gothic lady here.