ONE: Sometimes manure rolls uphill, and compost is a miracle. If the field is quite dry and the breeze is strong enough, it is very normal for horse manure to roll uphill, away from my season. This phenomenon panicked me the first time I noticed it years ago. I thought it was one hundred percent paranormal. But I plan for it now. And, in case you’re wondering, this doesn’t really happen with llama manure. Also, ripening compost continues to amaze me with its winter-long incubation and promised garden magic.
TWO: Klaus temporarily smells like a human man.
Yesterday afternoon, and I cannot really explain how this started so just trust me, Klaus spontaneously joined me in the narrow, one person shower, upstairs. Normally I bathe him in the guest bathtub downstairs, where his proper dog shampoo is handy and a wide tiled floor (no carpets to soak or closets full of clothes to splatter) keep the clean-up job well contained. Upstairs, unplanned, I quickly grabbed Handsome’s two-in-one men’s shampoo-body wash combo and (I truly regret this) squeezed and drizzled about half a cup of it generously all over my half wet, 140-pound surprise guest. I now believe that people shampoo is designed to lather a lot more than dog shampoo, and I see that I made the situation much worse by dispensing so much. Within moments we were both covered in heaps and heaps and mountains of darkly masculine-scented, ever expanding, unrelenting piles of bubbles and suds. It took at least fifteen minutes of strategic spraying and rinsing to calm the fury of that lather. He just kept looking up at me like he had pulled off the biggest prank. Afterwards I used five clean beach towels to scrub away and absorb most of his wetness then blow-dried him while he smiled even more wolfishly and wagged his tail slowly. Now he smells like my husband, which is weird. But he is soft, and he loves it. He pranced around the house for hours like a shaggy, poofy, spiky black bear.
THREE: Waterfowl don’t know cold and will happily bathe in fresh water no matter the temperature. Even with nearly freezing air, our lone gander and two ducks thoroughly appreciate a fresh pool for swimming. They dive and splash and luxuriate blissfully, the same as they do in summer. It’s really quite a sight. I am still ruminating the puzzle of how to release them to free range again, for their safety and the safety of my gardens.
FOUR: People are complex and fascinating, and I have a new pandemic story coming soon! My friend and neighbor Mari shared her private pandemic experience with me, and as soon as we edit some details I will be posting that here on the blog. she is like a warm mug of good tea with honey in it. Then all of my pandemic interviews will be complete, and we will either embrace more or start on the book!
FIVE: I only have two new gardens planned this year. One is a pizza garden! I have wanted to do this for years, since my girls were small and my dad sent me a newspaper clipping about a farmer who did this in Yukon, and this year I’m finally going to make it happen here in Choctaw. It will be round in shape (pizza!), maybe twelve to fifteen feet across, with a tall bronze fennel (a nod to Italian sausage) growing in the center. From the fennel, it will be divided in wedges (like pizza slices, ha) with each section dedicated to a different pizza ingredient. Think… slicing tomatoes, peppers, parsley, oregano and basil, more paste and cherry tomatoes, what else? Maybe arugula! We should all team up to convince my husband we also need a dairy cow, so we can make fresh mozzarella. Then we should maybe grow wheat? This year’s second new garden space will be just for massive, colorful cut flowers, a sunflowers-and-zinnias patch, alongside the chicken coop just as you pull around the gravel driveway. Kind of across from the “Mural Garden,” where the okra went nuts last summer.
Okay friends, those are my updates for now! Good reading abounds too, and we have a wonderful Outreach project brewing for which we might ask a little help, but that will all keep for a few days. Please check in soon for Mari’s story! Tell me something random in your world, and happy weekend to you and yours!
“Even a rabbi should spend ten percent of his time
gardening and washing dishes and cooking
and tending to the basics of daily life.
There is something about it that connects you to other people.”