Sunday, July 26, 2015

Troll level: Mom

Soooooooo…in a couple hours here, we’re celebrating Captain Adventure’s 11th birthday, omg no way how is it POSSIBLE that my BABY is ELEVEN! YEARS! OLD?!

Predictably, he has exactly one (1) thing on his wish list: Video games.

Sigh – yeah, he’s my kid all right. The two of us are hopeless gamers. Honestly, I suspect the only reason I haven’t long ago quit my job and quit mom-ing and quit just about everything else in favor of sitting on my arse surrounded by a mountain of empty Diet Pepsi containers and pizza boxes in a darkened room playing video games is because my actual job feels exactly the same to me as video games do: Digital logic puzzles, all day long, what’s not to love?!

But I digress.

NATURALLY, Captain Adventure not only having made the fact that he only wants video games for his birthday very, very, very, very, VERY clear…means I have to mess with him a little.

I set the scene a couple days ago when he was yet again making absolutely sure that his dumb-arsed mother was completely aware of his birthday-present-related video game desires.

“Wellllll, but, I’m pretty sure Grandma and Grandpa are getting you a video game,” I said in my best ‘Mom Being Reasonable, a.k.a., BORING!’ voice. “Don’t you want something else, too? Like, some clothes?”

NO. He did not want clothes. Mom: Look at my face. NO. CLOTHES. MOM. JUST, NO.

“…but you know, kiddo, sure it’s really hot right now [really hot, we have had the worst summer for dry, unrelenting heat that I can remember in a long, LONG time], but, it’s going to get cold soon. AND you’re going back to school in a couple weeks. Don’t you also need some long sleeves shirts? That actually fit and don’t have holes in them?!”

(All of his shirts end up with holes in them, because he insists on gouging pencils through them. ARGH!) (Says the woman who owns exactly zero pens that do not have teeth marks in them because her brain-is-in-idle-mode habit is putting a pen into her mouth and gnawing on it, I have no idea why…I never mean to, I just sort of become aware that I’m doing it…siiiiiiiigh…)

He looked at me with that expression that clearly says, How is this idiot able to even FUNCTION, with NO BRAINS?! And, no, he did not think a shirt was even a slightly OK birthday present. Geez, mom…

“…oh! I know! you know what else you need? Socks, dude. Socks. Your socks are all too small, and most of them are getting mighty threadbare, too…”

If looks could kill, I would be ghost writing right now. NO, MOM. NO SOCKS EITHER.

Heh. Little man, I HAVE YOU NOW…

Now, with my Captain, I can’t do things like I did to Boo Bug a few years ago, where I hid her actual present in the other room and made her suffer for a couple minutes (we still laugh about that) (those stupid knock-off Little Pony things went on to have a very happy life with a very excited four year old who still loves them madly even though she is now a sophisticated seven year old).

While he’s got an excellent sense of humor, and “gets” teasing pretty well – he’s also got a shorter fuse, and could actually get really upset if he thought for more than a few seconds that we had actually only gotten him, you know, clothes.

So! First I wrapped his present from Grandma and Grandpa separately, and I’ll have him open that one first because it is the one game he really-really-really-really-really-really-no-reallyreally wanted.


…one long-sleeved shirt wrapped around his actual presents…

…a few pairs of socks for added troll-factor…

and now, we wait…


Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Soooooo, there's some potty-mouth in this, but OMG, YES, this is totally me whenever I get one of those beepity-beep-honk-honk captcha things...

Friday, July 10, 2015

It all started with a lemon…

I was sitting at my desk late one afternoon avoiding chores watching the squirrels a couple weeks ago, and they had once again gotten themselves a lemon off the lemon tree.

But unlike the last time I watched them, they were actually eating it.

They clearly did not like it, but nevertheless, they screwed up their little squirrely faces and took nibble after resolute nibble.

My first thought was, Dammit, they’re going to DECIMATE that tree this year.

Then I thought, …wait…why are they torturing themselves like that…?

And then the obvious reared up and smacked me in the back of the head. My yard looks exactly like all the yards right now; and like most of the fields around here, too.

Dry, cracked ground. No sprinklers running, ever. Water being rationed out manually on an irregular basis as sparingly as possible, with extra care given to ensuring it doesn’t pool up or overflow. Areas that would normally be lush with growing vegetables just empty beds, waiting for the drought to loosen its chokehold on us.

Shoot, half of the trees around here are dead – the water table has dropped so low that they just can’t cope. Wells are running dry all over the area, smaller farms are shutting down for the duration, the sloughs are dropping so low that they’re being closed to anything bigger than an inflatable raft…

…they don’t want to eat the lemons, they’re desperate for the juice inside them.

Yes, I felt sorry for them, but mostly I found myself contemplating what was going to happen to the handful of things I am still trying to grow; devil a tomato was I going to get, if those squirrels were really hungry or thirsty. I could forget about my moccasin beans, too. And they’d probably eat every last one of those lemons.

And hate every last nibble of it.


There are two basic ways to go about dealing with tree squirrels when they decide to move into your yard: You can go to war, or you can try to figure out a way to live together.

Considering that they have been amusing the heck out of me with their antics on and around the lumber and masonry piles, and given that I’m not particularly interested in entering into a prolonged period of having traps or poisons out in an attempt to eradicate them (which is seldom more than a momentary victory anyway, another tribe is going to move in right behind the one you just got rid of) – I decided to go with the “negotiate” method.

I’ve put out a small water thing like this one in the shade right next to the nesting den – they can get a drink without having to expose themselves to the hunting hawks and crows.

I’ve also started leaving them little (very little, I don’t want to be either their sole source of food or start having so much food out that all the varmints from everywhere want to move in) caches of Critter Food (designed for squirrels and their cousins – I don’t want to end up making them sick!) in and around the storage areas – well away from my garden beds, but where I can still watch them going through their acrobatics to get at them. And also where they have a lot of places to hide if…well, when, there really isn’t much if there…a crow or hawk decides to have a go at them.

I figured if I could give them easier access to stuff they actually liked more they might be willing to be content with it – so far, it seems to be working. I started doing this last weekend, and guess what? Not even one more lemon has been endured by the Squirrel Clan. They’ve also stopped digging around in my potato containers, stealing unripe tomatoes, and putting tooth marks into my bean pods.

For bonus points, Momma Squirrel has become even more territorial than she always was (which was pretty darned territorial – after all, this is her nest and her kits we’re talking about here); this afternoon, a rather large interloper dared to poke his nose into the yard, and she ran him off almost before he’d even gotten a paw fully onto this side of the fence. You go, momma!

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

On the bright side, I have to say: I’m really enjoying having them around. A lot more than makes sense, really…I’m not even all that mad about the lost tomatoes, come right down to it. Watching the squirrel-babies growing up is better than a thousand Netflix videos, and somehow every time I catch a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eye and glance up just in time to see one of them make an insane leap from one shelf of masonry to another – a leap three or four times their entire body length and with a nasty plummet ahead if they missed – it just kind of makes me smile, you know?

You’re insane, little squirrels. You’ve got more guts than sense, you go for what you want, you’re amazingly graceful even when you’re taking a face-plant because you misjudged how stable that stick you were jumping from was, you are totally OK with just flopping for a quick nap in the middle of a romp and basically you’re just so in the moment, all the time. 

I respect and admire that, more than I like to admit.

…rock on, you little lunatics, rock on…

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Don’t bother me, I’m…thinking…

Sometimes, I find myself wondering exactly when I lost my ever-loving mind.

Usually, these times coincide with days like today, when after nine hours of being "at work," I finally got off the phone for more than five minutes.

I have got to say: However “good” at it I may be, I really question my own intelligence whenever I remember that I volunteered for this ‘team lead’ gig.

Introvert By Nature + Voluntarily Becoming Centralized Hub For Inter- and Intra-Team Communication Needs = minus 10,000 intelligence points.

…if I was a spellcaster in Warcraft right now? I’d be getting kicked outta the raid.  (Warning: May not be safe for work, if work somewhere with easily offended people who get their nose out of joint over the word 'damn.' In which case, my condolences.)

"Ooooooh, don't worry, Boss, I'm not going anywhere NEAR that stuff...! Oh no! It's, it's, it's...EVERYWHERE, I can't get AWAY from it...!!!" <= me, every time I say, "ooooh, don't worry, Boss, I can TOTALLY handle taking over all the 'getting the users to explain what they want' stuff..." {five seconds later} " burns, it buuuuuurns...!!"


But, from the feedback I'm getting...I am pretty darned good at it. People are happier. People feel more included and involved, and are less and less reluctant to tell me about things that are going on (this can be a big problem when 99% of your development team are contractors - they aren't typically rewarded for speaking up when they see something that looks 'wrong,' but are rewarded for shutting up and doing as they were told by the Crazy them someone on the team who is extremely approachable and "safe" for Such Things does wonders for the team morale and final product).

And it takes at least a bit of the burden off my new boss, who recently got buried alive due to a rather abrupt change in team-ownership. Good times. 

But I gotta go recharge my batteries.

...maybe I could join my guild for a nice, quiet little raid or something...

{two hours later}

"DAMMIT, TAMA, YOU BIG...STUPID...!" "...sorrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyy..."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oh look, a squirrel!

Once Upon A Time, writing was incredibly easy for me. I would sit down at a keyboard and whip out stories almost as fast as others could later read them.

Lately (where ‘lately’ is pronounced ‘about the last year or so’), it has not been like that. It’s been more like, I sit down thinking, I am going to write about something.

…and then all hell breaks loose, pretty much everywhere, simultaneously, and instead I’m running around stomping out fires and such until suddenly I’m…well, not necessarily done dealing with all the mess, but done nonetheless.

It’s like I’ve run nose-first into an invisible wall, and I’m just…done now. Chair, meet arse. Arse, chair. You’re going to be the best of friends, for the rest of the evening…

And at this point in the day, opening up the word processor is just a rather cruel joke I play on myself; the cursor will sit there blinking at me, and maybe I’ll get a few words into it.

And then I’ll pause to read them and I’ll think, …where are you even GOING with this…wait…did you start DRINKING at some point, and I didn’t NOTICE…?!

The other problem is, the really major problem, is that there are some squirrels who moved into our yard. Specifically, a momma squirrel with three babies, who appear to have taken up residence under a wood pile just outside my new office.

Just about every time I even halfway glance out my closest window, my eye gets caught by their scampering antics.

And I look out the window a lot. You know how when you hit one of those moments when you’re not entirely sure what to say next, you go, “…um…”? Glancing out the window is how my brain goes, “…um…” because it’s not 100% sure what it wants to say next.

“…why is this code doing that…” => glances out window

“…how can I answer this email without actually calling anybody stupid…?” => glances out window

“…omg, are you seriously doing That Thing where you invite me to the meeting five minutes after it started again? do I even want to know what poop you’ve just stirred up that I’m going to have to live with?!” => stares moodily out window for a rather prolonged “moment”

There is, in point of fact, a momma squirrel attempting to eat a lemon, right immediately now, right outside my window. While one of her babies is being adorable over the the masonry on the greenhouse. Baby has found herself some seedy yum-yums, and they are delicious, and anybody who thinks that weed seeds are not the absolute best is just plain insane.

She thinks momma is insane. Weed seeds are da bomb.

Oh. Wait. Mommy has discovered that lemons suck. Or at least, that lemon does. To the lemon tree, to acquire a DIFFERENT lemon that will PROBABLY be tastier!! AWAYYYYYYYYYYY! {scurry-scurry, scamper-scramper}

I know they’re The Enemy, OK? I know. I know that I will need to get out there and go to war with them. And that I shouldn’t spend any time standing at my window going, “Squeeeeeeeeeeee!” when the little babies are crawling around out there finding seeds or playing on the wood pile or any of those other cute little baby squirrel things they keep doing.

And I definitely shouldn’t be amused by the stupid momma squirrel as she keeps pulling unripe fruit off trees in the vain hope that this one will be tasty-good.

Seriously, though – get a clue, varmint. If the last three were nasty, whyyyyyy do you keep believing that the next one will be delicious? They are lemons, dummy, they are NEVER going to be sweet and delicious treats…

OH. MY. GAHD, now one of the babies is trying the lemon. Hahahahahahahahaha! Yeah, *that’ll* curl your tail up, won’t it, kiddo…

Darn, I wish I could get pictures of this…now she’s sitting there like a tiny fluffy ball of disappointment, back turned to the reviled lemon, the very picture of but it smelled so tasty-good! sadness…but she’s in the shade, and if I try to get around to where I can get a picture of her, they’ll all be gone…WAIT. DAMMIT. I WANT THEM TO BE GONE. ARGH!!!

It’s like the way I got all anxious yesterday when this enormous crow was chasing one of the babies. Intellectually, I know that I should be rooting for him, you know? And the hawks, and the neighborhood cats, and the snakes, and anything else that looks at a squirrel and goes, “Mmmm, tasty!

But instead I’m more like, “Hey! Quit picking on that cute little furry critter, you big mean old thing!” Even though I’m usually rather fond of crows; I mean, they’re kind of scary birds and I wouldn’t want to run into one in a dark alley, but at the same time they’re wicked smart, and surprisingly fun to watch too. The things they don’t get up to…like figuring out how to drop walnuts into the road so that cars will crush them open for them. Darned brilliant, as long as they don’t drop them ON your car – at 50 miles an hour, RIGHT into the windshield…

In short, I am completely hopeless. I’m going to end up gardening purely to feed the damned squirrels, because I’ll keep thinking they’re too “cute” to kill or run off. This is why we can’t have nice things, Me.

But I digress. (I think. Do I? Wait, where was I even going with this? Did I spike my soda with whiskey again? Is there another me that does this whenever I’m not looking? because I’m starting to REALLY wonder about that…)

{watches squirrels for another few minutes}

{…argues with self about how amusing it would be to put a ‘squirrel proof’ feeder out there, somewhere “impossible” for them to get to, just to watch them get to it anyway…}

{…I know, right?! it would be endless hours of very low cost entertainment! and since most of the yard is scorched earth right now thanks to the drought, I could set up a kick-ass obstacle course for them out there! it’d be AWESOME!}

…and that is why, instead of writing an actual post, I have spent the entirety of my ‘free’ time this afternoon watching the squirrels and surfing Amazon for ‘squirrel proof’ bird feeders that are clearly not actually squirrel proof.

This is also why we can’t have nice things, Me…

Monday, April 13, 2015

Splinters: Two basics ways to handle

If you are a normal and/or intelligent person:

  1. Upon having a broom handle shave off a piece of itself the size of the Eiffel Tower into, say, the inside of the second knuckle on your index finger (let’s just say), let out a robust yell, possibly an expletive or two calmly alert those around you to the fact that you have just injured yourself
  2. Retire to the nearest washroom, preferably with entourage in tow ready to assist with Operation Safe Splinter Removal
  3. Wash injured area gently with soap and water
  4. Carefully have your duly appointed deputy attempt to extract the splinter with your choice of:
    1. Sanitized tweezers, and/or
    2. Sanitized needle, and/or
    3. Sticky tape, if you’re lucky enough not to have a sliver which is pretending to be a submarine on a top secret mission in the deepest ocean trench in the world, and/or  
    4. A ‘drawing’ poultice
      1. Baking soda is popular
      2. Warm water + Epsom salt soak is another that seems to work well for a lot of folks
  5. Upon ensuring you have gotten the beast outta there, apply:
    1. Antibacterial ointment
    2. Bandage
  6. Keep clean and dry
  7. In the unlikely event that an infection, swelling, redness, pus and/or an ungodly pain every time you even think about bending the damned finger kicks up, see your friendly neighborhood medical professional immediately

ALTERNATIVELY, if you are stupid and/or me:

  1. Upon having a broom handle shave off a piece of itself the size of the Eiffel Tower into, say, the inside of the second knuckle on your index finger (let’s just say), let out a slight hiss
    1. If anyone chances to overhear this and ask what you did, snarl, “NOTHING!” at them
    2. If they ask again, glare at them and mutter something unintelligible until they give up 
  2. Shift broom to uninjured hand, stealthily inspect injured finger while pretending to actually be inspecting tool 
  3. If you spy any part of the splinter above ground (so to speak), use teeth to yank out
    1. This is totally safe
    2. That’s why $DEITY gave us teeth in the first place
      1. Not really
        1. They’re for softening leather hides
        2. And also opening difficult packaging
    3. Plus saliva has antibacterial properties
      1. Also not really
  4. Put broom back in injured hand because dammit, this is how GROWNUPS deal with things – you don’t get a free pass just because you got a damned splinter, wuss!
    1. Plus if you don’t, others who happen to be nearby may realize you totally did too just hurt yourself somehow
    2. And if they know you at all, they’re going to be all, “LET ME SEE IT. RIGHT NOW.”
    3. Because just possibly they have been through this particular farce once or twice before and know how you are
  5. Finish task at hand
  6. Hang around for a few more minutes, just to prove you can
  7. Sneak into nearest bathroom, wash blood off hand and peer angrily at injury
    1. Really glare at it
    2. This will possibly terrify the splinter into ejecting itself from your finger
      1. Not really
        1. Not even theoretically possible
        2. Unless you have psychokinetic powers
          1. In which case, why in the world were you using your hands to operate the broom in the first place?
          2. Man, I would be doing that work while loafing in an easy chair just to show off
  8. Dig pair of tweezers out of the back of the junk drawer
  9. Dig clean-enough looking needle out of sewing kit
    1. If you can find the sewing kit
    2. Otherwise, check the junk drawer
    3. Possibly the storage shed? Gotta be one around here somewhere
  10. Sterilization is for losers. Just frickin’ get it DONE already.
    1. The clock is ticking, cowboy
    2. Any second now, somebody is going to come looking for you
    3. You are surrounded by professional narks
    4. They will so totally nark you out
  11. Grab exposed part of splinter with tweezers and neatly pluck it out of your skin
    1. Ow, OK, nope, that wasn’t the splinter, that was skin, @^*&@…!
    2. Repeat until exhausted
    3. Realize this isn’t working
  12. Pick up needle and start poking around where you think the sliver is until you’re absolutely sure you’ve got enough of it exposed that you can totally grab it with the tweezers now
  13. Repeat #11 and #12 a few times
  14. Get all of the splinter out
    1. Pretty much all of it, anyway
    2. Well. Most of it
    3. All of it that, you know, matters
    4. Because you’re just sick of gouging at yourself at this point, therefore, clearly, you’re done
  15. Spray with most gawd-awful stinging antibacterial spray you can find – the one that says, ‘Antibacterial and “analgesic” (lol) sprayon it
    1. Stuff seriously stings like a @^*&@
    2. Wonder quietly to self if the “analgesic” property is purely comparative
      1. As in, “Once the burning this stuff causes starts to finally wear off, you’ll feel so much better than you did while it was still cauterizing your wound!”
  16. Apply bandage
  17. Immediately go and do any or all of the following:
    1. Hand-water plants
      1. Bonus points if you use the dregs of last week’s greywater
    2. Wash the dishes without wearing gloves
    3. Turn compost pile
      1. Ratty gloves with holes large enough to pass a mouse through optional
    4. Take a shower
    5. Move furniture / unpack boxes that have been languishing around in dusty, dirty, appalling conditions for months and months
  18. The next morning, note that finger is…more sore and maybe starting to feel a leeeeetle bit…hot
    1. And hurts like a @*^&@ when you bend it
    2. And may be swelling, ever so slightly, right around where that splinter went in
      1. Or possibly developing a rather large…blister.
        1. Yeah. Let’s go with “blister”
        2. Because “boil” is such an ugly term
  19. A few hours later, acknowledge that possibly you may have maybe missed a tiny bit of the splinter 
    1. I mean, most of it you surely got, but, I guess there’s probably a teeny tiny bit left in there
    2. Or something
  20. Ignore pain, swelling, heat and signs of impending pus
    1. IN FACT, tell yourself that this is “good” – because actually, pus = nature’s lubricant
      1. That’s right! Whatever is left of that sliver is going to come shooting on out of there
      2. You know, probably, like, tomorrow-ish
      3. This is the natural way to handle this. You are a paragon of, uh, natural-ish living
        1. Very…zen or something
        2. You should totally eat a couple stale, bright blue Peeps to celebrate your earth-goddess stature
    2. Plus if that doesn’t work, well, your body will probably just break the thing down over time and problem solved
      1. Not really
      2. That is seriously a myth
      3. Your body is not going to ‘break down’ a slab of pressurized lumber any time soon
  21. Continue ignoring increasingly achy finger until it cannot be ignored anymore – probably this will be at roughly the 24-hour mark after initial splinter-acquisition
  22. Remove bandage
  23. Give inflamed area the stink-eye for at least five minutes
    1. Yup.
    2. That’s infected all right.
  24. Consult Google
    1. Have minor anxiety attack because Dr. Google is pretty sure that you’re going to die
      1. Because the splinter is heading straight for your heart, with laser-targeted accuracy
      2. Plus all of these symptoms? => could also be cancer
      3. Or Bavarian swamp-rat muck-tail disease
        1. …wait, what? Go home, Google, you’re drunk…!
    2. Realize that if you go to a doctor, they will do…doctor-stuff to you
      1. …go find reasonably clean looking needle…
  25. Putting on best bad-ass face, poke sore spot gingerly with needle 
    1. Pffft, sterilize, what the hell for?! it’s already infected and besides, you’re going to wash it with soap in a second, and then spray it with more of the stingy-antibacterial-lol-analgesic-my-arse stuff in, like, two seconds
    2. What-ever
      1. I’m tough
      2. It’s just a stupid little splinter
      3. I got this
    3. Plus, there’s no time, in about ten seconds somebody is going to get home from work and be all, “WHAT are you doing?! WHAT did you do THIS time? Lemme see that…!”
      1. And then they’re going to want to “help”
      2. Which makes too much sense, particularly seeing as how it is your dominant hand that you’re trying to work on
        1. With your off-hand
        2. The one that has trouble dealing with things like toothpaste tube caps, and therefore clearly is the hand for this job
      3. Anyway, time is of the essence and cannot be wasted on such trivialities as ‘sterilization’ or even ‘thinking this through’
      4. Seize the day, people
  26. Say a few bad words as ‘nature’s lubricant’ does its thing and the sliver does indeed come flying out of there
    1. Damn.
    2. That was huge.
    3. How did I miss THAT MUCH wood still in my finger?!
    4. Wow.
    5. I suck.
    6. Totally should have had the husband look at this thing yesterday
    7. …eh, whatever, it’s all good now…
  27. Set sliver aside so you can show spouse when they get home
    1. Because now that it’s out, ha ha, it’s too late for all that fussing and carrying on about nothing
      1. That’s right, you can now live another day without having to get over your intense and completely irrational fear of people in white jackets bearing needles and medicines you can’t pronounce and stuff
      2. Now, the thing has awesome gross-out factor and must be shared with the spouse – this is why he married you, after all, because you are FULL of gross examples of your own idiocy
        1. It’s one of my many charms
        2. Along with putting half of all our belongings onto the bed while ‘cleaning,’ and then ‘not getting around to’  finding them all new forever-homes before bedtime
  28. Immediately lose sliver when cat jumps onto table and swipes her tail right over the top of it
    1. Waste a few minutes looking for the sliver
      1. Realize it was only “huge” in the context of ‘a foreign object under your skin’ – it is actually almost microscopic
      2. You are never going to find it…particularly not on a splinter-colored fake-wood floor
      3. Seriously
      4. Just, stop already…
  29. Now that all danger of being helped is past, complain vigorously to everyone you meet about the whole thing
    1. Possibly you could even write a blog post to share with the whole entire Internet just what lengths you are willing to go to in order to avoid being sensible about minor injuries

(Yeah, I totally did “take care of” a splinter that way this weekend. And I totally did try to save the splinter so that I could be all, “OMG, check this out!” when the husband got home tonight – but Fleur immediately started walking around on my desk and swoosh! gone. Which was probably for the best, because on further reflection I very much doubt the husband has any interest in viewing splinters I was storing in my index finger for any length of time, and probably he’d just give me that look and be all, “blah blah blah you need to not do stupid things blah blah blah” and then I’d be all, “What-ever, some of us are self-reliant, dude!” and then he’d give me that look again and I mean, really, what’s the point of starting all that again? NONE, there is no point. So, you know – it’s probably good that it is now safely in the vacuum cleaner [well, of course I vacuumed in here, because you know what sucks even more than splinters in a finger? splinters in your foot] instead of being gleefully shown off as first planned.)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Garden Report: April 12, 2015

Well – it’s going to be an interesting year. It has become very, VERY clear that our big drought out here in California is only digging in for the long-haul, not easing up.

So I’ve cut way, way back on my plans for this year; I have a feeling that just about anything I do plant now in these milder months I’ll just have to watch die later this summer, when we no longer have a drop of dew in the mornings, and the sun is mercilessly beating down on everything.

I’m not exactly giving up on the garden entirely – it’s more that I’m having to take a big step back and come back at it with a different perspective on things.

Basically, I have to be able to keep things alive using more greywater than fresh city water; I have to rework the way I plant and protect to be increasingly water-aware. And able to hand-water – I won’t be able to rely on the drip system to take care of it for me, I will need to have time every day to get out there and individually take care of every single one of them. Egads.

I’ll also have to make more and better use of greywater, and figure out just how much I can reasonably do on a lot less water than I’ve used in years past.

For the moment, I’m focusing on keeping the longer-term investment plants alive. The fruit trees, rhubarb and rosemary, the artichoke bushes and the blackberries. If I can at least keep those reasonably well-watered and alive for now, I’ll call that a win; if I have enough water left over, I’ll think about putting a couple of the beds back into use. I have a feeling it is possible, but I’m just not sure right now.

The only real news in the garden right now is both related and kind of sad – this big old tree is officially, and completely, dead.

We stopped watering the lawn last year because of the drought and local watering restrictions – but we’d thought the tree had deep enough roots to be tapping into the ground water. Nope. The water table has dropped so low over the last couple years that even a tree of this size couldn’t find enough water to sustain itself.

Farewell, old fellah. We appreciated all the shade you gave us during the long, hot days of summer. You’ll be missed.

(But we won’t miss the bird poop – yes, that’s what the white stuff on Homer is, the birds also love the tree and show their appreciation…copiously. Note the lack of street parking – not shown is the enthusiastic nature [or as some have put it, the black and petty souls] of the suburban answer to the meter maid, who love to start slapping pink and orange notices on your windshield if you park on the main thoroughfare up around that corner for more than, say, eighteen seconds. The birds, they have had us RIGHT where they want us, for LO these many years…)