Summer retreat

I just got home from retreat in my usual spot for my summer soul searching. I’ve seen a lot of really interesting animals this time… unfortunately though, no cats. 🙁 Usually I get to feed the feral cats every morning, and sometimes I don’t see them for a day or so, but I at least I see evidence of them eating during the day. This time I only saw this guy around:

Little stinker! Look at this shamelessness 😂

 

I’m really sad about the cats though. I know that some of the neighbors have been adopting her kittens and getting them altered, and mama has been looking really worn down to me. So maybe she moved on, and all of her kittens are safe in good homes now. I hope so. I will have to ask… since they still had cat food for me to put out. So maybe they don’t know. I worry about the cats. And I miss them.

This year I saw a quail for the first time. Well, not for the first time. For the first time here. I also saw evidence of beavers:

A dam?

Thursday afternoon I saw this beautiful owl alight on a branch a little ways from me. I got a really blurry picture, then he turned his back to me and ignored me, just like a cat.

Wednesday evening I climbed to the viewpoint in hopes of catching the moonrise, though it was too cloudy. I did, though, get escorted by bats. So many bats, flying around me while I was walking, sometimes inches from my face. I was enthralled… they are silent. You don’t hear a thing; you don’t even feel a breeze on your face when they go by. Sometimes I would stand still in the hopes that one of them would land on me, but of course they never did.

What I did hear, though, was this bird call I had never heard before. They only sang at dusk. I tried to do research to figure out what they could possibly be, but none of the dusk birds I looked up had a call even close to this one. I did manage to get it on video, and you should be able to make them out with headphones… I would love any ideas.

 

Edit: Thanks to my good friend who I will call Crow (because I am trying avoid using real names and places here) we have identified the bird as the Swainson’s Thrush!  What a magical sound.  I am so in love.

Something funny happened Tuesday.  As I was sitting at the kitchen table working on my bujo, a car rolled into the driveway and parked beside mine.  Two little old ladies got out and started tottering around smiling.  They came up to the house and started looking through the windows, not in the room where I was sitting, but still.  I opened the front door and was about to ask if I could help them when one of them said in a friendly tone, “Are we interrupting your retreat?”  I was like…”Yeah?”  They immediately apologized and turned around and started tottering back to their car.  I didn’t know what to say so I just sputtered out, “Just… go along into the forest…park…there down the road a bit.”   LOL.  They were so cute and smiley it was hard to be very irritated.  They reminded me of my dad, kind of vaguely blithe.  But really.  You don’t go looking in windows of houses especially when it looks like someone is there, not even retreat houses.  😂

That cedar gave me a wand last year. Now they put a seat under it! 😊  (and now that I’m looking at it, the seat looks like it has a butt.)

Other happy moments… while I worked through my shit.

I am so grateful to everyone who works hard to make the Sanctuary such a lovely place to return to every season.  I planned, I read, I cooked, I cried, I meditated, I felt everything that needed feeling, I released, I laughed, I wrote, I read cards, and I slept.

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Ursula Le Guin tribute

Tonight in Portland was the Ursula Le Guin tribute.

There really aren’t any words. It was a beautiful tribute, with speeches by her son, close friends, editor, and authors who were inspired by her, such as China Mieville. Margaret Atwood sent in a video that was absolutely hilarious and adorable. There were lots of quotes, pictures, anecdotes, and delightful snippets. The more I learn about her the more I love her.

At the end, with her famous quote about dragons on the screen, a Chinese dragon danced through the auditorium, and we followed them outside. It was a perfect tribute. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

To Ursula.

Last Farm Wife class T_T

I’m so sad that today was our last Farm Wife class. I met so many great people and I’m forever grateful to Patti for sharing her wealth of knowledge and empowering others to learn a more self- reliant way of living.

Some things I have learned and done from things I learned:

  • How to stuff my own sausage
  • I made my own liverwurst from scratch
  • I bought half a pig and acquired a freezer
  • How to water bath can (I already knew how to pressure can)
  • How to make lotion, chapstick, body butter, oils, linaments, compresses, soap, salves
  • I bought a dehydrator and dehydrated sugar snap peas, cucumbers, bell peppers, turnips, and oregano
  • How to make jam and applesauce
  • How to make liqueurs, bitters, tinctures, elixirs, infused vinegars, shrubs and oxymels
  • How to make a variety of herbal infusions
  • How to make elderberry syrup
  • How to make sauerkraut and fermented drinks like beet kvass, kombucha (I have a scoby now), soda, ginger ale, root beer
  • How to forage and identify edible weeds, like nettle
  • How to make candy
  • How to pickle
  • How to make cleaning supplies
  • How to cure bacon
  • We scratched the surface of learning the properties of many herbs
  • How to make yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, kefir, and cheese
  • Bread and pie
  • We planted seeds and seedlings

I feel like I’m forgetting so many things. I learned so much, and experimenting with these things is going to delight me for the rest of my life.

Today we had a potluck feast, and tonight I’m brewing tea to feed my scoby.

Raspberries

Well I thought I had more pictures of my raspberry bushes but apparently not on this phone!

I planted these this year. They were just sticks with roots on them when I got them in the mail (from territorial seed company). I planted them in April in containers… and soon they had leaves, and then more leaves, and just two months later I have flowers beginning to bloom!!!! I’m so freaking excited. I had no idea if they were going to bloom the first year or not. But I’m going to have raspberry babies!! If the birds don’t get to them first 😁🍇

Look at my beautiful children T_T

A few of them still need to be glazed… three of them anyway.

Many thanks go to my friend Stephen who gave me his pottery supplies last year, including a bag of cobalt oxide (powder) and the idea to mix it in with white porcelain for a beautiful blue swirl.  I decided also to mix the cobalt with water and slip for extra drizzly goodness.  My teacher gave me the idea to try it out with Mason stains, and the last few pieces I’m firing are a mixture of cobalt, violet, and aqua blue.  I’m calling it galaxy clay.  It makes a huge mess.  😀

My glazes are ones I’ve been working on myself.  As you can see, especially with the purple one (temporary name Vilavru), they are a bit thick and have tended to try to slide off in places.  Which made for some REALLY COOL DRIPS.

I’ve been having trouble with my dark blue glaze, Rubalt, for a while.  It’s been turning out this shitty blue-gray.  But I’m loving this method of using cobalt in the clay and watching it show through my translucent white glaze (Winter Sun).  It makes me so happy.

I take notes on each piece I work on, and the notes I made for this batch read like a trashy romance novel.  9C: OH GOD YES 9D: HUNNNHHH 9E: Ohhh my goddddddd 😂

Pottery class is just about done for the summer, after I glaze my last three pieces.  I won’t be able to make more until Fall, but how about I try to sell some of these.

Home

I can’t believe that was taken this afternoon! Gonna miss them.

We drove to Boston and had lunch at the Calamari Cafe. At least that was the name on the window. Dan tagged it with the name that was in the other window. Anyway it was delicious. I normally don’t even like pasta, but this stuff was in a league of its own. I don’t know how to describe it other than it didn’t taste like sawdust? It had flavor. A yummy flavor. I wanted to keep eating it.

It was in the north end district which, according to the internets, is the oldest community area in the US.

After that we checked out the Museum of Fine Arts for about an hour before we had to catch our plane. I’m happy to report they were waving their pride colors.

I mainly wanted to see an exhibit that was exploring the idea of family in many forms, blood or not. It did not disappoint.

Here are some random pieces that made me happy:

Then we caught our flight, which was pretty uneventful. We got back on time and got home safe. I’m happy to see my cats, my bathroom smells amazing, and it is only 11:47 even though according to my clock it is 2:47 am. So, goodnight!

Shallow quiche to deli feast

Not as many pictures today! I had a shallow quiche for breakfast at the hotel and I ended up really hungry as we went through the RISD galleries with aunt and uncle. At first I was really grumpy about the contemporary art because it all felt too self- conscious. Well not all of it. Some of it I loved. We found a different wing with works I found more interesting. Then, I smelled the cafe, and had a fantastic cup of tea (iron goddess black) and a brioche sandwich with avocado, arugula, and runny egg 🤤

I found an absolutely fascinating tarot deck in the gift shop by a risd alumnus. She uses classic card suits: diamond, club, etc. and there are only 52 cards, but she mixed the major arcana in with the minor for a really unique perspective. For example, 6 of clubs (wands) is also the tower, 2 of spades (swords) is also the hanged man, and so on. There are no knight cards though. King, queen, and jack instead. And the joker is the fool. The artwork is really intricately colorful. I really couldn’t resist.

The Illuminated Tarot by Caitlin Keegan

We went on an historical tour of the Slater Mill today. It was fascinating. We got to see some gigantic looms and see how the Slater and Wilkinson families lived in the past few centuries. I’m… totally jonesing to get a loom and make my own fabric now. 😐 And hey, later my fortune cookie told me to act on the new things I want to try 😂

We watched a really silly Italian movie from the eighties that they wanted us to watch. It was so ridiculous… but I’m not sure which I enjoyed watching more… that, or poor Dan’s agonized groans. Unfortunately the movie lowered his IQ by several points. We’re going to have to make them up tomorrow in Boston.

After the movie, aunt put out a “snack” for us:

Lots of yummy things from the Polish deli. Our tummies are happy.

On top of pierogi

Today we went to a beautiful park.

Most everyone set up chairs to chat and watch the lake

And uncle taught me how to smash acorns, soak them, and pulverize them to make a nutritious flour. He had two grocery bags full of acorns he’d been saving for a couple of years. 😄 We sat on the ground in front of a rock and smashed acorns with rocks. It was so much fun.

Many people wandered by asking us what we were doing. This dog, for example.

After lunch we went to the greenhouse to enjoy the warmth and look at cacti.

Aunt and uncle

Cuteness.

We mostly rested after that, but in the evening went to see Hamlet in the park. It was an excellent production.

But not before aunt and grandma made some fruit pierogies!

Thank you but I already have potatoes at home

This is the delicious breakfast his parents made for us this morning. Potato pancakes, sausage, eggs, and baked apples. He is happy to eat carbs when it comes to his mom’s potato pancakes. They’re heavenly.

Then we drove up to Rhode Island and checked into a Hilton. Usually we stay with the grandparents, but this is much more comfortable. The pull out couch they usually have for us is like trying to sleep in a bowl.

It is so great to see the grandparents and aunt and uncle again. Uncle is so up my alley. He’s always got interesting and zany projects going on. We usually end up inspiring each other to try and do new things.

We walked to an Indian restaurant down the street, which has its own doggy menu. How cute is that??

Later aunt and I walked to get ice cream and we all sat around chatting.

Grandma cracks me up. She has a heavy Polish accent so sometimes I have difficulty understanding, but I think she was trying to tell me that her senior center occasionally has contests to knit blankets for the children’s hospital. Apparently she told everyone that I knitted and that mine would be the best and she should win? I’m not sure. She said she got me some yarn at the dollar store and I was like, oh no, I don’t do yarnwork anymore! There I go dashing her hopes and dreams. 😂

Then aunt complimented grandma’s dress, and grandma started arguing, so aunt interrupted her with “Just say thank you, mom!” Grandma replied in Polish, “Thank you but I already have potatoes at home.” Which is apparently a phrase that means, thanks for the offer but I’m covered. Or, I don’t need your compliment. Or something 😆

Connecticut

Is it just me or is this irresponsible gun use? LOL

We had a quick (ish?) flight up to Hartford after that (I mean it was delayed) and we drove to the hotel near his parents which was about an hour and a half with traffic. We rented an Altima. I love Nissans.

We went out to an Italian restaurant and then back to their apartment for some fruit and ice cream, along with a game of rummy 500.

His parents are so cute and sweet. We are going to see them for breakfast too. They are so polite though and his mom has a hard time understanding my fashion sense, which always makes me laugh. “I just never know what you’re going to look like!!” And then there’s the awkward moment when she asks what I’ve been up to and after thinking for a long time I’m like, “Ummmm… therapy?” I did come up with the most succinct definition of DBT I’ve had so far. Most therapy helps you figure out your emotions, but I’m already super great at that; I know my emotions inside out. The dbt has been helping me with my thoughts. Then she wanted to know what thoughts it’s been helping me with, and I didn’t really know what to say, since I didn’t want to tell her about suicidal ideation or any of my life really. Finally she asked me if it’s been giving me more energy, and that I can definitely say yes to. In addition to the wellbutrin, I’ve noticed that I need much less downtime between people since I’ve learned how to have actual boundaries. Funny how that works.

I’m not sure she knew what I meant when I said boundaries. But she offered that I must care too much about people and I said yes, that’s definitely part of it. Learning to care without exhausting myself.

Now I’m drinking a nice hotel Manhattan while he reads his new Yorker.

Which reminds me…I had a drink at lunch today at the airport, which I figured was about 9:30 am Seattle time. Haha cheers!