Hatching Free Range Ideas

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Garden Plot thickens

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I said I’d share my garden plan. It’s done so I will. It’s already changed with additional Padron peppers where the Anchos would have been. Now the changes will be reflected in the soil and not on the paper.

The seeds are on their way. From three different seed suppliers.

I used to order from Shepherd’s Seed Catalog because the illustrations in the catalog were so lovely. One year, when I lived in the frozen Northeast where planning a garden was sometimes all that got you through the winter, for Christmas Mom sent me a gift certificate from Shepherd’s along with this poem, cleverly titled

Shepherd’s Watch

Choose from the seed catalog:
Echinacea to feed the butterfly’s habits;
Lemon balm to attract the bees and
Exotic lettuce to share with the ghost rabbits;
A pumpkin to ride to the Ball (if we please);
Moonflowers to let us know
Night is not all darkness that drowns,
But fragrance, good company,
And soft bullfrog sounds.

Mom, I’m planting flowers with the vegetables for both of us.


Port keys

In How we learn and think, Uncategorized on January 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm

In Harry Potter, an old boot was spelled to become a port key, a magical device that when touched teleported all who touched it through space to another location.

We found a port key this weekend, which did one better than Harry’s. This is it.

Tim and I found it in a cigar box of Dad’s treasures. When we saw it, a 40 year old memory came back vivid detail, so vivid that we were both in the original location, with the original people, feeling the original feelings, touching the original furnishings, being those people and with those people.

We both began to laugh uproariously. Just behind the laughter was  poignant sadness for the loss of the times and the people who populated them.

This port key returned Dad as Dad and not a lovely, but feeble man who needed to be cared for. I have had trouble finding those memories. To have one shoot back, full and rich was a powerful experience.

It’s sitting on my desk now, right in front of the monitor, a red plastic treasure to be contemplated.

Don’t forget to hide port keys. Thanks for this one, Dad.

My friend Sophie has an overactive imagination

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Here’s what Sophie says,

People have told me for years that I have an overactive imagination. I haven’t understood it until recently. Now I get it! When I imagine something good, like say what a garden will look like, I see it clearly in my mind’s eye. It’s verdant, green beyond imagining and full of flowers, in some cases flowers that I hadn’t had any plans to plant. Hundreds of pounds of vegetables come out of it and I can picture myself with lovely arranged baskets of produce, going from house to house to share the bounty. When I look at potential houses to buy, I see swimming pools surrounded by palms and sometimes even with pool boys. The kitchens have commercial grade appliances, storage abounds, full of All-clad pans, a bit dented and warped from their continual use.

When people tell me about their trips to the dentist, I get an equal but opposite reaction. The drilling sound rings in my ears, the bit the size of a #2 pencil. Holes pass through your jaw and extend down into your neck.

So, what does it all mean? It means that my mind’s eye furnishes ideas often more lavishly than Hollywood. Books are movies. Stories too. The gift is that my vision isn’t bound up in reality and I can envision the realm of what might be as clearly as if it were in front of me. The curse is that what might be might not come true. So positive imaginings are often disappointing however, the negative is NEVER as bad as expected. I am often prepared for the worst and pleasantly surprised, while I am never unprepared for a rousing success. I think that’s what it means to have an overactive imagination.

P.S. I don’t know anyone named Sophie. Do you?

Our stories are too small

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I'm sure I have something in common with this woman. I'm trying to find it.

I’ve been thinking, along with the rest of you about Arizona. It feels to me like a Mexican border-town. Or Pakistan. Full of fear and the hate born of fear.

And I wondered how these simple stories that  cut to the chase contribute to the hate and fear.

Simple stories allow us to process information quickly, to decide what side of the issue is true for us. Are we so interested in saving time that the only stories that work for us these days are one dimensional? Good vs. Bad?

Decision made, we can distance ourselves from or associate ourselves with the protagonist and the antagonist very quickly as “like us” or “not like us.” Like us; good. Not like us; bad.

But the stories of our lives are anything but simple. In truth, there are no simple stories, no “just the facts” that can lead us to a definite decision. Maybe that’s why when we deal with other people’s stories that’s exactly what we want. Other people’s lives need to be dealt with quickly so that we can get back to our own stuff, which we know is very complex, even complicated.

Is this familiar? You’re telling someone a story about an experience you had. They quickly sum it up and conclude, ready to move on. You pause the decision because there is more to consider and you add a bit more information, “But wait. It’s not that simple.”  They again quickly sum it up. You pause it again. . .

Hate comes from simple stories. My worry is that once our stories are small, our hearts are next.

A Tao story tells of an old farmer whose horse ran away. When the neighbors heard the story, they said sympathetically,  “Such bad luck.”

The farmer replied “Maybe.”

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it two other wild horses.

“How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son was thrown while riding tone of the untamed horses. He broke his leg.

The neighbors again offered sympathy.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The next day, army officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. They passed the farmer’s son over because his leg was broken. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

Do I despise the purveyors of simple stories? Maybe.  But maybe there’s something more to the experience that I’m not considering.

Everyone you meet, everyone you know, everyone you love. . .

In Wandering on January 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

. . . one way or another you will lose. You will leave them or they will leave you.  How can something so obvious not be ever present?

The person who annoyed you on the road, history. The person who snubbed you in high school, the recruiter who never called you back. Your best friend, the love of your life, the parents who spent their lives raising you. . . one day gone.

We spend our days imagining and planning for the future, but we don’t consider the future won’t hold everyone we love. Buddhists keep the idea that the glass is already cracked which reminds them not to worry about the future catastrophe, but to enjoy the moment.

And so to all my loves —

I had a really good time with you. I’m looking forward to more. I’m hoping for more. But I have enough.

1-1-11, a little late

In Garden, Uncategorized on January 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm

What a great set of numbers to start a new year on! And so what if I didn’t get around to writing about new beginnings until 1-5-11. I have been thinking about it, however, since I had to write the number on something, the number 2011.

For me, the new beginnings are encapsulated in the concept of GARDEN. I say concept because at this stage, it’s all about Hope and Imagining, a perfect couple for new beginnings. We began the new garden plot on 1-2-11, sectioning off an area and beginning to till. The past few nights I’ve been thumbing through seed catalogs, with one question on the top of my mind “How did they know I needed seed catalogs, and not just one but three so far?” See, we haven’t had a garden in five years or more. I expect a few more to arrive before this is all over.

And after the plot being laid out on the ground and seed catalogs being perused, the next thing is to develop the garden plan. Our plot is 40 x 15, which the seed catalogs call a small garden. I say, “Till it and say that, Pardner.” They do that to shame us all into bigger and bigger gardens. So, I have a BIG sheet of paper and lots of cut outs of pictures and descriptions of the perfect seeds. You know seeds, like all beginnings, are perfect, right? The hope that’s within them has no hint of failure. Failure comes from other things, like grasshoppers and too much clay in the soil and too much alkalai, and not enough water and too much Texas heat and planting with the wrong companions. It’s all something else’s fault. Seeds are faultless. I think that’s why they are so appealing. That and the pretty pictures of what they all have the potential to grow up to be. Tomatoes from beauty contests.

The plan continues to develop as new seed catalogs come in. Right now the varieties are changing but the core stays the same, cherry tomatoes move from Sweet 100s to Sweet Baby Girls, bell peppers from something to Carnivals. And that’s the way it should be ’cause I started inking in the plan. I’ll share it once it’s beautiful. There’s no reason the plan shouldn’t be beautiful, since all things are possible with the plan, as with the seeds.

So, this New Year is about hope and dreaming and faultless potential. I can wait for Summer for reality. Can’t you?

2010 in review

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.


I’m thinking the Blog-Health-o-Meter reads Wow for everybody.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 54 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 127 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 152mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 12th with 74 views. The most popular post that day was About.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were mail.yahoo.com, ple.elg.ca, stumbleupon.com, healthfitnesstherapy.com, and michael-jackson-secret-exposed.xpac.info.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for thinkubator eggsactamundo, eggsactamundo thinkubator, eggsactamundo, the thinkcubator, and harriet hayward artist ” “.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


About May 2010


Notes from a massive online course September 2010


Ursa Bohdisattva July 2010


Sharing morels May 2010


The elasticity of Time in the tunnels December 2010