Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lynden waits to be taken home. Posted by Hello

Cats Find Homes

Today was my volunteer day at our local animal shelter. I work in the cat room, helping to get the cats and kittens placed in new homes. Some days its great--others it's not. Today was a good day, because we got two cats placed in a three hour shift. One was a beautiful young cat. She was a piece of cake, everyone wanted to take her home. The other was a two year old male cat named Lynden--a long-time stray who was simply skin and bones. He looked pretty beat up. But under that battered exterior lurked the sweetest, most loving cat in the building. I wanted to take him home myself, but luckily, a very nice woman came in looking for a gentle cat for her and her four year old son. I introduced her to Lynden, told her his sad story, and it was love at first sight. She couldn't wait to take him home immediately to fatten him up and shower him with love and attention. It was a perfect match. Ahhh. "I love it when a plan comes together."

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Our vegetable garden last spring.  Posted by Hello

Compost Tea

Today is the day for compost tea training. As a Master Gardener, this will be my second year in experimenting with this amendment. Compost tea is said to strengthen plants and to help them resist disease--especially roses. Here in the Pacific NW, our roses suffer terribly from powdery mildew and black spot disease. It's said that a weekly drenching with compost tea can decrease both diseases substantially. We'll see. Anyway, for volunteering to make and distribute the tea, I get three gallons every two weeks. That's a BIG cost savings, since it's sold around here for up to $10 per gallon. I'll report on my findings as the year goes along. If you are interested in learning more about compost tea, check out the following sites: (the company whose products we use) , (a laboratory specializing in soil testing, etc.) , and ( Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas).

Eternity: Two people and a ham...

I'm making Split Pea Soup today to use up the last of the Easter ham. It's a tried and true recipe from the Farm Journal's Country Cookbook.

1 lb. dried split peas (2 cups)
3 quarts water
1 meaty ham bone, or 1 1/2 lbs. ham hocks
2 ts. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. marjoram leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrot

- Combine peas and water in large kettle. Bring to a boil; simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand one hour.
- Add ham bone, salt, pepper, marjoram, and onions. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
- Add carrots and celery. Continue simmering until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Add more salt if necessary. Serve piping hot with a loaf of crusty bread. Makes 3 1/2 quarts.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Here in the Pacific NW, we've had more than our share of sunshine and warm weather, while our friends in Southern Cal. have suffered with the rain. Now, it's back to normal. Our gardens, which are almost three weeks ahead, have settled into lethargy again. We are in the middle of tearing out more lawn and making a "waterwise" garden. Planning this is fun, and I have most of the perennials and small shrubs that I want to use already on hand, so the expense should be minimal.

We keep trying to simplify our lives. This has been an ongoing interest of mine for almost ten years now. It's a slow process, one that my Dh has finally joined me in considering important. This philosophy manifests itself in so many ways. I'll share more about this later. I'm off to visit my mother for the day!