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Archive for June, 2013

Drum roll please!

“If everybody had just one drum, there would be no war”

I am a music lover, mostly drawn to well sung lyrics across many different genres.

One day, driving home from work, I was happily nodding my head to “Straight On” by Heart, when all of the sudden I heard the drum. It went straight to my uh, heart. It was a  strong fill on the snare expertly followed by one stronger note on a floor tom. (1:50 studio version)

Wow. Just wow. How come I never noticed that before? Well, John did mess with the eq on my radio, bring the bass up and the treble down. Maybe that was all it took, I don’t know. But the result has been me listening for interesting drum beats in music.

I’ve never done that before, isolating a particular instrument in a song. This was very interesting for me to do during my hour long commutes. Many of the songs I am drawn to have a lot of these deep sounding toms. Now, I know my examples of music here show my age, but I listen to current stuff too.

I think a lot of popular music uses drum synthesizers, or they mix them down to about nothing. Some music, the drums seem to perfunctorily just keep the beat. Sometimes they so closely match the bass, it’s hard for me to differentiate the two. Many of my favorite new songs have these strong tom beats. They sound much more bass to me than the bass drum.

If I ever was drawn to a particular instrument previously, I would have to say the bass. Is it because I had a huge crush on Tom Petersson? Every other girl in the US was crushing on Robin Zander, but I liked that mysterious dark haired bass player in Cheap Trick. But did I get the crush because I already dug the bass, or vice versa?

Who cares?

I’m noticing rhythms everywhere now. The other day there was a chipmunk conversation. Chip chipchip chip with a robin warbling on the last chip, then it ended in an argument just like that drum roll. Or so it seemed to me. I was looking for an item in a kitchen drawer, rattle rattle rattle rattle slam!

I worked with a gal many years ago who avowed that the best drummer in the world is Neil Peart. Listening to “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, I can say he has a lot of cool rhythms and works those cymbals where a layman like me can tell the difference between crash and slide. I watched an eight and a half minute drum solo by him. He has a very large kit, and can play all of it super fast. But I can’t say I enjoyed it.

I liked watching Mic Fleetwood’s solo more. It seemed he wasn’t doing anything fancy, just putting a lot of energy into some basic combinations.

I can’t say I like listening to drum circles, either. Maybe it’s more fun to be playing in one. I have my doubts that would be the case for me. I think I just need to hear some kind of stick hitting a drum.

Once, there was this eclectic store in a mall and I found a drum that was shaped like a loaf of bread. It came with sticks that had round balls at the end, the size of a ping pong ball. I plunked around on that for a bit and loved the sound. It was over a hundred bucks and to my regret, I was too much of a cheapskate to buy it.

That’s not to say I think I should take up drumming. I have learned a basic paradiddle researching this blog though…

A Sunday walk my garden

Today I enjoyed a nice blog I follow:

A Sunday morning walk through the garden. | Arthur in the Garden..

I thought I’d make a similar blog. Mine will be more wordy and most likely more boring.

If you come to visit my garden, you will notice everything from the incomplete waterfall

waterto overgrown, poorly planned flower beds.

rox entranceBut a closer look is in order. Even though the hardy fuchsia is tied with the heather for the plants I should have been pruning, the fuchsia is lovely in the rain and the heather is hosting a tea rose. rose fusia

If you investigate the fuchsia closer you may find a few things hiding, pleading for escape from the magenta clutches.

ox  A species of oxali, O. tetraphylla has become quite large in its quest for sunlight.

oxf I wondered why the fuchsia had a different shaped flower, then I realized it was the bloom of O. tetraphylla .

straw I wonder if these strawberries will ripen under the fuchsia?

Did you see the Huechera ‘Berry Smoothie‘ leaf masquerading as a strawberry’s leaf. It’s not trying to fool you. Some not a complete idiot gardener has no imagination for how things will spread and grow.

coral  But it’s flowers look pretty with their back drop.

Moving to the right of the fuchsia,

I planted some chive seeds seven years ago, and they have been happily reseeding ever since.

old You can see them busy at making more seeds.

newBut there are still new ones starting. Maybe a new flower comes after I cut some to eat.

thriftIt’d be nice if this sea thrift grows up to mingle with the chive flowers. They are in the same area, but the sea thrift is not blooming so well this year. Maybe next year…

Did you notice the large rock in this picture?

roxThere are actually three large rocks there. My Mom gave me these heathers that are now taking over the world. I recently learned that you have to prune them regularly, for if you need to cut them back too far, they will look like shit. I predict I will cut these down to the ground and see what happens.

You will notice the tons of foxglove, Digitalis purpurea . I am worried they will crowd out the larkspur, Delphinium trollifolium,  I have in there. It’s done now, but I would like it to spread and co-mingle happily with the foxglove. We’ll see. That’s a familiar mantra in my gardening philosophy.foxI am pleased with the amount of speckling the foxes have this year, anyway.

Growing at the base of the rocks, you will find the pinks, Saponaria ocymoides mingling with the blues, Isotoma fluviatillis pinks
I worry about that blue star creeper. It gets everywhere and I’m afraid its going to run over the top of my violets and bunch berry, but I have seen those two spreading. I’m spending my efforts trying to just keep them in place. I have a purpose for the ones I pull up.

You get the idea that I just let things be and see what comes up. I don’t know if that works for you, but here on the Southern Oregon Coast, well upriver 10 miles from the actual coast, I sure don’t mind. I’ve got these ferns volunteering everywhere. I only try to get rid of the bracken ferns that invade my flower beds. Of course those are the ones that are impossible to get rid of.

colubineThe native columbine is still going strong, and reseeding everywhere!

As you move down this bed, you will pass through an arbor on which is growing a Honeysuckle of some sort. (Another gift from my Mom)honeyI’ve always heard they have a sweet scent, but this is the year I’ve really noticed it. I am careful not to let it get loose, as I understand they are quite a problem in some places. So far, so good.

If you hang a left here, you will notice my day lilies and Dahlia’s starting, but right now the show is the snap dragons a lovely neighbor gave me.

redyellow

If you take a right from the arbor, you will head on around to this ground cover that I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called. It’s got some cute little blooms on it right now.something It’s a steppable, but I don’t want to step on it!

It is growing right next to the Lavatera my Mom gave me.Lavatera

(I have bought some plants myself!)

Against the back drop of a cedar log that once rolled down the hill and hit our house, (the hill we are making the waterfall out of, actually) are these darling star flowersstarflower

Next is a plant I did buy myself and share freely with dozens of people. Scabiosa ‘Burgundy Beaujolais’ scabiosa Okay, not much of a picture yet. This flower is quite a tease and won’t come into full bloom for another few weeks. That’s okay, though. I find it’s phases quite interesting. Once open, the butterflies will be in heaven.

Continuing down the bed, you see the red lilies my Mom gave me bordering the driveway.lily

If we head down the driveway, we can visit the neighbors.

At the head of their driveway, you will find our bearing tree, a huge myrtlewood. myrtle In California it is the California laurel. It only grows in Southern Oregon/Northern California and the Holy Lands. I find that strange. Don’t you? The Holy Lands can’t possibly have the same ecosystem as us! Also, for a specimen that is so particular where it grows, it can’t be killed here. When cut to a stump, it just sends up hundreds of new branches until it is another large tree. Too bad you can’t cut a bearing tree down. This one would make a heck of a coffee table!

bearingThe metal square you see on the upper part of the trunk is a plate which is a map. It shows the township, range and section our property is in.

I’m bringing  a soft apple and some cereal John didn’t like over to feed the neighbors bunnies and mini horse.

bunny mini Aren’t those mini horses adorable!!

On our way home, John spied a bird’s nest. Can you find it?nest

Some photographers carry around a spray bottle filled with water for more special looking pictures. This is not necessary here. Rain in late June makes the common Daisy look inviting.

daisy

Come again soon!

“New” Car

Image

I bought this 2012 Dodge Avenger R/T almost a year ago.

The “R/T” part of the car is mostly for John, but I do take advantage of the improved suspension. I’m sure I phrased that all wrong, but what it means is, I really like driving on our curvy roads. And I have no doubt that one day, this car’s nimbleness will get me out of a jam.

When I talk about my car, I call it my shiny new car. When is a new car considered not new any more? When you get the first ding?  After a month? After the second ding? After a significant scratch? After 10K?  After 50K? 100K?

My shiny new car has gone through all of that. But I think I will go on referring to it as my shiny new car for as long as I want. Funny how we Americans like our stuff to be new. Until it’s very old. But if it’s old, it had better be in great condition.

I get a bit mental when I go about detailing my car. That’s why it took me all day to do the job. I felt it was dirty again before I finished cleaning it!

I went about buffing out a couple dings that happened recently. An inconsiderate young mother didn’t bother to shut her car door on a windy day in the parking lot and pow, right into my door. I told her I hoped she hadn’t dinged my car and she said, “It doesn’t look like it. Tra la la.”

Then I picked up a package for John that was heavy and dirty and I conked the rear bumper putting it in the trunk. Turns out, these two imperfections cleaned up very nicely. I was horrified, however at all the other knocks and dings I found as I went over my car with the proverbial fine tooth comb.

I got a sunburn while I waxed my car. I didn’t listen to that voice that told me to go inside and put on sunblock. I thought, I’ll be done soon. Ha.

I put wax all over the car, then set about buffing it off. It may have been easier, had I done it in pieces. I had started out in the shade, but it moved as I painstakingly removed the wax. By the time I got to the end, my car was so hot the wax was melting as I rubbed it off.

I learned this does not make for a good finish.

I had started out the project vacuuming the interior. I found an absolutely fantastic upholstery cleaner:

http://www.wayfair.com/Blue-Coral-Dri-Clean-Plus-Interior-Cleaner-and-Stain-Lifter-DC22-L3271-K~BLCL1000.html?refid=GX21919339860-BLCL1000&device=c&gclid=CPeF1tLs1bcCFZBcMgodHQ8AQg

I’m not sure if it works all that great on upholstery, but it’s fantastic on floor mats. I will never remove them from the car in order to clean them again!

But as I went through Armour All-ing the interior, you know I got towel lint speckling the carpet. The Mother’s Back to Black I used on the black trim between the front and back doors took fingerprints to a whole new level.

I think I finally put on a decent application of Rain-X. We shall see. I kept seeing wax I’d missed. To the end I was buffing here and there. I thought I had been so thorough the first time through. I burnt my arms, gosh darn it!

Every time I went into the house I wanted to stop and buff all the many dirty places I passed. When I go to sleep tonight, I’ll probably be buffing God knows what behind my closed eyes. I kept hearing Brad Delp asking me if I was feeling satisfied. Would I be, after getting so close, trying so hard for perfection, being too anal to accept good enough?

I guess so, because I’m still going to call it my shiny new car. But next year, I think I’ll pay someone else to look so close at it….

Gardening by ladder

Yes, this is an adventure. Some of my readers may already know that I have declared war on dandelions. I feel rather successful today. Note the harvest. Image

I have a challenging property. No one is to blame except myself. However, since I’ve begun this war, I’ve decided the best tactic is to never let them go to seed. Eventually the brush will grow up and over take them.

In the past, I thought I would tolerate the dandelions for the sake of preventing erosion. I regret that decision today, as I cold heartedly uproot the bastards wherever I see them. And of course, this is not always convenient. Hence the ladder.

Image

I think it is a good compromise. This way, I need not tread on my steep slopes where my weight and foot wear would cause more harm than good. Now, I only need to discourage the deer from tromping over the more vertical locations on my property.

Picture, if you will, my figure desperately clinging to the ladder while trying to wield a weeding tool to pop up dandelions. Sometimes I would plant my bottom between the rungs and weed that way for a while.

Why go to all the trouble? I am literally infested with dandelions from an attitude of indifference and tolerance, and I can not tolerate it any longer.

Erosion is a real concern. I am glad to see life other than dandelions take hold there on my slopes. Bracken fern, yellow violets, foxglove, salmon berry, thimble berry and cedar and myrtlewood seedlings have admirably filled in many spots.

In places I have tried to help the process, such as the planter to the right of my ladder. I have a weigelia growing there, and I also found this native strawberry. I must have placed it there a few years ago and forgot. A nice surprise.

Normally, these are extremely diminutive, but the ones I found look quite vigorous. Image That’s my forefinger there.

Recently, we discussed the problem with a local nursery man, and he thought we should try some Lamium galeobdolon. Happily, we used a technique requiring no pressure board planter. We dug a hole on a diagonal, planted the lamium in it’s nursery soil, then covered that soil with the thick clay soil our slopes are made of. It’s coming along nicely.

Image

The nursery man thought we would be able to just root new plants by taking a cutting and just sticking it into the slope’s soil.It is supposed to do that, but I don’t think it will work that way here.

Image

But do take note of the native fern (sword fern?) battling the slope in the previous picture. Go fern go!

In the mean time, I am leaving that ladder right there, as I’ve left plenty of dandelion starts in the ground. But like Arnold, I’ll be back!

So, I’ve filled this blog with a lot of ugly pictures. I thought I would leave you with a couple pretty ones I took today.

ImageImage

IwanIwanIwannaSWEETIE

The Wee Free Men: Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs: 9780060785987: Amazon.com: Books.

I only ever listened to this book, so I don’t know if that’s how Sir Pratchett wrote the phrase, but as voiced by Stephen Briggs, it popped into my head today. *

My mood hit a pretty significant low today. When I’m cruising along, all stable and pleasant, too many times have I rolled the dice. As I bought the candy bar, I acknowledged that my mood would suffer, but I blithely ate on.

We have this lottery vending machine at work. Yes, we’ve told the proper authorities, but they have done nothing to prevent said machine from dispensing multiple items for the price of one. **

I try to keep my wallet free of change and small bills, because I have a definite weakness where this blasted vending machine is concerned. I’ve had it dump extra goodies on me more than once, and three times I gave the extra away. This satisfied the ego’s need to feel generous, and did less damage to my mood.***

However earlier this week, I horded my bonuses like Ebeneezer Scrooge.

A short time ago, a cheese factory was built in the town I work in, and my honey asked me to pick up some cheddar. I pin-point this as the beginning of the end.  I sidled right past that ice cream counter and dutifully bought the requested cheese. I was innocently stowing the purchase in my bag using the stairs just beyond the unmanned ice cream counter.

Suddenly there appeared a young girl behind the counter.****  Hmmm, I thought, John may want to know what flavors they have. I should go look. As I was looking, the customers in front of me dithered, and I was asked what I wanted.

It was so easy to answer peanut butter chocolate in a waffle cone, and hey, I got the child size. *****  Oh my God, it was so good! I ate an ice cream cone as I was driving home in my shiny new car. The devil, you say!

Somehow, I wasn’t just driving past that place the next night. With a will, I turned in and marched straight up to the ice cream counter, bypassed the dithering, sample swilling pre-customers who did not have an hour commute ahead of them and authoritatively ordered another  child size peanut butter chocolate in a waffle cone.

This time I dribbled chocolate down my front as I drove my neat, first new ever, car home.

What has this to do with the vending machine at work? I don’t know how I ended up with cash on my person. I used my debit card at the cheese factory. But once I have sugar coursing through my nervous system, signals are sent to my brain. Signals that sound exactly like Stephen Briggs voicing Wentworth, Tiffany Aching’s sticky little brother: IwanIwanIwannaSWEETIE!!

This is where my rational brain should stand up and say, you will be over this urge in a few moments. By tomorrow, you won’t even hear Wentworth in your head. You know how this will tank your mood. It’s been proven over and over.

Well. Wouldn’t it be nice if no one ever did anything that was bad for them. I’m off to make a root beer float.

*Along with many other noisy invaders.

** Sometimes it even gives back all the money you put into it!

***Not to mention my waistline.

**** Man the counter, indeed!

***** Please ignore the fact that a “child’s” serving at the Face Rock Creamery Cheese Factory is probably worth two servings of any kind of ice cream.

How did you like the Pratchett style footnotes?

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