Friday, July 28, 2006

Dog Days of Gardening

We've entered that period of the garden which seems to occur during every time I garden. It's that odd time after the excitement of the inital harvest, where the late summer vegetables are coming in, or not coming in well (my cucumbers) or too well (my zucchini). My tomatos have been a disappointment to date - but my soybeans have done marvelously. My chick peas have been attacked by some kind of caterpillar, which eats into the bean pods - and what didn't get hit by the caterpillars seems to have molded.

It's interesting because it helps to focus one on what is important and transient. In the late spring, my garden became my focus. I constantly paid attention to what was growing, how it was going - the visions of the overflow of produce, and what one would do with it, and maybe starting a truck farm. Now in the middle of it, with nature taking its course (as nature did before - only initial blooming is far more interesting!), my interest is much cooled. Life has continued on, and those important things of character, which would have mattered all along, are still here - as are my devoured, mold infested chick peas. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Finishing Journals

I completed another journal this morning.

There is always something comforting about filling in the last page of a journal - a completion of an empty book (this for the perfectionist in me). I seem to start counting down about halfway through any given journal, for a reason that is beyond me - perhaps anxious to fill it in?

I have journal entries going back to 1991, and writings beyond that (not specifically journal entries) going back to 1989. I fear they can be rather spotty - the great thing about journals, rather than diaries, is that journals can be left aside for days and re-entered without the dreaded feeling of "missing a day". True, this means you miss entries and recording thoughts on a daily basis, but at least you write.

I am undecided what to do with them. I honestly hate reading things that I have written for a reason unknown to me, perhaps internal criticism. Do I eventually transpose them into electronic form? Do I continue to gather them - in 15 years, including travel journals, I don't even have one shelf's worth - another 40 years should give me 2.5 shelves?

How does one effectively use the recordings and musings of one's past?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Firm Reconsidered

We are approaching the one year anniversary of my leaving The Firm. It has given me some pause for thought this morning, sort of a distillation of the process of the last 2 years.

The biggest distillation is I can safely say that making that decision was a poor one for myself and my family. If I look at the results currently in my life, in terms of other poor decisions we made, in terms of finances, in terms of the personal fallout, I can safely say that it was a decision not fully made with blessing of God.

Why? The decision to go was largely based on greed, covetousness, and fear on my own part - greed for wanting more, and covetousness for seeing what "the sucessful" had and desiring it, and fear that my business partner would succeed and I would be left behind.

Invoking the "Life is 20/20 looking back" theory, the thing I deplored earlier in this blog - my decision making ability - is the biggest. I shot from the hip in choosing a life direction because I wanted to shoot from the hip. I got enchanted, even drunk, with the power to resolve problems instantly, be they a malfunctioning car, desiring a new house, or time and money, that moved me down the easy wide road - not remembering the general principal that things simply do not come easily like that, that the price must be paid either up front or at the end, with interest.

Up to now, in my arrogance and pride, I have been trying to put the spin of the world on it: "You have to fail before you succeed", "I'm not sorry I did it", "I can't tell what the future would have held if I remained where I was", "I lost money but learned a great deal", etc.

But was it God's will?

Looking back, at a failed business, failed friendship, and financial stress, I think I can admit that I simply made a selfish, bad decision. All those things my father warned me about (and being a kindly and wise man, did not lecture me on after the collapse) came to pass.

If God's will is found only by seeking, patience, and waiting, then I failed. An expensive and painful lesson to learn the hard way.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Supering the bees

Saturday past (July 1) we supered both hives. We are trying something different this year - on one hive, we are using two traditional shallow supers; on the other hive, we are using a regular deep. It will be interesting to see if there is any difference in the yield.

In putting the supers on, I first took the opportunity to look into the hives. There is lots of activity - but fortunately our smoker is working better (Using the commercially available cotton and a slow burning firestick really makes a differenced; the only difficulty is that if you don't use it for longer periods of time, it tends to burn down). In looking at the frames, I was amazed - as I was last year - about the activity of the bees. It is amazing that from the initiation of the hive, they have to completely build up the comb from basic sheets, then fill it with honey, then cap it.

I did not see the queens this time, although I pulled almost every frame out of one hive. Their evidences were there though - eggs and grubs in several combs. I got the unusual sight of seeng a baby bee eating its way out of the comb which it had been capped in.

Now, we wait. In a couple of weeks, I'll go back and look and see what the progress is.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Threshing Oats

I threshed my oats today, something I had been putting off. Oats are different than wheat - the heads are such that it seems that the simple threshing method I used for wheat (an aluminum bat on plastic) wouldn't work - and in some cases, didn't. It was much more of a threshing by hand, certainly not efficient for large scale work.

But the de-chaffing was much easier. Oat chaff far more easily floats away, born by even a gentle breeze. The heavier remainder than remains was much more easily sieved and rethreshed than wheat. In the end, I ended up with probably two cups - although in rinsing the oats off inside, I managed to dump them on Nighean Dhonn's head. It was quite a comedy of errors.

I put aside at least as much as I received last year from Bountiful Gardens (whom I simply cannot recommend enough - they have a great variety of product, they are prompt, and quite reasonable), and put the rest in the refrigerator. Now on to flour.

I also planted millet yesterday - another one of those I'm not sure why, but let's try it anyway.

Tomorrow, we super the bees. I'll give an update.