Maybe I should take figs.

Last week’s weather caused a windfall of strawberry tree fruit (Arbutus unedo) on the ground. Much of it was in great shape, and there was more than I could eat fresh, so I tried dehydrating some. I’ve been getting figs, and I bought a box full of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, so I put a load of the three fruits into the box for about 16 hours.

I expected that as they dried, the tiny half-spheres would likely fall through the rack, so I put that rack on top, hoping they might get caught by larger pieces of fruit underneath.

The little buttons did fall through, but I caught them all sooner or later. They are chewy and crunchy and I hope I can preserve a few more of them this way before the harvest ends. The wind knocked down four lemons, too, which got into this picture.

The same day that I officially became a vermiculturist, an opossum wandered through my garden midmorning. I cornered him behind the snowball bush just to get his picture — not that I consider him particularly handsome… especially if I look at his mouth.

This weekend I’m headed up to Pippin’s to be present for Ivy’s tenth birthday celebration. Many of you commented on my announcement of her birth way back then! Here are pictures from previous years, including the Baggy Doll I made her for her first birthday.

I guess I’ve sewn more for Ivy than for any other grandchild. Two items — haha!

I haven’t made it up every year for her birthday, but often enough that I know it’s the right season for drinking in the beauty of my daughter’s extravagant dahlias, and for encountering deer on the property. I’ll leave you with this picture that Pippin sent me recently, of those neighbors looking for a handout. They might be wondering where the crabapples are; late frosts damaged their blossoms as well as destroying much of the apple crop in northern California this year. Maybe I should take them some figs!

We live in tents.

To be a Christian is to be a traveller… like the Israelite people in the desert of Sinai, we live in tents, not houses, for spiritually we are always on the move. We are on a journey through the inward space of the heart, a journey not measured by the hours of our watch or the days of the calendar, for it is a journey out of time into eternity.

– Met. Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way

It is less than a month since Metropolitan Kallistos reposed in death, and I ran across this quote from him, which is especially meaningful at this point in chronos time.

Memory Eternal!

Raindrops on Aesclepias.

Hours of rain. LOTS of raindrops. Glory to God! All the plants and humans around here are happy.

A couple of days before the rain came, I received in the mail three new plants, three species of milkweed that I haven’t had before: Asclepias glaucescens, Asclepias linaria, and Asclepias physocarpa “Family Jewels.” I set them out on the patio to get watered quite naturally. If they bloom next summer I’ll show you pictures.

Also not long before the watering, I got around to dividing the irises. The poor things had sat on the driveway during the heat wave, while I was in the mountains. But they were in such thick clumps with lots of dirt surrounding, they didn’t seem to have suffered much. And I ended up with dozens of extra rhizomes that I have been giving away.

Unfortunately I forgot that I had two colors in those three clumps, and I mixed them all up while I was sorting, but the people who are getting them don’t seem to mind. At least they are both purple; these pictures are from past years. And I am thrilled to think of how all these other friends’ gardens will be further beautified with my “children.”

This last picture is of the bedding material I’ve mixed up special for the worms I am getting tomorrow, to start my vermiculture project. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, and step by step I managed all the parts of the preparation, after watching a couple dozen videos on YouTube and reading in the classic book on the topic, Worms Eat my Garbage. A friend who is a long time worm farmer is giving me my starter worms.

What could be better on a rainy Sunday afternoon than taking a nap? Well, on this particular one, for me at least nothing was better, especially because this week is extra busy from the start. Normally I try to reserve Mondays for catching up and re-ordering my mind and living space, but that’s not an option this week. So — I need to work on all that before I go to bed again.

This week Autumn officially arrives!
But in honor of worms, I give you a somewhat Spring-y poem:

THE WORM

When the earth is turned in spring
The worms are fat as anything.

And birds come flying all around
To eat the worms right off the ground.

They like the worms just as much as I
Like bread and milk and apple pie.

And once, when I was very young,
I put a worm right on my tongue.

I didn’t like the taste a bit,
And so I didn’t swallow it.

But oh, it makes my Mother squirm
Because she thinks I ate that worm!

-Ralph Bergengren

Don’t say there is no water.

THE FOUNTAIN

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water
to solace the dryness at our hearts.
I have seen

the fountain springing out of the rock wall
and you drinking there. And I too
before your eyes

found footholds and climbed
to drink the cool water.

The woman of that place, shading her eyes,
frowned as she watched – but not because
she grudged the water,

only because she was waiting
to see we drank our fill and were
refreshed.

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water.
That fountain is there among its scalloped
green and grey stones,

it is still there and always there
with its quiet song and strange power
to spring in us,
up and out through the rock.

-Denise Levertov

Photo from Friko’s World blog