Warm and Fuzzy on Zen

No rain in sight making the areas around Zen far too dry too do much of anything without worrying about fires.

Heating up in the Gorge

Summer days are warm with breezes kicking in every few days to cool things off or heat them back up again. If things weren’t so dry and combustible this would be just fine. The problems come from fires starting locally every few days. Whether they start from accidental sparks or on purpose , the results is devastating including friends who lost their home and headed to the big city burn unit.

We have been lucky ourselves so far this season but there is still a lot of dry to go before our normal rains tend to come through.

The meadow grasses are completely dry now and far too much of it is close to hip high. Early on I mowed down as much as I could but there is far more all around us .

New plumes of smoke every few nights as I drive home seem to be coming from around our place as I drive up the gorge . Ma has been making sure to let me know before I head home that the fires aren’t here to keep me from panicking on the drive.

The thought of another fire up here scares the crap out of us both.

Warm and Fuzzy on Zen


Things being dry up here has the kids hitting the water off and on all day . We finally are seeing fawns as the does bring them in to visit. We had a pair of twins in a few days ago being the first set we have seen this year. There are a few single ” bunnies” that come in with their moms.

Since the heavy snows a couple winters ago the numbers of our deer have gone way down. Even the hummingbird numbers have been lower which I don’t know why that might have anything to do with it but things seem to all be starting over again.

The weather reminds me a lot of the 90s here . More winds dry enough to close the woods and on… The predictions for this winter are warmer than normal which , if it does come through , would also be about the same.

I had noticed last summer that the patterns were starting and so far they are holding true.. Time will tell , as usual.

Trying to catch up

Winds , heat and lack of rain really took a toll on our gardens as I have mentioned before. We lost another Zuke plant bringing us down to a lowly three producing plants. Basically a third of what we planted. Acorn squash wiped , cantaloupes wiped . A third of our pumpkin plants . All but three of our new trees. One of our bushes all of the hanging plants.   We have to hope what is left will keep growing. Too many of the established herbs are looking rough , we have to hope that the roots are still fine.

I was finally able to get the two forsythias into the ground yesterday at the front of the new deck. No small task as I beat my way through the layers of rock until I had large enough “vases ” to put reasonable bushes into . Flooding the poor plants into submission , finally got them looking happy again. Even watering them every day could only do so much in their pots . Being in the ground let them absorb a lot more water . Adding fences around them both to keep the kids from ” pruning” them too much. I just have to get them to stay alive till Fall.

I spent the early part of the day watering and running liquid fertilizer for every individual plant around the homestead..no small task but they may do better now.

Come next weekend , we’ll start all over again .

Plum tuckered out


As I was working around the place on Saturday , I stepped out of the front entry before I actually looked up to see the dang Silver-grey Squirrel string at me .  He saw me spun and took off down the drive.

Last year he completely wiped out our plum , tomato and apple crop..one stupid little squirrel…

I ran out to the shop , grabbed a cardboard box and started picking plums. I would have liked to wait a few more days but it was him or me.

Getting one corner cleaned of plums I noticed the box was already full. Back out to the shop for a larger box and managed to fill it . A short time later the tree was bare , the box full Ma and I were laying plums on trays to finish ripening before they are ready to hit the dehydrators . For Zen , it was a great crop. Especially after zero plums last year.

The weekend and the day are quickly winding down with Monday looming ahead .

Soup is up ; white bean and veggies again , just one of the many variations I like to toss together to get us through the week.

After a nice harvest of Zukes of the few plants left , Ma is making up muffins to freeze keeping us in Zuke bread for the next many months. Leaving one behind for me to make us zuke boats for dinner.

zuke muffins

72 muffins later……

Chill-axing Friday

We decided Friday morning, as we were getting ready to head to town… screw it! we’ll go on Saturday.

Doing something we rarely do ; we just relaxed…which ,of course, meant that we worked hard until late afternoon THEN slowed down . Ma knitting and I had just finished up working on upgrades to one of my guitars so I decided to put it to the test against my sweet Fender strat. It didn’t sound too bad at all. Making up a guitar “Duo” blues song


dropping it into an MP3 I found that to share it I had to make it a video.. Crap… So I took

a couple pics wa-la a video is born..whatever…took longer to set it up than making the whole freakin song.

The “down” side was

A) I decided I would like to do more upgrades to the same guitar which means mostly starting over. Not spendy by any means or really all that time consuming. It just means looking at wiring possibilities and deciding which way to go…Before I change my mind again …

B) Setting up the song gave me an idea , or theme ,if you will , for more songs. The nice thing is that the rest will just be MP3s..no silly vids to worry about. The duo thang was fun. Not sure if too many would work out but it’ll be fun trying.

The bad thing about that was I got an idea around 10pm Sat night. By the time I put down enough tracks so that I could remember where I was going I was wired and it was only a few hours before we needed to get up..dang… I know there are a couple folks interested in the MP3s but for the most part it’ll just be something for MA and I to enjoy.. Nothing wrong with that anyway.

C ) I thought of another “strat” build that could be fun…. We will see if I can pull it off before it gets cold along with the rest of what we need to do..After all , it IS August which means ; It’s time to start getting ready for Winter.

Final Thoughts

The day getting long , I had better wrap this up.

Fires are freaking a lot of us out and for good reason. I’ll be glad when it starts raining again. I don’t even like talking too much about it. It just feels creepy .

Hopefully our remaining plants start pumping out veggies for us so that we can get started on harvests. It usually is August before they kick in up here making it a mad dash to the very end of the season to get enough crops for sauces , herb and pepper mixes along zuke breads , pickles and more. Hopefully we will get our apple harvest this year beings we are getting very low on apple sauce and only drinking cider on special occasions  it seems .

It’s nice to start seeing the fawns finally.

The elk are still out in the mornings hang around to say hi before they go about their business. The hummies are having a blast with the deck , Ma and myself in the flight path of play.

The rains can’t come any too soon.

 Coffee at the Zen Homestead


Up before the stars fade as days get shorter. I look out the southern window to see if there are any silhouettes by the pond then work my way through the house . Grabbing a cup of coffee I walk out to the new deck to watch the morning wake.

Sitting , I can see a bit more by the minute. The light of Gotham are bright in the valley below reflecting off the river.

Coyote kids begin their morning calls of “Wakey Wakey ” setting off roosters across the farms below.

I hears a buzz past my ear as the first of the hummers comes in for a cupper with Ma and myself. Still too dark for me to see her, the hummingbird zips past my ear again enjoying the cool morning and the attention from Ma and I.

Behind me I hear a second hummer come in and so it begins. The two spinning about each other chattering away. Zoom Zoom over the top of my head as they fly past me to go see Ma.

From the North comes our bull’s bugle as he gets his girls together to start the slow move across the hillside . Cow begin to chat with each other as they move along. Calves bouncing around their legs as they frolic in the predawn .The smattering of clouds to the East catch the first rays of the morning light orange and red as the Sun yawns wide , laying back staring into the sky .

I smile as I watch the colors flood the lower edges of the clouds. A zip past my ear wakes me from my day dreams, another grants the hummies all of my attention as they spin around me playing together, pulling up short to watch me from a few feet away until I talk to her then off she goes to catch yet another hummer just now winging in. Looks like it’ll be

Just another day on Zen Mountain















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