A moment in time on Zen Mountain

Walking with blinders on will let you miss a moment that may never be repeated. This is the norm on Zen Mountain.


Ma stood on the deck one morning this week before heading to work when she saw what she first thought was smoke on our Northern hill.

A moment of panic set in as Ma worried that the asshat that is setting fires Just to the East of us off and on all summer long set a blaze to our North…. Though it would be unlikely that it would start there.. That would mean a fair walk in and out and so far the pos has stayed close to roads for quick evac .

Pulling up her binocs what had first seem to be a fire was our elk herd on a rampage . Watching carefully now , Ma saw the herd running away then making a protective circle. IN a breath’s time a small pack of what was most likely coyotes , as Ma has spent a LOT of time in the woods with wolves doing research , chasing the herd… Until the herd got fed up with it , changing the game completely. While Ma watched , the herd switched from defense to offence and the chase was on. I can’t imagine what those nut cases were thinking , taking on a herd…. Too much Net Geo watching the wolf packs of Yellowstone I imagine ….. Zen’s version of wanna be’s ……

Ma told me the story when I got home from work that eve . I smiled and I chuckled though all the while I worried about “Phil : Limpy ” Hoping that he was smart enough to keep his family out of a train wreck like that.

“Dennis !!!”

The beginning of the weekend found Ma and I on the porch/ deck area in the morning… Yes… I know…. Shocker!….Whatever . Stop rolling your eyes and quick interrupting me while I am telling a story…Jeeze…

Anyway….  We looked to the North and out pops ” Limpy ” making strides across the game path that cuts from the point of the Oak Grove to the Berm . While we watched, as we knew he wouldn’t be alone…. Here comes ” Mama”…During the Summer months and until she gets her winter coat , there is no red ” shawl” across her back as there is when it gets chill… Just like Ma… Mama was hanging back so we knew they weren’t running as a pair alone. Sure enough ,a pair of tiny ears pops above the grasses… A Baby ! We don’t normally get to see the pups until they are old enough to get away from the pair and out to wreak havoc on their own. Ma and I were grinning and watching when a second pair of baby ears pops up.. Sure enough , there is a second pup running around between Mama and Limpy. The Mother coyote still didn’t move from where she was , nor did she watch the two pups as they romped off towards their father. She kept looking back to the point…. So..so did Ma and I…. You could all but hear her as she stood impatient and grousing :

” Dennis! Come on! ………… Don’t you make me come back in there to get you!… Dennis! …Don’t lick that ! You have no idea where it’s been ! …. Stop peeing on everything! Your Father already did…. Dennis ! Don’t you walk away! I’m going to count to three! …..One.. Two…..

” Yes I know, Three ! You really need to see this ! It looks like deer poop… “

” Gawwhhhhh.. Then it probably is ….Get over here. No , Don’t you….Ack! Dennissss !”

The Black Box

The word is out. If you see the black box , head out !

Any time I take the camera out with me in the mornings, absolutely nothing happens….Until I set it down.

Baby bobcats…No camera…Get the camera.. No bobcats

Baby coyotes …No camera….Screw it ! I know the drill…..

I was outside last night around 2 am . I couldn’t sleep so..I went out on the porch…. I looked up into the sky and , to me of course , just below the moon was a jet leaving a vapor trail . I went in to get the camera…. Vapor misted away… Of course…..

Elk herd in the yard..Well only way to get a pic is from inside , not going to pull the ole;

” Hey ! I am a total Loser Citiot and I want to see if I can run up to the elk herd !”

Yeah.. We know how THAT story ended… Moron ….

I grabbed the camera took , oh , I don’t know….. A MILLION pics! BUT to do that I had to switch off the flash…AND I forgot..as in just this second I am remembering I STILL have set back up a low light no flash setting…Derrrr!

ANYWAY……………… I had a beautiful album of black to share with everyone…

“Oooohhhh Ahhhhhhh… Yes! That is INDEED a bull and cows in the yard at little more than fifteen yards…..What do you mean it’s a little dark?!?! It’s Friggin Black! Black Is , in fact , Dark……………………. CRAP on a Cracker ! “

Our doe brought in a couple of her gal friends and their daughter to visit. I was sitting on the deck and Ma in the porch as they walked by . Our doe stopped maybe eleven feet from me , watching me. So..Not wanting to be rude , I started talking to her. She patiently listened….. Being a white guy , we all know that if I talk louder and slower everyone understands what I am saying…. Pretty sure she shrugged before she walked off , her friend in tow. To add insult to injury; the fawn COMPLETELY ignored me as I talked to her…. I have that way with women , as we all know….

We were standing on the deck watching the hummies as it started to get light out this morning . I had the camera with me though it was still a little dark out yet.

One of the hummingbirds hit the hummingbird plant..yeah, go figure …. I whipped the camera up to take a pic when the camera , still on auto from trying to get a pic of the jet stream earlier , flipped the flash up…. Hitting the brim of my High School cap I was wearing  made a series of ” OH F**G” noises , alerting the hummer that the black box was out … even the crickets slowly edged under the porch before they started making noise…. FINE! WHATEVER!

Apple Catch !

Ma and I…. gawh..seriously?… I see you rolling your eyes and mouthing ;

” Were standing on the deck / porch .”

Yes.. as a matter of fact , now that you mention it..We were indeed , standing on the deck.. Man you guys get lippy about this far in..Don’tcha…

Anyway.. Ma and I were standing on the deck after we had both gotten off work when our doe was standing by the Apple Fence …

She stood up on her hind legs and pulled down one of the apples that overhung…

” Hey ! Knock that off ! You know better than that. “

She stood………..Crunching on that juicy squirrel bait apple and pretended not to hear me. She lifted right back up again grabbing another while she watched me … I am pretty sure there was a smirk involved.

” Hey little Girl ! Don’t MAKE me come over there !”

Ma chimed in;

” Hey you ! Stop picking those apples! “

The doe looked at Ma then at me…Then crunched the apple in her mouth.

” GAWWHH!!! Fine . You asked for it. “

I walked down off the deck and headed her way… We started at twenty five yards… I was now at ten. She rolled her eyes at me.. Very much Not impressed. The doe didn’t move until I was a matter of feet away , which made even me a little twitchy.  She had come my way as I was walking over.

She walked to the back fence as I went to where she had been and started picking apples. Ma came with a large stainless steel bowl for me to put them in… The doe was not overly happy about this turn of events coming back around…Very much Not impressed..I rolled my eyes back at her.

I started finding apples that bugs or wind had gotten to so, as she was standing right there I tossed one over by her thinking it would make Her twitchy…No…. We invented a new game….

Apple Catch

She , happily , munched the apples that rolled at her feet as I picked some five yards away.

One of her doe friends came up from the North watching the ” game”

” What the Hell? He feeds you now ? “

” No! This is Apple Catch ! Keep up. We just invented it…I approve . “

” Well… Can I play too? “

” Oh HELL NO! Go Bugger off.. Make up your own game. Like ‘ Run away like a little wiener , ‘ when he drives into the driveway or something . “

” Whatever. You suck !”

OH Yes, I suck , I suck apple juice from these crunchie munchie apples I do. “

We filled the bowl , wiping the apples from the overhanging branches then locked things down. Our doe was looking pretty full anyway. She was starting to simply stare at the apples for a bit before she groaned and ate them.


So , I got a bug last weekend and started shampooing area rugs. It is about that time when the accumulation of dust and dirt through the air is driving me bonkers , not to mention all the smoke.

Saturday we tore down our bedroom and shampooed it… Ma got so excited to see the carpet fluff back up again that I tore things down in the front room to shampoo it while she was working.

The down side is that shampoo , like waxing , or for that matter , staining and any , all other gnarly chemicals wipe out my breathing.

I had finished by the time Ma got off work while she was talking to me it was all I could do to answer her in between trying to get air into my lungs and NOT black out while the darkness creeped into my vision…Good Times…

You Stain !

Well…. I figured that as I was torching my lungs anyway it only made sense to work on some of Ma’s spinning tools that we made and her new ” Pocket Wheel ” that just came in.

I mixed up ” Ma’s Color” for staining . A very red to maroon highlights with reddish dark brown backing… This is her color for all of her tools we make up, and now the wheel.

The ” Pocket Wheel ” Ma had made especially for her . She waited almost a year and a half to get it.

The Pocket wheel , just like Pocket Ma..now that I think about it, is bitty .A travelling spinning wheel . She had it made from Cherry wood and was beautiful from the start. We had it come unfinished as we wanted to add the color to it as well as a celtic design…as that is what We do…

I did the finishing sanding as well as getting two coats of stain on wheel and six bobbins . They already look great… I am no where near done… On the bright side though… The way that I am finishing it, Ma can , in fact , start using it once I stop this series of stains.. I can then buff it down and start up again as I am holding off on the actual finish until later.

Holy Tomatoes Batman !

So… I mentioned we are getting around five pounds a day off the plants . They are all the Roma type..but better..They are giant now , way over my head and thick with maters. The fruit has a LOT less water to them than what you get in the stores Far more dense meat . Perfect for sauce.

Ma roasted 58 pounds of tomatoes on Saturday. They are all bagged in one of the baby freezers waiting break when we will start our canning… This not Ma’s first foray into the roasting of maters for the season , though one of the larger . Needless to say; the counter was lost in a sea of red….. The horror !..oh wait.. right.. not blood…whatever…

Final thoughts

The weather has changed.. Absolutely beautiful. We are in the 60s and low..very low.. Seventies now during the day at peak. Yes we do , in fact , have our breezes which , so far , is keeping the smoke from Zen as well as drying carpets and spinning tools…

This was the last of Long Days and Long weekends for the year. We do , of course , have our Holiday coming up in a few weeks so Woo Hoo! … This next week I start seeing changes at work… The construction , the kids , the teachers are all fine.. the crap that changes for no good reason actually making my job harder for as the supervisor openly admitted , poorer quality of work..How the hell dumb is that ? .. Has me very worried. One of the changes will , not could but WILL cripple me if I follow what he wants… I’ll leave it at that for now.. If it goes through and I am .. You heard it here first… Another change that is stupid is just a piss me off for no good reason as well and most likely will give me hives , pretty much until I retire , so going to work on that one as well….None of it makes sense. None of it will make things better for the staff… It will actually make things not only worse for myself and my crew but for everyone we work for…Oh.. and it’ll cost money to implement it all… SO that makes sense.

We have more shampooing to do and I will have to go over the same areas again simply because it takes time to get the Zen out of Zen…

With the holidays coming up , we are making plans of what all we want to get done.. None of which include a beach or drinks with umbrellas in them .

It is time to get ready for Winter!


I sit on the deck watching the stars . The moon is out though waning . Stars seem to be sleeping as the sky , so clear , shows few with the bright light from our closet neighbor.

No sounds anywhere . I can hear my heart beating as I sit staring into the skies.

The dark brings out the fireworks from behind my right eye though I have made  great lengths in ignoring it if not the headaches.

I looks for anything that might be interesting in the heavens above though the moon dims most of what I can see above and I am too lazy to walk out into the yard to look on the other side of the house far from the bright lights.

A jet flies across the face of the moon leaving its vapor trail behind , glowing in the night as it heads towards Seattle . As always, I sit with no camera at hand.

” Crap!”

I walk back inside to grab it only to find that the trail is already gone , just that fast.

To the North I hear the coyote kids start to sing. One then two and more chorus together as we all sit watching the moon.

The Southern pack with Limpy , Mama , Legs , Red and the kids start up answering the questing voices of their Northern kin.

I lay back, closing my eyes , listening to them all sing.

To the Eastern hills and beyond , I see a hint of purple in the sky.

” Crap! ” again… I had woken up and sat out until the morning is coming..I need to try to get at least a little sleep before I need to get working around Zen.

Watching the heavens above , listening to the kids , I smile one last time and sigh….It seems as if it will be

Just another day On Zen Mountain…..Just give me five more minutes







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