Happy Summer Solstice Eve from Zen

Yes, I know, several of the calendars say Today is Summer Solstice.. well, it is tonight, a lot of folks, us especially, celebrate it tomorrow on the 21st… The actual Full Day.

Summer Solstice is one of our two Anniversaries .. We did our original Handfasting on Summer Solstice ( The 21st )

In any case….Let’s move along…

So, fire season is definitely under way, we have had several ” smaller” fires as well as another larger one to the south of us. Yesterday is was at over 4300 acres. We had a pretty strong breeze in the 30 mph range here, so , as we always remind, fire creates its own winds to begin with so we have to imagine what the fire fighters are dealing with. Today’s breezes are coming out of the SE so, hopefully at least some of the fire turned on its self though it can just as easily started heading Northward.

There were multiple fire starts on this one and no lightning storms sooo… not a squirrel.. Not a couple bucks bangin antlers.. Not the Eye of God…Not a Sun Flare…..kinda narrows it down..

Here on Zen top, we watched the plume rising yesterday, once again , it is hidden from us by the range between us so we are hoping for the best for all the folk dealing with it. Once again.. fires are earlier than normal and the dry spring didn’t help much.

The gardens

moving along…

With the total oddball late winter/ spring we had this year..not that they haven’t all been bizarre lately, however… We had the early warming in late winter where I actually almost put in the AC…Which turned right back around, once flower buds all put on, and got cold…and colder….and then the winds hit…and it got warm.. then back to freezing…oh..and hot…and then friggin cold….you can see the pattern right? or should I continue with the repeats?

What all of this did was , it looks like, is wipe out our fruit this year.. No signs of apples on our trees, we generally can see by now what we are looking at.. Maybe they will start late?… No sign of Plums, we should have peanut sized plums showing.. No signs of Apricots… They are always showing by now.. We have maybe a third of our cherries showing.. Still no where near ripe, but seems that the birds are just fine with it . I doubt we get more than a taste on them, fortunately the orchards down towards the flatlands are full so we’ll have to head down to pick. We have just one of our pear trees that have any pears on it…we’ll see how they do.. not many of them either…I don’t see anything on the other two trees. The Prunes are showing a few prunes, so that is something.. Currents are tiny, but they are there.. not very appealing, but there ya go.

I put out the new batch of Zukes…along with a wind fence , but… with the shifting winds and cold temps along with a hot sun, I am down to just a few plants left.. The entire first batch being wiped to the ground from this crazy weather.

The Asparagus is doing fine… When it’s warm, we get a few a day.. when it cools back off, nothing. The weather is causing a lot of them to get all weird but over all they are doing just fine. Just no record crops.

Basil is doing pretty well.. the second batch I just put in seem to entice some bug that came through, chewed on most of the new plants, left the older plants along…picky bugs I suppose.

Potatoes…Welllll… They are green… smaller plants than normal, but I am not going to worry about it just yet. I had to pull the first flowers this morning… The second bed is pretty scant…again.. the second planting…weird weather….

Some of the herbs haven’t seem to noticed the weather and others already are slowing down..

The Apple gardens; the tomato plants are looking pretty good. They are filling out.. even the spot I had to replant twice…She isn’t lush, but she is growing..ish.. The pepper plants are doing fine…They are growing and we still have that one Italian Pepper growing.. I don’t see me picking it any time soon, but there she is.. Several other of the plants have put on flowers. The damage they all took early on from the weather patterns, or lack of, this year is being outgrown.. slowly , but surely.

I still haven’t found any canning lids which pisses me off… Nothing since 2019..come on folks… Ball says there shouldn’t be a shortage…Well there sure as hell is here.. They went on to say they are going to do their Spring to Summer normal schedule…. It would seem that as we are all suffering, not being able to can.. Possibly run a little longer until there really ISN’T aa shortage.. It’s not like they are going to stay on the shelves. Canning jar prices have doubled.. It seems to me that they are just fine with seriously overcharging us.. Might be a great time for someone to start making canning lids and make a fortune within a couple years. They may not sell for a lot, but, you’ll be selling tons and tons of them. Seems there is no competition.


I asked Ma what sounded good for dinner.. She said Chicken Strips. She makes the best chicken strips from the breasts of the chickens I break down. I just had to run into the shop to the deep freeze to get them.

While I was out there, I thought I would pick up a couple more things for meals this week as Ma is off.

My arms full of frozen goodies, I dropped the lid to the deep freeze when one of the sounds that scares the crap out of me went off, just to my left;


And as always; my voice rose some thirty octaves ( wouldn’t that be handy if I could do that on purpose ) ..And the highest of ;

WHOASHIT!” whooped out of my mouth.. followed by “Whereareyouwhereareyou!?!?!?!”

Frozen goodies all over the floor, I spun to see him curled up some five feet away. Far enough that my berries dropped back down, but I could still feel them in my throat.

CRAP! DUDE!?! What the hell?”

The rattle snake, right around three and a half feet long sat coiled up, glaring at me…Until he couldn’t stand it anymore and started laughing as he uncoiled.

SSSSSSSSSnap! Gotcha again Da!

Not funny Man ! Not even a little bit. You know that completely unnerves me!”

Funny.. I hadn’t noticccccccccced…Those…Your range of pitch is impressssssssssssssssssssssive.”

Screw You! Now I am going to be poking at everything everywhere I walk for the rest of summer. I know you do that on purpose.”

Thatssssssssssssssssssssssssss totally not fair.. You sssssssssscared the crap out of me last year.”

Dude….You ambushed ME.”

I wassssssssssssssssssss totally ssssssssssssssssleeping when you almosssssssssssssst sssssssssstepped on me.”

You have a problem with “S”s Dude?” I asked, poking a staff at him.” You’re always like drooling by the time we’re done talking.”

Do you really want me to bite you? I mean becaussssssssssssssssssse I could you know.”

You’re lissssssssssssping Dude.”

Ssssssssssssscrew you! I’ll take my moussssssssssssssse hunting busssssssssssssinesssssssssssssssssss elsssssssssssssewhere.” He said as he turned to slither off in a huff.

Not very dramatic Dude… Try to like..oh , I don’t know… Stomp away, or maybe slam a door or something.”

You ssssssssssssssssssuck.”

Yeah.. Well… You bite… Move along before I start up the lawn mower or something. SSSssssssssssssssssee ya.”

Sssssssstop already. Meany. Keep it up and I’ll move in here.”

Just one word Dude.. Power Tools.”

Thatssssssssssssssssssss Two wordsssssssssssssssssssssssss.”

How many? Show me on your fingers.”

I’ll ssssssssssssssssssssssshow you my fangsssssssssssssssssssss.”

Yeah? I’ll sssssssssssssshow you my Ssssssssssssssssshovel.”

Spike gave me one last look as he was slithering off. He stopped, curled on himself, raised his head, cocking it to the side and said. “ I’ll be Back.”

I watched him head off, shook the dampness from my leg and picked up my frozen foods.. I always hate when they get in the last word.

Jutu Ginny and Dennis

Quick. Before anyone else gets here.” Ginny cawed back to her brother as she landed on the brush pile.

You think it is still there?” Jutu asked as he landed on the ground below her, staring into the brush.

Naw… But maybe there is something new.” Ginny answered as she poked her head into the upper branches to look about.

Do you see anything? Do you smell anything?” Jutu asked as he hopped about peering in to the pile.

There is something in here. I don’t know what, but something.”

I already ate it.” came another voice from behind, sending the two crows into the air cussing up a storm.

Dennis sat at the edge of the wood pile watching. His head cocked to the side, his eyes still rolling slowly left to right and back again.

Dennis!” Jutu called. ” You scared me ! Don’tcha be sneaking up on a guy like that.”

The tip of Dennis’s tail began to wag. “ I was just walking and I saw you. I already ate the mouse in there.”

Buddy, we are going for bigger game than mice.” Ginny huffed as she circled back down to land on the brush pile again.

Dennis shrugged. “ Bigger is easier when it is easier. Lots of mice and they are easy to catch.”

Ginny looked at Dennis for a moment, thinking about that. He made a lot of sense…which was Very un Dennis like.

Nahhhhh.” She said and poked her head back into the brush pile.

Jutu watch the two, then started looking around on the ground.

Whatcha doing Juuutuu?” Dennis asked as he put his nose to the ground where Jutu had already been.

Looking for mice.”

You have to hunt for mice. Not look for them.” Dennis said, a grin forming. “ I like to hunt mice. It’s fun.”

Jutu squawked and flew into the air.” You said easy.”

I said easy to catch. Have to hunt for them first.”

HAH! I knew it !” Ginny crowed as she pried her head out of the brush pile. All her feathers going in the wrong direction, giving her a ruffled collar look along with a mohawk.

Dennis stared for a moment then burst out in laughter as he roll on his back sputtering.

Jutu watched Dennis break down, then landed again. Turning to shrug with his sister, he saw what Dennis’s problem was and fell over backwards laugh as well.

Ginny puffed up at the two boys being dumb..which only enhanced the look. “ What is wrong with you two?”

Dennis’s eyes bulging, he tried to gasp out, pointing his paw at her. Jutu, watching Dennis and Ginny, hugged himself, rolling on the ground until he was laying against Dennis. Both trying to catch their breath. Then they would both look at Ginny, then each other and they would break down laughing and gasping again, holding on to each other.

Ginny gave up on the two boys, filled her wings with the breeze coming up the mountain side to drift over to the pond. She bent over to grab a drink when she saw the craziest crow she had ever seen in her life. She broke out laughing, spun pointing her wing at the other crow,” What exactly are You suppose to b…” When she notice…. No one… Ginny turn back to the water, saw the crazy mohawked wide frill ruffled collared crow. She started laughing again and spun to catch the crow this time for sure…but.. No one was there… IN the distance, the boys were peeking over the top of the wood pile at her, eyes still wide and bulging, laughing themselves into hysterics. She turn to look back into the pond. She turned her head..so did the other crow. She waggled her head..and the mohawk waggled..” Good Grief !”

Ginny stuck her head under the surface of the water, shaking back and forth then pulled her head out, waiting for the rings to stop as she looked on. There she was, wet, but no more oddities.

Ginny flew over the boys, cussing them out as she head down the slope to blow off some steam.

Final Thoughts

Although the temps are rising today, our natural AC from the blustery winds is making it at least Feel cool for the moment. It wasn’t until I looked at my stat to my office that I had any idea it was 78F in here…Last I saw it was in the low 60s.. The window open in front of me has the East wind blowing over me , keeping me cool…Though, soon the sun will beat the breezes and I’ll have to start thinking about trying to keep the bedroom cool. But in the early afternoon, I still have the warmest room in the house.

Tuesday Ma has to go in for tests.. It has taken months to get her in.. But it sounds like they won’t be too uncomfortable so we will have at least one more stop in town.. First time back in Hooterville , other than my eye doc, in quite some time.

We have more fleeces to get cleaned up this week. Ma has been working away on one of them and took the time to try to teach me combing.. Crap! that absolutely kills my wrists.. I have no idea how you guys do that all dang day long.. I worked on my bit of fleece for maybe a half hour and I was done.. Ma finished then as well , of course, but I imagine more so because she knew I wouldn’t stop until she did rather than her getting worn down as well… I may be able to do things she can’t but the whole wrist thang? wow…

Ma also got in her new drum carder so she will have a little time to play with it a bit, hopefully. Lots of sheep prep to do to get things ready for Ma’s spinning.. Which, of course, she also does every day.. Along with knitting every day…

While I sit and write, Ma is out under the covered porch, spinning away, enjoying the warmish breezes.

I managed to get things watered that needed to be before temps rose today. Tomorrow is suppose to be warm as well then slowly cooling off yet again. I know we have the East winds today, which are actually really nice for us, keep the house comfortable as well as the porch. I know I would have to be closing things down if it weren’t for the abnormally cool winds.. With in the next few days, I imagine it will at least feel hotter..

But.. for the now…

Its just another day on Zen Mountain

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