Monday, July 31, 2017



There has been some serious SHINGing going on around this muther fucker.

And by SHINGing, I mean scything because of the SHING SHING SHINGing it does when I'm slicing oh-so-satisfyingly through acres of 10' tall thistles and the tall grass before it turns into fire bait.


I love it.

Seriously, it is like therapy. Like hillbilly dun lost 'er shit therapy. Our neighbors think we're nuts. And dangerous. Which is really something coming from the likes of these fine armed folks.

The cow horn holster (for the whetstone, obviously) isn't helping. 

Anyway - I've been scything. Grass, thistles, wild pea tumbleweeds that are a super pain in the ass to scythe because of the stupid ass way they grow and then get all snarled up and grow giant trunks that are really hard to SHING through.

It's been fairly successful. And despite the physical effort it looks like I'm exerting, it's actually way lighter work than hauling around that weedwhacker. Plus I'm not breathing in gas fumes. Or straining to hear Gojira over the roar of the motor. Or sweating my tits off in coveralls to avoid having grass shot up my pooper.

That shit's a fucking scene, man.

But with the scything I get to ditch the coveralls, groove to whatever French metal I please at a reasonable volume and peacefully SHINGSHINGSHING my way across the hillside.

I mean, until I SHING a yellow jacket nest, of course.


Then it's just all scythe-throwing and girlish shrieking and Bubba yelling "WHAT WHAT WHAT??" and me running through the woods at a rate so expeditious that after the Great Yellow Jacket Mauling of 2017 concluded, he tried to comfort me by telling me that he was impressed I could run that fast in work boots.

Cover me in stinging insects and I bet I make a sub-2hr marathon.

Plus the ones on my hands and stomach yay

Yeah, so there's apparently a trend emerging where I make unwelcome advances at stinging insects and end up bringing new meaning to my old standby freakout of OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

And this is an OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO that Bubba can't rescue me from because he's allergic as shit to stingers.

So, yeah, probably not the best and smartest move for me to be hurtling myself down the hillside in his direction looking for help. I realized my error about halfway down the hill, but I was moving at such a speed (see sub-2 hr marathon in work boots) that momentum, gravity and the spacing of the oak trees predetermined my path. A path which dumped me out nearly at his feet. And me waving my arms and shrieking "NO NO NO" didn't deter him from coming to my rescue and then being aggressively shooed away so that I could find and kill those stinging fuckers myself.


Later, after I came down from the adrenaline and rage from my yellow jacket-fueled run, I inspected the yellow jacket nest from afar.

It seemed ACTIVE.

When I went back the next morning to fetch my scythe, which I'd hurtled to the ground in my hasty escape, I found it laying ever so conveniently across TWO entrances to a massive nest.


Thankfully it was cool out and there wasn't much action on at the nest yet, so I pulled my hoodie up, cinched it down around my face, hiked out there, snatched up my scythe, gave the nest a good old American middle finger (it was 4th of July after all) and marched back to the house.


And then, because I will NOT have my foggy morning dog walk ruined by the likes of a bunch of asshole yellow jackets, I went downstairs to make tea and go for my walk.

Love fog. LOVEIT.

Except then SUPER FUN fishing a yellow jacket out of my sweatshirt when I sat down to put my shoesonyaythanksforthat.

I'm afraid that one bore the brunt of my rage at his entire nest and species. There was not a lot left of that dude when my boots and I were done with him.


So yeah, scythes are awesome for cutting grass but not good for defense against stinging insects.

Got it.

Update a month later, here. Hi! I'm on vacation yay!

The nest was just raided the other night by another suddenly-a-lot-less-loathed beast of the hillside - a skunk.

At first I was pissed when I woke up to the waft of skunk on the morning breeze but when Bubba told me that HEY AWESOME the nest was busted open and there wasn't any flying going on up there anymore, I became very forgiving with the skunks.

I mean, they are fluffy and cute after all. And wasp hungry.


They know. That's why they walk so slow across the road when I'm driving to work in the early hours.

All beasts great and small slow their roll when they see a skunk.

It's the collective OH NOOOOOOOOOOOO of nature.

And for one moment, the skunks were on my side.


Monday, May 08, 2017

The depths of my plant nerd

So, there went April, I guess.

I had thought that oh yeah I can totally do a post a month, fer sure and then I took on a big old fucking job at the farm and yeah no.

Good thing I only told myself I would post at least once a month and not you guys. Well, until now.

Whatever - HI! It's May! April sucked ass! Work is busy! It's like this for everyone! I'll stop whining.

Instead, I'll just give you guys another reason to think me a big fucking nerd.

I am on vacation next week.

Which is not nerdy.

I plan to garden ALL week long.

Which is only vaguely nerdy. At least that's where it registers on my scale of nerdiness.

I chose to take this week off because it follows the plant sale at the college where I got my horticulture degree and this way I can prep for my vacation by buying a shit load of plants for my week of garden nerding.

Which is, like, pretty nerdy, I guess.

Last fall I gave my plant list for the native plant restoration project I'm doing at my house to my program chair from the horticulture department and he had the crop production classes grow out my plant list.

Am I getting warmer? I feel like this is warm nerd territory.

What if I told you that I planned to take this week off last year? Before I even knew that the California native plants of my heart's desire were going to be custom grown for me from a list of my own devising?


I didn't do that. I only decided after the offer was made.

So, I'm only sort of plant nerdy. Like, on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is "What is a California Poppy?" and 10 is "IF YOU DON'T CALL IT ESCHSCHOLZIA CALIFORNICA YOU CAN DIE IN A FIERY HEAP OF FRESH CUPCAKE SHAPED WILD TURKEY SHIT!", I'm probably around a 6.

You know, where 6 is "I will ever so carefully weedwhack around all lacy poppy foliage on 5 acres of hillside in order to spare every last flower so that it may spread its seed far and wide because I love them so so much."

That's my level of nerdiness. I think, anyway.

So, if I live through this week of work, which is always in question until I finally tear off my boots at the end of the week, I will embark on a week of plant nerdiness that, until now, has only existed in my wildest nerd fantasies.

Wanna see the plants I'm getting?

Aesclepias speciosa, California Milkweed
Carpenteria Californica, Bush Anemone
Lupinus arboreus, Bush Lupine

Erigonum grande var. rubescens, Red Buckwheat

Eschscholzia californica, California Poppy
Diplacus aurantiacus, Sticky Monkey Flower
Salvia spathacea, Hummingbird Sage
And also others that I don't have photos of yet. And that the internet won't let me paste into Blogger for some mysterious reason that I don't have the energy to sort out.

So yeah, much gardening will happen in my life next week. I have big fancy plans to buy all the natives at the college plant sale whilst shoving grannies out of the way to get to all of my precious baby plants if I have to. After which, I will spend many days digging holes, planting, mulching and fighting off the deer with my gloved hands.

And scything.

Because Bubba got a scythe to tame our hillside grass and it works so well and he is so badass that I had to have one, too.


I won't believe you.

The man cut 1/4 acre of grass and weeds down in 20 minutes.


And he wasn't even out of breath.

So yeah, mine's en route. As is the cow horn whetstone holder because if you're going to use a scythe, why not go for the psycho gold and carry your whetstone in a cow horn?

And also why not wear your black hoodie with the skull and cross bones on the back, with the hood up, and pump French death metal until your neighbors are convinced that Death Herself has moved in next door?

My answer to these questions is obviously WHY NOT INDEED.

Photos to follow.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

And suddenly there was RAIN FOR, LIKE, MONTHS.

There's just something about a freshly newly stacked pile of firewood that makes you feel good, right?

I'll never be cold. EVAR.
Not like it's all super fucking cold around here or anything. I mean, it's still Northern California we're talking about here. So, like, in the 30s in February counts for cold.

We're more worried about shit like flooding than extreme cold.

Flood Day it is, then? OK.

We have just the one wee bridge to get out to our property, so when it goes under the otherwise non-existent creek, it's this new thing called Flood Day that's like Snow Day but way less fun.
I imagine. Having only had a handful of Snow Days in my life during my undergrad in Flagstaff, anyway. And really what I remember are things like ill-fated attempts to get up to the local ski hill and then bailing out to the local brewery to hear war stories about snow shoveling, so what do I know of The Fun of Snow Days. 

I can say, however, Flood Days are kind of not as fun because they also usually involve repeatedly checking the status of the household mudslide.

"Eh. It's about as big as before. It still looks like Playdoh spaghetti squeezing through the fence rail."
Yippie whippy.

Trillium chloropetalum, Giant Wakerobin
I do really like the between-storm damage patrols, though. Because who doesn't like to walk around in soggy woods with a big poking stick and muck boots?

Don't tell me. I like to believe that I am normal.

This was the first time I'd seen sun in, like, 5 days, so, some forgiveness, ok? 
Cabin Fever is a real concern.

Adiantum jordanii, California Maidenhair

Dryopteris arguta, Wood Fern

Fallen Quercus agrifolia, Coast Live Oak

Dryopteris arguta, Wood Fern
I also dragged out an old blanket and Bubba hauled some giant limbs down our gully while picking off dead stuff from all the other oaks before it could fall and cause undue alarm in the night.

I don't really need to wake up to the sounds of I Don't Know What That Was But It Sounded Big falling down around my house while I'm trying to sleep any more than absolutely necessary, is my thing.

The storms this winter have been intense is all. So - noise.

Clean up. Maintenance. Chainsaws. Digging. Leaking. Listening. Fixing. Noise. It's all going on in earnest.

And there's also SO MUCH GREEN and plants waking up that is so yay.

So, like, happy spring from out heres.