Dear Tom, “It’s like doin’ a shot, a painful shot…”

How about a deadly shot? On the video below, scroll to 1 minute 59 seconds. You’ll see what happened to me yesterday when I made homemade chili paste from chilies grown from unknown plants sold to me by an anonymous person standing on a street corner. He didn’t speak any English. His daughter told me he’d bred them himself. They had no name. When I asked how hot, he said, “Muy caliente.” The understatement of the year…

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Beautiful but deadly.

This was me yesterday after taking a micro-taste of what I’d made. (I made the chili paste to give as Christmas presents. Now I must give them with a warning. Deadly~Eat at your own risk.) I’d already weaponized my kitchen so I was coughing and hiccuping and my eyes and nose were burning. Had to use my asthma inhaler last night. Even when I took a shower, the water running over my hands as I washed my hair burned my face. (That was after I’d washed my hands in milk like a million times!) I’ve eaten habaneros. Compared to these bad boys, habaneros are like an apple.

I have but one question- Why are Irish people eating chilies?

 

Dear Tom, the misadventures of Jake and his bestie.

I wish I had photos but these days life is too busy for photos.

Jake and I went for a hike along the river. I chose a trail he loves. It’s a grassy trail that meanders through a flood plane. One one side is a slough, on the other side is the river. There are no roads. He can’t get killed chasing cars. There are no bicycles. There are only birds, the occasional fox, coyote, river otter, beaver and mountain lion. All good.

Oh, farther down the river, actually farther north along the river, is a place I’ve cristened Rabbitzville. Cuz there are like a million rabbits. But Jake and I headed south. There are fewer rabbits. Perhaps only a thousand rabbits as opposed to a million rabbits.

Jake and I crossed the slough via a makeshift bridge of boards and driftwood. Jake ran right through the water, while I picked my way across. When we reached the trail I let him off leash. I mean, c’mon, it was just us. There was nobody there but Jake, Julia and ducks.

We had a great time. He romped up and down and around, running in big circles like a puppy. It was a terrific hike. But then Jake scared up a rabbit. He scared up a jack rabbit by stepping right on him. The rabbit flew across the meadow, Jake in pursuit, because if there’s one creature he can’t resist, it’s a rabbit.

He chased that sucker for at least half a mile and then the rabbit dove into the slough, right into a huge patch of xanthium strumarium. Jake froze. When I saw him freeze I knew what had happened.

cocklebur

OMG. Those horrible horrible awful terrible cockleburs. They are the stuff of nightmares if you are a long-haired dog. He made his way back to me, walking like he was in absolute misery. Egg-shaped sharp stickers were matted into his hair, everywhere. His armpits, his belly, his chest, his legs, his tail.

We had a two mile hike back to the car. Once we got home I cut out as many of the stickers as I could. But I couldn’t shave his armpits or his belly. The stickers were matted right up against the skin.

He had to spend the entire day at the vet’s, sedated. They removed the remainder of the stickers, or so we thought. I’ve since found four more, had to cut them off his thighs. Yikes!

The same day his bestie, Hastur, was sprayed by a skunk right outside her front door.

Oh, California. Where the wild things are.

XOXO! Peace out. Julia

 

Dear Tom, she wanted to punch him in the face.

First, on the home front, I harvested the last of my potatoes today:

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Colorful and yummy!

I cut back the asparagus. It’s time to prep the garden for winter- will do that this week. And maybe plant a couple rows of garlic.

So I just got back from Montana. Was a busy trip with loooooong weather delays in Seattle. Dang! That airport was like a bad movie. No joke.

On the way out my plane from Sacramento arrived twenty minutes early and then sat on the tarmac for two hours while we waited for a gate. As we sat there I watched my connection to Bozeman, (a little Bombardier), back up and take off. I begged the flight attendants to toss me out the door, but they refused. I spent nine grueling hours in the airport, but I did manage to get the last seat on the last flight to Bozeman. My wonderful daughter and son-in-law waited for me, waited for me so long we were forced to drive back to the ranch in The Crazies in a blizzard. In the dark. Pretty rough. Good thing my son-in-law is a kick ass driver and we were in a tank of a pickup truck. (I haven’t been on roads that bad since I lived in Iowa.)

I didn’t bother to take any photos this time around. The cold was bitter. But despite the cold, every visit to Montana is amazing. I am so grateful for my daughter and her husband. I love sharing their life, to the extent they are willing to share. 🙂 It’s my dream to live there. Cold doesn’t bother me, especially in Big Sky Country. Montana has really big skies.

That wasn’t the punching in the face part.

It was on the trip home that the punching nearly occurred. It wasn’t me, although I wanted to punch him too. I wanted to, in fact, pull him out of his seat and stomp on his head. It was my seat mate who said, “I want to punch him in the face.”

We boarded on time in Bozeman for the trip back to Seattle. I was seated in the back of the plane, just two rows from the rear exit. I had the aisle seat. A young woman with gorgeous eyelashes got the window seat. Across from me was an older white hippie dude with an iPhone and an iPad. Wearing lots of beads. I guessed that he’d come from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. The beads and his rank aroma and his congested cough and sniffles were a dead giveaway. Not that I cared– about the protest, I mean. He has a perfect right to protest.

What he does not have a right to do, if he values his health and well-being, and the health and well-being of the other passengers, is endanger and piss off every single person seated in the rear of the plane.

He refused to follow any instructions from the flight attendants because he’d “been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

He refused to put his tray table in its upright and locked position because he’d “been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

He refused to stop texting via both his iPhone and his iPad (texting multiple people- I could see every text and every recipient) because he’d “been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

When our plane’s engines cut out on the runway because the deicer people accidentally sprayed the generator and we lost all power and began to freeze in the subzero temperatures he announced to the plane that “we should be grateful we weren’t stranded at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest because he’d just been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest and it was way colder at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

And don’t forget about “the tribal elders…”

The tribal elders this…” and “The tribal elders that…”

My seatmate said, “If I have to hear about the tribal elders one more time I’m gonna punch him in the face.”

I wanted to shove him out the back of the plane.

As he lectured, we were towed back to the gate. The plane was plugged in to a generator and we had heat. Then we had to wait for maintenance to decide whether or not the plane could start up and was safe to fly. We really wanted to get out of there because the weather was getting so bad we knew there was a good chance that if it took maintenance too long to decide we’d be stranded at least overnight, maybe for another day or two.

All the while, he kept texting via both his devices, despite the fact that he’d been asked repeatedly by the flight crew to stop. He ignored them, because, you know… The Dakota Access Pipeline protest

And then, once the engines were restarted and we were on the runway for takeoff, he made a phone call. OMFG. He called ‘Judy’ as we were taking off. Left her a message.

“Hey, Judy, this is R. I know it’s been years, but I just left the Dakota Access Pipeline protest where I was protesting and I’m headed to Seattle. I’ve checked online and it seems my connecting flight has been cancelled. I’m wondering if I can camp on your couch. I’m sure it will be warmer than the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. I’ll have to get up at 5 a.m. to catch a 7 a.m. flight but I figure you won’t mind. That’s sure not as early as I had to get up at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Listen, if you get this message, call me back. Again, this is R. Just so you know I’ve been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

If looks could kill. Everyone within earshot wanted to strangle the guy.

Since the rules didn’t apply to him, he texted and phoned his way through the flight. The flight attendants gave up trying to rein him in, they plied him with wine instead – six glasses of white wine. I think they hoped he would fall asleep, but he didn’t. Dammit.

This was the bad part. This was the really dangerous part. When we landed in Seattle, we hit a patch of ice. The plane skidded to the right, then to the left, then back to the right. It got real quiet because I think we were all praying the plane wouldn’t roll. On that first skid, since the idiot hadn’t put away his electronic devices nor placed his tray table into its upright and locked position, his iPhone and his iPad went flying across the aisle, right into another passenger.

Mr. Dakota Access Pipeline protest didn’t even apologize. Because he’s a special snowflake.

My seatmate, such a sweet pretty young lady, said, “I want to punch him in the face.”

I said, “Yup.”

So, Tom, to make a long story short, Judy never called him back because I saw him wandering around the Seattle airport five hours later. Still texting…

XOXO! Peace out. Julia

 

 

 

Dear Tom, Arrival will probably win a boat-load of awards.

Blech. Blech. A thousand times Blech.

You know how after you watch an interesting film you think about it long afterwards? Discuss it maybe?

I couldn’t stop thinking about Arrival because it annoyed the living shite out of me.

For oh-so-many damn reasons.

In order to avoid spoilers I shall force myself not to list said damn reasons.

(Yes, I got it. I got it within the first few scenes. It was not too smart for me. Which reminds me of Lucifer’s mother, Charlotte -Tricia Helfer- in the most recent episode, Homewrecker – “Oh. She thinks she’s smart.”)

Blech. Ugh. Blech. (Not Tricia Helfer. I adore her!)

Now I’m flashing on Star Trek IV. Ack! At least Spock- Leonard Nimoy- had his usual deadpan comedic timing in that campy-monstrosity! And he got to wear a watch cap.

That’s about all, good buddy. Peace out.

XOXO! Julia

P.S. The trailer is way better than the film. Someone should have stopped me right there. On the other hand- Bring on Season Two of Stranger Things!!!

 

Dear Tom, my son promised he wouldn’t weaponize the ghost peppers.

Ghost Peppers or Red Naga: Where the Ghost Pepper is From and Why It’s so Hot.

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The (dreaded) Red Naga.

My son made me grow them. He has plans. I did warn him there would be no weaponizing of the Ghost Peppers. Merely harvesting them was scary enough. For the time being they are safely ensconced in my freezer. Along with these chilies- bought the seedlings from a corner vendor:

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Chilies Diablo.

All he could say was~ “Chilies Diablo. Muy caliente.” So far I’ve harvested two quart bags and I’ve got at least another couple quarts still ripening on the plants. I too have plans!

Sambal Oelek!

I’ve very excited about this! Chrismukkah presents for all!

I’ve had a little time on my hands and a little produce left over from last year. Finally got around to dealing with it.

I added this year’s quince harvest to last year’s harvest (freezer) and made two pints of quince jam. The stuff is like gold! A gallon of quinces made a measly two pints.

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Quince Jam.

I also dried my drunken figs. Yes, drunken. They’ve been soaking in rum for a year, I’ll have you know! I dried them with my new food dehydrator.

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Dried Drunken Figs.

These are killer, man. Each one is like a shot of rum.

I thought I’d give a shout out to Jake- He treed a mountain lion last week. Dang! The thing was yowling at him like a kazoo! Jake went insane chasing the lion across the yard. It managed to scramble up into one of our redwoods. Seriously, the yowling sounded like a kazoo. My son said, “Mom, I don’t think there are any wild kazoos marauding around Napa.” Took me a long time to get the dog back in so the lion could be on his/her merry way. Hey, I don’t care about mountain lions. They snag the vicious marauding raccoons, so… (And yeah, it’s always me who has to go out and retrieve the dog. Oscar can sleep through an earthquake.)

Speaking of raccoons– Another shout out to my goldfish. Our little pond is a good example of survival of the fittest. This tough guy is two years old! He’s outlasted twelve other goldfish, all of whom have been eaten by raccoons and egrets. He’s super smart. Has a good hiding place. Only comes out for me even though I’ve never fed him. Occasionally I pull out some of the algae, otherwise the pond is a nice little ecosystem. Provides him with all the food he requires.

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The Goldfish.

His name is Fishy-Fishy. If anyone has a better suggestion I’m sure he won’t mind.

Still recovering. More on that at a later time.

That’s about it for now. Peace out.

Julia

 

A Call to Arms. #Powys #Wales #sayNOtowindfarms #Cymru

jennylloydwriter

I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing held sacred anymore in this world of endlessly growing consumption, fueled by the greed of a minority and their pursuit of wealth by any means.

Many of you may not have heard what the Welsh Government and Powys are now planning for us, the people of Breconshire and Radnorshire. Their ‘further focussed changes’ (October 2016) development plan threatens our familiar and beloved landscapes of Abergwesyn Common, the Begwns, Pant-y-llyn Hill, Merthyr Cynog, Drum Ddu, also, the hills around Llandegley, Abbey-cwm-hir, Hirnant – all now designated ‘Local Search Areas’ for wind development.

DSC_0123 Llandegley Rocks

Oh, and if that were not bad enough, great swathes of our hillsides will be obliterated by solar ‘parks’ – solar ‘Local Search Areas’ reach from one side of the county to the other below Newtown. Nantmel, Llanbister, and Aberedw will be encircled – vast acres of…

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