NextGEN Gallery Plugin Not found

July, 2007 | Scuff Productions

High Summer is Here

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Saturday July 28, 2007

I am beginning to feel the need to return to doing normal things, and the weather’s cooperating as well. Today should top off at about 80, a perfect summer afternoon. SO. I found a lot of joy in a simple walk around the yard with the old cybershot on this Friday, JULY 27, and first, let’s just try to see the colors of July. Some of these “colors” have already been brought into the house.

You can’t miss signs of high summer wherever you go. Hasn’t every human driven by a field of cut, dried, and just baled alfalfa, that’s then called “hay” in a gorgeous setting? Or is this just a western experience?
But then, I’d be going on a tour. Back at home, a lovely Geranium is on the deck, but it’s the leaves I am enjoying:
The colors of just these humble leaves are worthy of their own photo.

Some dahlias are beginning their week of glory indoors:
But the champ Marigold hybrids from some six-pack starters at Portland Nursery have surprised me in their beauty:
The hydrangea truly has deepened in its blue state since getting a bit of aluminum sulphate:
A closer look though is fun, there are complete fantastic mini-mini-flowers inside the big one:
Gladiolas are in their own prime, and besides the usual pinks and yellow, we have a crimson bloom for the first time:

In the last week, the garden was ignored. First it was damp and raining off and on. So it wasn’t looked at. Then the family gathering at Nancy’s took my mind away from here completely. By Thursday it was time to get out there and begin doing maintenance work I KNEW was overdue. Here’s the grey yard color when it was damp last week……nothing so encouraging then:
But now, one can see this garden has exploded in this last lost week, and many things are taller than I am:
Mac doesn’t look 90 pounds in that picture.
That picture really shows how fast things are now growing.
In this picture, You can see that I’d already discovered the deer invasions by putting wire/trellis pieces on top of the fence:
Yep, Tomatillos, tomatoes, peppers and lettuce have been seriously munched:
Immediately the motion-sensing deer sprinkler was put out
I’m also mixing up some hot-pepper spray with eggs….in a couple days THAT will deter them. I think we’ll be okay…….it’s hurt our peppers more than any other plant.

Still, harvest is going on. Baby lettuces are delicious
Now that all the other work is done, I’m now drying herbs in the oven at 80 degrees. Here’s the thyme saying, it’s time:
Here’s the thyme with some oregano and mint awaiting placement into the ventilated oven:
Here’s the finished thyme:
Here’s the finished mint
I’ll also begin drying some parsley. We’ll be making some pesto, have some baby carrots, and ARE eating yellow crooknecks, tomatoes, cucumbers. Ah, summer.

That’s the garden news for July 2007. Last year by this date had seen 11 days over 90. This year only 3 so that explains maybe why we’re a little later doing some things, but the REAL mystery to me is. Last year we hardly had a deer inside that garden….maybe once or twice. This year? Several times and I’m STILL not convinced it was a deer eating lettuce……I’ll have to ask Robin up there in her gorgeous Seattle acreage if that’s the case.

Tomorrow? The Tilton Apricots are in! We’ll have a box back here by 11:00 and be making 2-3 dozen jars of jam
(and fresh bread)…………. Next weekend? The Waldo Blackberries will be primed at West Union Gardens and?
We’ll be making a couple dozen jars of Blackberry Jam. It’s truly HIGH summer.
note to Tater……………….WE have buttermilk AND cornmeal. Looks like tonights the Fried Green Tomato Night!

Whew! Five minutes later………….A mature coyote just walked by this window toward the bird feeders, I thought, but then stopped and simply looked at the deck. By the time I got the nerve to move and get a camera, he had slowly ambled on and is barely discernible in this pic just in front of the blue tarp:
Hmmm. So I guess it’s high summer for everybody. I’m not sure he was looking for a squirrel, or some of the water in the birdbaths.

A Fabulous Memorial Service and powerful Poem Tribute

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday July 26, 2007

Yesterday was the morning private burial and afternoon public memorial service for cousin Warden. Once again, my respect and absolute admiration for my cousin Nancy was placed higher by her wonderful planning, organization, and execution of her own husbands funeral For anyone, a day like this would be one of the toughest ordeals any human endures as you say goodbye to your life partner.

At 10:00 am, just members of the family and a very few friends were invited to the private intimate burial. As we carried Wardens remains to the plot, a lone bagpipe was played. The grave was dedicated. The casket was opened so Nancy and her 3 children could place intimate items inside in his honor. A Dodger’s baseball cap, pressed leaves that Warden had placed in family books, rings, etc…all were lovingly placed next to him and goodbyes said. When the casket was closed, Amazing Grace was played on the bagpipe and the service was over.

At 3:00 pm, a Memorial Service was held at their local Mormon Church, but as I would have expected, Nancy kept Church leaders from handling this in their “by-the-book” way. The kids had created a fascinating biographical tribute to Warden and all three took turns reading their own parts. Interwoven throughout this recollection of Warden’s life were memories of his favorite baseball games and his favorite music hits. That was so full of love, tears were shed in laughter and love. Daughter Elissa’s great husband Chris played music, best friend Rhinda played the Ashokan Farewell, and Aaron sang John Denver’s “Perhaps Love”. Nancy herself read their shared favorite Wordsworth poem.

Nancy is SO loved by all, even several of her young high school students came in support.
Elissa is a published writer. In ONE hour she was inspired to write this poem about Warden that was placed inside the flyleaf of the program.

A family favorite picture of Warden here:


We searched for a poem to print on the program
at your funeral. A tall order, this: a poem to
reclaim who you were before the intruder invaded
your body and took you from us, a poem to express
that losing you
will leave our family as undone
as a vintage beetle without the flag-like
semaphores to signal a turn,
as the 2001 Mariners without Ichiro at the plate,
as a gray-barked aspen tree
without its leaves shimmering in the wind
like golden coins.

We considered your favorites: Frost,
Longfellow Wordsworth. But Longfellow
never wrote about how excited you got
when the bellweather tree at the end of our street
turned crimson, the first sign of autumn, always.
Robert Frost couldn’t know that you and Mom
as newlyweds had a pet rabbit named Ralph,
that you once took a picture of Tokyo at
sunrise with the moon still in the distance,
that you stuffed French fries up your nose
just to make me and my brothers laugh.
Wordsworth didn’t ride behind you
in a silver Volkswagon Dasher,
John Denver’s voice blaring from the speakers
as we held our breath
through the Eisenhower Tunnel.
We were crossing the Continental Divide,
the break in the earth from which all rivers
must decide: flow east, flow west.

We’re crossing a new kind of divide now.
The west flowing days, when your voice echoed
through these walls and
your slippers waited for your cold feet
in front of the bookcase in the office.
And the east flowing days, when we’ll need to
close our eyes to remember
the timbre of your laughter,
when someday down the road
we will open a book of Robert Frost
and find a dried Japanese maple leaf, crisp and still red,
that you left there to preserve,
and it will fall into our fingers
like a gift from you,
like a silent message,
like a poem,
saying, simply: remember.

I learned MORE today of just how great a love he had for his family, how much he was involved in his raising his kids. I guess I’ve learned once again how much he’ll be missed. I realize I’ve re-learned a bit of humility, and ……. more about how love works, eh? / Mark

End of a Life

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday July 23, 2007

My dear cousin Nancy’s husband was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor over two years ago. It was a slow one and they told her it had probably been growing for 5-10 years. The past two years have been hell for him, her and their kids. In the last six months, I’ve taken time to go there and sit with him so she could continue teaching (she needed to for her own health insurance……sound familiar?). Of course, others helped for a while, but as these terminal illnesses continue for a long time, others lives get busy.

It has been a very unexpected experience. Warden and I were never close and quite opposite philosophically. He could be brash, opinionated, stubborn. After all if you’re the director of non-profits, you DO need to have those traits sometimes. Life changes everyone all the time, so my visits there came to be something else too, more for me I believe. I learned underneath there was that same soft human all of use are. I learned how much he truly DID love his family. I learned some humility……… seems.

The past two months, of course, became very difficult as the reasoning mind disappeared for him. I was able to get an answer to a question I’ve wondered all my life. IF I had TWO choices of how to end life, would I:

1) choose to lose my mind completely while my physical body remained intact.
2) choose to lose all use of my physical body while my mind remained intact.

Yes, you guessed it, the mind wins.

This was difficult to watch as Warden struggled to make any sense of what his life was. Unable to have a conversation, unable to even finish sentences, unable to recognize when it WAS time to, you know……. Images on TV became people he knew, people who were coming over that afternoon. Nights were awful for him as pain increased and he was unable to communicate his needs.

Also in the past two months, Nancy’s gallery of friends have all become volunteers and were scheduled regularly as Warden could no longer be left alone. Nancy wanted him to be at home to the end if possible, and everyone wanted to help her make that happen.

I kind of believe that we leave when we’re ready to leave. On Wednesday, Warden was having a terrible night/day and after a consultation with doctors and hospice, Nancy discontinued the anti-swelling medication that kept the tumor at bay from causing a coma.

Hospice quickly brought over a hospital bed, and the next 18 hours were spent adjusting his pain medications as he slipped toward a non-responsive state. I felt he must have been ready to leave for some time because once he became unresponsive Thursday night, it was only hours until he passed away last Friday afternoon. Of course this was a relief for his family but, quite naturally, at the same time the suffering Warden departed life, the memories of the old loving family man Warden immediately begin to return, and their grieving begins all over again. Whew! What an experience living life is. I am so proud of how much my beautiful cousin has managed to stay reasonable throughout this. She’s worthy of one of those rewards many religionists all promise………….


Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday July 19, 2007

1) For 2-3 years now, I continue to hear the American Press parrot the EVIL IRAN SCARY crap in every major media outlet. This past year, all American Media has increasingly “told us” that lots of the horrendous violence occuring in Iraq is being caused by plants from IRAN. THIS propaganda from the American King G. W. Bush and pal Cheney, who for years now, have completely lied to its citizenry until we find ourselves mired 4 years later in a civil war we can’t control. A CIVIL WAR that would never have happened without us breaking the entire system of society Iraq lived by until 2003. WE opened those gates of destruction. But I digress.

The rebels from Iran, sent by Iran, and then Al Quaida operatives…Whew! BUSH SAYS that’s why we’re having trouble in his war.

TODAY. I learn from independent sources (Democracy Now) that by FAR, the largest number of rebels causing destruction in IRAQ (since 2005, mind you) are from Saudi Arabia, America’s Pal, right? HOW IS THIS GLARING FACT OMITTED from our NEWS OUTLETS? Not a breath about trouble from the Bush Family Saud Family about this problem.
When will Bush begin to threaten the Saudi family if they don’t stop causing trouble for him in Iraq, eh?

There is something terribly wrong when a WAR executive (Bush….believe me he foments war almost everywhere) is tied to an Investment group (The Carlyle Group) who makes some of its money from the manufacture of munitions that are sold throughout the world. IF he’s making money from the sale of explosives, does he have an incentive to stop war? I have always been troubled that W’s Grandfather, Prescott Bush was selling munitions to the Nazi’s until the Federal Government forced him to stop int he 1930’s.
(read American Dynasty by Kevin Phillips).

What is it in this Utah news blurb that leaves me uncomfortable?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday July 17, 2007

This is one of the “local” stories today in Mormon Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune, yes, even the paper is owned by the Mormon Church………….It would obviously involve a Mormon family.
Tot from large family left behind in morning rush
By Jason Bergreen The Salt Lake Tribune
– – – – – – – – – –
Article Last Updated:07/16/2007 03:19:02 PM MDT Posted: 3:18 PM-

A 2-year-old girl from a family of about 15 children was misplaced Monday morning before a Salt Lake County deputy found her crying and alone in the family’s backyard.

The mother of the little girl had apparently assumed her older children had put the toddler in the family van earlier that morning. The mother then dropped off her other children at her sister’s home on her way to work, Lt. Paul Jaroscak said.

About 9 a.m. neighbors in an area near 8500 South and 1500 East heard a child screaming and crying and called police. Neighbors said the girl had been wailing for about an hour, Jaroscak said.

A deputy arrived at the home and found the girl alone in the gated backyard. He knocked at the home several times and then forced the front door open to make sure there wasn’t a medical emergency, Jaroscak said.

About that time, the sister baby-sitting noticed the child was not at her home and called her sister. She then went to her sister’s home where she met with the deputy and a member of the state Division of Child and Family Services.

DCFS later returned the child to her mother. Jaroscak said the mother did not intentionally
leave the 2-year-old at home. No criminal charges are expected.
/-Jason Bergreen

NOW……….What bothered me at first read:
1) 15 Children? Are you kidding? WHAT human can take care of 15 children fully?
2) Going to work? Are you kidding? 15 children left 9 hours or so at a sitter?
3) A “sister” sits 15 kids? Are you kidding? Unless this is a polygamous family, this is hard to believe.
4) a 2 year old is abandoned for hours at home….unnoticed. You think this child has felt unnoticed before? And unneeded?
5) The Oldest kids in this group of 15. I feel horrible for them. Did they EVER get a chance to be a child or have they been babysitting since they were 5?
6) 15 children? Who is financially set enough to pay for food, clothing, college, for 15 let alone the REAL issue……. love and support for each child.
7) 15 children left at an aunt’s house. How many kids does the Aunt have?
8) If you can leave home ONE time but have so many children you don’t notice one’s missing, you have TOO many children.
9) The newspaper article didn’t ask or answer ANY of those questions….(consider their clientele). Isn’t that upsetting?
10) What is there about a Church in 2007 that encourages this kind of reproduction? Oh, that’s right, I know this one…..the Mormon’s believe you should have ALL the children you are Able to have because all God’s little spirits need to go to the BEST homes available, and if You’re a Mormon, that would obviously be God’s choice…’cause you’d be up a step if you’re born into God’s true Church, right? Whew!
– – – –
What causes these things? Is it the underwear?
Is it the secret temple ceremonies where you wear these clothes those “ordinations” ??
NOW, REALLY! What SHOULD I have been unsettled about in this situation? I’m sure there are kids out of 15-child families that would object to this, but by percent, how many of those families can all feel “normal”. I DO sort of think this has to be a polygamous family………………..

What’s IN the Garden by July 12?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Friday July 13, 2007

NOTE: I DID this post because it’s the LAST day of our heat wave…so I worked until it was reaching 85, and have come in. TOMORROW means maintenance: weeds, prune filberts, AND…the berry session with Karen & Melanie.
So, Mark, look at this page next year July 12 and compare…………………….

We are just now being reminded WHY we planted our vegetables when it was still so cool & wet & raining in May. They were put into the ground sheltered under plastic insulating jackets hoping they wouldn’t rot. (At least the tomatoes, peppers, cukes, squash were out there). WHILE they kind of sat there and did nothing you could see, they were growing roots because the soil in May reached that magic 50 degree mark at night…..that seems to be the crossover temperature when most veggie roots begin growing.

So yes, it seems they were just sitting out there, but a foundation was being set. TODAY, the 3rd day of an Oregon heat wave (100, 99, and today just 88)….these plants have shown they have BIG roots and are growing so fast you can almost see it from day to day.

Here’s what’s happening out there in Mid July:

Tomatoes are rapidly growing past the top of the cages:

The corn will be about my height in a week:

Our first peppers are forming:

I picked snowpeas today, and the plant’s thick with starts:

I picked four crooknecks today… I see Grandma’s Southern Fried Squash coming up?

Even the blossoms are in beautiful shape:

Last year’s parsley is dropping seed for our next crop (and next year’s crop):

This year’s parsley is about ready for the first frozen pesto…or will it be tabouli?
I picked two cucumbers today and there’s more on the way….PICKLES soon?

One row is graced with a couple zinnias for diversion that are just starting to bloom:

But what’s behind the zinnia? Onions? NO! Fantastic Shallots are really showing promise:

LETTUCE! In ALL stages! Here’s what’s left of outer leaves of old plants, they’re composting:
Here’s today’s cut, a lovely Romaine:
Here’s stuff being thinned (and baby thinnings are delicious) ready in a 2-3 weeks:

Here’s the latest planting….ready in 4-5 weeks:

The Thyme is ready for harvest and will be cut in the AM and be drying in the oven:

Why is this trap sitting here with tomatoes in it?
SOMETHING we haven’t figured out has eaten 3 tomatoes…are they just after moisture? WHO is it?

Don’t forget this little row of…carrots? Well maybe, but they’re mostly gonna be DOG Treats! Mac’s ALREADY smelling them.
And the NEXT garden bloomer is just starting….there will be lots of these Glads in the house soon:

And I love this one little humble rose:

Yep, a July day in the garden.

Fourth of July 2007

Bloged in Family,General Home Life,Oregon by mark Thursday July 12, 2007

So what do you think’s the best fun you can have on the 4th of July in America?

A couple of Memorable moments to me have been:
• Meeting at Rob and Sharon Romano’s in the heart of San Francisco circa 1992 with our entire social crowd, eating and drinking all around, lots of laughing and then about 9:00 pm trekking down through an unknown (to me) shortcut to watch the San Francisco Fireworks show on the bay. Sadly, in classic San Francisco fashion, the night was fogged in so we heard boomers but only saw pale light flashes through the fog. Ah, so Summer San Francisco. We trekked back by 10:30 and even though you couldn’t see much, I will remember this night always.
• Being at (Rodger’s) Aunt Paula’s place in that grand California Valley for that weekend and going to Karen’s home for fireworks. Another evening of eating, imbibing wine, laughing, playing the piano, and assembling in the driveway for a mammoth fireworks show. A very Family event.

* Maybe I shouldn’t include this. I was about 4-5 and my brother 6. We were just playing with matches between our house/lawn – garage – driveway and Mom’s 1/4 acre garden. We set the cheat-grass afire and it truly nearly got away from us to the garage. I thought we were DOOMED. Perhaps that was the first tragedy in learning to follow orders. Following blind orders is always a mistake in the long term. The fear, excitement, thrill, paranoia, dread, ALIVE, etc etc…..will never go away of that moment. No spanking resulted, but stern lectures and pointed fingers.
Before we continue though, at THIS point in the summer, one of the most exotic flowers in our yard blooms. It showers prolific blooms, BUT. Each bloom only lasts ONE day, and thanks to Kaye Rochlin, this plant is now one of our favorites:

Having landed and bloomed here over 10 years now, it always seems the 4th and the Smiths are now tradition. I may have said this sentiment before, but this year seemed the best of all those years. The company was grand. Neighbors all and this year joined by Brenda and Thomas (while Buddy kept Mac company at home) These galas begin about 7:00 pm with a grand potluck gathering, and it didn’t take Thomas long to fit in to the questionable company he had joined:
Brenda seems to like the new look, eh? Arnie, on the right, is our beloved neighborhood knowledge bearer of all things green. He has helped all of us learn how to fend off development as much as we can. RODGER too, was taking it easy in preparation for the fire-show later:

Our Host Mr. Baird relaxes just prior to grilling Sirloin Burgers and chats with neighbor-baking-pal Melanie Templeman, our new Bread Baking Coach (She’s a TRUE baker at Portland’s Premiere Grocery group, New Seasons Market). ON this very friday the 13th, we’ll be making jam with Melanie on July 13th, Friday! Whew! What a gamble for you fundamentalist fearing paranoid idealogues, oh that’s right. I know that NONE of that group would be reading this evil journal I keep.
Once again, fabulous eating, a bit of drinking, and before you know it, it’s 9:45 pm and time for a firework. There were many nice shots:
AND! THIS year, Mark himself performed the magical “spinning steel wool” firework that Baird does every year, and was created by Baird:
THIS experience is unforgettable………………..

That night WAS memorable. We’re getting to know the folks along this road-stretch so well, it’s almost like a family reunion when we get together except we have no arguments or memories of mean Grandpas. It’s rich stuff.

We took off just a day or two later for yet another Tillamook Run (Cheese Curd Addiction? Where’s the support group for that?). We enjoyed getting a few fresh artichokes from a non-descript farm with NO marketing skills. They only displayed beautiful fresh produce and a lockbox for your cash:

A fabulous drive that takes you through the west valleys, then up across the coast summit into the Tillamook Forests. You descent through areas where the old 1940’s Tillamook Burn are still visible, but now look more like clear cut logging. This was on a warming day, beautiful. We did pick up 10 packages of curds, feast on a double scoop of fresh Tillamook Ice Cream Cone, stop for Lunch at the Guide Stop on the Wilson River

Of course, then we had to make 4-5 more stops on the way for Mac to Tread water in the Wilson rapids:
And as one can see, the river level is down MANY feet from Mac’s LAST swim in this amazing place, so at least he wasn’t in danger of being washed away. THIS truly shows how much different the rain forest can be in the dry of summer vs. the flooding wetness of March.

Lastly. Coming back over the coast summit, in this dry part of summer, we noted a sad sign pointing to the right we’d never noticed. It simply said: “FALLS —>” What? In this rainforest land of hundreds and hundreds of waterfalls, not ALL of them are granted a name? No, sadly, we decided to inspect this little orphan and we’re richly rewarded. It was so beautifully shaded, the required loop trail surrounding it, the steady simmer-fluffle noise of falling water:
A little closer was even more inviting:

So once again, the Fourth of July for US was a warm great experience.

Too bad the weather didn’t stay that way. As I write this today, July 11, it is the 2nd day of 100 degree heat and we have NO air-conditioning. By 6:00 PM, the house is over 80, BUT by then, a cool breeze begins to blow up the hill. That means the outside drops to below 80, the house temp continues to rise….. About 2100 hours, you begin to feel a cooling inside the house. Compared to Portlanders living in the valley, where the projected 2200 hour temp will still be 85. So we have it easy. One MORE day, and by Friday, the powerful pacific marine Air will push this outta here. Yep, the garden’s soaking it up. EVERY time I’m out there, I’m kinda twisting a tomato branch back through the cages to contain it later. THESE days means two-hour watering sessions every two days. BUT> Just one more tomorrow, and then I can relax until Monday probably.

Ah. Summer.

Respect for Authority

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday July 9, 2007

As I laughed at this letter from a teacher to a small kids parents a few years back, I was struck by exactly how much the same is true of two similar powers both wreaking havoc on our democracy right now.

1) The Right wing nut jobs that control the Republican Party (Bush, Cheney, and the Capitalists PLUS their pals below……….)

2) The many fundamentalist religious cults (Mormons included)

Both groups, no matter what the actual FACTS, SCIENCE, TRUTH, or REALITY are, do require “Blind Obedience” to their authoritarian dogmas so they can hold on their devotees. How else would they hold on to their minions and the cash flow that supports their false systems.

What do you think?


Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday July 9, 2007

Hm. SO you’re at Videorama, or some other locally based, non-censored non-mega-conservative capitalist chain of video stores…..( do I hear “Blockbuster” maybe? ) AND………you want to see something that is so good your mind is taken completely away from the life struggle2 we’re all having now, like, “How to get Rid of Dick Cheney and his corrupt Capitalists”………………..hmmmm…………….This will need a movie with a powerful engaging magical screenplay to start with, right?

Yes. We LOVE watching a fascinating screenplay where the writing chews up your mind, makes you think, maybe even laugh and cry at the same time in parts. Where the acting is as engaged as the writing so you’re caught up completely and don’t want this story to end. Then you find that a part of this story does concern one of the lead characters personality flaws that is abhorrent to you. No! I’m NOT going to see something dealing with a pedophile!

Before you throw out any consideration to watch this, remember how many awards this thing has won….the mentioned bad word plays so little a part here, give yourself a chance to fall in love with all of these characters. SO, with pride I give you:

Here’s all the down-low on this fabulous movie:
**The History Boys**

This is the ONE Play on Broadway we failed to see last year and now realize we should have. Our dear friend Rita saw it twice on stage. Also in its favor, it features One of my favorite British Character Actors here Richard Griffiths, who played the brilliant devious Uncle Monty
in that other favorite British camp movie,


I do hope you see The History Boys……………….and report back.

22 queries. 0.408 seconds.
Powered by Wordpress
theme by evil.bert