A newly cut flower for winter. Done.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday August 27, 2009

A favorite……. cut a few of your hydrangea blossoms just after peak
1hydrangea09

Put then in a dry vase………arrange.

They will look this same color density next April in that vase…….nice visual during the winter:
1hydrangeadrying

Okay. Back to work

Mark awaits ………..

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Sunday August 23, 2009

Okay. Maid work is done. Floors Mopped, carpets vacuumed, bedding cleaned, shirts ironed, toilets cleaned, shower cleaned, everything dusted. Dog is “almost” clean, and wondering WHY I’m wandering around dusting instead of walking into the forest.

I have NOT made a birthday cake for the afternoon arrival of Rodger. He had that celebration last night at Aunt Paula’s in CA.
rdgbdaycake2009
**Yes, so loved by his family, Cousin Karen spent her Friday night off work making that beautiful cake……….

And Aunt Paula hosted the big steak dinner for Rodger’s Birthday:
1rodgpaula1

So, of course, after all that, it seems he’ll be let down having to come back here. After 11 days with all his loved ones and old friends in California, coming home to await going back to work won’t be fun.

Maybe we’ll just relax and finally watch the finale of Top Chef Masters, or the Federer/Jokovich tennis match, or Top Design. What? Just a TV night ahead for Rodger’s first night back in town. Somethin’ tells ME that might be just the ticket…….I think he’s going to be fatigued from 11 days with all your old friends/family.

So. Did I make the right choice? NOTHING but a BLT and TV? Or, will he re-think his entire marriage over this decision of mine?
1Dad's 75th 072
Hmmmmmmm…..

I still remember the wedding day in March 2004. We were married as soon as the sitting moral rulers would allow it legally….. (we COULD have done it in 1989…. a long time to wait, eh?
1weddingday

An overgrown garden

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Saturday August 22, 2009

A gardener in the NW plants veggies perhaps a bit closer than in the desert ….. We do NOT have the heat that allows plants to normally get as big as usual. WELL. Not this year. I can barely move between some rows to even water……..
1grdn09b-aug-15
Even Mac looks short if compared to the 8′ tall corn:
1grdn09-aug15

It’s almost impossible to move among and harvest Tomatillos….I’ll be preparing the 5th batch of salsa tomorrow (only 5 pints per batch).

It is high summer………some nice cut flowers are in the house:
1brokensunflower

High summer also means hungry deer now that vegetation is drying out. For the first time in my memory, a deer ate every Gladiola blossom in the yard two days ago….they are NOT so glamorous looking like this:
1gladdeer

Oh well………..the week has kept me busy, and I am looking very forward to Rodger’s return tomorrow afternoon………

Here I am, last night alone…. I’m torn between cooking supper for ONE, or going out to grab something already cooked……a little pizza? A big Prime Rib dinner? Hamburger? I just don’t know…………… it will probably end up being another delicious BLT w/ lettuce, tomatoes from the garden.

An Anniversary Passes……

Bloged in Family,Gay,General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Wednesday August 19, 2009

An anniversary date passed on Monday, the 17th for Rodger and I. He’s in California throwing a bash for his Dad’s 80th birthday and seeing old friends, and I was up here with the brother. We had a trip to Europe in June to celebrate this day, but still, while in California last week, Mr. R had these sent home from Ca:
1anniversary09flowers

Who would have known this could even happen? We’ve tried to make it official a few times, the state married us, the state annulled us.

A Lawyer set up a Trust to protect us from perhaps a relative I know would have considered coming after any inheritance I would have left for Rodger………. because that person believes me (as a gay man) less worthy than he to even HAVE an estate……..a NOT rare event in this country.

We’ve only lived in 2 homes in 20 years and shared family deaths, marriages, births, friends who remain, and those who’ve moved on. My mother loved Rodger as her own and bravely said near the end of her own life that she had finally come to the conclusion that, “The Mormon Church is wrong in their stance on homosexuality. I believe God simply hasn’t given us the full truth about the subject because He intends for us to love everyone the same….. and it’s OUR job here to prove to Him we can.”

We simply met unexpectedly at a “bar”, felt a spark of shared interest, and moved in together within weeks. That was despite the fact that my opening completely idiotic line as he came near me that night to put something in the jukebox was, “So, what kind of shi* are you going to play?” He responded, “I don’t play shi*!” As Janice Joplin came on, I realized, we both loved the same music. It was very foolish for us to join up not knowing each at all. We never looked back, never regretted it, and have given each other all our life can offer.

I am MOST grateful to this man for sharing his life with me:

THEN:
marknrodger1989

NOW:
1markandrodgerfrm-market

I consider myself lucky, and if an agnostic may say, my life has been much better for having lived with Rodger.

He’ll be 48 next Monday………….. He should have the best birthday ever.

Our Unique Neighborhood

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday August 18, 2009

We DO live in a pretty terrific wildwood neighborhood. The dogs living with us aren’t aware of how lucky they are to almost daily get walked down into Forest Park and onto the Wildwood Trail………………
wildwoodimage_preview

IT IS true you never know what you might get to see…..the sighting at the moment is about an OWL. Those who saw it are quite sure it was a Spotted Owl, the rare big owl living in hard times because of Logging, etc.

Still, you get a surprise once in a while…….in a short bit this week ABOUT Forest Park, I wasn’t too surprised: The Willamette Week wrote about what one woman and her kids saw: What’s That on the Trail?
oryx1

Hey………….not so fast. We KNOW that little herd of Oryx. We know Mr. Gleason. It was about 12 years ago, one was in the front yard, and the next door neighbor, Michael, who teaches elementary school, called to tell us we had a “Unicorn” in our front yard (THAT Oryx had lost one of his horns). He, and a few others of us helped Reed shepherd that Oryx back home……..we’ve never forgotten that day.

Oh well……………..it’s a fun neighborhood. Never boring here.

A brother visits

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Sunday August 16, 2009

My oldest brother visited for a week arriving last Sunday night. It is probably the first time I’ve been alone with him …………….. He is 10 years older than I, so almost gone to college by the time I was entering grade school, so we have not spent much time sharing ideas as adults together in our life.

I WAS aware he was turned off by the internet a few years ago, had his service disconnected, and only got his news from Rupert Murdochs Propaganda channels. Obviously, we were polar opposites politically.

We had our common upbringing………………..
1ourvale1

Even then, his being such an “adult” in my mind (as a senior in HS), I thought his life must be MUCH better than mine:
1ourvale2

After a lifetime, the loss of parents, oldest sister, divorce, marriages, grandkids, etc…….. this visit was a bit different.

He came fully wanting to LEARN canning, and much of the week was spent making some jam, dilled beans, Grandma’s Dill Pickles, and tomatillo salsa. On the PLUS side, he’s been told, he won’t be getting any more gifts of these thing sent………..he now has to make his own.
On the down side, this took a lot of time, cleanup, but it was fun. After all, it is HIGH SUMMER right now. I really respected his earnest desire to learn the work……..

We had lots of time to chat. Somehow while working or walking with the dogs/neighbors, he revealed that he had read a book I’d asked him to a long time ago but had never told me. To my surprise, he’d read Jeremy Scahill’s excellent expose’ on the mercenaries fighting for the government in the mideast (and elsewhere), BLACKWATER.

It has changed his entire political view…..and THAT made this visit much more meaningful. He’s canceling his membership in the Republican party, detests Cheney & Bush, etc., and understand the Corporation Rules we’re all living under. By the time the last night arrived, we watched -3- important films on the degeneration of the FOODS now being offered to Americans:

1. The Future of Food.
***THAT film should be required viewing for EVERY American.
2. The Real Dirt on Farmer John

3. KING CORN
***THIS film ALSO should be required viewing for EVERY American.

OKAY. IF you would rather READ some books on this TRUTH about the American Food System, get one of this Author’s books:

MICHAEL POLLAN…………………

That was a fun evening…………..
1norm1943

He’s now on his way with a car full of canned fresh foods, and a renewed friendship with his younger brother. The real truth is, though, he’s 72 and I’m 62………. WHEW! IT is different than those visits that happened when we were in our 30′s.

1norm1995
**pic taken 1995.

***Lastly, IF you’re wonderfully curious about our Pickla-thon last weekend with the Nancys………..Go see RODGER DODGER’s note about it. Yes, it’s a link…….click on Rodger.

Almost……………

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Saturday August 15, 2009

The oldest brother will be leaving in the morning. Whew! An exhausting week why? HE WANTED to learn to can………….EVERYTHING.

I need a day off. We got EVERYTHING done he wanted, but I need a day of READING………….or napping. Which one was it?

Oh that’s right, I have a dozen things IN the house and yard I MUST catch up on as he drives out the driveway.

Oh well………… LOTS of new things learned and shared with this older brother…… HE has QUIT the Republican Party!

More later.

Ready……..?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday August 6, 2009

1. 100 lbs pickles are now in the back of the car in the garage.
2. loads of garlic here
3. 7 bunches of fresh dill soaking in water at the root
4. Pickling salt
5. Serrano Peppers here and ready
6. 6-7 gallons of vinegar ready
7. Water Bath Pan ready
8. Jars ready
9. Lids ready
10. Kitchen Cleaned and ready
11. wiping cloths, cleaning eqpt ready

TO do before day end:
1. Put cucumbers into cold water for overnight soak.
2. Peel enough garlic cloves to get us started in morning.

To start in morning:
1. Mix first batch of brine (water, vinegar, salt)
2. Begin heating water-bath
3. Remove both ends of the cucumbers batch by batch
4. make sure ALL cukes are clean
5. Cut off pepper ends
6. Sterilize jars and lids
7. Get the “assembly line” ready…………….

AND BEGIN Pickling…………………………………

AFTER Packing Jars……………..

Place in limited water bath to create the seal.

REPEAT and repeat and repeat.

And don’t forget Mr. Buddy arrives 0730 am for his weekend stay ……Buddy is Thomas & Brenda’s wonderful pup who will keep MAC company for the weekend.

With any luck, this is what they’ll look like after their bath:
1hotpickles

And with any luck, this is NOT what WE will look like tomorrow afternoon:
1canning

And……………. Any questions? Nancy and Nancy: We’ll see you about 9:00 ???

Summer – Aug 09

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday August 4, 2009

My oh My !

I’ve only entered diary posts this summer about our “Crusade with Gus to Europe” since we returned on June 17. As soon as we unpacked here, it really seemed the pace of things has increased steadily, and there still ARE things on an old “list” not done.

BUTwe ARE looking forward………….

TWO weekends ago, we joined one maternal cousin family at Cannon Beach for their annual family reunion. I grew up with those 3 cousins, and now there’s 20 counting the grandkids, and get it, “great” grandkids. You are NEVER ready to let THAT fact soak in: BE old enough to have a great grand-kid.

THIS WEEKEND: The 2nd Annual Pickle-athon with cousins Nancy and Nancy takes place in honor Nancy P’s Mom, my aunt Merle:
1wkmerle5
It IS Merle who shared the secrets with us of just how to MAKE these wonderful things about a year before she passed away, and SHE was the LAST surviving sibling of that family. NOW, there are at least 3 of us making them again, thanks to Merle, and her Mom, our Grandmother Ray who we are modeling these after.

Therefore, a LIST is on the counter for getting required chores ready for that assembly line. We should have 4-6 dozen jars of pickles made by Sunday if we get a good start Friday. I’m acquiring jars, lids, salt, vinegar, grape leaves, alum, dill, serrano & habanero peppers, with plans to pick up a bunch of cucumbers Thursday from the farm. GET the canning equipment cleaned and ready (We made our dilled beans LAST SUNDAY) ! Whew! This will be a busy weekend, with, of course, a few minutes off for a mighty lunch somewhere like: Helvetia Tavern, or Pause Restaurant maybe? If this is as fun as last year was, you’d better book your rooms very early for next years event.

Hm. Make a note: “Must clean house! Immediately!”

The garden is exploding after 24 days w/o rain, 11 days with temps over 90 (several of those over 100)…….. We’re eating tomato slices from REAL FRESH RIPE garden ‘maters (yum)…., green onions from now till fall, lettuces (must plant more NOW), cilantro, carrots, cucumbers, onions-walla wallas. I’ve picked the first tomatillos and predict I’ll be making some salsa next week. CORN has tassled, and ready to drop pollen on silks.

THE ANNUAL DIET EVENT that begins with tomato harvests (in ANY family I have known anyway) is: BLT !!! With pepper bacon, sliced ‘mater, garden lettuce, good bread, and mayo! YUM. I’ve only eaten 3 in the last week.

What has begun outside of our own place is the harvest of almost EVERY good thing for late summer: IN THE FRIDGE, we are eating fresh cantaloupe, fresh Hermiston Watermelons. We PICKED very ripe Red Haven peaches LAST saturday and just ate the last one last night with a bit of ice cream. Yum…. . . JUST HOW can you NOT like summer?

ALL that food news has motivated my oldest brother Norm to be packing for his trip HERE next week. YES, he is coming to taste old memories of home: Peaches, watermelons, tomatoes, new potatoes, etc etc. I don’t suppose it’s the same when you live near Riverside CA in August…………..

*Keep giving Mac his meds……still trying to find out just WHAT allergy is thinning out his hair so sadly.

*Purchase the hand pasta machine….and semolina flour today! Another fun experiment coming up soon, eh? Elena found us a cheap one from Ross.

*Cook up a new smaller batch of hummingbird food for the few native birds left. ALL of our Rufous, include the juveniles, have gone for the winter! It IS interesting to note after our first official YEAR ended of working at feeding Anna’s, we seem to have a little uptick in the bird count at our own place. It will be an interesting winter period to finally see just how many are here.

*See Rodger start to plan and get ready for his CA trip to throw a birthday party for his Dad’s 80th. THAT will be a WORK but fun for him, and his Aunt P.
*Water, mow, clean, work…………..summer work

LASTLY: Begin to think about and prepare physically (what excercising I can do) for knee surgery September 8…………..with 4-6 weeks recovery after that. I don’t look forward to that, but by November, I should be in good shape and ready to get some firewood moved into the woodshed before real rain starts.

Yep, the whole summer seems booked and settled. WHY isn’t there any time to sit in the shade and just read a great book?

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