Category Archives: home

The Room on the Other Side of the Mirror

Our tortie kitten has some perceptual misconceptions regarding mirrors.  She is a determined little thing who loves to be with us, and who, if separated from us by a door or window, paws rapidly on whatever is in her way as though to scratch through it to get to us.  Sometimes we even open the barrier to let her through.  She does the same to mirrors, as though there is a room just beyond her reach. I notice this the most in the bathroom. She sits on the counter and paws and paws.

I suppose it is an easy mistake to make, since a mirror and window glass feel the same on her paws, and she can see things beyond both.

When have you wanted to be somewhere you couldn’t get to? 

 

Hints from Helga’s Granddaughter

I’m using my Grandma Britson’s name for the alliteration, just as the original “Heloise” did when she added an H to her name. Do any of you Babooners remember “Hints from Heloise” – household help in the form of syndicated newspaper columns, articles in magazines like Good Housekeeping, radio programs…  Well, there is still a Heloise, second generation, and of course a website:  a website , where you can find her Bio, Books, On Air offerings, Recipes (including Texas Caviar and Red Velvet Cake), and a section about her mom, the Original Heloise. The current Heloise has appeared on Oprah and Letterman, and is still writing books and making appearances.

I started this post thinking I would just share my tip for Trapping Fruit Flies, which seem to have shown up earlier this season. Instead of cider vinegar (which I’ve probably shared here before) I’ve found something less messy, and more attractive to the flies:

– put a peach pit (with some peach remaining on it) in a small container

– cover tightly in plastic wrap, into which a few knife holes have been punched; the flies can find their way in, but can’t seem to find their way out

– take outside periodically and release fruit flies; recover and begin again – they’re never completely gone

Then yesterday when I was complaining about how often I have to polish my favorite earrings with a silver cloth to keep their sheen, I was told this secret:

– find an old toothbrush and polish them with toothpaste

Who knew?

I’ve also managed to find a way to resurrect an old wicker rocker whose seat has broken through:  a couple of longish boards across the seat, anchored in place by a cushion, stick out on one end to create sort of side shelf, for books and (bird-watching) field glasses. A temporary fix, perhaps, but at least I don’t have to throw it out.

Do you have any Helpful Hints (household or otherwise) that either Heloise or I should bring to the attention of others?

Seasonal Sounds

I picked strawberries last night after work. The task usually falls to husband, but he was still driving back from the reservation and it looked like it might storm before he got home.

It was quite still while I picked, and I could hear the outdoor sounds in the neighborhood quite well. I heard the harsh sounds of distant lawnmowers getting the grass cut before a possible rain. I heard some birds, and the occasional car driving past. I also heard a sound that I thought was a true summer sound-the distinctive, quiet, sucking  snap of a plump strawberry as it is picked from its stem.  What a lovely sound!

What sounds do you associate with the seasons?

 

 

Good Fences Make for Good Neighbors

We enclosed our vegetable garden with poultry netting,  a green, plastic reusable fencing  that keeps out unwanted neighbors like the cottontails who live under Next Door’s shed. We have never had a breach of the fencing.  Heck, I can hardly climb over it ! I saw a bunny looking longingly through the fence at the celeriac, carrots, chard, beets, and turnips, and thought “Good fences make for good neighbors”.  I can appreciate the bunnies and not get hostile.  I guess that is what good fences are for.  Boundaries are important.

How are your boundaries?  Had bunny problems?

Blackbird, Bye Bye

We have some very noisy black birds in the spruce trees in our front yard. I don’t know if they are Blackbirds, Starlings, or Grackles.  I know they aren’t Crows or Ravens. We have Crows in town. They are bigger than the other black birds, and like to harass and chase the local owls. Husband sees Ravens up on the Reservation. They are quite culturally significant for our native friends and are portents of various things.

The black birds in our trees have hatchlings in a nest who make the most terrible harsh noises when they want to be fed. The parents follow us around the yard and scold us and sometimes swoop. I am ready for the black birds to go bye bye!

Tell some bird stories. Talk about Miss Peggy Lee.

 

Small Wonders

I stepped onto our deck yesterday and I was greeted by the most wonderful aroma. We have Beta grapes growing up the deck verticles and across the rafters atop the deck. They try to run onto the roof and under the shingles so we have to cut them back every year. They also shade our deck from the fierce afternoon sun. Beta grapes are small and purple and are good for jelly. The grapes are blooming now, and the delicious smell was from the grape flowers.  They are very strange  flowers and it amazes me that something so small and odd looking has such a lovely smell. You can see them in the photo below.

Appearances can certainly deceive. When have you been deceived?  What has been small but mighty in your experience?

 

Anger Management

My husband is a gentle, scholarly person somewhat lacking in manual dexterity and mechanical know-how.  He married into a family of impatient, dexterous, mechanically inclined hot-heads. The Boomgaardens are famous for their tempers.  I have a farmer cousin noted for throwing tools. I have great aunts who had hair pulling fights in ditches. I have great uncles who shot at each other with rifles.  I manage to keep my temper pretty well, but last weekend was a challenge for me. I am thankful no one got hurt.

It was hot last weekend. We did a lot of outside work in the yard over a four day period. It involved planting seeds and shrubs, spreading mulch, laying out soaker hoses and sprinklers, digging holes, and maneuvering around piles of bagged topsoil, composted manure, and bales of peat moss with tools and wheel barrows. For each task I saw clearly how we had to do it, in what order, and what physical and mechanical actions had to be taken. I was pretty driven to get it done as fast as we could before the heat of the day made it unbearable to work outside.  When I get like that, I forget my theory of mind, and assume that everyone around me sees the tasks and the procedures that need to be accomplished exactly the same way I see it. I get impatient when the people I am working with don’t seem to get it the way I get it, when they fumble around and look ineffectual and dithering.  As Husband said “You do things and you don’t explain what you are doing until afterwards.”  Why should I have to explain what I am doing if it is plain what has to be done?!! Why can’t you think like I think?!!

A very alarming ear worm took hold last Friday as I became increasingly frustrated with Husband and his inability to read my mind.  I decided I had better sit down and have glass of water and reel in my temper. I have no idea from what odd recess of my brain I dredged this up:

The chorus from this went through my head all weekend.  It made me laugh at myself and my irrational assumptions, and forced me to see how unreasonable I can be.  Perhaps all anger management classes should include Broadway musical soundtracks.

How do you manage your temper? What is the angriest you have been? What is your favorite Broadway song at the moment?