Merlot Mudpies

Can a blog be about gardening, cancer, family, food and life all at the same time? Oh good.

When You Realize You’re Not Quite Young Anymore… August 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary @ 5:43 pm

So, I’m not a part of the hip generation anymore. I’m sorry fellow generation-mates. We are getting old and out of it.

I stopped our upstairs neighbor the other day because she had told me that her roommates had been practicing dancing with their friends one night and she was concerned that it was too loud down here. She had said at the time, “They do this type of dancing where they do handstands and flips and stuff, so it gets a little loud.”

This is how the next conversation went:

Me: Hey! How are you? Listen, I wanted to ask you–
Her: Oh my gosh, were we all too loud again?
Me: No, no! Not at all. It’s just, you said that you and all of your friends dance and my son loves dancing. I was wondering if he could come up sometime and watch you guys practice?
Her: (totally surprised) Oh! Oh my gosh that’s so great! HONEY! Hey HONEY! This lady wants to see us dance — she wants us to show her son. (then turning back to me) It’s sort of like, this hiphop dancing. Do you know what that is? I mean is that okay for you? It’s not too crazy?
Me: (surprised even to be asked) Uh..yeah! I mean…YEAH…I do know what that is. And that’s fine. That’s what I wanted him to see.
Her: Oh great! It’s this thing called break dancing actually (here is where it gets good, wait for it…wait for it!). It’s this old style of dance that’s coming back. Have you heard of it?

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? Again I say, WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT? HEARD OF IT? I grew up listening to Michael Jackson on AM Radio! YES I’ve HEARD of it. But admitting that makes me sound OLD.

The best part was that as she rushed up the stairs to catch up with her friends I heard her say, “Oh my gosh you guys, that’s so cool. She knows what break dancing is!”

Excuse me, I need to go adjust my dentures and find my walker.


Time is the Issue August 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary @ 8:55 am

Let me say that I am thrilled at the current course life is taking me on. I am not thrilled, however, that it has eaten so badly into my blogging time.

I am the newest member of Dr. Peter Jones’ ministry team, trying to get up to speed, trying to keep the rest of my plants from croaking, trying to transition out of my old job completely, and watching my niece and nephew again now that the new semester has started for my sis-in-law.

So, things are busy. When they settle, I’ll share more.

A quick update on my garden: We are at the end and beginning again. Most of my plants are spent and I’m looking forward to prepping my soil, resting much of it, and then planting for the fall.

This reminds me: I have mentioned it before and she’s in my blogroll, but Reading Dirt has a fantastic free e-Book with great information about soil preparation as well as many specific veggies that she likes to grow. Do check it out using the link to her blog in my blogroll list or just clicking this sentence. The link for the eBook is on her front page.


Served Cold by My Own Toddler August 16, 2008

Filed under: family — Mary @ 7:10 pm
Tags: , , ,

so, ryan had to work today and i was feeling bad for him.

while we were at the store grabbing some stuff for dinner, i said to eamonn, “should we get poor daddy some beers?” i rounded the cart into the liquor aisle and headed past this guy and just before we came up on him eamonn replied plaintively, “no, mommy. no daddy beer. mommy, no daddy beer!” all wide eyed and sincere.

it couldn’t have been directed better if he’d been a paid public service announcement child star on an ad about the evils of alcohol. the dude in the aisle totally stopped for half a beat with this horrified look on his face as i reached for the alaskan amber, then averted his eyes and scampered out of the aisle, all uncomfortable looking.

oh dang. i just can’t stop laughing about it. it was hysterical.


Uncle Richard August 14, 2008

When I came to Ivey Ranch, heart held in front of me raw and scared, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing there. I only just knew I needed a garden, they had one for me, and by Jove, I was going to grow things.

Richard is one of the first people I met once I got there. He is the reason I made it. Without being asked, he offered to till my soil, wet my weeds for pulling, wire my gates against renegade bunnies, holler if my son wandered too near the road by his plot. Without his help I would have ended up worn out, burnt out, and ready to quit within weeks of my plot lease. But Dick was there every warm morning with a smile and a joke and, if I asked, humble but accurate advice on just about every thing from weeds, to corn worms, to kids.

“Hiya, trouble!” I’d call when I got to the plots and saw him with his knee pads on, working away on his own plot or some newcomer’s who he thought needed encouragement. “How’re you?”

“Fat, sassy and happy!” he’d tell me every time. I knew the answer. That’s why I always asked. I tried not to worry when he’d have a coughing fit while I admonished Eamonn not to pick the green tomatoes, worried over my watermelons, and bemoaned my plethora of squash. I’d listen to him joke and laugh with every single gardener there. He’d ask after kids, grandkids, plants, and pets. He’d give a hug and tell a joke any time you’d need it. I had to fight with him to get him to take some of my organic plant food when he demanded to know how I’d gotten my corn so tall.

“Over my dead body will you pay me for that food, Mister! It’s time for a little payback!” I’d holler at him with a foot stamp.

“Do you see??” he’d ask anyone listening, “Do you see what I put up with?”

I really, really love Richard.

Rumor has it, it’s lung cancer.

We all try to water when we can, pull his weeds when there’s time, pile up his harvest for his neighbor to deliver when there are things to pick. Everyone’s worried and no one’s quite sure what to do. But the feel of the whole place has changed. It’s pensive, and it’s quiet, and we all throw glances at that empty plot where no one is hollering out sass and encouragement like he’s supposed to be.

It is amazing how one man can shape the face of a place and how his lack can make it so empty. When I consider it, I ache.


Garden Update, Me Update August 9, 2008

I’ve been horribly remiss in my posting. I haven’t got much to say for myself except, “WAAA!”, total toddler style. Hectic doesn’t begin to describe the weeks we’ve had. But it’s all been good, interesting, fun…well, except the strep. And…well…except for the part where my poor brother and his wife got flooded out of their condo for the second time in as many years by their upstairs neighbors. Yeah.

There is a lot going on at Ivey Ranch and I’ll get to that when I have words for it. We’re all walking around with furrowed brows and aching hearts at the moment. I can’t start to explain it without wanting to get up from the desk and walk away…so I won’t touch it more than that for now. You just really can’t escape death and it’s touch on everything in this life.

Perhaps this leads me to a bigger thing: I have so many deep things I’ve been wanting to say of late. I don’t know where to start with them all. Some pertain to my garden and what I’m learning there, so many pertain to my mom and the new layers of loss you come to every time you get out of bed. Do you ever look at the pile of things you feel need processing and saying and just find yourself quiet in the face of it all?

Yeah. Me, too.

And so, here is a plain garden update:

Ann and Joce and I busted our collective tushes (tushi?) this afternoon. We weeded the whole area, tied up and trimmed many of my tomato plants which are, let’s face it, on their last legs at this point with the heat. We pulled up dying and dead plants (three yellow squash, two watermelons, the rest of my pumpkins, a pepper, and a tomato). He picked so many tomatoes I don’t know what any of us will ever do with them. Honest to Pete, I never thought I’d be sick of tomatoes. One of God’s graces, perhaps, is that even the best fruits and vegetables start to get a bit old before the season ends, so you’re almost happy to say goodbye until the next year…We dug in steer manure and fertilizer in preparation for the beds I’ll be planting in the next months, and eyed bunny holes that need plugging up.

Regarding my bunnies: I believe their next step in renovating my plots is installing a bunny disco ball. I really can’t think what else they need. My plot is one of the cushiest bunny hang-outs of all time. They’ve even told the squirrels to give it a whirl. I really, REALLY need to rebuild some of my fences. If not to keep them out entirely (I really think this is somewhat impossible to do entirely and still like yourself), at least to give them enough pause to like, count their blessings and say grace before they dig into my vegetables…

Tomorrow I will go back to give my tomatoes a much-needed trim down in B10 and to consider what else needs to be allowed an end so I can begin again.

Renewal. It’s an amazing thing.

I’m sort of glad that I lost what I did when I was in Oklahoma. It allowed me, in the end, to remember that my need was not to keep everything alive forever, but really, to learn the cycles of my garden and this climate to grow and produce what the seasons dictate and invite. This is a hard, but good, lesson to learn for a new gardener.


Strep August 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary @ 3:32 pm

I just got home from the doctor’s office. I have a full blown case of strep throat.

I now feel less sissy-like for wanting to nap constantly the last four days.

And so, legitimized, I am going to go nap. Some more.


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