Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Green Nantucket

No, it's not because all those Figawi sailors were here.
 It's not the cash, it's the Spring!
Walking down Union Street in town:
The white picket fence really shows off the ivy. 
Why bother with grass?
I love Stone Alley. It's so Secret Gardenish.
Someone's fussing with grass,
 see that s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t mowing line?
Even the most perfect yard can have a dog's chew toy on the table...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day Nantucket has a teeny tiny parade. 
We leave wreaths at war monuments on the way to the Prospect Hill Cemetery.
 The bagpipes play, the Gettysburg Address is read, speeches are made,
 the bugle sounds Taps.
 And I cry, every single year.  Because of my dad.
Memorial Day was not a happy occasion of picnics for him.
 He fought in the South Pacific in WWII. 
His men built a perfect defensive position on a beach. 
He told them what a great job they did then went off to get supplies. 
They took a direct hit. All dead, every one. 
He wrote letters home to each of their families.
 In Dad's mind, all those young men remained 19 and 20 year olds. 
He exhorted us to never join the military for one reason: war is such a waste of lives.
We remember. We grieve. But when will we stop?
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore...

Iridescent Beetles

I saw this little guy when I was digging in the garden:
My guess is it's a dogbane beetle. The thing about beetles is they attract their mates by scent, not color.  More by perfume than flashy outfits. So why iridescence? It can't be camouflage as the sparkle is what catches the eye. Maybe it's a warning color, like Monarch butterflies. Don't eat me, I taste bad. Or maybe, just maybe, God makes things pretty for His own pleasure. And we, created in His image, are also blessed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

#119: Garden Shed

Nantucket has a Historic District Commission. They grant approval on all structures built on the island. I built our chicken shed from scrap back when anything under 10x10 didn't need approval. But now...when we needed a place to store our garden tools our son came up with this brilliant approval-not-required plan:
No walls, no door, no windows. The wheelbarrow just gets tipped up against the wall.
It even has an old-fashioned lilac bush:
Ever so historic.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Codfish Fertilizer

My husband has a fish market. Every spring gardeners come by to ask for fish racks (what's left after fillets are removed) for their gardens. Excellent long-term fertilizer. He's always glad to give them out. This year I asked for some as I'm putting in a Three Sisters Garden. It's a traditional Indian garden of corn, beans and squash planted together. Squanto taught the Pilgrims to plant a fish head under each hill. Like this:
Bucket of codfish racks--one rack per hole:
Place in hole using non-Indian tongs.
There ya go.
Cover up the fish and plant four seeds of corn in each hill--
one to each of the compass directions.
Water the whole shebang and wait. God does things in His time,
not mine. When the corn is up, I can plant the beans, then the squash.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

#117: Downtown Nantucket

Lots happening downtown! My favorite stop is, of course, the Atheneum. She's getting a paint job:
The guy in the crane was working on the tops of those columns. 
The Dreamland project got an extension till the end of June, so far, so good:
This side is the furthest along as they have to open Oak Street as soon as possible.
The back has a crane but the front has these low-tech ladders:
Good thing they put up the chain link fence. Those sweet ladders are so very tempting...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This is the view from our bedroom window:
I wish I could also give you the scent of the lilacs.
 We planted the bush outside our window just for the sweetness of lilacs in the morning. 

#115: Vacation Bible School

Yes, kids, we are getting ready for you! We're working on our wacky outfits. We're studying our Bibles. We're putting together your registration packets. (You can register here.) We are so excited to introduce you to Jesus that we are actually...ironing! Yes, the woman whose children asked what that metal thing was when I got out the iron to tidy up ruffles on Easter dresses in 2004 was actually ironing T-shirts last night. We did so many we kept tripping the circuit breaker. Unretouched photo evidence:

Oh, wait, you want actual faces? OK:
Those of us willing to be in the picture, anyway. 
SonSurf Beachbash, here we come.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

#114: The Grey Lady and Yack on

Nantucket is grey today. And yesterday. And it looks like grey tomorrow too. One grey day is fine for getting the housework done but it's getting old. One thing Islanders do in the greyness is get together. Potlucks, hikes, organizing teams for the Ironman. We also get together on-line at YackOn. Check it out if you want more than my perspective on the island. I'm one of the listed blogs (thanks, Grant).
It says in the Bible to focus on what is lovely so I'm not going to give you greyness--tho' I do love the fog. Here's the bright joy of color on the island from last week:
Why are the fire hydrants red in 'Sconset and yellow in Town?
Forsythia!  Makes me happy just to say the name.
Sun shining through emerging leaves.
In Japan they write Haiku for these...
Bok choy from the hydroponic garden. 
It may be grey outside but we still have fresh greens for supper.

Monday, May 23, 2011

#113: Escape

Where's Lucy? Has anyone seen Lucy?

Hah, Tweedledum, check this out:
Sneak under here...

 And I'm out! Woohoo! Look at all these yummy cherry blossoms!

You are going to get eaten by the cat, Lucy!

Not me, no cat's gonna touch a punker like me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

#112: Chicken Run

The baby chicks are now teenager chicks and too big for their fish box. David and the kids built them a run while I was in America. They love it!

We put them in at the door so of course they hang out at the opposite end.
There are wheels on one end so we can drag it, notice how they've eaten all the cherry tree petals: 
 Shaking down more petals for them:
There's deer netting on the top and sides to keep the cats out, and Lizzy in:
 And their food and water dish for when they run out of flower petals:
I spent the afternoon in the old chicken yard getting it ready for planting. A dozen hills three feet apart for a Three Sisters garden. More on that project when I get it planted!

#111: Middle-age

Not as wondrous as childhood. Not as sparkly as youth. Not yet wise nor rich. But solid. Solid with David--rough times and smooth, we know we'll work it out. Solid with Jesus--He has shown lovingkindness no matter how badly I stumble. Solid with my kids and friends--not always quiet mind you, but solid. A bit too set in my ways so every once in a while I shake things up. Last week, while in America, my daughter took these pictures:
A wee bit scared...
Just a pinch--ha!
And sparkle!
My girls noticed right away, David not so much. Now it's a new family wink.
Mom got her ears pierced and Dad had to have it pointed out to him. 
Payback for all those times I didn't notice his haircut. 
Solid still sparkles.

Friday, May 20, 2011

#110: Squirrels' Ears

The proverb tells us to plant corn when the leaves of the oak trees are the size of squirrels' ears. We don't have a lot of squirrels on Nantucket but I'm guessing this is about right:
A scrub oak in our yard. 
A favorite trick of my childhood was holding up a buttercup under someone's chin 
to 'see if they liked butter':
The buttercups are ready for another summer of predictions. And yes, I do like butter.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

#109: The Dark Side of Bamboo

It's a grass--I spent an hour yesterday digging up little bits of bamboo from the flower beds:
This was a case where we should have been more cautious about a generous gift. The island is basically a sand pile, compost is precious, so when a guy was giving away his mom's old compost pile we got seven truckloads, unsuspecting of the hidden pest: bamboo bits. So now every year we carefully, and we believe thoroughly, dig up every little piece, until more appears. It's a spiritual lesson, really, the tiniest bit of sin needs digging out before it takes over everything...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

#108: Bamboo

Bamboo is an amazing building material. Entire homes, called nipa huts, are made from it in the Philippines. It can grow 39 inches in one day. As it's a grass, not a tree, it can grow to its full height in just one season. Irritating for gardeners, thrilling for builders.  David just built a bamboo garden gate:

Then installed it with the help of a 3-year-old:

Beautiful in a rustic sort of way:
This garden is primarily for potatoes and onions. There will be plenty of 'Grandpa Ott'
morning glories growing up the sides. We're still figuring out how to keep the deer from eating them. 
Maybe a second row of bamboo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#107: Recycling

Last weekend I went America to move my daughter out of her apartment and home for the summer. Lots more jobs on Nantucket than in Rhode Island. I took the 6:30am slow boat. Can you see Summer Street Church's tower?
It took four hours to pack her up, clean the apartment and leave the furniture on the curb:
Then she calls Craig's List with a 'curb alert' and people come from all over to take the stuff away. Recycling at its best. Wish we did that on Nantucket. 
Got home at 10:15pm. The kids had cleaned the kitchen spotless and David and two of the other kids had built an outdoor run for the baby chicks. I should go away more often...

Monday, May 16, 2011

#108: Robin's Egg Blue

In between two apartment buildings in Providence, Rhode Island:
A Robin's nest
A wary Robin mother on her nest...

Look close:
Beauty for the joy of it. What a color! And what a hatchling!
Not to worry, Mamma Robin came right back.
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