Monthly Archives: June 2008

Raising your own fruits, veggies, etc? (or want to?)

I happened across this site in this weekend’s NYTimes (I believe it was… or the WSJ, MercuryNews or Chronicle 😉 and thought it might be a good resource for those who are raising – or beginning to raise – fruits and veggies @ their residence.

Also a reminder that if you’re interested in beginning to keep bees, as we did this year, visit Franklin Carrier’s website Mr. Carrier is a wonderful resource for all levels of bee keepers… and a darn nice guy, in any event 🙂


Word from Janie…

Thank you for the birthday wishes! Sorry it has taken so long for this ol’ gal to respond; I got stuck in the old folks’ contraption on the toilet, my cell phone was two inches from my reach and my emergency call necklace fell off when I leaned over too far to sit down. Thank heaven for lots of reading material and plenty of toilet paper, which is great to eat and full of fiber when you’re old and stuck on the commode.
Ahhh yes, Mill Valley…brings visions of ivy league dressed 7 year olds with pigtails or Dippity Do slicked back hair. (:
Thanks for the reads and hope you had a great birthday too, since yours is after mine.

Plum crazy…

Well, apparently Mother Nature has decided that we’ve had two weekends of rest and that’s more than we deserve, so beginning last Thursday one of the plum trees began dropping its fruit. Come to think of it, though, dropping doesn’t really convey the sense of urgency… but what word does, really?

Shed? nah, not good enough. Let go? um, I’m sorry… I’m sure that’s not grammatically correct. Ok, how ’bout Roget’s (I’m sure they’ve misspelled “Roger” but by now correcting it would cost too much money to reprint letterhead, book covers, etc.) Thesaurus, what would they say instead of “shed”?

Ah, here we go: cast, emit, irradiate, project, radiate, throw, exuviate, molt, slough, throw off.

Anyway, by yesterday afternoon, there was a (can I say this outloud on the radio?) buttload of plums on the ground under the plum tree. Being the good City Farmer she is, The Missus loaded them into the harvesting bag (yup, we’ve got those – and a couple of harvest ladders, too – so feel free to stop by any time and try your hand at being a fruit picker ) and made sure she let me know she’d picked all of them up. As she did, I swallowed the last of my beer, turned the page on my magazine and (turning the ipod down) said, “Hey, that’s great – did you get them all?”

‘Cause I want to acknowledge her work and be supportive like a good House Dude.

She wasn’t amused, but said nothing and we had another uneventful – I’m sorry, did you say boring – Saturday night.

And then, sure enough – dare I say it?- (dare, dare) just like clockwork, morning rolled around (again) and (after taking the NSX for its Sunday morning lap around the Bay) I was faced with the chores list for the morning: pull weeds in the back yard or do something with those damn plums. (they’re not going to prep themselves, are they?) In other words, (as my mom used to say) make yourself useful as well as ornamental. (Today is her birthday – Happy Birthday, mom.)

Pull weeds. (Now, weeds and I have a long history together, going back to when I was 8 and living with my paternal grandparents in Porterville, CA. I would drag out weeding a 5′ x 1′ strip of tomatoes longer than most folks could imagine possible. My grandfather used to say I was the laziest boy he’d ever met… I know he’d be amazed with me as an adult.)

Prep the plums. (Ah, kitchen work – lemme at it! Unless we’re talking doing dishes, then I’m the laziest adult you’ve ever seen.)

Ok, I’m all over the plums.

So I bring the harvest bag in and as I begin sorting to wash, dry, then pit, I notice some of them have scratch / teeth marks on them.

Ah, the squirrels have gotten to some of these… we can’t use those in making goodies, they’ll have to be thrown out. Sure, we could cut out the nibble areas, but we’d still run the risk of squirrel cooties getting being in the fruit meat, then making their way to your jar of spiced plum butter (new for this year). I’m not exactly sure what would happen if you got some squirrel cooties on your toast… maybe you’d want to climb a tree, run down a fence line – stand up and flip-off the local hawks, heck, I can’t really say… but why take a chance?

So I carefully checked, handwashed, dried and pitted the good ones and threw the cootie-fruit in the garbage. A few hours later, The Missus spent 3 hours reducing 1/2 of what I’d prepped into 1 1/2 cases of spiced plum butter that’ll probably show up in a few holiday baskets later this year. As I write this, I can hear the jar lids popping, so that means everything’s sealing nicely… man, with everything else we’ve made (that’s the royal we because I seem to clog up the jamming process these days) it’s gonna be a good goodie basket year.

As I said, in an effort to not contaminate production, I did my best to get rid of the squirrel cootie fruit, but to tell you the truth, if you begin eating some of our spiced plum butter and suddenly have the urge to run out in front of a car, causing it to swerve and hit a tree… well, maybe I didn’t get all of the squirrel cooties and you’ve gone Plum Crazy 🙂

(man, that took forever to get out, didn’t it? 😉

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, be well and write when you get work.

What Do Retired People Do All Day?

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting.

Well, for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket.

We went up to him and said, 'Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?' He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a Nazi t*rd. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires.

So my wife called him a $h*thead. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, we didn't care. We came into town by bus. We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's important at our age .

(sent in by my should-know-better-at-his-age friend, Alan.)

Congratulations to Megan & David on their engagement!

Today I was having lunch with former co-worker and long time friend, JW, and learned that his daughter, Megan, and her long time boyfriend, David, had recently become engaged to be married. And as excited as I was by the news, my brain kept flashing back to when I first met Megan… she was all of 7 years old and we met at Unison (where JW and I worked).

She was such a bright little cutie, obviously the sparkling highlight in her father’s life. As the years went by, she grew up and iirc, the last time I actually saw her was around the time of her graduation from high school in 2000(?). The she headed off to college and earned her Bachelors, then Masters (in something-something-something Child Development / Education something-something-something)… and (suddenly) next year she’ll be getting married.

Joanne and I send our congratulations to you both!

btw, JW snapped the photo of Megan as she was on the phone telling her grandmother of their exciting news.

Don’t let this happen to your children…

Returning home from my morning bike lap on the parcourse, I cruised through the parking lot @ the perc pond park. Imagine how surprised I was to see a group of ~20 little kids – pre-schoolers, I’m sure – sitting on the ground, surrounding a very bright, multi-colored parachute-thingie – IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DRIVE-THROUGH PARKING LOT!!!

Not on the grass. Not on the side of the parking lot. Not in the farthest corner of the parking lot.


As I rode up to them (to exit the parking lot), I slowed down and said to the very young, bright-n-shiny young teenagers who were in charge of these kids:

“Excuse me, but you’re sitting in the middle of the parking lot with these little children – do you realize how unsafe it is here with cars going by?”

“Yes, but the grass is wet.” (No, I’m not making this up.)

With great incredulity in my voice, I said:

So let’s see if I’ve got this right. You’ve parked this group of little children smack in the middle of the drive-through parking lot because you would rather risk their getting run over by a careless driver than getting their bottoms wet on the grass or finding another activity. Is that what you’re really telling me, because if it is, I’ll call the police right this moment and let them (and the parents of these children) help you make a better decision.”

“We’re sorry, we’ll move them.”

I said, “No need to be sorry, but remember, you’ve got someone’s little kids here and both the children and their parents trust you to look after them and their safety.”

I’m pleased to report that as I bicycled away, the kids were folding up the thingie and moving to the grass.

Thanks for stopping, be well and don’t forget to write when you get work.

re: birthday wishes (this from mike)

Good morning Hal

You are probably sleeping in today. Just lying there having a slow start to the morning. Joanne is in the kitchen cooking up your favorite breakfast. The papers are waiting for you at the foot of the bed. The stock market has just risen five hundred points and your stocks are.......
OK wake up! the dream is over!

Happy Birthday

clearly, Mike understands my life perfectly :)