I had a wonderful visit from my friend. She rented a little car and drove out to where I was staying, bringing $100 worth of groceries with her: apples, bananas, clementines, tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, red peppers, organic milk, eggs from cage-free vegetarian chickens (with omega-3 in them), hummus, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme, lemons, hot peppers, some mozzarella and feta cheese. And some fish. And some plates. She’s pretty much all fruit and vegetables – very organic and conscientious about where her money goes. If you can’t grow it, she pretty much doesn’t want it on her plate. She loves to farm (sheep). I love to cook. So I cooked a few meals for us over the 2 days (2 dinners, 2 breakfasts, and a lunch). I guess it ended up being $10/meal/person for her, and about $50 worth of leftovers for me to enjoy later, that I might never have bought for myself. What are friends for??? She spoiled me.
We drove to the store so that I could buy some heavier stuff and medicine with what was left of my holiday money gift card. We started with a bag of dog food. She being quite picky about this: proceeded to read the ingredients on the back of the bags for comparison. We didn’t take the first one… but in the end I settled on a senior formula for Petey supplemented with omega-6, glucosamine, enhanced botanical oils, and a dual antioxidant blend. Petey’s appetite has changed recently, and on the off days when we don’t make the 5 mile (one way) trip into town, he rests with a tenacity that won’t even allow him to get up to go to the bathroom. I worry about him, with his long body, short legs with a foot deformity, and arthritis in his back. He is very happy though when we do go to town together. His appetite improves, and he urinates more. It can’t hurt too badly, or he wouldn’t want to go.
I got a paintbrush to paint the bed with leftover paint I had found at the recycling center, and some more nails, screws, and a clothesline wire to finish wiring a provisional solution to a broken fence with plywood, that we had used twine to fix. Dogs can chew through the twine. The two of us had debated about whether to go to the Houston Rodeo and Livestock show which was in town. She is an animal handler and trainer, so she can appreciate good work with animals. In the end, we opted instead to spend the afternoon finishing 2 fence repairs so that a dog could be let off of a chain safely, and an unneutered pitbull would not be roaming this spring. It really was a 2-person job. We also paused to get some nail clippers so that an older dog’s feet would not become deformed from her long unclipped nails. My clippers weren’t working well. She was very happy that we got this job done, and the dogs are now free but secure in the yard.
Looking around for a classical music symphony to study, they didn’t have any at the store, so I got a $15 i-tunes card. I didn’t know about these. It apparently allows one to download music off of the internet and onto one’s computer. Writing is intensely verbal, and I can’t do it with words in the background from the radio, or music with words. I think that I will be able to do it listening to classical music in the background, and that I will learn something about the structure and composition of classical music, by listening to it indirectly while I write. Bird songs are also nice.
Getting an account set up with I-tunes involves downloading some software, that is only available for macs or windows, so I had to download it onto my windows system. This was excruciating with the state of my system – and I have to admit that with hours of effort, I was tempted at several points just to chuck the whole computer. In the end, I got it to work though, and downloaded for $7.99+tax, the 50 most essential pieces of classical music.
Die Zauberflote Mozart
Suite for Orchestra #3 Bach
The Four Seasons Vivaldi
Swan Lake Suite Tchaichovsky
Partita for Solo Violin Bach
Peer Gynt Suite #1 Grieg
Canon in D Major Pachelbel
Symphony #5 in C minor Beethoven
Liebestraum #3 in A-flat Liszt
Brandenburg Concerto Bach
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra Mozart
Concerto #1 for Mandolin Vivaldi
Symphony #40 in G Minor Mozart
Concerto for 2 Violins Bach
Because of the difficulty of using this site, I went ahead and spent what I could of the $15. I wasn’t sure that I could get it to work a 2nd time.
So, I wanted a whole symphony, and I found Mozart’s 41st (Jupiter) symphony for piano whose 4 parts I downloaded individually for 99 cents each.
That left me with just over $2.
We talked a lot about gardening. She knows much more about this than I do. One of her best friends (in her 70‘s) just got her bachelor’s degree in botany. She has cancer.
So we picked out 2 bags of topsoil, and some little flowers to plant to go with what I already had:
1) sweet williams (biennials, 1 – 1 1/2 ft)
2) impatiens ( annual , 1 1/2 ft)
3) sweet peas (annual, knee high)
4) snapdragons (annual, 2 1/2 ft)
5) malva (perennial, 3-4 ft)
Ok. So this is a little like composing a symphony – of color…The colors have to match: my theme was pretty much purple. But everything has to come into flower at the right place and grow at the right speed for the flowers to sing together in the garden. Nature has to cooperate.
The idea is to get the peas to climb the 5 ft dog fence, have the snapdragons in front of this, and the sweet william’s in front of this. That’s one bed. The other one might be constructed with the malvas in the background, and the 2 different colors (purple and white) of impatiens in front of them.
My friend looked over my little vegetable garden and pointed out that the little broccolis had to be eaten. They had started to flower. This being my first time growing broccoli, I did not know that it was technically over for the broccoli. They weren’t that big. Obviously, the soil needs some help.
We went for a visit to the Waller County Historical Museum – a museum documenting local heritage in the area. There was a book that documented local indian sites
dinosaur and mammoth bones, some relics from General Custer’s military activities in the area (I wondered how they made ink),
and finally several old rooms on exhibit, including a doctor’s office with a very old EKG in it.
It was interesting to compare how people lived on the frontier with how I was living.
She left early in the morning as we watched the sun rise together.