Thursday, June 21, 2012

Inner and Outer Space

The cypress near our garden. This is a mystifying new landscape for me.

Despite our continual busyness, Nathanael and I have been enjoying our thesis-free time immensely.  
We have already put much more work into our garden, but even that time has felt more relaxed, both because there are no obligations awaiting us at home, and because the drive between home and the garden ins much shorter.

Our garden a few weeks ago, when we were just beginning to plant

Nathanael is building a few rows of woven bamboo trellis to train our beans, melons, cucumbers and gourds upon, and they are such pretty structures. (I don't have pictures of those because he finished building them in the dark, but you will see them soon!)

It is really relaxing to work in the garden a few evenings each week, and it also feels productive.  The landscape surrounding our garden is beautiful, and gives us more pieces of Louisiana to appreciate, like the majestic cypress or the ever intriguing horsetail plants

One of the plants with highest silica, those ridges are good for scouring and buffing.

Each of these segments "pops" out and will click back into place...though it won't grow after that.

While moving some wood we uncovered some mysterious looking creatures that we have yet to look up.

They look like a cross between a stick bug and a crawfish.

Though I don't plan on eating one.

Seriously, if these came from another planet, how would we even know...why are we not as intrigued by their presence here as we would be elsewhere. Who knows, they may be trying to communicate.

In the evenings after gardening we have occasionally have a cup of Mexican hot chocolate (Abuelita), while Nathanael reads C.S. Lewis' space trillogy to me.  We are on the first book, Out of the Silent Planet.  I have never read (or listened) to them before, but so far I am intrigued and my imagination is getting some good exercise.  Additionally, C.S. Lewis' carefully crafted English makes listening (or reading) feel as though you are discovering the truest form of written communication, and when you are reading all of it aloud your mouth feels privileged to have such fine things to say.

So Lucy,
   I have selected this song for you this week because I have been thinking about exploring and about outer space, and actually a lot of people have been thinking about outer space this week.  And though we now know that none of the planets in our solar system have any (conspicuous) unearthly creatures and giant purple forests, the lands and spaces we will never personally visit will always drive our creative minds, whether those far away places be the in depths of the ocean, in the corners of the solar system or on other earthly continents.  Or actually, living right here in a state where didn't grow up has shown me creatures and forests to which I previously gave no thought, so I am beginning to realize that I don't need to travel far to be surprised.  For this song of the week, I have chosen Mercury from Gustav Holst's the Planets.  I think we all end up listening to the same ten or twelve classical music pieces all of the time (thanks pandora), while missing out on so many exciting and imaginative compositions. So please enjoy, while thinking of planets (and earthly spaces) undiscovered.

Note: Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis is a story about a trip to the planet we know as Mars (while the silent planet is earth), but I was more in the mood for Gustav Holst's Mercury. So, different planet.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Can You Canoe?

Nathanael's Masters of Science in Agronomy: Weed Science is officially complete.  He flew to Wisconsin to defend it on May 25, and again to submit the paper copy in person on June 8.

Nathanael with his cane knife.
Very old Louisiana of him, though he was using it for bamboo, not sugar.

And me? Well I have been here building up my expectations for our new found time, without taking note that high expectations don't mix well with fatigue from multiple light night/early morning drives to the airport...even if you do have a full picnic dinner on the way.

Last night my tired self was having a hard time using my arm muscles, and at the same time sad that we were not hiking, biking and frolicking through fields already...since Nathanael had been back a whole 18 hours.  But Nathanael humored me, ate cupcakes with me, read me a bedtime story, and made it a fun night despite my floppy arms incapacities.  I'm silly, I know...if you think my tired self is silly, you should meet my half awake self....

My fully awake self is a little more rational, but still itching to get out of buildings and into the wild. (We'll get back to that in a minute.)

My friend, and graduate school roommate Lucy, (who I have mentioned a few times) and I have decided to exchange a song with each other each week.  We also decided to post the songs on our blogs (Lucy's post this week) to share with our friends, and others who enjoy discovering a wide variety of music.  And, since we did not establish rules, you will be encountering a wide variety of music.  Lucy and I like to have fun.  Sometimes we have classy music selections (I gravitate toward xylophones, banjos, hammered dulcimers and ukuleles; and Lucy gravitates toward Newfoundlanders), and sometimes we just feel like listening to Saturday Night on repeat for a while (ok, ok a short while).

So Lucy,
Since I am set on roaming with my friend Nathanael, as you've heard, when this song came on NPR a few days ago it held fast to my subconscious.  So despite it being a kid'song, I present you with Can You Canoe, by the Okie Dokie Brothers, and since you are also an outdoor's lady, and since the guys singing look silly every time they say the word "canoe" throughout this video, I think you will enjoy it.

Please pretend I am right there with you this evening, with all my banjo loving self.  Though, I am most certainly at the opposite end of the Mississippi as these fellows and their canoe.

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