Bedlam Farm Blog Journal by Jon Katz

14 May

Planting My Garden

by Jon Katz

Wearing a straw sun hat that’s been sitting in a closet for a long time gave me the feel of a gardener. It also kept the sun off of my head and face.

I planted bulbs and seeds in all three of my raised garden beds this morning and soaked them all in  water. Some of the Gladiolas I planted a week ago have already started to pop up.

(Photo of me by Maria,with my Leica)

Today I planted 20 Gladiola bulbs, (yes, I know they grow tall), 30 yellow and red Fresia bulbs, two Maxima Multiflora Begonias (plus four Samba Begonias, and a lot of orange and red poppy seeds from California.

This season, I’m leading to bulbs and not just seeds, although I intend to plant a few more seeds in a week or so.

sThere is a lot of sun these days and I water the bulbs daily.

About a dozen onion are also growing in my beds also, we plan on eating one tonight.

I spent nearly two hours planting and watering and planting again, and that’s enough sun for me.

I’m very excited to have these flowers planted. I think I’ll add some Zinnias as well.

14 May

Maria On The March: She Will Decide

by Jon Katz

Maria and I are not especially political people, our lives center around our writing and our art, we leave the arguing and hating to others.

She has some good friends who are strongly opposed to abortion, and she respects them and understands their feelings.

She is less understanding of the crankly old white Christian Nationalist Straight Man who have taken over many state state legislatures and who believe they can tell women like Maria how to think and feel and decide about having the babies that are born in their bodies.

Maria would never put up with that, and neither will most of the women that I know. We all have the right to our opinions, but do we have the right to make the most intimate and personal decisions for other people?

It’s going to be an exciting and painful time for strong  women in America who wish to be free in what was once the world’s greatest democracy.

My money is on them. They cannot be conquered or silenced.

I live with a strong willed and intensely ethical woman. No one is going to do that to her, certainly not angry old white men who think they will soon take over the country.

That will never happen, not while there are millions upon millions of women who will never bow town to it.

In a democracy, we are supposed to thrash this things out together, and give and take, and listen to one another, and respect the majority, not pass cruel and authoritarian and completely partisin laws because we don’t want to negotiate or see any other point of view.

These  horrid laws undermine demcracy and corrode the rule of law. Soon enough, people will be ignorint Supreme Court ruling every day, and that is an awful thing in a democratic society. It happens when the bond of trust and respect is broken.

In no way is this democracy,  Christianity or justice, it is simple dictatorship and the corruption of law. And ultimately, it will fail.

Destroying democracy is not just because you don’t always get what you want.

I now call this the Great Putin Ukraine Mistake, as it will always be known. I don’t care how many soldiers and sheriffs you have, you can’t subjugate that many independent people with bullying and laws, or even with guns and jail.

I wrote the day the Ukrain war broke out that Putin was doomed to lose,  the lesson of unthinking dominaton of other people has failed again and again in the world and will fail now, in America of all places. A lot of people thought I was crazy.

Only an arrogant white man would think you can invade a proud and free country with 43 million people living it and conquer them in a couple of days.

It’s cruel and stupid to think this can be rammed down the throats of outraged and very independent women, just as it was stupid for Putin to think the Ukrainians would greet Russian soldiers in the streets with flowers.

Freedom is embedded in our DNA, Louisiania Texas legislators and ambitious  and overreaching governers will not wipe it out.

This afternoon, Maria went upstairs to her office and made herself an apron to wear to a march for women’s rights she’s joining in Glens Falls, N.Y., this afternoon. It says simple: “I Will Decide.”

Three words that speak a lot of truth.

I’m betting on her, and the millions of other strong women who will decide also. And I’m standing with her. So, it seems, is Zinnia.

You will decide. I can testify to that.

14 May

Gardening Day!

by Jon Katz

Today is gardening day for both of us. Later on, Maria is going off to march on behalf of women’s reproductive rights. I want to go, but one of my legs is acting up, I twisted something. We’ll see.

This morning, I gathered all of the seeds and bulbs I’ve been saving and will plant the three garden beds I’ve gotten ready. I don’t think we’ll see any more frosts, and if we do, I’ll cover the beds with tarp.

I’ve got big plans for these beds, all of the people I love will get flowers every week.

This morning, Maria put some flowers in the Bud planter. It looks just right.

14 May

That’s My Girl

by Jon Katz

There is nothing quite like a Lab. I’ve never owned a border collie who loved to wallow in mud. Zinnia never passes up a chance to eat something disgusting or roll in much and mud.

And she is always quite proud of herself when she does, usually getting close to use to shake herself off. I think she can’t imagine that we would not love some mud also.

Fortunately for her, but unfortunately for us, we have a swamp on the farm, full of yuk. Zinnia loves it, she would  wallow around like a rhino all day.

The good news is that she loves getting hosed in the warm weather. There is nothing like a Lab. Look how happy she is, and proud.

13 May

Photo Journal, May 13th, My Life In Pictures; Flo In Autum, Zinnia In Her Prime, Weights, Clouds, Mountains, Chickens, Friends, Leaves, Cows In Fields

by Jon Katz

At the end of the day, I went out to the backyard to throw a ball for Zinnia, she was, as always waiting patiently in front of Maria’s Studio, she looked as if she had grown out of the ground.

It is such a gift to have this peaceful, loving and easy- going creature by my side to walk through life with me.  I love her very much.

I just raised my hand to ask her to stay on the ground for a bit and she stayed until I had taken my picture. We know one another very well. I rarely have to speak, and she gets pictures.

I sat with Flo out on the porch after lunch for about a half hour, I wanted to get a sense from her – is she very old, or very sick? Maria thinks she’s healthy, just aging, I sense something deeper lately. Flo climbed into my lap, curled up into a ball and went to sleep, purring, then silent.

I don’t know why, but it seems to me she’s saying goodbye.

Why do I think she’s trying to tell me something?

Is it my hyper-active imagination, or is she simply wearing out. People say cats give up when they are done.

I think this is something that will reveal itself. In the meantime, I hope to plan more time with her. I don’t always pay enough attention to the animals when they are here, but I miss them when they are gone. I’d rather love an animal than mourn an animal.

I think of autumn leaves as works of art, they explode so beautifully before the bugs get to them and they begin to fray. It seems the leaves all came out overnight, they are strong, vibrant and beautiful.

For most of my other life, I lived in towns and cities where there was very little space, except for the occasional park.

Up here, there is space all around me, and it opens up my spirit and comforts me. I passed by this huge farm today, the cows were spread peacefully all over the place. Corporate milk farms are spawning very different lives for cows. Most of them live on concrete, and never get to graze on graze, the universal joy of sheep world. It was nice to see the cows spread out, standing peacefully and quietly.

The real farmers love their cows like parents love children and give them good lives. And I love living with space around me.

I can almost never resist taking a photo of my favorite farmhouse, down a curving state road. I liked the way the Leica caught the landscape and the trees leafing on all of the hills.

I went back up Scotch Hill Road to check on the clouds hovering over my favorite mountains. I was not disappointed. I missed the clouds when they were gone. I hear tomorrow will be warm and gray.

I went to the gym today for my regular workout plus some therapy for my shoulder, I have a sprain around my rotator cuff and it hurts. I did some weight exercises with my should and about 35 minutes on the treadmill. I made dinner tonight,crabmeat with Bulgar wheat,  crabmeat and chopped vegetables.

I’m eager to sit down and read and then sleep.

I drove up Route 61 and saw a cumulus cloud coming straight me, I fantasized that it was my cloud and it was coming for me, it was moving so quickly and forcefully over the hill.

Dogs communicate in lots of different was, speaking is only one of them. There is clearly a telepathic exchange between a human and a dog they are close to. I’m always struck, as Zinnia and I spent more months and years together, how she understands and anticipates what I want, the true mark of a dog’s intelligence.

Biologists say dogs talk to each other in images and smells, not, of course, in our words. I try to talk to my dogs in the same way, and it works much more often than not.

Back when she was a puppy nearly three years ago, I would invite Zinnia along every day when I went out to get the mail.  When we got to the porch, a good ways from the road, I held up my hand, asked her to stay, a command she knew,and tossed her a small biscuit, both when I left and when I returned. I also asked her to sit.

That was the only time I had to ask her. She just got it.

Every day, when we get halfway to the mailbox on the road, she stops and sits down.

She has never once gone up to the road or near i t. I believe in transference when it comes to dogs, given the chance, and with the right training dogs will get a sense – an image perhaps in their heads –  of what we want. Many people are tossing so many words at their dogs that they get bewildered and respond mostly to tone of voice.

Silence is good for them as well.

Zinnia seems to know where I am going, and what I want.  Wherever I go, she is there.

I trust her completely, this is what makes her a good therapy dog. I usually forget the treats these days, but it doesn’t matter. She’s eager to come and happy to wait.

As I was about to put up this journal, Maria called me – she was taking a walk in the woods with the dogs – and told me the most beautiful clouds had appeared in the sky as the sun was setting. I ran outside with my Iphone 13 and caught the clouds just as they came over one of the green mountains in the distance.

Beautiful formations, a good way to say good night. See you in the morning.

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