It's been cool and wet in Southern California, but after all those winters in Puget Sound, it feels like a day at the beach to me.
Here at Love House Dahlias we have 9,000 sweet peas plants just eager to burst into blossoms, all healthy and strong, vigorous and upright -- but you don't get flowers without sunshine -- and so we're just waiting, day after cloudy day.
I keep telling the boss, "Any day now we'll have thousands of flowers," but any day hasn't come yet.
Our hope is that they don't all blossom at the same time. Seeing as half the plots are partly shaded by trees, and those shaded plots are coming along much more slowly, then we might get lucky and have the harvest stretch out over a month's time.
Meanwhile I planted several rows of red amaranth, zinnias, cosmos and other annuals, which we hope too have blooming after the sweet peas.
Plus a lot of onions and garlic. The gophers don't seem to like onions, but we do.
You heard about the gopher wars in the last newsletter. It goes on. "Never give a inch," is what old man Stamper said in Ken Kesey's novel, Sometimes a Great Notion." And that's what I say.
Henry Fonda played old man Stamper in the movie version of Kesey's novel, which also starred Paul Newman and Lee Remick.
Speaking of movies, I made a video:
Everybody Loves Somebody, with Chickens. It's only ninety seconds long, so please take a look. I can only say that if you sing for the chickens, they will lay more eggs.
I do have the performance bug I admit -- comes from living close to Hollywood
Like a spell of magic, or just a coincidence, but I was at the Ojai Library the other day, and I decided to read some plays, to begin to understand dialog.
Randomly, it seemed, I grabbed Bell, Book and Candle, then I grabbed Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, and I grabbed Peter Pan.
Three plays -- all fantasies about magic and ghosts. Except that was not my intention. I need to look up Carl Jung on this one, he would say there's an unconscious archetype at play here.
Bell Book and Candle was a wonderful movie starring James Stewart,Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon. But it also had a supporting performance by the incomparable Ernie Kovacs.
Do you realize that the Coen Brothers, producers of Fargo and True Grit, learned everything they know about making movies from watching Ernie Kovacs? -- at least that's the legend.
Not forgetting small parts played by Elsa Lancaster and Hermione Gingold, both frequent guests on the "Jack Paar Show," if you're old enough to remember that.
But I digress. The movie was wonderful. I didn't know that it was based on a Broadway play, circa 1950, which is the version that I read from the library.
Blithe Spirit was mildly amusing, lots of very British language, as you would expect Noel Coward to write -- dry humor and dry martinis.
Peter Pan is a classic, played by Marty Martin on the TV version in the 1950s, back when everyone was watching one of the three major networks, and she called out to virtually all the children of America, the vast millions of baby boomers, when they really were just barely beyond being babies, she called out, "Do you believe in fairies?"
And we did believe in fairies from that day on -- hence the Sixties and the resulting cultural revolution.
I often see fairies dancing in the fields at the dahlia farm, but I still work for a living. I think we learned, after the sixties, to enjoy a sense of wonderment, but to stay grounded all the same.
Keep working, praying, and paying taxes -- be honest and be generous, and you will sleep good at night.
Sing to the chickens now and then, and things will be all right.
In politics it's either feminists or fundamentalists, and I'm not one, not one of either. Pax on both houses. That's pax, not pox -- an obscure joke, I guess.
Frog Hospital and Farm News Annual Spring Subscription Drive. This newsletter, going for 12 years now, relies on subscription revenue from a few faithful followers. Some readers send a check every year and I am very grateful for their continued support.
Other readers send a check as the spirit moves them, and those checks are most welcome.
As I have said before, these checks keep the writer from getting cranky. When you starve the writer, he is liable to get self-righteous and don the martyr's robe and begin preaching and hectoring the readers.
But with a small bit of income, the writer can take a more detached and benign look at the many joyful events in our lives, paying equal attention to the suffering and pains we endure.
So, if you can afford it -- after you pay the rent, the mortgage, the groceries, and what ever you need to save for the education of your children and grandchildren -- then ...
Send a Check for $25, made out to Fred Owens and mail it to Fred Owens, 7922 Santa Ana RD, Ventura CA, 93001.
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Either way I will very thankful.
And now I will go back to tending those sweet peas with a blithe spirit.
My blog: Frog Hospital
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7922 Santa Ana Rd
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