Had to go through another round of cortisone injections recently so I had a week off from working out at the gym. Started off warning my trainer lady (let’s call her Kay) that A. I just had a week off and B. my doc says take it easy for a bit. With that she started me off on a tailor made round of torturecises targeting my legs and glutes. One particular torturecise involved standing on one leg, doing a deep knee bend while bracing myself with the other foot on a little bench behind me. Kay noticed that my left foot was kind of cattywampus; it wouldn’t straighten out on the little bench. She asked me “did you break your ankle at some point?” to which I replied “No, but I did rip out all my tendons in that ankle when I was in college”. After a few more reps she then asked “so how did you rip all the tendons in your ankle?” By the look on Kay’s face I could tell she was expecting some athletic tale involving football, soccer or even tennis. “I was drunk and running in the dark” I said bluntly. The look on her face was priceless just before she started to giggle.

Managed to get 20 minutes in the pool before the water wing ladies took it over. Retreated to the sauna… Everything was great in there until an older gentleman came in, sat on a top bench, crossed his legs and started doing yoga stretches with ear buds on. I managed to ignore him until he started in humming and doing “oms”. There were a few other guys in there as well and they were starting to pass odd looks at this fella too. Finally his exuberance got to the point that I lightly tapped the old guy on the shoulder… he took an ear bud out. “Let’s try to use our inside voice” I whispered. One of the other guys put his head down and started to chuckle to himself. To his credit the old guy apologized all over himself saying he didn’t realize he was being loud. I laughed and said “It’s a sauna, don’t sweat it”… I waited… but none of them apparently got the joke.

After having to take a week off I realized today that I actually kind of missed this place.

Thoughts on the Swing

Young Buck Tatt

This particular morning I got 6 strong laps in the pool before stopping to spit up lung parts and swear. Actually, the last lap didn’t look that strong. When your body gets tired while swimming, it starts to forget to do the basic things that keep you afloat and moving; but one thing it doesn’t forget is breathing. So the crawl stroke quickly becomes more of an aquatic cartwheel filled with splashing, bubbles, desperate gasps for air and… well mostly, I forget to keep kicking. Meanwhile in the next lane, some young buck with a tatt across half his back, did 10 laps in the same amount of time; complete with flip turns; I always hated flip turns.

So then, silly me decided to push off and see if I could keep up with him for a length of the pool. It wasn’t pretty but I managed to keep up with him (never mind the fact he had been swimming since I got there, without a break). But as I reached the edge and I turned to see if I beat him to the wall, I was rewarded with a big splash of water into my gasping mouth as he flip turned and continued on. After a long bout of coughing and choking, I noticed that “they” had returned; I had encounters with “them” the prior week and frankly a motorcycle gang might seem less threatening; it was the water wing ladies. I immediately said “good morning ladies” and started making my way quickly out of the pool. One of them gave me a bit of a smile but it was obvious their attention was fully on the “Young Buck Tatt”.

He just kept plowing back and forth with his head down, doing lap after lap, flip turn after flip turn. Now I’m not one to rubber neck at traffic accidents but I just couldn’t resist sitting down next to the pool to see how this was gonna turn out. They gave him about 3 laps and then unhooked his lane line, setting it free, like a sea serpent. Young Buck Tatt must have noticed the lane line closing in on him because he started moving closer to the wall. Just at that moment a few of the ladies opened a container next to the pool and tossed in 50 or 60 float gizmos, just as 20 more water wing men and women entered the pool. Young Buck Tatt ran into the lane line and immerged suddenly with float gizmos and water wing people completely surrounding him.

There was a long pregnant pause… Young Buck Tatt said something like “I’m sorry, I’m not done yet”. There was another very long pause as Young Buck just stood there with his goggles still on, bright yellow floaties all around, and the lane line slowly wrapping around him like a lazy anaconda. Without saying a word one of the ladies just pointed at the clock and blew a loud shrieking whistle. With that, the lane lines slithered from the pool and the rest of the water wing people started making their way into the water. Young Buck Tatt finally took his goggles off and looked around. He finally came to the realization, he was clearly defeated.

You know, sometimes life is better than a bag of chips.

Thoughts on the Swing

Core Strength

It happened; I finally caved in to my wife and friends who have been harping on my ear for some time now to join a gym and sign my body, if not my soul, over to the guidance of a trainer. My back and shoulder are still not co-operating with my insistence that they act like I’m 20; meaning they used to stop hurting all by themselves after a while. Instead I wake up several times at night and finally in the morning feeling like, well… my wife swears she doesn’t own a bat.

Core strength, they keep telling me. It’s all about training the 100’s of little muscles in places you can’t even see in the mirror to get up off their collective asses and start carrying part of the load; no more free loading on this boat.

Before I could be assigned a trainer I needed to have an “evaluation” so I met with a guy who looks like he’s never met a weight he didn’t like: we’ll call him Mac (as in truck!). He asked me all the typical questions like height, weight, what brand of shoes are those, do you have a favorite exercise, what is your long term goal and what are you willing to do to attain it, what kind of work do you do, what is your daily routine at work and what do you want from me? Now, there was a time, when looking at a man of this size I would answer meekly, in awe of his grandeur… but I’ve been around the block a few times now and I’ve worked in sales long enough to know qualifying questions when I hear them. So I cleared my throat and sat up in my chair and replied… “I used to be 6 foot but all my years of stomping heads into the ground have caused things to settle a bit so, 5’ 11 and some change; It may look like I have a small beach ball on my belly but my years of martial arts training allows me to will it into a rock hard weapon within seconds, but I will admit at 195 pounds I could afford to lose ten; I have no idea what brand, a special at Target, $19.00, because me and my wallet, we have a relationship; No, I don’t like exercise, that’s why I need a trainer; goal? I’ve already told you why I’m here and if you’re reasonable, I’m willing to pay for your staff to torture me; I sell rocks and I spend each day figuring out how to move them without actually lifting them myself; what I really want from you is to stop asking me that question or I won’t even let you have one little sniff of my wallet.”

Once we got all of that out of the way Mac gave me this gizmo and told me to hold it with both hands straight out in front of me. Having no idea what this thing was I began to suspect it was his way of paying me back for being a smart ass, by making me sit in a corner holding what looked like a toddler’s toy. Suddenly it went beep and Mac started writing numbers down with lines and arrows. I guess he was figuring up my BMI (Body Mass Index) but what came to my mind was a saying my father in-law told me years ago… “figures never lie but liars always figure”. I may have to take off all the gloves for this one. After a little while Mac started talking about my body and all its inadequacies in such a way that my head started to bob and my eyes started rolling into the back of my head. Mac clapped his hands… “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to bore you” he said suddenly… “maybe we should do some evaluation exercises. Come on, let’s go have some fun”. Crap! As I wiped the bit of drool from my mouth I thought “I should have paid attention”.

First thing we did in the training area was grab one of those big balls. He did a quick demonstration of the exercise he wanted me to do. In a standing position, hold the ball against the wall with both hands and basically do a pushup. No problem I thought; pushups standing up? – let me at it. I got into position and looked slyly over at Mac and did one push up… My smile betrayed my thought “is this all you got?” Mac just smiled and then happily said “let’s move your feet back now” He took his foot and started lightly kicking my feet… “back he said… back more… even more. There we go, now do another one” Suddenly the ball was filled with nasty, evil, gravitational spirits, all hell bent on making me fall onto the floor in a puddle of failure. Untold numbers of those little muscles that have been free loading all the years in my neck and shoulders suddenly woke up in panic screaming “what the F#%#???”. Mac just grinned as I leaned in for the push. “No that’s not an earth quake, it’s you that’s shaking”. Now the ball had more life than that cartoon Tasmanian devil. I touched my chin to the ball and started pushing my way back up… It was a lot like those scenes in Star Trek where the Enterprise is about to shake apart and Scotty is screaming over the intercom, “Capt’n, I think she’s gonna blow”… Sparks and smoke were bursting in my mind as all the little muscles struggle to keep their balance in a ballet of chaos on the bridge. When I made it back up I looked at Mac in dismay as he smiled and said “Ok, let’s do 9 more”.

After running me through about 10 different variations of this torture involving several seemingly innocuous items like rubber bands, small weights, and a rope, Mac suddenly said “OK, let’s go sit down and talk for a minute”. As I followed him to his desk I struggled to maintain my dignity by walking as straight and smooth as I could. Mac took a moment to turn back and grin again as he blurted “But officer, I swear it was only one drink”… I suddenly veered to the right in a stumble as he started chuckling to himself. As we sat down at his desk he looked up at me and asked “OK, what do you want from me?” I was weak but the hold on my wallet was strong. I struggled to find a way to tell Mac that this relationship was just not going to work out. His motivational technique was effective and he nearly broke me but I just couldn’t see it in a long term sort of way. As the Enterprise bridge in my head lay in a smoking ruin, I tried to pull enough of it together to tactfully break the news to him. That’s when he said “Now, this has been fun but unfortunately my slate is full so I’m going to have to set you up with one of our other trainers”. Slowly he turn and pointed to this nice, fit, young lady who looked up and gave me the most amazing smile as she said “Hi Mister Boyd, it’s very nice to meet you”.

I know, I know… she’s probably going to torture me to no end, and make me feel bad for not trying hard enough, and I will most likely end up in that small puddle of failure at her feet… and I do feel a bit guilty so I will be going home each time to confess to my lovely wife… But I’m old, not dead… I ran to my locker and got my wallet.

Thoughts on the Swing

The Great Gopher Dust Up

So last week gave me an opportunity to mow after that nice day of rain… For one, it kept the dust down and two, there was a lot less risk of starting a fire; something I’ve been pretty freaked out about up on our dry, dry hill.  But my primary goal was not mowing the grass so much as mowing the gopher hills flat.  You see all this dry weather has made the ground rock hard and damn near impossible to see which hills are the fresh (active) hills.  I was starting to feel a bit overrun.  It worked; lets just say it’s been a bad week to be a gopher on my hill.  Six of the little varmints have bitten the dust (wait, that’s what they do), I mean, they’re now pushing up daisies instead of sucking them down into the ground.

Gophers are ScreenHunter_11 Aug. 18 12.36a big problem on our hill; so much so that some of the farmers in my neighborhood are resorting to extreme measures.  For instance, one of the farms next door decided to purchase (or God forbid build) a product called the “Gophinator”.  It’s expensive at about $1300 a pop but if you’re like any typical male, you totally appreciate that this thing does much more than “POP”.  Basically you have tanks of propane and oxygen and you pump the mixture into the tunnel system of these pesky little root munchers.  In the name of apparent safety, this “overkill” gizmo has a very long hose and a remote igniter.  Setting this thing off is a site to behold with the entire gopher tunnel infrastructure going off like some wild zigzag underground lighting strike.  Just the concussion would kill any gophers within acres of this gophergeddon event.  The other, so called, benefit of this thing is that the entire tunnel system collapses thereby rendering it useless to any subsequent gopher families looking for a quick fixer upper.

After about a week of hearing loud “booms” on our hill, word finally got around to the neighborhood about what this farmer was up to.  In most cases the neighborhood would buy some popcorn and wander on down to his fence line for some entertainment.  But in this case we all threw our collective arms in the air and said “what the @$%#@”.  It’s dryer than a popcorn fart (I know, sorry) up here and this seems like a good way to start a smoldering root fire under dry brush and grass.  Last I heard some of the neighbors asked the Fire Dept to pay him a visit to explain in slow careful words, the dangers of fire and of course, the very real possibility of blowing one’s self all to hell.

So I use traps;  besides, based on my experience, there are some very big tunnel systems underneath many of my apple trees and the thought of those trees launching skyward in a blaze, strikes fear in my heart; no matter how many gopher carcasses might follow them into the air.  The other thing is, there is no way to confirm how many gophers you whacked and I like keeping score.  Like I said, six of the little dirt spitters are confirmed kills… well, there was the one trap set that was dug up by a coyote and carried off… but that stinking thief of a coyote took my $15 trap so I’m counting it.

Gopher Patrol, Thoughts on the Swing


Hello Dear Co-Op Friends!

11895296_10204731195268428_5411841967398254577_oSincere thanks to those who came out Saturday and helped dig up weeds and put the garden in such lovely order.  John, Connie, Carla, Ray, Talia, Elizabeth, Mark, Teresa, Allan and Christian – what a fabulous crew!  The harvest is plentiful, and all went home with bags of good veggies and some apples.  I have the garage fridge packed full of pears, apples, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant – so if you need some, it’s already picked!  There will be more this weekend, so come pick anytime.   Pears need to be picked – they should be refrigerated for a couple weeks, and then brought out for several days to room temp for ripening.  Apples are ripening – probably wait a couple more weeks for picking the latest crop.  Oh, and we netted the grapes, and they should be ready in a couple weeks too.

Such abundance! Come harvest when you have a few minutes.  There are a lot of herbs, too:  parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, lavender.  And beets and carrots are hiding all over…

11894526_10204729233659389_5053883011295922361_oNext gathering of the crew: “ Put the garden to bed” will happen later this fall.  I’ll send a notice when we pick the date –

Go with garden graces,


Garden, Harvest, Orchard

Hello my fabulous fellow farmers!

This coming Saturday, Aug 15, we are having our last Weed & Feast for the year!  There is so much to harvest, bring your buckets.  It is the very very end of the yellow plums.

I picked a lot of veggies today, and am storing them in the garage fridge for you – had to pick tomatoes and cucumbers – there will be more on Saturday.   I have 5 bags of apples to share.  There are many veggies

And herbs, and some of the apples and pears are ready.   The garden is bountiful for another week or two.  The orchard is better than last year, but the hot weather did not do much for our apples.  But there is enough to share!

We start at 9 am and end by 4 pm.  Yes – pot luck, so bring something yummy to share if you’d like to join us!

Hope to see you Saturday!



Hello all you fellow dreamy farmers!

Hey Co-op Friends…

Come on over to the farm next Saturday if you have time, and help sort through the jungle, and pluck a weed or two (or 100!)  The garden has gone crazy, and needs a little TLC.

We will potluck at about noon – so bring your favorite food to share!

HARVEST:  Ready Now!  PLUMS!!  The trees are loaded with purple and pink and yellows, so come help yourself to buckets full this weekend.  We also have lettuce, kale, garlic, Carrots, beets, parsley, basil, cukes, zucchini, some peppers, dill, and a few ripe tomatoes.  Help yourself to the bounty.




The Unexpected

I wrote a poem that has been in the works for a while.  Like the subject it covers, I tinkered with it to no end, looking for the right words and structure; looking for the right inspiration.  That inspiration finally came Monday morning at 2 am…  My oldest daughter Jessica drove all the way out to our house to wake us because we did not pick up.  We had fans running all over the house and did not hear the phones (any of them).  She burst through the door in the darkness and shouted “Mom, dad, get up… We’re gonna have a baby tonight!”  But this story is not about that poem.

There were a lot of unexpected things that night.  Sutter was two weeks early, and Tracey, a first time mom, was progressing quickly… defying family history and advice on this matter.  By the time I walked into the room it was still early enough in the process that I thought “we have plenty of time”.  I stayed long enough to see her experience a contraction and then I took Tracey’s hand, teared up a bit, and told her I had to find some coffee.

So let me be clear — I stayed with Suzanne through the birth of all our children and I’ve seen enough of the waves; of the pain, pushing, blood and emotion; I know I’m not squeamish about most of it.  As I learned with my oldest daughter Jessica, I find it hard to hear and see my daughters go through such pain…  As with Jessica, I fully expected to be waiting out in the waiting room… waiting!

After I found my coffee, I got up the nerve to go in for one more quick visit.  The look on my wife’s face told me it wasn’t going to be as long as we thought.  I teared up again (for those of you who have known me for a while, you must certainly know that I’m emotional wimp).  As I took Tracey’s hand she caught her breath for a moment between contractions and said something like “Dad, I’m Ok… are you Ok?”  I just nodded my head and kissed her hand.

At that moment several medical types bounced and clanked through the room and set up an impenetrable barrier between me and the door.  They didn’t seem to notice the panic on my face as they broke out the kits, the buckets and the blankets.  I didn’t want to get in their way and I was also concerned… very concerned, about maintaining my vantage point in a part of the room that preserved my daughter’s modesty… for the both of us.  So I sat down on the couch in the corner, clasp my hands together and pulled my hat down low (yet another reason I like hats).  I’m not particularly religious but I easily had enough faith to say a little prayer with each contraction…  I found myself going back to when Tracey was born; it was crazy.  Unlike this night, our babies tended to take days, not hours.  Tracey was quicker than Jessica but then so was reading “War and Peace”.  In thinking back on the birth of our babies I wilt at the strength that Suzanne had summoned in order to endure all those hours of labor (…and yet, I was still allowed to live after all of that).  But all the noise, the voices and Tracey’s strength on this night kept leading me to this one vision in my head.  When Tracey was born, Suzanne gave those final pushes and her beautiful little head suddenly appeared.  The doctor and nurse’s cheers of encouragement were suddenly interrupted by the doctor’s shouts “WAIT!… Stop Pushing”.  He placed his hand squarely on the top of Tracey’s head to hold her in place as he worked to untangle the cord from her neck.  Now obviously everything worked out just fine, but the vision I’ve was alluding to is this…  Most of Tracey’s little body was still in the birth canal, which by the looks of it, is a pretty tight space.  Despite this, Tracey took her first full breath and let out a scream… Of course I turned to look at Suzanne as if to say “d-d-did you see that?”.  But what I saw was my dear wife, screaming too… and then I look down at Tracey’s head, screaming… Now I like to think of myself as a resilient man but the sight of two heads screaming out from each end of the same body…  well that did kind of rattle me.

IMG_4115Suddenly it was Tracey’s turn to push so I shook the vision from my head… again.  It wasn’t long until I was peaking up from under my hat to see the doctor getting into position to catch little Sutter.  Jessica, Suzanne and Nate were a comforting wall in front of my field of vision.  I said one final little prayer, and then I stood up at the moment I heard “There he is”.  I saw my grandson take his first breath.  It is so amazing; how all of the pain and determination… all of the blood and worries…  it is just spectacular how fast it instantly disappears into shouts of joy, tears, love and laughter.  I put my hand on Nate’s shoulder as he looked at his new son and said “welcome to the club son”.  I got to see my grandson being born, a young man I love and respect deeply become a father, and a daughter who has come full circle with all the strength and grace of her mother.

Like I said, there were a lot of unexpected moments that night.


…And now for the poem.

My favorite

You may want to ask or maybe not
but you may think…
Which one is my favorite?
You may think you already know

By the way I gaze in awe
at the toil and pleasure of each,
strolling through rows of time wondering…
Which one would I pick?

As I watch with pride how each
can bend so gracefully in the winds
of a harsh and beautiful world…
inching steadily toward the sky

This is what I know!

You are my children
You are my grandchildren
Blossoms known and yet to know
Love given, cultivated, never owned

Compost, sprouts and dirt,
weeds, ferns, moss, by seed or starts…
impatiens, peonies, roses and sun flowers
and the occasional baby’s breath

My favorite Arrangement

To all my loving family on Sutter’s Birthday.

© June 2015 Darrel Boyd

Thoughts on the Swing

Rockin Robins 2015

This year our first clutch of robin eggs yielded a total of four.  We’re happy to report that all four eggs hatched and the babies seem to be doing fine.  The parents are madly trying to keep up.  Here’s this years Rockin Robin video…

Thoughts on the Swing

Planting Day 2015 Pics

Garden, Planting