elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, December 31st, 2016 08:18 am
I surely didn't expect to be waking in my own home in North Carolina a year ago.

The last two mornings i've awakened before dawn and have been able to stand underneath the starry night sky, listening. Yesterday some creature was walking in the woods: i assume a deer. This morning there was a call, somewhere between canid and owl. Definitely not the owl or owls i am used to hearing call from the eastern woods. A bright satellite passed overhead this morning.

Yesterday i transplanted some wildflowers and native clumping grass. The wildflowers include one or two native geranium species. Earlier in the week i identified G maculatum from one area, what i transplanted last evening seemed more like G carolinianum. This morning i wonder if i have two different plants or if my memory is clouded. Another plant's identification stands between Rosaceae: Waldsteinia fragarioides subsp. doniana and Ranunculaceae: Ranunculus sardous. It's hard without flowers. Don't get me started about the grass.

These are all planted in the sward area, my pilot for the "tapestry lawn." I hadn't thought to have any grass, but the clumps of this native grass, Dichanthelium sp (witchgrass or rosette grass), seem quite agreeable. It's coarse and seems quite tough, and very low growing. Mixed in are the very persistent violets, and i'll be adding moss phlox and "green and gold" - both native flowering ground covers. The challenge will be the annual grasses that acted as lawn all last summer - i suspect that much was actually the invasive stilt grass.

I will likely buy some fescue seed and scatter in the early spring. It's not the right tine to plant it, but it might compete with the stilt grass.
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Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 02:11 pm
I've been thinking a bit about the Elephant In The Room, and what my needs are.noodling )

So current action plan:

* Stay aware of my sense of balance, and when things tip to where i feel i have to carry more than i should, discuss with Christine;
* feel free to describe how things are going with L (my sister);
* review my self-care activities here.

These include
* continuing to delight in the landscape,
* getting out of the habit of video entertainment every night (I know i'm tired... we're tired... but evening numbing leads to "is this all" feelings),
* having a list of "work outside at twilight" exercise things to do & doing them, and
* interacting with other human beings (camera club, Meeting).

Things i feel i "oughta" but seem fraught with procrastination:
* exercise my ankle and get to a point where i can make some decisions about the need for medical attention or what,
* correspond with western friends and with family, and
* work with Christine as manager in getting photos in local venue.

--== ∞ ==--

On Tuesday i cleaned up a section of our road frontage. There is a small berm of soil right at the edge of the woods. I think it is associated with the power line easement. I like this berm as i suspect it provides a modicum of relief from the road noise. We want to have a visual barrier in that direction (as well as along our eastern perimeter), so my goal is to transplant holly and cedar seedlings to the top of the berm. The road is along the northern boundary of the property, so the shading will be along the road side. There are already some ferns (as yet unidentified) and some fan clubmoss (Diphasiastrum digitatum) growing on the north side of the bank, exposed to the road: they should continue to thrive in the shade of hollies and cedars.

I dug up two cedars (Juniperus virginiana) from the edge of the driveway and installed them on the berm -- much closer than the 10' spacing http://www.windbreaktrees.com/redcedar.html recommends. Well, i can always thin them. And it's much further apart than where they sprouted.

I was delighted to find many holly (Ilex opaca) and more cedar seedlings in the woods behind the berm. I'd like to get some Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria): it's a native of the coastal plain, a traditional tea plant that has caffeine. Somewhere i read it is the only caffeine bearing plant native to North America. Yerba mate is in the same genus.
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Saturday, December 17th, 2016 09:05 am
Some critter is stealing bags of litterbox scoopings. Mystery details )

What sort of critter carries off bags of used kitty litter? And why? I'm mystified. A raccoon building a bunker? It doesn't seem like the right type of stinky for a canid to roll in to hide its scent.
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 10:35 am
After the years in California, particularly the drought years, a gloomy, wet winter day is near novel. I'll admit, the delight and giggles of a bright California February day on the coast were in part because of memory of days like today. And, i've plenty of California coastal gloomy summer days as the marine layer socked in the whole coast with grey. [1]

I ought to go re-plant a pulled up violet as well as the pansies at lunch. I just did a little tour of the yard and found one pulled up -- not sure if it was part of the Sunday-Monday dining event and i didn't notice, or if it is a new dining event. With the wet, it should be clear if any critters are making themselves welcome in the garden. It doesn't seem they are, but the winter rye has finally sprouted. I was certain bugs had eaten all the grain. The scarlet clover and the "deer plot" greens are getting big enough to be seen at a distance.

I am pondering the "spook the deer" future. A scarecrow might be more of a scare deer, especially with some motion activated feature. I imagine using something like this Halloween motion activated decoration as part of a scarecrow. There are plenty of skulls that could be used, too.

There's a motion sensitive water sprinkler, too. That is also on my list of potential deer repellants.

[1] Is there a different idiom i should be using? "Socked in" sounds familiar, but....
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Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 07:17 am
For some reason, it feels warmer outside today, even though the thermostat reads a bit warmer in the house. I suppose it's something to do with slight humidity levels. I'm on the deck, listening to the wind in the trees. We are promised a rain storm today, very welcome. I've a big pile of brush we cleared on Saturday that needs to be disposed of, which is by burning it here, out in the woods. I'm learning NOT to burn to ash but to stop at a char stage, and then use the charcoal/biochar in the garden. The ash is a fine amendment for our acid soil, but i can get lime for that.

My compost is in the red zone this morning, which is finally up in the pathogen and seed killing temperature. Huzzah. 

I need to make a new place for composting: the current location is too visible. I fantasize about creating a woven (wattle) screen around the area. It's not like i'm wanting for materials. The autumn olive branches are very flexible, and it would be nice to put them to use.

--== ∞ ==--

List of things i'm procrastinating over:
communication with extended family and friends
getting my to-do list back into order after a month of ignoring it
getting engaged with Meeting
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 08:44 am
LIFO, Last in-first out, is in my impression an "anti-pattern" for personal effectiveness. Get to the requests that came in first, respond to the oldest emails, etc.

I'm not 100% certain of that. I have grown to appreciate that opportunities are constantly making themselves available, and i periodically strike off old to-dos ("punt"), file old emails (email and comment bankruptcy), and in general focus on the present. So, that's what i tried to do this morning to get myself going instead of the "read the whole internet" strategy that i have been employing lately.

I must say, Usenet kept me fixated MUCH LONGER than the internet does today. I suppose the surfeit of choice makes me more picky. Facebook is excluded from my "read the internet," so that removes all sorts of trivia. I do have an extensive list of web comics, but they are optimized -- i have reading lists for each day of the week, and i simply open all the tabs in my bookmarks to have a cascade of amusing reading to do. I've added various local news sources that don't have RSS feeds.

--== ∞ ==--

Oh oh oh my soil tests are in!!

Fairly acid, pH 5.5. Potassium is good, but it seems like there's very little phosphorus. The report is given as an index, and the lawn area reports very very high phosphorus. I don't know if the index is so different because of the difference in planned planting (a grass that doesn't like being over fertilized vs a vegetable garden) or if the previous owners fertilized the fenced in lawn area to death. The area near the lawn, that has been the target of much of our clearing, i specified would be for apples. It took seems to have an extremely low phosphorous rating.

I want to find out if tobacco cropping leaves phosphorus depleted soils. That might hint at the land's history.

ETA Hrm, this 1927 report http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/tobacco_bulletins/tb_7.pdf says tobacco is not a heavy phosphorus feeder.
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Monday, November 21st, 2016 11:25 am
So, here it is, Monday morning, and i'm dithering. Email triggered some work and i was productive on personal things (putting things up) while listening to some folks describe a new tool for doing certain software development practices.

The weekend was rather productive, though. I borrowed my dad's tiller, made some initial passes over the 15' by 30' garden area, and then created the beds. The long dimension runs north to south. The west side of the garden faces the house. So there's a border that goes around the north to the west and from the south to the west. The border opens in the center of the west side to have isles on both sides of a narrow center bed. What's left are two 10' by 10' beds, and those are divided into three. That was the size recommended for a "three sisters" planting.

Here's a sketch of the lay out and what i intend to grow. I made a mistake in the labeling: the basil, squash, and peanuts are for after the *potatoes* are harvested, not the pumpkins.

In the three sisters square, corn, beans, squash.... )

Yesterday i skipped Meeting to stay home with Christine who had been feeling fragile. Many times the fact that i'm a morning person and she's an evening person work in our favor, but it's not conducive to togetherness at ends of the day. By staying home, she could wake up on her own schedule and not feel rushed by me having to get out to meeting for business. I need to remember to set the Saturday mornings aside before early Sunday meetings.

In the afternoon more gardening. )

I did a little research this morning: dehydrated potatoes sounds like a great way to preserve any surplus potatoes. In some time, i'd like to be able to grow most of the potatoes we eat. I don't have anything like a root cellar to keep them in, though. I chose later to mature varieties that were "good keepers" hoping to extend the period when we can eat them fresh. Nonetheless, it's theoretically possible that i could have 50 lbs of potatoes come in over two months. I don't think i'm going to get 1 to 10 returns, but even 25 lbs of potatoes is a bit much for the two of us over a short time. Dehydrating would be great way to preserve them. I'm not excited about other ways of preserving food. Freezing is expensive and risky (due to power loss). Canning seems miserable.
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Friday, November 11th, 2016 09:18 pm
I finally felt I could cry today, so I decided to take time off from work. We all spent sometime in the morning light and tears began to finally come.

By taking time off, i could take my laptop that was no longer stopping to the Apple store. It's near where my sister works, so i was able to eat lunch with her at her office. My sister shared that my father had shared with her the story of the Red Strings (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Strings) and we discussed wearing red strings -- and i thought i would tie red string to my mailbox.

When i drove up to the shopping center i was a bit surprised. I was certain i knew where the store was -- because i was remembering where it was in a very similar mall at Stanford. I did make it to the appointment, a little late, and had to wait and wait to check in. I knew my anxiety about being late and missing a chance to be helped was unreasonable, and i practiced breathing and trying to be calm while i waited to be checked in. No one cared i that i was late, and eventually my machine was checked and diagnosed as needing to be shipped off for repair.

I ran some errands in town, getting bone meal (phosphorous) and muriate of potash (potassium) for the potatoes. I'm not really sure how different processes to extract a mined mineral may or may not be organic: apparently certified organic farmers have to make sure their muriate of potash is certified organic. I am hoping that once i start getting my garden going that i will be able to just use compost to return the nutrients to the soil -- but right now i'm starting with red clay and my compost isn't ripe.

At home i discovered that instead of red strings, it's safety pins that will be worn to communicate solidarity. I might still do something with some sort of red cord.

Tomorrow i will galavant around the county from antique stores to craft fairs to a molasses festival with my mother and sister.
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Monday, November 7th, 2016 06:32 am
I so very much appreciated the extra hour of sleep. Christine is in distress about the election and woke upset in the middle of the night.

Last week was completely unfocussed. I begin to think i am moving into menopause and assume that hormonal disruptions are going to take some time to balance out. I wonder, too, if i am getting restless from working at home. The library would be close enough to make for an interesting test.

I did a good deal of raking Saturday afternoon: i think that counts as good exercise. Yesterday I dug in the rows for the last onions, piling the "turf" on the hugelkultur bed. That didn't feel as draining as going and lopping at ground level the sweetgum saplings stumps that had been growing up at the entrance to our drive way. They apparently responded to the glyphosate with an immediate expiration of the whole colony, not just the ones i topped off and sprayed. Why can't the autumn olive do that?

The daylight savings time change makes me a little grumpy as it will be dark at quitting time during the work week. Fie.

Meanwhile, i have been very distracted by gardening planning. I have my three sisters garden seeds picked out: a multicolored popcorn (which can be roasted before it completely dries), scarlet runners, and cheese pumpkins. Scarlet runners are pre-Colombian, tan cheese pumpkins are a very old variety, and the popcorn comes from Cherokee seed sources. I'm tempted to replace winter squash in the planting pattern with peanuts.

The potato and bush bean plot come next in planning: i will be able to grow a variety of potato types which i find exciting. I'm picking out a range of types spread over the ripening season. The season is sort of short, so maybe summer squash to replace the potatoes? Some advice indicates squash *attracts* late potato blight; i am suspicious that it was correlation and not causation. I'll gamble and grow squash in with the potatoes.

My perennial onions are up! I'm piling raked leaves on as mulch. We haven't had a freeze yet, although last night was close. Highly unusual weather, everyone says. New normal, i worry.
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Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 09:57 am
Wow, the journaling is really falling by the wayside, and i suspect i'll rant to read back on what this first year is like. Ah well.

Last week flew by with the distraction of a foggy mind and some sort of sinus unhappiness. Midweek my dad let me know our rescheduled trip to the mountains would need to be rescheduled again due to a doctors appointment he had forgotten. I think i was disappointed, but i decided to keep the day off as i was feeling run down.

One lunch Christine and i went to walk outside in the front woods we've cleared back from the future driveway. A dog came trotting up the driveway, and we walked him home. )

Friday furniture )

I woke at 3:30 am on Saturday, thinking about the yard. Happy thoughts: where to plant what, what to tackle next. But i couldn't manage to quiet the thoughts to go back to sleep, so i got up and did some tidying and unpacking, and some reading. The moonlight is wonderful.

Eventually Christine woke, and we had a pleasant breakfast before i prepared for a day of yard work and she prepared for a friend/client meeting. I worked on the path around the porch and deck, transplanting violets, Heuchera americana (Alumroot), and some other attractive ground-covering plant. I am guessing the alumroot is wild, but given the proximity to the house, it might have been an intentional planting.

mystery plant )

They were transplanted to a "shady" garden outside our bedroom window. I hope it will be shady next summer, but i have cut back a number of saplings and cleared out the honeysuckle and Japanese knotweed. I've only left a small redbud in the area i consider the flowerbed, and a dogwood does reach over the area a bit. It may be much more sunny though, than it has been. There are three moss covered rocks that act as focal points as well as the huge stump from a tulip poplar tree. (The rest of the tree still needs to be removed -- the previous owners cut down trees and left the logs and branches in the woods.) I planted the 15 yellow daffodil bulbs in this area too, did what i could to encourage moss growth, and hope that it becomes a verdant little area.

After all day outside, i cleaned up and dressed up. Christine and i were guests of a "table captain" at the Equality NC Gala. Conversation was impossible, but that was a plus for me as i was feeling shy. The program was very good - lots of NC House Bill 2 politics and politicians. Lovely to see such a large community of LGBTQ supporting NC politicians! The past mayor of Houston spoke and it was fairly inspiring. The program ran long though, so that was exhausting. I drank a bit more than i usually do, mainly as an analgesic. Oh, did i ache from the yard work. People watching was fun, although pretty sedate.

Sunday i couldn't bring myself to go to Meeting. We had a fairly quiet day, the highlight of which was going to the nearby mill town of Bynum to a native plant seed swap. I had nothing to swap, but the organizer was happy to send me home with seeds, and i was thrilled to get seeds of plants i've wanted for a while. (Pawpaw! Waxmyrtle! Buttonbush!) I'm trying to figure out how i am going to start the seeds. seed starting )

Yesterday i managed to finally get soil samples together. I have to get them to the state soon: In November there's a charge.

There was shooting in the large woodlot next door yesterday. I worry it's going to be hard on Christine hearing hunting going on: deer and turkey season start in a month. She's sensitive to sounds like that, sounds she has no control over. Being well isolated has reduced her stress compared to living in a dense suburban situation in California: i hate to think how she's going to be affected by the shooting.

Looks like lovely weather through the week.

[1] AKA Neighborhood public road. I think it means that the state doesn't maintain it. http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_136/Article_4.pdf
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Monday, October 10th, 2016 02:26 pm
Hurricane Matthew: my, what a great deal of water! By midafternoon, the ground was saturated. Water was washing out of the woods into the yard as a sheet. I did what i could to reduce erosion and slow the flow down: lots of tiny little dams of leaf litter and sticks. We had many little power blinks and, finally, as it got dark, an outage. It was at a good moment in dinner preparation, not too far in that we couldn't easily switch to soup made over the camping stove.

The most annoying part of the outage was figuring out how to get the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to STOP BEEPING without going mad. The purpose of the UPS is to keep the router (and wifi access point) up and running (so i can work through the power blinks and outages during summer thunderstorms). We were able to download the manual for the UPS and the application to control the UPS. Once the beeping stopped, we shut off the router. It seemed a strangely circular use case.

From dinner, we played scrabble and finished the game after power came back.

The next morning was delightfully fresh and clear. I ventured down the private road across from our driveway to look at the nearby creek. It's clear the waters had flooded the bridge and inundated the little flood plane. I decided i would honor the county's request to stay off the road and not attend Meeting.

With the fabulous weather i worked outside, building up calluses. Gardening )
--== ∞ ==--

Re the debate, i recommend this poem.
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Thursday, May 12th, 2016 06:43 am
The drama about the plumbing took a different turn on Tuesday. The plumber had left the bathroom tidy and we set off into the hills to visit various vistas, Los Trancos and Russian Ridge in particular. Periodically my phone would beep with some received message but it wasn't until we pulled into the parking lot at San Gregorino State Beach that we were in signal when someone tried to call.

Dad asked, what is this about Laura finding vandalism at the house?! Our adrenaline surged and i promptly got off to call my sister -- but as i did, i realized i had texted her about the bathroom drama. It turns out she asked Mom, who didn't know about the black water and plumbing snake during the closing. Laura was exasperated: she had repeatedly explained to Mom that nothing was wrong at the new hose. I called my Dad back and let him know it was the known issue with the apartment.

What a game of telephone!

My mother's confusion -- and her certainty of incorrect information -- is part of why i am glad we are moving closer to them, and is going to be one of the challenges. I've found her to be an unreliable narrator for many years, previously predicated on the extrapolations and interpolations she would make and then treat as fact. I certainly extrapolate and interpolate, myself, but i try very hard to keep my speculations clear from the facts. Mom would impute some psychological drama to a family member and reason from there, coming to various conclusions and then treating those as fact.

Now it seems that the leaps are getting a little more wild and correction even harder. I think Mom knows this to some extent. The amount of deference to my father is novel, she is more cautious in the face of new things.

Shifting from exasperation -- from years when it seemed she almost willfully misheard or misrepresented or selectively forgot details -- to a recognition that Mom's capability is diminished is important now. My first challenge, i think, once settled, will be to get her a baseline cognitive screening.

--== ∞ ==-- Meanwhile --== ∞ ==--

I placed most of my plants out for people to take last night. My heart was heavy as i did so. All the plants look so scraggly when pulled out of context, and so many of them are volunteers or survivors -- not carefully groomed specimens.

And i need to leave my Meyer lemon tree. I read the USDA recommendations and NC plant importation rules. While i wouldn't be moving citrus from a quarantine zone, the last thing i want to do is bring something harmful to our new paradise (because it appears i will have plenty of weeds and established invasives to deal with). In particular "phytophagous snails" seem to be a concern for NC, with California a source, and i know i've got slugs in the garden and there are plenty of snails around here.

Phytophagous was a new word for me: Greek for herbivore, i guess? Hmm, "Plant" is from Latin, but "eater" seems like its good Old English.

Anyhow, my heart aches and, as i smell a lemon picked from the "tree" (very very dwarf shrub), i tear up. Christine has cried on my behalf: i feel my stoic wall go up against the feelings, i know i have little signs in my mind: "Do not enter, distressing feelings here."

I've been avoiding the deck garden for months, knowing this time would come.
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Sunday, October 12th, 2014 09:12 am
Christine's new treatment was horrible, and she may still be suffering the withdrawal from quitting last week on Tuesday. New diagnosis is thrown away. I think one significant elephant has been addressed, which is good. Her mother, though, has been assessed as appropriate for hospice.

My Grandmámá is reportedly failing. trigger warning for off-hand discussion of suicide & lousy family dynamics ) They were driving home from Florida, so i couldn't really chat with Dad to get a slightly more reliable story. I did hear that Grandmámá's third husband (presumably under the influence of Fox news) proclaimed that we need to fix voting so only property owners get to vote. Dad's response was to be even more outrageous, culminating with alumni from his alma mater get three votes.

Yesterday was lovely, although not as productive as i would have liked. I did spend a great deal of time mucking in the garden. I repotted our heavily pruned sequoia, sifted through the potato bin to find few potatoes (and the remnants mostly sprouting). I created a larger worm bin and found that we do indeed still have wriggly worms in the bin. The larger bin was filled with trimmings from the cat nip, borage, and various other plants. The plants in the broken pot are still in the broken pot, but my legs are aching this morning, so i think i got enough exercise.

We also walked in the night: there are new diode street lamps on our night time walk route. Fascinating patterns are made as the light dapples through the leaves, and the moon was lovely company.

This morning was a great deal of food prep. I think i made some miserable egg salad (too much onion? more salt?) and miserable sandwiches of the salad between yellow corn tortillas. Well, it's edible. And i couldn't have ruined celery sticks and pepper strips.

So, healthy and well, although family news is mostly not good shading to quite sad. When Christine and i speculate when we might travel east, the uncertainty of funeral travel hangs over it all.
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Sunday, December 15th, 2013 08:15 am
The sleeping-late daze and SAD have probably blocked me for the past few days and i find myself wanting to note, "Oh, and this happened!" about the past few days. Unpacking my mind follows:

Ah-ha! Openhouse Meme had three requests for the past five days! I'll add five to the dates and answer up. (You too can pick a date and give me a question or prompt at DW or LJ. I might miss the date, but i intend to answer!)

Notes )

Learned a great deal about Scaups, but no one has confirmed that these are images of a female Barrow's Goldeneye.
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Saturday, October 19th, 2013 03:48 pm
Woke early, unintentionally, but my mind was probably as restful as a child's on Christmas morning. I was going to ride my bike out to the bay and take dawn photos.

South Bay Sunrise

I wasn't entirely sure i would do it. Maybe the bike tires would go flat overnight. We had an adventure the previous evening trying to pump them, as i have one of each type of valve on the bike. I've not ridden in ages and the bike has been maintained since i last rode -- but i can't recall when that was. Early spring?

Maybe i wouldn't make it down the stairs, maybe i would pick up the computer and piddle until midmorning, maybe....

South Bay Sunrise

I passed only a few pedestrians on my way out. It was rather dark, really, and i arrived out to the salt ponds at 7 am, twenty minutes before sunrise (and then the sun would have to clear Mt Hamilton). Just about the time i arrived, the first hunter let fly.

Most of the trial was for just the doing of it, not the actual photography or observations. Looking into the sunrise wasn't ideal for identifying the ducks, but i did enjoy watching an distant, undulating, long line of flying birds head south. Brown pelicans flew by, and one croaking egret.

I actually did it.

I biked home against a tide of folks out for their morning exercise. I realized about half way home that my shoes were caked with bay mud.

South Bay Sunrise

And, i made it home, which is all uphill. No, it's not much of a hill, but i can feel it. Now, can i convince myself to do it again?

After breakfast, i made it out to the native plant sale and the farmer's market.

Since then, mainly R&R. Christine's starting her stew, and i had asserted we had enough potatoes. When she looked at the bag of red new potatoes, she hesitated. I asked, "Is that enough?"

"It will have to do."

"No it won't!" i cried and rushed to the deck to dig out potatoes from my container. I don't know if i got them all, but i collected half a pound. I'm sure there are intensive container gardeners who optimize and would get far better yields than i do on my deck. I'm the opposite, a laissez faire gardener. The potatoes have to battle it out with the geraniums.

Something is worrying me out the edge of my mind: i suspect it's an awareness of overwhelming to do lists. I'm glad to have spent today as i had planned.
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Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 07:33 pm
Once the long eight hour slog of meetings was over i retired to the deck, still poking at work tasks while taking some time to read the news and journal entries. I could look over and see my ripening tomatoes, an unfamiliar variety, with orange, elongated, almost heart shaped fruit. They glowed, and i glowed back.

And then, there is the squirrel, tomato in mouth, bounding along the rial RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
My shouts had no effect.

This is not the first time i've been witness to the theft of a just ripe enough tomato by a squirrel.

Having some heartache about the management error today. Must do my best which also means not avoiding the impact but carrying it as gracefully as i can, so as not to cascade the difficulty around the team.
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Sunday, April 7th, 2013 06:17 pm
I am amazed, but i got some important things done this weekend. This is where important means milestones for me, perhaps, not in some global scope. We got out to the foot of Mission Peak and climbed a bit. I will need ankle braces before doing it again (or, you know, proper hiking boots), but we started on a goal we've been talking about.

On Sunday, i trimmed and wired and grafted, fiddling with my thoughts about espalier & pleaching, shaping large rambling scented geranium into a fan shape along the deck wall. The plant wasn't well treated over the winter, and i don't know how hearty it is. On the other hand, the scented geraniums grow like weeds on my deck so i hope all my naive slicing and binding works. I'm hoping for the branches to grow together into the interlaced fan shape for additional strength.

All my "conditions of enoughness" were met.

I've a meeting in twelve minutes, so must rush away.
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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 06:07 am
Tonight we are off to see Jackson Browne as part of Christine's birthday celebration. I didn't really know much about the musician, so on her birthday proper we watched Jackson Browne: Going Home. This helped me see why Christine called him "The Amy Goodman of Rock and Roll." I asked her who the Bill Moyers of Rock and Roll would be. This morning she woke to suggest maybe Stink or Joe Strummer, Jerry Garcia must be the Charles Kurault. Bob Dillon, she opined, would be the Walter Cronkite.

I'm sure your milage will vary.

Now Michael Stipe is the Bill Moyers.....


In New Director news, the Wednesday trans-Atlantic director & manager meeting is canceled for this week. I appreciate this much more than a cancel at 6:30 am, too late to keep me from preparing for the 7 am video conference. There's no "critical" agenda item, New Director claims. On the other hand, apparently he "caught it" two weeks ago (remember the car in the parking lot meeting cancel?) over our monthly reports. Last Monday there was a burst of a communication about how he would be giving us a template because it is too hard for him to pull the information out for his report.

Said template is not yet available.


Wednesday afternoon i will be meeting with the Career Counselor. One of the reflection questions was what was i going to do to keep moving forward. I hope that this investment does help me figure out a good forward for me. The schizophrenic pull towards more management and leadership and pulls towards anything but that is, i'm sure, because the management and leadership is what i know. Fix the broken process, damnit! I found myself daydreaming about giving the as yet unnamed new president a piece of my mind. What if he turned around and offered me New Director's job? The question just hung there in the daydream, and i came up with the questions i would ask back. "Would my position be backfilled?" is the question i remember now. The daydream points to my desire to be recognized as competent and respected, not to my desire to do more of this management stuff at the Whale.


Frost has continued in the morning, here, but perhaps this morning will simply be heavy dew. The sweet gum tree at the end of the sidewalk has lost many of its leaves now, and the spiked seed balls hang as bird feeders. Over the weekend i noticed a flock of goldfinches pulling seeds out; yesterday morning a junco fed at the tree.

My potato has survived the frost: only the top of the vine has been nipped back by frost. The pimento pepper looks very sad, though, despite being pulled back under the eaves and sheltered by the dropped outer blinds. I think it might drop its leaves, but survive: that should be sufficient for it to be robust next year and produce a bit more fruit. The deck is a mess, though. I've either been sick during rainy weather or busily distracted during cold weather. I look forward to a chance to tidy it.

I'm taking Friday off: that might present an opportunity if we do not go kayaking in Half Moon Bay. The Groupon offer expires in February, but Christine is feeling overwhelmed right now. With today's concert and tomorrow's beginning of classes (and classes Thursday night) i understand the sense of worry. I'm not pressing for the outing, and i suspect i can put the time to pleasant use without an outing. At the very least, i think i might hie myself to Edgewood or into the hills to photograph plants or fungi.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 06:54 am
Hi world.

Exhausted here, going into day 3 of the planning week at work. Last night i had to catch up on the day's emails and get all the notes arranged to document the tasks we have to do as discerned from the design meetings. That put me in bed much later than i like.

Yesterday morning it looks like we got below freezing for five hours or so. I know that there's a microclimate out where i park my car: i think it has something to do with the pool and some very localized low that pulls cooler air across the car to rise over the warmer pool. The car often has frost when there is simply heavy dew on the railings nearer the building. Yesterday though, water was solidly frozen on the sidewalk. (The irrigation system is still running? Oy!) I'd not pulled my potato plant close to the house and had left it sheltered just by the deck wall when this cold spell happened. I fear i've lost the plant. Since potatoes need much water, and this is our wet season, i'd hoped to get a larger crop this winter. Fiddlesticks.

This morning, it looks like it dropped to freezing at 6 am.

One of my happy discoveries yesterday is that, despite near constant use of the space heater, we have used less power than this time last year. The power company website has a nice analysis that tries to correlate power use and temperatures to help one compare power usage year to year. Their analysis indicates the last billing cycle was colder than the one a year before, and we are still using less power overall. That delights me as i think we are actually MORE comfortable this year with the space heater in the room we are in (lug, lug, room to room). The unit has electric baseboard radiators, probably form the original installation in the 70's, and the thermostats on them seem only to be effective in the front. So for the previous years, we'd run the heater in the front, and make do in the back, only occasionally running the heaters.

This year we set the thermostat on the space heater to 66 to 68 and just keep ourselves comfy.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, August 5th, 2012 02:01 pm
[profile] amabei posted yesterday about pickled green peppercorns, which led me to read about capers on wikipedia, which has led me to desire greatly to grow a caper plant. Apparently notoriously difficult to grow from seed, i find my best deal is a plant in 3" pot for $45 http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/capspinoza.htm .

Maybe i should just pickle nasturtium seeds for a while.