elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 07:01 pm
Missing Christine who is off to the Charlotte film festival. Her sister is at another, smaller film festival this weekend, in Hickory, NC. My eyes and ears said it was a beautiful autumn day, but - ugh, try and do anything and the humidity made itself known.

I realized a good order of landscape projects would be to remove the azalea from the tiny "courtyard" -- the little pocket of landscaping on the north side of the house walled to the west by the garage, the north by the kitchen and the east by the entry porch. It's not large enough or fully enclosed, but it's distinct enough a space to need a name.

After trimming the azaleas far back - to essentially stumps -- the ferns were all visible, and i could easily pull out the native-but-annoying false nettle. I also gently pruned the azaleas on the other side of the front porch, and "renovated" the lilac by cutting back all its elderly trunks to the level of all the sprouts coming up around the base. I also took out the butterfly bush: i'd found seedlings elsewhere. Nope, i'm focusing on the native pollinator plants, thank you.

Now the front seems much tidier -- as the lilac and butterfly bush were both scraggly things. We've talked about having something sculptural in the "courtyard." When we find the right thing, the remaining azalea can be removed.

Now that that was done, i moved some pipsissewa (aka spotted wintergreen, Chimaphila maculata) and some of the moonwort/grapeferns (Botrychium spp) from where the driveway routing will take them out to the courtyard.

I spent much of my inside time reading about all the species of Botrychium i could, traversing various keys, and deciding i mostly have Botrychium biternatum but might have one Botrychium dissectum.

I've been surprised that it wasn't until now that i

--== ∞ ==--

It turns out the FLora of North America is accepting gifts to sponsor the illustration of a plant. It's $200 - http://floranorthamerica.org/node/410 -- Lupins are available right now...

Meanwhile, Carrie is restless so i'm streaming PBS shows on deer to keep her entertained. I think i'm not going to feel guilty about entertaining her with videos.
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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 06:56 am
Saturday i worked in the yard, mainly eradicating stiltgrass and stands of Boehmeria cylindrica (False nettle, by which they mean "non-stinging nettle") by mechanical means.

Boehmeria cylindrica clearly reproduces successfully, so i want to get rid of it in a number of places where it is "weedy." On the other hand, it is native, so i should find some place(s) for it to thrive. I see one resource claims it prefers sandy or loamy soil: i wonder if there's actually loam in the places it is growing. I generally assume everything is clay.

So, in the first area of work there was the manual pulling out. The stilt grass is about a meter high, and heaven only knows what has made a home in the thick stands. I've not seen any snakes yet, but spiders and toads and bright green leafhoppers seem disrupted. I found one milkweed growing in the stand, Asclepias variegata (White milkweed) or A syriaca (common milkweed): that was delightful! And i found a good number my current favorite little plants: moonworts (or grapeferns). These have a single frond, and then a spore bearing structure lifted like a flag above the solar panel that is the leaf. This 2014 literature review describes them as rare but (at least) one species is definitely common here. I believe i've had success transplanting them, despite comments about them being challenging. I take that to mean that the interdependence with fungi is supported over the small distances in which i have moved them. Transplanting to potting soil would likely be bad.

I also rediscovered one of the colonies of Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake orchid). It too is usually accompanied by the warning against transplanting because of the mycorrhizal interactions: i may try moving some to some places i feel i can more easily protect from trampling over time.

Later in the day i used the sling blade and the weed whacker and the lawn mower. The mower can deal with the tall stands, but i don't want to hit hidden stumps, any more than i already do. The weed whacker gets the grass all tangled in the drive: it's not a particularly good tool on the tall stands.

I grew a little disappointed in the lawn mower repair. I don't think the mechanism for raising and lowering works the way it is supposed to: it's as if the front is now at a fixed height. The lawn mower repair process was so distressing for Christine, i don't want to bring it up. But, fie, it was useful to have the great range in height.

--== ∞ ==--

Sunday began with me breaking the stylus on my phone. The version of the Galaxy Note i have was reported to have a stylus issue in that if you inserted it in the storage bit backwards, it would jam and there was little that could be done. Now i understand: while one can pull out the stylus, the little springy top, like the "clicker" on a retractable ball point, breaks off and jams in, disrupting whatever signal the phone has to turn on the pen functioning. I am glad that the new note has been released but i believe it is a bit larger than this phone - so my nice case wouldn't be used. And we bought this phone outright. After spending some time thinking about it, i decided that i am ok giving up the stylus and just using the phone as any other phone for a while longer. All the critical phone functionality still works, and i can always take a pad of paper outside with me.

If i were doing real field work, i would have a reason to spend the money on a new phone, i don't really now.

And there's also the question of the iPad, which has superior drawing applications, and whether i really need a second digital pad (that's smaller and lighter and "always" with me, sigh).

I worked myself up into other dithers on Sunday morning as well. Things i hadn't done for Meeting, baking for meeting for business potluck with a recipe that i hadn't used before, realizing i hadn't really left time for the longer than expected baking time, discovering i didn't quite have the right quantities of ingredients, running late....

I indulged myself the rest of the day after Meeting, going to a historical society presentation (the president is a member of Meeting as well) and reading a novel (a Maisy Dobbs mystery). I finished the book after dark and needed to take Carrie for her walk, so i went into Pittsboro and walked her on the streetlamp lit sidewalks. I think Carrie was delighted with the novelty, and i enjoyed it too. It will be agreeable to walk there this winter.

Monday was a long work day, mainly meetings. We had the first visit of the young woman we have hired to clean our bathrooms. She's incredibly professional, and someday she'll finish her vet school training and will take her professionalism on to her own vet practice. Until then, i think we'll be delighted with her help.
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Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 07:42 am
Friday: Up very early to watch a presentation out of the Netherlands. What i have learned so far could have been skimmed off a diagram, i think with grumbles, but there are probably subtle details that i am actually picking up. ... Ah, participation in the QA for remote folks is adequate.

I've awakened EVERYONE, apparently, although i think Christine was actually awakened by Luigi. He started his morning yowling in the entry hallway that has such a lovely acoustic quality that amplifies his complaining. I've read that cats "meow" to communicate with their owners, that it's a communication developed between the two. Years ago, when Luigi was our neighbor, he learned that he could get Christine to let him in to his apartment when his owner was away by yowling piteously at his door (which shared a landing with our door). He now does this in the mornings, hoping that some miracle will occur and he will be able go outside. I guess my going to my work desk made him think it was 8 am and time to start asking to be let outside.

--== ∞ ==--

I spent some nice chunks of Saturday afternoon in the yard. I have a new tool, a two pronged hoe, which is nicely effective. I found the pitchfork great for deep turning of the soil to get the garden started, but now i'm in the cultivation mode. (Also, i've ruined the pitchfork getting rocks out.)

The Seminole pumpkin, escaping the bounds of the garden, is finally setting fruit. I think it's possible there's a fraction more sun to the west of the plot? I'm thinking i'll just let it go until frost. The yellow squash succumbed to powdery mildew plus too much baking soda treatment. The long stems, jointed with leaf nodes that only had stubs of stems, looked like an algae covered sea monster carcass. I'd started some seeds in hopes that maybe i'd get some more squash before the frosts due in October. I set those out in a new bed: maybe they'll settle in and set fruit. (Little flower buds were on a few of the plants.)

The autumn garden starts i'd made in August are not encouraging. The seed tapes germinated, but nothing seems to be thriving. A dill seedling seems to have taken, and some tiny red cabbage seedlings persist. The radishes came up but the fleshy part of the root seems to be above the dirt and long and stringy.

I've been pondering my assessment.

It seems legumes are a deer food and thus not really going to produce unless we do some serious deer repellent or exclusion work.

The popcorn is a win: while some stalks got nibbled on early, once it gets going it's too tough for deer and the corn itself isn't sweet enough to attract anyone's interest. Sweet corn wouldn't be worth the work.

Squash was great before the powdery mildew, and the dehydration seems a reasonable way to deal with bounty. It seems also to agree with getting a seedling start. The cucumber seedlings from a friend finally seemed to do OK once out of the shadow of the yellow squash. The melons haven't set fruit (shade issue as with the Seminole pumpkin?) but are worth giving a go again.

The collards were great until they became insect magnets. I really miss my daily greens. I probably need to be more aggressive with control. The collards are still sort of producing, so with control i could have had collards all year! Right now i'm wrestling with getting rid of the plants vs hoping that the bugs will go away and i'll have mature collards producing in the autumn. "Hoping bugs will go away." Ha, i guess it's obvious written out like that.

I'll try fame flower again, with seed tape and greenhouse starts....

At this point i went into much more detailed planning elsewhere.

--== ∞ ==--

Large orbweaver spider has made a web in our door frame. Is it planning on catching me? Geeze, spider season has begun. Carolina writing spiders are at work (aka Black-and-Yellow Argiope, Argiope aurantia). Two large wolf spiders watched me work in the garden yesterday. And yes, watched.
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Sunday, August 27th, 2017 08:36 am
I'm not sure when i last bought new to me music, but i bought Queens of the Stone Age's Villains and Iggy Pop's Post Pop Depression this week. We listened to tVillains last night. I quite enjoyed it, although i can't make out most of the lyrics. We listened with the Massive TV -- which is going to need a name ... ah, Humberto, big & bright ... -- playing the XBox visualizer. Carrie was entranced for a while, but i think when she concluded that an elder god was NOT about to jump out at us from the psychedelic tunnel she settled down.

I did enjoy listening, and it's a step towards not watching a show during every dinner. My newphew turned me on to QOTSA: I wonder if he will like Villians. Christine and i kept pointing out echoes of other rock bands, Led Zeppelin, "Canadian Art Rock" (our code for Rush), and ZZ Top.

I did battle with the stilt grass Saturday. There's so much of it, it's hard to see the win. Christine was delighted, though, so that keeps my spirits up. And underneath the apparent monoculture, some tufts of native grass and moonworts -- the most delightful plant i didn't know existed. Moonworts are in the Ophioglossaceae family, not a true fern, but no flowers, either. They raise their stalks with the sporangia on them high above the one solar panel, i mean, leaf. They depend on fungi, which makes me think of the lichens and their three family life form. With the current understanding that mitochondria and chloroplasts were single cell life forms separate from the single cell life forms they combined with, i can't help but think of lichens and Adder's tongues as demonstrating how important interconnections were in the early period of life.

There's probably some failed biological understanding in there that would make a scientist familiar with these plants cringe, but HEY, I'VE HAD TO LISTEN TO STUPID QUANTUM PHYSICS EXTRAPOLATIONS SO THERE.

Anyhow, tiny plants that i don't want to douse with glyphosphate to reward me for my manual labor.

Grilling: i don't think there's a value of threading mushrooms, onions, etc, on skewers since i happily have a grilling basket. Pineapple marinated mushrooms probably need more than an hour to absorb essence of pineapple.
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Sunday, July 30th, 2017 06:37 am
Sleep is good, and i think i finally had a good night's sleep.

Tuesday night i was out late at a networking career thing of questionable value beyond practicing speaking to people.

Wednesday night i read a novel, but didn't go to bed promptly. Christine and i had a very late dinner and it was another late night.

Thursday we went to see an outdoor drama, home late, etc.

Friday night i think i went to bed at a reasonable hour, but Carrie woke me in the wee hours.

Last Saturday night Christine was triggered enough to open the gates for more elephants. The trigger was not elephants, and i think she's kept the elephants away from the trigger. Elephants didn't help this past week with my bad sleep patterns, but i think things will settle back down.

Last night i was to bed on time, woke on time, and the temperature outside is wonderfully cool.

I feel like skipping meeting again: i'm not sure this is a good habit, i know an edge of procrastination is running underneath (i said i'd do something and it ain't happened), but the past week did drain me. However, a quiet day with some waiting (silent) worship with Christine on the porch will help feed me.

Yesterday, i worked outside on things that didn't take much consideration and spent time watching butterflies flutter on the large Bearsfoot plants (Smallanthus uvedalius). The flowers are a bit like tiny sunflowers; the plants eight foot high with dinnerplate sized leaves. Pollinators seem to adore the blossoms. I wish i could think of more landscape uses for these perennials that disappear in the cool months and become so massive in the summer. Duh - where the sunflowers failed this year -- on the western exposure of our house, where i'd hoped for the shade to help with cooling. I guess the same challenge of the hard baked clay that didn't seem to support the sunflowers remains; although the Smallanthus are tubered plants. Maybe that will help them succeed?

I also made gluten free chocolate chip coconut cookies. I was dubious as i brought them out of the oven: crumbly, they didn't spread out, etc. But when they cooled they had a lovely texture. I put half the batch of dough in the freezer, so there will be more.

Dehydrated squash yesterday. That might be all i have to "preserve". I'd finally learned how to defeat blossom-end rot (remove the blossom) when i realized i have a terrible case of powdery mildew. Fie. I burned much of the infected foliage, but it doesn't sound like that's going to be sufficient.
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Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 10:57 am
93.5 °F - Feels Like 106 °F

Just spent a half hour outside, and came in dripping. Ugh.

I was picking the grape tomatoes, squash, collards, and some of the popcorn. The popcorn is a mixture of strains, so every cob is a surprise. Some are much like this "glass gem" corn. Regrettably, pollination wasn't ideal, so there are lots of half populated cobs. Still, given everyone's dismissal of growing corn without a fortress around it, i'm delighted.

I ordered a dehydrator, so the large number of squash doesn't intimidate me. And now i kinda wish for exponential tomatoes, but they don't seem to be coming -- unless i want to pick green and let them ripen in the house. Which is very tempting.

Yesterday i spend outside 10 to noon doing a burn. Most of the time i spent running the hose over myself to keep cool while watching the fire. Usually i keep gathering debris, but not yesterday. I did do some weeding in the shade.

--== ∞ ==--

Christine had what seems like an elephant event last night. But maybe it was just life.

Carrie continues to negotiate bed space with the cats. Turning her back to them is the best thing she's learned so far. They know how to stand up to her when she confronts them, but a big dog back?
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Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 07:28 am
On my way to Ohio. 8 pm flights seem to be the way to go. Not only is it direct, but there was no line at security, and the plane is maybe half full. Yippee!!

Sunday I did get the rest I needed. My throat healed up, antihistamines made a difference, and all the other aches ... Well they don't seem as significant.

Yesterday & today I saw deer. I think I can identify two does by markings. One has a crooked ear, the other a white mark - a scar I would guess - on her right hip. Each day I have seen a doe& fawn. It seems plausible that they were the Same pair today & yesterday. Oh Monday a young buck came through as well.

I find it curious that I hadn't seen deer in daylight for a long time. Then they seemed to get active again.

They are nibbling at the garden but today's WRATH is reserved for the squirrel. I've been watching my tomato volunteer #2 set nice large fruit- and today I saw a squirrel near the raised bed . At lunch I went out to find half Eaten green tomatoes scattered under the plant.

FlE.
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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, July 9th, 2017 07:09 am
This news story is just shy of being a Gary Larson "Far Side." One wonders about a child getting in and finding both of the items that were in the vehicle, but i'll assume that the owner lived alone in the woods.

Spoiler )

--== ∞ ==--

In more uncomfortable thinking, tensions about "cultural appropriation" on a mailing list continue into a second week. There's some generational tension, i think, and today's post had hand-wringing over "Why must we be so painfully correct all the time?" There was an attempted distinction between micro-aggression and cultural appropriation: this makes me bang my head because the precipitating issue can easily be interpreted as a micro-aggression as well.

I think the original purpose was what i'll call a subversive ministry of gender expression to tradition bound American men when transgender folks were deep in closets. Having a S-- Day to celebrate a skirt-like item of clothing that was gender neutral made for a way to encourage men to wear skirts for a day without the "feminizing" label "skirt" or the defensive masculinity of a kilt. Theoretically, it's gender inclusive, but it certainly misses the obverse of constrained gender expression for women. Indeed one person, female identified at birth, gently noted this issue.

I don't think they were heard.

I think attitudes have changed enough in liberal Quakerism, that addressing gender expression with a "S--- Day" isn't nearly as powerful as it may have been originally. I wonder, even, if younger folks completely miss the subtlety of the choice as they ask, "Why not just have a skirt day?" which would be an honest and plain spoken goal, but far more challenging to masculinity.

Then, there's the fact that this is not a formally organized event, as far as i can tell, but one person's celebratory mission. That the person who brings it forward is more boomer generation than millennial does not escape my notice. That they may not be aware of the male privilege inherent in the framing despite challenging the policing of male privilege is intriguing.

All of this plays out in the larger context of some tempest over white privilege and white supremacy in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, where i also perceive a generational divide between "I marched at Selma, how dare you!" and "Black Lives Matter", get woke folks.

I don't think S--- Day is any more culturally appropriative than wearing pajamas and is less so than a Kilt Day. I do think there's much more going on though, and the energy of the kerfluffle on list certainly strikes me as pulling strength from some warm ocean of discontent. I wonder if the current group can survive it's calling to be radically inclusive when it comes to nostalgic folks who feel they've done their work.

--== ∞ ==--

Friday night we were out late celebrating Christine's sister's birthday. Carrie woke me at 6:30 barking at the young buck just beyond the deck. I skipped tea, worked outside in the steam for a while, and then dozed for the rest of the morning. Not a highly productive day, and i couldn't bring myself to go back outside at 5 pm, it was so steamy. By the time we could bestir ourselves, the evening thunderstorm hit.

This morning she woke us barking at 5:30, and it was too dim for me to see any critter. I was more rested this morning, and made tea, and have spent the time on the back porch. It's 99% humidity, with the dew point only a fraction of a degree below the temperature, but it's cool enough that, being still, i'm not soaking.

I finished the potato harvest in that outside time yesterday, and planted the whole row with a variety of seeds. On the ends of the rows, where the plants may sprawl beyond the defined borders i planted the mini-melons and yellow squash. The current yellow squash are in abundance, but i don't know if they'll survive to frost. In between i planted marigolds, peanuts, and some very old bean seed. I picked a ear of the popcorn. The pollination of the kernels wasn't as thorough as i'd wish, and -- while it may have been at milk stage -- it wasn't nearly as tasty as sweet corn. This might keep it from falling prey to critters. Time will tell.
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Monday, June 26th, 2017 01:19 pm
On the back porch because it's a California like day with low humidity, mild temperatures, and blue blue skies. Hmm, i could probably dry the towel load outside today.

The weekend was pleasantly spent. The local library seems to have switched to Overdrive for eBooks (or i found their Overdrive link) so i did some casual reading. We had a pleasant bit of thrift shopping after a late brunch out on Saturday. There was a fellow selling Adirondack-ish furniture at the circle in Pittsboro, and we finally stopped and asked after the pieces. We've been talking about a bench for the back glade

I made tamales, which i was certain were failures but were, actually, just fine. The Great Northern beans turned out ok despite using the "rapid soak" shortcut. The pickled peppers i put in the squash weren't too hot (indeed, perhaps a bit bland). The amount of salty veggie bullion in the masa was not really noticeable after cooking. The masa wasn't stale, even though my nose kept saying it was.

One thing i wasn't worried about was that i used processed coconut oil instead of the traditional lard. (I didn't fluff it up first, though.) It's the first time i've used coconut oil: it seems like a lovely replacement for the Crisco i grew up with. And then there's the thought of tropical tamales made with unprocessed coconut oil. Fish filling? It's been ages since i made tamales: i should do it again soon.

Meeting for Business did not need a lunch dish -- or such was asserted. Never trust someone who thinks their meeting agenda is short. I drove home pondering how i would clerk at this meeting. I was quite hungry when i got home.

I harvested the russet potatoes. There was a little wireworm damage, and they weren't as big as grocery store potatoes, but there's a good pile. I'm a little disappointed because i will need to use these damaged ones earlier instead of letting them keep. (I probably cleaned them all up too well, too. I know the advice says let the dirt dry and brush it off, but i want to see the pretties!)
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Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 08:26 am
* Quaker History Roundtable: 20th Century American Quakerism - 9 hours video of the proceedings available at this time.

* Carolina wrens apparently make multiple nest starts before deciding on one. There was nesting activity at the same time in a hanging basket at the front. I just saw one hop from the nest, so i hope that's their choice. Their territory is 1/2 - 3/4 acres per some random website, it's conceivable two pairs would be about the house, but i'll assume it's the same pair.

* The cardinals fledged over the weekend. Sure didn't look old enough to manage that on Friday! I'm hoping they fledged and it wasn't depredation. I haven't seen Slugger or Louisa for a bit. -- Wait, there they are, foraging out my window. Hmm. I suppose they could have guided the fledglings into the woods where there's more cover?

* We had a day lily bloom yesterday at lunch but it was eaten by the time we went out for the dog walk. I suspect the young buck that cantered by my view.

* The peanut plants that were on the corner were nibbled, but not the ones more bounded by marigolds.

* We had over two inches of rain last evening and overnight. Some of the corn and the poppies are knocked over. I'm hoping that they'll lift themselves, but i suspect i'll need to stake up the poppies and reset the corn.

* I'm not focusing on work as much as i expect of myself. Trying to be gentle and observe.

* [ETA] Personal email box management seems to be effective. Struggling to get a few things NOT marked as spam, but i think i've come up with effective sorting that keeps different response efforts segregated.
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Sunday, June 18th, 2017 11:13 am
I've spent some obsessive time developing filters for my personal email. I had had filters, but many were made long enough ago that i didn't really know what they were doing. I tried to name these more clearly. Meanwhile, in my "miscellaneous" folder i had 200 journal comments i meant to reply to, some from a year ago. Um, not going to happen - i mean to reply, but i think it's better to work on going forward, not the past. So all those went into the archive and now i "only" have 100 emails lingering.

More on digital backlog )

Friday evening i took Carrie over to my folks so she could run in their pasture - and run she did. Mom committed her usual "here, take all this" but this time the book was one i remember dearly from childhood: Euell Gibbons' Stalking the Wald Asparagus. I didn't know until just now that he was a Quaker, but the resonance with my inclinations becomes more clear. I'm tickled.

Saturday was muggy. One drips working outside, even without much exertion. I planted my peanut and melon seedlings, moved marigolds from thick plantings to other areas, and dug  up the last of my Huckleberry potatoes. I will buy those again. Definitely a good producer! I hope for the marigolds to be deer deterrents: no nibbling on those. I'll check to see if the peanut starts made it through the night. I also planted melons -- "Minnesota midget" muskmelons -- but perhaps i should add some seeds as the article i just found said they don't transplant well.

I made a "potato salad" seasoned with lemon and mint, inspired by a NYTimes recipe. I tried to follow the pressure cooker recipe for cooking the potatoes: i think i could have cooked them less than the 7 minutes. Also, i wasn't thinking and vented the steam inside. Next time i'll carry the pot out and vent it outside. Despite the potatoes not holding shape, the flavors were a pleasant change from the usual mustard or mayo based potato salad preparations -- and, let me tell you, we do have plenty of mint.

I'm watching a pair of Carolina wrens build a nest in my "greenhouse" -- a rack of shelves for seedlings that comes with a clear plastic cover -- long since removed -- and is now covered with a sheet. I've mixed feelings about letting them nest there. It's tempting to watch them -- and let Edward watch them, but it is so close to comings and goings and i need to water those plants. But not so much the ones on the top where most of the nesting work is going on -- a seedling persimmon, some seedling button bushes.

We do have a go pro, we could be watching them....
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Thursday, June 15th, 2017 07:05 am
Tuesday evening i harvested some very nice potatoes. Wet purple potato skins seem almost iridescent with a sheen that seems to change in the light. I stopped harvesting because a huge wolf spider seemed unwilling to move along. I'll pitchfork that hay out of the way tonight.

I saw a different doe yesterday, who moved through the yard rather quickly. I need to tweak the game camera because i think a movement like that deer's that would trigger the camera, but the delay would just capture an empty yard.

Yesterday evening as we watched some show, Carrie bounded of the hassock, baying alarm, "Foes at the door! Foes at the door!" Just beyond the deck was a young buck, maybe a year old. He clearly heard the ruckus, but wasn't alarmed, just alert. Carrie continued to growl and bark and warn. A bit territorial, not hunting. It was sweet to be able to observe the young deer, although i wonder how wise it is for it to be inured to barking. (Admittedly, we have double pane windows and good sound proofing here so i'm not sure how loud Carrie seemed to the deer.)

This morning i went out in the dawn. Flitting overhead were two bats: oh, more please!
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Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 10:46 am


Oh, the deer i chased out of the corn yesterday came back to browse on the thick clover. She has a crooked ear, so she's readily identifiable. I'm not sure what i should call her. Saunters-through-corn seems a little long.
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Sunday, June 11th, 2017 02:41 pm
We have entered yellow squash season. We appear to have enough for dinner every night -- which isn't going to happen. I suppose i finally have an excuse to take veggies to neighbors! Also, apparently baked squash chips are a thing.

--== ∞ ==--

I didn't post that on Wednesday, but we did take potatoes and squash to the friendly couple who greeted us when we moved in. They in turn shared their bounty of green beans. I'm dubious i'm going to have any beans due to deer, so that was a delight.

I was sucked into the Senate testimony Thursday. This composite of the written statement from McSweeneys is delightful, but when i sit back and think about what i've learned i feel a pit of disgust.

First is the visceral understanding of how hierarchical bureaucratic, law enforcement, and military cultures are -- and how harmful cultural ignorance is at the top of that culture. I sense some of the Senators don't necessarily get the cultural challenge, probably from moving around in more of the wheeling-dealing world. But the senators who have been prosecutors seemed to get it. I don't think i could function well in a hierarchical culture: i am far too used to a much more academia informed culture of all folks being heard. I can recognize what complete dedication there is to such a culture too. The pointed questions of why didn't he quit
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Monday, April 10th, 2017 09:21 am
Insight! I'm gonna grow sweet potatoes as a ground cover. Sweet potatoes vs Stilt Grass: fight!

Christine finds vines creepy, but i think i can argue that vines six inches high or so hide less mysterious crawling things than the stilt grass. Sweet potatoes don't seem to be escaping to nature much -- reported in one NC county in the coastal plain, similarly not that common else where in the south east. Perhaps it's problematic in the deep south.

I'd love to give the ornamentals a try, but the patented plants are more expensive singly than a bundle of 25 slips from the local farm store. I figure i'll get a bundle of the purple root in hopes the foliage is distinctive and a bundle of some pest resistant type. I'm not expecting them to grow well as i'm not going to pamper them, but i suppose i'll end up with some sweet potatoes at the end of it. Christine likes the root, at least. The greens appear to be edible and enjoyed, so i might like that.

In other weed news, i think i've found Polygonum cespitosum (Oriental Lady's Finger or something like that) sprouting. UGH. So many of my nemeses gone over winter. Also, there is a tiny something sprouting thickly in places. I'm hoping it's just the bitter cress. Somehow, the bitter cress just doesn't seem quite as horrifying. I suppose it's because i imagine i can get it before it goes to seed. (I just haven't in a number of places.) It does EXPLODE it's seeds when you walk through it, which is very disconcerting.

In happy news, i found some spring beauty and have transplanted it into the "courtyard" area of ferns. I also dug up some Christmas ferns and put them in hanging baskets. They look fairly nice, but i planted them in the native clay. Too heavy to hang. So, i'll need to repot with wood chips mixed in.

--== ∞ ==--

In inside news, king size beds have a high TCO. How am i gonna wash the winter comforter? Apparently the bathtub is the answer. (The laundry machine refers to washing sleeping bags and *small* comforters in the bulky mode, so there's that.) We're going to dry it on the car.

I've bought another dog toy from the same PetSafe Busy Buddy folks who have made the best toy so far, a "barnacle" that holds kibble in it and makes the dog work for it. In the same order was a very (to me) expensive case for the phone Carrie damaged. I don't think i want to go to the bother of replacing the phone until begins being problematic: with tape over the crushed corner to keep the pulverized glass from slowly escaping, i think it will work a good while. Now i pick up the phone and caress the leather instead of looking at the chew marks and gnawed corner of the old case. I will eventually stop noticing the broken screen, right?

The last part of that purchase is a little mirror, designed to be added to side view mirrors to reduce blind spot issues. I've put it on the window frame opposite me so i can (kind of) observe the porch. The porch is far more "busy" that the area beside a car! But i should be able to see people at the door.
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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Saturday, April 8th, 2017 06:48 am
It's just below freezing out there. Poor little green solar panels that have pushed through the heavy red clay. What'cha going to do?

I pondered thinning the salad mix, but decided that the taller sprouts (ooh, here's one with a real leaf!) would shelter the shorter.

I wish i could believe that many ticks were dying and all the sprouted stilt grass was withering -- i'd give up my (pop)corn for that. I don't think, though, that any of the three will be harmed. Or the salad sprouts, to tell the truth. I've not planted anything early per the charts for piedmont North Carolina, and perhaps the collards will even like the crisp weather.

The peonies -- one from the previous resident, one from Christine's maternal grandmother -- had set buds, so i've covered them up. And a friend had given me pepper sprouts: i covered those with domes from grocery cookies etc.

I'm not sure what's happening to the apple trees. They were butchered at some point -- topped -- and i pruned the snarl of water sprouts dramatically in early January. The leafing out is highly irregular, tufts of leaves in some spots, tight scales in others. I don't see anything like flower buds. I wonder about investing time in the trees, but i figure i can make mistakes on these trees before making them on new trees.

Thinking back to the corn, it's time to get my scare"crow" up. Except it's to scare deer. I don't think dog hair works, but i'm going to mulch the collards with a bag i collected yesterday. It might scare mice?
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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, April 3rd, 2017 10:31 am
I just received notice that my medical flex account claim was received. I had to email it on Saturday, a day after the due date, as the fax failed on Friday several times. They don't say whether the claim was accepted, but they don't say, "too late, the money is OURS."

So, some hope that that will sort out.

Unlike my phone, which the dog has chewed on. The screen is cracked but it seems all works, except for a crack across the lens of the "selfie" camera. (And even that works fairly well.) Given how rarely i use that camera, i may be able to get some more use out of it.

Then there was the rosemary i bought yesterday. I read the tag, after it was planted, and it says "Not for Human or Animal consumption. " Here's a larger plant with the same warning (under the image). Best i can guess is they pesticide-ed it to death in the nursery? Surely that would go away after, i dunno, a year? I'm rather irritated. (Lowes says one year. Might return it and get the much smaller plant, but it might not be as big as this one in one year. Hrmph.)

I discovered the phone and the rosemary warning shortly before water boiled over on the stove and sent the fire alarm off for a rather long bit yesterday evening. Loud sounds stress was an unwelcome addition.

Eventually, we got things settled and had a lovely dinner.

--== ∞ ==--

It was a bit of a roller coaster weekend. Venting, in brief )
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, March 27th, 2017 10:12 am
Spring is going to go gangbusters now.

I walked around the yard yesterday several times - so much growth is on the way. After weeks of watching daffodils creep out of the soil, i feel like everything is going to explode this week. The autumn olive and honeysuckle are already greened up; i found the first seedlings of the cursed stilt grass yesterday. A few potatoes are peaking out of the soil. I just started watering and wonder if i should have started earlier. I suspect that there will be fully leafed out trees next weekend.

We have redbuds and dogwoods aplenty. I went out one day - maybe weekend before last - tying red silk ribbon on redbuds. (The ribbon is rough stuff, meant to be used to bind edges, i think. It has unfinished edges. I bought it to dye & crochet, but it seems an environmentally friendly way to mark the trees.) I still have plenty to mark. I think the trees i found were early bloomers: there seem even more now.

Again, i note how our property with its gentle incline facing the north, seems to be slower to bloom than yards and treelines i observe while driving around.

gardening )

Hmph. Straight from heat to air conditioning? (At 3:30 it's 90°F on the south side of the house, 80°F on the north side.)

--== ∞ ==--

The "Carolina Friends Emergency Consultation" on Saturday didn't use my queries. I have decided it was because i was an unknown quantity to the convener and drafted them last minute. The convener might also be a fairly disorganized/distracted person.

Posted by one of the resource teams was this list: http://www.aforcemorepowerful.org/resources/nonviolent/methods.php . "Lysistratic nonaction" was a new one for me. I did recognize it was a Greek term, for what it's worth. I have depressing reflections on the effectiveness of such nonaction in a culture where women's bodies are not respected.

--== ∞ ==--

Meanwhile, goals. Last week i found it terribly hard to wake up. I think it was the cold, because yesterday and today i woke well before the alarm. I have managed to mostly attend to the "basics" habit. The new schedule has been a little harder. I am getting to my work desk at 8, which is good. Once i'm at my desk has been a different matter.

I break the year up into seasons for goal setting. This spring is getting a hold of myself.

I have a therapist lined up. It was amazing: i have an appointment less than a week from my first call. I'm really uncertain as to how this will be helpful in dealing with being in a supportive/caring role while not getting burned out, but i do think i need to do something before i burn out.

May rapidly approaches, and with it two travel periods.

Goals: between now and Beltane

* execute: basics + plan next day's most important task to do first thing + do most important thing (practices that have slid since the election)
* execute: new am schedule
* experiment: evening habit changes
* plan Beltane season: travel & yard
** need to plan to meet up with people when traveling
* plan Summer+Lammas to be social focus
** Summer social event/s here?
** other summer plans?
** discuss a Summer Solstice gathering with C
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, March 13th, 2017 02:00 pm
Weekend flew by << this was the FIRST weekend in March. I've been dragging on this post.

We had dinner up at Christine's sister's, and i split a bottle of sparkling wine with her. We were home late for me, and so Saturday morning was a very slow start. Mower had the blade replaced with assistance from the local shop (they undid the bolt for me), and then i mowed. The back yard had long grass; everywhere else was just tidied.

Spring onions are the main "culprit" of an untidy appearance: it turns out that the best way to get rid of them will be to dig them all out. (Or some annoying pattern of poisoning.) Since they are theoretic deer detractants, i ponder waiting until i have plantings of fruit trees, etc, that could use a circle of onions (as ground cover?). They are attractive plants, just a good bit taller than anything else out in the yard at this point.

The main reason i mowed was to minimize bittercress going to seed.

--== ∞ ==--

I have discovered sudoku. The NYTimes website puzzle interface for sudoku is just as appealing as for crosswords. I never found these attractive diversions with paper and pencil: with the efficient interfaces i am much more engaged. Also, i seem to be not so stressed out by work that puzzles are unattractive.

--== ∞ ==--

I AM SO DIFFERENT from me a year ago.

There. I had often wondered if i would really have time for a yard. Well, i do. I just don't have time for anything else. Yesterday evening i just wandered around outside, appreciating the fading light, looking at the state of various plants, worrying about the freeze coming....

I am also very happy to sit an watch the dog or cats or just sit.

Contentment? Maybe. There's an edge of procrastination/avoidance going on hinting at dysthymia.

I've dropped so many habits that used to anchor me: some just since the election, some since the move. I know i need to reinitiate them.

--== ∞ ==--
[personal profile] owlmoose tagged me for the ten random facts meme. I decided it needed to be an acrostic, for some unfathomable reason, so there's that.

Also, i need to tag some folks, so : [livejournal.com profile] amaebi, [livejournal.com profile] gurdonark, [personal profile] zlabya.

Training has included hunt seat riding (not much jumping though), how to handle radioactive materials, andhow to record the location of weeds.

Environmental preference is currently on the cool and shaded. While I have SAD and like the sun, i wilt pretty quickly.

Arithmetic is a weakness of mine. Manipulate symbols? No problem. Actually add? Let me get my fingers.


Shopping is not a delight of mine. I was a catalog shopper before the internet. I imagine that had the internet not come along, i'd have file cabinets or bookshelves full of catalogs.

Tea was one of those shop-by-mail items, although i don't know if i found out about the company i've used for the past 30+ years by USENET. That's Upton Tea by the way. I know there are many different tea companies out there, but novelty in my tea isn't something i've desired.

A glimpse of me without the internet is offered by my mother, with her files and files of paper and all her books. I'm thankful to have been raised by someone so interested in information, and i appreciate the cautionary lesson she offers as she now goes through all her clippings. I was just referencing USENET "clippings" from the 1990s, but i have full text indexing.

I can still remember, shortly after Christine and I were married, explaining the internet to Christine and having her ask, "How will you find anything?" I can't remember when Yahoo started its directory of information. I do recall the "what's new" page where new websites were announced.

Novelty isn't a driver for me. I don't really care for rereading novels or rewatching videos, but given the narrow  genres i choose, i'm not sure I can claim a delight in novelty there. At one point, i would have claimed delight in novel restaurants, but.... Well, if a Noma-esque restaurant opens nearby, i'll save my pennies. I guess i've eaten widely enough that novelty in dining is now pricy. Milk snow at the Umstead!

Eating, while i do enjoy trying new things, is more often very mundane. The fairly basic meal planning we have reflects an amount of depression and overwhelm on my or Christine's part. Christine is not a very adventurous diner, either, so i tend to be the one to cook things that go outside the usual dishes. Part of my delight in getting a garden is the hope that surplus will lead to creativity.

During one summer i lived in New Mexico and ate fruit salads day in and day out. The produce choices just seemed better than what i had seen in NC near my college, and it delighted me. Again, it was very simple -- fresh or steamed (in the microwave). I didn't seem to have the desire for a carb or fat to be added along. I also dropped in weight -- i hadn't realized what constant cream sodas and Pepperidge farm cookies while studying was doing to me.