elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
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!
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
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
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
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.
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Saturday, February 18th, 2017 03:55 pm
I lingered a bit longer inside than i meant to Saturday morning. We're trying to let Carrie out of the front room at night, but in the wee hours of Saturday she slipped under the baby gate to make a raid on the kitty litter cabinet. Fortunately the cabinet doors made a sound to wake us as she tried to get in, so i was able to scoop her up and deposit her in the front room. Last night she seemed to stay on the couch all night.

I thought lingering might be a good idea, as it had gotten down to almost freezing last night. My suspicion was confirmed in the garage, as it was 40°F when i went out. But no, i had lingered too long because outside of the garage it was 60°F.

My great pile of brush went up in flames very quickly, no struggle getting it started. While it burnt i cut down a bunch of autumn olive and pulled down honeysuckle. There's now a tidy patch of woods beyond the screened in back porch. The honeysuckle is definitely greening up. I've found the young yet very long shoots of autumn olive flexible and have made a loose "fence" from the "whips" for the peas to climb. I am not making a super-tidy construct: i hope its irregularity is more charming than sloppy, in a wabi-sabi sort of way.

In the front, the pink saucer magnolia (Magnolia × soulangeana) is suddenly exposing lipstick pink buds. I'm sure they weren't there yesterday. I've forced some branches -- not as attractive as other forced branches, but they're what i have. The next ten days look terribly pleasant and mild. I don't suppose i can go shouting around "another month and a half till average last frost" to the plants. Instead, i have created a form to use to log the status of all the plants, in an attempt to capture first and last bloom dates, etc.

Today i ponder another fire on the other side of the house. There's also the annual meeting of the county history association, which is tempting. Monday is the chipper.
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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Friday, February 17th, 2017 09:02 am
Yesterday we came back from a disappointing errand and i wandered the yard before returning in. While i was out, Christine let Carrie into the back yard. She was so excited, so i went to play with her and accidentally lobbed her toy out of the fenced area. I bet she'll stick with me to go get the toy, i thought.

Ha, so wrong.

That dog raced around the house multiple times, looping around in the cleared areas, sprinting like a horse. She lunges as she runs, both front legs extended out in front of her. She paused to look down the driveway, which Christine and i have been carefully treating as "not-yard". I was relieved when she just raced around some more, eventually racing into the back yard again.

--== ∞ ==--

Other animal drama includes Slugger and Louise, a pair of cardinals. Slugger perches on the rear view mirrors of both car and truck, frequently enough that plenty of sign is present, and attacks his reflection. I'm a little worried that they may be planning to nest in one of the brush piles, so i have finally arranged for the chipper on Monday.

--== ∞ ==--

In the yard, i am saddened to see Autumn Olive leafing out. I'm not ready. North Carolina in winter is still more green than the bay area in summer. I've enjoyed being able to see through the woods, get a sense of the shape of the clearing. I need to remind myself we've made much progress and it will never be the wall of jungle it was last May. When we are out driving, it seems spring is even more on the way. Forsythia, quince, foaming cotton candy pink trees (cherries, i think, not red buds), some white flowers on trees - not dogwoods yet, i think. Daffodils are blooming elsewhere, too. Our yard seems slow, perhaps because our slope faces north. I think i am thankful for the reprieve, especially if it means future fruit trees won't rush to bloom and get caught by freezes. Average last frost date is April 4th.

--== ∞ ==--

I am greatly enjoying the NY Times mini-crosswords. Their application makes crosswords more enjoyable for me - some element of immediate gratification, i suppose, along with easing the clue to box visual logistics. The full crosswords require another subscription, so i have refrained -- and i am not sure how much self control i would have to not do crosswords all day. I've never liked crosswords in the past, so it seems the mini was just the right size to get me hooked.

So tempted to buy a novel and blow off the rest of the day.
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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, January 22nd, 2017 08:54 am
Due to a combination of triggers, elephants had a rough handful of days. Greycie Loo, too, had a tooth cleaning. Between her vet visit and the cleaning it looks like she smashed her face into something breaking a tooth and chipping a few others. Dog scare seems the most likely cause, so i'm feeling a little guilty about that.

A major trigger looms on the horizon for the elephants (and my mother & father, depressingly enough): we'll be clear in two weeks, i expect.

Carrie Dog has a bit of surgery ahead. We did ask about laparoscopic spaying, but, wow, a bit much. I hope Carrie can do some dog park activity before then so we can get an idea of whether she's OK with dog parks. On Tuesday Carrie goes to play with Christine's sister's new puppy: that should be a good outing for them.

I will be talking some time off and have a road trip, just me and the Carrie Dog, so there's that for me to look forward to. It will be just a handful of days after her surgery: i hope we're able to relax and not be stressed about stitches management, etc.

I need to become more attentive to the garden. Seeds have all arrived, it's time to start collards and plant peas. I spent time on the raised bed yesterday: not enough time, due to rain. Today, rain or not, i need to make progress. I've 50 lbs of fescue seed for the orchard, 100 lbs of lime for the garden and, well, everywhere, and some clover seed. It's not natives, but my goal is to defeat the stilt grass. I'd been worried about the chickweed and the hairy bittercress before i ID'ed them: it was clear these were weeds on a mission. They are low growing winter annuals, neither introduced plant is yet considered invasive here. Still, i'll see how much of the chickweed rakes up before putting down the grass seed.

I'm tempted to skip Meeting, but there are donations i need to take for a collection.

I'm doing bits of civic minded work. A small group has organized in my workplace, and i'm setting up the google group etc for them. (I did offer a mailing list that wasn't google, but everyone preferred the tech giant to not.) I'm not sure what i was expecting: maybe with time we can talk about bias in our own workplace. It's more an Indivisible group than a Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) group. Ladt night i listened to a phone call sponsored by the AFSC: https://www.afsc.org/sanctuaryeverywhere I think the concept behind #SanctuaryEverywhere is what i was thinking about with safety pins.

Ugh: just thinking about #SanctuaryEverywhere makes me think about the ComingEvent and the myriad of unpleasant side distractions that are involved. The seed of the ComingEvent is my Grandmámá's 100th birthday: her husband's illness, her husband's family, miscellaneous Florida family, and awareness of less than progressive qualities in Florida all lead to a dampening of enthusiasm around what ought to be a delightful celebration.
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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 06:31 am
I've rung in the new year by planning out the gardening through the summer and ordering seeds. The vendor i'm using, Southern Exchange, was out of some of the seeds i'd picked out. In one case, i didn't mind because it gave me an excuse to choose the Seminole pumpkin as my winter squash: so much of what i will grow in the big plot is from the Americas. Apparently peanuts originated in the area now known as Argentina, before being adopted in some areas of Africa, and then ending up in the southeast.

They were also out of Roselle, the hibiscus that leads to the bright red infusion. This gave me an excuse to place a tree seed order with Sheffields, which includes both Roselle and a local native mallow, the native Yaupon holly (i've mentioned it's the one North American caffeinated plant?), native crabapple and pawpaw fruit trees, and the bitter orange.

We'll see if gantt chart level planning for gardening is less of a waste of time than it is for software engineering. Since it's all the same steps, i think it wasn't a waste: being able to link the schedule to N days before or after various climate dates seemed pretty efficient. I just wish i could extract it all from my iPad app with a bit more clarity. I think the best i can do is a screen grab of the calendar view.

--== ∞ ==--

Late yesterday afternoon we saw Arrival, which i recommend whole heartedly. I wonder if linguists cringe watching it. It is stunningly beautiful, and i'm glad to have seen it in the theater where the visuals could overwhelm me. I think of one science fiction novel where a language didn't have subject and object, but the verbs were bidirectional. I can't untangle how that language would express "I watched the movie" and "I read the book" given just how invested i am in being the actor on some consumed material. Well, no, the media infuse my mind.... anyhow. No spoilers for the movie, except to say the meditation of the movie is on yet another topic.

--== ∞ ==--

I am anxious about being back to work today. I feel all sorts of "behind" and ineffective, but there isn't a strongly concrete example. It's guilt and, i suspect, the deep ruts of procrastinatory habits developed during grad school.

I've not communicated with others over the end of the year. My parents are back from being with my grandmother, and each parent offers up behavior to cause worry. My mother has developed a pressure to get things out of their house that she can't pace. And so she drove over on New Years Eve to drop off two baskets and a variety of stuff when we planned to visit the next day. Written out it seems reasonable, but it's missing the context of her terrible lingering cough and the weariness from the travel to see my grandmother. Mom's drive, her need to get things done due to some internal expectation, was a lesson i learned that lead to some of my own imbalances. It's not a sustainable or healthy drive, as her lingering coughs and frantic arguments with my dad underscore, and in my learning it got tangled up terribly with depression. I think i am learning how to relax and rest: i hope she can do the same.

Dad forgot to take his heart medicine on Sunday morning, and so he was in his hyper goofy mood at lunch. My Dad worries Christine more than I, as i know his erratic behavior is "mostly harmless" but for Christine it is one great minefield of potential triggers. For me it is mostly wearisome as there's no way to connect. I do wonder how much of his clowning is some dysfunctional effort to deal with Mom: an image of a rodeo clown in the bull ring comes to mind. He had confided his concerns about Mom's level of being frantic and confused on the phone the day before. But then there is the odd reality of how these beta blockers affect his behavior. He's much calmer and grounded when he's taken the med.

--== ∞ ==--

I managed not to ring in the new year with a terrible case of poison ivy. My last work in the yard in 2016 was to hack into a vine running up one of the older pines. I might just get my arms around these pines, but i'm sure there are some with a girth i could not reach around. B came out with his drone this fall and measured the height of the trees for us -- they're 90' tall, which is an average height for a mature yellow pine. The poison ivy grows up the pines as one massive main vine until past the understory, and then the poison ivy radiates it's branches out at about 60' above the ground. It seems to be no harm to the tree, and i'm sure the fruit and branches of the poison ivy make for lovely bird habitat. I have mixed feelings about eradicating it, since the only negative is the seedling poison ivy and the occasional fall of leaves during a thunderstorm. Even then, any poison ivy i had this past summer was quite mild.

And what am i going to do with the dead vines? There's a tangle around one pine where the vine detached from the tree and fell, dead i suppose. But the oil that is the irritant persists.

http://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2012/10/how-to-get-rid-of-poison-ivy/ shows the type vine i'm talking about.

Anyhow, i've been urged to plan to eradicate the poison ivy and, since i had my machete and had been killing honeysuckle, i thought i might give the poison ivy on this one pine a go. The vine was as thick as my wrist, at least, and with the first hack a cloud of dust shook free from all the rootlets. I was up wind, and i figured that most of the dust was just plain dust. I've not developed any good technique with the machete - not much is needed for honeysuckle - so i took a while to cut through. Wood chips went everywhere, and i had no face protection. I soon was thinking how stupid it was to be doing this on a whim, but i figured i should finish what i started and then just wash everything. I seem to have come through unscathed.
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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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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
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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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
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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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
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
photography