elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-10-12 09:02 am

(no subject)

Somewhere between sauteed and seared green tomatoes are just delicious. As the season draws to a close, i feel the need to be thrifty with bug-beset tomato fruits. I've suspected the critters hide in chewed up fruit and so i've been dumping them in the woods. But the nibbled on tomatoes i've been cutting them up (generally, for the grape tomatoes, simply a half that is good and a half that's been nibbled) and cooking them in the cast iron pan. Sure, really really ripe tomatoes are divine, but these are pretty good.

The greens are just beginning to be big enough to care about and not be too fussy when thinning. And the second planting of yellow squash is putting forth tiny little yellow fruit. It's hard to decide whether to pick them or not. Some i've picked and they've still been a bit green, others seem like they could have grown more.

We also have had some lovely rain: that should help gardening all around. I've planted some more beets and carrots to see if i can get them going before the first frost. I've seedlings of lettuce and particular brassicas in the green house that i should get out in the garden.

--== ∞ ==--
This morning i am reading [personal profile] sonia's writing about healing around the edges as part of getting back into the habit of following my self-help reading schedule. I put the items in the reading list over the past few years, but in Nov of last year i stopped using my to-do list software (emacs org file, for the curious). I am trying to get back into the list habit, but as i restart i find EVERYTHING is overdue. Anyhow, i will truncate this digression to just say, yay me, i'm getting a self care habit back.

So, at some point, i noted that there are two "traumas" i want to work through (1) the awful years at work when VP Z was in charge and was keeping the then New Director at his side, and (2) the effect of Christine's elephants.

I was working with my somatic experiencing therapist during the Z-hell to cope through it. Just thinking about that time brings tears and the need to go through a cycle of feeling and then distancing myself from the feelings. I'm impressed by how quickly i found that distress lingering. It's clear i may need to be somewhat intentional about resolving those feelings.

--== ∞ ==--

The spiders have mostly learned to stay clear of paths, it seems. They're still about: almost every window has a creature with a body at least the size of a quarter spinning a classic spoked web. Up above the front sidewalk a couple of spiders create their large webs. I suppose i'm going through some sort of exposure therapy, slowly reducing my aversion to the creatures. Maybe. If i think about them i find myself stressed. Breathe in, out, in, out.

After skimming through some resources, i think what has happened is that the spring baby orb weavers are finally big enough to make the massive webs by late August, creating spider web season. The females are probably getting as much food as they can for reproduction, and then, with the first frost, they'll be out of here.

It helps a little to understand why they aren't around all year.

http://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/news/weaving-a-web-fall-brings-unique-spiders-to-area/article_9e8ff0b0-77c5-54d3-b28d-e882ddfc5d48.html
https://www.thoughtco.com/orb-weaver-spiders-1968560
https://www.livescience.com/41550-garden-spiders.html
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-10-09 07:24 am

(no subject)

Weekend went *poof*. There was quite a bit of humidity, but finely rain. I sprinkled around more lawn seed+white clover in some areas, and oats, rape, and tillage radish in the orchard-to-be area.

The house came with a nice modest fenced yard. It's a little small for Carrie to race around in. It's better than nothing, but we have to work to get her places where she can exercise. Edward & Luigi really want out, now, too. They would be quite pleased to jump over the fence and go exploring. The orchard area abuts the fenced yard, so the current plan is to just replace the white plastic yard fence with deer fencing around a much larger area that is a deer (and coyote and bobcat and racoon) out, pets and fruit trees in area. The fence is going to need to be much more serious than i imagined. IE: we'll be hiring someone.

The oats and brassicas i'm sowing in the future orchard are not only "green manure" but also their presence will hopefully deter the winter chickweed and bittercress from Europe and the spring stilt grass. I'd imagined planting vegetables and flowers under the apples, i'm going to have to ponder how this is going to work if we are also using it as the yard for the pets.

I probably ought to be getting lime out there now. Then whenever we get the heavy machinery to grade and maybe disk the area.... well, first to get rid of the "trash" trees and the rescues of the native plants and mosses we find.

This weekend i dehydrated some of the grape tomatoes. They're like candy now. I am torn between just nibbling away and saving them for some lovely meal in the middle of winter. I think if i can visualize the meal, i might be able to hold off.

There's a good number of half ripe tomatoes on a plant that has been killed by some critter eating all the leaves. I wonder if i should pickle those. The salty green tomato pickles are still being enjoyed.

--== ∞ ==--

I led worship again this past Sunday, with a great amount of shyness and performance anxiety. I know it's not a performance. I know they aren't judging me. But but but.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-10-06 06:16 am

(no subject)

As is evident from my prior posts, i finally froze my credit as everyone advised post Equifax negligence. If you were saying to yourself, meh, i'll get around to it once the mad rush is over, i had no issues with the system. It was odd to go from Transunion's click through account creating extravaganza (requiring looking up various values to prove i was me) to the new cretit reporting company Innovis. Innovis has apparently decided that immediate gratification isn't worth it and they will use the US mail to validate who you are. (I found they also do that when requesting a credit report, as well.)

Anyhow, adulting: check.

In yard work yesterday i began digging up the gladiolus which is where we want to extend the drive way. There are many many many. Anyone want peachy with pink accent gladiolus cormlets and corms? I've read that in the Carolinas they don't need to be lifted in the winter, and given how this patch has grown dense in the previous owner's neglect, these are proven through NC cold snaps. I don't know how well they'd manage through, say, a Colorado winter. I've completed digging up about half the patch and would be happy send them on. It's tempting to think of breeding hybrid glads, but who am i kidding: they are deer food. I'll never see seeds.

I should note, too, the plants are growing in brick hard clay.

In product recommendations: Luci. I bought a pair for camping some time back, and they are light and bright and solar powered. What more could you want? Well, the cool LED light is a pretty stark color. Recently i bought two more with a warm LED and a "flicker". It's a lovely replacement for candle flames.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-10-03 06:39 am

(no subject)

Wednesday late afternoon i felt the onslaught of ick. I am thankful for my work benefits which include significant sick time, so i took Thursday and Friday off to coddle myself. If my evening suduko is a measure of mental acuity, i wasn't at my best. I read three novels and skimmed a fourth (Asimov, Scalzi, and two from Lee & Miller). I'm also thankful for library eBook systems such as Overdrive and the ease in which i could get such distractions without leaving bed. No need to watch soap operas, one of my vague memories of childhood sick days.

The weekend was magnificent for yard work, and Christine set to. I appreciated the weather, but didn't want to undo the efforts of the two rest days. Saturday i repotted some seedlings and seeded some flats. Sunday afternoon i mowed and raked: autumn is here in a droughty manner. "Fine, i'm just gonna drop leaves now, can't be bothered with color, k thanx bye."

I've a handful of little discomforts, and i think the lingering cold is causing sore throat issues. I also have discomforts in my mouth that i blame on the cold. By the end of yesterday's workday i was dragging. Christine was too - can't tell if it's from clearing the orchard area of stilt grass and autumn olive or if she's fighting the cold as well. We managed to get the evening chores done, which included a trip to the grocery store. Doing the bakery and deli at the end seemed to make a significant difference in the grocery trip. I was pleasantly surprised that such a small change could make a difference to my energy. It didn't make a large difference to the final outcome -- we still brought home sweets from the bakery -- but it felt like a choice we made instead a temptation.

The garden was ignored for much of last week. I was delighted to find the hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa aka roselle) blooming. I planted it in hopes of hibiscus tea, but the deer foraged on it rather extensively. Whether the deer have moved on or the stinky deterrent (de-deerant) is working, i'm not sure, but one of the plants finally was able to put on some growth and reach about 3' high. I thought the herbivory was the cause of the lack of blooms, but it turns out that it is an autumn bloomer.

One yellow squash actually put forth a full sized fruit: i was worried that the plants would be responding to the short days by only putting forth two inch long stunted fruit.

A caterpillar has eaten the dill seedling. I let it be, but overnight i worried about the critter: that single seedling is it. I think i can relocated it to some parsley: i've found a suggestion that it would be a suitable food source. (I'm a little greedy about my parsley, but....)

The winter garden has not really taken off. I can't tell if it's due to drought or the clay soil (or perhaps insect herbivory). I'm trying not to pout too much and remember how long the spring garden lasted. If i can keep from cooking seedlings this spring, and i can deter the deer, ....
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-28 10:23 am

Chestnuts!

I attended an ag extension event on growing chestnut trees last night with 60+ other folks. Christine rode up with me to take Carrie for a walk at a nearby park on the Haw River. The google estimate for time to drive did not take into account school buses or tractors, but running late didn't really cause any issues.

The 15 year old chestnut trees were inspirational, bearing fruit and not crazy large. The extension guy was not. He was all about yield and scientific monoculture, high velocity lead poisoning for deer, herbicide strips, etc. I grew to appreciate some of the advice: food safety requirements imply certain behaviors to protect against contamination. On the other hand, the guy whose farm we were visiting basically blew off much of the advice as too much work for the potential yield increase.

I've been reading about "permiculture" practices and the arguments that having different systems producing (eg, cropping something else under trees) more than make up for the reduced yields of the tree due to competition with the alternative. For example, if you are growing an apple tree with onions underneath, the apples and onions might not be as productive as grown on their own, but the combination productivity is greater than one or the other alone.

I learned something i could never learn online which is how to pick chestnuts up without having to pick up the prickly husk. In the demonstration and practice, i ended up with a pocket full of chestnuts, and those are now sitting in moist paper towels in my fridge, "stratifying." I also connected with a heritage seed grower who has chinquapins, the native "dwarf chestnut" species. These will grow as understory plants, which means they can replace the cursed Autumn Olive. Some of the folks i chatted with also grown native hazelnuts, which are also on my wishlist. I was warned off the Arbor Day foundation offerings.

--== ∞ ==--

After Christine picked me up we went to a pizza place, not far from the farm, thus still in the middle of the country. The menu looked good, the pizza looked good -- but there was no salt! Pizza crust with no salt is weirdly unsatisfactory.

--== ∞ ==--

This morning i found out that a citrus tree i wanted to grow is considered a moderate risk of being invasive, and thus would block me from ever having a certified native garden. I've since discovered that there are citrus hardy enough for my zone, though, so the end result is that i will likely get a plant that will produce more useful fruit and won't be invasive. Satsuma mandarins are one of the recommended species, which sounds quite delightful.

(I thought this posted yesterday. Sigh.)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-23 07:01 pm

Yard today

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-19 06:56 am

(no subject)

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-09-03 07:42 am

(no subject)

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-08-27 08:36 am

(no subject)

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-07-30 06:37 am

(no subject)

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-07-23 10:57 am

Dear Outside Weather, Really?? Really??

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?
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-07-19 07:28 am

Written while waiting for takeoff Tuesday night

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-07-09 07:09 am

(no subject)

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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-06-26 01:19 pm

Oh what a gorgeous day

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!)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-06-20 08:26 am

Notes

* 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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-06-18 11:13 am

(no subject)

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....
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-06-15 07:05 am

Critters

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)
2017-06-13 10:46 am

(no subject)



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.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
2017-06-11 02:41 pm

Post unposted on Thursday

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