Tuesday, March 20, 2018

bits, shawl and kite flying

 Mark got some good pictures of Esme flying her kite on Saturday when the weather was warm.  It is a Red Baron plane and she really likes it.

She got some good lift on the kite.

I 'finished' this shawl last year, but it was always slipping off of my shoulders and no pin was really practical.  So, I took every last bit of matching yarn I had and made it longer and wider at the bottom until I could tie it in a knot.  Now I can wear it handsfree (a little like a Scottish arisad, but not that big)   I am really glad to have it back, because it is so warm!

It has been so cold - and winter just does not want to give up.  I've had these two days off and it has rained and been 30 to 40 degrees.  So, no progress on the garden.  And this weekend I have off it is supposed to rain again.  *growl*.  I do have some tomato seedlings coming up.. which is good.  Asparagus seeds (yes, seeds) are coming in the mail.  I want to start a bed halfway up the road where the birds dropped some volunteers and the roots at the local store just didn't feel right.. kind of squishy and bad smelling.  I saw good reviews on starting from seed - even though they take years to really establish.

We gave Esme the choice today of trying to get to a bank we know had a coin counter or going to get her musical instrument from pickup.  They were in towns in the opposite direction of each other.  She chose the coin counter - but it had closed 6 minutes before we got there.  Their hours are earlier than we remember... so, she was a bit sad.  Fish sticks and a bath made her happier.  I'll get the instrument tomorrow after I get off of work - it is finally here!

And, I got a strap for my mandolin and it works.  Mark put the extra button on it.  I was going to make a strap but having it be adjustable is a big win.  I did get supplies to make a zipper bag for it.

Books :
I finished 'The Bear and the Nightingale' .. It was a very good book steeped in lots of Russian folklore.  The author is Katherine Arden.

Other notable mentions - 'Mistakenly Married', a free romance book about a couple who marry the wrong 'blind date' at a Las Vegas chapel but find out they are better matched than their original intentions...it was predictable  but sweet and made me a laugh a few times, by Victorine Lieske,

and 'Perfected', by Kate Jarvik Birch, about a 'genetically engineered girl sold as a pet' in the future - it paints the picture of what different members of society consider human and property in a pretty real way, and the girl tries to decide what she has been trained for and what she really feels and wants and the struggle between them.. and the real fear of what will happen to her if she does or does not conform to her 'owner's standards under the terrible laws in the future (that some oppose, and try in good and bad ways to 'help' her).  It was quite clear she knew exactly what would happen to 'disobedient or tainted pets' although she never actually tells anyone and there are different theories others have of 'country homes' and 'rehabilitation' or 'hospitals'... when actually there is only euthanasia for those returned to their 'kennels'.  These issues that are never fully addressed but might be in the sequel.   It was a short read, but reminded me a lot of the 'Matched' series which was where the recc came from and had some good vignettes on society in general.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

raised bed at Shepard Lane Garden

 We did the rest of the raised bed construction today, minus the final layer of soil.
It ended up with 25 bricks, and so far has 6 bags of compost, 6 bags of topsoil and 3 bags of sand in it, over a layer of the most unprinted cardboard I could find in our garage.  Each of the sections is just over 4 foot square.

Mark took a lot of pictures of us putting in the last bit of soil, and helped with all of the hard work before in the day, driving to get the things and etc.



 All of the materials were mixed together, and the rain will compress it down.  We will need to add another layer of soil after that.

I've asked Irene and Mikey to each pick four or five things they want to plant from seed.  I have some purple carrots, small orange carrots, basil, lemon basil, radishes and lettuce - as well as the spinach that Mikey wanted to try again.  We could put a few plants of zucchini or summer squash to try.  Tomatoes and peppers will be planted like we always do - over in another section where there will be plastic held down by cedar logs.  We will plant morning glory on the fences, and a few rows of corn and sunflowers and beans, and flowers in the flower garden (behind me by the chicken house).

Mandolin Chords : I've found this site useful and am trying to get my fingers to recognize the G, C, D chords.  C is really hard!  Native Ground simple mandolin chords

On the caffeine thing - on my days off I need more than on my days at work.. At work I'm more distracted and moving around more - there is hardly time to know what I'm missing or focus much.  When I'm at home I'm a little colder and am needing something hot.  So, I had two cups of coffee each of these days and about four cups of black tea with half-and-half in it.  I've not done the keto for two days now... but still see the difference in the mirror with how flat my stomach is compared to last year.  I think I can start in with a little rice and two tortillas a day and see how I fare.  I've read an article called 'biohacking' and realize this is what I'm doing - trying to find the best results for my body and for my activity. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

day in Jackson, dentist, mandolin

We've had a long day to Jackson and back.  Esme had a dental appointment, and she gets very anxious.. but she did well.  And we're 'ok' with the exam for the next 6 months!  She has a tooth growing in 'over' a baby tooth but they think it will all work out okay... if not, then we will look at it again then.

We got some balsawood planes at the hobby store (and yes, I got a bit of yarn), and Mark and Esme made them to fly at home.  Esme and I went out in the sunshine and took some pics.  The sarvis is blossoming now, and there is some little moss on the cedar wood with red flowers.

We stopped into a music store and Esme bought a harmonica, and I bought a mandolin that was priced at such a deal!  I had one twenty years ago and I never got to do much with it - now I've downloaded a tuner on my tablet and am trying to learn the chords.  Esme has a recorder (like a flute) coming in the mail on Friday.  She wanted a musical hobby - and she asked to stop at the music store to see flutes, but they didn't have any this time of year.  She did buy a harmonica.

And I moved some of the bricks we still had to check the measurements for tomorrow's project.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

day one less caffeine (day 19 keto-ish)

I've stumbled on the 50 grams of carbs or less a few times lately.. but I have lost weight and I do fit into my narrow-waisted jeans.  I can't say I'll continue with 'more energy' for a while.. because I've decided to try cutting back on the acidic coffee I drink.  My dentist pointed out that my teeth already have weak enamel.. and nothing short of a veneer (which I looked up later, he didn't offer) is going to help them.  I'll be lucky if I don't lose a few more of them because the enamel is already worn through at the gum line.  //growl// well my whole family has bad teeth and I've done better with mine than many...

So today I had a cup of coffee in the morning, and a black tea bag at lunch, and a green tea at break.  And I've been drinking extra water the rest of the time.

I did get some things done when I got home - laundry, changing the new toilet seat (with Mark's help) and some insurance paperwork I've been putting off for a week or more (and thus, was due a week ago).  That is still something, and on the 'lose an hour' daylight savings day, too.

Friday, March 09, 2018


 Esme took some pictures out in the garden today while we were clearing out some of the spaces around the bricks and fences.  We also found a snail shell, and saw that the babys breath and the peach-centered daffodils were blooming.  We found a strange root left over from last year!  We didn't know what it was - it smelled like a turnip or radish family, though.

The strange root we dug up out of the flower garden, probably a turnip, rutabaga or an overdue radish.

For reference : I planted some extra tomato seeds tonight.  Three of the other six have come up.  Planted tonight : three Black Prince (in the empty slots), six 'Banana Legs', and eight 'Dark Galaxy' seed pots.

Playing around with the proposed garden structure for the year.  I know we need to put an area for corn and sunflowers in, and the bean fence.. and we might use the chicken yard for a few things this year (besides chickens)...morning glories grew so well on that fence that we thought to make the fence an actual growing position and use it to let things climb like beans and such.  The plastic-lined area will be held down with cedar logs, like usual.  We will put some annual flowers in the perennials bed like usual - marigolds, zinnias, cosmos and nasturtiums.  I have lemon basil and regular basil for the herb area to add to the lemon balm and  mint that grow there.  The oregano grows next to the gladiolus in the perennial bed.  The little bent pea fence in the left corner we can't get out - and an ant hill has taken it over.  I don't want them to take over the raised bed area, but they might.  The new hosta should show up with the older one in the bulb garden this summer just behind where the daffodils are blooming now.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

sarvis bits and a chicken in a doghouse

The sarvis trees are starting to bud out, one of the first signs of Spring.  I also caught our Gennet chicken (English game hen) hanging out in the old doghouse I stuffed with extra straw.  I threw her some seed there.  Daphne dog still holes up there sometimes when it is cold or rainy.  A few other shots just because their patterns and/or colors attracted me.  The chartreuse in the moss is like sunshine on fields of new grass.. which I adore even at a distance.

 There is something about the stone wall to the right and the mirror reflection showing through the ice cracks ... the progression of ice along the right edge.  I didn't capture exactly what I wanted to say - but there is always another day to try.

More sarvis trees.   I do love how the buds in the background blurred to bright spots scattered artistically behind.

 The aforementioned chicken.

sarvis buds

// I have a drawing I did of Mark in our first year of marriage that is sort of Klimt-styled that I want to put up somewhere.  It is not 'much' of a drawing, black ink on white paper, but it has that something that I always remember, some bit of expressive joy.. and I don't have anywhere that is 'right' to hang it up at and it isn't really small and easy to tuck in anywhere.  Have to think about it.  I go hunting for it every once in a while.  It has little fish (of course, its me) swimming out along the edge of it that suggest he is dreaming something.