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.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018


It's cold and wet and dim outside.  I took the camera with again just in case, but only snapped a few things that were in focus because of the 'dim' part.

Esme got in trouble at school again for not doing homework - so we have added checkboxes to the calendar to try to keep track.  She isn't too happy at any cost about it - being in trouble and/or having to have it checked up on.

We looked at some of the erosion patterns  at the bus stop because I was trying to explain my 'mathematical elegance' to Esme and how it relates to math equations and patterns.  She saw what I meant - I think - and pointed out that the little rivulets the water made in the soil demonstrate what I was saying..  yes, they do.

Our stepping stones for when the water is high in the ditch and the mud would suck the shoe right off your foot.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

kitchen towels and mathematical elegance

It would be hard to explain to you what I mean by 'mathematical elegance', but I see it everywhere, and when I get a moment to reflect on it, I try to capture the feeling. Being a synestheseate (senses overlap) it is like seeing music that is too complicated to be heard - deep wide music that stretches over and inside you at the same time.  You are part of the Universe with all of its patterns extending around you, rhythms and melodies and harmonies interspersed with color and light and space.  

I saw this on the way back from the school bus this morning and it played out a rhythm to me - staccato drums overlaid with a delicate pattern of bells and strings.  I love the way the colors of the sunrise came through as well, changing the timbre of the 'music' within the depths.

I was going to capture the golden grass in front of the fog, like the high tones of clarinets and other woodwinds and perhaps mid-tone violins in front of a quiet symphony of other small sounds. and then Daphne walked behind the grasses and added her own part to it.

 The fairyhouses have their own mathematical elegance, too

I liked the fog progression into the distance here, and it shows how the fairyhouses are stretched out across the landscape.

 Esme said this was a 'fairy moon' far above the fog.  I liked her description.

// other
I made myself some kitchen towels the other day - the patterns of the blue cacti fabric still clung to my mind weeks after seeing it - so I bought it and some 'Ursa Major' fabric with little stars and bears to go on the backside.  I had cut up some bright turquoise bird fabric that never became shorts (Esme just is too big for me to really make much for her now, the fabric cost to off-the-rack cost almost is the same now) and paired it with some polka dotted blue fabric I had in my collection.  I made three of the bird towels and one dishmat, and two of the loop-top kitchen towels to hang on the fridge.

 I made little loop tops on them - not extremely useful right now but it cost nothing to put them in - they might be useful later.

 They actually hang on the other side of the fridge - not in front of the door, but there is no sunlight there ;)

These are very cheerful.  Seeing their colors is like tasting crisp cherries buried in ice cream.

I did this one morning while waiting for Esme to get dressed for school.
We have a collection of coconut and pineapple things on the table to make some granola bars Mark has been wanting.. and I wanted to update the board that previously had the 'rabbits in rowboats'  She has a coconut on her head and is dancing the hula.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

tomato seedlings and zen

The tomato seedlings are starting to come up.  These are the ones I planted two weeks ago as a 'make it or break it' leftovers in the bottoms of packages.  So, actually, I don't even know exactly which kinds these are.  But, they are something I would enjoy, if it got to full grown.  So, there's that.

I read an article about zen the other day - and to take it where you can find it and seek it when you have a moment, no matter what is around you or ..  There is this daffodil that showed up in our garden this year, far away from the others, and all by itself.  I was thinking about that daffodil today.   I was passing the area on the road (zenning while driving, all thoughts are good, take the paths and travel them in your mind until you reach the points that are trying to be made etc etc.) where the orange daylilies are, and the daffodil prompted in my head at the same time.  I always see the daylilies and think "I want some of those" as in.. I want some at my house.  But I didn't fully appreciate the daffodil in my garden until that moment.  I didn't ask for it - but I was given it, and I should celebrate it instead of wondering where to move it to.  And I keep 'asking' in a way for the daylilies but I DO have them..  I have them on that stretch of road every year, keeping me company on my way to and fro.  And now a daffodil has me, and my garden.

Strange little wanderings.. but still, they are there.
Feel it All by KT Tunstall is still echoing in my head in a lovely way, making me happy, even though I just watched it  the once earlier this week at work after not hearing it for years.  My memory is nice for that.  I just wish it would always repeat the good things. 

Saturday, March 03, 2018

day 12 on keto 50 grams

I'm on day 12 of a 21 day keto reset.. 50 grams of carbs or less.  I'm doing good and feeling the difference.. but I also felt it when I stayed up and didn't sleep as much for those three days... I had the energy to do so but didn't get the 'big energy' the next day - kind of leveling out because I was making up for that lost sleep.

I can see the results again.  (remember I did this last August/September).  I can fit comfortably into my narrow-waisted pair of jeans AND bend over t o tie my shoes without feeling pinched.  When I look in the mirror at my waistline - with a shirt tucked in - I don't see my stomach sticking out as much as it had been.

Another thing I've noticed.  Our serving sizes are really messed up.  I looked at a bag of macadamia nuts and it said a serving size was a quarter cup!  I pour out three to six nuts when I eat them.. how in the world is a serving size that high?  And the chips I was using as my carb treat.. they say 11 chips is a serving.  4 to 6 is a GOOD sized serving for a snack.  These chips are about a third the size of a dollar bill..you don't need to eat any more than a handful at a time unless you're starving.. which, in that case, make a real meal.

Friday, March 02, 2018

wrapped bits

It is getting warmer.  I am holding my itching fingers back even though I saw people buying GARDEN plants at the store yesterday.  Why?  I mean herbs and lettuce and tomato plants.  Huh?  I did plant iris bulbs the other day - which, by the way, they are doing great.

I was proud of Esme for writing a very well-contained and thought out story last night for her language arts journal.  It was about a music teacher who says he goes for lunch but it missing for three hours -and is found hiding out lost in his music in a secret room composing and practicing a love song for his wife.  It was very sweet, and she did a great job writing it out and thinking it out as she wrote it.  That is still the hardest thing for her - the only thing that 'shows' mostly after all the trouble she had learning to form sentences as a toddler.

I caught three hours of sleep this morning.. and Mark is going to do the grocery shopping while I have to close at work.  Esme wants to go to rollerskating on Sunday, and I have to remember to bring her library book back.

I've been reading a bit of In the Country of Last Things but then I was soaking in my music instead of reading at lunch yesterday.  Remembered a snippet of music from a musician I really like and went looking for that song and couldn't find it in my collection.  It is the only song of hers I used to listen to on Spotify that wasn't in my CD I had - 'Feel it All' by KT Tunstall.  'Do you know what you've done to me?  You made my branches grow.  Now they can play with the wind, and they can carry the snow.'  I love that idea.

But my favorite song, and it often makes me cry, but always leaves with hope and love - 'Field of Gold'.. about the only song I like by Sting, but I like it.. a lot.

I got out some blue yarn that was leftover from making my shawl last year.  I was wrapping bits of it up and untangling it.. a big mess.  I want to put a few more rows on the bottom of the 'already finished' shawl so I can complete tying it around my waist when I'm wearing it.  It is just a skitch shy of that .. I can tie it, but it slips out in minutes.  A few more rows would do it... It already has about six crochet rows on it so it won't look any more out of place than it already does.  Esme likes the shawl - it is fuzzy blue yarn at the top.. she says she wants to be wrapped in a fuzzy thing.  *ha* 

Thursday, March 01, 2018

grounded and floating bits

Esme and I walked up to the school bus stop this morning.  It is still raining, it has been off and on for a week or so.. but we saw where the lilies are starting to try to come up - I guess that must be what they are, and we planned to look for a place to put the Love in a Mist seeds we got free last year and never planted.  They say 'when ground can be worked at earliest point in spring, plant in well-drained soil'.  Mark suggested up there would be a good place, high up enough on the hill they might come back year after year.  We scoped out where we might put sunflowers later.

I came back and went into the main garden and uncovered the sticks and leaves off of the oregano.  I took a pinch of it in my thumb and forefinger and scored it so I could get a good smell of it.  It is so strong right now because the leaves are new.

I met the wild chicken halfway back from the garden and she is trying to live in the doghouse in the rain, the one I packed full of extra straw last fall.  Not a terrible place for a chicken, close enough to the house bad things probably would be worried about cats and dogs and the goat nearby.  I gave her some food scattered in the dry areas under the tree.  She walked within three feet of me to eat - so she has been having a hard time the past few days getting enough if she came that close to get the food I was throwing.  'Wild' means she runs at the sight of you - and doesn't come within six feet of you unless she has a reason.

The floating bits.
I found a great deal on  an item that could be our room divider.  We talked about that project but it seemed too expensive for something we didn't need right now.  Then it fell in my lap at ten dollars - so I get to pick that up after the rain dries up and hopefully we will find a way to install it over the next few months.

I've bound off the blanket and am tying in the ends.
Laundry, huge piles of laundry.
I need to get a bit more sleep.. but it is hard to go back to sleep for an hour or so only to get right back up.. there are so many things that could be done in an hour... like laundry... like planning ...

Someday this year I need to get the novel out and read it again, and see the next step.  I had thoughts about Paul and Isabel in the time rift and I never thought them through much because it entirely changes the story of Brian and Ingrid that was where I started... Ingrid and Paul are siblings.. and Paul has been lost since they were little more than children....the 'piece of Ingrid' he took with him, that makes her distant still.. I was going to turn that into a key but I never got there.  I need to brainstorm on paper but I never end up doing it more than just in my head.  It's been something like four years running and this  story seems to add to itself when I'm not looking but hardly ever when I actually WANT to make progress with it.  Even the title keeps feeling false.. like someday it will pop into my head and I'll know it is true, but it hasn't happened yet, so I just keep calling it the Magpie story in my head when really that is just Ingrid's nickname, and the story is so much more.

I wanted to read the Auster book again before I started.  I just remembered that was the kickpoint last time.  Something was reminding me of that book.. I bought it, read a few chapters but then got sucked into something else.  It's a slim volume.  In the Cities of Coin and Spice by  Valente made me think of the Auster book, which made me think of the writing project, which made me run in mental circles ruminating on what it was that I was trying to coalesce...

I should investigate a light for over the washing machine, even a stickup one... Esme forgot her necklace in her pants pocket last night and I had to dig through the wet clothes mid cycle with her to find it.  It was almost stuck around the washing machine agitator and was stuck partially in one of the holes in the bottom of the wash-basin... hard to get it out but we managed and it didn't even break.  So hard to see in there, though.

Made four mood playlists on my music... Deep, Rise, Bang and Scrape.   I need one more, a shortened group of Rise and Bang to make something like Fly.  I'm looking forward to getting my favorite song in the mail to add in.  I used to listen on Spotify and put those all in but after they became subscriber or you don't see anything at all (instead of subscribe not to see ads), I haven't been back.