Sunday, July 26, 2020


garden bits coming in, I need to pick peppers today and probably pick over the cinnamon basil again.

A postcard from Nakisha!  She is my favorite artist.  A dear friend of mine bought me her book, and for Mother's Day I asked for a print that is now on our art wall.  It says 'I hope you get to curl up with a good book'.  She had a promotion on her Facebook and I knew I'd love to have a postcard to hang up - and show others her wonderful work.

The other postcards are from The Kirk Estate, which I got with the seeds I bought this year.  I caught up with her blog - a bit bittersweet, she writes from her soul and it is a soulful time in the world right now.


toys copyright

My friend Christine on my mom's group has been crocheting toys out of a book she got.  They are very inspiring, and a good use for little bits of yarn that would otherwise not make much.   But I hate to follow patterns.  And I knit better in the round than I crochet.  So, I decided to just draw some pictures and go at it.  I'm writing up a 'pseudocode' pattern for it (the only way I can follow knit instructions) for posterity, and will post it sometime soon as well as some step-by-step, and print out a booklet for my Etsy shop about it.

toys copyright

I repurposed a carrall from the top of a little toolbox to carry my tools and tiny balls of yarn in.  It is working pretty good.  Catching up on season 10 of NCIS, and slowly getting through the Seaquest I ordered for my birthday.

Charlotte is very happy.  The other dogs have mostly accepted her.  She gets to go on walks with Sweetie and Nova, who were never interested in walks before - but now they jump up and 'press me' to be the one to go on this walk or the other - I make them take turns.  Charlotte is so much I could never walk three on leash at the same time.. Daphne comes along without her leash  which is why I still call it a 'three dog walk'... but neither Sweetie nor Nova could be trusted to return with me from the walk like Daph does.

Esme is going back to school, so far, on the 4th of August.  That is coming up so soon.  She wants to go.  We're mostly ready.  I think I need to buy her another mask or two since she has to wear one everyday (highly encouraged), and she only has the one.  I've asked her to wear it to get used to it - but she said that was 'too much'... and she 'thinks she can handle it when the time comes'.  Well, I tried.  She's going to be thirteen before we know it.  She has joined a group online with a team studio and is doing some very interesting work, .. roleplay Minecraft storymode type stuff on a Youtube channel (of the myriad ones there are), but other than that it is 'secret' and copyrighted by the studio owner.  She's learning great art and sound skills - which she hopes to put to use in the future with her own channel.

Sunday, July 19, 2020


I am growing and drying four different kinds of basil in the garden this year.  There is sweet Genovese basil, shown above on the left, and the perennial lemon 'mint' basil, and at the bottom of the page cinnamon basil.  I also have a purple basil mixed in with regular sweet basil out there, but it hasn't yet grown large enough to pick or take photos.

my real take on masks

The mask order is to go into effect at most businesses on Monday, and there are two big problems with this:

1.) Masks don't really block the virus, but the 'mask order' is going to make people feel so safe they will now be going about 'business as usual' everywhere.

2.( I have seen people wearing masks believe they do not need to social distance because they are wearing a mask.  I've seen high risk elderly people congregating in a group of five just inches away from each other talking in Walmart aisles - all masked.. but feeling safe because of it.

Combine that with #1 and we end up basically back in the soup.

I know that the sickness is real.  I truly think that is what smacked Mark and Esme down so hard in the middle of February.  It fits all the symptoms they had and the doctors did tests and said that Esme had 'just a virus' and to take an antibiotic to control the sinus infection that came with it, so that it wouldn't dump snot into her lungs and make the effects of the virus worse.  I think I might have had a mild reaction somewhere around the first of March when my throat was so cold and achey for several days.

So I don't think the whole thing is a hoax.  But, I don't think the masks work the way people are believing with their heart and soul they are going to, either.  We should continue to distance, wash our hands and go out for essential things and work.

I naturally distance myself from ANYONE wearing a mask - but that is not what I see from others.  It is also honestly one reason why this bugs me... my 'alert' sensors are going to be going off for everyone - and I won't be able to communicate with half of them if I need to because I can't see their lips move behind a mask.  I already just nod and smile at cashiers and 'do the routine' because I can't understand if they are asking me 'donate to children's hospital' (guessed) or 'dome rate a child's horse petal'   If I know what I'm 'supposed' to hear it gets better, but sometimes it is just entirely unintelligible.

And yet, when the # of cases go up two weeks after this, it won't be blamed on the mask order.  It will be 'it would have been so much worse without the mask order!'

And school?  Well, Esme wants to go back.  They just haven't said much at the district beyond the start date and the supply list - they are still arguing over the policies I guess.  I do have a mask for her if she has to wear one.  I'm not sure what her feelings are on it - she just wants to be back with her grade.  She worries about what 'all' her friends got involved in over the summer, new skills, new friends, new goals.  She wants to talk to them and do new things instead of what she has done the past four months.  She has made a lot of new friends as well, through her Minecraft, voice acting online and animation... and she has 'come into her own' a little with this, having new goals and ambitions.

But, she is ready for a little more 'normal'.. and I know everyone is.  I don't like 'the new normal' everyone is talking about.  It frankly scares me a little to look at life being like that for the next twenty years or so... and not just for me, but for Esme growing up in that kind of world.

Leaving this here for posterity...

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

zucchini experiments - vinegar

I'm experimenting with refrigerator pickles etc. I had fresh basil that I dried earlier today, and several small cucumbers and zucchini that were ready. I read a bunch of recipes online, then freehanded this with what I have:

Recipe tried

finely chopped zucchini and cucumber in a quart jar, 
1 cup white wine vinegar, 
1 cup water 
2 tbsp sugar 
boiled mixture together, pour over mixture in jar, 
add 2 tbsp olive oil, basil leaves, mustard seeds and crushed red pepper seed, 
add more boiling water to fill almost to the top, 
seal hot jar and refrigerate for 48 hours. 

I think it would be excellent served over rice, we'll see. I can see making it with some hot peppers, onions and garlic for another go round.  I did not soak the mixture in salt and rinse it as a prep step.  I almost did that yesterday - and then ended up using those cucumbers for a salad mixture to eat on toast.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Adopted a lost dog - Charlotte

This dog was lost over July 4th weekend and someone I knew from Lowe's had posted about her.  I looked at how much she was like our other dogs and sent a few pictures to Mark and he said 'you should tell that person we'll take her if they won't keep her'.. because she looked like she had some real personality and that personality 'resembled the everything of our dogs'.

so next thing you know we are picking up Charlotte (the lady who found her named her) from a house in Paris.  She had been there a week and they couldn't keep her - but neither they nor I wanted to see her in a shelter.  It's obvious looking at her head she has some Pitt bull in her, so she probably would not have fared well at the shelter.

 the vet at Lakeway said they thought she was a blue heeler and pit bull cross, about 2 years old or less, unspayed female  If she does have owners looking for her, maybe they'll find her this way but we will need some pretty good evidence that she is theirs, pictures and vet records etc.  We will have her spayed in a few weeks if no one calls us or the original finder about her.

She is energetic.  She won't stay off the bed - she sleeps up against my back. She loves toys and stuffed animals - but luckily has not chewed anything up here.  She knows about chickens, and how to properly behave around them, and knows cats.  She does not know goats, but was willing to steer clear of 'weird dog' the first day, then got a little barky the second.  She is 'handsy' with her paws -likes to put them up on my knees and probably liked to be a lap dog when she was smaller.  My Sweetie is jealous that Mom would dare bring another dog into the house, much less let it on the BED which she has always been told not to be on *sigh* I tried to keep her off - she said the other dogs would pick on her and they kind of did...anytime she tried to lay down anywhere else someone was prodding and jumping around her. So, I gave in.

Daphne and Nova aren't too hot on the idea either, but do like to go for walks.  Minerva says 'puppy...big puppy' and just wants to make sure she keeps her dignity and that Mom will still feed her curry and eggs.  Spud says 'puppy .. energetic female puppy' and tolerates her - he was the ambassador we brought with and he said 'if we have to' and was quite diplomatic about bringing her home to introduce to everyone else.. just a little snap and bark and sit still and not on me in the truck all the way home.

Rex is glad to have someone to bite, but also his dignity is hurt getting bit so much.  They're warming up to each other.  She is about his age, maybe a little younger, and now she is the smallest dog here!   She walks on a leash nicely, but really really likes walks, as well - so she will get bored and sigh when walks have not been sufficient.. even with yard time.

Someone loved her - they put two collars on her, one purple and a flea collar.  Someone maybe couldn't keep her.  She obviously had a woman owner, because she bonded hard to the lady who found her, and now she is laying at my feet or at doors I go out of etc.. sleeping up against my back (as I said a bit ago).  She does not like lighters, fire, or spray cans.  She cowered once when I picked up a laundry basket and swung it over my shoulder.. but she cues off the other dogs, too - and has decided it is okay when sounds are scary as long as the others say it is.

Mom!  She's biting me!  *ha*

Victor Keyboard model 101 Made in Japan

We were emptying some boxes of old computer equipment and came across this gem - a Victor 101 KB keyboard, made in Japan.  This is old - and we don't know if it is working, but it could be used for parts.  So, we're offering it up for sale.

Victor was an early competitor to IBM, and were a favorite of typists and programmers alike for the 'clicky keyboards', mechanical keyboards that gave you a definite response for each key typed. 

Victor 101 Keyboard buy it on Ebay

serial and part numbers 108815-01
Victor Keyboard Unit Model 101 KB

It has this connector on it, so I can't test it anymore.  But we're sending it up to be offered for parts, and maybe for just plain vintage appeal.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

 cinnamon basil

 Komatsuna mustard

 tulip lilies open in the daytime

 and closed at night and in the early morning

Esme did a virtual 4H camp over Zoom the past week, and I knitted on this blanket some more putting another 8 inches on it.  It is 36" wide.  I also found out that I knit in a mostly 'Portuguese style'.. but before I watched the videos I would have said 'continental' or left handed continental if you'd asked me.  Now though, I'm pretty convinced after comparing more videos.  I had heard of Portuguese knitting but only with beads... never watched an actual knitting with yarn example before.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Book Sounding or Book Dowsing

Apparently some people have not heard of this.  It's called 'book sounding', or 'book dowsing', depending on which one you like better.  You can practice it in libraries, on your shelves or on a friend's book shelves.  You run your fingers (or eyes, depending on rules) along the books almost randomly, until one just FEELS right or stands out in some way that is impossible to deny.  You take that book down, go to a comfortable chair and give it a very good try to read, not just one page like you might at the shelf, but a few chapters.

You might 'accidentally' pick up a book about rope, or growing herbs, or a love story that takes place at the turn of the century, or a zombie child that goes through time.  It really could be anything.  Maybe not accounting or rocketry tables.. put that back, maybe.  It could be your thing.

The point of book sounding is to open your mind and have an adventure.  I also love to do it in 'friends of the library bookstores' and thrift shops.  You NEVER know what you'll find - or does it find you?  For a quarter you may be reading a selection of short stories edited by Isaac Asimov that is no longer in print, or suddenly realize a favorite author wrote something you missed, somehow, and now it is right here in your hand.  It has happened to me.

I wrote this article because a Google search for 'book sounding' showed nothing, and 'book dowsing', still nada, no description of the activity!  But I've seen people do it in real life, in movies - what do they call it?  It is so obviously a vibration thing when they are doing it with their fingers - something calls to the fingertips.

So, go try it.  See what the Universe tosses your way. 

Father's Day and birthday in our sub tropical rainforest (actually Tennessee)

planted some more things outside between the rainstorms

planted (in the last five days)
sunflowers, basil, kale, zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, some more zucchini and cucumbers, pepe de rola beans, painted pony and Big Kahuna beans

Happy Father's Day to Mark, father to this little girl, who isn't all that little anymore!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Took Esme out to the lake today with a friend from work and her two children.  The beach was not crowded.  We tossed a soccer ball around in the water.  It was a great time, and Esme smiled and laughed more than she has in a while.  Mark and I did some work in the garden tonight.  I found a snail, and he took a picture of it.  I planted Big Kahuna beans and marigolds and a few Painted Pony beans.  Esme and I planted sunflower seeds a few days ago.  The garden is beginning to produce peppers, summer squash and zucchinis, and the tomatoes are hanging green and round.  I picked a bunch of mustard greens flowers (yellow things on top, kind of like broccoli rabe) and some accidentally picked kale and mustard (where the snail came from) and chopped it all up to go with rice and curry sauce for dinner.  Mark and Esme had something else, and I had a little of that, but definitely wanted to eat my greens :)

Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice.  My clock is set.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


The purslane and basil are starting to come up in the garden.  The butterfly weed and onion bloomed even more today, as well as the orange gladiolus.  Mark hung the hammock, and Esme and I dismantled the old chicken tractor pen and repurposed the materials as a bed for climbing plants by the side of the house.

 This is an example of what is coming out of the garden at the moment

I had a Zoom meeting, did some knitting, watched Young Einstein that Mark had rec'd (recommended) and he is watching Dark City, which is one I really 'like', not for the first 95% of it but for the last 5. where it affirms the 'life is what you make of it' and what you do with the power and abilities you are given.  At the end the man could have crushed the world with a thought, had anything he ever dreamed he wanted in the world - but he really wanted the same thing, the place that was beautiful - that wasn't real but had such -gripping- elements that everyone wanted to remember it and see it and couldn't... and he wanted a little bit of real human contact, deeper than memory, deeper than society or names or jobs.. something they had felt that was still there - because she asks him to come along without knowing him at all anymore, there is still something there, and there is a punch in that.  The only guy I feel bad for is the one who did the hard work and digging along with them, questioned everything and then ended up out in Space - his last vision that of the messed-up world from the Outside, but never getting to see what could be once the Dreamer takes control of the Dream.

wax poetic.. but that is what I do sometimes.

Esme and I have played with her new soccer ball.  She is signed up for a virtual 4H camp.  I would like to enlist her to help me clean up the yard a bit more tomorrow and maybe put the dirt in the bed we made, and decide what to do.  She is doing some virtual animation stuff with her Minecraft friends - it's pretty cool, music video stuff with digitally-drawn animations frame by frame.  I really like the expressions the animals are drawn with, the 'facepalms' and annoyed eyes etc.. and they are attempting to move the mouths along with the words to the music, too.

Friday, June 12, 2020

a perennial that we added to the pole garden
 Mexican butterfly weed.  I thought this did not take at all when I planted it two or three years ago.  Today, I find it about to bloom, in the exact spot I planted it - but now I had let the mint and lemon balm sort of edge over there because 'nothing would grow there'... I'm glad I was wrong!

 The raised bed is growing mustard, arugula, kohlrabi, strawberries, peppers, purslane and lemon basil.  The lemon basil has kind of escaped, like the lemon balm, all over the garden.  I let it be in some places, snap it up and use it in my food in other places.  In the raised bed the lemon basil and the purslane have reseeded themselves two years in a row now... it's great!

The row of black pots was not growing much - only two had things in them that were productive, and they were both tideovers from last year.  So, I made yet ANOTHER raised bed.  I haven't filled it up yet with the proper dirt, need to decide what to plant in it, too.  This is the section of the garden that was accidentally salted years ago when we scooped dirt up from underneath our porch - which had icemelter salt in it... and nothing has really grown well there ever since.  The new bed there in front has bush beans planted in it.. and I can see they have expanded some with moisture just under the surface, but they have not begun to root yet.

 with the pots full of clay dirt that never held enough water to grow things

the flower on an onion that had overwintered in the shade graden is starting to pop bit by tiny bit

Thursday, June 11, 2020

I was out in the garden today, harvested a little greens, and made lunch

 I should have used half that amount of lemon and half of onion, and twice or more of the greens - balanced against the egg and the bread it was still quite good.  I combined it with the barbeque sauce from the other day, too - to counteract the lemon.

 I use a plate like this for steaming, and steamed the egg right on top of the other food in the pan

Black hollyhocks, took this bud apart and took some pictures

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

the gardens on June 10

the root of the mystery plant
it smells like carrot