Saturday, March 31, 2018

Esme's drawings

Esme's drawings of her Minecraft avatars and adventures.  

forest walk (with botanical interest pics)

We walked down by the lake with Grandma and up into the swampy areas where the beavers are working on felling trees and the herons make their nests.  We were looking for emerging plants and trying to document some of them, too.
 This was a freshly felled tree.  The woodchips were new and bright and the tree branches in the water had fresh new Spring leaves on them.

 Down by the beaver dens

 This kind of milky glass green color turned to turquoise blue at the edges of the lake, like a giant piece of agate.    The herons nest around here, too.

 a beech nut tree with lovely branches

 This is an interesting cane grass that was growing next to the lake in one area.  I can't remember seeing it before, but there were several plants of it.  The top was feathery and the bottom was a collection of hollow reed-like pieces growing out of one clump.

 Daphne was so happy, look at her smile!
 Esme was happy to get her feet in the water, too!

 standing down at the edge of the lake near the beaver dens

This is rabbit tobacco or mullein

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

bit a bit

Esme's guitar comes in the mail soon.  My algebra and chemistry books come soon...I hope?  I've been doing Khan and am at about 75% on the section in math about dividing polynomials that kept bothering me before.  My Welsh is on the back burner... it's been really busy and I've been tired.  The garden looks about the same - we'll see by this Saturday if anything has come up.  The rain is both good and bad for it.. it needs water, but I worry that the rain/cold will be too cold and the rain might wash the seeds out of their placements.. we'll see.

I'm still tutoring the nursing student in math - Esme is a bit upset about that, mostly because I won't let her come along because it is quite boring and she is still grounded from electronics until April the 5th.  She is really feeling the grind of that now that she is home for Spring Break.  And her schedule is off - she says because I'm tutoring, which actually has nothing to do with it because it was a day on the weekend and I was home before 7 pm *roll eyes* and it will be this Saturday again.

We have agreed to get the girls together for Easter afternoon - although I'm not sure what they will get to do as it might rain again.

I have three days of closing now...*rar* and I'm trying to fight a sinus infection that wants to take hold.  I've found some green curry sauce that might help kick it.

 the garden boxes

the sweater yarn matches my hat I made this winter

I'm knitting what I think might be a sweater.  I haven't really gotten any measurements for it yet.  I did buy more of the yarn and I think I have enough to get the front and back done.  I need to find a pattern with measurements so I can do more than just guess.  I'm such a terrible pattern-follower it really isn't going to help any other way.  When I made sweaters for Esme I always just relied on the measurements in the pattern and didn't follow the other instructions at all.

Our neighbors are trying to sell their newly built house for three times what it is worth - that;s more than half a million dollars.  A two story house in the sticks!  It is ludicrous... we're not sure whether to roll laughing or worry that they might do it and raise everyone's property taxes again.  I know I'm biased - but it is a very ugly house, fake 'brick' facade and looks like someone pointed to something out of a catalog and said 'this one.' 

I met a chemical engineer at work the other day and he said there really was something to the lanthanides and transition metals and crystal field theory.  Something about the crystals producing their own energy because of the structure and the conductivity of the metals being different.  We were doing bathroom cabinets so it wasn't a long discussion - but I want to try to read more again.

I'm trying to read the book 'Moriarty' after finishing the first Ravenhurst book.  And now I have to go look at the laundry.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Shepard Lane Garden

 We put the last bags of soil into the raised bed garden and began to plant the cold season crops.  We put in kohlrabi, broccoli, raab, radishes, spinach, kale, collards and swiss chard.  I put cucumbers in the back corner of the main garden which we can replant if it was too early.

Mikey brought some other plants including strawberries and we put them in the corners of the raised beds and in the herb garden.

Mikey and the girls and I all went to go see A Wrinkle in Time.  It was a really good move.  Esme and I went to get a sandwich and some spare grocery things and then came home for a rest. 

Friday, March 23, 2018


The bits.  Esme has Spring Break next week.  Tomorrow is the garden day, but it might well rain on us.  We might go see a movie if it does.  I went out to do a math tutor session last night in Algebra - and got lost on the way there.. turned right when I should have turned left, didn't know I was on the wrong side of the highway for about 10 miles worth...eep.  Finally got there.. had to work hard to screw my math cap on because I was overthinking the problems.  It was factoring polynomials.  It's been so long... but I did get back on the horse.

Came home and tore apart our bookshelves looking for a certain book - only to realize with Mark's help that said book probably got destroyed years ago in an accident.  Ordered another one off of Ebay.. probably not same title, but it might do.  Found lots of books I'd been halfway wondering where they were... restacked things by subject (with Mark's help).  I made a tentative agreement to go back out there Sunday.  She has several things that have to be done by the beginning of May - that gives us a month.  I was worried she needed it all done in a few nights or the weekend at first and that was daunting!

Got a home-measurement for a shower at work I need to go on.. a set of cabinets to sell...and then maybe when I get home I can put some more dirt in the garden that we bought yesterday.  Esme bought some broccoli and catnip as her additions to the garden.  Now look it is going to get too warm and the broccoli and spinach will do what they always do... but we're going to try anyway.  I bought a package of fresh sunflower seeds for 8 foot tall sunflowers.

for reference : books
 chemistry books
Rare Earth Intermetallics 1973 by W. E. Wallace
Crystal Structure Analysis by Glusker and Trueblood, 1985
Introduction to Coordination, Solid State, and Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry by Glen Rodgers, 1994 
 math books
the Analytic Geometry by Ross Middlemiss 1955 is something Ive actually rebought before
the algebra book I went and purchased last night was
Algebra Structure and Method by McDougal/Littel
not pictured here is 'Calculus' Single Variable and Transcendentals by Stewart
Plane Geometry by Smith and Ulrich
Progress in Mathematics by Sadlier-Oxford (homeschool fare, excellent though)

 some misc things - including the Complete Book of Fresh water Fishing (which we got a kick out of finding again.. it was something Esme found at a library sale and she had to have it!)

 physics books
Modern Technical Physics by Beiser
Particle Physics The Quest for the Substance of Substance by L.B. Okun 1985
I have rebought a copy of "New Practical Physics" by Newton Henry Black and Harvey National Davis (by Black and Davis) c 1932 after losing one before.
Elementary Mechanics c. 1930 by I.C.S. Staff (parts 1,2,3,4)
not pictured:
Astronomy by Arthur M. Harding, c 1935

// note to self:
So you stayed up for two hours this morning instead of going back to bed to 1.) document these books so you don't lose a copy again the way the algebra book did and .. to realize you still need a book on transition metals and organometallic chemistry and go look for one.  *sheesh*... but ok.  Maybe _someday_ I'll actually get more than twenty minutes into studying this topic that keeps scratching the back of my brain with 'There is SOMETHING here I need to know.'

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 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.