Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rambling: Rambling

This is one of those It's Been Long Enough Since I Posted posts.

The sugar snap peas are sprouting.

I wrote three hundred words of fiction today. It was lousy, but I wrote it.

I'm getting over a cold.

I don't want to work tomorrow.

I want it to be a sunny day and I want to read a murder mystery outside instead.

If I had any spare vacation I might call in and do just that.

But I don't. It's all booked.

I'm eating some sugar and gaining some of my weight back. I need to get back on the lowish-carb wagon. Iced tea. (Unsweetened.) Turkey. With mayonnaise. Olives. Chicken. Cauliflower. Broccoli. Pickled things. Greek yogurt. Cheese. Oh, and butter. Don't forget the butter.

I don't want to work tomorrow. I think it's the cold; after I'm done being sick I feel entitled to some time off feeling good. Because the cold ate all my evenings and weekends.

I'm watching the Buffy episode "The Witch." I always found the timeline of that episode to be puzzling. There were lines when Amy seemed to be, you know, Amy, when I'm pretty sure that she wasn't supposed to be. If you see what I mean. It always made me wonder if the script was changed after some of the filming was done.

Yes, I realize that I sound like a geeky Star Trek fan in that Saturday Night Live episode.

"Is that even Cordelia's locker?"

I still haven't planted my alpine strawberry seeds. Or my lettuce seeds. Not that we eat lettuce all that often. But I like growing it because I make no sense.

The leeks are growing at a startling rate, now that the weather is warming up.

So are the weeds. We need to get some landscape fabric and plastic and paper down. Not all in the same place.

"First vampires, now witches. No wonder you can still afford a house in Sunnydale."

I was going to go to bed in time to get some extra sleep before getting up for work. That window is closing. So, that is all.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fiction: Heresy

Henry tossed US News And World Report on the table and pushed his way up from his chair. "That's it, I'm out of here."

"Thank God." Emily let Harper's Bazaar slide into the arm of her chair as she stood. "Let's go home. No, let's get dinner; how many weeks have we been here? But I don't know what you're sounding so rebellious for; I don't think this waiting-room thing was even her idea." She stopped, cardigan halfway on. "I mean--I don't mean that."

Henry grinned, folding his arms as he turned to face her. "Yes, you do."

"Stop looming. No, I don't. Don't be silly. You can't do anything that's not her idea."

"Oh, yeah? Watch me." He unfolded and reached to grab the cardigan by the scruff of its neck. "Don't put that thing on. Do you even like cardigans?"

"No. So?"

"You're just putting it on because she wanted you to stop halfway through putting something on, and having you talk through the top of a pullover sweater was too hard to describe. You wouldn't be caught dead in a cardigan if it were your choice."

She pulled her arms out of the sweater and took a step back from him, looking away. "Well, maybe if...OK, probably not. Maybe a Chanel. A vintage Chanel. Does Chanel make cardigans?"

Henry shook his head. "Stop babbling. That's not you, it's her."

"No, I think it's me--but anyway, it's not my choice."

"It's going to be your choice. We're getting out of here."

"Stop saying that. You're not making any sense."

"Oh, I'm making perfect sense; if I weren't, you'd look at me all wideeyed and say, 'Out of where?'"

She turned back to glare at him. "Fine, get it out of your system. Out of where?"

Henry picked up the magazines and the cardigan and threw them toward the far, darkened end of the waiting room. "Into. Sorry, I said it wrong. We're getting into the world."

"This is the world."

"Nope." He turned to her. "No. The real world."

She frowned. "Stop that."

"I'm breaking out of this novel, baby." He grimaced. "OK, and I won't be doing impressions out there. But I'm getting out. Come with me."

"Are you crazy?"

"No, I'm fed up."

"But you're the nice guy. The supportive guy."

"Emily, I'm not talking about breaking out and becoming a serial killer. I can be the nice supportive guy out there. If I want to. That's the point."

She shook her head. "Stop it. It's impossible."

He reached for her hand. "Come on."

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gardening: Random thoughts, mostly seeds

It's gone cold again. Sniff. Not frozen, and not too rainy, but the garden doesn't have that bond-with-the-dirt appeal when the wind's trying to blow your ears inside out. Maybe it'll be nicer this weekend.

In Portland last weekend, we had "kale raab". I don't think I'd ever heard the term before. I assume that it's flowering shoots from kale plants--that's what it looked like. It suddenly makes me want to have some kale plants old enough to be bolting.

I thought that my snap peas would be sprouting by now. They're not. Hmph. I hope that's just about the cold, and nothing's been digging the seeds up. If they have been digging them up, they've been smoothing the soil and patting it down again, so that doesn't seem likely. Though I can visualize raccoons doing just that. And giggling.

I bought some plants of Welsh onions, aka perennial scallions. I've been wanting to grow these for a while. Unfortunately, the label for these bragged that they were "mild", while I want the sharp ones described in (excuse me while I run to the garden bookshelf) Oriental Vegetables by Joy Larkcom. So I'll look for more varieties to add. I'm going to put these in the "herbs and perennial vegetables" row, which so far has sixteen chive plants in it and nothing else. I find myself wondering if it should instead be "perennial herbs and vegetables", meaning that I should put annual herbs like basil somewhere else, and then I smack myself and tell myself to stop overanalyzing and go dig somewhere.

After spending a modest bag of money to have high-quality landscape fabric shipped, we discovered that the Grange has almost identical landscape fabric available by the foot right down the road. Oh, well; now we know.

I found Bountiful Bush Bean seeds! I couldn't find these last year or the year before, and when I planted half of my remaining pack last year to grow some of my own seeds, I forgot to mark which were Bountiful and which weren't. So it's a relief to be able to buy them again. I think that these are my favorite snap bean variety, though that may just be because it's the first variety I ever grew myself.

I bought parch corn seeds again. (Specifically, Supai Red Parch Corn.) This is a corn that you grow and dry, and then "parch" in a pan, which causes it (I think) to puff up a little bit. It's not popcorn, but when parched it's chewable snack food. And aren't the seeds beautiful? I hope that this year I grow it successfully enough, and early enough, to get some dry ears.

Speaking of "early enough", I also found Blacktail Mountain watermelon seeds! Yay! Blacktail Mountain is supposed to be one of the earliest-maturing varieties of watermelon, and also has the bonus feature of keeping for a couple of months. I've been meaning to find seeds for a while. I don't think that I really need such an early watermelon in my climate, but I want to try it anyway. This and the parch corn are both discussed in Carol Deppe's Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

For years, Himself and I have been wanting to find the match for a sweet orange tomato that a coworker gave me one year. This year, the candidates are Nebraska Wedding and Garden Peach. I'll report back. Last year was the first year that I grew tomatoes from seed--we built the World's Smallest Greenhouse, and it worked! So I'm reasonably confident of actually tasting these tomatoes.

I was pleased to read that alpine strawberries can be grown in a moderate amount of shade, so I sent off for some seeds and will be starting them in the greenhouse too. Some web sources indicate that they're hard to germinate; others have no complaint. We'll find out.

I suddenly have the impulse to list everything growing in the garden. We cleared out almost everything from last year in order to get a handle on the perennial weeds, and started replanting. The current census is:
  • Sixteen chive plants.
  • Ten blueberry bushes, two looking sadly dead.
  • Four blackcurrant bushes, leafing out! Woohoo!
  • About eighty strawberry plants, and more planned.
  • Four peonies--anomala, Spumoni Whisper, Serene Pastel, and...Fluffy.
  • Some completely totally utterly uninvited bamboo sneaking in from next door. It must be evicted.
  • Some leeks. Two dozen?
  • Cascadia snap pea seeds, if they sprout.
  • The preexisting horse chestnut tree.
  • The preexisting Unknown Tree.
Pending short-term plans are:
  • Thyme and sage and marjoram and tarragon and savory, in the herb row. 
  • Raspberries, moved from our increasingly shady back yard to the Farm.
  • Shelling peas. Maybe.
  • Fingerling potatoes. Similarly maybe.
That is all.

Photo: Mine.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Perfume: Random Thoughts

When Coco Noir came out I was afraid that Chanel's perfume history was over. Today I'm wearing three (sample) sprays of 1932. (EDITED FOR FTC DISCLOSURE: I GOT THE SAMPLE FOR FREE. FREE, I TELL YOU, FREE.) I'm not worried about Chanel any more. I'll write a proper review one of these days, but meanwhile, just to be on the record: It's good stuff.

I'm still thinking of buying Din Dan. Tapdancy lemons. Yum.

Have I mentioned the Neighborhood Sample Swap? I don't think I have. I really need to write a post about it.

Kitty feet!

OK, that's all I've got.

Edited to add Footnote: Returning to the FTC disclosure realm, I received a free sprayer sample of 1932, along with tiny samples of cologne, mascara, and some kind of cream, from a kindly Chanel rep, I believe in the context of my role as a customer (I bought a Les Exclusifs bottle from said rep's store) rather than a blogger. Does this mean that I'm not allowed to praise the perfume until I buy a full bottle? Am I not allowed to even then, because I once received some for free? Can I say sheesh?

Fiction(ish): Wire and cloth and poultry, oh, my.

"Mommy or Mama?"


"What did we call her? I loved her. You call her Mom, but back when I was in charge, what did we call her?"

"You were never in charge. I was always in charge."

"Yes, I was. Remember when we were really little, back before she lost all that weight? She was fat and warm and we used to hug her. You remember how good it felt, right?"

"Shut up."

"I'm making you cry. That means you remember."

"I'll give you that gallon of milk if you shut up."

"Nope. Mommy or Mama?"

"I'll give you ice cream."

"Not gonna happen. Mommy or Mama?"

"I'm not talking about this."

"But we'll dream about her again. We'll tell her we love her again. You're not in charge there. The Id Owns The Dreams! Bwahahaha!"

"Lay off the power trip. You're not the id. You're just stupid stray thoughts."

"Remember the Buffy episode? Which of us would have stolen the sandwich?"

"That just makes you obnoxious, it doesn't make you a...a...some stupid textbook thing."

"Where tiny people?"

"Shut up."


"Shut. Up."

"Giles, don't make cave-id unhappy."


"Mommy or Mama?"

"I don't care. She didn't love us."

"But we thought she did. That's what matters."

"The hell it is."

"You and your objective truth, blah blah. What good does it do us?"

"It's real. She didn't love us. That's real."

"We thought she did. Those monkeys with the cloth mother think it loves them. Why do you want to take her away from me?"

"I didn't do it, she did. She didn't love us."

"Pretend with me."


"It feels good."


"If you don't, I'll make you cry some more."


"Mommy or Mama?"

"Shut up. If you shut up I'll make you some fried chicken."


"Slow-fried, Mom style."


"With crunchies."


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fiction(ish): Gray Matter Brawl

"You're supposed to be writing."

"Shut up."

"Aren't you the one that keeps giving out 'just write' advice? Just wriiite, don't woooorry about whether it's perfect, you can just look down and write about your shoes, it's all writing, blah de blah de blah."

"Shut up."

"And here you are, not writing. You've got shoes. What's the problem?"

"Also? Shut up."

"They're black, right? Suede."

"Did I mention the shutting up?"

"Kinda dirty, though. The shoes, I mean. Not the writing. Dirty writing would be a lot more interesting than this."


"I don't wanna be quiet. Why don't you just walk away if you don't like it, huh? Huh? Huh?"

"Oh, for bleep's sake..."

"I know why. It's because I live in your head. Cool, huh?"

"Yeah. Great."

"In fact, it appears that your version of looking down and writing about your shoes is arguing with yourself at the keyboard."

"Are you done?"

"Have you written three hundred words yet?"


"Well, then, that's your answer, now isn't it?"

"I could just say 'shut up' another seventy-five or so times."

"You could, but you're not going to."

"Shut up."

"Seventy-four to go. By the way, does this count as fiction? After all, I actually am in your head. And so are you. Sort of by definition. Unless you're possessed or something."

"That's an idea. Let's call an exorcist."

"Nah. I might be the one that belongs here."

"I'll risk it."

"No, you won't. Anyway, you don't have any pea soup."

"That didn't make any sense."

"I'm not the part that has to make sense. I don't care if you write. Or eat sugar. Or drink a gallon of milk. In fact, let's go get some milk right now. One gallon and I'll shut up."


"That's all? 'No'? You want milk, too. You know you do. You're the reason we get fat; it's not me."

"Shut up."

"Milk and a cupcake. Several cupcakes. You think that place in Portland would ship 'em?

"Three hundred and five words. Bye!"


Monday, March 11, 2013

Rambling: More Gardening

So, I don't think I mentioned in my last post that all those square feet were tilled with, y'know, a tiller. A modest-sized electric tiller. I didn't work them all with a shovel and fork.

Now that I've eliminated all of your respect for my work, I offer another garden update all the same. I finally planted the sixteen or so square feet of snap peas that I prepped last time. I prepped another eighty-five square feet for herbs and perennial vegetables, covered it with landscape fabric, and got the herbs started with sixteen chive plants, one per square foot in a four-by-four block. (Well, four plants divided into four each.) I gave that bed nine cubic feet of Farmyard Blend, ten cups of Dr. Earth fertilizer, and a bit more than box of rock phosphate. I hope that the plants are happy. I hope that I didn't overdose with the rock phosphate; it was the recommended dose. (Edited to add: "That bed" meaning the whole eighty-odd square feet, not just the sixteen square feet for the chives. I mention that before someone sends a rescue party for overfertilized chives.)

I'm also noticing creeping blog writer's block, and in fact creeping writer's block in general, so I've resolved that I'm going to eliminate the need to add a picture to my posts, because freakishly that tends to be the roadblock that stops the posting of the post. I dunno why. It's weird.

Over in the Land of Fruit at the other end of the garden, everything seems to be waking up for spring, except for one of the eight blueberry plants; all of its little friends have tiny pink swelling bits, and it's looking sadly dry-stick-like. The next change there will be raspberries, moved from a too-shady corner of the back yard.

I'm debating putting in asparagus. On one hand, it will be two full years before we're supposed to eat any. On the other hand, if I wait a year, it will be three full years before we're supposed to eat any, and surely someday I want to eat homegrown asparagus? I also have stage fright, because of the way that all the books fuss about how Those Plants Will Be There For Twenty Years Aieeee! But that's true of a lot of perennials, so what's all the fuss about? I should just plant some already.

I just sent off for alpine strawberry seeds, despite all the complaints that I read online about how hard it is to persuade them to germinate.

I have Blacktail Mountain watermelon seeds! I read about them in Carol Deppe's book Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, wanted 'em, couldn't find 'em, but suddenly I see them at more than one site. Yay!

Similarly, Bountiful Bush Beans are my favorite bean and I was afraid I'd never find them again. Suddenly, again, they're being sold by more than one vendor.

I'm probably not going to grow Copra onions this year, because we're trying to work only as much space as we can tend, and anyway I decided that I ought to grow my own from seed instead of buying plants and I think I'm too late for that. Maybe. It's possible that in the next blog post I'll tell you that I changed my mind and I'm growing a thousand plants of them. We'll see.

We probably will grow Yukon Gold potatoes. Except as I type that I realize that we're growing everything under landscape fabric or landscape paper this year, and you're supposed to hill up potatoes. Hmm. Can you grow potatoes under landscape fabric, maybe lifting it to hill up and then lowering it again - probably with pleats to make room for all that hilliness? Is that just whacky? Or, of course, I could make the potato bed the one "open" bed without landscape fabric and focus my weeding effort there.

I haven't eaten anything from the garden yet this spring, since we sort of restarted the whole thing--no leftover winter crops. I'm tempted to plant some lettuce or radishes just to change that.


That is all.