Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I got started doing things earlier than I normally do. Got beans and cherry tomatoes harvested. The beans are frozen and the tomatoes are waiting for a salad. I saw a small cucumber I am watching for the right time to harvest and pickle. Got chocolate and peppermint cut and in the dehydrator and then ground the lavender and spearmint I dried yesterday. I brought down the drays for the older dehydrator which fit the newer one so I can load one set of trays for drying while I grind the herbs on the other set. I don't want to use both dryers if I can help it. That makes the grinding and loading awful grueling chores. I decided to grind the few eggshells I had that were dry and add those to the stock of slow release calcium for next spring. I put about half a tray worth of peppermint into white vinegar which is now steeping on my shelf. As I pick and cut  and trim I think about where I will put what plants next spring and plan the order in which the beds will be put to sleep for the winter. Nice thing about gardens--there is always something to plan and think about.

This story makes me glad I am now retired. Obviously I have other notions of what is "the right thing to do" and putting microchips into employees isn't among them. The CEO of the company claims it can't be hacked or tracked but that is ridiculous. If there is enough incentive for less than ethical people to hack or track they will do just that. I recall stories earlier in the year about problems the Chicago transit system had because the machines were misreading cards or reading cards in someones wallets or double or triple charging the cards. The stories also mentioned criminals using readers to read the magnetic strips or the chips while the cares were in the wallets--all they had to do was get close enough--like bumping into you distance.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Nice today--a bit cooler but generally cooler. I have spearmint and lavender drying, and I started a jar with the excess lavender steeping in vodka. I also deeply watered all of the plants downstairs and trimmed up one of the dianthus pots.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Busy morning already. I harvested 10 of the Patio Baby eggplants which Mom got cooked up and ready to bag for the freezer. I was surprised to find several of the asparagus beans ready to pick in addition to the monster that I would swear grew another six inches in the last day. Those are already bagged and frozen. I picked the four pickling cucumbers that were ready and they also surprised me by how much size they put on since I looked at them yesterday. They are in quart jars--one full and the other half full--of pickling brine and spices in the fridge. We will have the dozen cherry tomatoes I found ready to pick with the salads for dinner. The second busy season of the gardens has started (the first was planting season.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Heavy thunderstorms rolled through last night. Rain is still falling though lightly--for how long we don't know. We plan to go to the farm market and do a couple of more errands but can easily put it off till Tuesday. We are postponing the decision for a bit. I can't see any damage nearby from the storms but we have been lucky since the worst of the storm tracks have merely clipped us.

Ronni Bennett has an interesting post yesterday at Time Goes By. They made a movie a few years ago starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson titled "The Bucket List." I used to see memes frequently asking what would be on your Bucket List. I never made such lists because I was always at a loss as to what I really wanted to list. However the "Reverse Bucket List" is interesting but I realize that I haven't made that kind of list either. Over the years my patterns, activities, goals have changed. I never cottoned to "texting" and always thought it a waste. So I never tried to learn it. I always thought Twitter an even bigger waste but, if it floats your boat, go ahead. I won't be following or tweeting. These are a kind of unconscious Reverse Bucket List. But then there are the more conscious additions to the list or rather my recognition of limitations of both time and energy. I will never have the time to read all the books or view all of the movies/TV shows someone or other has insisted everyone must read or view. After years when my reading was dictated by the needs of classes or research projects I read what I want to for as long as I want to and say to hell with the rest. The same goes for movies and TV. In the past my mantra was "been there, done that--no more." Now more often it is "haven't been there, don't want to go there--no way."

We got our shopping done. The rain stopped and we thought it would be safe to venture out. We did go to the farm market and made a couple of other stops before finishing at the grocery store. By then we were pretty well exhausted by the heat and humidity. Mid 80s right now but feels like 90.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Partly cloudy today with isolated chance of showers. It is very muggy so I didn't stay outside long. I will go out in little segments to look at things and see if anything needs water. Some of the big plants might. I found four cucumbers that are about the right size for pickling and that the asparagus beans are producing. I found one bean about 20 inches long. I think I will be taking beans to freeze rather than can. I don't think I will get enough at one time for even a small batch. None of the tomatoes are showing red yet but I think I will have another half dozen plus of small eggplants by Sunday.

The gardens are getting frequent visits now from some butterflies and bees. We purposely included a number of plants they should like and a couple we didn't know they would like so much. I saw several little black bees wallowing in the purslane flowers and visiting the cucumbers. I wish the little humming bird would come back but we may simply have missed his visits.

Also spotted the first goldfinch on the sunflowers. I raise sunflowers just for them--and any other birds that might like to tackle the flowers.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

It is light enough to see and it is wet with a solid cloud cover that promises more rain. We had some last night along with thunder. No gardening today but then I didn't really have much planned outside. A good day to do some clean up in the sewing/plant room upstairs. The pots of stevia and lavender I moved up there are doing well. I may do only a limited amount of outside work for the next four days which all are supposed to have temperatures into the low 90s with or without thundershowers.

Well, the thundershowers have hit. We are getting a monsoonal rain now which will take care of the gardens till tomorrow. Needless to say, no work outside today.

Proof of the old saying that "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change." We now have bright sun and blue skies. I walked through the gardens and most plants look fine. However, one of the dianthus isn't so I will take it out tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

We had a busy day yesterday. Took the car in for its oil change and check up, and then did a bit of shopping. By then the heat was building so I didn't do more than water the gardens. I don't know what I will get done today.

I found this because Mom read a headline about the death of one-stop shopping. The article focuses on Target with a couple of comments on Wal-mart and other chains. The article itself was published in 2014 so something has been going on for a while now--how long I am not sure. But it got me to thinking about my life pattern--especially over the last decade and a half. I remember when the giant shopping malls took off and when Wal-mart and Target expanded to gargantuan proportions. We had a huge mall with all of the major anchor stores (Sears, JC Penney, Wards) and a lot of small stores lining the corridors between. We went to that mall for two major shopping trips and several minor ones each year as well as amusing ourselves on a Saturday when we had nothing else to do. I haven't gone to that mall, or any of the others around here, for years. Shopping there was no longer worth the time, the goods were over priced for the quality, and the crowds annoyed me. When I was a child we couldn't go into one of the anchor stores without coming out with something or leave without buying from at least two or three of the small stores on the way. The last time we went into a mall we came away with nothing. When the Wal-mart in our town became a "super-center" we were delighted because everything we needed would be at one single destination. We quickly became disillusioned with the quality of the foods in the grocery and when the price of gasoline went up we decided to mitigate the pain at the pump by shopping closer to home. Besides the prices weren't low enough to make up for the increased cost of gas. We didn't shift our buying to Amazon. Instead we spread it around to a number of small shops: the local meat market, the farm market in season, the small hardware store, a couple of the dollar stores, a small tea/spice shop. Also we more carefully defined what we needed and have pruned our wants severely. The end result is we don't buy as much. We haven't eliminated impulse buying entirely but we don't indulge very often. We no longer go looking for ten items and come away with twenty-five. Our shopping habits are more complicated now and the old one-stop store doesn't really meet our needs. If there are more consumers like us, it is little wonder the big box, one-stop destination stores are in trouble.

I never worked as a librarian or library assistant but I have felt a nostalgia for the card catalogs. I attended two universities during times when they were phasing our their catalogs and felt a bit of sadness as they disappeared. I spent hours looking up specific books and then following the threads of adjacent volumes (by author or by subject) to other threads connecting other books. I felt a tactile pleasure as my fingers flitted through the cards. I have used the computer catalogs in those university libraries and in local libraries that have gone to computer catalogs but the "feel" simply isn't there nor the joy of following the path from one literary island to another and discovering another just beyond it.