Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th Of July

Well #45 has his ego masturbatory celebration of himself under the masquerade of a salute to the nation. Anyone who has read any of my holiday posts of the past 16 years know that I don't much like any holidays. Most have been co-opted by our commercial overlords to encourage us to blindly consume anything they are selling. And the "holidays" seem to go on forever. Christmas extends from Labor Day to January 31 (including the "return" extravaganzas). Somehow Thanksgiving simply shrank to a mere footnote to Christmas centered on gluttony rather than gratitude. I could go on but I will let you fill in the rest of the list. Once upon a time a holiday was a time for workers to relax with family and friends but now many (most?) have to work. The last 20 years have pretty much nullified any patriotic feelings I had--a process that began with my slow reassessment of our country's actions across the globe which have cause more damage than benefit while showing clearly our collective abandonment of what ever principles (beyond greed and self-aggrandizement) we every claimed.

We did watch half the Democratic debates--the first hour each day. They reinforce my notion that the process is much too drawn out. I would love some way to shrink it to a much more reasonable time frame--perhaps 6 months before Election Day. We had hoped the lesser known candidates would get more time to make their case but that didn't happen. They remain almost as much of a mystery as before. The pundits were amazed that the first night the candidates made few overt references to #45 but each candidate criticized the policies of his administration. The second night was totally different and I have to wonder if those candidates read the commentary of the night before. The moderators were effective in keeping the candidates on time--the second night they totally lost control. Before the debates I firmly believed that we need new ideas and new people--afterwards I believe that more firmly. I wish Sanders and Biden would simply step aside. However, I don't think they are simply "too old." It isn't a "generational" thing--a passing of the torch as  Swalwell put quoted. We need ideas that go beyond the push-button words ("capitalism," "socialism," "free market", etc.). We might watch part of the next debate but I don't expect much.

On a much more pleasant topic: the gardens are finally filling out but we seem to have moved from March to September in terms of weather. I have already harvested lavender twice, lemon balm, spearmint twice, and peppermint. The tomato has finally bloomed but I hope they didn't get too hot to set the fruit. The snake beans have also finally taken off so I hope they will bloom soon. If they match the pictures I saw they will be spectacular. This year has been brutal and it shows in sometimes surprising ways. We have two churches within several blocks that have community garden patches--or perhaps I should say "had." One hasn't any plots planted and the other has only about four out of about 16 planted. About five years ago I looked seriously at renting one of the plots in the nearest garden but decided not to go that route. The temperatures climbed early and high--much too high for me to engage in gardening in a space which had no water supply other than what one could transport.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Monday, June 24

Well, the spring that wasn't quite spring ended over the weekend. The weather people are promising more seasonal weather with warmer temperatures. I will believe it when I see it. We had monsoonal type rain yesterday for a brief period during which we got almost an inch. The gardens, which I finally got completely filled in, survived it nicely.

I harvested quite a bit of spearmint last week--enough to, when dried and chopped, fill three quarters of a pint jar. I used the remains of last year's peppermint and lavender for a herbal tea mix. I also chopped the lemon grass I harvested a couple of weeks ago with the remains of the hibiscus tea and added that mix to some hibiscus/lemongrass mix I got from my favorites morning herbal tea supplier. That gave me about a pint of that mix so I won't have to add it to my list of teas for our next shopping trip.

We have had on-and-off again sun and clouds so far today with more thunderstorms this afternoon. However, I got out to pull some weeds and do a few other small chores in the gardens. A major task though was pruning my large rosemary. I don't know what happened but about a third of it died back. It was the side I had facing the window in the living room and it was constantly brushed by the curtain when the wind blew while the window was open. I checked to see if the pot was well watered and it was so water wasn't the problem. I cut off the dead parts and generally pruned it before giving it a really good watering. All my rosemary plants are outside for the season unless we get a severe, unseasonal cold spell.

My agenda for harvesting, when I get some dry and sunny weather, include lavender, chives, lemon grass, catnip, and lemon balm. That last was a surprise survival from last year's garden.

Coming soon: pictures of my latest projects as soon as I get them off the camera and onto the computer.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Thursday, June 13

Goodness--here we are half through June. My containers are only half filled. In years past I would have had the entire garden planted and be harvesting herbs almost every day. The plant offerings at all my usual sources are dismally uninspiring. However, I can report that the last snake bean transplants have revived and we may get to see those spectacular blossoms. The Black-eyed Susans I started in the garden (after the transplants failed dismally) are also growing as well as the two tomato plants (Black Russian). I found creeping Jenny and purslane--the first is already in a pot while only two of the others have found a home in one of the large pots with the verbena. I added lemon basil to the two sweet basils. The peppermint, spearmint, thyme, sage, lavender, and chives are all doing well.   I have some marigolds that need a home soon if this weather breaks.

I am glad I got out to get some weeds pulled and a couple of plants (stevia and lemon basil) situated because today is beastly. We have had high winds and steady rain since we got up. The forecast says it should break and be merely windy and cloudy for most of the day. We have a couple of errands to do today and so would welcome that.

The morning news commentary concerned #45's interview with George  Stephanopoulos where he said he saw nothing wrong with taking "opo-research" from foreign governments even equating Poland (Nato member and sort-of ally) with North Korea (and the unstated Russia). Nor would he feel compelled to inform the FBI. Nor could he be bothered to get upset at foreign meddling in our elections because (the old six-year-old's excuse) everybody does it.

The commentariat dwelt on the legality (or lack of it), the immorality of it, etc. Me? I had a series of flashbacks and concluded that #45 is very much the apex of moral degeneration in this supposedly Christian nation. First flashback: college organic chem lab where an ambitious male student sabotaged the work of two other (female) students so they wouldn't get higher grades than he did. After all, he wanted to go to Med School and his grades in chemistry, math and physics counted heavily with the admissions offices. Second flashback: the student who wanted me to let her crib from my test because I was getting As. She was upset when I said no and sat as far away from her as possible. Third flashback: a news report on college students cheating--buying term papers, stealing test answers, copying answers on tests, etc.) complete with an on camera interview with students who brazenly admittedly cheating and saying they would be glad to do so again if they "needed" to. Fourth flashback: the numerous cheating scandals at several elite schools including the service academies. There were other flashbacks but I think you get the idea. I remember thinking, after reading a report on cheating by military officers (not cadets) on exams concerning their proficiency with respect to the nuclear weapons they would have had charge of, that their conduct wasn't surprising given the society they came out of. We have a family of grifters in the highest office in the land but they have come out of a society where grifting is increasingly shrugged off. Where, all too often, amorality or even immorality pays handsomely.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

May 26, Sunday

Another wet day. Even when we get some sun it is sandwiched between rain showers--sometimes vicious thunderstorms. I took advantage of a sunny morning yesterday to thin and transplant the Russian purple tomatoes and sow the Malabar spinach, sunflower, and a couple of other varieties.

After that I simply vegetated with my iPad and read 100+ pages of McKibben's new book, Falter, and finished re-reading Greer's Weird of Hali: Innsmouth. We both felt lazy and settled for snacking lightly rather than cooking a full meal. I didn't even pick up any of my needlework.

Today has been a different story. I did my usual 2-3 hours of needle work while drinking coffee and grousing about the (s)news. Then I cleaned out the storage space in the ottoman. It can get rather cluttered because I often put thread I think about using and decide not to in there instead of taking it upstairs to the What-Not room. "What Not" because the gods alone know what is not in there. I kept four embroidery pieces and two crochet projects close at hand to pick up in odd moments. Those will do for now--until I get a notion tickling my mind and add something experimental.

I also washed the latest completed doily, and got it stretched on the board and starched. I also did the same with an older doily--one of several we washed and just folded up rather than finish with stretching and starching. I hope to get the rest done two at a time. I plan to post pictures soon.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Thursday, May 23

I looks like we will get a bit of sun today. We had a good bit yesterday but we did grocery shopping which involved replenishing a good bit much of which involved several heavy loads we had to lug from the car inside. Even a light shopping day leaves us tired and not wanting to do much of anything else the rest of the day. Last night we had severe thunderstorms that left everything soggy. Even so I have cleaned out the bird feeders which I will fill once they have dried, and potted the oregano we got with the groceries yesterday.

The prices, however, are unbelievable. Pots that only two or three years ago would have sold for $2-3 were marked at $4. We saw several nice flowering plants but balked at the $8-10 they wanted. I did buy oregano, lemon thyme and creeping Jenny. I put the oregano into a medium sized pot and sank it into the 5-gal bucket so I can, I hope, pull it (pot and all) to bring in over winter. I plan on doing the same with other herbs as well. Next spring I want to try to root cuttings.

My second pot of snake beans appear to be going the way of the first so starting them from seed this year is a bust. The pickling cucumbers and sour gherkins are also. Those I will plant directly in the gardens and hope for some small yield. This has been a miserable spring for gardening.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Monday, May 20

So far May has been more like April used to be--while April was more like March used to be. We had a very brief appearance of sun but the clouds have rolled in again. The weather people say it should be cooler and cloudy today so I will get a couple of things done in the gardens. They think tomorrow will be blustery and wet so we will do our laundry. But, honestly, no one really knows how the systems will set up so we are winging it here.

I found this in a rather circuitous route. The Political Wire picked it up from the author's twitter feed but I went looking for a longer discussion. The knowledge that our number system, the one we are taught before we even enter kindergarten, is called "Arabic numerals" was, I thought. rather common place. Evidently, the term Arabic elicits a knee-jerk reaction. I wonder what the respondents think should take the place of Arabic numerals. Maybe Roman numerals. Or Mayan. I quibble with the last observation that, because more Democrats said no on teaching the "creation theory of Catholic priest George Lemaitre" Democrats are more anti-religion. They admit that Lemaitre isn't well known even though he first propounded what became the "Big Bang theory." I would say that the wording of the question was also incredibly misleading--certainly not as clear as the question concerning Arabic numerals. I had no idea who he was and would be against "creation science" as proposed by our Christian fundamentalists. I don't approve of teaching religion as science.

Update: won't get much done in the garden. Too cold. I did adjust the cover on the last transplanting of snake beans which are looking a bit worse for the chill, the wind and the damp. I may not get much more in before June. I guess I shouldn't be as bummed out as I am. I heard a report over the weekend that farmers in the southern plains and Mississippi valley are a month behind their planting.

Instead I have two new doilies working, a stack of finished ones to starch and stretch and one to wash before stretching and starching, plus four embroidery projects on hoops. I also have a number of books on the iPad I want to finish before I select new items from the list of potentially interesting books I might buy.

Tuesday, May 21

Today looks like yesterday. Wet, windy and chilly. I hope the transplants of snake beans survive. For the first then years I gardened on this patio I got nearly everything in by late May and my hardy plants were in by early May. But for the last five years the weather in April and, especially, in May has been so very chancy. On the opposite end I have been harvesting herbs and other plants into November. I took my hibiscus plants inside in mid November and they continued to bloom into December. I have them outside now and neither are looking all that happy though not as though they were going to expire on me.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

May 16

The garden is slowly--very slowly--filling in. The black-eyed Susans and snake beans were done in by a sudden night at 30F. I plan to put in seeds to replace them. I told Mom that five year ago my planters would have been filled already but this year I won't see that until well into June. Just as well I decided to go mostly with flowers and herbs. Yesterday was beautiful and I transplanted the pots of rosemary I started from cuttings. I had intended to give one to my niece but she has serious health problems so I expect I will keep it. I also transplanted the basil and spearmint into the pots for the season. Since it was so nice we decided to go to the local garden/home improvement centers to get the potting soil and soil additives I needed and scan the available plants. Picked up lemongrass and peppermint. I wanted lemongrass last year but thought the only ones I saw overpriced for not terribly attractive plants. My favorite herbal tea is a lemongrass/lavender mix which I hope to be able to mix up myself.

We expect bouts of rain for later today (the clouds are moving in already) and through Sunday. Most of the gardener bloggers I follow have the same complaints: season has been too wet and too cold. One is a little older than I am (70) and feels the way I do: gardening in the rain and cold is no fun, especially at our age.

I have a new doily about half a round from the finish so hopefully I will soon have a picture of it washed, stretched and starched. I haven't taken many pictures of late. I wasn't sure I would be posting any new photos because we had to replace our old lap tops that were all set up for the camera. The new ones needed different connections and I wasn't sure the soft ware would be compatible. Well, Those problems are fixed so new pictures should be up soon.

We change technology reluctantly even when the new product is from a company we have already dealt with. Learning to use the new stuff is always frustrating. And more and more often we find ourselves opting for the lower end technology because we simply don't need all the bells and whistles. We simply don't believe that newer is necessarily better.