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[sticky post] Other ways to contact me [Apr. 4th, 2017|12:06 pm]

If i quit posting here, feel free to look for me at http://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/ .

I receive email via google's mail service at the user name elaineforexample.

Confidantes may find more information at http://elainegrey.livejournal.com/654579.html
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Escape from Orlando [Oct. 17th, 2018|08:32 pm]
Sent via the Samsung Galaxy Note9, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

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Doodle diary [Oct. 17th, 2018|09:50 am]
I’m sending a medium image that I hope will not overwhelm your browsers as I post this by mail.

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Florida [Oct. 15th, 2018|08:08 am]

Bah, humidity.

I read Terry Pratchett on the plane, escaping the sardinitude of airline seating. I was appalled by the amount of onion on the salad i had picked up in the terminal. Surely they imagine folks carrying those into the little enclosed tubes. I hope it didn't annoy my seatmate.

In Florida i detoured from the route to the hotel to go to a Publix grocery store. This one, in it's far flung corner of Orlando was not the mouth-dropping temple to groceries i recalled from growing up, mainly because other stores have caught up with the initial standard. As i approached the tourist district of International Drive i passed another Publix that came up on my search. Oh, THAT ONE, that one must be a remarkable temple to groceries. Probably for the best i missed it.

I had enough time to drop my stuff and pack the fruits, veggies, salmon, and yogurt into the fridge when my aunt called to let me know she was downstairs. Then we were off to drive around the tourist district, where i tried to oblige in oohing and ahing at piles of tourist construction and lofty ride structures. Dinner at a tapas place, then off to Disney Springs, an outdoor mall with more tourist architecture. Dinner was delicious, the best part being a pineapple cider, and the walk pushed me over my step limits.

My parents and sister have all bemoaned my aunt & uncle's relationship, and i did pick up on some little jabs, but in general it was a pleasant visit.


The conference day passed with intensity, and i bailed out around 4:30 with the intent of catching up on things at the hotel. But first, i'd just read a little bit....

One novel later..... well, i must do my time card. All my plans about reading white papers went out the window.

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Glorious day [Oct. 13th, 2018|07:16 pm]

Weather was wonderful, crisp and clear, and i worked and worked outside.

puttering aroundCollapse )

I am so not prepared for travel.

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(no subject) [Oct. 12th, 2018|07:28 am]
My sister, Christine's sister, and my parents were out of power with the storm but we merely had blinks on and off as Matthew came through. The night of Matthew i watched what i assume will be my last firefly. Friday morning i stepped outside into crisp fall air, finally! We had 2.29 inches of rain and puddles were still standing in some of the low areas in the orchard. Today is sunny with low humidity, so i hope for enough drying to keep all young plants from drowning, but not so much that i return from my Sunday to Sunday travels to find i should have left things arranged for Christine to water.

It seems that the row covers may arrive today, so that's encouraging.

In the evening a goose called out as it flew into the sunset, a lone goose looking for friends to travel south.

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Horror show [Oct. 11th, 2018|08:43 am]
I am not sure why i felt gut punched yesterday when reading the horrifying Turkish allegations against the Saudis. Read more...Collapse )

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Every now and then i think i'll develop a subject habit. [Oct. 11th, 2018|07:00 am]
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Wednesday's work begins: what are all these meetings! Yikes.

Tuesday was not as productive a day as i needed, so i planned to use Wednesday morning for getting some things done for Thursday. I came in to find some meetings i needed to prepare for at a run. This is just the thing that drives me into little self distraction, self destruction patterns.

We aren't as prepared for power outages with Michael as we were with Florence. Post Florence we bought a big water "cooler" so we've got that partly filled with water. notes while reading weather warningsCollapse )

I look out at the haze of green that is beginning to cover the bare dirt, and think back to the bright green a month ago, grieving. And i think of the hard clay and the holes the trees are in. I'm thankful this should just be one day. Fall arrives in the wake of this storm, with the humidity and temperatures dropping.

If there are frosts before i get back from my conference trip, with floating row covers and my new "greenhouse" arriving while i am gone, i will be miffed. Average first frost date is Oct 30th, i am back on the 21st.

Last night i went out with my parents to the League of Women Voters presentation. Read more...Collapse )

The venue wasn't intended to be partisan. It says something to me about the state of politics that it seemed that way.

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(no subject) [Oct. 8th, 2018|09:44 am]
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Hello world.

Saturday morning remained drizzly, and, even when that stopped, it was miserably humid. I came in after planting my seedling chestnut. I notice the tap root had twisted around in the pot. Poor little tree. Well, now it has room to expand, and i will probably be better off with it NOT growing to its full potential.

Salad mix seeds i planted the previous week have sprouted. I had received a bonus packet of seeds called "Mexican gherkins," and the vine has become rampant. I've doubted i'd see any cucumbers. Yesterday i finally noticed tiny fruits was puzzled. Turns out "Mexican Gherkins" are also known as "Mouse melons" as well as a bunch of other desperate branding attempts to find something more marketable than Melothria scabra. Grape-sized, watermelon-appearing, tart-cucumber tasting snackable fruits! And, apparently mildew resistant plants, which is why they survived the past wet two months when every other cucurbit has barely coped. (Well, the Seminole pumpkin in the compost thrived but didn't set fruit.) Oh, and once they create storage roots, one can lift the roots to over winter.

This coming Saturday looks less humid, so i am optimistic that i can get some other trees planted then. I'm off to a conference for a week, and when i return i expect i'll have five more plants to get in, plus six more shortly after that.

Sunday i went with my parents to a historical society presentation on dialect in North Carolina. The program was ... not as engaging as i had hoped. It was more of an advertisement for the research program and how they "give back" to communities: https://languageandlife.org/ There are youtube versions of documentaries, but still, digging around for more academic content is hard. I did find the following:

What do we know so far?

Quinoa aesthetic semiotics, Brooklyn food truck ennui locavore Banksy migas flannel put a bird on it. 8-bit DIY Odd Future Truffaut PBR gluten-free. Scenester jean shorts banh mi, letterpress iPhone Shoreditch health goth Kickstarter Bushwick forage four dollar toast street art Pitchfork pop-up. IPhone cold-pressed occupy, wolf yr hella banh mi ennui. Salvia raw denim pug, wayfarers Bushwick iPhone stumptown normcore post-ironic gentrify crucifix 8-bit vinyl YOLO.

Wait.... what?

My mom bolted out of the audience as soon as she could, escaping any introductions i may have made to folks in the room. Ah, yup, i understand that. I do the same thing.

I'm feeling fairly even, and am telling myself, "This is happy." I got to visit with my parents, i gave twisted wood from the orchard to an artist, i have worked outside and when i didn't like the weather i came inside.

I learned some years ago that i don't access my positive feelings well. I started on a exercise of defining certain situations -- like my morning tea with Christine -- as happy. It's my fight against what i was trained to do by mother: always look at the things i want to do or feel i should do and judge myself by whether they loom over me. Which they always will! So that shouldn't make me feel unhappy, or i am defining my whole life as unhappy.

So this even feeling -- it's happy. Or "happy." Whatever (It's not awe, joy, or delight.) Stake in the ground: this is happy.

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(no subject) [Oct. 6th, 2018|08:48 am]
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Ah-ha! I have discovered the piece of yard equipment we are missing: walk-behind gas-powered string trimmer. Apparently, this is just the thing for heavy brush and can cope with stumps, etc. So i could use this on stilt grass and in the meadow and along the road side without fear of hidden rocks and stumps. And we could probably get a good many more years out of our misrepaired mower and the elegant reel mower.

A rain shower passed over this morning, rewarding me for getting grass seed out yesterday evening. The ground is still wet from Florence and the almost inch of rain over the 26th & 27th of September so we didn't need much: the 0.05 inches seems just right for waking up the grass seed and making sure it sticks to the ground. Go go rootlets go!

Yesterday i had afternoon tea with my sister & mother yesterday at the over-precious nearby inn. The preparation wasn't as bad as the January visit (upon complaints of which my sister-in-law got the tea-for-two certificate that we used in part yesterday). Still, they don't know how to serve the tea without the three tier trays seeming clumsy and in the way. And they over-skew the food towards very rich sweets with only one tiny tiny scone. I do prefer tea with more baked goods and less chocolate deserts. Not that the chocolate is bad, it's just not exactly what i have in mind with tea.

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(no subject) [Oct. 4th, 2018|05:15 pm]


The delight evinced by a working group leader when i join the call. Note to self: do this when you are the working group leader.

Toasted sharp cheddar cheese and tomato sandwich.

Apparently in the white mock turtleneck top and the over the ear headset, i have a striking resemblance to "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope"'s Princess Leia on video conference screens.


Just noticed the seed heads on the stilt grass. Fie.

Edward ate a bird. Possibly a blue bird. At least he eats all of what he hunts.

Triggers Read more...Collapse )

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Depression [Oct. 4th, 2018|07:25 am]
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Therapy yesterday: right now i think of therapy as a disciplined checkpoint on following through with good mental health practices. The week of Kava-NO (as Christine quips) sucked my life away. I can't imagine what it was like for those who had personal experiences to compound it: thank you, my friends, for sharing here.

My therapist gets ecstatic at the thought of ripe persimmons, so she was delighted to hear my first fruit tree was a persimmon. I do tap into joy thinking about the orchard, and that wave of anxiety i had about getting it Right has long sense faded. But this blasted cough (not quite a month old yet, the sinus infection began over Labor Day weekend) exhausts me and weighs yard work with a great dampening.

Right now everything i think about brings up negative responses. short examplesCollapse )

I think i am still mourning the beautiful grass in the orchard: how my heart leapt as the vision became visible!

Between the factors of asthma flare, dead grass, horrible news, and the shortening of the days i think i can explain feeling down in the dumps without being concerned about going off antidepressants. Somehow, though, i need to trick myself to reframe.

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Midterm election preparations begin [Oct. 3rd, 2018|08:38 am]

I am intrigued by the context provided by this entry on the North Carolina Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment (2018). The first such state constitutional claim well predates the NRA, but there's definitely a NRA promotion going on. I'll vote no, because i don't need a right to kill things enshrined in my state constitution. I also think it's pretty incomplete: where's my right to use pesticides and to electrocute mosquitoes (with a by-catch of moths)? What about holding folks blameless when they hit critters with their car?

I admit i kill critters and i cause critters to be killed, but i'm not excited at enshrining it as a constitutional right. However, if it doesn't pass, i'll be stunned. Happy, but stunned.

The last four constitutional amendments are easy to vote no on.

That leaves North Carolina Marsy's Law Crime Victims Rights Amendment (2018), which sounds fair but i was suspicious that justice was not being served. The ACLU points out the false equivalence between the rights of an accused and rights of a victim. Key is that the rights of an accused are in the context of the state: what the state can't do to a victim. Many of the rights in Marsy's Law seem to be victim to accused/convicted. The ACLU article i found goes on to point out ambiguity, conflict (what does victim privacy mean in the context of victim testifying -- something interesting to think about in last week's context).

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Triggers & Joys from Tuesday [Oct. 3rd, 2018|08:37 am]
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#inktober2018 - i can play with digital ink, why not?

Dogwood berries in bright red are cheerful for so long, so much longer than the iconic flowers. One of the bathroom windows opens to a view of leaves and berries and i delight in seeing them.

Adulting (which sounds better than "Headaches")

I wrote my Primary Care Provider asking if he really wanted the three years of paper records or if he knew how to use MyChartCentral and Lucy to pick up my California provider's continuity of care records.

Triggers For my recordsCollapse )

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(no subject) [Oct. 2nd, 2018|06:43 am]
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Both Christine and i struggled with blues yesterday, and my cough tired me at the end of the day. So, there's that. I'd guess Christine is more affected by the news than i as she actually listened to the whole hearing on Thursday.

Carrie is learning cat-like behaviors of "let me in, let me out, let me in." We've returned to taking the bell down when we go to bed -- she's out for the third time this hour. It's possible she's smelling other animals from the open windows and is prancing out to get a better look. She's such an independent creature. The cats are more interested in being near to us than she seems.

Last night i turned on a camel documentary for her. She laid down on the carpet and gazed up at the aerial footage of camels in the desert, camels around the Bedouin tents, camels wrestling in Turkey. Shots of the city, of interviews? Her head drops, she yawns. After a while she got up and i switched to John Oliver. I probably should have stayed with the camels, except hearing how climate change is removing what vegetation camels feed on in the Saudi desert was depressing as well.

But, oh, Carrie! How good to see her running like a crazy thing around the back yard.

What should be my condition of enoughness for today for outside? I suppose i should get the fig in a pot or the berm. I keep going back and forth on where to plant it, and one location is not yet prepared.

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(no subject) [Oct. 1st, 2018|08:23 am]
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I planted my first fruit tree, a persimmon from Stark Bros. The ground was wet: given the 27 inches of rain in August and September it's not surprising*. Where i put in the persimmon seemed OK, but where i want to put in the mulberries just seemed to still too wet. Between that and tentative green blades of grass, i didn't want to push it. I did put in three tiny blackberry plants as well: these are an upright, thornless selection that fruit on both the first year (primo-) and second year (flori-) canes. I may not have been so aggressive with the soil preparation for the berries. That should stretch out the season. (Two more blackberries of a different thornless variety are coming with the blueberry plants later this month.)

Then i pulled up piles and piles of stilt grass. I was happy to find the shade garden had done well, but the day lilies and irises had not. I need to move the bulbs (again) this winter: their next home will not be so rampant with stilt grass. I tidied half of the moss garden, just outside our bedroom window, and whacked down weeds in the veggie garden. I planted a lettuce-herb mix of seed that may work out. I am thinking about trying season extending practices this year.

I was moody over the weekend, which leads me to wonder about my antidepressants. I'm trying to tell myself i haven't done much physical activity since ... June? Which was crazy hot? I am sore from the digging (which wasn't particularly dramatic) and loosening the soil for four feet out and a foot down. And i still have an asthma flare. And so the sense of physical exhaustion is to be expected. So instead of depressed, perhaps i am just feeling tired and the aches may be more painful than i want to listen to. Well, if i keep the level of activity up, i will rebound. And the asthma flare is healing.

Meeting for worship was a meditation on racism and left me feeling very tender. I shared with Christine over lunch, and shared my witnessing of racism in Pacific Yearly Meeting that has been troubling me this year.

This morning the pines are catching clear morning light against bright blue skies, the dew point is in the 50s, and i have the windows open.

Shudder: it's spider season. Not going out the front door until Christine can relocate the very large spider.

* Average rain for this county is 45.5" a year.

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(no subject) [Sep. 28th, 2018|06:45 am]

The week has flown by.

There's a data snarl at work. Read more...Collapse )

Meanwhile, Christine listened to all of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing from Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. She was very moved and distressed. I watched the PBS News Hours reporting. Earlier in the week, right after I'd read about the sentencing of Bill Crosby, Christine and i talked a little about the current zeitgeist. I found myself having several responses. First, i found i had an emotional undercurrent of distress.

I've not had a traumatic event Read more...Collapse )

Then there's the hypocrisy of our laws.Read more...Collapse )
And now there seems to be change. And it seems so fragile and so strong. And i fear backlash beyond the current executive branch.

The hypocrisy of assault (threat) and battery (actual impact) becomes more clear as i think about hitting, slapping, punching and the attitudes associated with them.Read more...Collapse )

Hypocrisy might not be the right word. But it's close.

In other topics....

OK, didn't the government create some health record portability thing? And so there should be some easy digital transfer of records? So why is the California provider charging to send "up to 150 pages or three years worth" of records to my new doctor. SIDE-EYE.

Have to go for a follow up mammogram because there is an artifact on the scans done last Friday. Hmph. I consciously believe this is nothing to worry about, but worry my subconscious will decide to worry. I'd forgotten i had had the scans done, i was so unconcerned that there would be any result of any concern. I'd like to sustain that level of equanimity. I suppose i'll simply worry after this scan that there would still be artifact and i'd have to go back a third time.

At least i'm going to the country hospital in the middle of no
where. It's so small and there are so few people at the hospital, it feels luxurious to park so easily and be seen with so little fuss.

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Equinox greetings [Sep. 24th, 2018|06:00 am]
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The tulip poplars had begun turning yellow in August, scattered yellow leaves in the green. And i noticed the black cherry trees' leaves falling -- also yellow. Elm leaves are beneath the elm, even if i don't notice color change in the tree. Dogwoods have red in the leaves, and i'm beginning to notice the occasional bright red of sumac. The leaves i raked up from underneath the maples were burgundy-black, but the tree still seems green.

My recollection from last year was that autumn color, as a striking thing, didn't really take off until mid November.

The roadsides are covered with the golds of goldenrods and flowers related to blackeyed susans and sunflowers.

Christine's asked after why i am interested in Joe Pye weed, a tall native plant that has a cloud of hazy pink-purple flowers at the top. I like saying the name, but i think i am also delighted to see Not Yellow at this time of year. I plan to grow great blue lobelia, which will hopefully be a lovely contrast to the golds.

Bits of weekend, recordedCollapse )

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(no subject) [Sep. 20th, 2018|06:32 am]
Tech fun and games: i finally replaced the phone that Carrie chewed on as a puppy and that has been a headache to charge. I also bought one of the SAMSUNG brand Qi chargers -- and it worked with my old phone (when Christine's old SAMSUNG brand Qi charger did not). So, i suppose i could have gotten out another year or so on the old phone. I'm disappointed that i did not. On the other hand, the new phone was an opportunity to move my 18 year old cell number to Google Voice and move my cell service to Christine's plan, a monthly savings. For many years Sprint was well integrated with Google Voice and i was spoiled by the voice mail offerings. I think i've set it back up, but i have started wondering what Google gets out of the service. Who is paying for Google Voice?

Mom and Dad stopped by last night and i helped them a little with some iPhone questions, giving my Mom a headset to use to talk on her phone and showing Dad how to deal with call waiting. I note both Google voice's web interface and the iPhone use a very stylized representation of a cassette tape for voice mail: i actually had a cassette tape at hand to show what the symbol was supposed to mean. (And, in obsolete tech as symbols, i realize it's been a while since seeing a floppy disk used to represent saving a file.)

Otherwise, i have a lousy cough that's been a drag since the storm. Meh. Steroids to the rescue.

We're all well.

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Sorry! Flo flows all around the house [Sep. 16th, 2018|05:09 pm]

Regrets for not posting, for anyone concerned. The cough i have and the chance to just rest listening to the rain has led to just resting, listening to the rain, reading two Discworld novels, and watching Jurassic Park with Carrie & Christine. Halfway through the movie Carrie moved from the hassock in front of the couch to between us. Not sure if she was afraid or not, but she was definitely watching!

We've had plenty of rain, and today seems to be well on its way to meet the amount from Friday int Saturday (rain gauge readings are 8am to 8am). During the first day there were some gusts in the trees that made my heart race, and somewhere a pine broke with an impressive "boom." I happened to glance out a window as a tree fell and watched the leaf covered branches race to the ground. I think i can see a new pine snag back in the woods, the orange coloration looks like it has freshly broken.

We've not lost power and are working our way through the stored water from the tap. My parents' house lost power for over a day, but they have been in Florida. All last week they were apart, my dad with his mother and my mom with her sister. Both my grandmother's and aunt's husbands watch FOX news, so my dad called multiple times a day to advise me on preparation and rant about Trump. They reunited on Friday, and we haven't heard from them. (That's not a worry at this point.)

The preparations for handling run off that we've made have been satisfactory, except for one rushed installation of a down spout extension. I need to dig a drain, i think, although i mainly want to get rain barrels there.

Carrie is really tired of the rain. I'm just sick.

The orchard area, with the tall trees surrounding and Carrie for scale

9/15/2018 08:15		2.39	Florence, day 1
9/16/2018 08:00		1.50	Florence, day 2

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No Flo Woes Yet [Sep. 12th, 2018|08:49 am]
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Where we are is about 15 min south of Chapel Hill, just south of the Haw River and north of Pittsboro. We're about 35 ft of elevation above the nearby creek, well out of the flood plain. We're not far from the top of the ridge, either, so there will be some water sheeting through the yard -- i remember observing the water flows with Matthew two years ago -- it's not overly abundant, and it will drain away.

We are as some risk from falling trees: we've trees 75 ft tall to a 100 ft tall (as measured by a drone) that aren't that far from the house, surrounding the house. I don't think they're likely to fall, but there's always a surprise. I'm sure we will be cleaning up fallen branches, and might need to cut up a fallen tree or two.

Power outage is the biggest issue, thanks to falling trees. We've gas and an untested generator, but we've gone for a day without power here and there without kicking ourselves over not learning how to use it. I've got the manual downloaded if we decide to finally test it out.

The most problematic issue is that the well pump is electric -- so we don't have water without power. We have frozen containers of water, gallons of purchased water, bottles and pitchers of water, and we'll fill buckets for toilet flushing.

Camping stove and food supplies are ready. Car and truck are gassed up. Cash is at hand. We've plenty of family members around in the area: it's unlikely all of us will have unlivable conditions. We can always go bunk with someone else in the worst case.

So much of the risks are not unique to this storm: the rain and wind and tree fall are always there for thunderstorms.

--== ∞ ==--

Apparently getting gas for the truck while running errands in town was a little inconvenient as gas stations run out of gas fairly frequently. Christine said it was odd that they were all out of the higher grades of gas: maybe the refills are focusing on just regular?

After work we went to Lowes to get plastic sheeting (just in case a tree hits one of the family's houses, heaven forbid) and a few more things, like downspout extensions, were added to the list. Ice chests were all gone: we'll go get one from my parents' house. (My sister has taken their generator.)
We took Carrie, as they welcome well behaved pets and Carrie was (mostly). She did see a pile of loose sand in the construction isles that she used as a rest stop -- we just swept it into the near by trash can. She did seem delighted with the novelty of the experience.

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storm watch [Sep. 11th, 2018|07:14 am]
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In "Not exactly Florence" news:

Elephants have come to visit. Yesterday was a relatively very bad day, compared to all the good days. The addition of storm preparation to the elephants is a bad mix.

And we had 1.30 inches of rain last night, most of it in a brief downpour. I was driving home during the downpour, slowly, high beams catching the rain slicing through the night, the drumming of the rain on the windshield deafening. This morning i have inspected where the swales had fast enough runoff to flatten the young fescue seedlings, the new channels cut in the rain garden bed. I'll put "check logs" out to try and slow the runoff in the orchard and will try to add a few more topographic changes to the sand and compost in the rain garden to see if i can slow the water a bit.

In Florence news:

Everyone is talking about how they were without power for days during Fran, a major storm that hit twenty two years ago. I am hoping that the forecasting improvements and risk management plans at the power companies will make the response better than then. On the other hand, the power company is asking folks to be prepared for days without power.

We got to the grocery store for our usual run around 7 pm last night, after i drove up to a cluster of gas stations hoping there wouldn't be lines. The lines there were worse than at the station closer to our home, and, as Christine pointed out, some of the stations had crowded tank lines even when there wasn't the additional prepping chaos.

I wasn't looking for water, but we usually get a bottle or two of seltzer. One could get flavored seltzer in small bottles. Cans, liters and half liters of plain seltzer were gone. Someone was taking cell phone photos of the bottled water isle: completely bare. The bread isle was similar, with only hamburger and hot dog buns and a few loaves of store brand white bread looking lonely on the shelves. I did note that the cracker isle seemed a little depleted, too. We didn't go down the baking isle, so i don't know if there had been a run on canned milk. Canned vegetables were quite reduced, and all the vegetarian baked beans were gone, but several isles over packaged Indian meals were abundant. I've minute rice stashed so that's a few pleasant power-out meals.

There was plenty of beer and chocolate left (and i got nice dark chocolate) so no one had hit the critical (to my sister) supplies. It wasn't a madhouse, at least.

The gas station closer to us has a very large open area in front of the pumps. I don't know if it's actually property of the station or staging for the great deal of land clearing and road work near by, but it meant that nice orderly lines could form three and five cars deep at pumps. We appeared to be next to the too-smart-to-wait line. It appears that more cars have tanks on the driver's side than on the passenger's, so the passenger side lines were shorter. Someone backed up in line so they could use the shorter line to fill their driver's side tank. And then someone pulled into the tank space from the "wrong" direction. All the other tanks seemed to have patient folks willing to wait for their turn.

Our county isn't under a tropical storm watch yet, but i expect it will be tomorrow night if today's ten-day forecast is accurate.

I've only gotten two calls from my father telling me to prepare so far. I think my sister has had three. She's trying to talk our parents into staying in Florida. I wish her luck with that.

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(no subject) [Sep. 10th, 2018|06:35 am]
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Sunday Morning:

Skipping meeting this morning. I slept in and am feeling the malaise. My sense of taste is returning though, so that's welcome. Weather continues steamy and muggy. I feel the call to do things outside but ugh, don'wanna.

Yesterday i wandered around Pittsboro with nephew and niece, visiting yard sales, the "unique stores" of downtown, Lowes, a drugstore, and the PTA thrift store. They're great kids. A long time was spent in the music store in which my nephew circled and circled the guitars before finally buying a strap for his existing guitar. He also agonized over a guitar in the thrift store. In Lowes he bought spray paint, deciding he was going to build his own electric guitar. His sister bought a water fountain kit. It was pleasant and diverting, and probably a little more tiring than i thought, especially as we walked around a good bit. The drugstore stop included acquiring band-aids for my neice's blisters.

In the evening i finally sorted out from where i will acquire blueberries, blackberries, pawpaws, and a persimmon. The local farm store is getting all the rabbiteye blueberries i need, and the small seeded thornless and erect blackberry. Then Starks Brother's has the everbearing erect blackberry, plus selected pawpaws and a female, self fertile selected persimmon.

Stark brothers also tempts me with a peach that is supposed to be disease resistant and was developed in Raleigh.

Friday Morning:

At that point i went to read about how much harder peaches are than apples to grow, and i'm not sure i see it. I think there's one more place within the orchard to squeeze a tree that will really need sun. I also did a little more checking out of tree nurseries, discovering one place in Wisconsin that had really good prices, and three different websites. And some complaints at the Better Business Bureau. I'm really not sure i think the Better Business Bureau is really the shining symbol of reliability it touts itself to be, but i did get to read actual reviews of the tree farm and ediced it was as fishy as it looked.

Then i found a really great place in Florida for native trees. I'd really love to have a beech tree in our woods, to see it's ghostly golden leaves in the winter woods. I'd use it to fill in some gaps where pines have fallen and currently the autumn olive grows thick.

A highly recommended yard person came by and she's willing to weed whack all our stilt grass and thinks it's just a few hours. And she has a really inexpensive rate of $20/hr. It makes me ponder all the men who we've worked with whose rates start at $75/hr. She's got her own power tools -- chain saws and professional grade weed eaters. Is it the "yard work is never done" quality that means she needs to charge less than the project guys? Anyhow, it's great and we will give her lots of work.

Once the rain stops.

Geeze Louise, Florence.

I may just take Friday off work because i will be distracted by the weather. I'm glad we've done some much work since Hurricane Matthew on dealing with run-off. The berms up-slope from about half the house-garage footprint will help, and i should install the rain water diverter on the most problematic downspout before the storm. I don't know if we will fuss with the generator. We should have fussed long before this. I think we will just eat out of the freezer this week and then see what happens with the power.

My Dad is in Florida with his mother and called yesterday to check on our hurricane preparedness. He wants the hurricane to head to where ever Trump is golfing. Then he started muttering about Florence hitting DC, and i reminded him that's where Muller's research is. He has been remarkably distressed about the Trump presidency, obsessed, i think. Having to be exposed to his step-father's Fox new habits is no help, i'm sure. (And he's a Rachel Maddow addict.)

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(no subject) [Sep. 6th, 2018|01:30 pm]

This blog post is a book review of Etrog: How A Chinese Fruit Became a Jewish Symbol. It made me think of [personal profile] amaebi's Hebrew studies and that she may appreciate the chapter wrestling over the the meaning of the Hebrew phrase peri ‘eṣ hadar (cut & pasted from the review - maybe the unicode worked).

I enjoyed the blog post, and would read the book if my reading list were a little shorter....

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Season is changing [Aug. 30th, 2018|06:34 am]

There's a sprinkling of brown leaves around the feet of the tulip poplars, and a few yellow leaves here and there. The black cherries leaves are thinning too, with a few slender yellow leaves falling.

The grass seed is out there. The thickly seeded areas might have been a bit too thick and the thin to thin (to balance out), but i think i still have enough seed to correct problems as they become apparent.

I've felt a bit like a hostess whose hospitality has been abused, as i walk around the garden and see what the deer have done every day. Yesterday i put up some floppy temporary fencing. My suspicion is that the deer don't seek out my garden but perhaps they do seek the fallen wild grape vine with its bounty of ripe grapes. By fencing around the peppers, cucumbers, and hibiscus there's a chance of a harvest. Then i think i will have a mostly fallow winter garden, despite all my winter garden seed. Next year, a fence.

I used most of the fence posts in the orchard, blocking off the "avenue" -- the route from the main gate to the large double tree and the picnic table. I'll get that grass well established before letting Carrie race across it. She found plenty of places to race around last night so i won't feel like i'm depriving her.

The next steps will be planting trees, nicely spread out starting later in September through November. Here in the piedmont of NC, the goal is to get trees in before our January and February cold spells and after the heat of the summer. I'm learning that roots do a great deal of growing in the winter. In some ways, i'm beginning to see the lull of winter as a rich time for a different sort of growth.

The distress i was feeling on Monday has subsided a good deal, and it's hard to know how much came from what cause. I filled in the hole i tripped in though, so there. And as it cools, being able to fill in other holes around the yard with some of the extra berm dirt will be a great pleasure: too many stumbling hazards left unresolved for so long (because i didn't know where to get dirt without causing more holes).

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(no subject) [Aug. 28th, 2018|06:48 am]
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Sunday, I asked Christine if she wanted me to stay home and help prep for our friends' visit. No need, she said, and she sent me off. Ah, i thought, we are attempting the "you're good friends, this is our life." When i returned, she was in a bit of a lather, so i fluffed and wiped down with her. Probably more efficient than if i had not gone to meeting.

We're souring on the attractive Mexican place that opened nearby: meat surprises when not desired, and some other service things that didn't quite pass muster. Visiting was pleasant, but - oh, the weather has changed back and it's muggy and so humid. Ugh.

I took yesterday off to work on the orchard. I didn't get out early, so the heat was not in my favor. I addressed the pile of rakings: limp buckwheat, roots, clods, rocks. I think i pulled out most of the roots, spread perhaps half the pile into lower areas in that corner of the orchard, and left half as a place to pile more weeds.

Bending over so much gives me digestive unhappiness, and i have not strengthened my legs enough that "bend with the knees" is a good solution. Then at about noon, i tripped in a stump hole in the old established back yard (insert cranky comment about the previous owners and stump holes) and twisted my ankle and came crashing down -- in the nicely mown grass-equivalent, at least. So that was a point for a break.

I managed to get more things on the to do list done, but between the heartburn and my ankle i was physically uncomfortable -- and i think i am feeling fear about screwing up the orchard. Tree investments. A calculus of shade and crowding and attractive space.... Now that it isn't merely a cognitive exercise but a real layout, with flags in position, i worry about having over spent on grass seed, about being over-ambitious in my wanting of trees.

Then at the end of the day i couldn't find my debit card. Much stress, much worry, calling around places. It was of course in one of the multitude of pockets in a purse i've received from my mother. I think i'm going to sew some of the pockets shut. Too many pockets.

I hope most of the distress was due to the physical discomfort, but the psychological weariness at the end of the day was much.

I work today, and take time off to seed on Wednesday. The thunderstorms i wanted to catch for watering are getting less ideal in the forecast. Hrm. Maybe buy straw? Or use the branches from the bamboo i got from my sister as straw in a few places?

I don't know what to do with the bamboo branches, they are strong but not really chippable or shreddable.

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(no subject) [Aug. 26th, 2018|07:25 am]

Busy day yesterday.

I met up with my parents early yesterday to drive to a agriculture supply super store. The store had the best price for what i have learned are called step-in electric fence posts, which i will use to hold up the netting-like fencing around my garden. But first, i will be fencing off the best paths through the orchard area to let the grass grow untrodden by Carrie and us. Google gave a 45 min drive over if i left on Saturday morning; on weekday afternoons the possibility of various traffic snarls had the system suggesting an extra hour. Dad has been wanting to take me there, and it does look like an interesting place to discover solutions for any problem. So i asked if they wanted to do the ride, and they did, despite the tight timeline i had. Since Mom came, we rode in their car with my Dad driving. Just like in some televised sport, a countdown clock stayed in my mind's eye: i needed to be home by 9 am, would we arrive in the time i had allotted? Dad drove casually. Off the highways. I refrained from using my phone to check the time to our destination. And -- it worked out.

It wasn't the most exciting outing, but my folks seemed to be delighted to drive across the county and back for the pleasure of a long conversation in the car. I don't know that they really know how to "hang out," but they've always been enjoyable to talk with while riding in the car.

Once home i met up with the fellow who was prepping the orchard. Three hundred and fifty pounds of lime (i split between pulverized and pellets), two hundred pounds of bone meal, and forty pounds of fertilizer were spread out and raked in. Carrie was indignant that someone was doing something to her yard, and once we forgot to close the gate on the deck, and she got into the yard. And started licking up fertilizer (bat guano) or bone meal. I think she'll be OK, but it was nerve wracking.

Meanwhile, Christine had a living room adjustment to make, so i suggested moving the rug, and by the time we were done EVERYTHING has been moved. That was a bit much more than i think we had prepared for, but we've postponed getting the living room organized since we moved in. It's still graduate student decor: a hodgepodge of pieces with an emphasis on Ikea, but i think it's going to be a bit more usable. And i think Christine, too, had done some thinking about what was "hers" and what was "mine" and had recognized that a great deal was "hers." I put in scare quotes, because "hers" is records and CDs and DVDs and we both enjoy those. But she recognized that i'd never had a chance to suggest any decor items. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of that.

Poor Carrie is disoriented by the change inside AND out, and was in and out all evening. Edward and Luigi seem to have found spots in the new arrangement, and we think we have found a way that the cat tree Greycie only used might now be accessed by our big boy cats. (First, do not require a three foot leap up.)

Ecosystem & garden notes: the deer eat the ragweed, so that's something to remember. I've no problem letting it grow until it's time to prevent seeds from forming. No doubt i will continue to see it popping up forever.

Somebody ate half of each of the two trombonicino squash that were ripening, the tomato plants are stripped of leaves and setting fruit, the pepper plants have had all the top leaves eaten.... I wish i knew how much of the weeds the critters ate, because when i fence it off and they can't eat the weeds -- will it be even more weedy? Hopefully, i can find some happy level of garden work and garden produce.

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Morality play [Aug. 24th, 2018|07:13 am]

I continue to read http://www.electoral-vote.com/ , which, until midway through 2016, was a fairly clear summary of polls and the news that affected the political polling. There was a light writing style, and i could tell there were shared values around facts, science, general good citizenship, and balance. I was never sure of the political leanings: they were not partisan hacks.

In 2016, like the rest of the country, there was a shift to the amazed, disbelieving, "if this was a movie i would not believe it." And after the election, instead of quietly slipping into silence to reactivate at midterm elections, they kept up with writing summaries. And the snark slipped in. What i like about their summaries is they're trying to read the tea leaves of the American electorate, which means comparing how stories are framed across the news spectrum. That helps a little in answering my question of how long can this nonsense go on: other frames focus on other things.

What's even more helpful though, was this Wednesday article from the Atlantic, pointing out after the jaw dropping pairing of Manafort and Cohen court outcomes Fox news led with "murder in the heartland." The article presents a narrow slice of moral foundation theory (i wish i had a citation to the first long article i read on the subject; an academic survey of some interest is Graham, Jesse, Jonathan Haidt, and Brian A. Nosek. “Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96, no. 5 (2009): 1029–46. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015141.)

The article includes this quote:

Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley makes an intriguing claim. “Corruption, to the fascist politician,” he suggests, “is really about the corruption of purity rather than of the law. Officially, the fascist politician’s denunciations of corruption sound like a denunciation of political corruption. But such talk is intended to evoke corruption in the sense of the usurpation of the traditional order.”

which the author refines into a pithy statement:

What the president’s supporters fear most isn’t the corruption of American law, but the corruption of America’s traditional identity. -- Peter Beinart

Some one of you, i think, referred to the president's Tweets as from someone cosplaying at being president. And... YES ...


My background of stories -- countless X-Files episodes, a dash of Twin Peaks, western tropes that seep into Science Fiction -- all have this idea of a community where there is a powerful person with family members and loyalists "running the town," keeping a hierarchical order, taking what they want, and generally held up as exploitative. "The dark underbelly." And the hero goes in and defends the innocent at the bottom of the hierarchy and convicts the bully at the top.

Is that essentially a liberal story? To me, the current executive branch looks a good deal like an extremely stereotyped cast for such a story.

I suppose the other side are all the criminal procedural where the outsider did it?

--== ∞ ==--

Must move on to work. Quick notes re yesterday. Woke 3 am probably too excited about how soon i will be planting fescue in the orchard, and then i can plant my chestnut and the two mulberries, and i need wood chips and etc etc. Worked 4 am to 5:30 ish finding an email that presented a design issue that worried me, was able to doze back off, and realized a solution. Busy workday with many meetings. Briefest lunch break, ended up talking about design issues until 4:30 pm, and NOT quitting early to nap. Walked with Christine and Carrie around the beautiful grounds at Fearrington reveling in the dry air. Got Subway for dinner, ate, and spent the evening on the deck reading about extrafloral nectaries in Prunus spp aka petiolar glands.

Windows open all night -- how incredibly delightful. I hope we have a very very long autumn. Today is heavenly and i have too many meetings.

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CRANKY PANTS [Aug. 22nd, 2018|07:07 am]

Grump, Tuesday's two identified plants are problematic.

PlantsCollapse )

--== ∞ ==--

I made two plant mistakes at the nursery on Friday. I meant to pick up summer savory but got creeping savory instead. Since summer savory is an annual, this is for the best (and leaves me wondering about where it was on my Richter's wish list.)

Then i picked up something labeled Burnet in the herb section. It's labeled with the species name of an Alaskan burnet grown for flowers not the European burnet grown as a salad plant. After much reading i think it is the salad burnet. Argh.

I've posted to Dave's Garden https://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1484639/ -- this may be only available to subscribers.

--== ∞ ==--

The other part is contractor hell, where the reasonable sounding owner said he'd come look yesterday but sent the problematic team lead. Who just seems sloppy and unprofessional. Anyhow, i want the manager to see the work. Did the manger talk to the team lead or the team lead tell him i still wanted to talk? No. So, i should see the manager today.

In good news, problematic team lead got the fence posts of the old fence out of the yard and it looks wonderful with out them as a distraction. We still have vinyl stuck in the ground but it's far more attractive.

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(no subject) [Aug. 20th, 2018|06:18 am]
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The weekend was sort of mixed, with a dark contractor cloud hanging over our heads. The fencing job is "done" except for the parts that aren't or need to be fixed. Christine's anxiety spikes when she thinks of the done poorly, done stupidly, and not done bits. I am holding space for the owner to take a look and see immediately what needs attention. We did have my Dad look at it to help me assess the level of pickiness we were at. Christine worries that as two women, contractors see us as easily taken advantage of.

I also tried setting up the camera for some "studio" shots. I couldn't find my "green screen" felt or much of my equipment for a while, because i was looking for the plastic box it was in when we moved. Eventually, i found where i had concentrated most of my photography equipment. I still didn't see the green felt -- which may still be packed from the move -- and i have misplaced the most recent lens cap, and generally feel a sort of entropic misery. Happy news is that i was actually using the still new camera, and put on my old macro lens. It's a budget rig of tube extensions that remove any camera control over focus (use the manual focus ring) and f stop (paper wedged in the lever about mid stop). The new camera seems rather cranky about lenses it can't "talk" to. And i recalled my irritation at the change in location of all the controls, many to digital menus. Fie. So, i took photos, yay, and just sitting with the camera outside in the screened deck i became totally soaked with sweat. The air was saturated. I loaded 1001 photos into Lightroom, the application i manage and "develop" my photos -- i think i hadn't imported any images but a few of the camera trap from this year.

Photos were of the purple corn -- we'll see if i get them developed. The ideas i had wait for it to be temperate enough for me to stand working outside. I imagine making patterns out of the kernels and using the photos as the basis for fabric pattern designs, but fussy nudgig around of small bits needs a bit more comfort.

Overnight 1.71 inches of rain. That puts us at 11.87 inches in a month we normally have 4.76 inches.

I identified four new-to-me plants, and happily three were natives. Two were in the genus of St John's wort, little shrubby plants with little yellow flowers. One was in the lobelia genus: Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco, puke weed). It's not terribly showy, but i'm glad to have preserved some colonies of it. The fourth was a singular plant out among the buckwheat: i got it before it set seed. Chinese Senna (Senna obtusifolia)

Oh no, despite the name it *is* native. Oh fiddlesticks. It was kind of attractive. Fie. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15616930 Maybe i'll get another chance.

Saturday night we stayed up late to watch the entire Amazon (or BBC One) miniseries, Ordeal by Innocence. From wikipedia i gather enough of the plot was changed that my wondering about a particular detail seems moot.

That particular detail is that, between this mystery and a Father Brown episode, i've two data-points of a fifties period depiction showing wealthy white British families adopting non-white daughters. The white son and the non-white daughter then develop a sexual relationship. Sympathetic others don't show any horror, concern, or disgust at this. My eyebrow raises at the gender and race dynamics there. I'm of the impression that sexual relationships between siblings by adoption have usually been considered "creepy" and problematic. The racial difference in these two cases underscores that there isn't a genetic issue with the relationship; would it play so easily if the siblings were of the same race? And then what if the brother had been of Chinese or African descent and the sister white? I'm used to the BBC pieces having a bit of The Society of Creative Anachronism's principle of righting past injustices (and thus the complete anachronistic non-worry about mixed race marriages is welcome), but something about these two plot lines seems ... problematic.

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