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Friday, June 5, 2020

The Tenacity of Plants

We have water again. This may be the quickest fix in the history of our living on this property. Less than 24 hours. Not that I mind!

Yesterday, at the bottom of the well pit, in the dark, this tiny cotyledon was insisting on making its way into the world. No matter that it can't find enough sun to make chlorophyll. No matter that it didn't know it was doomed to be stomped on by workmen in boots today. Somehow, a seed fell down there and by golly, it was determined to grow. I think it's a sweet pea.

sweet pea

Of course, philosophy aside, it's days are numbered even if it didn't get stepped on. All I need is a twining vine down there to wreak havoc of a different sort. But I was impressed with its effort.

I lay awake until 3 am thinking on the real fix for that well pit. It needs several things done. It needs them all done soon. Like this summer. Stay tuned. Coming to a blog near you in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, in other news: I was a zombie pretty much all day. Could not wake up. Nevertheless, I continued to work on hike food. It's coming together, just not as fast as I would like. You'll probably see more of that tomorrow.

See Hike Food Half Day

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Hike Food Day... Half, Anyway

Today, I planned to get a lot, lot done on the food for my hike. Well, I got one of those "lots" done. Filled the dehydrator. That's 9 trays.

Excalibur dehydrator with food

I couldn't stagger them to show you everything in the other picture, so here are the other two.

dehydrated food

After I ate lunch I started to package and weigh meals. Turned on the water to wash something. Nope. Here we go again.

Opened the well pit. A woodchuck has moved in two feet of dirt over an area that is about 8x4 feet. It's a lot of dirt. The pump was partially covered. The heater I bought just 16 months ago (when we also bought a NEW pump) was totally buried. Om and I worked at digging that all out for two hours. Then he was done (he really isn't supposed to be doing anything that hard, so I was just very glad to have help for however long he felt ok with it.) I went back down after supper and took out 10 more buckets of dirt. It's all cleared around the pump and tank, and probably if I do 20 more buckets tomorrow it will be good.

Needless to say, I think the bulk of the day was spent digging. But... two good things. It got me into that pit before winter came and things froze (since heaters don't work well under dirt), and I'm counting it as conditioning for the hike.

See Getting Serious About Hiking Food

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

An Accidental Experiment

It's spring, right? I wanted to make rhubarb muffins. But apparently, I've forgotten how to read. I didn't put in nearly the correct amount of sugar. So, the experimental part was, "Are they edible?" The answer is yes, although Om thinks they need some jelly (like strawberry) to make them less tart. Me? They do need a little more sugar than I put in, but I learned that the amount the recipe calls for could be cut back a LOT. I like these muffins, but always thought they were awfully sweet. That will be fixed next time, with an amount in between the two extremes.

rhubarb muffins

In other news: I worked on hike food, including a trip to the store (ugh) to get a bunch of ingredients. Tomorrow, I get serious. I also did some more weeding. I think I could almost stay home and just play in the dirt this summer. Social distancing from the human race sounds A-OK. But I'm fairly certain I'll be ready to take a hike in about 2 weeks!

See Garden, Eggs, Muffins

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

$10000 Plan, $20 Budget

I finished weeding the front flower bed today and got out the hoses and watered everything because that rain we got turned out to be almost nothing at all.

I'm really happy to have this garden all weeded. At one time, I had a several garden beds, and my rock garden, and plans for even more. I liked to get freebies, but at that time I allowed myself $100 a year for plants. Now, I feel decadent if I spend $20. (I spent $14 yesterday.) I won't show you the picture of the rock garden in its prime yet again. I miss that the most. It's really gone to pot. Even when I was younger, I could not keep on top of all the flower beds I had going. But I really would like to have that big and wonderful of a garden.

I will show you a few things out front that look good right now. This is the Fleeceflower, Bistorta affinis. I really don't like this plant much, but it was free and it's happy and spreading, so it gets to stay. Today, it sports a common Silvery Blue butterfly. When it flies, the upper sides of the wings are bright blue.

fleeceflower with a butterfly

The Ajuga repens, bugleweed, is blooming. It would like to take over everything, but I'm trying to keep it under control. It was also a freebie. Yes, there is a baby white pine in the middle which I will move later.

Ajuga blooming

Next up we have dwarf Solomon's Seal, Polygonatum humile. It is so happy in my garden, it's in danger of choking out everything else. Hmmm. I don't want that either. Some will have to be moved or leave. It was a gift from Ester.

dwarf Solomon seal

And last for today is another freebie. Actually, I just plain stole this one. I took a tiny tiny clump from the edge of a city planter. It has spread to a decent puddle. The city dumped the planters at the end of the season and never looked back, so I don't feel guilty at all. This is a yellow-green hosta. I don't know what actual variety, but I like the bright color.

yellow-green hosta

You can see the sort-of-theme is that I did not pay for these plants. Actually, most of the plants I bought for this bed have been killed by the deer or died. Makes me nuts.

In other news: I flitted from job to job accomplishing little, but staying busy. Worked on hike food and did laundry.

Oh, and we have a baby woodchuck and baby squirrels. Haven't caught pictures yet. Fun, but hungry.

See Cheater!

Monday, June 1, 2020


OK, I cheated. I had to do a shopping run to have things for my dinner, so I let myself buy that sedum I wanted. It's called 'Lemon Ball.' Species is Sedum rupestre. Cold hardy, mounds up, and as you can see, has a nice lemon yellow flower.

And it has friends. I also bought some coleus that were quite cheap. Looked at petunias, but both Om and I are going to be gone a lot this summer, so those would probably just get leggy and ugly. I'll put the coleus where the daffodils are dying down. The other four pots are baby trees that I found and will try to transplant. And there are two more to pot up yet.

bedding plants

So how badly did I cheat? Actually, I'm almost done clearing the flower bed. Maybe one more hour. I would have tried to finish today but the wind was kicking dirt in my face, so I changed and went to the store. It started raining before I got home. It's a lovely gentle spring rain- perfect just after all the disturbance to the plants.

The view from the west end. Just a little bit to do, but I don't want to break the stems of the one thing that's actually blooming now, so I was going to wait on that anyway.

flower bed

The view from the east end. One patch to finish, but it's an easy one.

flower bed

There are more things alive than I expected. Would you like a tour another day or two? I know... these pictures mostly look like bare dirt.

In other news: That's it. I weeded and shopped. One of those was fun. OK, it was fun buying plants. I was only crabby because they store didn't have the salad greens I wanted.

See The Sedum on the End of the Stick

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Great Crested Flycatcher

Just now, early evening, a bird flew onto the deck that I was pretty sure I have never seen before. It was big- as big as a robin. It had a yellow belly. It had a crest. I immediately suspected flycatcher because of that. However, If I've seen one of these before, I don't remember it. It's not so unusual, but you may recall that I'm not a very determined bird watcher.

great crested flycatcher

Lucky me! I managed to get the camera before it left the yard. And it focused on the bird. Hooray! So that yellow breast and the gray throat, size and crest, and range, pinpoint it as the Great Crested Flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus.

great crested flycatcher

It was looking for tasty tidbits, but decided it didn't like whatever this was. Then it flew away. But what a gift!

great crested flycatcher

In other news: temperature was perfect. I worked in the flower bed all day. More tomorrow.

See Tyranus tyranus

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Green is a Lovely Color

Today I had a small vendor event, the first since March. I was happy enough with the results for a small, inexpensive show.

Drove past the NCT on my way there and back. Had to stop for a little walk on the way home. It barely counts as a "hike," but I got to stretch my legs and see the GREEN. Finally, green. Quite a change from all the brown of my early spring hikes.

North Country Trail

This is a macro of Star Flower, Trientalis borealis. The blossoms are white, but with the light shining through it looks only slightly less green than the leaves.

star flower

I'm a sedge person, you know. This is a very common one in dry woods. Carex pensylvanica (yes, only one n), Pennsylvania Sedge. The leaves are very narrow and it grows in little clumps like green fireworks.

Pennsylvania Sedge

The seed pod of False Rue Anemone, Enemion biternatum. If you think it looks a bit like a buttercup seed pod, well, they are all in the same family, Ranunculaceae.

False Rue Anemone

And some moss going all sexy. I haven't really even tried to learn many kinds of mosses yet.

moss sporangia

When I got home I worked in the flower bed for a little while. That was enough.

North Country Trail Miles for 2020 is at 204

North Country Trail, Lake County, from Timber Creek north about a mile and back.

See Familiar Section- Endurance Edition

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Sedum on the End of a Stick

Cleaned out the gutters today. The front one was completely full. I guess that nice black loose mixture of dirt and roofing crumbles made a great sapling nursery. There were 4 baby trees growing in it.

baby tree in a gutter

Now the gutters are cleared. And I accidentally learned that this is a really easy job give two conditions. It rained yesterday evening, so there was a layer of water at the bottom of the trough. That acted as a lubricant so the contents slid very easily. The end cap popped off when I put pressure against it. What a serendipitous moment! I just put the wheelbarrow under the end and chunk by chunk slid the whole mess out of the end of the gutter! Replaced the end. Done. Trimmed the tree a little more.

cleared gutter

But then I had four baby trees, right? So I planted them. I think 3 of them have half a chance of making it. The fourth is a quaking aspen, and they don't usually transplant well. But I had to try.

baby white birch tree planted

The temperature was right on the money for me! I was so energized. Mid-sixties. Light breeze. I just couldn't not try once more to reclaim my front flower bed. I got two patches done. Here's the one with my lovely yellow lily that appeared. But it won't bloom this year. Something already ate the top out of it.

weeded flower bed

Here's the other part I got cleaned up. Something already ate the biggest hosta. This is why I keep giving up flowers.

weeded flower bed

And the sedum on a stick? Home Depot has a potted sedum that I want quite badly. But I shouldn't spend money on plants. So, I'm telling myself that if I get this front bed completely cleaned up, I can buy that plant. We'll see if that is enough motivation. It might be.

I have a small, fairly local vendor event tomorrow. Let's hope that lots of people are so tired of not having anywhere to go that they will show up. And spend money.

See One Garden Fairy, One Garden Liar

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sad, but Fascinating

The other day, Om was out cutting some grape vines and brush that keeps trying to grow up the side of the house. When he came in, I looked across the room and saw a funny dark thing on his pants. "What's that?"

emerging sphinx moth

I'm pretty sure it is a hawk/sphinx/hummingbird moth that has just emerged from it's cocoon. But the sad part is that if lepdopteria are disturbed before their wings have filled with blood and dried, their wings won't "unwrinkle" properly and they can never fly.

emerging sphinx moth

Well, darn. It was already disturbed, and it sure couldn't stay on Omer's leg indefinitely. I tried to get it to crawl on something without touching its wings, but it wouldn't move onto a hard surface. It did crawl on my finger. That allowed me to get a picture of the underside.

emerging sphinx moth

However, I'm still not sure exactly which moth it is. It doesn't have the white lines of the common one. The pictures I took of the dead clear-wing don't have those bands on the underside. There aren't all that many choices in North America. Without the wings open, it's really hard to tell what it will look like.

I put it on the old wheel. Hours later, it was still there. It was alive, but its wings were not opening. It disappeared overnight- probably becoming something else's meal.

emerging hawk moth

In other news: I worked on the menus for my upcoming hike a bit. Should have done more, but I was a sloth. However, we finally got rain this evening, and the air is less heavy. Supposed to be cooler tomorrow which should help my work ethic.

See White-Lined Hummingbird Moth
See Clear-wing Hummingbird Moth

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Refrigerator Soup Day

I spent the morning in the kitchen. Dehydrated a couple of things for hike food, frosted the other half of the birthday cake before the rest of the evaporated milk went bad, and made refrigerator soup. This one isn't quite as good as sometimes, but it's fine. Good solid soup. The only thing that wasn't a refrigerator clearing item was a can of kidney beans. But it was pretty old. Good to use it.


In other news: Om and I got all the rest of the old shingles cleaned up. All that's left to do is the second round of caulking in a few days and clearing the gutters. I also dug up a few more small autumn olive that had sprouted in the yard. And I may have figured out what the problem is with the mower. We shall see about that.

This sounds like I really did a lot. However, it was really hot again, and I mostly worked in little spurts with cold drinks in between. I have something quite interesting to show you tomorrow.

See Refrigerator Soup, Deluxe

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

99 and 44/100 Percent

Remember the Ivory Soap claim- "99 and 44/100 percent pure?" That may be good enough for soap, but it's not quite enough for a roof job. The ridgeline is finished, but I'll need to do a little more caulking in a couple of days.

new roof ridgeline

Here's the face I just finished. That is 100% done.

new roof

There is still a little bit of cleanup to do, but Om has been helping with that. A wheelbarrow that is not falling apart makes it a lot easier too.

roofing mess

And the gutters have to be cleaned out. But not today. Today was hot. The first really hot day this year. Heat and I are not friends. I managed to finish the ridgeline, and then I ran a couple of errands that couldn't be done on the holiday yesterday, but that's about it, except for sitting and sweating. My body needs to adjust a bit.

The sky was great! For a while it looked like a storm was brewing to the east, but then the gray all cleared out and turned into these impressive cumulonimbus clouds.


I've really enjoyed being on top of the world as the surroundings green up and everything looks so fresh.

So, I need to take this job to 100%, or it won't pass the test. But I think there's actually 100% chance it will happen. Of course, then I still have to do that final face. Maybe this fall. That sure won't wait another 6 years. Those shingles are getting bad.

Fun fact: That one remaining face on this house is the only roof on our property that I did not do. Including the barn. Although, three of us worked together on that. A long time ago. Now, the whole barn is in danger of falling, but we can't afford to do a darn thing about it.

See Did She Do It?

Monday, May 25, 2020

Another Puzzle, Another Bad Accordion Joke

I finished another jigsaw puzzle yesterday. This one is called "The Music Room," and it has about 100 different instruments on it. There were several I had not heard of. It was surprisingly difficult, but not frustratingly so.

jigsaw puzzle with musical instruments

jigsaw puzzle with musical instrumentsI learned the long squarish one is called a Tromba marina. Yes, that means marine trumpet, but it was a one-stringed instrument played with a bow. The base is a tall hollow bell and it gives off a sound much like a trumpet that was used to speak from ship to ship. The string was only lightly touched to produce harmonics. It was used from the 15th to 18th Centuries. I'm going to just tell you about this one because is it SO interesting.

Here is a video of a modern recreation of one.

And here is a real piece of music played on one. The instrument shown in this video has two strings which was apparently a sometime variation. I like it!

And the bad accordion joke? The accordion is upside down! What the heck? I know most people don't like them, but the artist couldn't even picture it right side up?

jigsaw puzzle with musical instruments

In other news: I did errands (some will have to wait because it was Memorial Day), shopped for groceries, and worked on beta reading a book for an author friend. Tomorrow, I do the final little bit on the roof. (Had to buy one more bundle of shingles, and I treated us to a new wheelbarrow that isn't coming apart.)

See The Sound of Music

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Child's World Encyclopia

I've been doing the 7 day book challenge on Facebook. But I've been wanting to tell you about these books anyway. Since I had to hunt them up to get the picture for FB, it was a good day to put them here too.

First of all, I guess this post is going to include a little bragging. At least I think that's how some people will see it. For me, it's just a fact, although I quickly learned that it was a fact that made me lots different from everyone else my age.

Here is the set of books, a children's encyclopedia called The Child's World. They were published in 1950, and I was given the set in 1952, when I was 4 years old.

Child's World Enclopedia

The first volume is "Stories of Childhood." I'm including one picture from each volume. There were various types of illustrations. I've pictured an example of most kinds. Some of the pages had full color pictures. This was a delightful story about a horse that wouldn't go anywhere without its favorite hat. But there were a lot of traditional familiar stories as well.

Child's World Enclopedia

Volume 2 is "People and Great Deeds." This is basically history. Here is a page from the story of Sacajawea.

Child's World Enclopedia

Next was "Plant and Animal Ways." So here we introduce biology. There are lots of color pictures of various kinds of birds, mammals, insects reptiles, and various kinds of plants, in addition to all the black and white illustrations. Almost every spread has some illustration. I chose a picture of a map that shows migratory bird routes.

Child's World Enclopedia

Volume 4 is "The World and its Wonders." This includes all sorts of science lessons. Each book has a number of full-color plates of extraordinary detail. I'm showing you one from this volume because I think I spent more time studying this picture than any other in the entire set of books. I was amazed at everything that went on inside one thin leaf.

Child's World Enclopedia

Next is "Countries and their Children," which is cultural studies. It takes the reader to places around the world showing how people live and play, their art and customs. Here is a photo of Asian art works.

Child's World Enclopedia

Volume 6 was for the parents, but I read it anyway. It's called "Mother's Guide." It's basically a guide to child rearing.

Child's World Enclopedia

OK, here's the odd fact. I could read when I was two. I was already tired of Golden Books by the time I was 4.

Now for a story. I remember the day Granny brought me these books. I remember sitting on the floor and reading. The part I do not remember is my mother's perspective. She told me this long after I was grown. Apparently, they could not get me away from those books. I read for hours and hours and would not even stop to eat lunch.

I do know that I enjoyed reading these books on my own for several more years, and I also liked having them read to me because I could ask more questions that the articles didn't answer.

Gotta admit... I teared up a little bit at getting these books out and looking through them. These are probably the most influential books of my childhood.

See Best Books Read in 2011
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