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The Gory Details

Aug. 11th, 2011

06:07 pm - Plants showing off, plants digesting...

This is what I saw when I looked outside this morning:

2011 garden, trumpet vine and morning glories

The poor little garden shed is almost completely covered by rampant vines, with the trumpet vine winning, and the morning glories offering a handsome contrast. It was a glorious day, too, breezy and bright and not too hot - I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of similar days this summer, alas! But I was glad to get this one, and spent some happy time in the hammock enjoying it.

One of the indoor plants managed to do a little hunting on its own; check out my Venus flytrap:

2011 garden, Venus flytrap digesting!

[You might have to click through to the larger image to see the fly-shaped shadow inside the uppermost flytrap, but it's definitely there.] I sometimes take the pot outside to let the plant hunt in the wild, but I hadn't done that recently, so this fly must have been nabbed indoors. Good job, Audrey 2 1/2!

Today's my ninth anniversary on BookCrossing; so many books, so much fun! I'd intended to have a stack of books ready to release for the occasion, and to try to set a personal mass-release record of some sort... But, alas, I kept putting off the part where I write up the books-to-be-released in favor of going shopping for more books (ahem), so I don't know if I'll manage any releases today at all. I'm taking a brief road trip this weekend, though, so I hope to strew a few books across several states in the process...

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful

Aug. 9th, 2011

07:31 pm - More veggies

2011 garden, Aug. 9 harvest

Note the green-and-purple theme of the eggplant, okra, pepper, and even the cherry tomatoes (a variety called "Black Cherry"). I do have some veggies that are neither green nor purple, including tomatoes in white and peach and some "Bright Lights" Swiss chard in white, yellow, orange, and red - but those are all taking their sweet time to ripen.

If the weather cooperates tomorrow (and if I don't get distracted) I may try to get some pics of my poor overgrown yard and neglected house, just to counteract the "aren't they pretty?" veggie pics.

Current Mood: okayokay

Aug. 7th, 2011

10:25 pm - Eggplant season

Between my sprained ankle and the frequent and prolonged heat waves this summer, I have done little if any yardwork beyond sticking a few seedlings into planters. My shed is completely overgrown with vines, the trees need pruning, the shrubs in front of the house are beginning to cover the windows, the neighbors probably all hate me {wry grin}... I'm actually considering hiring someone to come help with the heavier work, just to make the place look more like someone actually lives here.

2011 garden, eggplant

BUT: those few seedlings that I plunked into planters are doing very, very well, and I now have a near-continuous harvest of eggplant, with sweet peppers and jalapenos coming along. (And some cherry tomatoes and a few okra plants, but the eggplants are the real stars this year.) I'm totally spoiled by having fresh, tender young eggplant on hand whenever I want it. If I bothered to total up the cost of the planters, the potting soil, fertilizer, seedlings, etc., each fruit would probably be ridiculously expensive, but I love having fresh edibles growing right outside my back door.

Current Mood: hungryhungry

Jul. 26th, 2011

09:56 pm - Thoroughly amateur photography

This is my Michael Thomas Ford entry for the first ‘Nathan Burgoine giveaway:


I've enjoyed Ford's novels and short stories, but my favorites of his works are his books of essays, including Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me - a copy of which forms the big dark space at the right of the photo {wry grin}. (See my comments on a BookCrossing copy of the book here.) The book's sitting in my front window, with a goldfinch and a hummingbird at the feeders; the birds have been showing off so much lately that I had to try and get a picture.

The view from my front window - plus book

[If you click on the photo to get to Flickr, you can see the notes I've added to show where the birds are - they show up better than I thought they would, but are still barely visible on the smaller image. Maybe someday I'll (a) work out how to get better wildlife pics with my little camera and (b) wash the windows!]

Current Mood: artisticartistic

Jul. 21st, 2011

07:50 pm - N8an's giveaway inspired me to reappear...

I hadn't realized how long it's been since I posted last! Anyway, I’ve just entered the first ‘Nathan Burgoine giveaway (see the info here: http://n8an.livejournal.com/718827.html ), with these photos:

Spike with His Tongue

That's my cat Spike, with a copy of Lawrence Schimel's anthology His Tongue. I've enjoyed many of Schimel's stories, but haven't read this collection yet; I was hoping to get the cat to stick her tongue out but she was, catlike, unwilling to cooperate!


Very excited eggplant with Masters of Midnight

I enjoyed Masters of Midnight - click the link to see my BookCrossing comments - and my favorite story was Jeff Mann's "Devoured", with a Appalachian leather-bear vampire. So he's my entry for this one. The book appears with the first eggplant from my garden this season - which, to my vast surprise, is sporting an erection!

So that's two entries; not sure if I can manage more, as I've passed along most of the other qualifying books I've read. But we'll see! [I'd be happy with any of the offers, should I win one, but I admit that Blood Sacraments and Riding the Rails are especially intriguing...]

Oh, and just to add my two cents to the cat/dog question, here are links to my BookCrossing entries for a couple of very cute mangas:

Chi's Sweet Home Vol. 1, a very cute look at the life of a stray kitten who adopts a new family - funny and yet (mostly) within the bounds of real-life cat behavior. (I laughed a LOT.)

Inubaka Vol. 1: the title means "crazy for dogs", referring to the heroine, but the series as a whole could be considered the same. (I'm not that much of a dog person but the books make *me* want one!) The stories are amusing (and sometimes heartbreaking), and there's a surprising amount of helpful info about how to select, raise, and care for dogs. Recommend for anyone who might be thinking of getting one someday... {whistling nonchalantly}

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful

Jul. 8th, 2009

10:53 pm - I caught a mouse yesterday.

Tempting as it is to post just that, I can't stop there {grin}. What happened was, on Sunday night my huntress-cat Drusilla stayed out much later than usual, probably because my sister and nephews were visiting. I made one last attempt to get her to come in at about midnight, and when she zipped in the door I didn't notice that she had a mouse in her mouth - until she dropped it and it scooted under the refrigerator. I didn't want to wake up the house with a midnight mouse-hunt, so I let it go, figuring that either the cat would find it first or I could do some furniture-moving after my family went home.

Well, they left on Monday, and Iforgot about the mouse - until last night, when I saw Drusilla on point in front of the linen closet door. Cleverly deducing that she'd cornered the mouse, I gathered my critter-hunting gear - gloves to protect me from those small-but-sharp teeth, and a cardboard box to block off the closet opening - I went a-hunting. When I opened the door I could see the mouse skittering away over the vacuum cleaner (and the dust mop, and the spare rolls of toilet paper, and the containers of shower-and-tub cleaner, and all the other junk that accumulates in the bottom of the linen closet), so I started pulling things out one by one until I finally cornered the critter. Cute little deer-mouse, very lively after its adventure. I took it outside and turned it loose in the grass, and can only hope that it made its way home, though I fear it is the lot of mice to be dinner for something or other.

It's a shame that the mouse had to spend those particular days indoors; I think those were the only rain-free days we've had all summer. Somehow it cleared up while my family was visiting - a good thing, that; we got to see a baseball game and the town fireworks display and all. But once they left, another band of thunderstorms came through, so Mr-or-Ms-Mouse had to make its way in a soggy world...

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Jul. 1st, 2009

11:19 pm - Random hit-and-run LJ post

I keep meaning to post things and then putting it off until they're no longer current; gotta work on that!

This evening I was pleasantly buzzed on a margarita (2 parts Cuervo Gold, 1 part Triple Sec, 2 parts Rose's Lime Juice, salt on the rim) and was frittering away my time watching TV. I saw the first half of Clean House's "Messiest House" episode - I like "Clean House" because watching other people's disastrous levels of clutter make my own look positively tidy by comparison - and was vastly amused at one scene in which Trish ("the yard-sale diva") examined a bowl of kitschy decorations - and made a cute little coughing-up-hairball face that made me laugh out loud. Switched away from the second half of the episode to watch Fashion Show, a kind of poor-man's-Project-Runway (I'm not into fashion at all but it's fun to watch people trying to create things under a deadline), and in this episode the challenge was to design on a a Tarot-card theme. They didn't go nearly as wild as I would have, Tarot cards being what they are, but it was still rather amusing.

Recent BookCrossing activity: I released a copy of Zenna Henderson's Pilgrimage in memory of Bumma; started a book ray for Gritty Grace, my Dad's first book (a collection of columns he wrote for his local paper), and was surprised to find a book about how to write poetry that was informative, hilarious, and snarky - Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled.

Garden stuff: It's been too wet to do much outside; I replaced my tattered old hammock with a nice new one, and have only been able to spend ONE afternoon in it. The slugs are so numerous that half of my seedlings haven't survived, and the plants that have survived are either drooping under the weight of the rain or are just sitting there waiting for some sunshine. [The strawberries seem to love this weather; alas, the slugs seem to love the strawberries.]

And, for the first time that I can recall, I had to turn the heat on - in July. If it was this clammy and dank in medieval England, those Arthurian romances suddenly take on a very different ambiance...

Current Mood: drunkdrunk

Mar. 8th, 2009

07:58 pm - I have snowdrops!

Just a few, but they're there... We've had a couple of days of heavy thaw, and the snow's in retreat, muddy ground reappearing (along with all the stuff I didn't put away last fall!), and there, under the witch-hazel, are some snowdrops! [They're near where I buried my Big Grey Cat last December {sniffle}. He was my hammock-cat, and loved to bound across the yard, and this will be the first summer in fifteen years that I won't have a big-grey-cat to come and lie and the hammock with me...]

And of course it's going to snow again. Not a lot, but still, enough already!

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

Mar. 6th, 2009

09:44 pm - Long time no post. Does this mean I gain a level in Procrastination?

Glanced out the back window and saw this! By way of an attention-getting gimmick, I figured it was time to post this picture. I took it last October, but never got around to posting it; then, just tonight, the same critter appeared on my porch, so I thought "Hey, motivation!"

If you can't guess what it is, click on the picture, and you should be able to see my Flickr photostream, with comments and a couple more pictures.

Thanks to those who nudged me, and I hope to start paying more attention again!

In addition to fielding wildlife on my porch, I've been reading my usual Mass Quantities of books, and am even farther behind on my to-be-reviewed books than I was last time I posted here. Sigh. But some of the books have been dandies, like this charmingly offbeat one:

Me and Mickie James, by Drew Gummerson

And this bunch of snippets from the Journal of Irreproducible Results:

This Book Warps Space and Time

And the extremely weird:

Penguin of Death!

On the less-frivolous side, I've been reading (and in some cases re-reading) books on Arctic and Antarctic exploration recently, probably by way of escape from the repeated snowstorms we've had - even the worst blizzard or ice storm in New Hampshire doesn't compare to being stranded on the ice in 50-below temperatures, a thousand miles from the nearest town! One of the classics of the genre: The Worst Journey in the World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. [In some interesting synchronicity, I saw a news clip on BBC America about a newly-opened online archive of thousands of Antarctic photos, including many from the Scott expedition. The exhibit's called Freeze Frame, and there's a newspaper item explaining it here. And, as it happens, the same day I saw the news items about the photos, I received my Netflix order of 90 Degrees South, a 1933 re-issue-with-sound of the original 1910-ish film footage of the Scott expedition, by photographer Herbert Ponting. I was astonished to find that not only did Ponting himself introduce the film, but he was introduced by "Teddy" Evans, another of Scott's expedition, who had a terrible time but managed to get out of it alive (barely). He and Scott were at daggers drawn most of the time, so to see him, even 20 years later, introducing the film, seemed a bit odd! But it was wildly impressive to see film footage almost 100 years old, and it added a lot of poignancy to the story.]

Now that it's starting to thaw here, the garden catalogs are trying to distract me from all these books. Will see if I can squeak in a few seedlings in between book reviews...

Current Mood: coldcold

Nov. 13th, 2008

01:21 pm - Hooray! I cleaned out the gutter!

Not that it's an especially joyous task - in fact, I tend to put it off way too long. It only takes about half an hour, total, but the process of getting the ladder out of the basement and dragging it around to the front of the house and making the four or five separate trips up and down to clear out leaves, twigs, muck, the occasional wasp-nest, and a few stray peanuts that bluejays took up there to eat and lost, is sufficiently tricky and potentially perilous that I find it easy to put it out of mind. [The "perilous" part is mainly the risk of hitting a power line or, worse, the TV-and-internet cable, while trying to position the ladder. Mine's only a one-story house, so a fall would probably not be very serious - although any fall has some potential to cause severe trauma, and I'd rather avoid that as well. But I'm always very careful about placing the ladder and not over-reaching and so forth, and so far the worst damage I've taken is the aches in my shoulders from shifting the ladder. It's aluminum and very light, but even so, when it's extended it's an awkward thing to try and move around.]

With luck I may fill in a few back entries with some Halloween items, themed book-releases, etc. For now, I plan to celebrate the completion of this fall's gutter-cleaning chore by relaxing indoors with some tea, as the forecast rainstorm comes in...

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

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