Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Just because the sun hasn't made an appearance today doesn't mean it hasn't been a glorious day; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  As of this writing, we've had 2.5 inches of liquid sunshine since just after 8 a.m., and it's still raining. Yay!

After receiving only a drop or two (almost literally) of rain since the last week in May, this is a most welcome relief.

The temperature is currently 70 degrees F, very much unlike the almost 100 degrees F we sweltered under at this time yesterday. 

Just about heavenly, it is.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Uh, Oh! Not Enough Research and Not Enough (Brain) Memory

Earlier this year, on the birthday of Charles Dickens, to be more precise, I posted a number of Dickens quotations that I had gathered from the Internet.  One of those was:

"There either is or is not, that’s the way things are. The colour of the day. The way it felt to be a child. The saltwater on your sunburnt legs. Sometimes the water is yellow, sometimes it’s red. But what colour it may be in memory, depends on the day. I’m not going to tell you the story the way it happened. I’m going to tell it the way I remember it." ~ (Great Expectations)

I liked the last two sentences so much that I incorporated them into my blog header, with attribution to Charles Dickens.

Today, I received a comment on that February post.  In it, the author inquired of the location (chapter) in Great Expectations containing that passage.  Since I would like to reply to the commenter, I thought I would take a few minutes to look it up. 
A few minutes?  Ha! I have spent the goodly part of an afternoon looking for it.  First, on the Internet, where I found the above quotation several times, each with attribution to Great Expectations.  However, when I located a treasure trove of Dickens e-books which provided phrase search capability, the quotation was not to be found; not any of it.  Searches on 'sunburnt legs', 'saltwater', 'the colour of the day', 'the way it felt to be a child', returned nada, zilch, zero, bumpkis.
I have the Dickens novel Great Expectations on my Kindle.  Kindle has word search capability.  Did I find any of it there?  NO.
Ye gods and little fishes!  What's going on?  Evidently, my blog post distributed inaccurate information. But, if not Dickens, who wrote it?
Further research this afternoon has, I think, answered the question. The quotation is not from the pen of Charles Dickens, but from a screen play written by Mitch Glazer which was based on Dickens' novel.  The movie, a 1998 20th Century Fox film, also is titled Great Expectations.  A list of quotes from the movie can be found here.   Guess what?
Kudos, Mitch Glazer. I like your words very much, but am somewhat chagrined to learn that they are not Dickensenia (did I coin a word or is there another word for what I mean?)
I'm off now, creating a response to the person who left the comment. 
Tomorrow is also a day. (If I get the urge to post more quotations, I will try to vet them first.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Container Gardening

For several years, I've wished to have an herb garden, of sorts, and the soil in my yard being what it is -- clay! -- I haven't done much (read: much of anything). Gardening Daughter planted some Thyme, Basil and Parsley in a small bed next to the entrance to my carport (photos here).  The Basil died out after the first season, the Parsley wintered-over, is in its second and final year and is going to seed (yay! perhaps it will reseed itself there). The Thyme has flourished and I frequently pick a few sprigs for cooking.  But, it's not well-placed for a satisfactory herb bed.

I have two 24" plastic pots with saucers that have, over the years contained various growing things.  Those things having died out over the winter made the pots available again.  During Youngest Daughter's visit,  she and the other daughters (Eldest and Gardening) decided that these would make suitable container gardens for some herbs (and other stuff I like).

I now have two large containers of plants, some edible, some not.

I'm quite taken with  False Dracena/Cordyline, that spiky stuff one can often see in container gardens (flower gardens, usually).  I like it so much that both my pots have a red/purple variety in the middle, surrounded by, among other things (divided between the pots): Sweet Basil, Spicy Globe Basil and Purple Basil; Fennel; one Jalapeno Pepper and one Sweet Banana Pepper;  Curly Parsley and Flatleaf Parsley; Catnip (you know I'm going to have a treat for my kitties); and Purple and Green Sweet Potato Vines.

Gardening Daughter told me that container gardens, whether veggie or floral, to be pleasing to the eye should have "Thrill," "Fill," and "Spill" ( Thrill - something tall and eye-catching - that would be the Dracena/Cordyline, Fill  -the herbs, and Spill - the Sweet Potato Vines which will, eventually, spill over the edges.)  I'm quite satisfied with the results.

Yesterday morning, examination of the pot containing the Sweet Banana Pepper revealed that some critter with teeth (squirrel or raccoon) visited this pot on Wednesday evening and evidently liked the taste of this fruit. I suppose I should be glad the plant wasn't pulled out of the pot.  I've harvested only one pepper to date; this one is a goner, but there are a couple of blooms, so I may yet have some more.

The weather forecast for the last few days, and the remainder of the week, has predicted thunderstorms, albeit with only a 30% -40% chance of rain.  So far - nada!  I've had to water both front and back plants every day. The large pot of Million Bells by the front door must be watered twice daily.  Ah, well; it's only money (for the water bill.)

Tomorrow is also a day. Perhaps it will bring some rain.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I was watching TV last night when my attention was diverted to a scene outside my front window. The evening sky was a most glorious color. Not wanting to miss a photo-op, I arose, picked up my camera and ventured outside. The photo above was the first photo.  As I stood, amazed at the colors on Nature's canvas, in just two minutes the scene had changed to this:

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I haven't tinkered with the colors in any way. I did change the ISO from 100 (first shot) to 800 for the second one.
* * *

I'm down in my back, again.  I've been arising early to work in the yard, trying to get some things done before the heat drives me indoors.  On Monday morning of this week, I must have applied too much "vigorish" to my weeding which, because of my knees, is done in the least ergonomic manner one could imagine: I brace my feet and bend from the waist to do my weed pulling. 

Uh, oh!  Something that I shouldn't have stretched stretched, or moved out of its normal place, and I've been paying the price for my folly ever since.  Muscle relaxers and Aleve don't seem to make much difference. The weeds seem to know that they are safe for the time being and are laughing behind my back, I'm sure.   About all I've done since Monday is to keep the birdbaths and feeders replenished and to water those plants that must be watered if they are to survive.  Otherwise, my yardening activities are severely curtailed.

* * *

I noticed yesterday that the blooms on the oakleaf hydrangea, which is very near the birdbaths, have changed from snowy white to an interesting greeny-pink, as evidenced below.  I find the aging blooms quite beautiful.

Oakleaf Hydrangea Bloom

* * *

I've been letting the cats come into the back yard with me when I go out in the early mornings. They are quite enjoying the experience and, for the most part, are content to wander inside the fenced area. The only escapee is Missy, my solid black mama kitty, who takes great delight in hopping the fence, sitting down in the neighbor's yard and looking at me as if to say 'nanananabooboo'.  Fortunately, I don't have to stress myself trying to go get her, as she soon tires of agitating me and hops back over the fence, albeit with a smug look on her face.

* * *

Tomorrow is also a day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Recent Visitors

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Youngest daughter, Shelley, who lives in Nebraska, and whom I had not seen in person for almost a year, arrived on June 1 for a ten-day visit, accompanied by her 16 year old son and a very large Afghan Hound (photo above.)

I had shuffled things around in my small home to allow for their accommodation, which included an oversized kennel, borrowed from Gardening Daughter, for Thule (pronounced 'Too-lee'). I'm happy to say that she didn't balk when it was time to use her private quarters, which had been placed in the room where Grandson was to sleep, even though she would have preferred to sleep on my bed, which I shared with Daughter. 

Thule is an extremely large dog.  Having her here was much like having a Shetland Pony lumbering about the house. Fortunately for all, Thule is a gentle giant.  She barked when she thought she needed to protect my daughter, but otherwise was a very well-behaved guest.

Thule is used to a more active lifestyle in her home town, where there is a large dog park where she is allowed to run free, so Daughter walked her several more times each day. I didn't accompany them; by mid-morning, the heat index was in the 90's, and my mama didn't raise no idjit. During these other, shorter, walks, both Daughter and Dawg returned with their tongues hanging out.

We had a great time -- which about wore me out.  Daughter rose every day just before 6 a.m. (some time before my usual getting up time) to take Thule for a long walk. By the time they returned, I was up and working on my second cup of coffee. She and I had an opportunity for good visits each morning before Grandson was up and about, then we putzed around the yard, or watched TV or just talked.  On several days we worked on projects around the house which had been a bit much for me to undertake on my own; I don't have as much muscle as I used to have.  I'm happy with the results, and very grateful for the help.  I got rid of a bunch of stuff, and that makes me happy, too.

We made one excursion out of town, to see my sister in Hot Springs Village (Thule stayed home with a sitter).  Other family members and friends visited here, and we had supper in the homes of my other daughters a couple of times.   Daughter helped me prepare for a Stamp Camp, which was held on the Saturday before they left.  She said she enjoyed doing some stamping, and putting together packets for me (I did all the paper cutting), and I'll take her word for it.  I was happy to have her assistance.

My grandson cooked supper for us one evening -- a Paula Deen recipe he brought with him, Tilapia with Basil and Tomatoes. It was fun to help him assemble all the ingredients (we had only to buy some Tilapia fillets, I had everything else on hand) and to watch him prepare the dish, which was delicious.  Perhaps he'll pursue a career as a chef. :)

He's a neat kid!

They are all back home safely, after a thirteen hour trip which included several detours and at least one back-track because of the flooding Missouri River.
I was glad to have them here, and glad to have them back home safely.  I'm planning a fall visit to their home in Nebraska (it's too hot here to go now and leave the responsibility for caring for my garden to others).
That's about it.  I miss having a morning coffee buddy.
Tomorrow is also a day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Books - June, 1999

Dover Clipart

For those who might wonder, I've not fallen off the face of the earth; I've been engaged in other things outside the world of blogging. I've finally started trying to construct a post or two regarding my recent visitors -- my youngest daughter, her son and a very large Afghan Hound by the name of Thule (as in Greenland). 

In the meantime, another monthly installment of books read in 1999.  
Chromosome 6 - Robin Cook
Plum Island - Nelson DeMille
Murder in the Chateau - Elliott Roosevelt
Larceny & Old Lace - Tamar Myers
Gilt by Association - Tamar Myers
Night of the Dog  (a Mamur Zapt mystery) - Michael Pearce
The Girl in the Nile - (a Mamur Zapt mystery) - Michael Pearce 
The Poet - Michael Connelly

Murder and mayhem evidently occupied my reading list this month, none of which I would recommend for the young lady of still tender years pictured above. Not being of tender years at the time, I enjoyed them all.

I'm currently reading, when I stop to take a breather, the Kindle Edition of an old, old story by H. Rider Haggard, The People of the Mist.

All the links above lead to Amazon.com, with whom I have no association other than an occasional purchase.

Tomorrow is also a day.