Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Swamped with Books

I like to read, although much of my reading is done in the evening, in bed, and as the last activity of my day before sleep overcomes me.  Thus, it usually takes me a week or two to read an entire book. 

I get most of my books from the library.  Occasionally the books I want are checked out and I’ll have to wait several weeks in the queue.  So, when I was recently 7th in line for one book, I figured it would be safe to reserve another book.  And when I was 5th in line for that book, I figured I could reserve another book.  This strategy ordinarily works just fine and I never am long without the book of my choosing.  Today, however, my strategy blew up when the library notified me that all three of my reserved books were ready for pick up.  Now it looks as if I just might have to forego sleep to finish these books within three weeks:

The Ultimate Guide to Permaculture, by Nicole Faires – truthfully, I probably won’t read this book cover to cover.  But I will read many sections that are applicable to my skill level and available resources and take notes for further research.  I learned about soil blocks in a similar book.

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller – I never read this, but the phrase and meaning is so common, I figured I should.

Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman – I heard people talking about a new TV series by the same name and was surprised to learn it is based on Kerman’s real life experiences.  I find out about a lot of good books in this manner; Winter’s Bone, by Daniel Woodrell, is one such book.  I was reading a movie review of The Hunger Games and the critic praised Jennifer Lawrence's (who played Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games) talent based on her role in Winter’s Bone

And with that, I’ve got some reading to do…          

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fall Planting

We've had success in recent years planting spinach and kale and other cool tolerant plants for a fall harvest.  By success, I should clarify that to mean seedlings that survived in their struggle against the wild animals.  And by wild animals, I guess I mean stray cats.  Um, I mean stray cats that find our neighborhood to be a good place to be a stray...

Anyway...to mitigate the loss due to the "wild animals" we got a soil block and started our fall plants inside. We start our seeds inside for the spring, but this is the first time starting seedlings inside for the fall.

I like the soil block maker for several reasons, but mostly because you have to get your hands dirty.  On the more practical side, I like how we'll no longer need to find little containers to start seeds.

For our soil mix we used soil from the garden mixed with finished compost, worm castings, and vermiculite
Now we have lettuce, kale, and spinach seedlings growing inside, as well as more basil and cilantro that we'll continue to grow inside.

Or maybe we (and several of the neighbors) could just stop feeding those "wild animals."  

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Fat Cat Heir of the du Ponts

We visited Longwood Gardens for an afternoon last weekend.  We visit a few times each year and it is usually a relaxing time.  The boys love the elaborate tree houses, my wife really likes the conservatory, and I just like the vast fields of flowers and the ponds and fountains.

Longwood Gardens got its start from Pierre du Pont, who purchased the property with (probably only a part of) the fortune he amassed while leading the DuPont Company.  It's an interesting story.

Mr. du Pont had this house built, complete with an adjoining conservatory.  At the entrance to the house was a fat cat.  Most cats can really let people know that "you are only here because I let you," and Mr. du Pont's cat fit that bill.  "Annoyed" is what I think his bubble caption said.