Garden Notes

The daffodils are fully out.   It is Spring!

So here’s the status of the seed starts.   I have two kale.    The beets are so bad.   Swiss chard is a bit of a bust.   I’m going to have to thin the carrots and sorrel.    The cilantro and nasturtiums were a big, fat bust.

I’m going to try some extra extra Swiss chard today, and maybe a few beets.   I think I’ll save the nasturtium seeds for when I can get them out in an actual pot.


In other news, yesterday, I did manage to rake the back yard, so I’m at least down to a blank slate.    It has been a bit cold – the weather report mentioned we’re about two weeks behind normal right now.    At least the snow is gone.


You Deserve a Drink – Mamrie Hart

Librarything Early Reviewers book.

So I was introduced to Mamrie Hart by way of “@Midnight”, after which we tracked down “Hey USA” online, and have added “Camp Takota” to our Netflix watchlist.    Which I guess means I’m probably not anywhere near a Mamrie Hart superfan, but I really do love her on what I’ve seen of her, so I thought getting this book through the Early Readers program would be fun.

I’d say this book is pitch perfect written by that best friend of yours that completely overshares, but you still love her for it.     I laughed very much out loud at several moments (the BF has to check in from the living room one time, when I was reading in bed and laughed so loud he heard me).    It’s absolutely all kinds of wrong, which probably makes it even better in the long run.    I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone without steering them to Youtube first, but if you’re a woman who went to college in the 2000s (or the 1990s, like I did), you’ll definitely be able to identify with at least some of the situations in this book.

Garden Notes

My yard is so close to being snow free!!



So last weekend, my big project was to prune out the poor, winter blasted hollies.    You can see all the sticks I got out, and the final result below.     This week, I invested in some holly food, and also mulched them with compost.     Here’s hoping they’ll look a lot better by the end of the summer.


This weekend, I also brought the pots out of the garage.   It’s been cold enough that nothing’s sprouting up yet, but a little sun may hasten that along.    It is still cool enough that I’ve haven’t settled on many next steps, short of more raking.

The daffodils are finally budding out, which is a welcome sight.

Adventures on a Friday Afternoon

Because I skipped the gym after work yesterday, I caught the tail end of the most excitement my neighborhood has seen as long as I’ve lived here (and frankly, hopefully longer).    Why yes, that is an idling, yet empty cop car blocking the entrance to my driveway.     (With his buddy doing the same to the house across the road.)

I had to walk up several streets to the action, but was able to get a partial story from one of the more local than me neighbors, who was milling about, next to the three local news network, and even an NECN reporter.

I’d skipped the gym to get a head start on my enormous to do list for this weekend.   Needless to say, adrenaline made sure that didn’t happen quite as I’d planned.

In happier news, when I finally remembered to check my mail, I got a fantastic birthday present from my niece.     That did make the evening feel a lot better.

The Fetch – Laura Whitcomb

Calder is a Fetch – the chosen dead that guide most souls to Heaven.     They’re specially chosen, but Calder has always wondered if his being chosen was a mistake.     One day, he arrives at the death bed of a baby, and falls in love with the baby’s nanny.      This causes a sequence of events that will see Calder wander the earth, trying to get back to heaven.

I did not expect this story to turn into another lost Grand Duchess Anatasia story.    In fact, I almost put it down when it started going in that direction, but there was just enough story there to keep me going through to the end.      Still, I’m vaguely disappointed that that’s what the story turned out to be, because the premise seemed more interesting than that.

Fire – Kristin Cashore

Read for the Once Upon a Time IX Reading Challenge.

I do love these books.    I’ve read two of the three in this series so far, and both have made me cry.    (Which is a high compliment.    I don’t cry for books.)

In the Dells, there are monsters – varieties of animals that look like regular animals, but with fantastically colored fur, or feathers, and extra abilities than their kin.    They mate with other regular animals, but the monster trait breeds true.

Fire is the last remaining monster human.    Her family has been tied to the kings of the Dells for centuries, but her father and King Nax nearly brought the kingdom to ruin.     Both are now dead, and Nax’s sons, Nash (now King), and Brigan (the commander of the army) are fighting a civil war, brought on by their father’s destructive behavior.     Fire has kept to herself on her father’s lands, becaused her father was the influence on Nax that nearly destroyed the kingdom.     Fire is not her father, but knows that she has his same terrible abilities.

She finally meets the royal brothers – Nash is instantly enamored, but Brigan distrusts her.    Their mother, however, knows that Fire could help end the civil war, and convinces her to join them in the King’s City.     Fire learns a lot about herself there, and is finally able to shake free of the shadow of her father.

I can’t say enough about these books.   I can’t really put my finger on it, but there’s just something about this world, or maybe Cashore’s writing style, that just instantly pulls you in.     Fire is such a real character, and it’s also so lovely to see how the princes grow, as well.    I’ve got to track down Bitterblue.

Firethorn – Sarah Micklem

Read for the Once Upon a Time IX Reading Challenge.

Firethorn had grown up as the servant of a woman of the Blood, but when the Dame died, and her nephew inherited her property, Firethorn fled to the King’s Forest, where she lived for a year.    In that time, she was forced to eat the fruit of the firethorn tree, which nearly killed her, but earned her the touch of the gods.
After returning to her home, she caught the eye of Sire Galan, a knight on the way to gather with the army of the king.     He asks her to go with him, and she agrees, not realizing the situations she’ll find herself in, and how terrible war can be.

Having finally finished this, I have to say, this isn’t really a fantasy novel – there’s a different system of gods, and some mystical experiences, but no more than you’d find in any story set on the medieval times of our actual history.      What you have instead is a story of women caught up in a medieval idea of war, struggling to make sense of things, and figure out a way to make a life for themselves.

The book is gritty.    It’s not any sort of pleasant life, at all.   But it’s realistic, and though it’s still terrible (in ways that you’d expect if you read A Game of Thrones), it felt like an honest portrayal of a woman’s experience.       I’m still not sure that I really fundamentally liked it (there’s apparently a sequel that I’m not sure I want to read), but it has definitely made me think.

The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson

Read for the Once Upon a Time IX Reading Challenge.

What I really like about Brandon Sanderson’s work is that he comes up with fresh, incredibly different systems of magic for all of his separate worlds.     Figuring out how things work is half the fun of his novels.

This particular book is slanted for the YA audience.   Joel is a student at the Armedius Academy – a charity case, as his father had once been their chalk maker, and when he was injured in an accident while at work, the Academy made sure to take care of his son’s education.

Joel’s father was a chalk maker because in this world (which is a version our world where the separate states of the US and Canada are islands), they have a system of magic called Rithmatics, based on drawing lines in chalk.    Some people are able to make those lines come alive, and they become Rithmatists.

Joel has a genius sense for the drawings – but he doesn’t have the gift.     Even so, he’s able to convince one of the Rithmatic professors to take him on for summer studies, at the same time as several Rithmatic students go missing.     Rithmatists all go to the island of Nebrask after their training, to fight the wild Chalkings on that island.    It would seem that some of the chalklings may have escaped.

This is a great story, and nicely pitched for the YA audience – there are some good lessons about using your time at school for all it’s worth, that manage to not get too preachy.     I’d definitely throw this book the way of any voracious preteen readers I knew.


So in the depths of February, in the worst of the cold, I got a Burpee’s enewsletter with free seed shipping.   You can imagine what happened next.    I mean, I pretty much had SAD at that point.

I’ve not done seed starting before because of space considerations, and what light I have available.    So this is a total experiment, but after this past winter, I needed to do something like this as soon as I could.

I’ve started lacinto kale, chiogga beets, Swiss chard, carrots (yes, I know you’re not supposed to transplant those, but I don’t care), nasturtiums, sorrel and cilantro.    All but the lacinto kale, I can also get as seedlings, or direct sow, so if this doesn’t work out, it won’t be the end of the world.   But if it does, I have a nice start on the season, and a couple of things (or at least varieties) I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to grow.