Garden Notes

The flowers are really starting to come along – the calendula and borage in the community plot look great, and in the side garden, the zinnias are really starting to produce.

The lilies are also having a good year.   I had one come up randomly next to the Russian sage – I like how the red looks against that purple.

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In other news, here’s the first sign of what will likely be an onslaught…


Diamond Pass Run, Casco Bay, ME

We had a bit of a treat yesterday- a work outing for the afternoon.    We did the Diamond Pass Run on Casco Bay Lines, which runs from Portland in a loop to Little Diamond, Great Diamond and Long Islands.    It was a great time – we were outrunning the rain that nailed the mainland while we were gone – it was starting up again just as we got back to the dock.

I’d love to have a house on one of these islands – things just look so laid back out there.

Avalon – Stephen R. Lawhead

c04626cf202c434597062796a77434f414f4141Having finally finished the five book Pendragon Cycle, I figured I might as well finish things off for good, and read this addendum to the series.

James Arthur Stuart was an officer in the British Army, and a generally decent, if nondescript guy. While trying to save his home after his parents die, he finds he’s not who he thought he was. Not only is he really a Duke in Scotland, he’s actually King Arthur reborn, and through his recent bloodlines, the King of England, after the current king commits suicide.

What this story ends up being is a bit of a commentary on modern society. The prime minister of the time has been pushing through reforms to abolish the monarchy, and is one referendum away from doing away with it entirely. James comes onto the scene not knowing if he’ll actually be king in a week or two, but knowing that the British still need a monarch. Channeling a touch of the second sight, and helped by Embries (Merlin), who’s still kicking around, he brings a message of a monarchy to restore the greatness of the British people, and the Summer Kingdom.

Naturally, since Merlin is still there, Morgian is too, but she’s been reduced to Moira, basically manipulating men from the shadows. I didn’t really like what she became. Merlin kept his power and dignity through the thousand plus years since Arthur died, and while Morgian was never dignified, she had power, and it seems odd that she didn’t keep more of it. It did make the story rather pat, though.

What I found far more interesting is that though this was written in 1999, it pretty well encapsulates today – people cynical about all those in power, and fed up with it all. Reading some of the political machinations was a little eery. It’s practically twenty years on from when this book was written, and it could be today.

From a High Tower – Mercedes Lackey

581f13d98a6e28d596a61566f41434f414f4141Cross ‘Rapunzel’ with the Wild West, and you get this tale, from Lackey’s Elemental Masters series, which are all set in the turn of the last century, and feature magic of the Elements – Air, Water, Fire and Earth.

Giselle was adopted by an Earth Master, taken from a family that could barely afford to feed the seven children that came before her. They go to live in an abbey in the middle of the German forest, not because Mother wants to keep her to herself, but because Giselle will become an Air Master, and it’s best to raise those with Air magic far from an influences that could turn evil. It’s during this time that Giselle is nearly assaulted, and a few friends of her mother’s, members of the Bruderscaft (last featured in Blood Red), teach her to shoot, and other ways to defend herself.

When Giselle’s mother unexpectedly passes away, she’s at loose ends, and not sure how to support herself. Her friends have the idea of having her tour around and win shooting contests at local fairs, but she has to pretend to be a boy to do this, and that becomes difficult. Near the end of her rope, she stumbled upon a touring Wild West show, and they’re on the lookout for a female sharpshooter. Even better, the head of the show’s Pawnee contingent is the American native equivalent of an Air Master, so Giselle is among people sympathetic to her magic.

The author actually included an intro this book, because there was apparently a German author named Karl May who wrote about the Wild West in the last 19th century, despite having clearly never been there. He’s still incredibly popular even today, and formed the German ideas of the American West. In this book, the show isn’t as well received as it was in other European countries, and it’s because their portrayal of the Indians in their show doesn’t match May’s. Giselle is able to help them modify the show, and they’re a rousing success.

Rosa, the principal from Blood Red, also makes an appearance in this story, when the company goes into her part of the German Woods. Since there are magic workers in the company, she’s there to make sure they don’t run afoul of any deep woods nasties. She and Giselle become quick friends. She also helps clear up the central magical arc in the book, which I won’t detail, because it’s spoilery.

I really enjoyed this book. The Wild West company is so much fun. There’s no romantic angle, which is nice – it’s Giselle learning about her powers, and becoming good friends with some very different, but fundamentally like minded people. Another great entry in this series.

Garden Notes

The side garden is doing well- the cherry tomatoes are definitely starting to take off, and the ground cherries are actually setting fruit.

The ruffled Tuscan basil has been a bit of a bust – the other basils are just fine with the amount of water they’re getting, but I can’t keep that Tuscan basil happy.    I will not be getting that again.

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Yesterday, I added two peppers (another poblano and a sweet red), and some collard and sprouting broccoli seeds to the community garden bed.

a06252017 003This morning, I was back there for a work party (we started a perennial bed at what will eventually be the entrance when our fence arrives), and the zucchini had blossomed overnight.   (I could see the buds yesterday, but they didn’t at all look like they were ready to bloom.)

That bed is also doing well- the calendula have started to bloom this week, and the tomates are doing so well I added stakes to their cages.    That Tuscan basil even likes it a bit more over there – one of the six plants is still alive, though has gone to flower.   (There are ants all over it.)

Bath Tangle – Georgette Heyer

d2e1e9dc5d9445c597769635a67434f414f4141I’m only going to attempt a vague outline of this story, because if I tried to sketch the high level of the plots that actually culminate at the end, I’d both take too long, and end up being confusing.

Lord Spenborough was on his second wife, as his first marriage resulted only in a daughter – Lady Serena. The new Lady Spenborough is actually younger than her step-daughter, but they get along well, which is fortunate when Lord Spenborough dies, and the two of them are thrown together. Rather than spend time in the Dower House near the well meaning but irritating cousin who’s inherited the title (well, really, his wife, who’s a little too fond of her new title), they decide to take up residence in Bath.

Oh, and Serena was once engaged to the Marquis of Rotherham, a particular friend of her father’s, but called it all off once she realized they’d spend all their time arguing. So who does her father list as the guardian of her fortune? Rotherham, of course. You can obviously see where this is going, despite a whole bunch of other plot twists I am not even going to attempt to catalog. I’ve called some of Heyer’s book madcap before. This one brings new definition to the term.

Harvest Hub Share

IMG_0161aWe started a new farm share of sorts – this one is offered through my job, and is a consortium of farms, so offered some more flexibility than my last CSA share.   (I still love that farm, and would recommend them to anyone looking to do a more traditional CSA share.)

We’re just doing greens this year, and their meat share.   Sadly, we were going to Montreal for the first meat delivery, so we have to wait until July to see that.    But the above is our first greens share.    I would not have expected kohlrabi, though I suppose it is more of a green than many other vegetables.