Garden Notes

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The iris are blooming, so it’s officially planting time!

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The community garden bed went in yesterday, on a very muggy morning.     I got in two kinds of marigolds, three kinds of greens (broccoli greens, red Russian kale and dinosaur kale), broccoli, zinnias, runner beans, rudbeckia, three kinds of peppers (serrano, amazing and Jimmy Nardello), Swiss chard, green onions, dahlias, and calendula.    The only thing I’d planned that I’m missing is regular onions.    With the run on seeds and plants this spring, I was unable to find already started plants, which I’d been banking on.

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The side garden went in this morning, which had so much less humidity, it seemed almost chilly in comparison to yesterday.    I planted khuri squash, cucumber, overflow Jimmy Nardello and Amazing peppers, two kinds of basil (Thai and lemon), a sungold tomato, and dahlias.


A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray

71154ee7778738c5933592b5767434f414f4141_v5I’m not entirely sure what to think of this book. We start in colonial India, where Gemma is out with her mother, and witnesses her death. There’s very clearly something very sinister going on, but Gemma and her family go back to England, where officially, her mother died from cholera. Gemma is shipped off to boarding school.

At the school, Gemma makes some friends, and after she finds a diary in some nearby caves, they’re able to journey into some sort of parallel realm, where Gemma finds her mother, and some detail around why she died.

What I liked about the book – Gemma and her friends are real teenage girls. Their friendships aren’t always perfect, and that makes the story better. What I’m not so sure about – the plot around The Order, which is really the main plot. I’m just not fully onboard there, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I think it’s underdeveloped, though you definitely get a whole load of plot at the end of the book. Still, I don’t think I’m going to be in a hurry to find the rest of this trilogy.

Wolfes Neck Woods State Park – Freeport, ME

One of the real bummers about this Spring is that the state parks closest to me are closed, and have been since we started having to social distance.     They’re some of my favorite places to go find the Spring forest ephemerals.   I’ve really missed being able to go to my regular places.   I feel a little silly feeling so sad about it – I’m very lucky in so many ways with what’s going on right now.    But this is something I love to do – it’s natural to feel sad about it.

So on a weekend where we were supposed to be in Montreal, we made a point of going somewhere where I knew I could find flowers.  And it didn’t disappoint.   I got two new to me flowers out of the walk  –  Fringed Milkwort and Dwarf Ginseng.    And I can’t tell you how good it was to walk in the woods.    I feel so fortunate to be in a place where I can find this kind of beauty so close to my home.

Garden Notes

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Everything went outside yesterday to harden off.     It decided to be 80 degrees, so it seemed the thing to do.   It’s going back into the 50s and 60s again after our one day flirt with summer, with at least one night close to freezing, so it’ll probably be a full two weeks before I dare actually plant these out.

The large pots are nigella, lettuce, arugula and cilantro, planted on Tuesday.     I’ve got those under cover just until they sprout – I’ll move them out to the side garden once they’re less tempting to dig in.

There’s also a sungold tomato, some extra chard, freckles lettuce and some spearmint that I bought at the Farmer’s Market today.

Knitting Notes

The Circinus socks are out.    That pattern relies on keeping track of where you are in the same chart, at four different starting points.    And it was fine, until I was into the middle of the foot chart (an added complication), realized I’d screwed up, tried to tink back, and still couldn’t figure out what the heck I’d done.    And with that, I was over it.    Ripped the sock out and went into my queue for plan B.

I’ve moved on to Pamina by Caoua Coffee.    So far, the only thing I don’t like about it is that she uses cabling without a cable needle.   I think life is too short to not use a cable needle, and it’s easy enough to figure out how use it within the pattern, so I’m much happier with this pattern so far.

Garden Notes


Did my last bit of in house seed planting today – some runner beans, cucumbers and khuri squash, to give them a bit of a head start.  It’s been so cold so far this Spring (we had snow last week!), they’ll probably need it.

Knitting Notes


My next project is Rich Ensor’s Circinus socks.     I’m using Blue Moon Yarn Silky Sock in a yellow colorway, which is my Auntie B’s favorite color – guess who I’m making them for?

The pattern is fun so far – it’s got a winding chart pattern around the leg which is fun to keep track of.

Knitting Notes


Pattern: Laminaria by Elizabeth Freeman (shawlette size)
Yarn: Tess’ Designer Yarns Superwash Merino Lace in the Maine Woods and Waters colorway
Needles: Size 6 circs

It always amazes me how lace starts out so small and plain looking, and blocks out to something amazing.

I got all the way to the first border chart in this, and had to rip it all the way back, I’d screwed it up so badly.   It was still a little fiddly at the very end – it’s hard to keep the pattern repeats marked as the beginning and end stitches keep changing, so I did mess up the last chart a little bit, but not enough to go back again.

It’s also not my best blocking job ever – it opened up way more than I thought it would, and the bed I normally use for large blocking wasn’t available.   But, it’s not like I can’t ever block it again.

Mira’s Last Dance – Lois McMaster Bujold

08b4c6d3ca4161f596d48787067434f414f4141_v5This novella picks up immediately at the end of Penric’s Mission, where Penric had been sent on a covert mission to Cedonia,which had failed rather spectacularly. He’s now on the run with General Arisaydia, and his widowed sister Nikys. He’s decided to get them as far as Orbas, where Arisaydia believes he can find shelter. You absolutely need to read the prior book to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, but the action is a lighter diversion from the much more serious events of the last book.

The Mira of the title is one of the prior personalities of Penric’s demon, and she’s able to help them in their journey. It’s a nice end to this arc, though I do wonder if Nikys will return.