Garden Notes

So while we were away in the Cape last weekend, this happened. We got home with just enough light last Sunday for me to be able to see that the zinnias and dahlias look like they came out on the worse end of a fight. (My mother, who’s on the coast, has not actually had a frost yet, and this was only a light frost – everything cold hardy is still perfectly happy.) And then we got rain for the whole week, so it’s Sunday again, and I’m just finally getting out to clean things up.

This is the state of the part of the backyard right now. The lawn desperately needs a mow too, but it’s not going to be dry enough to do it by the time it snows, at the rain rate we’re seeing right now.

I did get the dahlias and zinnias cut back, and I should be able to dig the tubers next weekend. (I really hope the weather cooperates.) You can also see one of the two rain barrels tipped upside down in the background of this picture. They’re both drying out before I clean them up and stow them. I had to completely drain them – I only ran low on water once in the one closer to the back bed in the whole summer.

About half the annuals in the front bed gave up the ghost, so I’ve pulled those out as well. The poor mums have just been flattened by the rain. Those are the only one of the five or so plants they’d put in that bed before the house showing that survived the winter. I will get rid of them eventually, but because I don’t have firm plans for the whole bed, they’ll stay for now.


Burn for Me – Ilona Andrews

I accidently started the Hidden Legacy series late, when the middle sister (Catalina) took over the action. Now, I managed to track down the older books as Kindle deals, so I’m back to the oldest sister, Nevada.

In the world of these books, a serum was discovered in the 19th century that gave some people magic, and that magic would then breed true. So in the present day, the most powerful houses are very carefully breeding their powers to maintain their grip on their riches and positions.

Nevada Baylor and her family are nothing special. Their PI business ended up mortgaged to one of the magical houses when her father became sick. That’s mostly been fine, until the day that Adam Pierce, younger son of House Pierce, decides to go rogue. He’s a firestarter, and kills a security guard during a robbery. His house wants him back alive, so Nevada’s called in because she’s expendable.

However, Adam had an accomplice, and he turns out to be a cousin to Connor Rogan, head of House Rogan, more commonly referred to as Mad Rogan. He’s one of the most powerful Primes alive, and he and Nevada lock horns almost immediately. Now, I have lots of knowledge of what comes later, so there were a few things that I already knew would go in certain ways, but Connor and Nevada are not one of those – it’s completely, blatantly obvious where that’s going, from the very beginning. And I do like how much Nevada struggles against it, because she knows it’s a terrible idea. I look forward to Connor proving to her that it’s not.

Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles – Thomas Lennon

If you don’t know Tom Lennon, he played Lieutenant Jim Dangle on Reno 911, which should tell you what level of humor he’s going for here, except this is also a young reader’s level book, so it’s the fairly clean version of that level of humor.

Fourteen year old Ronan Boyle is a intern with the Irish garda (police) who gets recruited into their supernatural division because he happens to be the skinniest person on staff at a very important moment. It turns out that the supernatural realm of Tir Na Nog exists alongside the regular world, and there’s a Special Unit of the Garda in charge of dealing with their incursions.

It’s definitely fun – there’s a lot of terrible leprechaun humor. It is pitched to grades 4-7, so that’s the tone that’s set, but I really enjoyed it.

Woods Hole, MA

Last week, we got back to Cape Cod for the first time since Covid. The main event was my MIL’s 75th birthday, so there wasn’t quite as much nature walking as we’d normally do, but it was still a nice visit. On Friday night, we headed into Wood Hole to watch the sunset on the waterfront.

My BIL works at WHOI, and the Atlantis was in town. If you’re enough of a marine biology geek, you’ll recognize that as the ship that houses the Alvin submarine. We got to go in dockside to see that (see the lit up part of the lefthand picture above). The Neil Armstrong was also in dock, and it’s apparently pretty unusual to have them both in together, so that was neat to see.

The other picture is the original diving ball from the Alvin. It’s not very big, and three people would go down in it for excursions. Definitely cool to see.

Knitting Notes

This is the In Dreams Shawl, by Susan Pandorf. I’m using Shibui Knits Lunar in the Noire colorway, and because I am crazy, I’m beading it. (Miyuki 8/o beads in black opaque) So far so good. It’s definitely fiddly enough that I don’t work on it if I’m not feeling totally on the ball that day, but it’s really fun so far. The beading is done the wrong side, so you get the pattern on one side, and then just some counting amongst the purls.

I’ve also revamped the vanilla socks, and they look much better with the larger stripes.

Embroidery Notes

Here are the two Punochka cross stitch patterns, completed. The second one is called Mushroom Umbrellas. I do have them both in the frames I was trying to fill, but the light this time of year is not conducive to taking good pictures of glass without ridiculous reflections. So someday I’ll get a picture once I manage to set up my embroidery gallery wall.

Dragon Actually – G. A. Aiken

I picked this up through Prime Reading because I’d enjoyed the Blacksmith Queen books, and these characters come into the end of the second book, so it’s the same world. And I definitely enjoyed it. Annwyl the Bloody is fighting for her life – her brother wants her dead, so that his claim to the throne will be clear. While fighting off an attack, she finds her way into the lair of the dragon Fearghus the Destroyer, and sparks end up flying.

This book was mostly definitely smuttier than I remember either of the Blacksmith Queen books being (and those were by no means clean), but especially in the novella that included that contains the tale of Feaghus’ parents, this is definitely on the smuttier side. I don’t mind, but I definitely know some people that would not have been able to deal with it. But they’re both fun stories, and I’m looking forward to reading more in the series.

Knitting Notes

So these are some vanilla socks (using the Basic 4ply Socks by Winwick Mum pattern) I started to use up the Koigu Painter’s Palette Merino I’ve been trying to figure out how to use. I got some Ontheround Nimble Sock in the Barred Owl and Narwhal colorways to go with it – they’re the same weight.

And I’ve already decided to frog back to the cuff above. I need to go down a needle size when I get to the leg, and I also realized that the Koigu is too variable to look good in one line stripes. So I’m going to do maybe five lines of each color? We’ll see how that works out.