Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens – Boothbay, ME

I was in the Boothbay region last week from Tuesday to Thursday while I took a class at CMBG (Native plants in the Maine landscape – with a heavy dose of plant identification).     It was a great class – made me wish I was retired so I had time to do more of this kind of thing.

I am happy to report that I have a much better idea of how to identify some of my plant nemeses (Solidago – I’m looking at you).  Sadly, it involves either collecting plants for later review, or having a field guide and hand lens on me at all times, so I’m not sure I’ll always put it into action, but it’s nice to at least have the tools to do so.

The above are pictures of the formal gardens taken while I wandered around before/during breaks/after class.   (The wildflowers in an earlier post are also during a break – but I specifically went after wildflowers that time.)

Defying Mars – Cidney Swanson

1939543010-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_This is technically the second book in this series, but I’m starting to get the feeling the author pulled apart one (maybe two – the series is young) books to make more parts.

In the last book, Jess and her brother were among the crew of a Mars ship sent to Earth to get the food they need to survive. Officially, there’s no one on Mars – they’ve been considered dead by Earth for years, but there have black market support back on Earth. Their mission went terribly wrong, and only Jess and the mechanic make it back to Mars. In this book, Jess pretty much steals the ship almost as soon as they get back, and returns to Earth. That’s it.

Yes, there’s a some action on Earth where her brother Ethan is getting used to his new body (long backstory), and other things happens (with characters you won’t understand unless you’ve read book one). That’s why this seems very incomplete to me – the whole book is a transition act. I can’t even say it’s good or bad- it just is.

Clean Sweep – Ilona Andrews

372e3dfc12eab8d597355586941434f414f4141Well here’s an interesting idea – vampires and werewolves as aliens, and only some people on Earth know that they exist. Earth is neutral, so there are a number of Inns here, and their Innkeepers have incredible powers as long as they’re in the Inn.

Dina has been given an Inn that was abandoned, so she’s in the process of establishing her bond, and rebuilding the Inn’s reputation. She only has one permanent guest (and there are a lots of other aliens than just werewolves and vampires.)

When Sean Evans arrives in town, several of the neighborhood dogs are killed, and Dina immediately suspects him, because he’s a werewolf, and though it’s rather impolite, that could have been him establishing his territory. Naturally, this gets them off on a very bad foot, but they do quickly establish that it’s not Sean, but something else rather nasty is in the neighborhood.

Naturally, the vampires end up being involved. (While the werewolves were genetically engineered to fight in a war on their home planet, the vampires are members of a religiously based empire). They end up with Arland, a rather attractive vampire Marshall, at the inn, tending to this dying uncle, who tried to take out the assassin that’s ended up in the neighborhood.

This is a really interesting set up – the universe has a lot of potential. There’s definitely a possible love interest (or two), which is par for the course of this kind of book, but also doesn’t seem like it’ll be so distracting as others in the genre can be. There are mysteries to solve (Dina’s parents are missing), and I definitely am looking forward to seeing what happens next.


Garden Notes

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Back when I first planted the community garden tomatoes, I swore I was going to keep on top of the suckers.   I did not.   On a whim, on Monday (when I was supposed to be doing a quick check before going away for a few days), I started going after suckers.   I’m pretty sure I removed half their weight in leaves.    You can definitely see the tomatoes better now.    And I woke myself up in the middle of a night with a back ache bad enough to require some Advil.   Oh well.

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The haul for that day was a poblano, some eggplant, a few cherry tomatoes, two more huge zucchini, and more ground cherries (above is the cumulative collection).