Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Pumpkin child coming through.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Crest the wave

I'm taking a moment to appreciate the progress and momentum we've got going. Documents acquired, signed and returned! Grant for closing costs received! End of rental lease negotiated! A pile of achievements. Countdown until closing. On to the next tasks, we jump through or dive under each coming wave and look out sharpish.

My vigorous pumpkin child continues to make me proud. Tiny flowers are forming (see circles below), more tendrils are curling, the big leaves keep getting bigger. I will mulch again and tell it how beautiful it is. I'm proud of the front garden that I'm leaving behind.

The mulberries are mostly done. I realized finally that there are two trees hanging over the backyard fence, one has black berries as expected and one has white-ish berries. I thought he squirrels were eating the white mulberries raw but it turns out they were not that dumb. They and the birds and I have had a bounteous harvest this summer. Picking them off the tree in the backyard was worth the mosquito bites and the stains that turned blue on my bare heels.

We won't be moving several of our appliances. The glass stovetop on our range got a crack in March and it grew over the next weeks. Another intersecting crack appeared and then the big front burners stopped working in May. We've been making do with the small burners since then. The oven works fine although June in Kansas doesn't make me want to use the oven. This range was bought in 2003 and has done its duty. The oven drawer got dented in our move five years ago and has never closed correctly since. I am happy to wave goodbye to it and glad we could limp along with it until the move. In fact it is satisfying in a weird way to use it up so definitively. Our fully functional old washer and dryer may go to a friend or we'll offer them to the owners/next tenant. The fridge is not ours, stays with the house. I will be very happy to never hear its loud fan rattles again.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Sticky Chase

Pie development
Thinking about a new to me combo: Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Pie. Uses 4 cups sweet cherries, 2 cups rhubarb.

Sugar science
I have made and loved candied citrus peel in the past but it's been a while. I've never had the problem described in this article. I think I only cook mine in the syrup for a short time. The recipe in the article comments is accurately described as dead simple:

  • soak strips of orange peel from 2 oranges for a week, changing the water daily. Then 1.5 cups of water, 1.5 cups of sugar, simmer for maybe an hour.
I don't think I'd bother for only two oranges. I want enough so I can feast and give some away too.

Document chase
I am usually good at getting vital documents together for official inspection. I don't always get everything on the first try but I make lists and take careful care of the important docs. We're getting a slew of documents together for our loan process officer and it's driving me a little crazy. There are some that have to be ink signatures, not done by email and I worry that I've gotten one of them wrong. If so I will need to ask my mother to sign something else and mail it to me and I dread that. She's having pain from recently diagnosed stenosis (pressed nerve) in her spine and waiting, so far fruitlessly, for placement in a physical therapy clinic. I don't blame her for being easily overwhelmed and not having bandwidth for my document bullshit. I will cross my fingers as I submit the questionable document and hope they don't make me go back to her with more requests.

I think we're moving forward and going to close on time. I would like a fanfare of trumpets and for the closing date to appear in letters of flame on the wall but it seems that everything is much more fluid and amorphous than that.

Unexpeced counter-tenor
Driving home from Topeka I listened to what sounded like early opera (maybe Spanish? the only lyrics I heard clearly: Sant Esperanza) sung by a soprano. I haven't had any luck finding the piece but fell down a rabbit hole reading about counter tenors and castratii. So here's a beautiful performance in a courtyard: Antonio Vivaldi "Vedro con mio diletto" from Il Giustino by Jakub Józef Orliński (counter-tenor).

Wednesday, June 5, 2019


Front garden blooms ahoy.

First open coneflower amidst oregano and lemon balm

Lavender with more lemon balm, spearmint, peppermint and moonflower looming

Close up!

Natural history links

Kansas Native plant guide, grasses.

Feather Identification by photo.

This one is a bit different. Camas used as food. A blog post about native American harvest, cultivation and preparation of the root of this iris cousin. I'm poking around the rest of the blog now.

Friday, May 31, 2019


Need a little weird/funny? Maybe you need to see Colbert and Conan in a box .

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Link found in a discussion of the evolution of apples as food for large prehistoric animals. Wait a minute, that's not human history!

On a whim I searched for rose garden webcams and found a match that least resembled what I was looking for:  Rose Garden Place, Phoenix, Arizona.

I've been picking mulberries in the backyard. They are low on the berry tastiness scale compared to raspberries or strawberries but I do love to forage.

I have been frustrated with our house buying process not advancing much this week. Finally got an estimate we were waiting for last night. I hope wonderful things will happen by Monday. I have a great deal to do that needs a firm closing date.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


One of the transplanted coneflowers has buds. There is a pumpkin sprouting next to the front steps. That's my doing as I left the smallest of the h'ween pumpkins to rot there. I'm going to put some mulch around it to kill the grass and give it a chance. I put some lemon balm and spearmint into pots on the back porch so we can take them with us. The lavender is about to bloom profusely, it is super happy. The mulberries are getting bigger. I haven't noticed the squirrels eating them while they're green this year, that's a pleasant change.

My girls put together two birthday bouquets with peonies, roses and spiderwort. It made me happy.

Maybe you've seen a video clip from the John Mulaney and Bill Hader talk that is just four minutes of Hader laughing. Here's the whole thing. And it did make me laugh several times although it is not a stand up show or anything.

Diving in
I'm pleasantly surprised to be reading a good fantasy novel. Sometimes I will pick up several novels in a row that I can't get into because I don't like the author's approach, the general tone (everyone is at everyone else's throats at all times is one I don't like) or I have to work too hard to imagine the book's world. In The Midnight Queen (a somewhat terrible title!) British society is stuffy Victorian-ish but also pagan, multi lingual and with at least part of the population having magic powers. So far there have been scenes in London and rural Brittany. One hardly ever gets to visit Brittany in fiction and I appreciate the book for that alone.

An example of the text being smart that I read to my husband describes a writing desk that contained nothing but a bottle of ink, papers and a box of pounce. Pounce powder was used to dry freshly written ink but wikip tells me that it was also used to make paper smoother, preparing it to be written on. I'm happy to be several chapters into The Midnight Queen, by Sylvia Izzo Hunter. I love the middle name which reminds me of my husband's great grandmother's name Alice Zeppa. 

Parking this here for when I need more sex and violence. https://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com/2019/04/hays-code-in-hollywood-sex-and-violence.html

Hurry slow
Inspections didn't show anything that is a showstopper although there are several things that need to be negotiated. Our realtor is taking them to the seller. My competing goals: I want to get this settled; I want to get value for our money. I figure that we have about ten days to play with and then we need to have an answer. Maybe there will be movement by the end of the week. Nod and I drove past yesterday evening. The street was nice and quiet. The grass is very high in the front yard, I hope that will get cut before we move in.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


I think I'm astride the elephant now although I might be headed in an unexpected direction. We went to an open house and made an offer and it was accepted all within 24 hours. We will be scraping up our down payment (up the down staircase). I am relieved and starting to unclench. Inspections are next week which should tell us more about the bumpy roof and the laundry room smell. Sounds like heaven, right?

Parking lots can have beautiful views. I remember a parking lot at a Wendy's on the big island in Hawaii that had a jaw dropping view of the ocean.

I am going to try to exercise this evening. I've been too stressed to want to lately. As I told Nod, I think I've run out of spite. Surprising really.