Monday, August 13, 2018

A nursery in the garden

One of the definitions of nursery is:

 a place or natural habitat that breeds or supports animals

And going on that, my garden is a bit of a nursery just now because there are caterpillars living on my one and only parsley plant that will turn into black swallowtail butterflies! They are called parsley worms, though they'll also live off dill or carrots. I counted six, but didn't move the plant leaves to see if there were any others. You may read more about them here. In all my years of gardening, I've not seen them or heard of them before now.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Blueberries - 2018 report

This is the last batch of blueberries for 2018. This will be the third year that I've kept track. 2016 is here, and 2017 is here. It really helps me to keep records, and here is why. I thought we had gotten quite a lot of berries this year. But no. Last year the fellow picked from July 31 through August 23. This year, July 28 - August 10.

In 2017 there were a lot fewer than in 2016. 43 quarts down from 61 quarts. We thought it must have been the rainy spring. This year we didn't have a rainy spring but we had exceedingly hot weather, and went weeks without rain. In 2018 we bought only 26 quarts.

Here is the breakdown.

July 28 - 5 quarts
July 30 - 4 quarts
August 2 - 4 quarts
August 4 - 2 quarts
August 6 - 4 quarts
August 8 - 4 quarts
August 10 - 3 quarts

He went up 50¢ a quart, so we paid $6. In all the cost this year was $156.

The fate of the blueberries is much like our gardens this year. The vegetables are doing fine, but the daylilies haven't had a good year. Because it was so very hot, we couldn't get out and weed very much, and there are weeds everywhere. Not just little, easy-to-pull weeds, but tall ones all interspersed among the flowers. I think this is just a year that I must write off, and hope it doesn't come again. We did quite a lot of watering, but it just wasn't enough with the sun beating down relentlessly, day after day.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Today's video - Longest Days by John Mellencamp

I am just now watching John Mellencamp: Plain Spoken on Netflix streaming. He just sang a song that I so love, and I wanted to share it here in my letters. He says in the show that his grandmother is the only woman who ever really loved him. (warning -there is a swear word in his intro)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Today's picture/Week seven CSA flowers - 2018

You can see my huge tomato plants in the background! 

Does anyone know what those pinkish flowers in the front are? There are three sort of clumps of them.

And in the house - this week in my mother's vase.

This would be week one of the second half of the CSA flowers. I'm thinking that next year I might change it up a bit, and buy flowers every week rather than be part of the CSA. She is open a few days at the farm, and then the Farmers' Market on Sundays. It would be less expense upfront for me, and the bouquets are a bit less expensive. Smaller, but that's okay. And I can pick and choose a bit. For example, this year her sweet peas were a great success, but they weren't in the CSA bouquets. She offered whole arrangements of just sweet peas! A bit of heaven.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Jacob's Room is Full of Books - July

My blogging friend Cath at read_warbler wrote today that she hates the month of July, and in Jacob's Room is Full of Books, Susan Hill says
The deadly months. July and August. The weather often disappoints, the birds have stopped singing, the roads round here are crammed with mobile homes and caravans being towed, the beaches are also crammed full and, yes, it is thoroughly selfish of me to complain about it. But winter is best here. Empty everywhere. In high summer it is best to get back from any shopping trip by ten o'clock and then stay in the garden, to read, or write, cold drink to hand, intermittently watching the swallows high overhead.
Anyone who lives near the ocean, or the mountains, or any tourist destination knows this sentiment. Often these areas are dependent upon tourist money to keep afloat. Many people do the seasonal jobs, and switch them with the seasons. There is a bit of a love/hate relationship with all the people who come. I've not had this kind of job, but I know that some workers are driven crazy by the demands the occasional tourist puts upon them.

I found this interesting.
It is a sad thing when you discover that a book you loved beyond many, a book of which you knew whole paragraphs and conversational exchanges by heart, a book you thought you would be wedded to for life, has lost its appeal, its charm, its ability to amuse and entertain, delight and impress. How does this happen? Does it mean the book has become dated, or outdated, its humour old-fashioned, its charm rusty, its brilliance tarnished? Was it a book you simply grew out of? Or one that, as you read more and got more life experience, could not keep up with you? Was it simply not up to the job, did it not bear any more re-readings, yield any more wisdom, reveal any new aspect to the wit, so that you laughed again but in a slightly different way?
Do you feel this way about any particular books or authors? For a reader this is kind of like a break-up, or a slipping away of a friendship. You can't always put your finger on it, but you know that something has changed. Susan Hill goes on to tell the reader
What I am saying is that my love affair with E.F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels seems to be over. There are odd things that still delight... But I droop after reading three chapters of any of them and I no longer smile at all. It was a blow when this first happened. I decided it was just me and left the books alone for a while. But it went on happening. I found myself becoming impatient with these silly people - and that was fatal.
Over the years of email groups and blogging, I've known a lot of people who absolutely love these books. I wonder if they would understand what she means. Personally, I saw Mapp and Lucia first on PBS ages ago, and could not stand the women! I never even tried the books.

Susan is very concerned about the decrease in small nesting birds.
In his Natural History of Selborne, Gilbert White records not only dozens upon dozens of sparrows but of every other sort of 'common' bird - thrushes, blackbirds, finches, tits - as well as the migrants. ... Even in my own childhood, there were probably several hundred percent more song birds than now. The telephone wires were lined with swallows and martins, the air thick with swifts.
The loss of so many over the last hundred years or so is forgotten - everyone talks about the pandas and the tigers and the giraffes, and of course they are important. Meanwhile, not far from home, people trap thousands of small birds for food.
And she later writes
Watched a hen harrier on the marshes. There are several pairs, always visible, swooping across, looking for prey. They were rare once, but now they are common. The campaign to make hawks protected birds has seen to this, so they breed safely and murder small birds unhampered.
It is really difficult for me to read all this. Heartbreaking.

She writes of one of her (and my) favorite writers, P.G. Wodehouse. She has encouraged people to read him, and
some cannot get past the receding chins, the brainlessness, the vacuousness, the frippery, the juvenile mentality of the characters. The only one to whom none of the above descriptions apply is, of course, Jeeves. Lord Emsworth sometimes succeeds where Bertie Wooster fails, but I never press home my argument about Wodehouse, because if the magic doesn't work, it doesn't and never will. It is the uncomprehending reader's loss. Nobody half likes Wodehouse... You are an addict or you are left stone cold.
I openly admit, I am that addict. I've often said that his writing is second only (maybe) to Shakespeare's. I agree when Susan notes that he is a "master of the language, whose plots and characters are of second and third importance to the writing."

Another wonderful month spent in Susan Hill's company.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Today's picture/Week six CSA flowers - 2018

This week's gorgeous bouquet! I love the deep purple and pinks and oranges, and well, just everything! Here is a close-up.

There is some basil hiding in the back!

And the farm had extra lettuce this week, so all the CSA people got some. I've already eaten half of this!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Today's picture/Week five CSA flowers - 2018

Tomorrow I pick up the week six flowers and haven't had a chance until now to post last week's flowers! Well, here they are, such beauty!

And on Sunday at the Farmers' Market, I bought an edible bouquet of basil, nasturtiums, and rosemary from the same flower farm.

My supper that Sunday evening was entirely from the Farmers' Market. Roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary, and this salad.

Ah, the bounty of summer!