Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring 2015 Garden

I finally put some batteries in my camera to get my early spring benchmark pictures in the garden. I like to have some to compare various years to see which have been more productive, and which
winters leave us struggling out of the starting gate. As I warned, very boring, but relieved by a new picture of The Amazing Roxanne, Evil Wild Dog of the Prairie, celebrating her 16th birthday this year. Also a little video of the Russian Army singing "Barbie Girl".

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Truly Spring

New Bedford Cobbles
This morning it was so pleasant (and not windy) that I was able to sit out on the deck and drink my coffee with the newspaper. What a joy, after our terrible horrible very bad winter.

I've been in the garden this week, doing the few clean up chores that were not done in the fall and looking around to see what did not make it and will need to be replaced.  So far it looks good. I have lost about half of my lavender - the smaller plants that were under a 5' pile of snow do not seem to have survived but the ones less precariously sited are OK. It looks like something dug up the mountain bluet and ate it (I have a hunch who that was), and the fleabane seems to be down to a single shoot. Otherwise things look reasonable. the heuchera look like hell, but they were not doing all that well last year anyway so I will be putting something else there. I thought my pulmonaria would be big enough to divide, but it looks like it barely made it through the winter so no joy there.  On the other hand, the solomon's seal is apparently about to take over the earth.

Winter Damaged Dock Bournes Pond
Two of the (expensive) thuja near the road have some pretty significant winter damage and one less but noticeable damage. I think the spray from the road clearing is the culprit, and that can't be helped. The shrubs that spent the winter completely covered with snow seem to have done very well. My yucca is splayed out from the weight and does not look like it will recover. Oh well.

Today I could sit outside weeding without any kind of outerwear. Earlier this week I worked in some compost and planted my cool season crops. So exciting! I am walking the beds every morning again and it seems some things are doubling in size every day. I saw a bumblebee this morning and I am crossing my fingers against a hard frost returning to annoy me. In a few weeks I will try to resurrect the geraniums that have been wintering in the basement in a paper bag. They looked OK last week so I have high hopes.

Pictures are random today - I do still need to take my early spring snaps of the garden, but you'll never miss them as right now it's mostly bare dirt with teeny tiny green things poking up.

Bournes Pond

Friday, April 10, 2015

April Field Trip

We've been taking advantage of Shana's evening work schedule to fit in some daytime field trips. This week we took a little shopping trip to South Shore Plaza, the first time I have been to an actual mall in Massachusetts since we moved here. I don't count Cape Cod Mall, which is a bit on the pitiful side with smaller versions of national chain stores (plus I seldom go there except to duck into Barnes & Noble for magazines). We went into Nordstrom to be tempted by fine fragrances and fancy shmancy jeans. We also had lunch and an afternoon coffee there before returning home. Pretty heady stuff, Yes, I did buy some fragrance and some fancy shmancy jeans (which they did not have in my size and which were delivered to my home today on a hanger with no shipping charge). I must say I saw a lot of pretty things in Nordstrom and elsewhere in the mall, but we stuck to our plan so the damage would not be too bad. I can see how ruinous improved access could be, in spite of the fact that I have fairly simple clothing requirements. Cape Cod is very casual, and what I need most in the world is a plain swimsuit that will not fall off in the waves and a couple of pair of quick dry panties to wear when kayaking. REI is pretty much my kind of store these days.

Yesterday we were off Cape for an appointment, and since we would be near New Bedford and its Whaling Museum we drove over to see it. We had lunch at Destination Soups, which I can thoroughly recommend. The soups were delicious and fresh; the prices were great. They probably don't need my recommendation because they were super busy the whole time we were there. We went to the New Bedford Whaling Museum after lunch. We really enjoyed it - very educational with loads of old equipment and photos and detailed exhibits, including several whale skeletons and a half scale model of a whaling ship. There was a lot of information about whales, whaling, and the men who worked in the industry. I've read Moby Dick twice, plus watched  films based on the work which let me come to the museum a little bit informed about the process, but seeing the photos and the actual equipment have me a much better idea of what it must have been like. It was sobering to think that those hard laboring men were contemporaries of the "summer cottages" built in Newport in the Gilded Age (or should I say "First Gilded Age"?). The museum also has a terrific section of scrimshaw artifacts and a couple of rooms devoted to contemporary whaling themed art. I was fascinated by a display of ceramic whales by Cynthia Consentino called "Whale Story which demonstrated the uses and fanciful stories about whales There were also loads of nautical themed paintings all over the building. We were really lucky: because there was a bit on construction going on in the building and one exhibit room was not open we got in for half price! It was probably our good fortune that we did not have any time to visit the gift shop or explore New Bedford at any length.

On we went to Fall River (birthplace of Emeril Lagasse). In addition to our appointment we had a chance to drive by Battleship Cove, which we will be visiting later this summer. I was glad to get a chance to scope out the parking and restaurant situation there in advance of our visit. It was more important than it seems - apparently some portion of the highway system in Fall River is always being torn up, so I wanted to get an idea of how to get there. Every time I have been there we have taken some kind of wrong turn.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

More Cowbell

Snowing again this morning, but one thing that can make a snowy morning a little more bearable is DANCING!

Friday, March 20, 2015

First Day of Spring?

Here we are at the Vernal Equinox and like last year at this time it is still snowing. I have seen most of my birdbath and all of my trashcan emerging from the snow, so I do have hope, but my recycling bin though visible for the first time since late January is frozen into a drift and there is a pile of snow 5 feet tall in the middle of my veggie garden. Needless to say I have not yet planted my snap peas! What more is there to say about winter that I have not already said?

Still sticking with Weight Watchers Online. Results are as advertised, a bit over 2 lbs. per week. While the current incarnation of the program allows basically unlimited quantities of fruit and vegetables it can be a bit unsatisfying. Not so much in quantity, as plenty of high fiber foods take care of that, but I feel like my stomach is a little "cold": full but unsatisfied. I think that maybe when the weather is a bit warmer I won't miss some of my favorite comfort foods as much. A big salad with tuna is delicious in summer but less so in winter. I have put the weekly extra points to good use - a burger, a cup of clam chowder and a (tiny) lemon meringue tart, a patty melt sandwich. I must admit that however much you love them radishes are no substitute for tortilla chips, and I feel quite deeply the complete and total lack of cookies.

While my sister-in-law is visiting her Peace Corps daughter in Cambodia I am walking her dog every weekday. Lisa's fiance is taking care of him here on Cape the rest of the time, but his regular dog walker lives in Cambridge, so to give Louie his daily break I stop by and take him out for a spin. I'm not his favorite, and his usual reaction to my taking him out has always been to brace his feet and refuse to walk with me. We seem to have broken that cycle; apparently I am significantly better than nothing. One day I brought Roxy with me as a special friend to walk with, as they like each other. I give him a snack and hang out with him for a bit, then I am on my way. After I finish with him I go down to the beach and walk for a bit by myself. This way I am getting in two or three miles per day without going to the gym. It is too cold to be very pleasant - still well below forty degrees every day, but the exercise and sunlight are doing me good.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Within Spittin' Distance of Spring

Every day I see more signs of spring - the birds are singing, the days are longer, Daylight Savings Time is in effect. The tree buds are swelling, as are the flower buds on my big rhododendrons. I don't know what's happening to the dwarf rhodys - they are still completely covered with snow. I am doing Weight Watchers Online in an effort to reconcile my body and my shorts. I just can't get excited about buying new shorts to accommodate a tubbier waist. We had four thrilling days with temperatures in the low 40s. We are back in the 30's again, with snow forecast for Saturday, but I can see nearly half of my bird bath and I think spring is coming. I swear I will stop posting snow pictures soon, except that tomorrow morning we are driving out to Wellfleet to try to get a look at the giant ice chunks that are washing ashore there.  I'll probably post pictures of those! The news guys keep saying that this is a once-in-a-generation sight, So I'd better not pass it up because I am too lazy to drive down Cape to see it.

I went for a nice walk on Menahaunt Beach this afternoon. I was planning to go to the gym, but I had on a warm coat so I soaked up a little sun and gathered a handful of beach glass instead.  Like most of the Cape Cod beaches, this one had some erosion over the winter, but not as bad as the Bay and Atlantic beaches.

I'm still knitting like crazy. I work on my Must Have Cardigan early in the day while the light holds - there are large sections of "knit the knits and purl the purls" for which I need decent light. I am just a few inches up the back section, but I'm not going to hurry. I'd like to have it for a Rhinebeck sweater but with Little Wave already finished I will have at least one to wear and need not rush this one. Two pair of socks for myself so far with another pair down to the heel on the first sock, and my Christmas yarn shawl is about a third done. I've got yarn wound and a pattern selected for a lace shawl but have not cast on yet. I'm spending a lot of time indoors so far this year, and things are happening on the needles.

Roxy went for her yearly checkup this week. At 16 years old she is in good shape but could use some dental attention. I'm hesitating because at her age I would rather not chance anesthesia. Doctor says it's better nowadays, but I am not quite convinced. She's enjoying her walks, and as long as the ice on the street does not cut into her paws she's happy to get out there.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Let's Think About Something Else

Our snow total for yesterday was a foot. In March. Temperatures under 20° all day. I'm grouchy, so we need some elevating content: