pameladean: (Libellula julia)
I have a new phone with a more primitive camera, and I forgot my real actual camera, so you'll have to make do with words.

It was 47 degrees and sunny today, so I went for a walk. Everything has that swept-clean, expansive feeling that comes after all the leaves are down. Houses that are veiled by leaves in other seasons stand out, and you remember again that the red one has that funny round window and the gray one has a strange little corner porch on the back and the blue one has that look-again-no-really side dormer that looks as if somebody was quite drunk when designing it. The grass is still brilliant green, and small fantastical castles made of half-melted leftover snow stand around upon it. Here and there a sunken partial snow person leans sideways. Most leaves of all kinds are down. Rosebushes are still turning red. Some are still flowering. A sheltered garden has here a bright yellow snapdragon plant blooming away, and there a clump of chrysanthemums, bright red or white or wildly golden. Creeping phlox and sedum and periwinkle are all evergreen in milder climates, and they are as green and creeping as can be, though not in bloom.

Everybody was out with dogs and children in strollers. Chickadees uttered short, sharp warnings, maybe about me, maybe about hawks. House sparrows contended about deep philosophical issues, or perhaps about territory or food.

Nobody has dug up my bulbs yet.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
I just took down the 2015 Minnesota Weatherguide Calendar (it does not do to be hasty about these things), the December photograph in which was a lovely one of a snow- and icicle-encrusted evergreen branch in the foreground, with a wave caught breaking in white spray behind it, and snow- and evergreen-encrusted islands on the horizon, somewhere on Lake Superior. The January photo for the 2016 calendar is also of Lake Superior, at Gooseberry Falls State Park, a rocky beach with lumps of ice perched atop the rocks, each one perfectly sized for its perch, as if a wave had come in and instantly frozen. In the background are the lake, looking very cold, and a low but brilliant sun. I read the Phenology section with great pleasure, because it almost always tells you to listen for the "fee-bee" call of chickadees establishing their territories, and the drumming of downy woodpeckers. And even in the middle of the city, I have heard both of these things already, birds not being great devotees of the Gregorian calendar.

Today a lot of house sparrows are yelling their heads off in the neighbors' pea-bush hedge, and occasionally a crow makes a pronouncement about some esoteric matter.

I'm hoping to post more, however mundane the content of the posts is. Here is a bit that I wrote but never posted just before Christmas.

Read more... )

"Today I made vegan cream of mushroom soup, which is quite delicious, if extremely rich; but I didn't make it to be eaten as soup, but rather to be used in a casserole the recipe for which comes from the family of one of my partners. Then I made dinner for Raphael and me (macaroni and goat cheese and steamed broccoli), and now I am roasting some mushrooms, to be followed by green beans and cauliflower. The last-minute roasted vegetables I made for Thanksgiving (turnips, broccoli, and carrots) were so wonderful that I want to have some more at Christmas dinner. Sadly, some people I seem to be related to don't like turnips, so I'm doing these different vegetables. I had more mushrooms than I needed for the soup, and that is how it all arose. I expect these vegetables will still be wonderful, and I also got some turnips to roast later in the week." In the event, the roasted vegetables were very good, and I did roast turnips, carrots, broccoli, and more mushrooms a few days later. Also very good. I was sneaking the leftovers cold out of the fridge as if they were cheesecake.

The day before Christmas was a better day for pie crust than the day before Thanksgiving. All the pies came out fine. David has heroically finished the mince, and both pumpkin pies are still being worked on. I didn't assist the situation much by making two loaves of banana bread and then lugging one all over on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day but never actually getting it out at a party, so now we have to eat all of that too. The horror. It's a good batch. The recipe uses up to six bananas, with enough whole-wheat flour and sugar to hold them together and some rising agents, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon, with optional walnuts. Aside from the quality of the bananas, which is not really under our control, the keys to a good batch of banana bread seem to be increasing the amount of walnuts, toasting them thoroughly, using fresh cinnamon and good vanilla (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] carbonel!), and not under-baking the result. It's also useful to gauge the level of moisture in the bananas and lower the number used if they seem too gooshy.

Christmas dinner was small this year, but we all had a good time. [livejournal.com profile] lydy was gallivanting about the East Coast and David's sister couldn't make it, so it was just five of us. We had lots of leftovers, which was very satisfying. I tried to recreate my youngest brother's balsamic-mustard-maple-syrup reduction for the salmon, but it came out too mustardy. Still very tasty, just not sublime. And the oyster casserole was a great success with [livejournal.com profile] arkuat as a birthday treat. Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar substitute melts like Velveeta and makes a grand cheesy sauce with homemade vegan cream of mushroom soup. I had leftover soup and ended up making more cheesy sauce and putting it over baked potatoes after I'd eaten all the proper leftovers.

This seems to be a very foodish post. I suppose it's the time of year.

David and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary by going to Kyoto All You Can Eat Sushi. My favorite piece was the sweet potato hand roll, but it was all very good. On New Year's Eve Day David had to go deal with a complicated computer project. I made rosemary shortbread that was too dry and crumbly and slightly greasy, and oatmeal shortbread that did not work right at all. The rosemary was demonstrably shortbread, not greasy oatmeal candy like the oatmeal attempt, but it still wasn't right. I think Earth Balance has messed with the formula of their tub margarine so that it doesn't work right for baking, and I will henceforward need to only use the Buttery Sticks for baking. These are sadly no good for just putting on your toast or potato, which is annoying.

On New Year's Eve, David and I went to two parties. I actually hate this, and cherish a useless nostalgia for the comparatively few years when everyone I wanted to see attended the MinnStf party. Even then, when I had first joined MinnStf, there was at least one splinter group that had its own party; I just didn't know those people well and didn't care. The MinnStf party was hosted in a really grand fashion with chicken noodle soup, tacos with a vast array of possible fillings, and, it was rumored, a turkey breast; also huge tubs of hummus, interestingly flavored chips, vegetables (including what looked and tasted like heirloom cherry tomatoes of several varieties), and a plenitude of fruit and candy. The banana bread seemed surplus to requirements, so I didn't get it out. I had several pleasant conversations, and the general conversation upstairs was also nice. I felt guilty leaving, but was very glad, at the second party, to see at least six people I always love to talk to and a number of other congenial sorts, as well as two very self-possessed and fluffy cats. This party was also more than well supplied with edibles, so I didn't bring the banana bread out for it either.

We got home before 2, when I realized that I'd forgotten my knapsack with the lonely loaf of banana bread in it, so we had to drive back to get it, David exhibiting remarkable patience at my fecklessness. I am looking after Lydy's cats while she's gone, so there was half an hour of washing food bowls, parcelling out wet food to the healthy in small doses and to the cat with kidney issues in a larger one, refilling waterers, scooping litter boxes and cleaning up the floor where Naomi, the kidney cat, earnestly pees from inside the box. I don't even, but we love her a lot. Then when I got upstairs, Saffron produced a long fussy lecture about my deficiencies in being gone so much and then clattering around downstairs instead of attending to her. She had been quite adequately looked after by Raphael while I was away, but that was not, I take it, the issue.

She was very snuggly overnight. When I woke up I glanced at the clock and thought, 11:09, that's not bad at all. However, a closer look showed that it was 1:09, so there was some scrambling around. However, David and I had agreed that we would get to the Hair of the Dog party after three but before five, and we did manage that. This is one of my favorite parties, and it was really lovely. All but two pieces of the inadequate rosemary shortbread did get eaten. There were goat butter and good bread and goat and sheep cheeses and fava bean dip and Thai hummus and taramasalata and sesame brussels sprouts and fancy olives and six kinds of herring and celery and grape tomatoes and carrots and cornichons and a very chunky guacamole and a gingerbread trifle, which was not at all Pamela-safe, but Beth offered me a bite and it was stupendous. I had a nice conversation with Katie and Magenta and got to hear lemur anecdotes from Karen, and Josh let us look at the portable museums he'd contributed to the Kickstarter for. They are small blocks of lucite in which are embedded very small bits of museumy objects, like dinosaur skin and bone and a bit of tape from an Apollo mission's music selection. I liked the Japanese star sand the best (it's microfossils), but it was all well worth looking at and pondering. I also got to talk a bit to Laura Jean, which almost never happens, and to Tamsin, though most of my conversation with her had occurred the evening before. The general conversation around the museums also included Eric and David, and Beth and Barb J. and Bruce. It was not actually alliterative, though.

Eric and I had decided to just have our date continuing on from the party, so we went back to my house around ten, and I did a bunch more cat work. Ninja helped us make the bed, as usual, with an interruption from Lady Jane, who keeps trying to play with him but hasn't persuaded him to return the desire yet. We read our books and didn't stay up terribly late. Lady Jane leapt onto the bed for petting several times, but didn't want to stay. We had most of our date on Saturday, ending with brunch at the Himalayan Restaurant, a brief stop at the new coop on 38th Street, and a stop to fill up the tank of Lydy's car, which she had kindly lent Eric and me in her absence.

Then I came home and caught up on LJ and had many thoughts about people's 2015 roundup posts, about whether I am remotely a working writer any more and other somber musings. It's easy enough to fix this. Well, no, it's not easy at all. But it's very simple.

Saffron had more to say to me about my various absences, but this week will be normal, so perhaps I won't be scolded so much either by my cat or by my brain.

Pamela
pameladean: (Libellula julia)
Hi, you guys. I'm sorry that I haven't posted in so long. There's no particular excuse other than general harriedness.

The weather has been of the sort that makes mowing the lawn difficult to schedule. It will rain a lot and be very hot and sticky; then there will be a nice day when the grass gradually dries out, but then either it will rain again, or there will be another nice day and Raphael and I will go hiking; and then it will rain some more. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that I don't really want to mow the lawn at all. It's not that the task is so very onerous in itself, but I find lawns boring and am much more interested in seeing what comes up and blooms if I leave them alone. Sadly, the city of Minneapolis, while willing to permit prairie meadows, is not on board with simply neglecting one's lawn, however experimental the spirit in which it is done. And it's true that one would need to scythe down or burn volunteer trees, and that it is useful to be able to make one's way from the house to the garage with trash or recycling, and even to sit in the yard to watch for bats or chimney swifts or swallowtail butterflies.

Today is not great for dragonflies because it's too cloudy, so we did not go hiking; and I decided I'd actually mow the front lawn. I had taken the lawn mower around from the back and was eying the fallen branch of the neighbors' pea-bush hedge with disfavor when I noticed a bright eye in the grass. A little stripey bird stared at me, bits of gray fluff protruding from its stripes and vibrating with its breathing. It did not gape for food or make any sound at all, and no parent bird clicked or chirped or shrieked at me. I got the pruning shears and did some haphazard reduction of the volunteer trees in the side gardens and the back yard. When I was tired of that, I went back around. The bird was still there. I came into the house and grumpily told Raphael, who suggested looking up what one was recommended to do. I was pretty sure we both knew, but I looked it up. Sure enough, fledglings of most species spend two to five days on the ground being taught important life experiences by their parents. One is strongly advised by the Audubon Society and other similar organizations to leave the babies alone and let them get on with life.

It's very sad, but I cannot mow the front lawn. Raphael said that the city (which, in addition to its lack of enthusiasm for unplanned spontaneous meadows, also dislikes grass and weeds higher than eight inches in one's yard -- there is simply no pleasing some people) would surely understand this situation. I said I looked forward to explaining it to them.

Both appearance and statistics suggest that the baby bird is a house sparrow, but I am not going to mess with it even so. It can't help being part of an imported rapacious species, any more than I can.

In other news, David and I are working on re-issuing my 1998 novel Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary as an ebook and a POD. I'm about three-quarters of the way through reading the OCR and checking it against the previously published version. I remember writing it well enough, but it's been long enough that I keep reacting to it as if someone else had written it. This means that sometimes I enjoy it so much that I stay up late to keep reading, and other times I address the author in exasperated terms.

It is an odd sideways book in some ways. I still feel that my actual point was overstated and obvious, but this has not been the experience of most readers. I don't plan to rewrite anything, though. The people who love the book do love it a lot, and I have plenty of new stuff to write. But JG&R probably didn't even reach all of the small audience it should have, because it was published right around the time that the mass-market distribution system broke down, so that it had no mass-market paperback edition and people were not yet resigned to trade paperbacks. So I hope to at least remedy that.

We hope to reissue "Owlswater" and The Dubious Hills as well.

Pamela

P.S. Parental chipping and high fledgling eeeeeings are now coming from the front yard. I'm glad someone is on the job.

ETA: I saw the parent. It might be a chipping sparrow, or maybe an American tree sparrow, only I didn't see a chest spot. I didn't want to stare too long, since the bird was busy and not best pleased with my arrival.
pameladean: (Libellula julia)
I had to go downtown today for the very mundane reason that I was almost out of Peridex and had to pick up another bottle from the dentist's office. I came home through the brown back yard, strewn with all the leaves last November's snow covered before I could mow them up; and glanced, by sheer habit, at the crumpled sodden leaves of one of last year's peonies. The snowdrops were up and blooming. They were not visible at all yesterday but today, there they were.

When I came upstairs I opened a lot of windows, and immediately heard the robins singing their evening song. The Cornell Ornithological Lab calls it their dawn song, and if Cornell says they sing it at dawn, then they do; but they also sing it in the evening, and sometimes when the sky darkens suddenly before a storm. In support of Cornell, I will add that they also sing it when the sun comes out after the storm is over.

I wish Minicon were earlier or later. Spring has come, and I don't want to sit around in a hotel. At least rain is forecast for part of the weekend.

Right now it's almost entirely clear except for some of those long, dark-gray clouds like islands, with Venus brightening above them.

Pamela
pameladean: (Libellula julia)
My office, in an upstairs sunroom, has two windows facing south, two north, and three west. The upstairs living room, which we have crammed with books to the point that there is room for only one chair, and even that has to be moved aside if we want to get at the hardcover short-story collections, has a big window over the front porch that also faces west.

After a dark and extensively cloudy beginning to winter, we've been having cold, clear evenings, or mostly clear evenings with thin wandering clouds. I am finally in the habit of looking out at sunset. There have been spectacular ones that turned all the clouds pink; blazing striped ones with a band of red, a band of hot pink, a band of orange, then green, then palest blue, green, medium blue, dark dark blue with pink clouds in it; unassuming ones with a band of orange fading to yellow fading to dark gray clouds.

Venus is the evening star. I can see it from the most southerly of the west-facing office windows, just between the neighbors' evergreen and the Norway maple on the boulevard. Tonight, in a subdued sunset of orange and yellow and pink, I couldn't find it. I went to the big library window. No Venus. There was a band of gray clouds above the pink of the horizon, but Venus should have been much higher than that. I got out my phone to check Google Sky Map. Eric texted me just then to say that he was on his way over. I answered him, and then looked at the sky again, raising the phone so that it would show me all the invisible stars and planets, and where the horizon was. Venus shone out, a pinprick to what it would be in full dark, but very much there. "Oh, there you are!" I said. I looked down at the phone to see how close Mars was to Venus, and when I looked back, Venus was gone again. Searching once more, I realized that the faintest of long stretchy clouds reached out from the horizon like ghost rays of the vanished sun. They were moving in the wind, and they hid and revealed Venus as they went, looking almost like an aurora.

The trees looked less stark than they had a few weeks ago. Buds might be starting.

Pamela

Edited to remove extraneous "window" from the text, as there are quite enough windows in the house already.
pameladean: (Libellula julia)
So when I got up this morning and staggered to the computer, blearily clutching my yoghurt and water and my pillbox with the anti-hypertensives in it, I started my morning routine and saw that Weather Underground had changed its format.  There is probably nothing wrong with the new one and I'll be used to it in a couple of weeks; but it's the first thing I look at after I check my email, and I was taken aback and cranky.

Then I decided that Adobe had been bugging me long enough about doing a "video update," so I carelessly told the persistent popup to install, already.  I don't know if it was really Adobe -- though they do always try to sneak MacAfee past me when I update things -- but I ended up with something that messed up my Firefox Start Page and kept popping up ads and exhortations to update this or install that, all things I did not recognize.  After a lot of poking around I discovered that the right name for this nonsense was Trovi.  Aside from the obligatory sponsored link, all the first hits were to pages telling you how to get rid of it.  I poked around more to make sure these weren't somehow compromised too, and then did what they told me, which involved downloading and running four different anti-virus, anti-malware programs.  Trovi is not technically a virus, they said, but it might as well be.  It appears to be gone now.

This all made me late running my errands, and I forgot to eat any lunch.  I deposited a check at the uptown TCF and then, feeling very woogly, ducked into Lund's for some kind of sustenance.  They used to have a really nice tuna salad sandwich, but I came away (studiously ignoring the sushi, which seemed too complicated to manage) with a hummus and vegetable wrap.  The vegetables were fresh and they had put fresh cilantro in it, but they seem to think hummus is a condiment like mustard, to be applied with care, rather than the entire protein source of the sandwich.  However, it did the trick, so I took a bus over to the Whittier Clinic and finally completed a three-day saga during which I ran out of my diuretic while my doctor didn't get to the refill request and then denied it without having anybody tell me why, or even that, she had.  The kindly pharmacist had to wrangle this information out of the clinic on Wednesday, and give me a week's worth to tide me over.  Then I had to make an appointment with a different doctor, because mine wasn't available until May 2 and, despite having noted that I needed lab work before she would refill the prescription, she hadn't actually issued an order for it, so I had to see an actual practitioner to get the order for the lab work.  The other doctor, whom I saw yesterday, was puzzled, because while he said it was useful to do lab work occasionally, it wasn't mandatory to refill the prescription.  They would usually refill the prescription and send me an email or a letter telling me to make an appointment.  I will say for them that the lab work was in my email inbox within six hours, and it all looks fine.  In any case, today, Friday, the pharmacy gave me the proper month's worth of my medication, this providing me with a nice five-day cushion in case of weirdness next month.  I had planned to walk home, but the lettuce wrap was expiring and I was grumpy and also for some reason uneasy.


I came home via the alley and the back yard, so as to admire the snowdrops and see if the crocuses were more than half an inch high.  I cannot report on this issue, because as I came up the path I saw a black object on the woodpile that I took for a crow.  Then I saw that it was a cat.  Then I saw that it was OUR cat.  I assumed it was Ninja, since he has the reputation for boldness.  I called him, grabbed him rudely by the scruff and tail when he came within reach, and hauled him inside, where he was discovered to be his sister, Nuit, instead.  She has white markings on her chest and underside, but the two of them don't look very different at a distance and through an adrenaline rush.

Arwen and Naomi came up to see me while I was making amends to Nuit, but there was no Ninja.  I checked in with David, checked all the open windows, grabbed a can of wet food, and ran back outside, where I discovered Ninja sniffing around under Lydy's bedroom window.  I lured him within reach with the food, grabbed him rudely, dumped him inside, and checked all the windows again.  No loose screens, no holes, all secure.  I went to see if Lydy, who is out for the day, had opened any windows in her bedroom, and was just in time to stop Ninja from going out the broken accordion of the window air conditioner, which was flapping in the breeze.  It was not, when I came to examine it later, squirrel-chewed.  I suspect feline intervention, possibly of long duration.

I shut him in the media room and his co-conspirator in the staircase, stole duct tape from David, who was in the middle of a complex software process that could not be left; and taped up the opening from both the inside and the outside.  Then I removed various objects that ordinarily hang over Lydy's bedroom door, shut it with a resounding bang, and put a large sign on it forbidding the presence of cats.

If alcohol didn't interact badly with my meds, I would have a very large drink right about now.  We live on a busy street, and while Ninja, who has escaped before, is chipped, Nuit, Miss Innocence as she used to be, is not.  They are young cats and we are exceedingly fond of them.  Little wretches.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
David went around the yard a week or two ago and took some splendid photos. You can look at them here.

I had a lovely time at Wiscon and managed not to bring any horrible viruses home with me. Raphael and I went to Murphy Hanrahan Regional Park earlier this week and saw clouds of dragonflies, mostly dot-tailed whitefaces with a leavening of frosted whitefaces, common whitetails, and at least one twelve-spotted and one four-spotted skimmer. Over the weekend Eric and I went to Eloise Butler, where we saw dozens of four-spotted skimmers and a goodly number of whitetails; not to mention two large and extremely oblivious wild turkeys browsing under the birdfeeders. We also went to Lebanon Hills Regional Park, where we were too late for dragonflies but delighted to see fireflies twinkling and flashing in the vegetation next to the fire road.

Also, I had a writing date with Pat WINOLJ, made copious notes, and wrote 500 or so new words on the Liavek novel. The style of the novel as written so far pleases me a lot, but it's rather mannered, and getting back into it will be interesting.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
David went around the yard a week or two ago and took some splendid photos. You can look at them here.

I had a lovely time at Wiscon and managed not to bring any horrible viruses home with me. Raphael and I went to Murphy Hanrahan Regional Park earlier this week and saw clouds of dragonflies, mostly dot-tailed whitefaces with a leavening of frosted whitefaces, common whitetails, and at least one twelve-spotted and one four-spotted skimmer. Over the weekend Eric and I went to Eloise Butler, where we saw dozens of four-spotted skimmers and a goodly number of whitetails; not to mention two large and extremely oblivious wild turkeys browsing under the birdfeeders. We also went to Lebanon Hills Regional Park, where we were too late for dragonflies but delighted to see fireflies twinkling and flashing in the vegetation next to the fire road.

Also, I had a writing date with Pat WINOLJ, made copious notes, and wrote 500 or so new words on the Liavek novel. The style of the novel as written so far pleases me a lot, but it's rather mannered, and getting back into it will be interesting.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
The snowdrops came up all of a piece, leaves and drooping white flowers, three or four days ago. The purple snow crocuses are blooming in the front flower bed. The peony on the south side of the house is showing red shoots, as is the evil but beguiling Japanese knotweed. The bleeding-heart in the front flower bed has put up red-and-green shoots, already frilled with proto-leaves, right out of its mulch. The blue-and-yellow thug irises are putting up leaves, as is the burgundy one that hasn't bloomed much in recent years. I should feed that one.

The dames' rocket and the motherwort have greened up. The daylilies are four to eight inches high, depending on where they are. The bare earth of the south side yard is filling up with tiny violet leaves, a bit of periwinkle, and the aforementioned Japanese knotweed. The grass is greening up. There are small leaves on both mock-orange bushes, and on the neighbors' peabush hedge. I really ought to rake the leaves off the remaining plants, but I have a deep conviction that we are going to pay for this weather with sub-zero temperatures and a raging blizzard, pretty much ANY TIME NOW. So I walk around in bemusement instead.

Ari and I saw a morning-cloak butterfly a few days ago, sunning itself on the back of a lawn chair. I've also seen various small flies and beetles, but no queen bumblebees yet, and no green darners.

Juncoes are still here, and there are so many I think they may be either passing through or preparing to leave. We have a pair of cardinals, which is always cheering. The chickadees and house sparrows and house finches are singing in their various ways, and crows are rattling.

In a rash frenzy, I ordered a bunch of plants from the Lake Country School just down the street. They used to send out six-year-olds with forms to go door to door, and you never knew exactly what you would get when you went to pick up your plants. But now everything is online. I confidently expect that the edited manuscript of my book, with a short deadline for return, will land on me on the weekend I am supposed to pick up the plants.

The mint hasn't come back yet, which concerns me. If it doesn't, I had better buy three plants of it and put them in different locations. This is a good recipe for disaster, but maybe the mint can fight back the Japanese knotweed.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
The snowdrops came up all of a piece, leaves and drooping white flowers, three or four days ago. The purple snow crocuses are blooming in the front flower bed. The peony on the south side of the house is showing red shoots, as is the evil but beguiling Japanese knotweed. The bleeding-heart in the front flower bed has put up red-and-green shoots, already frilled with proto-leaves, right out of its mulch. The blue-and-yellow thug irises are putting up leaves, as is the burgundy one that hasn't bloomed much in recent years. I should feed that one.

The dames' rocket and the motherwort have greened up. The daylilies are four to eight inches high, depending on where they are. The bare earth of the south side yard is filling up with tiny violet leaves, a bit of periwinkle, and the aforementioned Japanese knotweed. The grass is greening up. There are small leaves on both mock-orange bushes, and on the neighbors' peabush hedge. I really ought to rake the leaves off the remaining plants, but I have a deep conviction that we are going to pay for this weather with sub-zero temperatures and a raging blizzard, pretty much ANY TIME NOW. So I walk around in bemusement instead.

Ari and I saw a morning-cloak butterfly a few days ago, sunning itself on the back of a lawn chair. I've also seen various small flies and beetles, but no queen bumblebees yet, and no green darners.

Juncoes are still here, and there are so many I think they may be either passing through or preparing to leave. We have a pair of cardinals, which is always cheering. The chickadees and house sparrows and house finches are singing in their various ways, and crows are rattling.

In a rash frenzy, I ordered a bunch of plants from the Lake Country School just down the street. They used to send out six-year-olds with forms to go door to door, and you never knew exactly what you would get when you went to pick up your plants. But now everything is online. I confidently expect that the edited manuscript of my book, with a short deadline for return, will land on me on the weekend I am supposed to pick up the plants.

The mint hasn't come back yet, which concerns me. If it doesn't, I had better buy three plants of it and put them in different locations. This is a good recipe for disaster, but maybe the mint can fight back the Japanese knotweed.

Pamela

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