Showing posts from July, 2012

London 2012


The Once And Future King

Done!  All 29 discs (minus a little skipping of a few tracks on the last disc) have been listened to.  33 hours.

If I had been smart, I would have tried the books one by one, as the 5 books are broken out separately in some versions, though in all honesty I would never have made it through the fifth one, The Book of Merlin.  It seems to have been published posthumously and is often (and in my book, wisely) not included in The Once and Future King.

I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would.  Having been forced, while in college, to read bits of Le Morte d'Arthur by Mallory, I have given all Arthurian works a very wide birth in self-defense, I was delightfully surprised by the humor of T.H. White's version.  The first book, The Sword in the Stone, was fun and actually not too distorted by the Disney version.  Parts dragged a bit, but the first 4 books are certainly worth reading--though a reasonable library might give someone an extended period of time to listen to a 29-di…


A 29-disc audio book!  What was I thinking?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are You Sitting Down?

This year I planted yellow zucchini and got,
 Yellow zucchini!!!!   I planted patty pan squash, and this morning saw the tiny start of a spaceship squash:
I planted sugar pumpkins, and it looks like I'm getting:
 sugar pumpkins!!!!  I planted red Hubbard, and am getting:
Fair enough, it's yellow right now, but I think it's going to turn red.  It's at least a Hubbard.  Granted, I did plant some that didn't  come up, but I actually seem to be getting squash I planted!!!!!!!!!!

My garden believes in equilibrium, so  
I can't decide if this was supposed to be a striped zinnia or a Whirligig, but I didn't even have seeds for a yellow zinnia.  It's bright and cheerful--but it's not what I planted.  Nor, actually, is this:
which really was supposed to be striped.  These fared a bit better on the striping front,
 though this one seems to have not seen the picture of how the stripes were actually supposed to look:
 It's interesting, and still a flower,…

The Good News And the Bad News

The good news is, we now have 17 pints of home made beef stew canned and ready for winter:
The bad news is, it was supposed to be 14 pints, and when the dreadfully unhelpful recipe said to "add enough boiling water to cover" the other ingredients, I covered them too much so we have more of a soup than a stew.  Not to mention leftovers that didn't fit into the canner, and what better way to round off a 91-degree day of canning when one has forgotten to close the windows and turn the air conditioning on than with a nice hot bowl of stew? 

I need this no-processed-foods thing to extend my life--I need the extra time to can.

Thyme for Andy

Yesterday some of our more optimistic friends gave Andy two thyme plants--one for the garden and one
for inside.  Now Andy normally just does the heavy gardening stuff, and has never been allowed to be in charge of houseplants, but this time we have made an exception.   Last year I planted thyme and TWO different friends gave me thyme--and I killed it all.  I couldn't have killed them faster if I had some sort of herb vendetta impulse.  So, in the interests of these poor plants having any chance AT ALL, they belong to Andy.  We figured if these poor plants knew they had been assigned to my "death zone" care they would give up the will to live immediately, so we'll see how this works out.  We have nowhere to go but up!

Where There's A Will...........

I think I've mentioned before that I grew up on a cattle ranch, which my family still operates.  This means that I grew up eating beef.  LOTS of it.  I don't think many people made a really decent living at it, but one does eat well, and there's a lot to be said for knowing where one's food is coming from.

However, there are things that are very, very different living this way.  For one thing, one doesn't just "order up" food as one would like it.  One deals with things as they come.  For instance, if a cow gets hit by a car, one calls out the mobile butcher and gets 700+ pounds of very lean ground beef.  It's either that or take a $1000 loss, which would be silly.  However, it's a rather big adjustment to suddenly have a whole bunch of meat one didn't expect and wasn't planning on.  As you can imagine, my family owns some REALLY big freezers.

This year when selling the steers, 11 of them got turned back for improper marking.  That was a…


Do squash bugs normally mate in broad daylight and on top of plant stakes, or are mine just getting cheeky?

Not Yet

There may be a day when I can use the pressure canner without fear of blowing up my kitchen, but I'm not there yet.  I do, however, no longer yearn for protective gear while canning.


Some years I have really enjoyed gardening..........but this isn't one of them.
The extreme heat here (combined with my delay in planting) has stopped the tomatoes in their tracks.  Usually, we get huge plants, but this year I think this might be as tall as they get.  Obviously, I'm not being overly zealous about weeding--though I do some--and this year I'm not using cages because I've read that shading the roots helps retain water, and I think they'll need all the help they can get.

Luckily, the "godetia monarch dwarf" flower seems to not mind the heat AND continues flowering,  
so we have a new "keeper."   The cool new Starlight Zinnia is pretty uneventful in person:
 The "stars" are pretty hard to see on some of the flowers, but at least they're bushy and prolific and can survive the heat.  I was getting a bit concerned about my cool striped zinnias from last year, as the first flowers from the seeds were not striped at all:

Love This!


Good Heavens!

It's 106 degrees outside!!!!! 

106 should NOT be a temperature--it's depressing enough when it's my bowling score.

What Are We Getting For Our Money?

I'm taking an on-line class on Health Policy and the Affordable Care Act through Coursera and the University of Pennsylvania, and it's been fascinating.  The Right Wing here in the US likes to claim that A) we have the best health care in the nation and that B) Socialized medicine would cause the end of the world--okay, not in those terms, but that is the general level of extremism in their discourse.  So, I was amazed to see this graph: