Wednesday March 31st 2021, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Garden

From the peach that bloomed first: I even made myself thin them like I’m supposed to. They say six inches apart but the tree didn’t cooperate, so I figure, Eh. Five. Call it a size 6 Petite.

It was in the low 80s today and the previously dormant-looking sour cherry went, Hey! My kind of weather! Alright!


Wednesday March 31st 2021, 10:24 am
Filed under: Garden

A few flowers for your day. The other peaches have enough left hopefully to pollinate this Indian Free.

No hawk in here
Monday March 29th 2021, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Mango tree,Wildlife

A bit of warm weather and the mango buds that have been closed tight for so long are beginning to respond: some clusters are starting to set fruit, some are just now lengthening and opening up.

The tree got a bit leggy after spending too long under the ash-damaged and -darkened greenhouse. The surprise is that the buds seem to have come through the winter better with just the Christmas lights and the endless rounds of cover/uncover with the frost blankets than with the heater and Christmas lights and the Sunbubble. It’s a lot less electricity, too.

But it requires I be home every day at all the right times morning and evening checking the sun vs the cold and doing the origami thing with that big piece of white fabric (and the next and the next.)

Funny how I seem to have been able to manage that this past year.

We lost a bunch to cold spots but many more grew to replace them. I think it’s going to be a good year for showing friends what a local Alphonso mango, the best of the best and not heat treated for import, tastes like. I hope so.

Those dense leaves must look quite inviting even if I mess with them twice a day. All that motion and upward flips of green after a bird flitted in there could only mean that it was starting to set up a nest in there.

All we can do is hope the warmer nights hurry up so I can leave them alone to raise their young in peace. We’re getting there.

Anya check-in
Sunday March 28th 2021, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Garden

Saturday’s picture. Middle pot on the right, we’ve got a root but no stem yet. The green in the lower left has doubled today.

Apricots don’t like their roots sitting around soaked, and they’re starting to show out the bottom, so I need to figure out the best medium for the next stage of planting. Do I put them in something they’d have to be moved out of later in the growing season, something small enough that I could deal with when my back is being antsy, or do I protect the roots by putting them in something larger that they’ll stay in for a good year or two at least?

The fabric pots are great for getting a plant to create a strong root system because they’re constantly being air-tipped when they reach the edges and creating new side roots in response.

But the roots do grow through the bottom, which would be hard to extract them from, so you’d want to go bigger rather than smaller. Or use something more solid. Even if that makes it harder to chase the moving sunlight or to move them away from the wild rabbit’s reach at night.

Or I could just stop overthinking it, plunk them in whatever and tell’em good luck. Don’t forget the eggshell pieces around the stems to thwart the snails.

Alliums among us
Saturday March 27th 2021, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Garden,Life

I have this plant that grows next to the house. I didn’t put it there; it was a surprise. It simply showed up one spring and every one thereafter, leafing out of the ground and then sending up a purple flower stalk next to the walkway. I had no idea what it was. It never spread–it was just the one plant. For easily twenty years now.

Last year there wasn’t much of a flower to it at all, which made me realize how much I’d been looking forward to it. Oh, well.

This year, the rainy season is nearly over and we’ve gotten about a third of normal. Dry dry dry. My allium did come up under the sidewalk light as always but it’s tiny, with no sign of any flower to come, but at least it’s still alive.

I ordered some cream with my groceries. I had a craving for making chocolate tortes. I wanted to run the beaters, melt the chocolate into the cream, mix the one spoonful I like to make of leftover ganache into my hot cocoa the next morning, all of it.

The new next door neighbors, as it turned out, do indeed like chocolate and are not allergic to dairy.

She opened that door in excitement before I could even knock.

She’d had to work today and it had been a long hard day and then she’d just gotten home to my message. Not five minutes later I would get a text saying how good that torte was.

And as I kind of floated down the sidewalk, there it suddenly was.

Wait. Where did you come from? What…?

It was a new allium. With the tips of its unusually short leaves just brushing the sidewalk. There had been so little water there was almost no stalk, either, but there it was, radiant in the late sunlight.

And it wanted me to notice.

From the ground up
Friday March 26th 2021, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

When we were little kids playing hide and seek, didn’t we all secretly wish we had a trapdoor? Although, this one has a certain Cask of Amontillado feel to it, doesn’t it? Is that really a telescoping stairwell? Hey up there! Don’t move that dresser!

Personally, I’d just as soon build in the walls of the whole actual ground floor and not leave the house hanging waiting for the ending of the first story, but that’s just me.

I’ve been wondering what a good little Mormon would do with a wine cellar in a house–I mean, to my eyes, it begs for a yarn store impression with a skein stuffed in each slot, and think of all the designs you could make with the colors of your stash before you even knit it, but then how would you mothproof them?

I do really like that greenhouse, though.

How about the latest peach flowers at my nice peaceful house instead. Where, while doing the dishes, I had a sudden pang of missing how one daughter could call from the other room, That was a small Corelle plate.

Or, That was a bowl.

She could identify each piece by sound when they fell. Practice makes perfect.

Moderna part 1
Thursday March 25th 2021, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus

Thank you for filling out the pre-arrival form, the clinic’s site said. Please bring proof of ID with you to the vaccination site.

Which is how I found myself plunked down on the tarmac at the county fairgrounds in front of a college kid hired to screen people: I couldn’t hold onto my hat against the wind off the Bay and hold my cane and fish through my purse. He needed proof that I had an appointment to get that shot.

It’s…in the email address I didn’t have on my phone. It’s on my account at the clinic–and I didn’t remember the password. I never use my phone for that. Crum. I figured oh well so much for that as I told him I’d checked before leaving and the site had said to bring ID and I’m a tech-idiot.

He waved the grandma in. I guess because they were going to look me up inside anyway; let them have to deal with me if I wasn’t legit.

Name? Address? Phone? Appointment time? Yes, there you are.

I was legit.

I did not feel a thing and wouldn’t have known I’d even gotten the shot if I hadn’t been paying attention.

The fifteen minute wait afterwards: I was looking around at everybody, wondering if they felt as overwhelmed with the release and the gratitude as I was; one of the nurses monitoring stepped my way with, Are you okay?

I laughed, yes, very much, thanks.

Another minute. Another. I had planned to be knitting. But no, just look at all these–people! Resuming normality starts right here with a cavernous room full of strangers together just doing, y’know, life-type things together and not walled off or Zoomed but for real and mostly pretending to pretty much ignore each other like strangers do in our older habits and isn’t this just so cool!

Out that way?

Yes, that way.

(Meaning the long way around in the most sun. It had been a lot of sun for a lupus patient.)

I found myself back near where I’d had that earlier conversation and the one guy was nowhere to be found to try to thank him; there were now three young African-American men directing people where they needed to go. Second shots are that building, first shots are this, back out to the parking lot is thataway past that building, yes.

Seeing where I was coming from, alone, (somehow nobody else came out of there when I did) they all asked me if I was okay.

And that’s when I found myself just speechless. One stepped closer and repeated: Are you okay?

It took me a moment to get past the enormity of all the thoughts of the last thirteen months and now this that tried to all jam through my brain hole at once and blocked it tight.

I finally managed to say something and it was the one thing I wanted most right then: Did they do you guys first? (You who are out here in public serving the public being exposed to the public, being so essential to every one of us who’s being given this great gift.)

This beautiful young man answered my question with a smile by repeating his, asking after me.

There was a space between moments of people coming and going just then.

So I told him about flying to help our daughter with her preemie for three weeks as she recovered from complications, how we’d had tickets to go see them again, and then it all… And now she’s starting to talk! I cannot WAIT to see her!

He just pictured that sweet baby girl and loved loved loved all the love in person to come for our sakes. For so many. The tenderness in his eyes. I felt myself in the presence of such a good person.

I asked again. Did they give you guys shots too? They should!

No, he said with a twinge of sadness mixed in with his joy for me, for everybody.

Had it not been for this whole pandemic thing we would probably have given each other a hug on the spot.

I will remember him and that conversation for a long, long time to come.

California announced after I got home that come April 15, a month sooner than they’d previously thought they’d have to set it for, everyone over 16 will be eligible for a covid vaccine.

I don’t know those men’s names, but I’m going to be praying for them all in the meantime. Particularly the one. Stay safe, guys, and thank you for being careful.

I had wondered if I would run into anybody I knew today. I didn’t. But I feel like I do now.

Well that’s a youthenism
Wednesday March 24th 2021, 7:08 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

There’s a new anti-viral drug that was already being studied when covid-19 came on the scene. They’re not done with the Level III studies, but so far it reduces covid viral levels to undetectable, it seems safe, and it can be taken as a pill rather than through a needle. Go Emory scientists!

There’s a silk cowl that just needs blocking now.

And at this 1919 house, where they forgot to put in the stairs (pic #3) if your sense of balance doesn’t know which way up is you’re going to have a heck of a time knocking on the door.

Note the bicycle wheels in the next picture. And the listing description: “Green energy. Construction elements: recycle materials.” I think we have a new creative euphemism.

And then we have a nice tall house in the hills that someone walked away from before it was finished, and someone’s hoping that for a huge sum of money someone else will want to take it on and finish those extra touches like railings on three floors of overlook decks way way way above the ground.

The twelve year old graying plastic wrap still on that new tub just makes it. They need this place for a movie set. Just as it is. I’m sure they do.

Any Hitchcocks needing a remake?

A pandemic conversation
Tuesday March 23rd 2021, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Family

Your turn or mine?

Flip a coin, he said.

(Looking briefly around. No coin to be found. I handed a cashier cash once these past thirteen months and they stared at it like I’d just poisoned them.)

Uh, how about a credit card? (Yeah that’s a bizarre thought but it goes with the money theme of deciding for you when it doesn’t really matter, right?) Heads or–no wait, top or bottom?


(Flips it in the air.) Top. You win!

p.s. Thank you, everybody. This is the pattern by Louisa Smith that DebbieR was referring to and I really like it.

Colors for the win
Monday March 22nd 2021, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

I kept flipping back and forth between pictures 22 and 23 to be sure: no, the one photo is not an inversion of the other. There really must be two almost-identical spots in that house where you have to climb a ladder to find out what’s on the other side of that door above. Doors. Guys. Would a circular stairway have killed ya?

The grandkids would LOVE having a secret hiding place where the grandparents wouldn’t go!

Wait. Circular staircase. Attic. Yarn stash. Right?

And then there’s #23 and 24 of this place, which I’m linking to not because of the house but because of the quilt shown there but not quite shown enough. There, across the room from the spice rack lamp. Does anybody have any idea what that pattern is called so I can run look it up? I love the colors and if I could see it spread out a little bit more I’d love to knit it. Pick up stitches or intarsia? Panels or all at once? Copy or riff? (Riff, always.)

Given how much I’ve needed inspiration in that direction I’m glad I stumbled across that, even if whatever I make next is totally random from there.

Time to start sketching and trying and thinking about it.

Sunday March 21st 2021, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends

I offered a neighbor an apricot seedling and found out she grew up on an apricot orchard and has a bountiful tree in her back yard, to our mutual delight at the shared enthusiasm.

Meantime, two people in two days asked a variant of what came down to the same question, when I thought about it: what are you not doing that you wish you were?

One of those wanted to know if I was knitting anything, and I admitted I hadn’t been of late; there’s no happy anticipation of making someone’s day, no way to know who needs that pat on the back. I guess we all do right now.

Well, huh. I couldn’t fix everything, but there is now some cranberry pumpkin sourdough rising overnight in the kitchen, the smell of cinnamon on my fingers, and I am looking forward to the smell of it baking filling the coming morning.

It’s a start.

The frosting on the cake
Saturday March 20th 2021, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Garden

(With the weekly apricot progress picture.)

Some had flowers in their gardens too good to only keep to themselves.

Some offered to bake. And it’s always more fun, not to mention safer calorie-wise, to bake for others.

And so we had a drive-through Relief Society party (ie for the women’s organization) at the church parking lot. You stop your car–sometimes it was a line–you say from a safe distance your preference of type of cupcake, everybody with masks on, or whether you’d prefer flowers to calories; one person brings your choice to you (if a cupcake) in a little box with a heart at the top so it won’t smush all over the inside of your car or make you have to hold it while you’re trying to drive, several people at social distances away from each other are bringing more to other cars and nobody breathes on anybody.

So-and-so pulled in to park and could you move just a bit so they can get out. Sure.

We could actually some of see each other’s faces for real for the first time in over a year and we did chat a bit from there; not too long, more are coming, we let them have their turns.

Man, did that feel good.

The response to the original query was such that not only did I get a chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache and cream cheese layered in the filling, I was offered to take a random one home to Richard along with a blue hydrangea stem.

His turned out to be vanilla. With sprinkles. Which made me laugh. Our kids memorably swooned over sprinkles on a cake someone brought us when they were, well, kids.

All the leftover cupcakes were going to end up on the one family’s doorstep if we didn’t rescue them.  No! It’s okay! Him, too! Take one!

After tasting mine, I understood the danger. Man, that was good.

Double take
Friday March 19th 2021, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Life

(In previous years that sour cherry’s limbs were so flimsy the birds couldn’t perch on them. There were seven when I pulled the camera up.)

Over at someone’s listing.

You want a big house, you want a short commute, you want to look out on all the city lights. I get that.

But–someone help me out here. There in the basement.

A king-size.  Bunkbed.


And on a different note, after previously saying they had 100,000 doses on order but couldn’t make any appointments and actually canceled second appointments for some who’d gotten through on the earlier rounds, my medical clinic came through today and my hours of site-searching paid off. My first vaccine dose is next Thursday. Richard can’t get it yet in this state, but now at least I can.

Thursday March 18th 2021, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Garden

I gave it six years. Even though an earlier volunteer had produced a single fig seven feet off the ground the same season it had sprouted out of the ground: whoosh! But it was clearly going to be big and was already pushing the fence down. Out.

But this one, not a sign of fruit ever. It was a nice enough looking plant so I kept hoping, but the Black Jack I bought on pie day that year was the one has given me several hundred figs while all this one could do was sit around and look pretty.

Turns out fig trees sometimes come as male specimens.

What we got was a lesson in root swirling in pots. (It was growing in a narrower one than what I set it down in a moment to snap its photo.) Kind of a potholder weave look to them, isn’t it. (Or Marilyn Monroe trying to hold her skirts down over the grate while her hair goes flying.)

My Black Jack is starting to leaf out for the new season and over here, there’s a newly freed-up pot waiting for an apricot seedling to spend a year or two in. Max.


The rescuers
Wednesday March 17th 2021, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

I had an instant reaction of, That one. Even if it’s really too big. I love the angles everywhere. The kitchen. The trees. The boulders. The nature path. It fades into the landscape like a Frank Lloyd Wright and then you walk inside but you’re still somehow mostly outside.

If we were moving to Portland now and were sure we could afford those property taxes longterm I’d be seriously considering putting an offer on it today contingent on physically seeing it and an inspection report. (I might change those small windows up high to plain and solid rather than segmented. Philistine, I know.) Just tell me none of the glass is single-paned.

Maybe I just need me some blue-green slate flooring like that here. I grew up with a slate floor entryway that had been quarried just down the road and my feet just want to dance on that for the inner child who once scraped her boots off where it didn’t mind the mud.

But wait till the trees leaf out in those gardens. Wow. (Which floor is the laundry on?)

Meantime, the Washington Post had a story about a man who grew up in not the best of circumstances in Washington DC–and became a falconer, rescuing injured birds while saying they’d rescued him. There’s been a documentary made about him and them.

Quote from the Post: “The Falconer” will be available for viewing from Friday through March 28. To sign up for a free screening, visit ”

Which I sure did.

Thought I’d put that out there in case anyone else wants to see it.