A day that needed a pretty fruit picture
Tuesday June 22nd 2021, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Knit

Back when I was trying to decide which peach varieties to plant, my friend Constance voiced her strong opinion that Babcocks were the best-and-only to strive for. She’d grown up with one in her yard and she’d never found better.

In my childhood, we’d picked Lorings on a farm, gleaning a few weeks after the pickers had gone through–and, just a few times, Babcocks as well. So it was an easy sell.

It was hard though for me to tell starting out which spot in the yard got how much sun, having never had to pay attention before, and it turns out my Babcock didn’t get the best one. But it tries. It’s fed a few birds and critters over the years but I don’t think it’s ever gotten to the point of gaining this much color to its fruit.

But it looks like this is the year we’ll finally get to taste a homegrown Babcock. Thank you grape Koolaid.

Meantime, the two peregrine eyases were banded Friday: a boy and a girl. The video artist in the group made a compilation of the various recordings involved.

And: the slider is fixed. Now the challenge is to make sure it doesn’t bounce against the left hand side because it runs so slick and so fast after years of having to put so much oomph into it to get it to move at all. Moral of the story: fix it when it’s a $400 job, not when it’s become a $1000 one.

Also, something I didn’t know and thought I’d throw out there is that a house settling after construction can skew the glass and damage the track on a slider if not attended to early on.

They told me that and I told them, Yeah, when we added on, the contractor put in one of those upper windows–and it cracked before the remodeling job was even done.

They looked at me like, Wow!

The guy replaced it.

They said, As he should.

They left and then another guy came to give an estimate on the shed and the wood replacement. Another for that will come Friday. So will the tree guy, because they have to have the branches away from the roof. Woodwork, replacing a plate glass window that cracked in a small quake, painting (we were told when it did that that to replace the window you’d have to repaint the whole house, so, well, now we have to do that anyway), then the termites, the roof, the skylight with dry rot and hey, the flooring, the driveway and the kitchen counters so they don’t fall in when we put in a stove that doesn’t have mismeasured cabinets hanging directly over the burners, right? Maybe those last three can wait?

The wood/shed guy looked at the one spot I knew about out on that side and pushed just below there at the solid-looking wall just to see.

It’s not supposed to bend inward.

Oh fun.

The new hearing aids
Monday June 21st 2021, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Life

The follow-up appointment on the new hearing aids.

How do you like them? She noticed that I had the charger in that bag next to my purse and was clearly wondering if I was going to return them. We were within the 30-day window.

I love them and I hate them, I told her, wincing as I took the left one off and putting my old ones in so we could have a conversation. First, I said, the charger. There’s no lid on the thing. Were you here during the Loma Prieta quake? (She wasn’t.) They’ll go flying out of there in the next one, and the green lights light up the room at night and I have to cover it. They should have made it with its own.

Re the aids themselves, I explained that it was one day in, one or two days out and using the old ones, and finally I’d left them out for three days running to let my ears heal.

Let your ears heal?

And then I’d worn them to church yesterday, where the whole time there I heard one half of one sentence. Period. (She winced.) Yay for Zoom captions on my phone. Went straight home and put the old ones in and had my husband look at my ears. He could see red marks on both sides. I put the new ones in this morning so that you could see.

She got out her otoscope and took a look. I had told her three weeks earlier about the connective tissue disease making it hard for my ears to tolerate the tight fit that is required to best transmit the sound through the ear molds and that it’s long been a tradeoff with me giving up some hearing, that my ears had actually bled after one prior pair was made.

But it didn’t need to be like that at that point and that point on the molds and she could do something about it. She was a little wistful that they wouldn’t look so perfect, and I laughed and turned my head way to the side, mimicking and laughing at the idea of someone looking way in past my hair to criticize my ear molds. She laughed.

I told her that the sound was really brassy at first but was gradually starting to settle down and then when I didn’t wear them it got bright and brassy again–but when I kept wearing them it was doing better and my husband and daughter both remarked on how I was hearing more. And I was.

And then I’d go back to the old ones for the pain and have to start over.

She took them in the other room to use the right equipment/lighting/whatever and came back with them.

I put them on.

Night and day. Wow. So I *can* do this.

I asked her about–and I explained what a glissando is: when you run your fingers fast all the way down the white keys on the piano. Twice in one conversation the right one had suddenly done something like that, completely substituting for the conversation it was supposed to be transmitting to me.

She thought about that a moment and then realized what it must be: there’s a program that tries to stop feedback from happening. Because the ear hurt, I must not have had the aid in all the way and the tilted angle was trying to set off feedback and the aid was trying to warn me and stop it.

Okay, so I don’t have to do that anymore. Good.

I still have to let my ears heal from wearing them yesterday morning and today as they were, but the sound is already improving and the brassiness is already fading. I’m not at church or the like to really test them, and my daughter’s gone back to her sister’s now, but so far so good, and such a relief to have a comfortable fit on these. I don’t yet know if it’s enough. She can do more if need be.

I plugged the charger back in once I got home in a mental declaration: these stay. Mine.

With a cherry on top
Sunday June 20th 2021, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Garden

(Last week’s photo. They’re darker now.)

I Huck Finned her over by the fence.

Friends of ours dropped by with a jar of homemade strawberry jam and a loaf of banana chocolate chip bread by way of excuse for coming to say hi.

I asked them if they’d like to pick some sour cherries.

Sure! said Phyl.

I’ll wait, said Lee with a smile, sitting down to visit inside with my husband.

I had been daunted by the number of cherries still to go on that tree. They are small and they are many. But being able to offer something she was quite delighted to have felt great. We went through the leaves looking for the darkest reds together and between us we got her enough to maybe make a batch of jam, which is what she was aiming for, and since she’s putting them straight in the freezer for now, that’ll give the tree time to ripen more of them for her.

I’m pretending I’m not hoping for a jar. But I think I will mention I’ve got some Ball 4 oz mini jam jars taking up space in case she needs any.

Depends on how you felt
Saturday June 19th 2021, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Friends

Two years ago I bought two Woolbuddy felted-animal kits at Stitches, and later a finished octopus from the same folks at some other festival. Cute as can be, but the octopus wool (now *there* are two words I never thought I’d put together) was disappointingly scratchy, when, to me, it didn’t have to be, and so I never made the kits. If I’m making something for my grands I want it to be something soft.

Although, that moose and anglerfish were just so adorable.

So I finally offered them up to the ward chat list and a mom with young daughters responded.

Her ten year old is the perfect age and I was really happy to see them go off with her.

But first I showed her my falcon. It was a gift from one of the other cam operators back when she and I were both helping monitor the peregrine nest at San Jose City Hall. I wanted her to see that she and her kids could draw with wool, merino wool that would feel good, and make all kinds of really cool things if they want to. She asked me to send her a list of what type of wool to look for and where.

The hyper-feltable merino breed. Not superwash treated. Wool roving or washed raw wool.

The kits were a great way to get those creative juices started.

English Morellos
Friday June 18th 2021, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Food,Garden

I was trying to pick only the darkest ripest ones, but the sun was going down, the going was slow, and it was getting harder to be sure and I left the rest for another day. And because there were so many of them.

I would say there are at least two full 5 quart bowls’ worth left on that little tree.

It still amazes me that you can plant a stick in the ground in the winter and a few years later wonder what you’re going to do with all this fruit.

Thursday June 17th 2021, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Garden,Wildlife

Wait, what? Live in a towering 2977′ Tinkertoy/Lego/AtAt mashup on a lot that is smaller than the footprint of my current house? $1.6M? And it’s only been on the market for 706 days? What? C’mon, people, snatch this one up, pronto!

I was looking at video of the San Jose peregrine nestlings pushing/falling/jumping out of the box today and the thought suddenly occurred to me: I had never really noticed that the dark feathers that grow in first and most prominently are the ones in their faces. The ones that make them look more like peregrines to their parents. (Debating to add about that moment years ago when a two day old hatchling that had barely achieved the white fluffball stage died and a few hours later the parents fed it to its siblings. The kids were hungry. Thus my thought that blackening cheeks are likely protective.)

In the 97F heatwave over here, two of my apricot seedlings grew visibly since yesterday, three did not, and the last one seems to finally be kicking the bucket after a long decline. But it may yet surprise me.

That definitely panned out
Wednesday June 16th 2021, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Life

A house that needs a lot of work.

A house I would definitely want to buy if we were moving this year. Shades of Fallingwater. Gorgeous. Link here so I can find it later.

At my own house: first fig of the year.

Meantime, I was emptying and organizing the baking-pan cabinet and the end result is that a friend and her eight year old daughter showed up for the cake pan of a dragon wrapped around its eggs. Who knew that it had become a collector’s item? The mom looked it up after I offered it and found them selling for $100-200, which is nuts. It still had the wrapper; I wanted it not admired but actually used, and by the happiness in that little girl’s eyes it was definitely going to be, and right away. Her mom said so.

Man, that felt good.

All is well
Tuesday June 15th 2021, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Life

They were waiting. I was waiting. I’d gotten there first. They had nothing to do and were trying not to look like they were watching me knit but they were watching me knit because those needle tips and the yarn periodically jerking upwards were the only things in the room that were moving.

Finally, they said, How long have you been waiting?

I held up the nearly finished hat on my needles and took the stitches about an inch above the ribbing between left thumb and forefinger: “That’s where I was when I got here.” (While thinking, it’s not *that* bad, at least this is thick Mecha we’re talking about even if I’m knitting it on 7s.)

Almost immediately my wait was over and I shoved the stitches back away from the tips and stood to go, wishing them the best.

With cherries on top
Monday June 14th 2021, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Food,Garden

Suddenly there are so many. This is pretty much just one branch and after I picked a bowlful of the ripest.

I quickly squished the seeds out without fussing with any pitting gadgets; they were small and soft and gave way quickly. Sprinkled some sugar on, zapped for two minutes, threw it in the blender, all very quick. A tart sauce made just sweet enough, put on diced mangoes.


Orange and fig
Sunday June 13th 2021, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit

June sunlight hours and a hot day today and one of my two spring breba figs that I’ve been watching and watching and waiting and watching is suddenly rapidly browning up from its prior green. (The summer-crop ones on the tree have a long way to go still.)

It’s been protected by lengths of stabby citrus thorns but now we’re getting serious. I pulled some bird netting around the limb and hooked it onto them top and bottom like a malicious-looking velcro: can’t land on it, can’t reach to peck through it, can’t climb to it without those thorns in the way.

Can’t even leap at the fruit from the fence, because the neighbor’s raspberry overgrew the top and there’s an old rose bush below so we’ve pretty much got that covered. Go ahead. Take a stab at it. No wait, don’t.

Tomorrow’s post could be titled The Thorn Birds, but I don’t think so. I think that fig is mine.

Meantime, I spent three days this past week organizing yarn and trying constantly not to grab the nearest and prettiest and just start something on the spot because that’s way more fun than deciding whether to group by color, brand, or how much I adore it: the very act of having it in my hand made my needles crave dancing. Good.

Now I have to narrow my choices down to a single ball to start–and then go and start.

All the things
Saturday June 12th 2021, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Life

And of course the hair was back to its curly self the next morning, and then some, with the weight of the length gone. That’s the silly stuff.

The sliding door repair guy is coming. The termite guy came. The tree guy is coming (can’t tent the house with branches hanging over it, and they are again. There has to be a foot clearance.) I need to call the guy to do the dry-rot repairs. Just a cascade of long-delayed home improvement triggered by the termites now that we’re fully vaccinated.

There is a holly bush that was trained by the previous owners to be flat and tall and spread wide at the top as if it had been espaliered. The trunk cannot do that 12″ clearance. There are multiple bird nests in it every spring, it makes a very protective habitat for smaller species, and I cannot fathom losing it.

It’s also a potential termite highway all by itself. It will not survive the process from inside the tent and it doesn’t sound like they can keep it outside it.

Still gotta call the shed demo guy, too. Got to leave some excitement for Monday, right?

Meantime, just because, a piano graveyard with cows. Where frogs got under the keyboard of one and jumped up and down and had fun, because how often do they get to create sound like that?

Friday June 11th 2021, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I was going to joke about okay, now you’ve seen me so you’ve pretty much seen his face, too.

But the car didn’t.

My big brother whose face I compared mine to yesterday was riding a bike today on a beautiful day after work and a car came speeding without looking. Morgan shouted and the driver matched his frantic yanking of the wheels to avoid the hit.

And just just just avoided a strike from the car but not the one with the pavement from that momentum mismatch.

As he lay in the road people came to his rescue–except the driver, who hesitated and then took off.

Three broken ribs, and another one cracked, along with his shoulder.

But he’s alive and himself and will heal and yay for helmets and as he dryly noted, his bike is okay.

Praise be.

Oh hi big brother
Thursday June 10th 2021, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

September 2019, Kimber gave me a nice haircut and we agreed on the next March for me to come back in for a trim. But March 2020 didn’t quite turn out as expected. She is fully vaccinated now and I am, too.

She combed it out and held it up for me to marvel in the mirror with her: Look how long it is!

Yeah, I told her, I pulled the two halves to the front and snipped a few times over the pandemic, otherwise there would have been about ten individual strands down to my waist. I lost a fair amount when I was sick and it got pretty sparse at the bottom.

Do you want this much? (About two inches.) Or this much? (About four, maybe even five.)

I held up my hand to motion the four/five.

My self-snipped edges fell gently away to the floor, finally, after all this time, curling into circles on impact after she’d conditioned it straight. The straggly ends by my face got evened out and morphed into done on purpose. It looks great.

I took a picture when I got home, and of course it didn’t come through, but I have to say I was dumbfounded to see my older brother’s face looking back at me from that photo. Twins.

Except with hair.

And I know exactly who would tell me, with a grin, not to complain over not being able to get a haircut.

Kimber waved me off at the end with, See you in two years!

I laughed/winced, Not that long!

Falcons on defense
Wednesday June 09th 2021, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

Two of the three San Jose peregrines hatched and it is amazing to see them next to that remaining inert egg: they were that small, a week or two ago, and now they’re scooting around the box on their butts with those enormous feet.

That 18th floor ledge with a nest box with shade has become a valuable spot. Today, Hopper2 (they’re named after Grace Hopper) was finishing off a meal where the kids couldn’t see him when he heard something and jumped up on the ledge his mate was on. A third falcon swooped at her  (about a minute in on that video), feet out ready to fight for it, but thought better of it on seeing Grace in immediate maternal defense mode and that there were two of them right there.

It looks like just a swoop and away in the video, with the dad chasing after (“And STAY out!”) –but the still the cam operator got captures the moment. That is an amazing shot. 

A little rough around the edges
Tuesday June 08th 2021, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Life

Two more days and counting till the haircut appointment.

I had a six months’ trim appointment that never happened because Covid did.

It’s been a long time coming.

How about you all?