Saturday, May 26, 2018

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme . . .

Also Bay, Basil, Tarragon, Lavender, a Cherry Tomato, and Cilantro in my porch garden. I have more herbs down in the garden but decided it would be nice to have some handy when I'm cooking. 

I believe I need to add Chives, Dill, and Oregano to the porch gang. Maybe Perilla too, because I've got lots of volunteers down in the garden. It's a pretty purple plant that a friend gave me years ago. It self seeds prodigiously but I don't know really what to do with it. 

A quick search yielded THIS ARTICLE on Perilla aka Shiso. Maybe this will be the year I learn to use it.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Feather Thief

A talented young man's obsession with fly tying leads him to break into a natural history museum and make off with hundreds of irreplaceable bird skins from the collection.  

Kirk Wallace Johnson, the author of The Feather Thief, became obsessed, not with fly tying but with the story of the break in, the detective work that caught the thief, and the question of what happened to the many skins still unaccounted for after the young man's arrest. 

As the story unfolds, Johnson paints a vivid picture of the Victorian era explorers and natural historians who built the collection, as well as the rare and beautiful birds collected.

He tells the heartbreaking tale of species hunted to near extinction for the sake of millinery -- until at last the practice was banned. 

 Of course, a ban doesn't prevent the existence of a black market and the author's investigations into the theft uncovered a thriving trade in illegal feathers -- all so tiers could use the same type of feathers used by tiers at the end of the 19th century.

The book is a fascinating glimpse into past times -- and an obsessive pastime.

 HERE is a brief review from Kirkus.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Vultures Are Circling

Bummer! Look what came in the mail yesterday.

Not enough that we receive promotions for hearing aids, walk-in tubs, retirement communities, and mobility scooters, now there's this. 

Though the included "use of funeral coach" and "use of utility vehicle" (? post-mortem off-roading?) are tempting, not to mention the non-sealing casket (is this really a desirable feature?) I remain firm in my preference for cremation and no service.

But not yet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Wonder of Occupational Therapy

We were lucky enough to get the rest of the garden planted before the rains set in -- corn and squash and beans and cukes sown, lettuce thinned, tomatoes set out, along with the pumpkin seedlings I'd been babying along on the porch. And I sowed some zinnias and dill and cilantro and set out basil, tomatillo plant, and four artichokes.  The kale and broccoli and collards have been in place for weeks and the potatoes John planted are showing . . .

The best thing about all the planting was how much easier it was than this time last year. Last year I could manage only about a half an hour before I felt the need to go inside and live down. This year, while I'm still pretty slow, I can work (slowly, to be sure) most of the morning and still feel like coming back down to the garden in the afternoon.

I think the credit must go to my Occupational Therapist, aka Josie. All the getting up and down, picking her up, and chasing after her has increased my stamina  amazingly.