Yard today

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:01 pm
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Missing Christine who is off to the Charlotte film festival. Her sister is at another, smaller film festival this weekend, in Hickory, NC. My eyes and ears said it was a beautiful autumn day, but - ugh, try and do anything and the humidity made itself known.

I realized a good order of landscape projects would be to remove the azalea from the tiny "courtyard" -- the little pocket of landscaping on the north side of the house walled to the west by the garage, the north by the kitchen and the east by the entry porch. It's not large enough or fully enclosed, but it's distinct enough a space to need a name.

After trimming the azaleas far back - to essentially stumps -- the ferns were all visible, and i could easily pull out the native-but-annoying false nettle. I also gently pruned the azaleas on the other side of the front porch, and "renovated" the lilac by cutting back all its elderly trunks to the level of all the sprouts coming up around the base. I also took out the butterfly bush: i'd found seedlings elsewhere. Nope, i'm focusing on the native pollinator plants, thank you.

Now the front seems much tidier -- as the lilac and butterfly bush were both scraggly things. We've talked about having something sculptural in the "courtyard." When we find the right thing, the remaining azalea can be removed.

Now that that was done, i moved some pipsissewa (aka spotted wintergreen, Chimaphila maculata) and some of the moonwort/grapeferns (Botrychium spp) from where the driveway routing will take them out to the courtyard.

I spent much of my inside time reading about all the species of Botrychium i could, traversing various keys, and deciding i mostly have Botrychium biternatum but might have one Botrychium dissectum.

I've been surprised that it wasn't until now that i

--== ∞ ==--

It turns out the FLora of North America is accepting gifts to sponsor the illustration of a plant. It's $200 - http://floranorthamerica.org/node/410 -- Lupins are available right now...

Meanwhile, Carrie is restless so i'm streaming PBS shows on deer to keep her entertained. I think i'm not going to feel guilty about entertaining her with videos.

Some words

Sep. 21st, 2017 09:47 am
semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (liberal)
[personal profile] semperfiona
Words that might be used for the current occupant of the White House, without invoking looksism, ageism, sizeism, sexism, ableism or ethnic slurs. Even if the very sight of his face or sound of his voice makes me cringe and shudder.

Boor
Ignorant
Pig-ignorant
Ignoramus
Bombastic
Reckless
Bull in a china shop
White supremacist
Would-be dictator
Chickenhawk
Coward
Hater
Self-absorbed
Solipsist
Fascist
Deplorable
Despicable
Reprehensible
Thoughtless
Wrongheaded
Mercenary (adj)
Imperialist
Colonialist
Capitalist pig-dog
Thin-skinned
Calamity
Disaster
Irresponsible
Soulless
Traitor
Unamerican
Racist
Sexist
Sexual predator
Sexual harasser
Cheater
Adulterer
Defaulter
Failure
Bankrupt
Incompetent
Liar
Misogynist
Pusillanimous
Belligerent
Bully
Unethical
Unjust

I'm avoiding "Immoral", although I believe it applies, because definitions differ among subcultures. I think he's immoral according to any definition I've ever heard, but one doesn't want to spend good insult time arguing over the definitions of the insults.

If you're willing to use profanity...
Asshole
Fuckhead
Douchebag (Yes some people think this term is sexist. I disagree, but if you do, then don't use it)
The trouble with these is their imprecision and general applicability to quite a lot of people. I mean, "asshole" might be that guy that just cut me off in traffic. That's several orders of magnitude less assholish than That Guy I Did Not Vote For.

Quarterly update

Sep. 19th, 2017 01:27 pm
semperfiona: (Default)
[personal profile] semperfiona
Radio silence for quite a while, and only books postings for a while longer yet. I had so intended to be more consistent with posting. Hah.

Well. In the last several months, I have
  • Read a few books. Not many; for whatever reason reading just hasn't been a thing I wanted to do. But.
    1. Fluke, Christopher Moore (audio)
    2. The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination, John Joseph Adams, ed (anthology, audio)
    3. Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty
    4. Full Fathom Five, Max Gladstone
    5. The Brightest Fell, Seanan McGuire (audio)
    6. Medea, Kerri Greenwood

  • Made a thing: The Evil Devil Child and the Perfect Gift, recorded for HP Podfic Fest 2017

  • Signed up for HD Owl Post 2017.

  • Had my picture taken for The Awakenings Project, a photo essay/book about women's empowerment. Part of the process is choosing a word to embody/invoke. I chose DAUNTLESS.
    Here are my photos: Profile and Full face

  • Sang at St Louis Pride with my CHARIS sisters, and rejoined for the fall 2017-spring 2018 season.

  • Replaced my venerable MacBookPro Zoe (built late 2008) with a slightly newer one. The other morning, Tammie said to me, "Zoe's under the sofa!" I pulled her out and turned on the screen to find that it had been crushed. Before I actually made it to the mac store to get an estimate for screen replacement, Rosa pointed out that the whole case was crushed and the DVD drive now looked like this: )| Obviously, replacing the screen wasn't going to cut it, so we decided to use my (conveniently-timed, as it turned out) annual bonus to buy a newer, non-crushed MacBook built mid-2012. Chris performed surgery to transplant the hard drive from Zoe's old body into her new one, and she lives again. Faster and shinier, but also smaller. Old case was a 15" screen, new one is 13".

  • Played a lot of Pokemon GO.

  • Attended Beer Choir three times. Which is more or less exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of people get together and drink beer and sing (songs about beer, mostly). It's a lot of fun.


  • That'll do to be going on with, anyway.

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:56 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Saturday i worked in the yard, mainly eradicating stiltgrass and stands of Boehmeria cylindrica (False nettle, by which they mean "non-stinging nettle") by mechanical means.

Boehmeria cylindrica clearly reproduces successfully, so i want to get rid of it in a number of places where it is "weedy." On the other hand, it is native, so i should find some place(s) for it to thrive. I see one resource claims it prefers sandy or loamy soil: i wonder if there's actually loam in the places it is growing. I generally assume everything is clay.

So, in the first area of work there was the manual pulling out. The stilt grass is about a meter high, and heaven only knows what has made a home in the thick stands. I've not seen any snakes yet, but spiders and toads and bright green leafhoppers seem disrupted. I found one milkweed growing in the stand, Asclepias variegata (White milkweed) or A syriaca (common milkweed): that was delightful! And i found a good number my current favorite little plants: moonworts (or grapeferns). These have a single frond, and then a spore bearing structure lifted like a flag above the solar panel that is the leaf. This 2014 literature review describes them as rare but (at least) one species is definitely common here. I believe i've had success transplanting them, despite comments about them being challenging. I take that to mean that the interdependence with fungi is supported over the small distances in which i have moved them. Transplanting to potting soil would likely be bad.

I also rediscovered one of the colonies of Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake orchid). It too is usually accompanied by the warning against transplanting because of the mycorrhizal interactions: i may try moving some to some places i feel i can more easily protect from trampling over time.

Later in the day i used the sling blade and the weed whacker and the lawn mower. The mower can deal with the tall stands, but i don't want to hit hidden stumps, any more than i already do. The weed whacker gets the grass all tangled in the drive: it's not a particularly good tool on the tall stands.

I grew a little disappointed in the lawn mower repair. I don't think the mechanism for raising and lowering works the way it is supposed to: it's as if the front is now at a fixed height. The lawn mower repair process was so distressing for Christine, i don't want to bring it up. But, fie, it was useful to have the great range in height.

--== ∞ ==--

Sunday began with me breaking the stylus on my phone. The version of the Galaxy Note i have was reported to have a stylus issue in that if you inserted it in the storage bit backwards, it would jam and there was little that could be done. Now i understand: while one can pull out the stylus, the little springy top, like the "clicker" on a retractable ball point, breaks off and jams in, disrupting whatever signal the phone has to turn on the pen functioning. I am glad that the new note has been released but i believe it is a bit larger than this phone - so my nice case wouldn't be used. And we bought this phone outright. After spending some time thinking about it, i decided that i am ok giving up the stylus and just using the phone as any other phone for a while longer. All the critical phone functionality still works, and i can always take a pad of paper outside with me.

If i were doing real field work, i would have a reason to spend the money on a new phone, i don't really now.

And there's also the question of the iPad, which has superior drawing applications, and whether i really need a second digital pad (that's smaller and lighter and "always" with me, sigh).

I worked myself up into other dithers on Sunday morning as well. Things i hadn't done for Meeting, baking for meeting for business potluck with a recipe that i hadn't used before, realizing i hadn't really left time for the longer than expected baking time, discovering i didn't quite have the right quantities of ingredients, running late....

I indulged myself the rest of the day after Meeting, going to a historical society presentation (the president is a member of Meeting as well) and reading a novel (a Maisy Dobbs mystery). I finished the book after dark and needed to take Carrie for her walk, so i went into Pittsboro and walked her on the streetlamp lit sidewalks. I think Carrie was delighted with the novelty, and i enjoyed it too. It will be agreeable to walk there this winter.

Monday was a long work day, mainly meetings. We had the first visit of the young woman we have hired to clean our bathrooms. She's incredibly professional, and someday she'll finish her vet school training and will take her professionalism on to her own vet practice. Until then, i think we'll be delighted with her help.

ARGH.

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:35 pm
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Complaints follow.

So, the poison ivy that grows 70' up the trunks of a dozen plus yellow pines. Yeah, i should get rid of it, yeah i've had irritations from little starts where i weed whack and mow, but, you know, it's actually a good bird food. (Admittedly, that's part of the problem and why it spreads.)

And the ticks. Ticks are terrible vermin, vectors for awful illnesses. But they are manageable, and seasonal. Dress right, be vigilant, etc. Give the pets their flea and tick treatments. Keep the grass mown. And if we got Guinea hens or chickens, they'd hunt those ticks down.

The spiders. SHUDDER. I really don't like spiders. But something happens here as autumn hints at an arrival: blam, the big orb weavers really get going. And webs across the driveway and the doors... shudder. And there's one of these three inch long Carolina Writing Spiders in bold yellow and black with her gorgeous web out at the compost pile. Uuuuuggggghhhhhh. I give her very wide berth. She's been there DAYS. Then there are always the wolf spiders. I'm getting pretty ... calm in negotiating access with them. I swear one was observing me as i was planting in the garden, waiting to see if i was going to get too close. She scurried away another two foot with her egg sack. But the spiders are the enemy of my enemy. And birds eat them.

I don't mind the few black racers and other snakes i've seen. My understanding is black racers will take on copperheads, so they're on the list of allies. Christine is very distressed by snakes, but she's coming to terms with them just as i am coming to terms with spiders.

But now, now.... [much swearing] fire ants. At least they aren't the invasive South American fire ants, just native red stinging ants.

Oy

Sep. 14th, 2017 08:02 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Irma irma irma....

I did spend some good time outside this weekend. Our septic area is looking clear, and i even found some flowers that i had planted in May including a purchased goldenrod I bought last April.

Spent time with my parents after Meeting on Sunday. My dad was still beside himself about his mother in the Tampa area. On Monday she still had power, and all is well with most of the family down there. One uncle was out of power, but it sounds like that's it. Monday after work i was going to walk both Carrie and my parents. They came over at 5 pm on the dot, just as it started to rain. Christine was kind enough to walk Carrie, who showed off her stylin' yellow rain coat, while i chatted with M&D. I was tired from a late night watching Irma, so, after reading a draft of Christine's latest book review i retired.

Yesterday i worked on writing a script to generate a UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagram of some of our team's java code. I ended up having to count whether curly brackets, which delimit nested sections of code, were open or closed and there's still a great deal of imperfection in the diagram generation. On the other hand, i met my need. I do hope i can find a good excuse to run the script on some other code, both to continue to improve it and to get some return on the investment. I worked late on it, so it was well dinner time by the time i stopped. We needed to do a grocery run, so we ate out at a new-to-us-place, "Moon Asian Bistro." I had a rare challenge of not knowing what i wanted (i wanted food FAST as i was hungry), so i ordered the hibachi shrimp, following Christine's lead. It hit the spot. We then spent a little too long at the grocery, buying many indulgences for Carrie.

Late night.

So, i'm feeling a little dislocated. I think i'm going to try and do a little planning and email tonight -- try and get some perspective on priorities like some banking tasks, and miscellaneous household to-dos.

Although the temptation is to skim the Diana Gabaldon Outlander e-book that i borrowed ....

And so i did that, having another late night. I feel rebooted, as i usually do when i read for hours at a stretch. I am also a little cranky because the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court SciFi quality slowly slipped into bodice-ripper territory. I was skimming to finish, but haven't quite. It looks like the sequels run on and on, so i'm not sure it ever finishes.

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