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Posts Tagged ‘John Steinbeck’

Thursday, 30 November 2017

I had been exhausted enough so that I slept late and missed most of a good gardening day.  Since I usually manage only five or six hours of sleep, I welcome an eight hour sleep even if it cuts into the day.

In the afternoon, I managed some gardening accomplishments.

I wanted to improve the south east view from my south window by cutting down a tatty looking Sanguisorba ‘Korean Snow’.

before

after, giving a bit more depth to the winterscape

In the center bed, one of the good things about Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is that the old foliage pulls right off without any clipping necessary.

before

after; now the crocuses will show better

Rozanne debris

Just pulling some old cosmos made another area look somewhat better.

before

after

The last thing I wanted to accomplish in my two hours of gardening time was to take down a big stand of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ so that I could see a smoke bush better.

before

after

I left that pile of debris lying where it fell because of my compost bin situation.

I started a pile across the path from the compost bins until I can get their contents lowered.

temporary pile

my compost bin problem, yesterday; it is even taller now.

The bins will make me a lot of free mulch.  Allan said we could shift them over, sometime when and if all three are empty, and add a fourth pallet bin.  However, I think the problem is that I put three to five big balls of basket soil and plants from Long Beach in them.  Next year, if I set those out separately to break down. I think I might have enough room for work debris and home debris.  Just in case I never have all three empty at the same time again!

I hope for a nice day tomorrow, to empty the third one off to the side, and start shifting and breaking down the piles.

I took a big rooted piece of Darmera peltata to the outer swale and tossed it at the edge of the seasonal pond, just to give it a chance.  The bridge to the outer garden would be deadly slick to walk on, were it not for the wire mesh that gives good footing. We must remember to re-staple the end at the gate though, as it has become a bent up foot-tripper.

I saw that the big pile of crab pots has been moved out from the corner by the gear shed next door.

My corner view is back, of a tarp and old board.  At night, I will be able to see more lights from the port.

I admired a selection of still-blooming hardy fuchsias.

Helianthus ‘Gold Lace’ is finally blooming.

Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and smokebush

Skooter by the water boxes

All afternoon (all two hours of it), I wore these gloves of Allan’s, only because I found them in my pocket from when I took them and did not use them on Crab Pot Tree decorating day.  I love them.  I find them so much more comfortable than blue Atlas gloves.  Finally, a glove other than “non latex exam gloves” that I can stand to work in.  They let me feel what I was doing.

good brown “Wonder Grip” gloves

Here is a useful tip that I read in Fine Gardening magazine.  When your glove wears out a finger, cut a good finger out of another even more worn out glove and insert it into the finger space.  The reader tip said that even works if you put a glove finger into the thumb space.  I will try it.

Yesterday, an artist friend from Ocean Park, Carole B., dropped off a package for me because she is down sizing.  I waited till this evening to open it so that my appreciation would not be rushed.

It contained treasures.

Carole herself made this cloth beach cottage:

adorned with treasures from the beach

And she made these brightly coloured kitten mittens (shown with a plush kitty):

Allan says these will be “wall art”…the mittens, not the plush toy, which is now on the back of a chair.

The main feature of the box was “cottage books”.

I immediately sat down to read Woodland Style, for which she wrote a note saying it was “for Allan, because he builds things”.

It is full of natural projects, including this amazing bird feeder hat.  I think Mr Tootlepedal should have one, and set his camera on automatic and sit outside to have his photo taken.

You can read more about Erica Fielder’s bird feeder hats here and here.

I must do this on my round table that sits out in the bogsy woods:

The book is full of more whimsical headgear decorated with pine cones, bark, flowers, and moss, ideas for making furniture and art from roots and branches and natural embellishments, and even recipes for foraged foods..

I look forward to delving into the rest of the stack of cottage books.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Back to just six hours of sleep. I had hoped for a clear day to empty one compost bin and start chopping and shifting debris.  Cold wind daunted me at first, soon followed by rain.

Allan started working on the window box project outside, which he prefers so as to not spread sawdust around his workshop.

He was soon driven into the work shop by rain.

I finished my latest Steinbeck book.  Even though it was excellent, I did not enjoy it as much as the others, because I didn’t especially like most of the characters.  Steinbeck could write a good female character, but in this book the one young woman character is just a background prop for the story.

It is one of his farm workers trilogy, along with Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath.

It did share the detailed Steinbeckian descriptions of places:

Doc was the one main character that I did like.

My favourite passage in the book:

The book came with something I’d never seen in all my many interlibrary loans, a bookmark saying “Read Me First.”

I was glad to finish it. Tonight, we will watch the old movie of The Grapes of Wrath. I have a feeling I will like it much better than In Dubious Battle.

I have a growing stack of library books to read next.

The cozy cat mystery must be read soon because it is another interlibrary loan.

As soon as tomorrow’s busy Crab Pot Tree day is over, my hope is to have nothing especially social till Christmas eve, leaving lots of time for reading and compost-turning.

Before dinner and the Grapes of Wrath film, I succumbed to the Van Engelen 40% off end of season sale and will soon have 550 more bulbs of crocus and miniature narcissi to plant.

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