sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 23, 2018


summer book bingo
posted by soe 1:19 am

I’ve decided I’m going to take part in Mere et Filles’ Summer Book Bingo again. Take part might be a generous turn of phrase, since I use my card’s categories to pick some things to read between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but not everything and I don’t really worry about finishing the whole card or even a row.

That’s just how I roll around here.

Anyway, here is my card for the summer, and I look forward to filling in some of those categories starting this weekend.

2018 Book Bingo

Do you have summer reading plans yet?

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May 22, 2018


mid-may garden update
posted by soe 1:05 am

Rudi and I headed by the garden Sunday evening, he to put down beer to entice the slugs away from our strawberries and I to plant my potatoes. We’d had seven straight days of rain by that point, so there would be no need to water, but pulling out some of the weeds, which had irritating flourished without sun, was necessary.

Mid-May Garden Scenes

I’m growing quite a jungle right now, particularly in contrast with this scene from ten weeks ago when I planted my peas.

Our slugs are not like the ones I grew up with, large and fat and out only on dewy mornings and rainy days. Ours are tiny, smaller than your pinky fingernail, and love to decimate delicate basil leaves and to hollow out strawberries. I learned after our first year of gardening to bite strawberries carefully if they looked like they had a tiny hole anywhere on them. So we put down peanut butter lids filled with cheap beer to encourage them to their drunken deaths instead.

I had two bags of seed potatoes I’d purchased earlier in the month, as well as sprouted potatoes and sweet potatoes from over the winter that I’d put aside for the garden. I also found some peanuts I’d bought but never planted, so I threw those into the back of the potato patch as well. Next week I’ll re-cover any errant potatoes that have been exposed to the air (no one loves the smell of rotting potatoes, except, apparently the squirrels who are awaiting tomato season by digging for buried treasure) and plant some beans to that section of the plot, in an attempt to grow upwards in the same space.

Mid-May Garden Scenes

My peas have reached navel height and will require additional supports this week. Still no pods, but plenty of flowers. If we don’t get hit with a prolonged heatwave, I’m optimistic about the season.

Mid-May Garden Scenes

My greens are flourishing. I’ve planted lettuces, spinach, kale, and arugula — both seeds and seedlings — before, but they’ve never done so well that I’ve been able to pick whole heads at a time, instead contenting myself with picking leaves off the plants before they bolted. This year, though, we’ve already harvested three heads of lettuce from the section above. That row of lettuces in the shot below will be thinned next week.

Mid-May Garden Scenes

Nearly all the basil we planted last week is gone, victim either to wildlife or seven inches of rainfall. I had two green basils survive, but we didn’t find any of the purple basil that Rudi had planted amidst the strawberries, so I’ll either need to buy new at the farmers market or see if I have any seeds to try starting them on my windowsill at work. (My tomato seedlings are growing well there now and will need to be repotted into individual containers within the next week. It may be that I started the seeds too late for this year, but it will have been an encouraging experiment, no matter the outcome.)

Soon, I’ll have to start thinking about what else I want to grow in the garden this year. I haven’t had a lot of luck with squash in the past, but this could a turning point, particularly since my plot has more sun this year. I’ll keep you updated!

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May 21, 2018


bout of books 22 wrap-up
posted by soe 1:44 am


Bout of Books

Bout of Books wrapped up tonight. I didn’t quite meet all my goals, and I squeaked in a third finish just before the wire.

I had six goals for the past week. Let’s see how I did:

Take part in at least two challenges and at least one of the Twitter chats.

Yes! I missed the first chat, but woke up from my post-wedding nap to catch the one Saturday morning. And I managed two challenges, although I thought about several others.

Visit at least one other Bout of Books participant’s blog a day.

Missed out big-time on this one. Didn’t visit a single blog this week.

Return some of my massive pile of library books to the library.

Yes! I took back almost a dozen books and dvds to the library on Saturday. Most of them I hadn’t read, but will try again later. That’s what libraries are for.

Read a little each day.

Totally! I didn’t always read on paper, but I did read every day.

Finish posting my January reviews.

Nope! Maybe this week?

Stretch goal: Finish three books.

Yes, although none of them were the books that are overdue at the library. One was A Treacherous Curse, the third in Deanna Raybourn’s Victorian lepidopterist mystery series. The second was a picture book, Brick by Brick by Charles R. Smith Jr. with illustrations by Floyd Cooper, about the slaves who helped to build the White House. The third was a fun graphic novel/comic collection, Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams, I picked up on Comic Book Day. It’s set in late-1950s Florida, where biracial Goldie Vance lives at a resort with her dad where she aspires to be the in-house detective. In her spare time, she hangs out with her friends, who also work at the resort, gets into mischief with ease and out with derring-do and her keen observational skills, and crushes on the cute girl who works at the record shop.

All in all, not bad. I’ll be joining the next round of Bout of Books in August.

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May 20, 2018


a british saturday
posted by soe 1:12 am

Would You Like a Cuppa?

Homemade Scones and a British Royal Mystery

Rudi and I got up early, watched the royal wedding, and feasted on homemade scones and a pot of English breakfast tea. Then he went to work and Paddington moved right in. I’d worry that Rudi had something to fear, but I’ll never be a good source of orange marmalade, so I think we’re all okay.

I also finished my Victorian-era mystery featuring a minor member of the royal family and it did not disappoint (although the series is written by a Virginian, so calling it British could be questioned).

It was a good way to pass a rainy day.

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May 19, 2018


mid-may weekend to-do list
posted by soe 1:57 am

It’s going to be a rainy weekend, which will definitely curtail many of my outdoor plans. But not all of them. Here’s some of what I hope my weekend includes:

  • Making scones because I’d like to eat them while …
  • Watching the royal wedding (possibly through my eyelids, but that’s my tradition).
  • Taking part in the Bout of Books Twitter chat. (That will give me a reason to be awake later in the morning.)
  • Putting away the flannel sheets. (They got washed earlier in the week and they’re still sitting in the laundry basket. It requires moving things to get to the bins under the bed.)
  • Seeing Sarah on Sunday.
  • Planting my potatoes. (There are potatoes growing all over my kitchen. I’d like to move them below ground.)
  • Heading to the library to give back some books.
  • Starting Wildwood Sock #2!
  • Doing some shredding. (I hatehatehate the sound this shredder makes, which means I have done no shredding at all since making this discovery. I’m hoping headphones and ’80s music will help with the problem.)
  • Writing an Into the Stacks post.

How about you? What are you hoping to do this weekend?

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May 18, 2018


forty-five, flowers, and fixed
posted by soe 1:37 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

Two Cones Are Better Than One

1. Rudi celebrated his 45th birthday on Wednesday. We both took the day off from work and spent the day together, eating out, visiting an art gallery, and dodging raindrops. I made a strawberry shortcake to conclude the day.

Birthday Boy

2. One of my fellow gardeners was clearing her plot of early crops when I stopped in to plant on Sunday. She stopped by before leaving to ask if I wanted a bouquet of Johnny Jump Ups, since otherwise she was going to have to compost them.

Rudi & Jeremiah

3. I look down at my knitting to realize there is a dropped stitch half a dozen rows down laddering its way away from the needles. I pull out a crochet hook and zig-zag the yarn back up where it belongs. How cool is it to know how to fix a hole like that?!

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

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