sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 24, 2021

final april weekend planning
posted by soe 1:00 am

This weekend is supposed to be a mixed bag weatherwise, with sun, clouds, and rain all expected. The key will lie in getting outside earlier on Saturday to catch the sun, but if I miss it then, I hope to see it late Sunday afternoon.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Stringing up some latticework for my peas and picking more violets from the garden.
  • Visiting one of our local bookshops for Independent Bookstore Day.
  • Reading as part of Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon (but not as an all-nighter).
  • Taking in a YallWest author session or two.
  • Buying asparagus at the farmers market for the first time this spring.
  • Doing some baking.
  • Tracking down quarters. (None of the local branches of Rudi’s bank had them this week, so now I need to be creative at the couple spots that take cash so we can do laundry.)
  • Listening to baseball.
  • Cleaning the bathroom. (Not fun, but necessary.)
  • Finishing the toe of a long-lingering sock (and maybe doing a photo shoot).

What’s on your aspirational to-do list for this final weekend in April?

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April 23, 2021

pterodactyl, purple harvest, and restored
posted by soe 1:21 am


Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. I pass a blue heron flying low over the Potomac River, I assume doing a grocery run toward the end of the day. With its loopy neck, triangular head, and long legs, it resembles a flying reptile of yore.

2. Violets are my favorite flower, and there’s about a three-week period every spring where they overrun the garden. When I stopped by on Sunday, I was surprised by how tall they’d gotten in just a few days, and I brought home a handful to sit in a glass atop the fridge.

3. After an hour of volleyball and a cumulative bike commute of ten miles, I return home from my first game in 400+ days sore, cold, windblown, and exhausted. Rudi took one look at me after I allowed gravity to pull me to the couch and said, “I haven’t seen you look this happy in a long time.”

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

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April 22, 2021

earth week unraveling
posted by soe 1:30 am

Earth Week Unraveling

This week’s knitting and reading is just a continuation of what was begun last week. I continue to love my new socks, and Sherry Thomas has yet to disappoint me with her Lady Sherlock series.

I’m past the halfway point in the latest Fox and O’Hare audiobook. Evanovich’s latest co-author, Steve Hamilton, is himself a well-regarded author, and this story is a more solid caper than the last one in the series, which was written with her son. However, I’m starting to realize that secondary characters must belong to co-authors, because this is now the second book in a row to forego bringing in Nick Fox’s Irregulars. I enjoyed the wackiness of that group and this book, while a perfectly fine addition to the heist oeuvre, is a much more Serious Story with moments of levity provided by circumstance (Kate ends up in the drink twice in a single day) than by characters.

Head over to As Kat Knits if you’re interested in what others are reading and crafting.

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April 21, 2021

experiments in the garden
posted by soe 1:50 am

Mid-April Garden

Every year I try to plant new things as an experiment, in addition to past favorites. Sometimes it fails. The single carrot (a seedling from a friend of Rudi’s) and several beet seedlings I put in the potato patch last year disappeared ridiculously fast. But late-season squash finally grew for me, as did those crazy femur-sized cucumbers that showed up weekly in the height of summer. I’ve learned that you can’t plant just one tomatillo plant, even if you think you would only like one plant’s fruits; they require cross-fertilization and having another a few plots away isn’t close enough to cut it. In previous years, radishes didn’t work; peanuts did. I’ve planted broccoli and rabe on several occasions and grown lovely golden beetles each time.

This year, our first experiment is celery. I gave one to a neighbor gardener, but I have five more tucked amidst garlic and yellow onions in a patch I cleared out. So far so good, but they have to make it all the way to the fall.

Anything that’s going to require micromanagement, daily watering in the heat of summer, or pest management other than my flinging beetles away won’t cut it. If it thrive under benign neglect (see all those bunching onions and the sorrel I planted my first year as a gardener), that would be ideal.

Got any suggestions for this year’s experiments?

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April 20, 2021

one month more
posted by soe 2:16 am

Things I’m looking forward to after my immunity fully kicks in post-vaccine four weeks from today:

  • Visiting my parents
  • Hugging my friends
  • Browsing the stacks at the library
  • Going to museums (one opened in my city dedicated to the written word and I haven’t felt comfortable going yet)
  • Eating outside at restaurants (I jumped the gun on this once and won’t do it again until next month)
  • Traveling
  • Browsing in big box stores
  • Seeing my coworkers not through a screen
  • Swimming at the pool (and lounging on the deck with a book)
  • Attending concerts inside (definitely not immediately)

How about you? What are you looking forward to after you’re fully vaccinated?

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April 19, 2021

the highways of virginia
posted by soe 1:45 am

I got in the car this afternoon, intending to drive out to the library in Arlington. While I did reach Arlington, I did not make it to the library, instead finding my way to an entirely different county.

I have long argued that the highways in Virginia behave rather like some of the staircases in the Harry Potter series. You may get on a road that you’ve taken to the library any number of times, but that doesn’t mean it’s where it leads today. Tomorrow I could take that same route past the old bike shop and it will deposit me at the library without issue. But today, it chose not to. Sometimes it happens on the way back from the airport, which is in an entirely different section of Arlington. If I come back from the nearby farms with Sarah (which would be the only reason I’d take that route), if I am driving, it will send us further into Virginia, rather than back over the river to D.C. where we were headed.

It’s inconvenient, but no longer surprising. I mean to me, of course. Other people routinely seem surprised that I can’t get the four miles down a road and over a river without an unplanned detour after living in the same place for nearly two decades, but they seem to believe this remains in my control.

I’ve just learned to recognize when I have bypassed where I needed to go and look for the next place to reroute the car. I can always get either where I wanted to go or to someplace I recognize; sometimes it just takes a bit.

Yes, I know there are such things as phones and apps and gps. And if it’s super important to reach a destination in a timely fashion, I will employ such muggle technologies (or direct another party to drive). Otherwise, it’s best just to embrace the ride.

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