ARRRRRRGH

Jun. 26th, 2007 05:21 pm
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The great rabbit massacree of 2007 has occurred.

Beans completely GONE. http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/634426986/

Basil, too.

So frustrated. I work so hard to keep things alive in this infernal climate, and in one night - bam, all gone.

Wah.

Beans!

Jun. 22nd, 2007 11:21 am
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54 bush beans this morning, about 4 of them nibbled at the ends by rabbits, who have also entirely consumed the remaining lettuces.

My tomatoes aren't doing very well. They just aren't growing, and my cherokee purple is yellow and losing leaves.

In book news,
Atul Gawande, Better (2007). Mostly New Yorker articles, which I had read. but it's nice to reread. I really like his writing, although I have some bones to pick with his article on giving birth and c-sections.

Wendy Wasserstein, Shiksa Goddess (2001). Really short, fluffy magazine pieces, collected. I checked this out mainly because of my memory of her New Yorker article about the very premature birth of her daughter, and a coworker was reading her just-published novel and we got to talking about it.

Liza Mundy, Everything Conceivable (2007). About the variety of assisted reproductive therapies and their social implications (IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, selective reduction, multiples). A good introduction to the topic, and balanced, I felt. I was especially interested by the contrast between the US and UK in terms of degree of regulation of ART and associated consequences. And by how much we really don't know, medically, and are just starting to explore, socially (interest in donor-gamete children about their biological donors, etc.)
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Eggplant: 1
Mystery butternut squash that grew in the compost pile: 3
zucchini: 8
carrots: 85
pole beans: 40
bush beans: more than 122
red zebra tomatoes: 12
cherokee purple tomatoes: 13, more coming
pink girl tomatoes: 7
german johnson tomatoes: 8

plus LOTs of shell peas (2 plantings each of 2 kinds), mesclun lettuces, a little baby spinach, parsley and basil and chives and oregano and rosemary.

Not a bad return, really, for an outlay of maybe $30. Only complete failures were beets and canteloupes.
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Harvest:
8 cherokee purple tomatoes
1 german johnson
1 chinese eggplant

Current garden status is two tomatoes left standing (red zebra and cherokee purple) with multiple green fruits. Burpee carrots are still growing, probably at the baby carrot stage. There's parsely, which rebounded after the depredations of caterpillars, and more basil than ou can shake a stick at.

We got into the middle 30s overnight this weekend, so brought in Barney (the ficus). Also need to bring in the pot of calla lilies. Did some prliminary raking and mulching of things with leaves yesterday.

Books:
Deborah Tannen, You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation. I very much skimmed this; I just don't like her style, and this was also kind of one-note.

Amy Tiemann, Mojo Mom: Nuturing Yourself while Raising a Family. This is a local author. The book has some good messages: there's a big mental adjustment when you have kids, especially if you go from being a high-pressure career person to a stay at home mother; it's important to balance the needs of your kids with the continuing needs of your self; it's important to have a financial plan and plan to go back to the workforce, as most SAHMs ultimately do. But the book is a bit padded out - a few simple ideas made into a shortish book.

Carola Dunn, The Improper Governess (Zebra, 1998).
Carola Dunn, The Tudor Secret (Zebra, 1995).
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On my recent shopping spree with veejane ( total: 7 items: black pants, brown pants, black skirt, black t-shirt tunic, black t-shirt with puffed sleeves (but they're very discreet!), white linen-cotton shirt, white office-y shirt, white short-sleeve blouse with embroidered black daisies - most expensive item $24, least $3), so far I have worn this (the skirt) to work:

http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/ref=br_1_7/601-0411734-6671312?%5Fencoding=UTF8&frombrowse=1&asin=B000FH7NAI

I very much recommend it. It's not really a circle skirt, though it is rounder than an a-line. Simple, black mostly wool but all-season really, flatterig to nearly any figure, and, hey, $23! A size note, should you be tempted - I am currently on the big side of a 10, including in pants in the same brand, but bought this skirt in a 6, and now I'm thinking I should have bought the 4. Go down at least 2 sizes.

Lands' End has reintroduced lingerie; my current favorite black cotton underpants, or something very like them, are now available, but at the outrageous price of $12 a pair. They have cheaper black cotton panties, too, which I may try. I am again in panty crisis, as veejane can attest (though she considers me to be insane about the whole "only black" thing.)

http://www.landsend.com/cd/fp/prod/0,,1_2_1930_28541_150722_128349_5:view=-1,00.html?CM_MERCH=PAGE_21676&sid=6519178187115154990

A peach raspberry pie is baking and we are having steak Diane for dinner. I am one (wee) glass of wine gone, hence my loquacity, and my lack of certainty that such is, in fact, a word.

Harvest:
21 pole beans
40 carrots
1 pink girl
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Harvest:
1 Pink Girl
1 German Johnson
5 pole beans
4 carrots

Books:
Edith Layton, The Choice (1999).
Edith Layton, To Wed A Stranger (2003).
Edith Layton, To Tempt A Bride (2003).
Candice Hern, A Change of Heart (1995).
Candice Hern, A Garden Folly (1997).
Candice Hern, The Best Intentions (1999).
Mary Balogh, Slightly Dangerous (2004).
Mary Balogh, Simply Unforgettable (2005).
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Harvest:
10 carrots
2 pole beans
5 pink girl tomatoes
2 German Johnson tomatoes (plant now has the wilts)
late-planted marigolds have started to bloom

Book:
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith.
Managed to be both very charming and also make me feel like a crotchety old woman by the end. Also, if Simon is pushing 30, shouldn't he try to be a little more careful about this spontaneous proposing?

Baby Name:
Born to Ruthie and Joel, a daughter, Rivkah Mary. Brother is Keziah and sisters are Tirzah and Tahlia.
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A slew of regency romances:

Mary Balogh, A Christmas Bride (1997). A Signet Regency, but very dark indeed for all that, and with a heroine it is difficult to like. AND explicit pre-marital sex. Huh.

Mary Balogh, Slightly Married (2003). A re-read, actually, though I didn't realize it until I got it home from the library. The first of this series, and my favorite - I realize that I really like restraint, even repression, in a romance novel.

Mary Balogh, Slightly Sinful (2004). Funny that a light caper (which involves deep issues) could be written by the same woman who 7 years earlier wrote the first in this list. I kept thinking the whores were in their 40s, which was weird.

Celeste Bradley, The Pretender (2003). So very ridiculous. Maybe this might have worked if the tone had been more high farce, but as it was I just kept boggling at the deeply stupid numerous people who were supposedly master spies. Never mind the completely ahistorical characters. I can't believe I even read it - I had to pause after every chapter ro roll my eyes.

One month today. We are decidedly cranky. Why don't other people's babies do this? mr. flea chatted up a woman with a 3.5 week old at the Whole Foods who reported that her first was sleeping 7-7 at 6 weeks. Ours has trouble sleeping even when you are holding him and rocking him. We're getting one 3-4 hour stretch a night and then lots of struggle to get further 1-2 hour kips. He wanted to be wide awake at 3am today.

Harvest:
1 pole bean
3 German Johnson tomatoes
amazingly, my zucchini has DIED.
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Harvest:
6 pole beans
6 carrots

Yesterday we took Dillo with us to the movies (Pirates, good silly fun - yay Scruffy!Norrington, boo Girly!Keira K.) and the ex-nanny took Casper. They visited the kittens at Nanny's house again, and Casper bent forward towards them and said, "Are you guys nervous?" Apparently so, as Casper was telling me about how they have little claws.

Casper's getting numerate: can count objects to 5 pretty reliably. Numbers greater than that tend to get broken down into fours. So it's not that she can't count higher than 5, it's that she's already mastered Base 4! Holds up two or three fingers to indicate numbers with adorable concentration.

She's very interested in letters right now. When she draws she makes a line of vertical lines to indicate writing. She "spells" words aloud - will say a few letters, not anywhere near the right ones. Like this exchange: mr. flea, "What are you saying? I can't understand that word." Casper, "F A H L R!" She sings the ABC song with gusto. She doesn't reliably recognize any of the letters as written, however, not even her own initial. Right now we have Toot and Puddle's ABC and the Dr. Seuss ABC out of the library.
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Harvest:
8 carrots
about 20 bush beans
German Johnson tomato as big as my hand
basil for pesto dinner

Book read:
Marion Chesney, Plain Jane (1986). There's a lot going on in this Regency romance - romance, mystery, an interesting Upstairs-Downstairs thing - which may be why the characters are either caricatures or flat. I may try one more of hers, but I don't really like her voice and she seems to suffer from the 1980s phenomenon of boring perfect heroes and boring stupid heroines. I can take naive, but stupid gives me hives.

It was a very difficult night last night. I really need mr. flea's help in the nights, and he fell asleep with Casper and I didn't wake up enough to go ask him for help until 5:45 am. Left to myself I have a great deal of trouble getting the Dillo to sleep - I suck at wrapping him up - and have a tendency to nurse too often and fall asleep nursing (we can do it lying down already!) only to be woken by every single snort. Very tired today.

I tried earplugs during his naps today. Helps some. I wish I were better at sleeping through the sniffs and snorts. I am a complete hair-trigger-mother sleeper.
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Harvest:
3 red zebra (vine pulled up)
5 cherokee purple, not ful;ly ripe (lost 2 more to half-eaten rottennness)
96 bush beans
8 carrots
multiple mosquito bites

Book:
Loretta Chase, Lord Perfect (2006). Now this one I liked much better thn Mr. Impossible. Note their aliases are all the last names of Austen heroines.
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Harvest:
2 more zucchini
4 small red zebra tomatoes (probably the last - the plant has the wilts)
1 green unidentified tomato (it just came off in Casper's hand...)
1 pole bean
15 or so bush beans
6 carrots
2 of these: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/193985376/ mr. flea thinks it's a variety of butternut...

Plus: cute, if yellow, boy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/193985378/in/photostream/
Mohawk boy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/193985379/in/photostream/

harvest

Jul. 8th, 2006 01:40 pm
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running tallies:
zucchini: 6. loaves of zucchini bread: 2
red zebra tomatoes: 5
carrots: 3
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Harvest:
6 more pole beans (running tally: 22!)
2 zucchini (running tally: 5)
1 4-inch carrot from carrots 1 (the first official one that didn't count as weeding)

In a day or two I will have red zebra tomatoes. All others are still green.

In celebration of the fact that it was 96 degrees yesterday, we didn't leave the house. (Well, mr. flea went to the library and worked for 4 hours, and also did a grocery run to fulfill a hot dog craving - his, not mine.) Casper and I watched a lot of children's TV and played a lot of games and baked a cake and frosted it. The cake was a flag cake, with blueberry and strawberry decorations. Recipe for the cake was Joy of Cooking's "blitztorte" which came out just like a pound cake baked in a sheet cake pan (not that this was a bad thing, just not what I was expecting.) Frosting a basic buttercream. During lunch Casper scraped the frosting bowl with her carrot sticks and enjoyed the results.

In the evening as it was still hot we did not venture down to the ballpark to see fireworks but instead watched "A Capitol Fouth" on PBS. Elmo was featured, much to Casper's joy. After he left she kept asking when he was coming back, and cried when I explained that it was probably his bedtime. She was not mollified by Stevie Wonder. We did a lot of dancing to the other music, though - Casper's interpretive dance to "The Star Spangled Banner" as sung by popette Jo Jo was something to be seen. It involved slow bending over and sticking out her butt, hopping on one leg, and spinning around. (Okay, all her interpretive dance looks much like this, but it's so much funnier when it's slow and done to the national anthem.)

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