Friday, November 13, 2015

Nice Work

If memory serves me accurately, it was filmmaker Louis B. Mayer  who recommended spending an hour every morning simply thinking. It's a good way to navigate.

More after the jump.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Two strains of wild nootkana proved so vigorous in the garden I had to pull them up in self-defense. It's a pity-they attracted wild canaries and the leaves smelled of apples and honey when it rained. Should I attempt another planting, I'll set them in galvanized stock troughs and hope they don't escape.

In spite of being neglected during the drought, a hybrid by the back gate grew frisky in the new growing conditions generated by development. All it took was a couple of weeks' kitchen compost to bring it burgeoning back to life. I'll stow the next few rounds of cigarette butts in the root zone, and that should take care of the aphids. Taking care of the aphids should prevent black spot on the leaves, since aphids spread that virus.

Now in deep shade is a rose that is Old Hill. It's a highly doubled thornless lavender cabbage rose that I think was bred in the nineteenth century to produce petals for potpourri. I can divide it into many starts to try in several locations in the garden. Will probably leave a few in the neighborhood pea patch, too.

A 1980s neighbor living in the house in which she was born muttered her way around her garden with a can of something lethal, waving it in the air and making vague noises about "doing something" about her Peace roses. I pointed out that if one doesn't follow the label's program exactly, one gains all the harm and none of the benefit. Sarah broke a huge smile, set the can aside, and moseyed into the kitchen for a beer.

This house came with a collection of roses, of which two survive. For me, garden does not equal flower. I decided that if I couldn't see a rose flaw from five feet away, I wasn't going to worry about it. The decision has served me well. 


More after the jump.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Petty housekeeping supplies are hugely effective force multipliers. German chrome polish (find it at motorcycle shops) removes metal marks that implements sometimes leaves on light colored paint. Try the polish in an inconspicuous place before going after the main target.

0000 steel wool cleans the uncleanable. Test it carefully-sometimes it leaves grey traces on the surface it's abrading. That said, 0000 gets indelible urban breath off glass, unconquerable gookie out of woodwork grooves, and stubborn spots off the floor. Use a light hand.

When a toothbrush retires, use it to detail the joins between plumbing fixtures and sinks. It's like flossing, and makes a remarkable difference in the visual.

Janitorial neutral pH cleaner makes the most of your housekeeping efforts. HEPA filtration vacuum bags and/or furnace filters prevent housecleaning in the first place.

The Great Big Northern European Home Furnishing Store sells washcloths with attached hanging loops. They're the best I've found for bathing, using as napkins, and finally retiring to the cleaning cupboard.

Best of all, disposable vinyl gloves mean being able to keep cleaning at a distance.

More after the jump.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Simple Grace

An early week-end visit to Great Big Hiking Co-op flagship store, aka urban forest, brought a holiday surprise. Several of the mature vine maples had been strung with pinpoint white incandescent lights, the kind that are nearly a year-round staple.

The combination of the lights and the gently curved trunks and branches of the trees is perfect. I have not seen these lights used to better effect ever, anywhere. In their commercial context, the lights are a justifiable use of electricity, since they illuminate dark areas of the property.

More after the jump.