Mar 03

Food for the Mind

Books/Writing, Life, Musings 0

I had a revelation this week. It’s something every reader has probably joked about from time to time, but this week I realized…it’s true.

When I get a little money, I buy books. If there is any left, I buy food. ~ Erasmus

I was unable to resist the temptation of a sale and a coupon from Barnes and Noble, and finally bought one of the more expensive books I’d been wanting. Yes, it came out of my grocery budget. I can eat beans and rice, I don’t notice what bland food I’m eating much when I have my nose in a book anyway.

Blood and Mistletoe: the History of the Druids in Britain

I’ve been fascinated by ancient Britain for some time now, no doubt influenced by a lot of the popular myths and images floating around due to various books and movies. I’m hoping this book will help give me a more realistic and hopefully accurate view of some of the traditions of that time period. I’ve been trying to understand the practices of the modern forms of “green” religions, and am continually put off when books or blogs claim to be following paths laid down thousands of years ago…when, at least by my understanding, their religious practices originated a few hundred years ago. Yes, they might have been inspired by a culture from millenia ago, but since there are so few written records of that time, they aren’t truly practicing the same thing. Just a pet peeve of mine, one I’m trying to become a little more educated about.

Unfortunately, due to some sad circumstance, my 2-day shipping has turned into 3 and the book will not arrive until Monday (instead of today), when I will not have time to read it. Le sigh.


Feb 29

Garden Progress

Life 1

I’m beginning to think that gardening might not be as cost-effective as previously thought. By the time I finished digging half of the allotted plot today, I was twice as hungry as normal and still am. 😛 My body had also apparently forgotten it possessed certain muscles, which are now screaming in protest of a few hours spent digging in weed-matted earth.

Yeah. Half-way finished. I was hoping to get it all done today, but when almost 3 hours yielded half and my body becoming less and less willing to move…I threw on the bone meal and composted manure (due to a soil test revealing a pH balanced but nearly depleted soil – see pic) and called it a day. In some places the weeds are so thick it’s like trying to dig through sod. Hopefully this next weekend will be nice enough I’ll be able to do the other half and re-dig the half I did today.

Yeah, the other side is still a tangled, nasty mess.

I received my Botanical Interests order this week. It wasn’t much, a few new kinds of peppers and tomatoes, and several medicinal herbs. The shipping was super fast, always a plus. 🙂 I’m really excited to try some more heirloom type vegetables and flowers. I had never paid that much attention to the heirloom designation, though thanks to my mom’s garden experiments was well aware of the dangers of attempting to save seed from hybrids. 😉 This week I may order a few more herb seeds from Horizon Herbs. Still thinking about it. I’m not sure if I want to do that, or try to get my hands on some already dried so I can start experimenting with various concoctions. Hehe.

In other news…the lavender actually sprouted! So did the parsley that I had given up on. I’m a little bit stoked. Only a picture of the lavender for now, which looks very spindly and a little yellow. I think some fertilize is in order, but I need to figure out what I want to use for organic fertilizer.

(post written Sunday)


Feb 27

Week of Mail, Reading AND Garden Progress

Books/Writing, Life 1

Phew. I’ve had a crazy busy week, but my normal energy levels seem to have returned. Now if I could just get rid of that pesky need for sleep. I’ll get back to you when I figure that one out.

I only missed one day of mail this week. I have to admit I’ll be glad to wave goodbye to sending mail every. single. day. I love sending and receiving mail, but I think I’m more of an every other or every third day person. Hehe. It’s been awesome fun though, and I’ll post my last February mail pics later this week. Excuse so many cell phone pics for this week, I was in a hurry for most of these.

February 21: Letter to a penpal in Finland.

February 23: Note to my grandma. Yes, I really like these cards. 😉

February 24: Postcard to a friend. Pic added later, because I think she sometimes reads my blog.

February 25: Note to my cousin in Colorado. We don’t talk much, but I always have a blast when we get to hang out together.

As far as books, I finished 3 this week! One felt like a bad movie, 3-4 hours of my life gone that I would like to have back (ok, maybe not quite that bad), but the others were very good!

15.  Small-Plot, High-Yield Gardening, by Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan. Totally going on my wish list for gardening books, great reference.

16.  Rattle His Bones, by Carola Dunn. Oh, dear god. This series was recommended by a friend and while I really wanted to like it, I just couldn’t. “Cuddlesome curves” did it in for me. No. Just no. In all seriousness, the style of writing just really annoyed me, for some reason.

17. The Lost Gardens, by Anthony Eglin. I really enjoyed this one. It’s styled like an English cozy. My one problem was that in his attempts to explain some aspect of gardening to his readers Eglin completely changes both verb tense and point of view at several points of the book, which was very jarring and annoying. I’ll still go back and read the rest of the books in the series, though.

This post is getting a bit long, so I’ll save the gardening bit for another day. It warrants a post to itself anyway.


Feb 22

Third Week of Mail

Books/Writing, Life 1

Last week, I got a little behind with mailing things. I was still trying to recover from being sick, and working at the same time. So I ended up sending one letter, a batch of Postcrossing cards, and a thank-you. Sort of lame, but I did send at least one piece of mail for every day, just not on the specified days.

Also, there is no 75 Books in 2012 update for last week because I didn’t get to finish anything! 🙁

February 13: Mondays seem to be my day for mailing pink envelopes.

February 14-17: All the postcards.

February 19: Thank-you note to my mom, who I’ve been pestering the heck out of the last few weeks with all my gardening questions.

Not sure if I’ll get to finish any books this week or not, just had a 13+ hour day yesterday and am working Monday-Saturday this week. Yay for overtime! But then my body is screaming at me. I can’t complain though, after we arrived back at the Roanoke donor center at 10 pm last night, some of the girls had to be back at 6:30 am this morning. At least I got to sleep in before going to work today!

Also, we finally got some snow! It was so beautiful while it lasted. I have some pictures I’ll attempt to share soon.


Feb 21

Happy Things

Life, Random 0

* Mornings when I don’t have to leave before 8 am.
* Working with awesomely positive people.
* Leftover snow on the ground, but clear roads.
* Sunshine!
* Opening my mailbox and finding interesting (I.e., not bills or credit card applications) things.
* Books in an organized library.
* Seeing snow-covered mountains on the way to work.


Feb 18

The Start of a Garden

Uncategorized 2

I’m so very excited! I was able to get a garden plot in the Roanoke Community Garden. The garden is on an empty lot in southeast Roanoke, in an older neighborhood where most people would never think to put a community garden. Loaned to the community garden by Frank Roupas (as seen in the first picture), it’s a little dusty and dormant looking at the moment, but it’s coming to life.

My little space of 300 square feet – which sounds small after growing up with my mom’s HUGE gardens the last several years I lived at home, but which she assures me will be quite large enough for a first time garden – was a little neglected last year.

Slightly altered picture, with the edges of the plot marked by clipart daisies. 😉 To be honest, I felt a bit daunted looking at the mess of old cardboard, leftovers from last year and all the weeds, but I went to work on it today. I didn’t get far…I guess I sort of forgot that gardening is manual labor. 😛 The soil is fairly soft, but matted with all the roots of the weeds and with a fair sprinkling of rocks. An hour and a half of shoveling only removed the cardboard and got the soil around half of the perimeter turned, so it’ll take a full day to get it turned that way. A kind person has offered a tiller though, so hopefully that will happen within the next couple weeks so I can start planting.

Here are some more pictures, from the back of the lot and the view I have from my plot.

The storage shed built by a local boy scout, for his Eagle project.

Of course, a large part of the fun of gardening is the planning. I put in a small order of seeds today, even. 🙂



Feb 13

To Catalog a Library

Books/Writing, Life 0

I am very pleased to announce that as of this afternoon, I have finished cataloging our personal library. That is, they are all listed on LibraryThing, and with proper cover art or no cover art (nothing more annoying than having books reprinted with new dust jackets under the same ISBN, if you ask me).  They’re all listed, and searchable, and the page is bookmarked on my phone so I can avoid the “oops, I already had that book” mistake I’ve made more than once already.

I am…astonished. Delighted. Satisfied (for a little while, until my OCD comes up with proper categories for them all and then I will be reorganizing and tagging them). Why astonished? Because of the number.

286. Only 286. I was convinced we had at least some 300-odd, but nope. Granted, we cull on a fairly regular basis. I hauled about 2 dozen to the library as a donation this morning, but even with those gone I would have thought there were more. But that’s ok. It means we’re only keeping the ones we really love/find helpful/information/entertaining. It also means…



Yes, because we all know having less than 300 books means that one has been very self-controlled in book buying for the last several months, and so I can indulge myself for a little while now. This is the most exciting revelation I’ve had in some time.



Feb 12

Reading…Sort of

Books/Writing 0

Just a quick update on the 75 in 2012 reading challenge…I actually finished 2 books this week, I remember that much. Sadly, I can only remember the title of one of them! I’m blaming it on the fever and will come back and edit my post if I remember the second. 😛

13. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Frank Baum

14. The Art of the Personal Letter, by Margaret Shepherd.

EDIT: I remembered!


Feb 11

Second Week of Mail

Life, Random 0

In spite of being sick with some dreadful combination of nasties (bronchitis, sinusitis, and laryngitis, according to the doctor) that had me wishing to die (almost), I managed to get something mailed for every postal day this week. Well, ok…the postcard that was supposed to be mailed on the 10th went out on the 11th because when I went to put it in the box, the postman had surprised me and ran early. But it still counts, at least to me. 😉

February 6: A letter to a long-time friend.

February 7: A thank you note to my grandmother.

February 8: A postcard to my little brother, because he likes football and I like Norman Rockwell. He’ll be surprised. 😀 This particular pictures is VERY bad because it’s a cell phone pic taken in a hurry, because I had almost forgotten. Hehe.

February 9: Birthday card for my mother-in-law. The inside says, “Huh. You don’t LOOK older!”

February 10: Postcrossing again! Postcard ID: US-1534653. Another lovely autumnal picture. I really ought to learn how to just scan these in, they would turn out much clearer.

February 11: And another. Postcard ID: US-1535921.