Saturday, October 29, 2022

The cosmos


This is the view from my kitchen window. The woodchip pile never got completely spread. Back in the spring, I waited for a rainy day and broadcast a bag of sketchy wildflower seeds that I picked up at Home Depot.

I knew it was a crapshoot whether anything at all would grow - there was no soil, per se, just some slightly decomposed wood chips. 

Now, these flowers tower over my head and have been riot central for butterflies and bees all summer. Even now. The view from the street is ugly. My mission is to rid the area of stubborn shrubs and ivy (English and poison) and get a healthy variety of native wildflowers a better chance next year. These are Cosmos Sulphureus according to someone in a FB group I look in on. 

I asked this group for advice about flowers that reseed themselves and thrive on neglect. I got the most amazing help and information. (I had to look up "yeeted" and a lot of other stuff! This is from a Weed Wizard:

"What we have here is the cutting-edge in soil science: A well-aerated static compost pile made of high carbon materials where a diversity of seeds has been yeeted upon it such that it has become covered with a diversity of photosynthesizing plants
Could the diversity of the high-carbon materials have been increased dramatically? Yes. Could the moisture level have been maintained better than complete neglect? Yes. Could the plants have been specifically chosen for the functions they perform, Yes? But did the plants grow? They did. Are there places where moisture and oxygen remain consistent? There are. That is some primo biology right there. Are there places like that that also enjoyed the continuous living root of a photosynthesizing host plant and its root exudates? Yes, there most certainly are places like that. Are there places like that that enjoyed the continuous exudation of a diversity of roots from different plant families intermingling? Maybe even so. Will any evergreens or living winter cover provide exudates that keep communities of exudate-dependent microbes and their symbionts thriving in populations high enough to bounce back quickly and mightily in early spring? They will!   I second Donna's suggestion to introduce nitrogen to your compost pile with clover and its associated rhyzobia bacteria seed inoculant."

The whole group offered links to companies that sell native seeds just for zone 8B and other great resources.
I'm contemplating adding a little hidden pond in the middle.

This is Salem and Milly's favorite stalking ground. Play in the yard, kids.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022



Putting special pieces of cloth to work this way is easy. Just tuck them in. I tried some random stitching on one and immediately picked it all out.  Anything beyond the color and the weave was just distraction.

Colin and Jake don't often work together. Just hearing them outside muttering and puttering warms my heart.

Even as I struggle to get the next book some legs, I have to do marketing stuff for the first three. In case you wondered what it was all about, the e-version of this one is free this week, just click on the link in the sidebar. Read the blurb, read the reviews and if it's your cup of tea, you're welcome, but be ready to shell out for two & three for the whole story as Prophets Tango is a serial.

Friday, October 21, 2022



Nothing to stitch on, but Bailey is recuperating from an infected bite wound to a toe. "Through and through," the vet said. Giving him 2ml of amoxicillin twice a day is exhausting and dangerous. 

Dangerous in that it all doesn't always get into his mouth and Jake is deathly allergic to any splashes or spills. I have to do this alone so it's easiest to hold Bailey down with a towel caped tight around him. He seemed calm and receptive this morning so I neglected that important step. Now I have to strip my bed and wash both quilts and the pillowcases. 

We've had two overnight near-freezes so I've brought all the tropicals inside. This Mandevilla flourished all summer in an outside planter with a geranium and a hollyhock that grew from a seed. All three of them are sharing a fiber planter in the living room. It would be nice to get them through the winter alive.

We continue to soak up warm afternoons outdoors despite both of us having lingering colds.  I feel like we got off cheap, two of my sibs in NY are struggling with covid. Virgins no more, one vaxed, one not, but both finding firsthand that it's no picnic. I hate being so far away at times like this. 

                            The changes in the air here are palpable. All good things. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Experience


Here we are, House Lacativa at Queen Something-or-others castle not a hot fifteen minutes from ours. 
In all the years we've lived so close, we never went to Medieval Times. 

Even though the date of the show fell on my birthday, this Experience was for Charlie's birthday. I told him back in August when he turned eight, no more toys or things as presents. Experiences only.

I was deeply relieved to hear him say that he's always wanted to do this. We had ringside seats. It was easy to suspend disbelief and cynicism in favor of admiring the bogus pageantry and the players' skill, two and four-footed. At one point in the show, her Majesty's falconer brought out a raptor - too large to be a falcon - and launched it free. It swept over our heads so close you could feel the breeze of his passing. It was thrilling. 

There are just a few pictures. Amazingly, very few people looked at their phones. All eyes were on the show.

A fine time was had by all. Memories made.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

A weekly


This was taken from the front lawn, just looking straight up through the big water oak. Here the leaves just brown off almost overnight and rain down. We don't rake them, they are too small. A few passes with the lawn mower will take care of them.

Charlie's school has a fall break. Just a few days, but they've been glorious. We've been to two of his two favorite parks and gone in a lot of circles now that he's discovered Balance. Next comes the bike. 

I've had a productive visit with the ortho doc. Procedures planned. Drugs doled out. Referrals for the dreaded physical therapy in play. I have to correct my thinking around that kind of work if I ever want to walk properly again. 

And I will. I need to if I ever want to get the next book up and running. I've tried to do things differently this time and plotting from a chair is NOT working. I need to be on my feet and write on the fly. That's where the stories spin from. Where the joy lives

I have a few pieces of cloth that will never be cut or stitched. They each remind me of how much serendipity matters. 

Bailey, Mr. B., aka Killah, gave me a few sleepless nights with something that made him growly and sullen. I hoped he only smoked the wrong sort of lizard or licked the wrong toad.

 I gave him 24 of self-care, cat style, before promising a trip to the vet. He did what he needed - sleep and fasting - and has come out the other side well, his feral highness restored.
At this time of year, there's no better place to catch up on missed sleep than to catch a nap in my car at the bus stop.

Milestone. I transcribed an inch-high stack of index cards into the computer today. 

Sunday, October 02, 2022

my turn to catch up


I was going to do a time-lapse or speeded-up video of this process, but really, there's not much action. Just me making choices on the fly. 

I have a square yard of linen toweling that I hand hemmed on all four sides. It has just enough texture to grab and hold like a felt board.

I fold the linen base in half because my working surface is small. I take pieces of cloth from the big bin and lay them out on the linen like this, rolling the base up as needed. Then I take all the pieces off, stack them tidy and repeat the process to get a full yard of scraps.

A quartet of threads is selected to tuck inside the cloth. 

MB, these will be on their way to you tomorrow.