clarentine: (cavalier)
Contrast this:

squash, sweet corn, cosmos

with this:

robust growth

That's two weeks' worth of growth on the winter squash vines and the cosmos. In those two weeks, we've received ten-plus inches of rain, and solidly warm (and occasionally hot) temperatures, and sun when it wasn't raining. Not too much wind, either; the corn is mostly vertical still.

I went out and took some new snaps of the garden and the current crop of wildflowers; check out my Flickr page for those - Some great new cosmos shots!
clarentine: (Default)
One of my favorite things is walking with the dog and seeing what's growing, what's ripe. This past Sunday's walk produced a handful of muscadine grapes. The vines sprawl across trees and shrubbery in the park, seeking the sun; when I was a kid, we would climb up into the trees we knew harbored grape vines.

The trick with muscadines, in case you have not yet made their acquaintance, is in the tartness of the flesh immediately beneath the skin. To eat one, you compress the grape in your mouth until the loose sac of flesh and seeds slides out. Press out the seeds, and enjoy the grape flavor of the middle. Then - carefully - press on the empty skin so the juicy bits stuck to the inside give up their tartness.

Behold, the beauty of late summer:

clarentine: (Default)
I look up, and it's been almost three weeks since I last posted. Oops. Thus goes my year - both this year and next, I'm very much afraid.

Two weeks ago, I and seven good friends descended upon a little fishing lodge in Quinby VA to take part in the annual summer garden tour sponsored by the Virginia Society of Landscape Designers, amongst whose number we all are. (Some of us are even still board members, though I retired from active director status this past February.) In addition to seeing lots of lovely gardens, we got to admire sunrises and sunsets, eat entirely too much fresh seafood, and enjoy each other's company. It was a very pleasant interlude that I'm glad I made time for.

You can see some of the best photos from that week over at my Flickr page, including a larger version of this one:

Sunrise over the Atlantic Coast

And yes, that's Venus playing the role of morning star, way up high along the upper right-hand border, just where indigo becomes midnight.

(I called my spouse and told him I hadn't bought any plants. He was wise and asked me what I had bought...and the answer was, a lovely print of a gorgeous watercolor, something like this one - - only with a lot more white space to balance the composition. Oh, the detail work! I will be admiring this one for a long while. It'll go in my workshop once I get it framed.)

(ETA: the artist's website has a soundtrack...the sound of lapping waves. I find it relaxing, but you may wonder where the hell the thing came from. Sorry about that.)

The day after I got back home, I was supposed to have taken the train up to DC to meet up with [ profile] corrinalaw. I was beat, though, after five days away, so I chose to stay home, do laundry, rest and relax and catch up on email. It turned out to be a good decision. About 9:30 that morning, my husband's car was struck as he drove through a busy local intersection and totaled. (No worries - he's fine. Bruised and shaken up, but fine.) Both airbags blew and the front axle on his car was broken. The woman who hit him also lost her car and broke a couple of ribs, we're told. The police officer who wrote it up cited her for reckless driving. Cue trip to the rental place, long conversations with the insurance company, etc.

Work all week was busy, dealing with secretarial absences and court rule changes and stubborn equipment and budget worries. By the time Friday rolled around, I was exhausted.

And then, of course, my husband having sorted through the available cars in his price range in the area, he had to go look at the one he wanted to buy immediately after work on Friday. I knew how this was going down; he'd already gotten settlement figures and a loan pre-approval. We took my car to the dealership and, once he'd decided that yes, this was the car for him - a 2002 Honda Accord EX, white with tan leather interior and all the bells and whistles you could ask for in that year car - we did the paperwork and then I went home, leaving him to wait while the car was detailed and gassed up and readied for him to take delivery.

Then I went home and stared at the computer screen, too brain dead to do anything but read.


Believe it or not, I did manage to keep working on the rewrite of Kith while on vacation and even some this week (mostly at lunch, since by the time I got home and had finished working on or eating dinner my capacity for words had long since gone south). I'm about two thirds done now, working my way ever closer to the third of the three major plot things I am changing in this rewrite. I have, unfortunately, lost my grasp of the entirety of this book in all of the rewrites across the span of the four months it's taken me to get this far. I'm navigating by the light of the changes I made in book three of this series (Break) and hoping I don't strike a sandbar.

At any rate, I am still moving forward, which is the best I can ask of myself.


Green & Black's 60% dark chocolate with candied ginger bits remains the best chocolate in the world. Just so you know.


Nope, no conventions this year for me. I really, really wanted to attend WFC, which is in San Jose this year, so I could visit with [ profile] spammagnet and spouse, who hosted a get-together in 2007 (I think). That is not to be, however; we're penny-pinching and paying off consumer credit of various sorts. (And arranging loans for the new car, but don't get me started on that.)

Next year, assuming the economic recovery cooperates, we should be moving and finding new jobs and building a house during the summer convention season, so no cons in 2010, either.

Keep your fingers crossed.


Oh, and I got a phone call not long before my Eastern Shore garden tour trip from a woman who wants to rework her back yard garden, and long story short I have a new client and a new design project on my drafting board. Since that money will go directly to paying the architect, I'm happy to have it coming in.

Come on, economic recovery. *g*
clarentine: (Default)
I wanted to download all that was in my camera before this afternoon's client meeting, so here's another sempervivum photo, complete with rain drops--teeny rain drops, as this is a macro shot.

Sempervivum 'Lennick's Glory'
clarentine: (Pirtate!)
Well, pics of one of the ships, anyway. I spent two afternoons down at the Richmond Intermediate Wharf for Rock the Boat 2007, which celebrated the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown and the something less than 400th anniversary of the arrival of English settlers in Richmond. This set is the Godspeed. I took a gajillion photos, so this is going to take a while.



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