Thursday, July 26, 2012

A sense of melancholy arrives with August. Not because of the looming end of the growing season (since August is a month full of produce -- anticipated all year). Not because closing the pool is on the horizon. No, it's those back-to-school ads. From childhood I remember the annual August assault, although my feature that some say is a bug has kicked in* and I can't remember the specific retailers. (My heart is thumping with pride over the alliteration of that sentence.) I do remember the products in this instance -- school supplies and school clothes.

I haven't heard the ads for 2012 on the radio (I don't listen to the radio) or on television (I don't watch programs with commercials). This morning I received an email from a retailer I do remember (and often patronize) "Back to school: Dorm and K-12 essentials."

The television and radio versions that I remember from childhood were a repetitious bombardment. Amazon emails don't annoy me in the same way, but the melancholy isn't caused by the tiresome nature of the ads anyway. No, it is the reminder of going back to school, the dread that evoked even for a good student.  Funny that I have chosen to live my adult life on the school schedule, with the workload of semester's end and depressing countdown to the first day of classes every academic year.

That surely seems lame when the charms of the schedule -- a winter break and a long, leisurely summer -- more than makes up for sleepless December and May and bittersweet August.

This morning's view from the kitchen window

*I can't perceive in any way -- hear, see or remember advertisemens unless they feature a cute animal and even then I don't usually remember the product or retailer afterwards.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

 JES asks:
I am interested in why you blog, and why I (and the other writers on the websites I administer) should continue to do so, especially if our online neighborhood becomes increasingly polluted and/or pedestrian, which seems to be the case. Care to share?
 I think it always good to do some reflecting on "why" whether it is about blogging or anything else in life. I won't expand upon my comment at the linked post, but it got me thinking about what my pre-blogging journal was like.

Here's a sample, dated October 10, 1996: I don't know whether Rudy loves computer diskettes, or hates them. I do believe he has diskette radar, though. Last spring he chewed up several which belonged to my husband. One contained both the text and data analysis for his thesis. I awakened on a Saturday morning to pieces of diskettes scattered all over the bed. Bob is generally as easy-going as the day is long, but at that moment, he looked as if he would like to murder someone. Me, I think. Under normal circumstances I would have found it amusing, but since Bob didn't snap out of it for the entire day, I thought it best not to laugh. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Rudy got one of my disks. It contained a lot of personal writing, my resume, a few history term papers, invoices from my computer business, etc. Rudy matters more to me than any computer disk, so I wasn't too upset. And it made me think about technology, and how if it had been paper he couldn't have destroyed that many documents in just a couple of minutes. I can hear the whiny voice of some computer nerd saying, "none of this would have happened if you had only backed up your files."

Added July 2012: diskettes, CD Roms, zip drives, flash drives were not much improvement over ephemera. The 'net has trumped them all.
This chair is part of the set that I got for Christmas in 1966, when I was five. A notable memory from that year is that Santa left this wonderful set for me, but boxes of coal
for several others!

The finish on the two chairs isn’t in very good shape, and the table has some childish letters on top written in magic marker by a second cousin's daughter when they stayed with us. (I still remember how blazing mad I was when this happened since it is something I would never have done but after all these years they are kind of charming in a way.)

In late 2010 I gave the set to my niece as a baby shower gift. Her son was born in February 2011 and at the time they were living in New Mexico. Since last August they have been in Maine. I've kept the table and chairs in Samsonville, waiting for the baby to be big enough to enjoy the set, and for them to be living close enough to transport it. Next month they are moving to western Connecticut (yay), so on August 6 the set will begin a new chapter. I hope her precious little one gets as much joy from it as I did

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

 Some of the others are gaining on it, but they are still dwarfed by Little Shop of Horrors
 The marigolds are finally thriving -- rain helped tremendously!

We had rain and thunderstorms yesterday and in the night -- the first truly "beneficial rain" we've had in quite a while. Hail was predicted in some places, and the lightening was terrific at times (almost had forgotten what it is like! See here) but we didn't sustain any damage and the plants loved it. I ventured out this morning and took the top two pictures of the tomato patch. It's a little soggy (not as much as it would be if we were not in such a dry spell otherwise).  Assuming it is a dry day, later I will check to see if there are any green beans to be picked. They were on the cusp of being ready Sunday night.

I am reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. A friend gave me the book for Christmas (I didn't see him until early July so that's when he actually gave it to me). I had to sit in the waiting room at Albany Med yesterday while Bob was having a test (he's fine) so I took my Kindle and started it.  So far it is an easy read, almost a page turner. My only criticism is that there are too many sentence fragments. They are intentional; that's the style. I follow that form myself sometimes in creative writing, but in this book it is excessive, and the fragments often come in a string, such as: "He stared into the dark. Squinted his eyes. Searching for movement. Turned slowly. Blinked." (This is not an actual quote, btw -- it is my approximation, but not that much of an exaggeration.) I am taking the train to Buffalo for a few days next week, and I plan to finish or at least make a dent in it then, so I'll have more to say after that trip.

Something I have been intending to share here but keep forgetting, a few weeks ago I received an email at my university account* about this blog post from 2003. Myrtle's great grandnephew was doing genealogy research on his paternal ancestors, and all he could find about her was my blog post. One piece of information I got from him is that her maiden name was Pemberton.

I wanted to help out, so my mother and I talked about Mimmie's stories, went through old pictures, and checked census records, and found that Lawrence McSpirit is listed as 13 years old in the 1910 Census (the page is dated May 11). Myrtle McSpirit's dates are March 9, 1905 - February 8, 2003. This is from the Social Security Death Index.

Ma said that Lawrence had moved from Hurley to Albany for work. This was at some point after the Ashokan Reservoir was constructed. He met his wife Myrtle in Albany. She also remembers that Mimmie said Lawrence disappeared after being paid on a Friday. His body was found sometime later in the Hudson River. The speculation was that he had been robbed, murdered, and thrown in the river. His father came up to Albany to identify the body and make the funeral arrangements.

The picture is of Alice McSpirit Krom (Mimmie's younger sister). The little girl on the left is her daughter Frances. The little girl on the right (blond hair) is Myrtle, daughter of Lawrence McSpirit and his wife Myrtle. Frances was born in October 1927. Our guess is that this picture was taken in the early '30s; Frances was probably 4 or 5. Myrtle looks to be about the same age. My mother remembers Mimmie telling her that this photo was taken after Lawrence's death. Little Myrtle stayed in Hurley for a while with her grandparents and Aunt Alice.

I wonder what happened to little Myrtle; all we know is Mimmie's note, where she wrote "married and living in Albany." This summer I will try to do something I have been thinking about since 2003, which is go to the Albany Rural Cemetery and visit the mother Myrtle's grave.  Perhaps Lawrence is there too.

*It's interesting that when strangers email me because of this ejournal or the Gully Brook Press website, they nearly always google my name and choose to contact me through the university, rather than the AOL or gmail email addresses I have listed here -- and this is true not just of academic and consulting inquiries, where it might be expected, but of correspondence of a more personal nature as well.

Later: I decided to do another knotweed assault. But the guy who cuts the steep part of the hill behind our house already did it!  He's awesome. So I just had to pull the stray ones that were coming up in the curcurbit patch. It was a humid 90 degrees, so I especially appreciated not having to weed whack the rest of the battlefield.

And: the weird round bruise on my shoulder from July 4 that turned into an itchy insect bite after a day and eventually went away has returned! Not the bruise but the itchy welt, exactly the same size and in exactly the same spot. What is it with me and freakin' bugs?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bob was sorting a box he took out of the shed in Samsonville and came across this from 18 years ago. He did not find the continuation, and it is possible I never drew it -- or maybe I did and it will appear someday. I am always delighted when I run across an old Nileston News. I decided to censor identifiers out -- never dreamed of online journaling in 1994 (although of course I was routinely using email, listservs etc.).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It is taking all my self-control to refrain from writing something incredibly mean and snarky about this post. Really -- he's practically begging for it and almost deserves it -- what an opening! Also there is so much material...(stop me). Inviting people to complain about locally grown summer produce? Are you kidding me? And naturally -- in a crowd of horse race loving neanderthals who believe Olive Garden is quality Italian food, a bunch of people pile on. Oh yeah, fresh local in-season tomatoes, zucchini, rhubarb, cantaloupe, corn, peaches -- way more disgusting than a hunk of prime rib, leg of lamb or foie gras. What a world we live in!

Friday, July 20, 2012

This was in yesterday's Times Union. I didn't read it on the web, but a paper copy was in the waiting area while I was getting my haircut.

From the story: "Gallo said he could recall only one death of a horse in the event's prior 31 years. "I can't emphasize enough how rare this is," Gallo said in a phone interview." Also "Last year, there were 0.93 breakdowns per thousand starts at Saratoga," NYRA officials said. "The industry average was two. Saratoga is perennially well under the industry average in this category."

How about a little context for those abstract statistics on "breakdowns?" (What a pathetic euphemism!) Check out this disturbing story from the New York Times if you dare:

"On average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America. Many are inexpensive horses racing with little regulatory protection in pursuit of bigger and bigger prizes. These deaths often go unexamined, the bodies shipped to rendering plants and landfills rather than to pathologists who might have discovered why the horses broke down."

The Capital District will now succumb to its five-week hysteria over the Saratoga season. I say, Screw you to all the participants, owners, trainers, riders, officials and patrons alike, all the pretentious hat-wearers who purport that this cruelty is glamorous. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Over 100 years from his death -- still routinely quoted and relevant. Yesterday, John Gray's column on aging quoted him, and this image was posted by on facebook and has been shared 279 times in the past 20 hours. I think he is a cultural example that someone middle aged or old can quote to a 20 year old and they would "get it." Remarkable!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The scarlet runner beans have blossoms and are true to their name!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The plants grew about a foot each! I rearranged the tomato plants - dragged the containers around to give them more space. Picked the first celebrity tomato. Today it is so hot outside! I did some emergency watering and will check again this evening. The bugs will probably be bad, though -- what with the humidity.

On Thursday, we stopped at Golden Harvest to buy fruit (the peaches are to die for this year), veggies and a pie for Samsonville. I forgot the pie, and once I realized it, it was too late to go back to the stand for it. I thought I'd call the next day from Samsonville. But that night I got an email from the owner -- he found me at the university. (My phone number is hard to locate because the Castleton number is in Bob's name. I've never added mine because I'd rather students don't easily find it.) The subject line was "Pie Time." It was very cleverly written. The punch line is...they had my pie! I arranged to pick up a replacement on the way back to Castleton yesterday. He said to contact him directly if ever I am not satisfied with anything in the future.

I got there shortly before they closed to get my pie (and more fruits and veggies). It was quite busy, and as I was waiting in line a woman next to me commented about the breeze going through the stand. It was remarkable, considering the heat. Suddenly she said, "that Gibson better get his facts straight." She had a sour look on her face and she was shaking her head. I didn't understand the reference, wondered if there was something in the news or popular culture that should be on my radar screen, but wasn't. Had Mel Gibson done something recently?

My face must have been blank. She didn't elaborate, just stared and seemed exasperated. Was she looking at me or over my shoulder?  I turned toward the table with those baskets of beautiful peaches behind me. On the wall nearby was a large framed photo of Chris Gibson with the farm's owner, both smiling broadly. I'd never noticed it before.  Oh. I turned back to her. She repeated the remark.

 I said, "I don't know, but I have seen him around and I like him." She repeated the remark for a third time, with the same unpleasant expression and irritated tone, adding something unintelligible about the Eddy in Greene County. So I said "he really is a good guy" and I turned to the woman at the counter. I was thinking about pie and peaches, not politics. She was no longer interested in talking at me anyway.

Although where I live has more in common with Valatie and Kinderhook than with Albany or Colonie, a tiny piece of western Rensselaer County was gerrymandered into the 21st district several years ago. The redistricting in 2012 reduced the size of that tiny piece -- but still where I live was not put into the new 19th district that Gibson will represent if re-elected. So it doesn't matter what I think since he's not my representative. However, I saw him at the Main Street Cafe in Valatie two winters ago when we had constant snow. It was hammering us that Sunday morning. He got up from the table with his family, grabbed the snow shovel near the door, went out and shoveled the sidewalk. It wasn't a photo op.  It made a favorable impression.

I think my and the owner of Golden Harvest's assessments are likely more accurate than that disagreeable woman's. Why would she try to engage me on the subject of politics, a stranger in line at a farm stand who had done nothing more than politely agree with her that the temperature inside was more pleasant than one might expect on such a hot day?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back in Samsonville; the wedding was nice. There were sad and bittersweet moments amidst the happy ones, of course, when the absence of Bob's mom was noted. She had a big aura.

The trip itself was OK -- traffic in the NYC-metro area is always heavy, and on the way back after leaving the ferry we got caught in a parking lot on I-84 headed toward Danbury. So we got off the highway and I consulted a map. We took Route 7, then 22, then 343, avoiding 84 and the thruway entirely! It took somewhat longer than the highways would have if there was no traffic, but we traveled through a beautiful part of Connecticut (overall a really nice state once you get away from the wealth and congestion of the coast anyway). The animals were fine but they missed us so much -- this morning upon awakening, all three were staring at us. Did they sleep at all? Or did they just watch us all night as we slept to be sure we weren't going anywhere?

Big news: General Joe's Barbecue took second place in the people's choice of the Troy Pig Out for the second year in a row! They also got a photo in the Record. You go, guys! Next year, nothing will keep me away.

More big news: The pool is finally looking good and I took my first swim on Friday. 

The last big news: it rained yesterday! At least in CT and Samsonville...hope the same is true of Castleton. Today it is going to be 90 plus. Hang in there, plants!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Buying pool chemicals, major watering, then off to Samsonville for a few days. We'll go from there to Long Island for an overnight on Saturday. Bob's youngest cousin is getting married. We'll take the ferry back to Connecticut and go back to Samsonville on Sunday, then back here to Castleton on Monday. I am very anxious about my plants, since if it doesn't rain they really should be watered on Saturday. But, I assume they will be OK. I'm also not crazy about leaving Sam, Rosie and TB/TC for a night. They are well-taken care of but they are not crazy about being left, especially at that house. You'd think animals would glory in being in "the country" but that hasn't been true for any of my pets. They are creatures of routine. At least I will get to swim and check the Samsonville plants -- I hear kale is ready and the scarlet runner beans are blossoming. Keeping my fingers crossed that no bugs get me -- and that the snake leaves me alone too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I can't go to this on Saturday (have to attend wedding), but General Joe's will be competing again this year. Vote for them!
This will make up for the awkwardness of the prior internally censored post.

Fourth of July tomatoes about a week late
Cherry tomatoes are giving 4th of July a run for its money (both beat by a mile by Tomacchio, aka Little Shop of Horrors)
Here's the one that came up from a seed -- grown a lot!

This doesn't have anything to do with my current students. And it also doesn't have anything to do with the majority of students. However, there is a proportion who are selectively disrespectful. What I mean is that they behave differently with certain faculty. The disrespect takes a few forms; using the faculty member's first name, obnoxious test-like emails with demands, and pushing to be the exception to the rule, then checking with a dozen others to see if they can root out conflicting answers to take "up the line."

This wouldn't be as disrespectful if the student behaved this way with everyone, then they would just be a pushy and presumptuous jerk. But most don't. They do it to 1) women and 2) those whom they perceive to be less prestigious. Since I have two strikes in that game, I am often on the receiving end of the disrespect.

It seems petty to care about the name thing, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't irritate me. More the assumption that it is OK without asking first, than the act itself of using my first name -- but I have to admit that even the use annoys me. Call me pretentious. I guess I am a proponent of Domain Theory.

Now I know that I seem approachable (if weird) to students, and I want to be that way (even the weird part is OK). So not every instance of this overstep is disrespectful -- some students just don't understand the norms. They do not intend rudeness.

And the same can be true of others -- let's call these folks the non-students. Discerning whether it is cultural, cluelessness, or condescending can be challenging.

This is just a long introduction to something that has been bothering me today, and it isn't about students. I'd like to write more specifically, but my censorship filter has triggered. There is someone I've tangled with on occasion over the years. Early disputes made me opt out of too much buy-in. This is one of the reasons I like being an adjunct. Others might be in a panic over the lack of job security compared to tenure track, but that concerns me not a bit (admittedly I have a pretty secure deal compared to a lot of adjuncts).

Anyway, a couple of months ago we had another minor interaction. I was asked to give input about something that is somewhat in my span of control and also very much in an area of expertise. There are few (no) experienced others besides me. (I don't mean in the universe, just in our corner.) It's a minor, thing, really, but it is like fingernails on the blackboard -- it has to do with word choice and what is the industry standard. It would be as if you had worked in a day care and served it every day for snack, then freelanced reviewing ad copy directed at preschoolers and changed the product description from "powdered-additive cow-produced beverage" to "chocolate milk." (Full disclosure is that in my former life colleagues often had major disagreements about whether punctuation on form letters should be a colon or period, so in that corner this would qualify as a WW III - level issue.)

Anyway the proper word choice in this case is accepted by authorities in the universe, and so this was perhaps the most important suggestion of expert but low-status me, one that I thought would be accepted without question. You guessed it, it wasn't.  In response to questions about the term, I explained the convention, and it seemed this individual was mollified.

Today while I was accessing various databases, I noticed that the text I'd reviewed has made it to the homepage...without my revision. And he's wondering why powdered-additive cow-produced beverage isn't selling?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Graded the first essay assignment in my summer online class. It wasn't that many, but I am tired from it and glad to be done. I want to go out and groove with my plants!

The enrollment this summer is small -- 17 students at this point. That isn't my smallest summer class ever, but it is second. In '07 I taught it as a 12 Week all summer rather than as a 6 Week 2, and although I loved that format, it only resulted in 12 (serious) students registering. It was awesome. Also awesome but in a very different way, last summer I had over 40 (which I would never allow during the academic year, but since there are incentives in the summer, and even I (gasp) respond to incentives...).

Generally I get around 30. So I am not sure what is up this year. Winter session tamped down summer demand? The economy --who wants to fork over a grand for a summer class?

Monday, July 09, 2012

Today I had my appointment for root canal re-treatment, and as a result of the procedure, learned that I am one of the unlucky 20% -- my tooth can't be saved.  So now an oral surgeon will extract it on August 6. It's basically already gone, since the crown came off during the drilling and the endodontist didn't put it back on. (I didn't ask him for it, but he gave it to me in a little baggie -- a rather macabre souvenir.) It's tooth #3 so it can't be seen, but it will take some time to adjust. Also to once again wrestle with the implant decision. The joys of aging! It feels like such a first world problem to be too upset, though. But still! 2012 has kind of sucked...

Speaking of "sucks," check out this link from MSNBC, written by someone from Forbes. The content of the story is just common sense, but the headline! Is this already Idiocracy or what? I realized I just used that word so who am I to comment -- but then again, I am writing a casual ejournal for my own amusement with a handful of people looking over my shoulder, not something under the MSNBC and Forbes banner. Shortly after noticing that article, Bob was watching a clip from a show called Morning Joe that seems to exist solely to promote Starbucks.  Haley Barbour and Terry McAuliffe were being interviewed by the snarky host, something about an electric car company for which they managed to land support, I think enormous tax breaks or something. I'm not sure, I wasn't listening closely or more precisely, hardly at all. But I couldn't resist joking a la Idiocracy "Two A-sholes are Interviewed about Bullsh-t by a B-tch." I thought Bob would spill his tea cup into the laptop.

In a contrast with today, yesterday I had a really good day. At Golden Harvest I discovered a table of leftover spring plants. They still had some tomatoes, basil, rosemary, zucchini and cucumbers. I couldn't resist -- I got a four pack of both of the latter to put where the seeds didn't germinate. Bob felt I have enough basil (how can that ever be true? But I conceded) and I restrained myself from buying any of the gorgeous begonias and dahlias.The minute we got home, I planted my new friends, and deeply watered everything. Today the cucumbers look OK, but most of the zucchini plants are only iffy.  Fingers crossed that my luck is better with squash than tooth procedures!

The miniature red roses are blooming again. And the tiger lily is nice this year too.
That leaf near his face is catnip!
How crispy the grass is -- no need for weed whacking at present.
I call this plant "Little Shop of Horrors." (I suppose it should be Audrey Two instead, but that would be reification.)  It's not a perfectly apt descriptor though, regardless, since LSH gives me food, not the other way around.

Later: Novocaine wore off...all of the pain with none of the benefit of the procedure. :-(

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Roku brings a whole host of movie choices in an instant. This can be wonderful, or it can border on too much choice -- the myriad of icons, descriptions and previews are even more dizzying than channel surfing as Bob flips through. Add to that our having only partial overlap in our preferences, and we could wind up watching movie trailers all night.

If you suspect he likes action while I prefer chick flix, you would be mistaken. While it's true that I don't care for spy movies, I really hate all movies of the You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle variety. I'm into documentaries, with historical being my favorite. He likes some documentaries, but not as a steady diet. And though he doesn't dislike action and adventure, his taste runs more to science fiction. I appreciate science fiction if it leans toward sociological themes rather than to violence.  We both enjoy some comedies, but my taste is pretty narrow. I don't like just anything put out by whomever is the current flavor of the day, such as someone recently on SNL (a show that I don't like very much in general).

Neither of us enjoys horror movies. So our usual pick is an indie drama, though recently it has seemed as if we've seen all the promising new releases in that category. Maybe that's not possible -- the selection seems infinite. But see paragraph #1, above. My feature that some say is a bug switches on. It is the characteristic that makes me not see, hear or remember commercials unless a cute animal is in them. When I am overloaded, the surfing becomes a blur and I can't absorb the movie icons and titles. I need to re-boot and start over.

Anyway, since we both like old movies a lot, last night we landed on Sunset Boulevard. Surprisingly, neither of us had seen it before. What a great movie! was extremely hard to put Carol Burnett's spoof of the characters out of my mind!  Afterwards, I just had to google it and watch a few clips. Hilarious!! Have to see if that show is on Roku. That's one comedy we can agree on.

Unrelated: bite on my shoulder seems a tiny bit better. What a relief!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Bugs hate me, summer 2012 edition. On Wednesday, I noticed a small round bruise on my shoulder -- very dark and just a tiny bit larger than a pencil eraser. It didn't hurt or itch and I didn't notice when it happened. It almost looked as if I had been poked with a stick or wire although there was no cut or puncture. There may have been a tiny pin prick in the center, but I am not positive on that point. Today it looks like my usual reaction to an insect bite: larger (maybe the size of an asymmetrical quarter), angry red, very itchy. This isn't my only bug bite reaction this summer (I've had at least two others).  Despite the tag, I don't believe it is a BRS bite or Lyme rash, I just always categorize these bug bite posts that way. However, I'm watching it very carefully...

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Took a little hiatus! It was too hot in Samsonville to sit inside. However outdoors had its issues as well...

The jungle creatures in Samsonville clearly believe the house is theirs -- not ours. On Saturday, I was sitting on my deck, about two feet from the kitchen window. Over my left shoulder, out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement...a brown creature. I thought it was a chipmunk, and turned, thinking "how nervy they are!"

But the movement wasn't a chipmunk; it was a snake! Slithering up the wall of the log house, in serpentine fashion. It went behind the molding near the kitchen window, in the void that is created by the rounded logs. About a foot of the snake was sticking out. My mother inspected it and said it was a milk snake.

I wasn't happy about the idea of a snake climbing the wall near the kitchen window, so after contemplating it, decided I would ask my brother to relocate it, assuming he was coming over. As I was examining the wall to determine why a snake would be crawling up it (ewww) -- I found the reason. On the opposite side of the window, also half under the molding, the back end (tail and legs) of a mouse were sticking out. It was trembling in fear.

Both the snake and mouse eventually completely disappeared under the molding. I know it is the cycle of nature and all, but I was not eager to witness a snake devour a mouse -- even given that the rodent was probably a white-footed mouse that carries Lyme Disease. After we sat there for about five minutes, the mouse must have decided that humans were a lower risk than the snake, jumped, flew through the air, landed on the deck near our feet, scampered as if a cartoon mouse to get traction, then shot across the yard, behind the fuel tank, out of the fence and under the shed.

A few minutes later, the snake's head popped out from behind the window. It shot back in when we tried to get a closer look, but after a while it came out, slithered down the wall to the deck railing, then down to the ground near the fuel tank, under the deck, and out the fence in the opposite direction from the mouse. Better than TV!
The plants there were very thirsty, but they perked up as soon as they were watered.

 My new hydrangea:
 I love bee balm!
 These lilies are given away in church every year a few weeks after Easter
 Have Basil Will Travel at its vacation home
Back in Castleton, my first tomatoes! Wow!
Latest planting, some impatiens