Yesterday, [personal profile] cattitude and I went to the Harvard Arboretum to look at and sniff lilacs. We were a bit late: a lot of the bushes had few flowers left, and some of the rest had almost no scent. Unfortunately, the lilacs that bloom latest are a variety whose scent I don't like. Also, Cattitude had some problems with the pollen even though he had taken an antihistamine, and I will probably have to make this trip without him next year. ([personal profile] adrian_turtle has expressed interest.)

On our way out, we passed a fine patch of lily of the valley, and enjoyed that scent (which neither of us are allergic to. This past weekend, Cattitude found an allegedly lily of the valley flavored macaron at the patisserie in Davis Square. I thought it just tasted sweet, he said there was a floral note that reminded him of soap, and we didn't eat the last bit. It's an artificial flavor, of course—all parts of the plant are considered poisonous—and I was partly just curious as to what the creator thought lily of the valley should taste like.

I have an appointment at Mount Auburn Hospital on Friday. There is a very fine patch of lily of the valley in a small parklike area between Mount Auburn Street and Memorial Drive, which I plan to visit before, after, or possibly both, depending how the timing goes.

physical therapy stuff )
I got back from Montreal on Thursday. That was a week of reading and hanging out with [personal profile] rysmiel and enjoying the flowers in passing.

Yesterday I did very little, because I needed the rest: what I did do was cut a few stems of lily of the valley and put them in the tiny red and black vase my mother gave me. Growing up, we never used it for anything but lily of the valley; in almost thirty years in Inwood and Bellevue, it was a pretty knick-knack. This morning, I walked into my kitchen and smelled lily of the valley.

The second time I went out yesterday was to harvest lettuce. I cut an entire small green lettuce, and picked leaves from some of the red lettuces, and we had a very fresh salad for dinner last night.

Then I decided I needed more lettuces (after all, that only left ten), so [personal profile] cattitude and I have been at the garden center again. It's late for planting lettuce, but I got another little six-pack of green butterhead lettuces, along with a half dozen marigolds to keep the tomatoes company, and some tiny basil plants because the ones I put into the planter in back don't look well.
more garden stuff, cut for length )

I also did my exercises this morning, having skipped most of them while I was on vacation. (We walked quite a bit, at least.) I also have some proofreading work to do, but I may let that wait for tomorrow.
redbird: closeup of a white-and-purple violet (violet)
( Nov. 26th, 2016 04:26 pm)
On Thursday, [livejournal.com profile] cattitude, [personal profile] adrian_turtle and I had our now-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This year we had the turkey with an interesting gravy instead of stuffing; lots of roasted root vegetables; cranberry-orange relish; some last-minute green beans with sesame seeds; and apple-cranberry crisp for dessert. The gravy was good but not worth the amount of work, and I missed the stuffing. We treat the holiday as cozy time for the three of us to just be together, and it was good that this year nobody had to travel a long distance for the occasion.

Yesterday Cattitude and I met some of his relatives for lunch: his sister, brother-in-law, their kids, and another niece who is at grad school in the area. (The brother-in-law has family in the area.) That was a pleasant hour or so of conversation over Vietnamese food: they asked us to suggest a place in Harvard Square, and we knew Pho Le is both good and convenient to where we were meeting. He then went to a museum with them, and I came home and spent some time making annoying but necessary phone calls.

In the evening Adrian and I went to a party at the home of some fannish friends of hers (who I know casually), featuring more turkey, good conversation, and a hot tub. Soaking for a while seems to have done me good. (The tub is outside on the deck, a short walk from the back door; the air temperature was 40F/4 C outside, which was warmer than I was expecting when Adrian first mentioned the possibility to me.)

This afternoon I have pulled out the tomato plants and a bunch of weeds from the front yard and the planting strip, and brought in the last few halfway-plausible green fruits to ripen. I also collected a few more quinces, which I had overlooked last week. [livejournal.com profile] browngirl, the quinces have your name on them.

Tomato season really is over, despite a few hopeful flowers left on the plants, and the last yard waste pickup of this year will be Monday. That leaves us with lettuce, [livejournal.com profile] 42itous's peppers, rosemary, some chives that were lurking in the bed next to the house. Also a miscellany of flowers: radish, wood sorrel, and the lavender gives every sign of planning to flower again. Why not? There's a fine rhododendron in bloom a couple of blocks away on Mass Ave, and Cattitude showed me a periwinkle flower around the corner yesterday.

For my reference: the cherry tomato that produced a small number of really good purplish fruits is called "Black Cherry." (I think I lost the label for the burgeoning yellow-orange one.) We got almost nothing from our yellow Brandywine plant, alas. That's a really tasty heirloom variety.
This is partly for my own records.

This morning I planted some basil (planter near the back porch), radishes (a patch near the sidewalk, a little bit east of the front walk), and sunflowers (in the planting strip). I ordered the radish seeds, the sunflowers were a freebie from the seed company, and [livejournal.com profile] 42itous gave us the basil seeds.

Meanwhile, a nondescript clump of greenery in front of the house turns out to be a patch of gorgeous purple irises, and the rhododendron next to it is blooming.

Read more... )
a tree with small white or pale pink flowers
Early February flowering tree, a photo by rosvicl on Flickr.

I just went wandering around the neighborhood, and took pictures of some of the things in flower. I think this might be an ornamental cherry. I've also posted pictures of two flowering shrubs I can't name—one yellow, one pink—rosemary, and a periwinkle to Flickr. The dandelion photo wasn't worth posting, and I didn't take pictures of the heather or the hellebore.Via Flickr:Some kind of early ornamental cherry?

a tree with small white or pale pink flowers
Early February flowering tree, a photo by rosvicl on Flickr.

I just went wandering around the neighborhood, and took pictures of some of the things in flower. I think this might be an ornamental cherry. I've also posted pictures of two flowering shrubs I can't name—one yellow, one pink—rosemary, and a periwinkle to Flickr. The dandelion photo wasn't worth posting, and I didn't take pictures of the heather or the hellebore.Via Flickr:Some kind of early ornamental cherry?

I'm not sure which is more of an anomaly, the rhododendrons in bloom or the morning's snowfall:



ETA: I am reliably informed that these are camellias, and a google image search agrees. I still like the contrast of flowers and snow.
There is a patch of snowdrops in bloom a few blocks from me (on that sloped stretch of 214th Street between Indian Road and Seaman Avenue, for [personal profile] roadnotes and anyone else who knows the neighborhood). Snowdrops tend to be the first flowers of the year, but this is at least a fortnight early even for snowdrops, even in a mild year.

Weirder than that, there's a hyacinth in bloom uphill of that, tucked in next to a building. Magenta, with florets about halfway around the spike. I assume the heating system is leaking, but where snowdrops are surprising, a hyacinth is absurdly out of sync. (This is a full-sized hyacinth, not one of the little grape hyacinths.)

(It's been a gray, foggy few days; so far this weekend we have done some more decluttering, and played a bunch of Scrabble.)
[livejournal.com profile] cattitude had a dental appointment this morning, for root canal work. I went downtown with him, as moral support: while he was in back with the dentist, I went to Starbucks, had a cup of tea and a scone, chatted a bit with a stranger, and then walked in Central Park for a little while. On that loop of park, I saw a rhododendron in bloom, and then several periwinkle flowers. (Those are spring flowers; looking back at this journal, I confirmed that I saw the first of both earlier than usual this spring.)

When the dentistry was done, I mentioned the flowers to Cattitude, who wanted to see them. From there, we wandered a while more, and added more periwinkles and some late wild strawberries—both flowers and tiny red fruit. The park, and that bit of the Upper West Side, also have some nice fall colors, still. (We also saw a few violets, some late roses, and a variety of autumn flowers I don't know names for, leading to comments like "more of those light purple things.")

The most startling bit, and perhaps the most delightful, was a huge willow south of the Sheep Meadow. It's still in leaf, bright green with the first hints of yellow. This spring, I noticed that willow because it leafed out unusually early; it's not that weird that the first willow would also be the last, microclimates being like that, but the willows up in Inwood Hill Park turned yellow and dropped all their leaves a month ago.

The day felt like mid-November, and I was glad to be dressed warmly, but it looked more like mid-October.
redbird: drawing of a coelacanth (coelacanth)
( Nov. 2nd, 2012 05:46 pm)
I got home (i.e., back to Adrian's) yesterday evening, saw that Amtrak was selling tickets for today, and grabbed one on the 11:05 train from Boston to New York. My railroad trip was smooth (and I wound up with an unusually comfy seat in the cafe car; the attendant told me that car had previously been used as a first class lounge car on overnight trains) and surprisingly uncrowded. The subway ride home was also basically smooth (since what I wanted to do matched well with a part of the system that they have up and running), though crowded enough that I was glad to have left most of my luggage, and the big backpack, in Arlington.

[livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I have now played Scrabble, and the Greenmarket website says our market will be open as usual tomorrow (though of course we will have to wait and see which vendors are there).

Yesterday in Boston, I ran some errands with Adrian, went to the gym in mid-afternoon and got a hot fudge sundae at Toscanini's afterwards (I figure I can make a habit of getting ice cream after working out at Central Square, since I don't go there very often or at times when I'd be spoiling my appetite for lunch or dinner), and then walked over to the library to meet Adrian (she was tutoring there). While I was waiting, I answered my cell phone (in the lobby; I'd set it to a quiet mode) and turned down a temp assignment for today because I wouldn't be back in time. I was surprised to hear from the agency; the job was/would have been at the ad agency they've been sending me to a few blocks from Penn Station.

Also, I saw another patch of periwinkle in bloom on Mass Ave at the edge of Central Square, and Cattitude reports violets in our local churchyard. At least the ginkgo fruit, while stinky, is basically in season. The city says "most" parks will be open again tomorrow, so I may wander around ours and see what shape it's in, mostly meaning which/how many trees we've lost (and look for violets, periwinkles, or any other out-of-sync spring flowers).

(Yes, there's still a lot of work to be done to get things running properly again; I happen to live in a part of the city that sustained relatively little damage.)
Tags:
redbird: closeup of a white-and-purple violet (violet)
( May. 31st, 2012 12:04 pm)
I just uploaded some photos to Flickr from my trip to the Jardin Botanique in mid-April: it's a mixture of butterflies (indoors) and flowers (both greenhouse and some in the Alpine Garden).

A sample: black and yellow butterfly on a skylight, seen from below.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Apr. 3rd, 2012 07:39 pm)
Here are some violets growing in Inwood Hill Park: violets growing in a sidewalk crack

more flowers on my Flickr page )
This is mostly the post I should have written yesterday or the day before. Tuesday morning I went out to Brooklyn to get the third (of three) doses of hepatitis B vaccine. The city Department of Health has three sites for free, walk-in vaccinations, and this one seemed easiest to get to, just a few blocks from the A train in downtown Brooklyn. (I got the previous dose at the end of summer, at a Department of Health site in Chelsea that closed about three days later.) So that's taken care of, and I can feel both a bit safer and a bit virtuous.

Downtown Brooklyn is also a fairly easy bus ride to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and, as it turns out, the Prospect Park Zoo. I was thinking Botanic Garden, then saw the zoo entrance, and figured why not, I'm a member, so it won't cost anything. It's a fairly small zoo, but I saw a couple of sea lions, an otter, a pair of emus, some turtles, and some very cute red pandas. OK, that's redundant, but it was fun watching one walk carefully down a steep branch.

Then across the street and into the Botanic Garden. Admission is free on "winter weekdays" (that's through March 9); I'm not at all sure I'd have paid $10 to wander through the grounds this early in spring, even an early spring. The garden's web page said something about a Japanese flowering cherry. I didn't find that, but I did see a very nice camellia tree, covered in pink blossoms, near the Japanese garden (just off the "celebrity path"). Unsurprisingly, most of what's visible outdoors is bulbs: snowdrops and crocuses, a few dwarf irises, winter aconite, and daffodils in a couple of places. (I only poked into the conservatory briefly, because I didn't want to deal with the stairs.) Near the conservatory are a couple of witch hazel trees fully in bloom, and a visually unassuming tree labeled "wintersweet," a fitting name. I also saw a very impressive spreading white bush; when I got close my thought was pussy willow, from the bud shape (and they are somewhat gray close up), but it didn't have the pattern of long, basically vertical branches. I have uploaded photos of the camellia, wintersweet, winter aconite, and not-pussywillow to Flickr.

Today (March 1) I went to the gym; I had had a tentative appointment with Emilie, but was unsurprised when she called to cancel. While I was there, one of the other trainers praised me for sticking to my program by myself.
just numbers )
The snowdrops in front of the building on West 214th Street are in bloom. One clump are wide open, and probably started blooming a few days ago; the other are showing buds, some of them plump.

Dandelions here at the end of January/beginning of February are an anomaly, but snowdrops are one of the first signs of spring. [livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I have also heard a robin in the park within the last week, but suspect it's wintering over, not a very early migrant.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Apr. 10th, 2011 10:29 pm)
Yesterday, on a short walk in the park, we saw a patch of flowers neither of us recognized. Today, we went back for a longer walk, and I took my camera.

After significant hunting around (it wasn't in my Audubon guide to North American wildflowers, and the first several website I tried didn't find it), I have tentatively identified them as Veronica persica, the Persian speedwell or Birdeye speedwell. I've tossed a photo on Flickr so I can show you (I just picked one of the three I took and cropped it a bit; the color shown on my monitor is similar to what I remember, though of course your hardware may vary).


tiny purple flowers and green leaves, with brown leaves underneath.


It doesn't match the Wikipedia description, but flower colors do vary, and nothing else seems to fit. If anyone ([livejournal.com profile] jonsinger?) has a better identification, or is confident that this isn't V. persica (even if you don't know what it is) please let me know.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 27th, 2010 06:12 pm)
I've uploaded eight photos to Flickr: six of them are of some large orange sunflowers that were growing down on 207th Street last month, with bees visiting. The only color manipulation on any of those is that I used Paint.net's "autolevel" feature on one of them.

very orange sunflower
This is the most orange of the lot.
(The plants also produced a few smaller yellow sunflowers.)

The other two are of a jimsonweed plant that was growing at the edge of a soccer field in Inwood Hill Park, next to the cement edging of a path: the spot is a tiny, intermittent watercourse, which was probably an advantage this dry summer.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 8th, 2010 07:35 pm)
A wheel fell off our dishwasher the other day. Last night, we tried to put it back on: this involved lifting the dishwasher by brute force, sliding books under to hold it up, and then attempting to get the wheel into place. This did not work. Also, it hurt my left wrist (the one I chipped a bone in back in college). It felt fine after a night's sleep, but started hurting again this evening after I held a bus pole left-handed. I should try to be careful; this may make tomorrow's session with Emilie complicated. (We're already watching out for my knees and the opposite shoulder.) We may try again, with more suitable tools so we can turn the machine on its side, but not for a few days. In the meantime, I will hand-wash some dishes, but as few as possible tonight.

We left home this morning early enough for a brief walk in the park. Well worth it: we saw a cormorant, and a patch of jimson weed (Datura stramonium). The latter was surprising: it had sprouted, flowered, and started making seed pods fairly quickly. There are four plants, growing between the paved path and the edge of the soccer field, along one of the intermittent tiny stream-beds that fill in every heavy rain. So the answer to my immediate "Where did you come from?" is almost certainly "up on the hill somewhere." I got [personal profile] cattitude to take a few pictures with his cell phone this morning; I went out this evening with my camera, but only one flower was left and open, from the four or so this morning. (Jimsonweed flowers don't last long once they bloom.) A parks worker was on a riding mower at the other end of the field, and it seemed likely that he'd mow most of the jimson weed (one is entirely below the surface of the lawn), but I'm guessing it wasn't prudent/safe to drive the mower over the gap.

Also, Tropical Storm Igor is now making its way east across the Atlantic Ocean. I know, generally, who names these things, but who in particular came up with this one?
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (food)
( Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:38 pm)
Marigold is an unexpected flavor/scent for drinking water. Not bad, but startling.

I was using my drinking cup to water the marigolds I have on the table in the big room. They're in the little plastic pots that they're sold in for transplanting, and I may plant them next weekend, but in the meantime, I have cheap, cheerful flowers. I poured the water carefully onto each little bit of soil, meaning I tucked the cup under the flowers and some of the leaves, and tilted. Clearly, it brushed against enough marigold to pick up a bit of the scent.
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (food)
( Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:38 pm)
Marigold is an unexpected flavor/scent for drinking water. Not bad, but startling.

I was using my drinking cup to water the marigolds I have on the table in the big room. They're in the little plastic pots that they're sold in for transplanting, and I may plant them next weekend, but in the meantime, I have cheap, cheerful flowers. I poured the water carefully onto each little bit of soil, meaning I tucked the cup under the flowers and some of the leaves, and tilted. Clearly, it brushed against enough marigold to pick up a bit of the scent.
redbird: Me with a cup of tea, standing in front of a refrigerator (drinking tea in jo's kitchen)
( Apr. 25th, 2009 07:52 pm)
I planted some marigolds in front of my building this afternoon. They're bright and colorful, and I hope sufficiently tough.

This is the first gardening I've done in a couple of years. Last spring, that (and quite a bit else) was eaten by the gall bladder surgery, and for a couple of years any fall bulb planting got put off until it was too late.

After planting, and coming upstairs and showering, I went back out and took a few photos. I may try for better photos later, but I wanted to get some right away. (It's obvious from the photos that these are just-planted.)

cut for images )
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