Saturday, 29 December 2018

Saturday Photo: The Hinge of the Year Has Turned...

Sunrise over Parc Outremont.  Not today, because I haven't been out yet, but I'm sure it would have looked a lot like this because there is no snow around here. 

No, it's all rain, weird weather with leaves still on the grass after a fall which was colder than usual.  At least there was a dusting of snow on the ground over Christmas to be pretty.

But the days actually are getting longer, with sunrise coming perceptively earlier.  According to the data I found, the day is not that much longer than it was at the solstice, The sun is setting later though, because of a curious astronomical quirk, the earliest sunset actually occurs on December 10. The reason has something to do with a discrepancy between the way we measure time and the actual relation of the sun and the earth.  Too complicated to figure out this morning: I'll just be glad that on this gray day, the sun will be out a little later this afternoon. 

So I'll try to get going: after all the feasting over the last week, it's time to get back to work on finishing up the revisions to my next book, which is now called Fine Lines: The Love/Hate Relationship between Neighbo(u)ring States.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Saturday Photo: Sil, Lutfisk and Holiday Good Wishes in Troubled Times

First of all, here's the link to our holiday season blog, which has become something of a tradition.  Read it and know we're all hoping for the best as we all, collectively, lurch forward into a new year.

As for the photo, I'm sure I've used it before, but it seems appropriate this gray morning when the countdown to Christmas is intensifying. 

The sil is made and so are the cookies.  Thomas is coming over to paint a school bus he and Lee made out of wood over the last few weeks for Louis.  The others will be in and out over the next few days, which will be an island of happy excitement in a world where the sun seems to be obscured far too often. 

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Saturday Photo: Waiting...

Is it going to snow?  Or will the snow all melt? There are many more important questions out there, but these two are high on my mind right now, as they seem to be on the minds of these creatures.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Saturday Photo: Hanging in There...Oak Leaves and Snow

Today's lesson is about persistence. 

It has always been my long suite.  The fact that my family is very long-lived helps because I've been pretty sure since I became aware of such things that, all things being equal and wars not too close to home, I'll live long enough to see projects to completion.  A big, early splash is always nice, but what gets you to your goals is dogged, continued effort.  Not necessarily constant, gut-wrenching struggle, but the knack of coming back again and again to pick away at challenges.

These oak leaves which I saw this week in Parc Outremont seem a kind of symbol--or maybe even a sign  In past years there must have been similar leaves clinging to branches well into the cold weather, but I don't remember noticing them.  Perhaps I'm just ripe for a reminder of the value of hanging in there.  Still have many projects to work on, and, I hope, enough time to accomplish them, or at least hand them off to people who will carry them foward.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Saturday Photo: Finally a Jade Plant Flower!!!

For several years I've been trying to get my large and beautiful jade plant (kindly given me by Bettina Bergo when she went on sabbatical) to bloom.  My mother, who was no gardener, frequently had them in flower when I was growing up in San Diego, and if she could, I figured I could too.

But it has turned out to be far harder than I thought.  For one thing, our house and yard are shaded by big maples during high summer.  For another, I didn't know what the cues were that the plant needed to bud.

Last fall and winter I did some research, including contacting nurseries in California, to see how it was done.  Cool temperatures, it seemed.  Lots of sun, others said.

So this summer I put the plant on the front balcony which is about the sunniest place we have.  The plant seemed to do well, but there was no sign of budding well into early fall.  Then we had our first freezing temperatures in mid-October, and I covered the plant with a sheet during the night before finally bringing it in. 

Lo and behold, within a couple of days, buds began to form at three nodes.  Since then I've been watching carefully as the plant as the buds slowly grew.  Last week they burst open into tiny flowerlets, that have no smell, aren't very showy, but nonetheless seem to be to be an accomplishment!

What would seem to have worked, then, is the combination of a sunny summer, followed by exposure to cold as the days grew shorter after the solstice.  So pleased!

The other photo is what the plant looked like last February.  It's grow some since...