Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

I've been doing a lot of reading in the natural history/ history of science and history of natural science illustration. (See dotwebb.wordpress.com/ ).

We opened the ditch and after making a rice paddy out of the garden with our spanking new run of 3" drain pipe, promptly flooded the rest of the back yard. (Oops.) grin. I strapped on my Crocodile Dundee 6" Italian weeding knife-slash-trowel. For three days, over Memorial Day weekend, Gloria & I did battle with her third of an acre of clay.

78 assorted paving stones.
Almost got the swamp cooler going.

Solar Pump for a fountain. Birds. The melon saved in another place.
(3 random images from the end of May '08)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It rained, at last!

I should look to see how long we went without. Seemed like an awfully long time. Ahhhhhhh. It rained overnight Tuesday night, about 1am. So hard it woke me up. (Rain off the roof pounded the soil out of a number of my poor tomato seedlings. Had to repack them yesterday after work.) Today--it has been drizzling off and on all day. Delightful!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


The Wind was all dust and bluster,
Hollering "Wh0 goes there?!" and
"Thou Shalt Not Pass!"
Slapping, stinging my cheeks.
But I--
I laughed,
Leapt onto its startled back
Spread my arms, and
Off we rode!

Your facts are only three dry twigs...

Your facts are only three dry twigs,
good for nothing but the fire.
Go back to your chores, upstart.
No one wants to hear your mumble.

She tucked the branches
under her shirt, close to her heart.
Listening to their songs,
together they walked on.

The girl, the twigs, the songs, the facts.

Friday, May 2, 2008

4th Week of April

We have had a couple of cold, windy days. My office mate says it froze south of town last night, and I think that was true in the Valley where Gloria lives too. It was 37-degrees when I got up this morning. (6am).

Things are very dry and there is a huge fire in the east mountains. They get it contained, then the wind kicks up, and off it goes again. Folks are being evacuated from the little towns on the back side of the Manzanos.

In the bed along the house, the yellow snapdragons at the front opened today. And the pale pink ones at the back are a recent development. The darker red is smaller this year, and has buds, but it's "behind" its bedmates.

The big news is that the Coriopsis and chocolate flower are getting ready to bloom! And there are all these adorable snapdragon seedlings in funny corners. I tried green onion seeds this year, and have half a dozen that can go in the bed or in a pot soon.

In case I forgot to mention it, the sun choke Gloria gave me last year actually survived the winter! I transplanted it in a deep pot with one dwarf marigold and one small purple lobelia, think that it will probably want to take over the world.

Ditto for the dwarf red Dahlia bulbs I bought and planted to try this year. I really did admire Linda Johansen's enormous yellow one last year. One might even use the word "covet." grin. I suspect they will all want bigger pots before this is over.

Last weekend I did not take any pictures, but I did repot the fern/ palm thing with a new red geranium and some lobelia this year. Though it's likely that the portulaca from last season was a better choice since there is a lot of competition for sunlight in that particular container. I'll have to watch and see.

I'll have to give more thought to winter breaking my pots. I have several that will need to be replaced this year. It was kind of careless of me... I'll admit. I kind of perversely wanted to see what would happen. And I did! grin.

(I wonder if I have repeated myself here? Repeated myself? Repeated myself? Repeated myself...)

Inside, waiting to go out...
The basil on my window ledge inside is huge. I finally managed to get the aphids under control and it is looking robust and lovely. The wandering jew is actually looking a bit threadbare. It really needs to be put out for the summer. And the Coleus exploded all of a sudden, and lost its coherent shape in big loping branches that are now leaning out like arms akimbo. Not a good look. It needs a bigger pot desperately. And maybe I'll put it down under the elm this year. I suspect it doesn't need the intensity of that west corner. Need to plant a new batch of Cat Grass for the "kids." The old one is looking really ratty. My chartreuse sweet potato vine has tons of roots and can be planted, though the plum variety finally died out on me. (My cuttings did not survive a couple of winter weeks where I accidentally let the water level get too low in its vase/ home on top of the entertainment center.)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Collaboration as a Vague but Insistent Yearning

Blogs, Wikis, Web-conference Break-out Rooms, List-serves, Text chat, MySpace and FaceBook. I move from one to another, staring, not really sure what features or services I need or want. I experiment. Play. Load photos. And link this to that. But at the end of the day, there is something oddly lonely and strident about it. There's a deafening silence in the midst of all the apparent hyper-communicativity. When I stand back and squint at it, I think it's no wonder. People in the United States have been enculturated, educated, trained, groomed, and massively shoved towards individualism. Systematically. Institutionally. As an ideology. As a set of behaviors.

Americans yearn to interact, to work together, to form durable communities, but we've been warned against it. I almost never see a blog with lively responses (dialog!) in the comment fields. Of course, part of that has to do with the sheer number of blogs that are out there, and the inane nature of most posts. But even the good ones--the thoughtful, provocative, well-crafted essay posts--are monologues. One mind thinking. One speaker talking.

For a moment or three, I am tempted to stare at my feet, hang my head and concede that perhaps I'm part of the older generation (now obsolete, right?). Maybe I'm a "type"--a representative member of a cynical, cranky, tech-weary demographic.

But... I support online college courses for a living, and just yesterday a freshman with computer issues was whining about how she had done all the work in her "Group Wiki Project."

The age-old challenge of listening to others, hearing them, and responding thoughtfully--my ad hoc, operational definition of "conversation"--is as demanding and difficult, and apparently as seldom practiced as ever. If we can't even talk to each other, how on earth is it possible to work together effectively?! Bristling with new gadgets, we can now contact everyone on the planet six new ways, four times as fast.

The question really is: "Can you hear me now?!"

"Imagine a circle..."

"Imagine a circle, a half circle or a moon -- here," says Jane. So I do.

The fish moon rises
Swims across a dark, silent star lake.
Splashes into dawn.


Dark but for the moon,
With all her moods, she is true--
Waning, waxing, full.


My little fluffy orange and white girl cat wanted to write one too: (think circle)

brimming fat food bowl,
warm puddle of sun, me curled
on the couch, dreaming.